Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (SSSIHL)
Posted by robertpriddy on February 15, 2015
The so-called ‘Sathya Sai University’ first opened in 1981 as ‘Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Studies’ (later changed to ‘… Higher Learning’). Its policy is that its students must learn what they are taught to think and believe, certainly not to study to become independent thinkers. ‘Higher Learning’ expresses the pretension behind all Sai Baba education, namely, that it purveys ‘spiritual wisdom’ (what SB himself called Divine wisdom) prior to any ‘worldly sciences’ or humanities. It is based on Hindu values, only secondarily on genuine knowledge (which Sai Baba defined only as knowledge of God). The values, which Sai Baba insisted were divine values laid down once and for all by God, he deceptively called ‘Human Values’, in an attempt to make them more widely acceptable. Sathya Sai University has no academic standing in any statistic, and is absolutely not significant in any subjects in the sciences or humanities. Nonetheless, Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning was declared a ‘deemed’ University by Madhuri Shah, devotee and Chairperson of the University Grants Commission, on a par with the rest of India’s Centres of Higher Learning!
A couple of decades later the Indian authorities elevated that Institute into a fully accredited university, due to Sai Baba’s increased political and financial influence. It is a faith university, and is completely inconsequential as regards science and humanities. After Sai Baba’s death, the University was demoted back to the status of mere ‘deemed university’ again. Not surprising, since being of such a low educational level, many of its graduates could not think outside their mental learn-by-rote boxes – nor were they allowed to expose the many fallacious and ignorant ‘teachings’ of Sai Baba that were part of their daily fare. The famous former editor of Sai Baba’s journal, V.K. Narasimhan, told me in the mid 1990s how appalling were the rote-learning methods and standards of education there, because most who obtained Ph. D. degrees there were unable to partake intelligently in informed discussion, having no independence of thought but mostly only being able to regurgitate what they had been taught. I found this to be very much the case when I tried to engage certain students I met after their graduation.
Kartick Vaddadi, a former student at Sri Sathya Sai educational institutions, had written succinctly and frankly about his time there, providing serious food for thought to anyone considering joining Sai educational institutions which are set such draconian limitations on students’ freedom of speech, movements, and access to world culture (Internet being forbidden) as to be outright repressive of their human rights. Quite apart from that their pedagogy and intellectual standards are largely redundant. Vaddadi sums it up: “…going to this college is not worth the cost, intellectual and emotional. Years after graduating from this college, I’m still uncomfortable with people, distrustful of groups, and in general not as happy as I would be if I went to another college.” See his full incisive presentation: Life at Sathya Sai University
On top of this comes the total non-accountability of all Sai Baba institutions. The colleges etc., do not even answer letters of these imply any sort of questioning or call for investigation! This imperious policy was brought out into the to light after the utmost scandals about innumerable sexual abuses by Sathya Sai Baba of young boys at his school and colleges, the cold-blooded execution with his complicity of four protesting devotees in 1993 and the massive and total cover-up of all of this – including protection of Sai Baba from prosecution by Indian PMs, Presidents and top members of the judiciary. With this in mind, only badly misinformed or indoctrinated parents would every send their sons to any of those Sai Baba institutions.
Sai Baba’s teachings and education in total academic isolation Those chosen by Sathya Sai Baba for top offices in his organisation and institutions (for all the academic titles they flaunt) show themselves to be isolated from the entire world education research community and lacking in up-to-date in modern knowledge and intellectuality. Not a single one of them seems to have published a major serious work of impact on peers or the informed public in science, philosophy or other comparable serious literature, yet many are at the same time hagiographic writers about Sathya Sai Baba. Sai Baba himself is more or less unknown to – and unmentioned by – any major world thinker of high achievement. Incidentally, nor is he quoted or referred to by any important world religious leaders.
Open the comment to appreciate the glaring emptiness of a Sai Baba discourse on his students. Among the false claims and boasts, note in particular:-
Sai Baba denounced highly educated people in general: “There are many in this world who are highly educated, but are they rendering any service to the nation? No.”
He boasted that his students surpass others: “In other academic centres students are interested in pursuing higher studies for their own selfish ends, but our students are not interested in accumulating degrees, but in disseminating their knowledge for the benefit of others.“
and finally: “In future, many great events are going to take place. The country need not fear. Bharat will certainly become a land of plenty and prosperity. Our students will contribute a lot to the development of the nation. They are the future leaders. It is a matter of great joy for Me to see the students as future leaders.“
However, so far not one former student can be located who is a leader of any account in India! A land of plenty and prosperity? No! Alas, a land of penury and calamity, corruption and bribery, for the vast majority.