The transformation of India by devotees of Sai Baba
Posted by robertpriddy on January 29, 2011
Conversion to what followers believe is Sathya Sai Baba’s spiritual panacea to save the world and liberate themselves from the sufferings of human life (not least through avoiding being reborn) has observably not radically changed India at all. Consequently, the vast transformation of India’s morals – its corruption, crime and violence – that he has repeatedly promised since the 1960′s has most signally failed to occur. Corruption has has only increased on a gigantic scale… which is seen by the recent Deccan Herald article (the amount of money cited is literally mind-boggling equiv. US$ 3874 billion??) and, not least, the interview with Dev Kar, a foremost international economist (see article scan at foot of this page). Long ago, Sathya Sai Baba promised Dr. John Hislop that his students were already assuming central roles in the leadership of India (as see quote bottom right too)… but not one student is known as a top leader anywhere and none have succeeded in raising India’s morals, judging by the parlous prevailing state of affairs. One wonders how many of those salting away fortunes abroad are Sai Baba followers? Your guess may not be as good as mine! If none at all, then that means at least 34,000 top people there are NOT Sai Baba followers? But so many top Indians do go to worship him, so…
Do followers of Sathya Sai Baba necessarily change for the better?
Writings by and about Sathya Sai Baba are full of constantly repeated talk of ‘self-transformation’. Effusive devotees praising and thanking Sathya Sai Baba for ‘transforming’ them into better people are naive and suspect.
Self-transformation cannot be done for his followers by Sathya Sai Baba, it does not follow simply from joining his movement or organization nor from interventions in their lives like dreams or vague advice in interviews etc., which for nearly all of them is the most they could actually obtain. Because there is such an intense need for a sense of meaning in one’s life – something that is easily lost in calamity-struck societies like India – people seek all manner of ‘spiritual’ panaceas and comfort themselves that their contributions to a sect or cult will improve their own lot and hopefully those of others, and this demands belief in almost impossibly unrealistic hopes of transformation – even sudden world changes.
It is a recognised psychological fact that personality change is a very long and arduous process, and is seldom very radical after long therapy. It does not simply follow from a change of beliefs, certain attitudes or a few lifestyle alterations, which is all that conversion to the Sathya Sai Baba doctrine can really offer. I have read most of extant literature up to 2000, over 300 books etc. and can say that the disparity between the ‘great changes’ most describe and what one encounters in practice in all Sai circles is very great. Most of the talk of personal transformation is either self-induced conviction, self-enhancing belief or even pure and simple personal propaganda to advance one’s interests in relation to the Sai movement and others.
As observation of such charismatic conversions the world over indicate, one may have a change of mind without any corresponding improvement in behaviour. Rather, the converted all too often become moralizing, preaching, better-than-thou and less self-aware persons… the proverbial ‘God-botherer’. Religious feelings and prayers, rituals, devotional singing and worship (of gurus living or dead) is not the answer and never has been, as any student of human history learns early on.