In retrospect, the endless discourses by Sathya Sai Baba and his activities supporting Hindu ritual and beliefs through ‘holy’ festivals, erection of huge statues and much besides, makes one wonder how it is that a nation can remain in such naive and deep unknowing of all the countless discoveries available to the normally educated people of the world which explode the remotest likelihood of many of the core myths as having any reasonable basis in reality. A monkey-god who carries a mountain from India to Sri Lanka, I ask you? Or take the existence of powerful demons or rakshakas who exercised ‘black magic’; wise men (rishis) who could burn a person to death with his eyes; gods and deities which had unlimited powers and could be assuaged to give rain; supposed divine incarnations like Krishna who would have danced simultaneously with thousands of cowgirls or dance on the nine-headed serpent to overpower it and life an entire mountain to shelter his devotees from a tempest. No, I don’t think so… and nor do the greater part of humanity, nor ever will they. These tales are no more credible than folk tales like Alladin, Jach and the beanstalk, Pinnochio or even Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Here are but a few of the endless Sai Baba accounts in which one sees how the mythology was used by him to forward his own ends, deceiving countless gullible peasants and over-trusting people through rumours, reports, exaggerated accounts and testimonies:-
“A devotee from Kamalapuram was asking Baba to show him some miracle and one day, Baba called him and the members of his family, his mother and the rest, and offered to show them the ten Dasavatharas, the Ten Incarnations of Vishnu! Matsya (the fish), Kurma (the tortoise) and Varaha (the boar) passed off without any incident but, when the terrible form of Narasimha appeared, they shrieked and yelled with fright, fearing that the house might collapse on their heads. They clamoured “Enough,” “Enough,” and Baba calmed down after Mangalarathi (worship of him with a flame) was performed, by persons, who, though they were there, did not see the Forms, because the Vision was not intended for them! “ (Sathyam, Sivam, Sundaram Vol. 1 by Prof. N. Kasturi, page 65)
“…the Purohit of a family whose guest Baba was at Mysore was granted, quite unexpectedly, a Vision of Narasimha, and the Srivaishnava Brahmin swooned and did not recover consciousness for several hours.” (Prof. N. Kasturi in Sathyam, Sivam, Sunderam Vol. 1, page 64f.) “The Dasavathara Forms were vouchsafed to another gentleman now deceased, a relative of the Karnam family. As a matter of fact, he passed away, because his physical frame was too weak to contain the joy of the Vision. Baba took him to the river and asked him to watch the reflection, His own reflection, in the water. The man announced later that he saw at first Sathya Sai Baba Himself, then, only the halo of hair that surrounds His head, and then all the ten avathars in the order in which they are mentioned in the Puranas; the Kalki avathar on horseback had the form or Baba Himself!” (Baba: Sathya Sai by Ra. Ganapati, p. 81)
So the great avatar, Lord Rama, could not train cows or elephants as Ravana could! How truly interesting! But he trained his wife well, according to Sai Baba, for he made her take the ordeal of fire to prove that she was faithful to him (itself an unbelievable ordeal, which can only be believed in by people of primitive mentalities). Altogether, Rama’s treatment of Sita does not accord with our sense of what it is right to do (dharma). Sathya Sai Baba has compared Rama and Ravana in dozens of his discourses. He is so fixated on Ravana’s ‘ fatal trait’, namely uncontrolled lust, that we can surmise what he feels about himself. However, see how much he changes the number of ‘categories of knowledge’ he says were mastered by Ravana and Rama! One must ask, by what power of deception was Sai Baba able to get people like the spiritual seekers Prof. N. Kasturi and Ra. Ganapati to believe in such fantastic stories? How real or meaningful are experiences which are had only by some persons present, but not by others? It reminds one very much of popular TV shows where a hypnotist or an ‘illusionist’ makes volunteers ‘ see’ and ‘hear’ all manner of ridiculous thing. (egs. Paul McKenna, David Copperfield and not least the amazingly gifted non-believer in psychic powers who can nevertheless demonstrate many of them, Derren Brown). Further, why are the writers about Sai Baba seldom able to state the full names or identities of those to whom they refer, give exact times and places, or provide any controllable information whatever. The end result is as worthless as are the vast majority of comments and board postings where devotees do not give their true identity and frequently abuse critics. Why do most of them hide away without the courage of their convictions?