Light on Sathya Sai Baba mythology origins + video
Posted by robertpriddy on August 9, 2009
Arnold Schulman was one of the early writers about Sathya Sai Baba. The book Baba was published by Viking Press, New York and was properly edited. Though he was no doubt perplexed by Sathya Sai Baba’s claims, and was inclined to give a favourable account, he was not devoid of a certain measure of investigative spirit and critical thinking, After 6 weeks of research at the ashrams and interviews with Satya Sai, he concluded “there was nothing the writer could think of that would allow him to accept the idea that this person with the Afro hairdo and the orange dress could actually, literally, be God.” The opposite scan of a page from his book shows some of his grounds for scepticism.
There are many grounds for thinking that the story of Sathya Sai Baba’s childhood and youth as authenticated by Sai Baba in the ‘official biography’ Prof. N. Kasturi wrote were largely concocted. Schulman gives one small example here. Other examples which show clearly that the actual historical terrain does not agree with the ‘official map’ is found in a hagiography by a very devoted but somewhat frank follower who knew him well as a teenager. .. Smt. Vijaya Kumari (‘Vijayamma’). Further, his role in a family entertainment troupe performing magic tricks, song, dance and other attractions for the unsophisticated village audiences – clearly a matter of an extremely poverty-stricken family earning their bread – indicated where he learned sleight of hand and other prestidigitation. Such performances can be seen on many a street in Southern India even today. See simulation of Sai Baba’s stage act: Short VIDEO CLIP (only 420Kb) B. Premanand tells of Sathya Sai Baba and his family in his early years)
That Kasturi interpreted all that as a spiritual undertaking and transformed the story – with the eager help of those who no doubt saw an advantage in playing up what they had witnessed (or naively believed) – is highly likely… his writings is so excessively eulogistic and exaggerated that one cannot but suspect him of a great deal of ‘poetic license’.