Gratitude for what and to whom – Sathya Sai Baba?
Posted by robertpriddy on July 15, 2009
“Ever be grateful even for a small help. Do not be ungrateful. Ingratitude is utter cruelty.“ (Sathya Sai Baba – in a discourse published in Sanathana Sarathi June 2002, p. 166-7). Further comments on the deceptive ‘divine’ discourse 6/5/2000: For the n’th time, one must ask what is wrong with Sathya Sai Baba’s sense of proportion (or control of his tongue’s excessive pronouncements)? “ Ingratitude is utter cruelty” He is no doubt thinking not least og ingratitude to himself, for he has railed (in his infamous Xmas Discourse in 2000) about how critics do not realise that he does a thousand times more for humanity than anyone else!
Grateful as I was for some things in which Sathya Sai Baba has apparently helped me, I cannot but help think that – had I his opportunities – I would help everyone with the greatest pleasure. What does it cost to do his leelas and miracles? What kind of a personal sacrifice does this really involve? If he has the entire universe in his hand, as he boasts, and is unaffected by anything that happens, why does he need gratitude?
His being in a body is not worse that it is for anyone, much better in fact, for he lives the life of Riley, not having to lift a finger for his own needs and can bask in worship all day long. Sai Baba talks a lot about gratitude, how important it is to be grateful to God… that even dogs show more gratitude than men and so on. He clearly expects, too, that one should be everlastingly grateful to him for anything he might do or seem to do for us… and even for one’s personal existence! Yet he only expresses gratitude to followers most sparingly, and chiefly to those who he has chosen to execute his wishes or to donors of very large sums of money.
I have been grateful to Sai Baba in that he has seemed to give me various kinds of support, and I have shown it in action in various ways, including writing many articles for his journal, a book praising him and making what were, for me, major financial contributions. But I am most ungrateful for what I later discovered, his many deceptions, misuse of funds, fraud, broken promises and other yet worse things he is widely reputed to have done of which I am convinced are true after very intensive investigations. He has never asked the forgiveness of anyone for anything, nor is it likely that he has stopped doing wrong things. What Divine Person would ever speak or act like him? For those who still believe that all that happens is in accordance with Sathya Sai Baba’s divine will, gratitude for many of the horrific sufferings of the world would be rather difficult. But such people never want to think that far, or require the minimum of accountability from him for other things have been revealed about him. then. To be grateful for some things does not mean that one should have to give the helper a carte blanche to neglect justice and truth. To remain grateful everlastingly for some uncertain favours does not remove the right to question the same person about his deceits and involvement in other harmful actions like executions in his own apartments.
Sathya Sai Baba thanks no one: Further, I have not seen anywhere in his thousands of discourses – or any books about him – that Sathya Sai Baba has expressed his gratitude to anyone for the help he personally receives! As usual, Sathya Sai Baba claims “I do not accept anything from anyone” (p. 168). How can he really not receive ANYTHING, just like everyone else alive does? Does he grow and harvest his own produce (ragi and watermelons, coconuts, rice and wheat for chapattis etc.)? Does he make his own robes? (Or is the Emperor without clothes?). Does he make his own furniture, build his own rooms, decorate his own showy thrones or does he receive the hundred and one things necessary even to his subsistence from the labour of others? He remarks too, while telling how he totally ignored for three days a would-be donor to him of car replacements (i.e. shining example of divine ingratitude?), that “I already have a sufficient number of cars” (p. 168). So HE does HAVE some! How many does one man need? If everyone in the world followed his divine example with up to 5 cars per person, the atmosphere would soon kill us! Moreover, I have never heard of him saying ‘thank you’ to anyone for any favours received, and many he certainly does accept! In fact, he is provided with everything by others and never has had to lift a finger himself for many decades. Yet Sathya Sai Baba has the cheek to pretend he wants nothing, as follows:
“Take My cars if you need them! I don’t like to travel in very big cars. However, they have sent them from foreign countries. After they send it, it is not possible to do anything else with them.”
How transparently deceitful can one talk … he could donate them all to hospitals or whatever, and get one small one for himself? Some Sai know-alls will say, ‘you must understand that Swami is in everyone, in everything – he has countless hands, eyes…’ and all that jazz. Don’t we all, ultimately then, all of us being nothing less than Atma (Spirit)? Besides, is it not a weird and confused proposition… that this person Sathya Sai Baba is necessarily as much ‘in’ every victim and perpetrator of every evil deed as in everything else? He is physically-embodied who thus shows all the outward signs of being like many others, for better and for worse, with many self-expressed likes and dislikes, anger and sympathies.
Doesn’t it seem far removed from the facts and from sane considerations for him to pretend he is not personally involved in anything he does? The answer is, evidently not… not to many unworldly, life-despising, liberation-yearning, unfulfilled, suffering or dissatisfied devotees who cling to this imagined saviour who lets his closest devotees die in accidents (Mrs. Sinclair, Jegathesan’s son, students in car accidents, suicides (numerous), murders (not least in his bedroom), and very considerable physical sufferings (eg., his hard-working editors Kasturi and Narasimhan) and with the promise of liberation withdrawn (Dr. John Hislop) who died of cancer without treatment (though by his own choice in relying on the unreliable Sai Baba).
His claim of omnipresence has nothing whatever to do with questions like gratitude, possessions, kindness towards critics on which Sathya Sai Baba propounded. For, if we are really to take the advaitic view at all seriously – that all are indistinguishably one with Divinity – then who is to feel grateful to whom? Why does Sathya Sai Baba need gratitude so badly himself, and accept it on as huge a scale as he can?