Sai Baba’s lunar miracle
Posted by robertpriddy on June 7, 2013
Few incidents are more telling against Sathya Sai Baba and his devotees than the “darshan on the moon” incident, which received enormous coverage, both in the Indian press and the naive websites which promote Sathya Sai Baba at all costs, always without a single breath of questioning or critical thinking and never a link to any dissident articles, websites or blogs. A truly ‘lunatic’ episode!
in October 2007 the Indian website Andhra Café (http://www.andhracafe.com) reported that a major miracle was announced in advance by Sai Baba’s servitor and Central Trust director (Professor Anil Kumar). He asked devotees to go to the Sathya Sai Airport (strangely enough) that evening to see a major ‘vishvarup darsan‘ miracle i.e. the true form of Sai Baba appearing on the moon for devotees. The ensuing scenes were chaotic with Puttaparthi villagers and devotees in thousands chanting Sai Baba’s name and blocking the airport. Similar reports were published by Sify News, Indian Muslims, newKerala.com and mangalorean.com (see them here).
“Thousands of people gathered at the airport here Thursday night after word spread that controversial godman Satya Sai Baba would be “sighted” on the moon – but returned disappointed when the “miracle” did not happen. The 81-year-old Sai Baba was also present at the airport and later returned to his ‘Prshanti Nilayam’ ashram”
It all started when an official of the Sai Trust announced that the godman would make a “moon appearance” 6-7 p.m., and asked devotees to proceed towards the airport.
Thousands of the Baba’s devotees from neighbouring villages rushed to the airport but were disappointed as a cloud cover hid the moon. They waited for an hour before dispersing. There was no word from Sai Trust as to why the “miracle” failed to materialise.
His devotees believed that the clouds played spoilsport while rationalists termed it an attempt by Sai Trust to revive the Baba’s waning popularity.”
Later, however, Sathya Sai Trust officials stated that the ‘Vishvarupa Darshanam’ ceremony had to be “postponed” because of “non-cooperation of devotees and the cloudy weather”.
Various websites created transparently faked Photoshop images purporting to show Sathya Sai Baba’s face on the moon. See http://robertpriddy.wordpress.com/2007/10/25/deceiving-devotee-makes-bogus-image-of-sai-in-the-moon/. What has become the main Sai Baba website for devotee news and extreme, exclusively positive propaganda - saibabaofindia.com – still has its mendaciously manipulated image of Sai Baba superimposed absurdly across the entire face of the moon. It claims this was seen all over the world. However no astronomical community nor NASA reported the phenomenon, which would have been a world sensation had it happened other than in the minds of those who wanted to believe they saw it.
All manner of mental contortion was tried to avoid the reality, one fanatical apologist – Gerald Moreno, who was himself nowhere near India at the time – blogged to claim that Sai Baba never even said he would appear on the moon even set out to prove that no such things were even promised! He did not explain, however, why hundreds of thousands flocked to the airport? Or why so many others claim that Sai Baba actually did appear on the moon’s face! If it was not announced from the veranda by Sai Baba’s very close servitor and translator Anil Kumar, why then was it later also officially announced as having been “postponed” and why did Anil Kumar also state:-
“The near stampede at the aerodrome compelled the ashram trustees and the Seva Dal volunteers to shift his vehicle to a remote corner and form a security cordon around it. But the devotees kept chasing Saibaba’s vehicle wherever his car moved …. A vexed Saibaba and his entourage them decided to get back to his abode of Prashanti Nilayam. Even that was difficult as the entire road and the highway out of Puttaparthi was clogged with vehicles, said Anil Kumar” (according to DNA.com)
The numbers present were variously estimated to have been from 14,000 to 20,000.
OTHER REPORTED ‘MOON’ MIRACLES BY SAI BABA
In one of the popular Indian pseudo-biographical books about him, Baba: Sathya Sai in two volumes by Ra. Ganapati of Madras, Baba is reported as doing many literally incredible miracles like ‘bringing down the moon to earth’. These accounts defy all reason and common sense, and the claims obviously cannot be checked, any more than can the stories in ‘Sindbad the Sailor’ or ‘Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves’.
“Ganapati wrote that on 8/12/1973 on a stop with Sathya Sai between Prashanthi Nilayam and Brindavan devotees threw stones at a wood-apple tree and brought down one unripe fruit:- “Svami bent down and picked it up. Holding it between the thumb and forefinger He said, “Here is the moon”! When He closed His palm over the piece for an instant and opened it again, the fruit was no longer found. Instead an unusual article was in his hand. It was a translucent sphere. The sunlight was gorgeously reflected out of its surface. Though as a whole it was luminiscent there were several dim and even dark spots inside. Multi-hued veins of minerals could also be seen. Superficially smooth-surfaced, it revealed elevations and depressions inside. “The mini-moon, made up of all the ingredients of the moon”, observed Baba. Only a few days before, the newspapers had carried photographs of both sides of the moon transmitted by spacecraft. All their features could be precisely perceived in this three-D-mini-moon. More than that, it was refracting the spectrum of colours in sunshine. The party enjoyed the picnic in the glades. Svami held up the mini-moon finally to sunlight. The solar rays glancing off the outer rim sprayed gold. “Do you see the moon rise?” asked Sai, as pleasing as the moon itself. With one more folding and unfolding of His hand, the mini-moon set! It had returned to its old wood-apple birth! (Baba: Sathya Sai by Ra. Ganapati, p. 83f).
No astronomically trained adult was on hand to examine the wood-apple moon and state that all the features of the moon photos could be perceived “precisely” in the mini-moon? How it could have “sprayed gold” and “refracted the spectrum of colours” is anyone’s guess as the actual moon can hardly be said to do that, whatever it may mean more exactly. Perhaps is was it just a cleverly palmed mottled glass sphere depicting the moon, such as has been widely on sale in the past? The comparison of Sai Baba to the moon – “pleasing as the moon itself” – aptly cuts both ways – the moon may look romantic but it is in fact barren, inhospitable, and in essence VERY cold!
Need one point out that there is no other account anywhere by a witness of this lunatic affair, so presumably no one considered this supposed ‘miracle’ even worth recording, or telling other Sai Baba writers like Prof. Kasturi about it.
The explanation of this story could easily lie in the extreme power of suggestion to create perceptive hallucination (whether one may call it ‘hypnosis’ or ‘trance’ or simply powerful suggestion. All devotees are easily prone to suggestion through much previous indoctrination through books, films and hearsay about miracles and Sai Baba’s omnipotence. An impressive exponent of similar deceptions – done to entertain and educated the public – is British Derren Brown, some of whose many extraordinary and ‘genuine’ illusions can be seen on YouTube.
The following comment was received on the above:-
Submitted on 2013/06/08 at 10:18 am
I remember that time when we were told ‘He’ would appear on the moon. I went out and spent around 15 minutes watching the moon and there was nothing uncommon about it. But being a devotee at that time, I concluded that it was my own lack of spiritual insight that forbade me from seeing him there. I cajoled myself by remarking that the moon was ‘especially’ beautiful that night. haha
Comment from Robert: