The Sai Baba birthday celebrations continue year after year as if he were still alive (as he time and again promised he would be until his 90s). Now the 87th birthday is to be celebrated – but this will be a low low-key affair compared with the biggest birthday bashes when up to half a million people would throng Puttaparthi. See the preparations for this year’s event (2012) here.
Usually around this time of year Sai Baba sites start enthusing about the coming Birthday celebrations, how the world will be coming to ‘His feet’ and which Indian luminaries are expected to be present. However there is, as far as the Internet goes, a dearth of news information on preparations for the 86th birthday (how come 86? Ah well… you see, it is really 85 calendar years, but look at the moon, now… he can be seen there where he must still be reckoning out his imaginary ‘lunar years’ to make them fit in somehow).
Surely some tamashas will be arranged, for such a good chance to attract a few foreigners to visit, possibly help swell the coffers a bit more would not be overlooked. In California, region 7 of the Sai Organization they are scraping something together, apparently, but the public is kept in the dark about what will occur, so it does not look at all inviting. Despite the assurances from the blinder believers that Sai Baba is STILL ALIVE AND WELL (being the Creator of the Universe and all that) behind the scenes at the heart of everything, of course… in a private space, where he most liked to play his leelas and do his deals.
Let us take a lighthearted tour of possible scenarios, we don’t want it all to be doom and gloom with “castor oil faces”, do we? So while the Sathya Sai Organization drags on, doubtless with fewer and fewer visitors now that there is no living figurehead to look at and beg favours from (in vain), it is anyone’s guess what events may be considered while the febrile planning for this world-shaking day approaches. Unless there should be a glimpse of Prema Sai in some form (however insubstantial)? The man who has taken over the chief reins of power and money, the nephew and family heir Ratnakara, was said to have tried to promote himself as Prema Sai (but quickly dropped the idea apparently, certainly somewhat Prema-ture). Dr. Michael Goldstein may be invited to hold another Valedictory Discourse. What a dirge of predictable parroting and Pollyanna praise and pompousness that would inevitable be again! Worse yet, the insufferable big shot philanderer, Professor and Dr. Anil Kumar, may take the podium and honk out in his well-known raucous half-shouting voice the Eternal Sai Message YET AGAIN ad. inf! Far better if Tendulkar put on a batting display and finally got that elusive century in the Hillview Stadium! It might even be enough to attract Prime Minister Singh and President Patil yet again…
Strange as it is or not, no Sathya Sai Organization has taken up the kind offer of Mr. Isaac Tigrett, to reveal to the devotees the 170 secret statements he claimed that Sathya Sai Baba ‘vouchsafed’ to his keeping as His Divine Will in countless private interviews, along with what Tigrett though to be incredible drawings of “amazing metaphysical machines” (how can one not cackle!). Surely there could be some crowd-pull and donations in that – the darshan of the Coorg ashram guru, the beef-butchering lunatic of the Seventh Ray and Crystal Skulls? Perhaps a machine that dispenses vibuthi (out of the usual cow dung en gros from Palani but mixed with nicer scents) can churn out prasad to all and sundry (with the now aged Central Coordinators and other VIPs jumping the queue, as is their divine right).