Sathya Sai Baba Deceptions Exposed

Exposing major deceits by guru Sathya Sai Baba in India, incl. murders cover-up & widely alleged sexual abuse

Archive for January 20th, 2008

Is Sai Baba’s Followership Increasing?

Posted by robertpriddy on January 20, 2008

The travel writer, William McKay Aitken (aka ‘Bill’ Aitken) refers to the chagrin of the “international apostate detractors” of Sai Baba, as being added to by “the ongoing booming growth of his mission”. He even implies a causal link between criticism and success:
” The more they rail against the saint, the greater, it seems, is the number of people who flock to have his darshan.” (see his text here)

This is patently ridiculous on several counts. Firstly, Sai Baba does not consider himself a saint, nor do his followers, for he claims to be an utterly infallible, omnipotent God, and one who is utterly pure and cannot ever speak untruth!  Aitken is clearly too uncomfortable with that fact to proclaim it himself… reducing Sai Baba to the level of a mere ‘saint’. Aitken also wrote: “I have been forced to revise my opinion and accept that this person does not say he is divine to the exclusion of others. What he says is that every one of us has divinity within ourselves. he, however, unlike the rest of us, is fully aware of this truth.” However, Aitken conveniently overlooks Sai Baba’s many repeated claims to be absolute all-transcending Godhood, the Deity whom all deities worship, he at whose feet all prayers arrive eventually, to whichever god they are offered (see Sai Baba’s published Pronouncements about himself and his mission). Aitken is clearly far too uncomfortable to associate himself with Sai Baba’s many and megalomaniacal claims, preferring to ignore all that does not fit his own speculative view of this supposed ‘saint’.

Secondly, it is very doubtful whether the numbers of followers are swelling. At least Aitken qualifies his claim with “it seems”. Indeed, one cannot judge the reality by the number of tourists who visit the increasingly worldly festivals and events (Harlem Globetrotters, Cricket Cups, festival days with much dance, music and blues-rock etc.). Tourists and local peasant holidaymakers are mostly surely not spiritual followers. This is also confirmed by Sai Baba’s famous statements about the vast majority who come to him do so because they want something worldly from him… that explains a great deal, now that he is so well known, is surrounded by such riches (always a magnet for poor Indians) and not least because he puts on so much ‘bread and circus’. Sai Baba has said that only a small minority of visitors are genuine spiritual seekers and he has often said that not one of his visitors qualifies fully to be a true devotee.

As shown by the frequent claims that Sai Baba has anything from 6 million to 60 million or even 600 million followers, no one knows how many or few genuine devotees there really are. One Indian source recently estimated only “several lakhs” (several hundred thousand). One may also note that at his latest birthday celebration the numbers of visitors were very considerably reduced from normal birthday celebrations and ‘spiritual’ festivals have been low key and less well attended as in former days.  Further, most of the Westerners who were resident at the ashrams between 1980 and 2000 have departed or been pushed out, and they have never had any legal rights to ownership or anything else there, despite paying huge sums into the coffers of the corrupt Sathya Sai Central Trust.

It is further known to all now that the number of non-Indian foreign devotees has sunk drastically since 2000 and the donated funds – once so plentiful and on the increase – have been drying up, while there are many signs of cash flow problems. As an antidote to this, the powers-that-be (i.e. the Sathya Sai Central Trust which is in control of the vast wealth and property accumulated) is involving itself more and more in out-and-out business ventures. They benefit from massive funding from Andhra Pradesh and national tourist authorities (i.e. much improved roads, a railway connection with station, which has brought a flow of peasants and middle class people to the ashram at Puttaparthi). The Sathya Sai airport was built on the order of a Sai devotee – former transport Minister Mr. Kaw – at huge expense to the government. Now it is a white elephant which the Sai authorities are trying to sell along with a big sweetener of huge tracts of land for building etc. , and the huge new stadium built with a view to hosting international sports events (and reportedly even setting sights on the Olympic Games in 2020!!). This is not spiritual attraction, it is the draw of money, power and the desire for name and fame to increase wealth by all those aboard the Sai Baba gravy train. Decidedly, Aitken has got a lot of things wrong.

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