A standard feature of Sathya Sai Baba ashrams was the notice blackboard entitled “Thought for the Day” where one of the clerks in his information office chalked up one or another quotation from Sai Baba’s discourses, choosing something as the fancy took him (it is always a ‘him’ holding office at the ashrams). Devotees would stand and write down everything religiously as if Sai Baba had just ordained those very words as highly relevant to the day in hand! Of course, the many absurd and outrageous – or otherwise apparently ‘untoward’ statements were strictly avoided in favour of the more bland, superficial and mostly vague generalizations, like those about God, the delusions and bad behaviour of most people, the worthless, unreal world and Sai Baba’s own ‘mystery’. But not, for example, this;-
“Almost 90 percent of the so-called devotees are, in fact, deceitful. Earlier, it was quite different; the devotees were few, but they were genuine devotees. Nowadays, there are too many self-seeking cheats masquerading as devotees. First thing in the morning, they adorn their forehead with Vibhuti, wrap a scarf round their neck and roam about freely in the guise of devotees. Even the stray dogs scrounging around for something to eat are better than such fake devotees!” (Sathya Sai Baba – speech at the International Seva Conference 22 July 2002)
Comment: The stray dogs are certainly without a master now. Hari Sampath, a former security officer at Prashanthi Nilayam ashram, wrote earlier :- “After 76 years of the “avataric mission”, by which time 2/3 of the world was expected to be his devotees according to him, now he has said that 90 % of his devotees are worse than stray dogs !! What an extraordinarily honest admission ! What a failure in world transformation , when Sai Baba has not even transformed a small fraction of his devotees! I guess that all devotees now know that the “avatar” thinks 9 out of 10 are worse than stray dogs, and deceitful frauds. All I can think of is: as the Master, so the disciple!”
This is a more entertaining quotation, perhaps; one of Sai Baba’s many erroneous interpretations of the origins of certain words and phrases. The English expression “Goodbye” never arose from ‘good boy’ at all, but is an abbreviated form of ‘God be with you’. One would have thought he would have known that, at least! Rather depressing for believers that a ‘bad boy’ is forever doomed, one would think. Yet considering what is known, who would have wanted to become one of Sai Baba’s ‘god boys’?