For those still in denial, Sathya Sai Baba actually died, yes, at April 24 at 7 a.m. Indian Time and one should rest assured that he will not be resurrecting himself! Claimants to be a reincarnation of Sathya Sai Baba will certainly arise, (i.e. as ‘Prema Sai’ indeed, a few already have!!). For this is poor calamitous India where men will do almost anything to survive and – better than that – get rich quick. This is India where countless people are ready to believe almost anything that comes from the mouths of ‘living deities’, gurus, swamis… if it offers them some kind of palliative to their sufferings, however distant or impossible. That is also a cardinal reason why their elected leaders find it necessary to visit these figures and at least appear to endorse them. PM Manmohan Singh, President Pratibha Patil actually worship Sai Baba’s feet, while Sonia Gandhi and many more appear as if they were followers. In the eyes of the world at large this is a crushing indictment of the common sense or intellectual powers of top leaders who committed themselves to Sai Baba long ago and are unable – also for reasons of losing face – to raise themselves from the delusions they have cherished so much
PM, President and Gandhi worship SB
The international press is naturally mostly restrained in its obituary reports, yet most newspapers do not avoid stating that Sathya Sai Baba’s name is under a cloud of suspicion. For example, the Sydney Morning Herald wrote: “He also faced allegations of sexual abuse of young male followers, which his opponents said were ignored by Indian authorities due to his power and popularity. His death on Sunday was covered by Indian television news channels with reverence as interviewees remembered meetings with Sai Baba, his apparent miracles and long record of charity work.”
The best-informed article so far in the world press is The Telegraph’s obituary account. The author wrote: “India’s president and prime minister both attended his latest birthday celebrations.Their devotion was tested to the limits in recent years by persistent allegations that the guru indulged in widespread sexual abuse of young acolytes at his ashram in Puttaparthi in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. Yet even when video footage proved beyond doubt that his “miracles” were simple sleight of hand and he was implicated in the murders of four followers, millions still refused to believe the worst.“
On the vital question of who or what will in effect ‘succeed’ Sai Baba and/or take over the Sathya Sai Central Trust, The Hindustan Times wrote:
“The death of spiritual leader Sathya Sai Baba has left a question mark on the future of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust (SSSCT), estimated to have assets worth Rs 40,000 crore ($9 billion). As Baba, who was chairperson of the trust, left no successor to the massive empire, his death might trigger a succession among the trust members which include his nephew R.J. Ratnakar. While some eminent devotees of Baba believe that with personalities like former chief justice of India P.N. Bhagvati on the board, the trust will carry on in a smooth manner various charitable work in India and abroad, they also fear the government might take over control in case of any rift among the members.”
The Times (UK) reports:- “Although dogged by allegations of trickery and the sexual abuse of some devotees, he amassed a fortune estimated at more than £5.5 billion. A power struggle over the trust has already begun among aides and family members.” and their obituary states:-
“…in the early 1990s, during a recorded ceremony with a former Indian Prime Minister, Narasimha Rao, in which Baba produced a trinket in his honour, television workers watching a playback noticed that it appeared to be a sleight-of-hand trick. The clip was not aired publicly. Groups such as the Indian Raionalists’ Association repeatedly criticised his abilities and labelled him a manipulative fraudster. The president of the association, Joseph Edamarku, said that Sai Baba refused to subject himself to an independent examination. Questions were also raised about his fundraising techniques. Sai Baba was also dogged by more serious and sinister controversies. There were a string of suicides and suspicious deaths among his followers over the decades, including a German found hanging at the ashram in the 1980s, and a man and his daughter who reportedly took an overdose after they were refused a private interview.”
In 2001 The Times investigated the deaths in the 1990s of three Britons who had become his followers. It was thought that two of the men had believed that Sai Baba’s teachings could cure their illnesses. A third jumped off a building in Bangalore after a two-day visit to the ashram. In his pocket was a note which said: “I came to India in search of peace but could not find it.” Before his death one of the men, Michael Pender, who it was believed had hoped that Sai Baba could cure him of HIV, claimed he had sexual encounters with Sai Baba, believing they must have a “spiritual explanation”. Other former male devotees also alleged that Sai Baba had sexually molested them during one-on-one audiences. There were calls for the British Government to warn pilgrims away from him, and also to warn schools and youth groups of links with worldwide educational organisations affiliated with him. The UN cancelled a conference at his headquarters over concerns of sexual exploitation of young men.”
The money and the works: Sathya Sai Baba has repeatedly claimed to own nothing himself, to have not other properties than his students (not ‘proper ties’ either according to many testimonies). Despite his virtually claiming ‘poverty’, there is now an ongoing dogfight about who will inherit his vast billionaire legacy! Only the well-indoctrinated can rationalize this blatant deception. His much trumpeted contributions to social improvement, educational colleges, hospitals, water schemes, charity to local paupers, one must realize that the sole contribution he gave was words, words and more words. The fact is that very many well-intentioned followers – mostly from abroad – donated massive sums to enable him to raise works in his own name (and he blazoned his achievements unreservedly in countless self-promoting discourses beamed around the world by Radio Sai etc.). Absolutely all the real work was done by others, by low-paid labourers and many volunteers, both Indian and foreign. Sai Baba originally attracted many easily led well-to-do people through his supposed ‘miraculous materializations’, the secret of which was to overwhelm recipients of trinkets with gratefulness and a sense of being blessed by God himself. Their response was to follow his advice, to “give and forget” and to earn otherworldly boons by selfless service. So they donated en masse. This is sheer deception… used by Indian beggars too, who use the pittance some give them to buy a coconut for the donor, who is so touched he gives them back tenfold! (Before I saw behind the great veil of deceit and cover-up, my wife and I donated lakhs of rupees and worked tirelessly for 18 years to enhance his reputation through good service). He would say that the gold rings with gemstones he gave to many hundreds of visitors contained real diamonds. The gold was 18-carat, the ‘diamonds’ were cheap false gems, but they are still worn by top politicians and his own ‘VIP officials’ without suspicion. But ex-followers have had these stones assayed by professional and not one has turned out to be genuine. (This was definitively proved in my own case – see here)
Sai Baba constantly claimed omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence: Some mega-claim, one of many such! Were they any substance at all in it , it would be the hardest act to follow, and any ‘successor’ would find the seat hot! However, when studied very closely with an independently and sufficiently critical eye, Sathya Sai Baba proves to have contradicted himself on a huge number of his statements – which are usually imprecise and ambiguous in any case. He gives different reports of his childhood which conflict with one another in details (see some here), and he most certainly sometimes forgets even who people are who have come to him many times. He also confuses facts he has heard from people in the interview room and reports them wrongly to his students minutes afterwards. Therefore, he certainly cannot be accused of having what is now known as ‘superior autobiographical memory’! He does have strong intuition, ‘cold reading’ of people and more abilities, but his knowledge of facts about people is also gathered by a large network of snoopers and much comes from the intensely private letters devotees send to him, which they apparently forget about. Once people began to write about these miracles and praise Sai Baba to the skies, more and more were attracted The development of this myth has been masterfully exposed by the author Brian Steel in numerous articles, such as Sathya Sai Baba as Storyteller.
Sathya Sai Baba was street-smart and more than that, having been able to run wild without any restraints as a child because he was considered a deity (and reports indicate that was probably due to physical hermaphrodism – an incarnation of Shiva-Shakthi and Krishna-Parvathi to the ignorant, superstitious, Hindu-believing villagers.See Sathya Sai Baba – an enigma or a myth? Now that one of his most oft-quoted predictions has failed miserably – namely, they he would live until his 90s – and he has died in a coma, the claim of omnipotence (absurd beyond all credibility anyhow) is shown to be truly hollow.
See also:- History of the sexual abuse claims against Sathya Sai Baba, with world-wide testimonies
The unsolved, covered-up murders in Sai Baba’s Prashanthi Nilayam bedroom apartment – 1993
The BBC documentary ‘The Secret Swami’ showcased with short transcripts and brief video clips
Read on the extensive website Sai Baba Exposed about Conny Larsson and Basava Premanand etc.
Information on the Public Petition for Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization
See also Devotee attacks on the Sai petition and petitioners