SAI WHEELERS & DEALERS
Posted by robertpriddy on June 4, 2007
More of Sathya Sai Baba’s freaks and frauds
In any crowd sitting at the feet of Sai Baba there will usually be a broad range of persons of all shades of conflicting attitude, opinion and behaviour. As is so well-known to seasoned visitors, too many behave as if richly endowed with strong egoism and are remarkably lacking in sensitivity to others for such a supposed spiritual place.
One very clear trait in Sathya Sai and those around him is to see things too much in black and white terms and show frequent ignorance of the colours, as anyone who reads his discourses will quickly learn. [In group interviews, Sai Baba quite often refer to some absent person as a ‘bad man’ – usually unnamed but known to some interviewees – a primitive labeling of a man as if he were bad through and through.] This “either-good-or-bad” mentality is so of most devotees too – who become much more religiously fundamentalist under Sai’s influence. Sai Baba’s doctrine presents us all as trapped in a “perishable body”, “serving a life sentence” in the prison of the material world… to which none of us really belong. Such otherworldliness is life-denying and even morbid, definitely predisposing for psychic unbalance or depression in persons who feel lost, unwanted, unsuccessful, or are misfits who cannot manage life without having something to lean on, such as a belief in Sai Baba’s whole paraphernalia of unfulfilled hopes and promises.
To muscle in on the Avatar’s baliwick?
In the Poornachandra Hall I attended one Christmas, Sai Baba went off down the central aisle to the rear of the hall, when a tall foreign (white) man stood up and began to stride around in front of the devotees, exactly emulating the tempo of Sai’s walk and making the same characteristic hand movements with supercilious aloofness. An attendant tried to stop him, politely but firmly, but he was quite unaffected by this. Then a small man came rapidly over and bumped straight into him bodily so he lost his balance and, losing his composure, the imitator was bodily bumped right off the scene. Such behaviour is seen as blasphemous by Sai officials and invariably leads to blacklisting and a ban from the ashram.
In time one is continually forced to notice that Sai Baba attracts not only good, sensible and pure persons – as one would expect from the hyperbole in books about the ashrams – but so many moral impostors and many very pushy and self-centered people. Their number is also quite liberally sprinkled with weak-minded, naive and outright wallies. The stars of the ashram are mostly Indians with tons of letters after their names (and many Indian degrees from years back are very doubtful) . Judging by their conversation, they lack depth and breadth of knowledge compared to and poor articulation – would in a Western setting only qualify as third-rate scientists and academics. Whereas top flight modern Indian intellectuals, who really earn their degrees by hard work and not just by privileges of caste and connections are noticeably absent from the cloying traditional religious Sai environment. Of the many thousands of well-known scientists and academics, I find not one of genuine international repute represented among Sathya Sai devotees.
Credibility stretched beyond all possible limits:
“In 1993 between the Dasera and Diwali festivals, a unique miracle occurred. A group of Sai devotees from Australia were taken into the interview room on Baba’s instructions. Of the eleven devotees, one was crying uncontrollably. On being questioned by Baba, he said that his wife was extremely ill and due to anxiety for her, he was weeping. The loving and Divine playing Lord asked, ‘So you would like to be transported to your wife?’ The answer was Yes! The method Sai Baba used to transport the devotee was unique. He hit the adjacent wall three times with his fist and the weeping devotee started seeing the country of Australia on the wall. When he hit his fist the fourth time, the Australian saw his town on the wall. On hitting his fist for the fifth time the Australian started seeing his house. Then Baba asked the weeping devotee, ‘Is this your house?’ ‘Yes’, was the reply’, Baba replied, ‘Go meet your wife in the house.’ That person entered his house and went near his wife. At the end of the interview only ten persons came out of the interview room and not the eleventh. It was subsequently verified [by whom?] that at the time the Australian walked through the wall of the interview room in Prasanthi Nilayam, it was the exact moment he had entered his house in Australia.” (R. Lowenberg, 1997, p. 129-130).
Entertaining imposters – the ‘teeth-clacking medium’
The quite populous ‘lunatic fringe’ that is always prominent in the ashrams and no less throughout the Sai movement continues to amaze me in all its rich tapestry. Enter Michael of San Jose, California, who posted (in 1999). Among other fanciful items he announced: “I got 3 boons from Lord Shiva in that cave and I soon will have absolutely awesome health for life. No joke. I have been on and off ill for the last 10 years, and soon I will never have another serious illness in my life.
One of my gifts from Lord Shiva is that I will be a “Positive Feedback” channel for God. If you have a question, God (Swami) will answer via clacking my teeth. One clack means the answer of “God”. Two clacks is for “True” and three clacks are for “Triple Avatar” or in some cases “Trinity”. For example, I am now asking the question: is Swami going to be on the best news show in the world, “60 Minutes” on May 9th? God clacked my teeth twice.”
BUT – God did not appear on the 60 minutes TV show on May 9’th! Surprised?
(Read more of this?)
The following note was published in the Sanathana Sarathi, August 2000:
“Well-meaning devotees from different countries visiting Chapala, Mexico, close to Guadalajara are advised that Dr. Hilarion Dorce (name is spelt wrong) and members of his family have not been authorised by the Sathya Sai Organisation to collect funds for any Ashram, clinic, hospital or any other activity using the name Sri Sathya Sai Baba. It is strongly advised that devotees limit their charitable contributions to the established trusts and foundations of the Sathya Sai Organization in order to avoid deception and disappointment. Leonard Pablo Gutter – Chairman Zone 2 – Latin America (Read more about all this here).