The aim of Sai Baba was above all to make everyone love him, in his physical form and in his alleged spiritual form as well. The ‘spirituality’ – worship of himself as a transcendent Godhead – which he impressed on all who chose to follow him – or were induced to do through tricks, bogus materializations and in many other ways, turns out to be bogus traditional moralising with a hidden agenda – obtaining power over others and basking in narcissistic self-love. The chutzpa is very impressive, no doubt, but it was a clever and subtle cover-up for the private real agendas he had.
Archive for March, 2012
Posted by robertpriddy on March 30, 2012
Posted by robertpriddy on March 28, 2012
In a largely critical article about Indian gurus, several of whom are under criminal investigation, Silicon News details some of the assets of five of the richest “spiritual gurus” of Indian (while referring to Sathya Sai Baba as having been the richest of all). See Super-Rich Gurus of India or click on image on the right to zoom in and read the introductory text…
As is known to all readers of this blog, Sai Baba was known for very widespread allegations of sexual abuses and unsolved murders in his bedroom, while he was protected from prosecution by Indian governments. Others have not been able to extricate themselves so easily from criminal investigations, while all are controversial in one way or another. Above all, perhaps, the greatest contradiction to their claims of holiness is the excessive wealth they have set out to generate… the accumulation of goods and riches not being an attribute of a genuine example of a supposed ‘holy’ person. The following gurus are reported on:-
Sri Sri Ravishankar (Ravi Shankar Ratnam)
Asaram Bapu /Asumal Sirumalani)
“Sant Shri Asharam Ji Bapu is endearingly known as Bapu among all the godmen and self proclaimed saints mentioned above Asaram Bapu is one of the most controversial. He is accused of land grabbing in Gujarat and various other cities and is busy settling the string of cases charged against him “
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh
“Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Insaan is the current leader of an organization called Dera Sacha Sauda. Since becoming the head of this sect, he has often been involved in controversy, even having criminal cases filed against him. ” … “Ram Rahim the Dera chief is accused of murder, rape and sexual harassment The most damaging allegation as yet on Baba Ram Rahim is of a female follower’s letter anonymously sent to Prime Minister, President which claimed that Baba Ram Rahim had allegedly raped her and at least 50 more female followers in the Dera Sacha Sauda premises. This Baba is currently out on bail, he is being investigated by the CBI and trial is on before a special CBI court at Ambala.”
Posted by robertpriddy on March 28, 2012
There are various accounts by persons who discovered Sathya Sai Baba’s sexual exploits and fraudulence long before it became news on the Internet. Few of them have been published in books, however, as the tendency of disillusioned followers has always been primarily to let the matter drop and move on (rather than get into conflicts with the quite fanatical believers who prove themselves to ostracize, slander and even attack those who speak up about it). One exception was Mary Garden, whose book ‘The Serpent Rises’ is a most interesting exposure of two Indian gurus, Sathya Sai Baba and (mainly) Balayogi Premvarni , the harrowing story of which turned her away from all Indian ‘spirituality’. An excerpt from that book shows how she was overwhelmed by certain dreams she had at the ‘Brindavan’ ashram in Whitefield. That dreams of Sathya Sai Baba are (or at least, were) always regarded as sigificant is due to his many pronouncements about such dreams, including assurances that no one could dream of him without his will!
CLICK ON EACH PAGE IMAGE BELOW TO ENLARGE AND READ
The many pronouncements about the nature and origin of dreams by Sai Baba are highly self-contradictory, as is seen from a few excerpts from some of his discourses. Typically, he totally contradicted the belief that all dreams of him were ordained by him:-
|READ MORE ON DREAMS OF SAI BABA||READ MORE ABOUT ‘THE SERPENT RISING’|
Posted by robertpriddy on March 26, 2012
British TV-watchers were very surprised recently when a man appeared on the popular show “Britain’s Got Talent” and swallowed coins, which he could regurgitate at will, even bringing out any particular numbered coin a member of the audience chose. He then proceeded to swallow a full-sized billiard ball, and then regurgitate it. He did all this without drinking water or making grimaces of suffering for quarter of an hour (as Sathya Sai Baba used to do to increase the suspense, for he had a captive audience).
This act is now posted on YouTube here
The apparently miraculous materialization of objects like billiard balls, Shivalingams, and other large objects through the mouth has long been known to have been invented on stage by Harry Houdini. He experimented with smaller objects attached to a thread, but soon found he could regurgitate large objects – billiard balls – with ease. This trick has been done in India by wandering fakirs and, more recently, by self-proclaimed holy avatars – Sathya Sai Baba being the most prominent of them all. He claimed that the lingam materialised itself every Shivarathri day within his stomach and had to emerge. It was a major attraction in India until about 1968, when the crowds caused him to stop the act. He began it again in 2000 after a major scandal (sexual abuses alleged by many young men) which caused a large fall-off in visitors (and donations).
Posted by robertpriddy on March 25, 2012
“In the Sanskrit language, the first letter of the alphabet is ‘A’ and the last one is ‘Ha.’ When you combine A and Ha, it becomes Aha.”
[Sathya Sai Baba – 10 July 1986]
Comment: Aha – ha ha! One mostly looks in vain for lighthearted qualities in Sathya Sai Baba’s moral and patronizing pronouncements… wit, sarcasm, the thrust of rapier intellect and especially self-irony are a scarcity. But the wide-awake mind often gets a good laugh from the self-important absurdity. What humour was intended by him it is rather obvious and was not of the shared kind but rather poked a finger at others, not laughing with them so much as at them. But his four other fingers always pointed back at himself for those who could see properly.
Posted by robertpriddy on March 22, 2012
India leads arms imports: Swedish think tank “India is the world’s largest arms importer,” the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said as it released its latest report on trends in the international arms trade. “India received nine percent of the volume of international arms transfers during 2006-10, with Russian deliveries accounting for 82 percent of Indian arms imports,” it said. Its arms imports jumped 21 percent from the previous five-year-period with 71 percent of its orders being for aircraft. India’s arms purchases were driven by several factors, said Siemon Wezeman of SIPRI’S Arms Transfers Programme. “The most often cited relate to rivalries with Pakistan and China as well as internal security challenges,” he wrote..
In this ever more militaristic State, when India increases its defence budget by leaps and bounds year on year. It stood at 2010-11 was Rs. 11,08,749 crore (8.6 % increase of previous year) 2011-12 $36.03 billion (11.59% more than the previous year) But for 2012-13 (US$ 40.44 billion) all of 17.63% more than the previous year!
Forked tongue & Janus faced Sathya Sai Baba repeatedly condemned both the possession of atomic weapons and those countries which develop them, calling their leaders ‘moral dwarves’ and yet has rewarded all who were involved in the nuclear weapons projects. Despite this, he befriended for many years the man who was known as ‘the father of India’s atom bomb’, Dr. S. Bhagavantam. (Scientific Advisor to the Defence Ministry). He subsequently strongly and repeatedly endorsed the government of Vajpayee, which revelled in the explosion of Indian nuclear devices. In 2006 he invited as the guest of honour at his 81st birthday celebrations in Puttaparthi the man who developed the first rocket delivery vehicle for nuclear weapons, India’s President, A.J.P. Kalam! Sai Baba extended his full support to all these ‘nuclear’ governments! So much for his harangues for the much-touted “human value” of non-violence (ahimsa), and for his maxim “Help Ever, Hurt Never”?
Evidently the politicians in India do not trust Sathya Sai Baba’s assurances in the least.
SEE ALSO http://robertpriddy.wordpress.com/2007/09/17/sai-baba-and-indias-atomic-arsenal/
Posted by robertpriddy on March 20, 2012
In a recent blog here (scroll down some way or click on Sathya Sai Baba or the Dalai Lama – which is ‘holier than thou’?) I compared the words and actions of Sathya Sai Baba with those of the Dalai Lama, showing how there was a world of difference between the dharma practised by the Dalai Lama and the deceptive words and action of Sai Baba. I also noted that the Dalai Lama had never endorsed Sathya Sai Baba in anything he had said. However, Chris Dokter pointed out in a comment on that blog, that this was not entirely true:-
Chris Dokter of The Netherlands commented.:-
“Alas, Robert, though I heartily agree with the gist of your post, I think it cannot go unmentioned here that the Dalai Lama DID in fact give some sort of endorsement to Sathya Sai Baba in the end. Posthumously, on April 25 2011, he issued an official message of condolence, which was published in the Tibetan Sun e.g. (See this link: http://www.tibetsun.com/archive/2011/04/25/dalai-lama-mourns-passing-away-of-sai-baba/), and also on the Dalai Lama’s homepage. It attracted international attention. This is what was stated by the Dalai Lama: “I am saddened by the passing away of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, the respected spiritual leader. I would like to convey my condolences and prayers to all the followers, devotees and admirers of the late spiritual leader.”
I must say I was quite taken aback by this message.”
Hi Chris! Thanks for the correction. I did not know that. It is extremely disappointing… surely the Dalai Lama knew Sai Baba’s megalomaniacal claims (Creator of the Universe etc. ad. inf.) and would surely NEVER be able to support them, being a Buddhist. I suspect that, dependent as the Dalai Lama and his community in India are on the authorities, he may have been pressured into the statement one way or another. He never said anything like that once throughout the life of Sathya Sai Baba… which fact I consider speaks louder than words, really.
Chris Dokter replied: “I agree with your take on it, Robert. Still, I wish the Dalai Lama would have refrained from any comment on SB ‘kicking the bucket’. More, I would have liked to have seen a moral, if controversial stance of him if he felt compelled to comment at all.”
Kristina Jure commented: Having read the comment posted by Chrisdokter, I would like to share my experience with Buddhists. In 2009 January I have visited one of the biggest Buddhist monasteries in India in Karnataka. There are 5000 monks in this city of monastic buildings with the residence for Dalai Lama and I was accomodated as a tourist by one small community inside the monastery and given the translator to walk around and take pictures, also invited to watch the debates and their rituals and rites. The most impressive experience for me as the former devotee of SSB was the way they reacted to my message that I actually came to them from Prashanthi Nilayam. They started smiling at each other and I could feel they felt sorry for me. I’ve asked the translator whether Buddhists believe that Swami is the creator of the Universe and he replied with the smile that “certainly not”. Nobody in fact believed him at all. And this official statement made by Dalai Lama could be interpreted as his compassion to those who were in suffering, but not as his official acknowledgment of the self-styled avatar, I assume. The reaction of all the monks to the messages by SSB was quite ironic, I should say, and their position was formed by Dalai Lama himself because they were practising absolute respect and obedience to him.
Chris Dokter replied: Dear Kristina Jure. Though I agree the Dalai Lama’s statement can be seen as compassionate towards all those who were grief stricken, I am still troubled by the very fact that he chose to comment at all. I personally have little doubt the Dalai Lama would have laughed at the silly claims by Sai Baba, but it remains a fact that his message was published widely, and was on the whole interpreted as a supportive message by the international press, the Indian media and the SSB Organisation.
Compassion is good. Nothing wrong with it. But timing is everything when you are a public figure. And compassion with followers is one thing. But why did the Dalai Lama not openly show his compassion for all the victims of Sai Baba even once, the ex-followers? Does not compassion need courage in order to be balanced and not give offence? Or do you think the Dalai Lama was wholly ignorant of all the scandal and politics surrounding Sathya Sai Baba during the last decades?
Robert comments: It remains to be said that the comparisons I made between DL and SB stand well. In Gandhi’s own words (used on his tomb as his epitaph), namely “My Life in My Message” (later misappropriated by Sathya Sai Baba for himself and without acknowledgement) the Dalai Lama stands forth as exemplary, while Sathya Sai Baba’s actions and words were quite another story! The Dalai Lama respected the dead and, no doubt, the feelings of loss of SB devotees by his brief greeting, and – humble as he is – he was evidently no better informed about Sathya Sai Baba’s real life than are the majority of his remaining supporters, which includes the current Prime Minister and President and so on.
Posted by robertpriddy on March 19, 2012
Said the spider to the fly: “Come, examine, investigate, experience” (Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 4 – p.227)
To be a good Sai devotee, you have to learn to read between the’ lies’. Sai Baba always suffered fools most gladly: they posed no threat to his untruths and were liable to make big donations.
Posted by robertpriddy on March 16, 2012
|You can tell the condition of a nation by looking at the status of its women.
– Jawaharlal Nehru
However much a mother may love her children, it is all but impossible for her to provide high-quality child care if she herself is poor and oppressed, illiterate and uninformed, anaemic and unhealthy, has five or six other children, lives in a slum or shanty, has neither clean water nor safe sanitation, and if she is without the necessary support either from health services, or from her society, or from the father of her childen.
The women who participate in and lead ecology movements in countries like India are not speaking merely as victims. Their voices are the voices of liberation and transformation. . . The women’s and ecology movements are therefore one, and are primarily counter-trends to a patriarchal maldevelopment.
Amartya Sen – The Unheeded Conscience: We will lionise him, but will we ever listen to what he’s saying? Sen points out that when he took up issues of women’s welfare, he was accused in India of voicing “foreign concerns.” “I was told Indian women don’t think like that about equality. But I would like to argue that if they don’t think like that they should be given a real opportunity to think like that.”
The self-styled avatar Sathya Sai Baba, worshipped by Prime Ministers, Presidents and many other governmental and judicial elite, ‘put women in their place’ – on a most traditional religious-spiritual pedestal as ‘grihasta’ (or householder-homemaker) – where they should be worshipped as mothers (though preferably should be celibate!) and who should rather follow Rama’s dictum which he quoted as “Women have their estimable role in household affairs, but they should be kept out of state politics.” (Sanathana Sarathi, May 1995, p. 118) Despite this the woman President Patil visited him at festivals and worshipped him! See Ladies Day – Sathya Sai Baba vs. International Women’s Day and true female emancipation
Despite Sai Baba’s backward-looking influence on many Indian women, there are some strong and very promising women’s rights movements in India which are taking up the battle against male chauvinism (in whose ranks Sai Baba firmly belonged – known also to many devotees as a homo-erotic misogynist). For example, the leader of the pink vigilante movement which has targeted corrupt officials and wife beaters, Sampat Pal, is a serious contender in one of the key and most populous states in crucial polls coming early next year.
‘We realise we are not strong enough to carry out our plans of emancipating women and getting rid of poverty”, says her close aide, Suman Singh Chauhan. ‘We don’t have money or power. So we need to get one of our own into politics. If we get one person elected, we’ll become powerful.” Sampat Pal agrees.
‘We have tremendous support on the ground because of our reputation. Women make up half of the population and yet have so little political power. (See BBC report)
||Indian women’s legal rights face legal, practical hurdles|
| CHRONIC HUNGER AND THE STATUS OF WOMEN IN INDIA
Posted by robertpriddy on March 14, 2012
“Yes, I bring forth myself to earth by my yoga maya. I am the master of five elements. I am the radiance of the sun, I am the Creator at the foot of the Universe. There is no limit to My Divine Power.”
Transcript of announcement on Sai’s advent in his own words made in Prashanthi Nilayam (as heard in video clip linked below)
Quoted in ‘The Week’ 27th November, 20065.
(NOTE: ‘Beyond you’ here refers to Dr. H. Narasimhaiah, the former Vice Chancellor of the Bangalore University, who has requested an interview so as to check the facts about how Sai Baba created things.)
These same claims as above were made of Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, all of which Sathya Sai Baba has himself laid claim to throughout his adult life:-
“Those who realize true wisdom rapt within this clear awareness see Me as the universe’s origin: Imperishable. All their words and all their actions issue from the depths of worship, held in my embrace they know Me as a woman knows her lover. Creatures rise and creatures vanish; I alone Am Real, Arjuna, looking out, amused, from deep within the eyes of every creature. I Am the object of all knowledge, Father of the world, its Mother, Source of all things, of impure and pure, of holiness and horror. I Am the goal, the root, the witness,home and refuge, dearest friend, creation and annihilation, everlasting seed and treasure. I Am the radiance of the sun, I open or withhold the rain clouds, I Am immortality and death, I Am being and non-being. I Am the Self, Arjuna, seated in the heart of every creature. I Am the Origin, the Middle, And the End that all must come to. Those who worship Me sincerely with their minds and bodies, giving up their whole lives in devotion, find in Me their heart’s fulfillment.”
| SATHYA SAI BABA DECLARES HIMSELF MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE
CLICK ON ABOVE IMAGE TO ZOOM IN
THE SAI ORGANIZATION AND SAI CENTRAL TRUST TRY TO COVER UP THE ABOVE MEGALOMANIAC CLAIMS BY SATHYA SAI BABA
The official Sathya Sai censors have removed a number of the most famous and oft-repeated propaganda claims of Sathya Sai Baba from the Internet… the sort bound to attract prompt dismissal in the minds of many inquirers. The propaganda target is the wider public, which do not take well to absurdly grandiose boasts. An extremely wide cross-section of any public, except those of his own fold, would regard his claims as a proof of megalomania. Despite the attempt to create a facade of secular activities (education, health services, water projects etc.) professionally skilled people have been leaving the Sathya Sai organization since the major scandals broke from 1999 onwards, accelerated by his unexpectedly premature death from multiple organ failures (i.e. a decade or so earlier than his four differing predictions of his life span – all totally wrong). Due to the desertion of so many followers who donated money, the Sai Trust is having problems paying its considerable bills, as shown not least by its begging petition to try to get taxpayers once again to foot all their energy costs (as was the case for decades before SB’s death). Sai Baba’s leaders around the world were long since directed to avoid mention of the excessive claims when dealing with the public, but just those tall claims were and still are an absolute article of faith for members of his organization and devotees generally.
Posted by robertpriddy on March 13, 2012
Since the ignominious death of Satya Sai Baba in April 2011, about a decade before he variously predicted he would “leave the body” (he gave at least 4 different public predictions of his time of death). many Indian commentators began to speak out against him, his absurd claims and the many allegations of criminality from which successive governments of India protected him (PM and Presidents having worshipped him since long before the huge scandals about him broken on the world). One weblog which provides a very intelliegent, independent and fairly exhaustive set of criticisms is found at http://satyasaibabayb.blogspot.com/
Posted by robertpriddy on March 10, 2012
Here I shall once more publicize facts which newcomers to the Sathya Sai Baba exposé may never discover. I concentrate on negative facts for they are the truly neglected facts, always covered-up and never mentioned by the Sai officials and office-bearers nor by any devotee who wanted to remain in favour. One of my personal motives is that I gave far to much of my life to promoting Sathya Sathya Sai Baba when he was deceiving me and everyone around him in the most demeaning manner. I wrote a very positive book about him (which he blessed) and now – after having penetrated the veils of indoctrination and deceit with which he surrounded himself I am setting the record straight (which he of course did not bless!). The massive positive propaganda for Sai Baba across the entire Internet and the major smear campaign against critics still needs to be consistently countered. It is an issue of protection of the innocent and the vulnerable.
After countless ‘darshans‘, and five long interviews (10-12 hours) during 15 years of regular visits to Sathya Sai Baba, I gradually learned that most of Sai Baba’s activities were kept strictly secret – even his personal opinions – except to his very few close inner circle of attendants. The supposed leaders in his Sathya Sai Organisation (both Indians and foreign but all subservient yea-saying followers without any ideas not taken from him, and not true leaders at all) were unable to scrutinize more than a tiny portion of his daily activities most of which (up to 90% of many days) were kept entirely secret. His servitors had to wait hand and foot on his beck and call and do what they were told, never more nor less. Strangely, this did not apply similarly to the once-famous newspaper editor, V.K. Narasimhan, with whom I had a long and deep friendship. He was as close as all but a couple of persons for a decade at least, and he told me much that he was not strictly allowed to tell – except that he could not bear the burden of it all alone and shared some of it with those very few whom he really trusted. (see here)
V.K. Narasimhan (known as ‘VKN’) died in March 2000, having lived his retirement at Sai Baba’s ashram where he edited the monthly journal of the movement (Sanathana Sarathi). His diverse experiences and facts known to insiders of the ashram which, for reasons of his own and others’ security, he was unable to speak openly, gradually opened my eyes to more and more discrepancies in the doctrine and claims of Sai Baba. I made copious notes every day through 9 long visits when at SB ashrams and so have been able to make scans of my diary pages, which I kept every day at the ashrams. Reading them I am struck by how much I trusted Sai Baba’s word while we were obviously being deceived, and how far I took the required self-censorship (not to question anything he said or did, but look rather at myself). Rationalising everything untoward to make it all fit the Procrustean bed of Sathya Sai Baba’s words, his work and ‘mission’ which were programmatically and necessarily above all suspicion (if one would be a true follower). Narasimhan, who was privately much troubled by doubts about many of Sai Baba’s assertions, was decisively instrumental in my eventually putting an end to it all for me.
One should understand that V.K.N. was initially VERY important for SSB’s credibility in various influential Indian circles… for VKN was revered widely in India in the 1970s for his famous single-handed and courageous stand as a journalist against Indira Gandhi’s ‘Emergency’ clamp-down. He was of the highest Brahmin caste (a Mylapore Brahmin) and knew most of the elite of India well and had been at college with Presidents and Prime Ministers and had been among the elite of India since he was imprisoned as a follower of Gandhi before Indian Independence. He came under an outright charm offensive from Sai Baba (he told me all the flattering details), one which lasted over two decades. He became a key channel in SSB’s observable insatiable reach for social and political influence. Narasimhan is known for having told many that he did not know why Baba was so kind to him, especially before he at length actually became something of a devotee in his 80s. But VKN could not allow himself quite to realise that his importance to Baba was a guarantor of truthfulness, and all the other social implications; he was a trusting soul with self irony who only really wanted to support the movements’ efforts to raise and educate the poor (like so many of us did). However, perhaps his main his weakness was that he liked to be flattered. He had no time for Sai Baba’s ‘International Chairman’, Indulal Shah, or the Sathya Sai Organisations’s bluster and often bogus or inflated claims.
VKN had owned a house in Madras, which he gave up at the wish of his Sai-devoted wife to take up residence at Sai Baba’s ashrams where he was a sought-after figure of importance and privilege – called by Sai Baba to attend him almost every day in the last decade… and when his wife died he was well looked after there. His reason for staying – apart from his wife’ total devotion to Sai Baba – was that he was positively impressed by Sai Baba’s accumulated social influence and movement because it was at least achieving some improvement in providing education where there was none before, and a fair measure of social support and health care to the under-priviliged, and this despite his lifelong scepticism towards gurus and swamis. As a journalist and traveler throughout India, he had seen incomprehensible sufferings of all kinds and the hopeless political inertia amid the wall-to-wall corruption of Indian politicians. The ashram seemed an oasis amid that desert, though far from being a perfect place. He only left the ashram some month or more after he became mortally ill in late 1999, moving to a spiritual retreat. That was just after the world-wide sex abuse allegations against Sai Baba became public through the Internet.
I was rather put off by VKN when I first met him because of the scepticism he expressed – openly and in quite a scathing way in the first of his lectures I attended, where he ridiculed the claim that Sai Baba was ‘omnipotent’ as absurd. (He was certainly right as events have proven to all but the remaining blind and deluded devotees). As a journalist he had seen a lot of the world and was temperamentally unable to adopt the gushing Pollyanna style of most lecturers and VIP devotees. His cynicism about most of Sai Baba’s claims was considerable, as I found out after hundreds of hours together with him through over a decade, during which he confided to me a vast amount of his life experiences and knowledge of India and its countless problems. We discussed the alleged Sai Baba miracles in which I then believed, but he refused to believe them – especially healing miracles – and on which he never commented as editor of Sanathana Sarathi. He consistently refused all accounts of dreams and healing sent to him as editor. He did come to consider the widespread belief in his supposed miracles to be important for the cause in that it encouraged donations and such like. As time went by and he learned more about the people involved and their manipulations and embezzlement, he became increasingly critical to many of the social projects as falling short of the claims made for them. He told me occasionally that he would never have ended up there but for his wife’s religious devotion to Sai Baba. As he grew more and more frail he relied on the care he received from a devotee relative (Usha) and others there, as he though leaving the place was no longer a realistic option and he had nowhere else to retire to. I am told that he virtually had to leave due to the lack of care when he fell mortally ill.
See also scans and notes:-
Posted by robertpriddy on March 5, 2012
The Dalai Lama is known world-wide for his courage and often illumining and largely acceptable teachings, but above all for his life, which is truly a message of non-violence and standing for the truth and what is right. His righteous (dharmic) life has been in strict adherence to non-violence, seen in all he has done since his inauguration, and through the tremendously difficult decades through which it has been incumbent on him to try to protect and better his people. He was a most worthy and humble Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Sathya Sai Baba, on the other hand, virtually boasted that it would go to himself, but it never did or could, considering his reputation and claims. Sathya Sai Baba was definitely not revered and respected worldwide by the vast numbers of people and governments as is the Dalai Lama, nor is he nearly so well-known to most of the world. While Sai Baba claimed to be God in Human Form, the Dalai Lama is revered as a bodhivsattva (i.e. a reborn holy person), but has himself never promoted the claim. He even gave an interview to Playboy Magazine in the 1970s where he disarmingly said he was ‘just an ordinary person’. Hardly a ‘holier than thou’ preaching hypocrite!
How did Sathya Sai Baba compare with the Dalai Lama? The Dalai Lama has always made himself as accessible as possible to people without them having to kowtow. If one bows to him, he returns the bow more deeply. He is open to all kinds of questioners, answers directly and frankly and in intelligible, accurate and respectful words! It would have been fitting for Sathya Sai Baba to bow to the Dalai Lama, but he bowed to no absolutely one… he was far too high and mighty for that! Yet some of his most deluded followers – like N. Kasturi and V. Balu – once wrote about him as having great humility! They were totally taken in by his show and calculated charm. His being unapproachable by all by those who waited for endless hours, days and weeks until he picked them out as acceptable was known to all. Everyone was well aware that he would never stand the slightest bit of criticism from anyone and those who then dared to put a question – if not simply ignored by him – often received devious answers, usually quite vague and open to several possible meanings.Yet he full of criticism of others – in general in many of his discourses. He would often joke at the questioner’s expense so as to earn a laugh from the interview group or he put-down the questioner by making fun of the question or the person or referring to their personality (eg. famously “you have a mad monkey mind!”, “you fight with your husband/wife all the time” and much more like that). Nothing like the bowing humility and respectful interchanges of the Dalai Lama!
However, there is a similarity between the two that comes of being primarily religionists – holding to a belief that our problems will never be solved by society, only by individuals:-
“We will never solve our problems simply by instituting new laws and regulations. Ultimately, the source of our problems lies at the level of the individual. If people lack moral values and integrity, no system of laws and regulations will be adequate. So long as people give priority to material values, then injustice, inequity, intolerance and greed — all the outward manifestations of neglect of inner values — will persist.” Dalai Lama
However, this is a very one-sided statement, since almost the entire educated world is aware that individuals are themselves very largely a product of their society and that law is essential in the development of civilization and any well-ordered and secure life. This is a form of naivety nurtured by scriptures and moral theologies, which have for millennia been shown to be incapable of solving “our problems”.
The Dalai Lama has real humility and enormous courage – putting himself in the front line – for decades and traveling the globe almost without protection, let alone from gunmen and soldiers, though he is now generally protected by foreign governments’ security forces almost wherever he goes, one of the most repressive major regimes in the world having made itself his sworn enemy. By comparison, Sai Baba was protected by weapons-bearing soldiers and had 20 full-time plain-clothes security people since about 1994 – soon costing well over Rs. 200,000 a month, after the infamous murders in his apartment, even though he claimed he was not a target. And who do you think pays? These spies mingle undercover in the crowds. V.K. Narasimhan gave me the facts about this already in 1996. While at the 70th birthday, someone I knew was present when a plainclothes Indian drew a gun and threatened a crowd which he considered to be trespassing where not allowed. He was wrong, and was reported to the authorities but nothing whatever was done about him. No one could get into Sai Baba’s presence with the tiniest of items that could conceivably be used as some kind of weapon – not even a pen or computer diskette. Was all these this for the sake of the devotees or Sai Baba? It was no more for devotees than are the metal detectors, the intensive body searches of men and women going to view Sai Baba (darshan) or the fact that Sai Baba hid daily and at night in a fortress-built locked apartment palace. He was guarded by additional Israel-trained commandos – sometimes visibly armed with automatic weapons, and he travelled in a bomb-proof vehicle. Though he promised many person he was about to visit their countries in person, he never dared to leave Indian after his one visit abroad (to visit Idi Amin in Uganda!). Meanwhile, the Dalai Lama has convincingly lived non-violence in all he does (not just in constant torrents of repetitive words as does Sai Baba) and has never had to conceal himself nearby in a room in his own ashram while four close attendants were assassinated with his tacit (and later public!) approval, or condone subsequent cover-ups and quashing of all legal redress to the victims’ families.
Sai Baba claimed that his word was the absolute law in all things and – once spoken – would inevitably come to pass. Yet his will was always done by mega-obsequious officials in the ashram. Also this “ever-tranquil, totally unaffected” Sai Baba dropped his guard and showed everyone his hidden hand in his Xmas 2000 discourse… namely, that by damning his critics to constant rebirths in many shameful lives, he was not compassionate or loving of everyone (as he had until then always claimed even of his detractors). More recently, he damned various Indian newspaper editors to the same fate. Has the Dalai Lama ever damned or threatened anyone like that? The answer is a resounding ‘No!’
The Dalai Lama, however, is never patronising nor does he harangue the whole world for being impure and under the sway of inhuman and demonic forces, as did Sai Baba constantly. Sai Baba talked down to people from a position of claimed eminence, figuratively, he spoke on them from a great height. He constantly pointed out his as his own works and service while hardly ever giving any credit to those who actually did everything instead of him. His boast about his achievements – that no one did one thousandths of what he did (Christmas 2000 discourse) was most embarrassing, but not to his blind and self-indoctrinated devotees. Others did all the work and provided the funds for all to which he so selflessly lent ‘His Precious Name’. He celebrated himself and his birthdays like no other event, claiming it is the devotees who want it. But the fact is, known to those who speak with frank ashramites, that almost only he thrives on it; most residents dreaded it. It was Sai Baba’s annual super self-praise event at Prashanti Nilayam, where he rode on his bizarre silver-encrusted motorised chariot-cum-jeep. All that mattered was numbers and show! The Dalai Lama always was and remains worlds apart from all that, as everyone knows full well.
Sai authorities were desperate to get the Dalai Lama to endorse Sai Baba, They have cynically promoted the idea that the Dalai Lama somehow endorsed Sai Baba (which he NEVER has done), simply because he once gave a lecture at the Sathya Sai International Centre in Delhi (Jan. 3, 2004), where he generously mentioned Sai Baba just once as follows: “I am happy to see that Sathya Sai Baba has said that his mission is not to convert people to other traditions. He would like a Buddhist to be a better Buddhist, a Muslim to be a better Muslim and a Hindu to be a better Hindu.” He said no more about Sai Baba! The Director of the Centre where the Dalai Lama spoke, Dr. Karan Singh, coupled the names of Dalai Lama and Sathya Sai Baba in his address. However, the Dalai Lama emphasised that those of the Buddhist faith ought to stick to Buddhism, and Muslims to their faith, and it is a fact that both of these religions firmly and totally reject the possibility of anyone being God Incarnate. Mahayana Buddhism even rejects the existence of a God Creator. This seems one good reason why – in his self-proclaimed Godhood as World Saviour and Avatar – Sai Baba never so much as mentioned the Dalai Lama once!
Sai Baba sweepingly berated just about everyone in the world in one way or another from his platform but the Dalai Lama never uses any such denigratory language, even about the despotic and mendacious Chinese government, the relentless persecutors of the Tibetan people and himself.
Please consider the following list of questions as a little quiz. The 16 questions make for a fitting corollary to the ‘sixteen special qualities’ that Sathya Sai Baba claimed he alone possessed as the Full Avatar of God in this era!
If the answers are not immediately evident to you for one reason or another, they are given below the questions.
1) Which of the two – Sathya Sai Baba or the Dalai Lama was/is always humble and treats others as equals
2) Which of the two was open to questions and never makes fun at the expense of his questioners?
3) Which of the two was open to genuine dialogue with his critics and is respectful of them.
4) Which of the two sought publicity only for the cause of a suppressed people and culture, not for any personal praise or self-interest?
5) Which of the two actively practiced non-violence and was never been involved in covering up murders on his own premises?
6) Which of the two reveled in pomp and tinsel, constantly sitting on silver thrones, golden chariots?
7 ) Which of the two constantly emphasised his service to others, his self-sacrifice and that no one was doing one thousandth of the service he was doing?
8 ) Which of the two laid claim to total spiritual and moral superiority over all living persons on earth and in every other realm?
9) Which of the two blessed golden statues of himself, used donations to build costly ‘museums’ and other buildings glorifying himself with blazoned images of him and his sayings?
10) Which of the two was subject to the abuse and libel of a powerful state which employs torture and killing of his supporters?
11) Which of the two is protected by security guards at all times and cannot be approached by anyone except his servitors without body searches and the use of metal detectors?
12) Which of the two was never patronising and never harangues people for being impure and under the sway of inhuman and demonic forces?
13) Which of the two avoided the press or replying to them in any form unless vetted in advance – demonised journalists who questioned him as spreading slander – and also descried investigative press writings about himself as ‘false flights of the imagination’?
14) Which of the two was known to associate with criminals, such as the brutal dictator Idi Amin or the corrupt embezzling exile Bettino Craxi?
15) Which of the two was accused of a large number of Indian and foreign boys and young men – with substantial and detailed testimonies of sexual abuses?
16) Which of the two was a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and which of them was mentioned as a candidate to the honour only by a few supporters?
Should there be a shadow of a doubt as to the correct the answers, they are:
1) Dalai Lama 2) Dalai Lama 3) Dalai Lama 3) Dalai Lama 4) Dalai Lama 5) Dalai Lama 6) Sathya Sai Baba 7) Sathya Sai Baba 8 ) Sathya Sai Baba 9) Sathya Sai Baba 10) Sathya Sai Baba 11) Sathya Sai Baba 12) Dalai Lama 13) Sathya Sai Baba 14) Sathya Sai Baba 15) Sathya Sai Baba 16) Dalai Lama!
Posted by robertpriddy on March 2, 2012
Indian nationalism origins The phenomenon of Indian nationalism as an open political movement for independence (Swaraj) gained real impetus in the 1920s with the return of Gandhi to India, and as the world knows, reached its goal in 1947, when Sathya Sai Baba was around 20 years old (depending on which of his two much different birth dates one finds the best documented). Sathya Sai Baba always warmly endorsed Mahatma Gandhi.
As regards nationalism, the ideals of Gandhi and Sathya Sai Baba were most often very similar. One must realize that the adulation of Gandhi has been adumbrated both by a rising tide of historical research and critical voices concerning Gandhi himself and by historical events (which never followed Gandhi’s recipe for religious revival and agrarian rather than industrial development). There are many parallels between their ideals and religious preaching, neither of which produced anything remotely like the promised results.
The religious and political history of Mahatma Gandhi is still revered by a great number of Indians and many world figures, including various non-violent peace movements. Yet It is a historical fact that both Gandhi’s doctrines have long since ceased to have any effective role in Indian society, faced as was the nation with such a divided populace with its overwhelming problems of poverty, suffering, crime and extreme religious violence etc.
In hoping to capture some of the effulgence of Gandhi’s symbolic legacy, frequent lip-service is paid to his name by those who themselves could never agree with the policies and beliefs Gandhi himself held, and whose own actions and agendas diverge vastly from their figurehead. Though Gandhi, above any other single figure, eventually led Indian nationalism to victory of Independence in 1947 through his courageous personal example, his almost complete lack of political vision for India after the British meant that he left no legacy of constructive politics or real plans for social improvement. He withdrew from the Congress Party leadership and was side-lined after Independence.
Romantic historical revanchism A strong concurrence between Gandhi and Sai Baba was their desire to reinstate as far as possible the ancient Indian social and political system – the ‘Rama-raja’ (Divine Rule) – as the ideal of their nationalism. That can only belong to the scrap heap of failed policies, for Indian nationalism is firmly allied to constitutional democracy. Sai Baba went much further than Gandhi in wanting as full a return as possible… to what in reality was a kind of royal despotism under Brahmin priestly influence and the caste system, in which the millions of villages would be regenerated to fulfil a central social role in Indian life. Instead, ‘voting with the feet’ in the constant move of millions to city slums, and the relentless conditions for the agrarian populace leading, for example, to countless farmer suicides, show that this was but vain sentimentalism. Economic progress and money have now become as much the ruling passion of Indian politics as in any other capitalistic society. Sai Baba repeatedly went so far as to prophesy that – through its return to the ancient values and practices – India would renew the values of the entire world, and even that the values (the Hindu conception of Sanathana Dharma or ‘eternal righteousness’) would before many decades have overcome all national differences creating unity between all opposed and warring nations! (See details of this in the previous blog here).
Non-violence was the ideal for which Gandhi was known, but it failed to stop millions of deaths in Hindu-Muslim rioting after partition when vast and brutal uncontrolled destruction and murder resulted from the conflict between the Hindu nationalist movement and the Islamic nationalists led by Jinnah. Hindu-Muslim conflict killings still flare up regularly within India, which had a long history of massive violence. Since Independence, India has further rejected non-violence ever since through its huge military and nuclear build-up and its violent militaristic suppression of many minority populations, sub-cultures and groups (the best know of which are in Kashmir and tribals in Manipur and in the Deccan). Non-violence (ahimsa) was adopted as a key Divine Human Value by Sathya Sai Baba, with much reference to Gandhi, but Sai Baba himself befriended such horrendous figures as Idi Amin and endorsed the former Indian President who designed the delivery vehicles for nuclear weapons! He had most PMs and Presidents of India as his devotees, but he failed totally to correct their corruption and glaring suppression of human rights of many minorities. Further, Sai Baba never once spoke up against the indiscriminate and sometimes mass killing of minorities by the Hindu-dominated Indian governments he supported in public. He kept well away from any controversy that might involve him in losing support (and donations) from those of the Hindu majority who would believe in him.
Perhaps most importantly, both Gandhi and Sai Baba were deeply involved in a struggle for personal power. While it is known that Gandhi was a smart manipulator and very politically ambitious and astute, this aspect of both Gandhi and Sai Baba (and many gurus) is not widely enough studied or therefore generally accepted (especially by the Hindu-nationalistic masses in India). India’s most brilliantly gifted polymath and authentic historian of the 20th Century, Nirad C. Chaudhuri (deceased at age 101 in 1999 with an honorary Oxford doctorate and a CBE), has shown a many-sided understanding of Gandhi’s behaviour. The quotations (on right above from p. 31 and 49) and below remind in various ways of the behaviour of Sathya Sai Baba, while the following is about Gandhi:-
“At no time did the Indian people cease to respect him. His position as the greatest man in India was never questioned. But that was maintained by his religiosity, with its accompaniment of asceticism and renunciation paraded with every kind of theatricality. This exalted his practical political activity by throwing a veil over its real motive force, namely, the hatred of British rule, and by infusing into it a moral and spiritual value which it never had, although as I have already explained, to Mahatma Gandhi religion and nationalism were inseparable. (Chaudhuri ibid p. 274)
Though Sai Baba did not express hate of British rule, he adopted a yet stronger nationalistic fervour against most Western influences than did Gandhi (who was educated in UK), including those of morals, scholarship, science, technology and more. There is an obvious difference between Gandhi and Sai Baba as to the role which was foremost – i.e. the political or the religious. Sathya Sai Baba tried mostly to downplay – even hide – many of his political engagements, for this would obviously not befit a God Incarnate and self-pronounced Creator of the Universe, but they were very extensive behind the scenes, but also were not hidden from public view. Of course, Gandhi was more respected than Sathya Sai Baba by the Indian people, for Sathya Sai Baba’s actual following is far smaller than his propagandists have constantly tried to establish in public consciousness- His relative fame was far less than Gandhi’s both within India and throughout the world. “Gandhi’s saintliness was also real”, wrote Chaudhuri, and he was never charged with sexual abuse, cover-up of murders or even gross historical inaccuracy and making utterly fantastic predictions, for which Sai Baba is widely known.
Both Gandhi and Sathya Sai Baba spoke out against the discrimination of the casteless Dalits called ‘harijans’ (meaning ‘Children of God’) by Gandhi . Sai Baba also referred to them with this title (Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 2, p. 139). This usage shows massive insensitivity, and the term eventually became politically incorrect in India and was banned after a long struggle begun by B. R. Ambedkar (the famous scholar and lawyer who was a prominent outcast and defender of their rights, who is also regarded as a Bodhisattva by some Indian Buddhists, though he never claimed himself to be so) and presently continued by others, especially P.L. Mimroth, who wrote: “You will appreciate that literal word of ‘Harijan’ is synonymous to illegitimate child of Devadasis (ed: ‘temple dancers and prostitutes’) in olden days… This insulting definition given by Mahatma Gandhi… has been totally rejected and discarded by the followers of Baba Saheb Ambedkar…” (i.e. different person to B.R. Ambedkar – see full report in thumbnail scan – right). Sathya Sai Baba never once criticized the continuing practice of temple prostitution, nor actually defended the Dalits against their Hindu persecutors unless in the vaguest of general terms. That he has so often spoken in glowing terms of India as the progenitor and shining example of religion (i.e. original Vedic Hindu religion, and definitely not Judaic, Christian or Islam) – and has never taken up the crying needs of the many suppressed minorities or the constant crimes against humanity in exploitative labour, child prostitution, organized beggary and score of other terrible ills shows that he went along with the agendas of the brown sahibs and nationalists to clamp down wherever possible on negative reports on their national ills. That was a striking resignation of moral courage, considering the invulnerability he came to enjoy from any kind of legal process through top government protection.