Sathya Sai Baba Deceptions Exposed

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

Charisma of ‘Divine Incarnation’, Sathya Sai Baba

Posted by robertpriddy on August 6, 2014

Charisma with either humility or pride Those who qualify as charismatic figures most often consider themselves to be great in some sense, though there are those who humbly claim that ‘greatness was thrust upon them’. The Beatles, who largely had their feet on the ground and did not imagine they were great geniuses, exemplify this charisma-with-humility. What may be designated as good and well-meaning charismatics are those who kept within the bounds of the law and did not glorify themselves. For example, such persons as Winston Churchill, who famously said, “I have never accepted what many people have kindly said, namely that I inspired the nation.  It was a nation and race dwelling all round that had the lion heart. I had the luck to be called upon to give the roar.” Likewise John F. Kennedy, who was virtually worshipped as a sound American and whose murder traumatised many in the USA and worldwide. Further, Nelson Mandela became a most charismatic figure due to his personal qualities and resulting political and social achievements, but without self promotion or laying weight on his fame or becoming authoritarian and self-justifying. The Dalai Lama is an example of humility to the world.

Yet those with charisma who were rather the opposite include many famous dictators and supposed or would-be spiritual personages, holy gurus and self-appointed ‘god-avatars’. Such leaders thus often develop strong egocentric traits and not seldom also delusions of grandeur which can be so strong as to amount to a Messiah- or Jehovah-Complex. Countless names could be listed, but a few known self-glorifying religious charismatics who had fanatical followings and developed excessive such self-delusions and even megalomania  in recent times include (to pick out but a few) include Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the reverend Dr. Moon, Sathya Sai Baba, and Mata Amritanandamayi. In the secular sphere one must list Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Tse Tung, Kim Il Sung, Colonel Gadaffi (to name but a few of the very worst). It is a defining hallmark of all these above-named and many another certain charismatic leader to be promoted as above and beyond normal frailties and acting and speaking accordingly.

Another feature charismatic is to pretend to unusual strength, whether physical or, more usually, mental-emotional and psychological strength. Imperturbability, uncommon tenacity of purpose and self-faith combined with decisiveness in action are the image aspired to. Whenever facts tend to contradict such claims, rationalisation and appeal to extenuating circumstances or laying blame at the doors of others gives the game away, but not the the already well-inducted follower who is always keen to accept such excuses. A contemporary example of the show of physical strength is Vladimir Putin, whose wide range of male macho activities have been filmed and propagated to boost his image (also because he is a rather short man).

One of the defining differences between greatness and self-invented delusions of grandeur has hardly been better expressed than as follows:- “Greatness is a transitory experience.  It is never consistent.  It depends in part upon the myth-making imagination of humankind.  The person who experiences greatness must have a feeling for the myth he is in.  He must reflect what is projected upon him.  And he must have a strong sense of the sardonic.  This is what uncouples him from belief in his own pretensions.  The sardonic is all that permits him to move within himself.  Without this quality, even occasional greatness will destroy a man.” Frank Herbert, from ‘Dune’ p. 100.

Charisma obviously often leads to fame and to worldly power, but it is different from either, though often closely related. One can of course be famous (or infamous) just for becoming widely known without having any following. Sai Baba repeatedly attacked those who had any desire for ‘name and fame’ in most scathing ways, but in all he said and did there is a very clear message that it was his name and fame that were of the greatest importance. To protect his name he produced constant self-propaganda in his discourses, as well as disinformation, false witness, major bribery, and murders. His attempts to convince his followers that he would be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize showed how desperate he was for the world fame that eluded him. He was never offered or received a single international award for his supposed services to mankind, which he claimed to exceed those of anyone else by ‘a thousandfold’.

 Charisma does not necessarily imply a personality cult, as one can see from many fortunate and admirable examples, but it did so to the highest degree thinkable in Sai Baba’s case; every item he touched was revered as holy and to be allowed to lie flat and kiss his bare feet was a blessing striven after, often quite hysterically. Sai Baba represented himself as identical to – a living re-embodiment of – the greatest God king heroes of Indian mythology Vishnu, Rama, and Krishna. He claimed also to embody Shiva-Parvati and other divines, including the Maharastran revered as a saint, Sai Baba of Shirdi, whose name he also usurped. Though others in India have long laid claim to being Rama’s or Krishna’s reincarnation, none have asserted themselves as the Deity of all Deities to such a degree, so often and for so long, nor have any had the same success. His earliest supporters in his home village, Puttaparthi, spread his name and miracle stories they had heard about him through the decades until a few excited foreign visitors wrote all these stories in English books and the gradual flow of visitors worldwide (and their wealth) grew and grew as the apparatus for inducting them into the seemingly-innocuous cult expanded and took on major propaganda proportions. Much of the perceived charisma of Sai Baba arose from only a relative few being able to meet him briefly in ‘interviews’ run strictly on his own conditions.

It is seen in many cases that discrepancies between word and deed, belief and reality, grow as charismatics’ social, financial or political power increases. The figurative ‘iron hand concealed in a velvet glove’ is then seldom far away. He went through transformations towards increasing dictatorial behaviour and his excessive claims increased and failed more noticeably to match up to reality (though his deeply indoctrinated devotee following could not allow themselves to notice such). His control of followers became more distant and stringent until a major killing spree in his temple complex occurred to which he was present while executions of four of his devotees were planned by his staff in conference with him and the local police (which were controlled by them). whereupon major security was later introduced with armed guards, and much expensive professional undercover surveillance to protect him (under the excuse that it was to protect his devotees). The history of diverse attempts to bring him to court and CBI investigation prove that he enjoyed blanket state protection from prosecution by the legal and political elites. He certainly managed to raise himself above the law and beyond any kind of public accountability for anything he did or said. Control of who could enter his presence was extremely careful and vetting was always carried out through his officials and office-bearers. This is a trait common to many charismatics who rise to an unassailable position, not to allow interviews except to persons under their spell. To avoid open debate is a self-protective and mind-control measure, and Sai Baba’s own education was so poor that he refused the Indian traditional form of scriptural debate challenge, such as when called upon in a letter from Sri Prabhupada.

Sai Baba’s wholly excessive claims increased and so failed more noticeably to match up to reality (though his devotees’ deep indoctrination could not allow themselves to notice such). Claims about transforming India to lead the entire world and bringing about world peace within a brief period were soon shown to be entirely baseless, and remain unfulfilled decades later. The institutions built up around him over which he ruled dictatorially, and likewise his international Sathya Sai Organisation, became what sociologists describe as ‘total institutions’, that is, self-contained islands isolated from society at large and run according to their own arbitrary rules. Having become surrounded by a court of true believers, sycophants and person who saw their fortune in him, Sai Baba became more and more divorced from society at large and sources of information about it and the world. That ‘divine insularity’ set stronger and stronger limitations on his outlook and many incidents demonstrated how he gradually lost control of his fiefdom, which was infiltrated by cliques and clandestine groups with quite other goals than those he propounded, especially regarding the control of funds and the minimal use of money in service work. As he became senile he became like a marionette in the hands of those who wielded the real power in the ashram.

Self-promoting charismatics invent or borrow a lineage from past heroes. They capitalise on chaotic and anarchic situation such as economic depression and extremes of insecurity so as to forward their agendas, promises of a bright future, re-establishing the greatness of their nation – in short, just what the populace wants to hear. As one prime example, Hitler presented himself as the regenerator of the Germanic heroes Herman (who defeated the Romans), Holy Roman Emperor Barbarossa, diverse Arian warlords and even deities of Norse mythology. He promised a Germanic utopia, the thousand year Reich – and found in the Jews a scapegoat for the ills of his compatriots. Such movements require strong symbols of a pseudo-mystical or religious nature. The Nazis used the Arian mystical symbol, the swastika.

Though Sathya Sai Baba was not intentionally a political leader but claimed to embody the gods of ancient India, he certainly promised the brightest of futures for India though his ‘dispensation’ – the regeneration of holiness, the Vedas, the ‘universal value teaching’ (sanathana dharma) and repeatedly stated that India would rise again to its former greatness as a moral preceptor which would eventually redeem the world from the evils of the age (the dark and fearful Kali Yuga) and shortly introduce a ‘Golden Age’. Among the many mystical symbols he used to that purpose were to seem to materialise healing ‘holy ash’ (vibuti) and ‘nectar of the gods’ (amrita) among many other religious substances and a wide variety of small ‘holy’ items, the constant use of hand signs or mudras, being mystical symbols like the ‘abhaya hasta‘ (divine blessing to remove all fear).

Also see The charismatic appeal of Sai Baba  and   Sathya Sai Baba’s charismatic look

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