Sathya Sai Baba Deceptions Exposed

Exposing major deceits by guru Sathya Sai Baba in India, incl. murders cover-up & widely alleged sexual abuse

Humour undermines Indian spiritual cults

Posted by robertpriddy on January 31, 2014

 Visiting Sathya Sai Baba ashrams meant that one had to keep one’s sense of humour under a very tight rein, since they were and no doubt still are humourless communities. Joking and laughter has to be kept private because it was almost never heard within the ashrams, except in the privacy of one’s room. The officials, with very few honourable exceptions, were often po-faced and spoke down to visitors with sour expressions (almost as if they had earned SB’s blessing as demigods)… so joking with them at all was risky for they wouldn’t (or couldn’t) understand. Prashanthi Nilayam was no place to express joyous or unrestrained amusement and laughing, as ever visitor soon learned.

During interviews and hundreds of darsans we never heard Sai Baba laugh outright, not even when a couple of persons I heard make jokes when talking to him, he said ‘What?’ and soon gave up trying to understand what they meant, so looked away to someone else! Only a very few of all the thousands of photos of him show him actually laughing. He would no doubt sometimes raise a laugh about others –  even laugh at people – but I never saw him really laugh with anyone! Sathya Sai Baba would not have made it as a humorist. His jokes were very few and far between and only the captive devoted audience would laugh for his benefit. He responded to people in interviews in ways which put himself high above them as poor, confused, spiritually ignorant fools who he would say fought with their spouses and all such amusing stuff, supposedly an expression of divine care, compassion and fatherly/motherly Divine Love. His ridicule of others as spiritual teaching did not enhance his vast claims about himself as a ‘Universal Teacher’. As former close associate for years of  Sai Baba’s female relatives, Eileen Weed commented on yesterday’s blog: “So true! He would constantly be putting down others, in order to make himself look superior. Did he have a compulsive need to convince himself of his own lies?

Laughter like a rainstorm in a desert: Anyone who attended a fair share of  darshans (I was at several hundred) would know that public laughter was a very infrequent event. I can think of a very few occasions when all the students laughed together when something awkward that happened which Sai Baba remarked on to them (they were his captive audience, of course). Otherwise I can recall no laughter amid the sanctimonious atmosphere during Sai Baba’s self-satisfied darshan ‘walkabouts’, or even during the tedious long hours of waiting before it began.

All but for one exception when a German friend of mine, wheelchair-bound Hans Seidemann, who was suffering from a terrible illness (motor-neurone disease – which Sai Baba never helped with before Hans’ death, of course), laughed outright at something like the behaviour of a Seva Dal while we were waiting to be allowed into the darsan compound. His laughter rang out loudly so that I could see seated devotees already inside the compound stiffen and peer across sourly to see who was causing this disturbance. Nearby was a sign “Silence” (because SB held that ‘Silence is the language of the realised’ – omitting that it is also a quality of the dumb). I hinted to Hans that he had better not get carried away. He choked out, “But I have the right!” The absurdity of having to assert the right to laugh – not least considering his suffering – struck me and I got convulsed until we were both in tears and unable to stop. No one else could share the joke, some sat watching as in disbelief at such daring or annoyance at the distraction to their higher meditational thoughts!

One fact about most Indian guru’s communities is the relative absence of laughter or fun at meetings, where the serious and solemn business of self-liberation is pursued through endless lectures, ritual, exercises and religious paraphernalia. It seems that laughter and organised religion are fundamentally inimical to one another. Avoiding laughter was the norm in most Christian sects through history, and still nowadays, though a certain loosening has taken place in some in modern times. (The Bible never mentions that Jesus laughed, but once noted ‘Jesus wept’. This is what probably helped stifle Christian humour in most of its sects).

Most believers were like captive and passive sheep near SB –  often in awe about the awe in which he was held or feeling the intense group pressure to conform to the herd as always felt in Sai Baba connections, even unto parroting how tremendously loving he was. His ridicule as spiritual teaching did not enhance his claim to compassion and nothing but love! Lighthearted qualities were at a dearth in Sathya Sai Baba’s moral and patronising pronouncements… no wit, dry sarcasm or any thrust of rapier intellect while self-irony was totally absent. His self-importance on this thrones and his hair preening gave those more wide-awake a quiet laugh, but his attempts at humour were not of the shared ‘laughing with’ kind but rather poking a finger at others, whereby he forgot this own advice about how the four other fingers always point back at oneself. One of his portentous sayings may be taken as a weak attempt at a pun: “In the Sanskrit language, the first letter of the alphabet is ‘A’ and the last one is ‘Ha.’ When you combine A and Ha, it becomes Aha.” [Sathya Sai Baba – 10 July 1986].

Another of his cheap jokes was about his so-called Sai VIPs… which he said equally meant ‘vipers’ and ‘very ignorant persons’. .. a very popular jibe with many members of the Organization, however!  His english being sadly wanting, most likely he got this quip from former radio humorist turned close worshipper, N. Kasturi, as with much else. As with “many a thing said in jest”, it turned out to be true indeed in many cases!  Sai Baba has been extremely amused, I heard from a reliable source, when a visiting female Hollywood star has tried to sit on the Joga Rao’s lap to go along with him and Sai Baba when they left the temple. It also emerged that Sai Baba joked with very close confidantes like Col. Joga Rao about sex. Colonel Joga Rao was given to telling a constant stream of barrack room dirty stories, which V.K. Narasimhan complained to me on occasion about how filthy they were, telling of the torture he had to endure when he was forced to share a room with Joga Rao on one occasion while visiting Kodaikanal. Colonel Joga Rao could enter Sai Baba’s apartments from the adjoining rooms  always provided for him. What does this say about a self-proclaimed celibate, pure Divine Avatar! 

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One Response to “Humour undermines Indian spiritual cults”

  1. eileenweed said

    Thanks for the laugh (especially the episode with your German friend Hans)! Thinking about it, really it is a true point, sb never really laughed along with anyone or their jokes. When he laughed, mostly it was only when he was making fun of someone for their shortcomings – just as a bully would do at school. We would all laugh along, just as the friends of bullies will chuckle at the joke because they dare not keep quiet.

    Even sb’s sister Venkamma would strictly discipline me if I happened to burst forth in laughter. She would make fun of my laugh in an exaggerated way, then give me a stern look – which took away my mirth instantly. At least she did not constantly make fun of others like her brother did.

    This reminds me of when I visited Puttaparthi with my parents in 1999. In the secret privacy of our rooms, we’d laugh and laugh at funny things which required a straight face outside – such as the announcements of what NOT to bring into Darshan (practically EVERYTHING). Mom commented, “The ladies are so gentle when checking us, anyone could hide 20 guns (and go in)!” http://youtu.be/VQigPUX5JJk

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