The International Sai Organization is evidently struggling even harder than before to try to create some attractions to followers. During the last years, Sathya Sai Baba said nothing new and has been unavailable to all but a limited number of persons around him. The Sai Organization has always struggled to recruit new members, managing only to get a small fraction of supposed followers to join as members (despite production of inflated figures across the board!). Many have left the organization, increasingly after the exposure of Sathya Sai Baba’s widely reported sexual activities in 1999, but dissatisfaction with the running, the rules, the lack of openings for feedback or initiatives other than those the manipulative and largely ineffectual leaders accepted, all of whom were mere puppets for what Sai Baba and his top advisors decided. Now that the Sathya Sai Central Trust is in complete disarray and has been seen by all to be an extremely secretive and suspicious set-up, the organization is not unaffected. All this shows that much of the hot air has leaked from the Sai balloon already. The ‘authorities’ are in difficulties – as the fact that this blog has risen so high on Google searches also shows. There is almost nothing with which they can really interest people, and only the most totally converted ‘lost souls’ are going to read all the boring and un-inventive parrot-like speeches or lectures the organization is preparing for their websites and meetings. After the ignominious death and failure of Sai Baba by any reckoning to reach 96 years of age (as widely published by major newspapers), his credibility in the wider world cannot but sink further from now on.
Most likely, the razzamatazz Disneyland-style Puttaparthi set-up with its garish colours and architecture will remain a major pilgrimage destination for ordinary Indians for the foreseeable future, especially if the showpiece festivities are stepped up as planned. It has been expressly built for that purpose, especially over the last 10 years, with the aid of money from the Andhra Pradesh government to promote tourism and free or cheap rail passes and other State-subsidised transport facilities. The flamboyant Chaitanya Jyoti building and its crude propaganda is a prime exhibit, a delight for simple minds – as is the Sai Baba promotional ‘Spiritual Heritage Museum’. Free handouts of sweets and simple meals – costing little to the super-rich ashram – have also been a large attraction to villagers and poor people wanting a day out, of course. So we now have, for lower middle class Indians and peasants, a minor Tirupati, or a minor Shirdi. That is the way India still works. Pop religion is thriving there, especially under more modern gurus like Baba Ramdev – who makes no divine claims, except perhaps about the curative powers of Yoga. Until education levels rise for the “plebs”, it will remain so.
FOR OBVIOUS REASONS (HARASSMENT, THREATS TO HIM) THE REAL NAME AND PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS OF THIS PERSON ARE NOT MADE PUBLIC. I CAN ASSURE ALL THAT HE REALLY EXISTS AND THAT HE AND HIS POSITION, LOCATION ETC. ARE KNOWN TO US.
My mailbox regularly receives evidence that there are those who have felt the abuse of faith – also on their bodies – and who know from personal experience that most of the ‘mystery’ that Sathya Sai Baba and his minions have built up around him is a cynical snare, a miasma and a delusion.Just today the mail scanned and shown on the right was forwarded to me:-
Meanwhile, the Sai Organization outside India and countries which have large resident Indian or Tamil populations (Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Fiji, Trinidad etc.) has lost many adherents and will no doubt suffer a withering now that the person of Sai Baba is no more and cannot be visited or bestow supposed blessings. There are many other gurus and self-appointed avatars in or from India which exert more attraction nowadays (egs. the ‘hugging mother’, Ravi Shankar, Bala Sai Baba, Kalki Avatar, Kripalu Maharaj and even sex-exposed Swami Nityananda… to name but a few). Without the person, there is little or no fascination at all for non-Hindus, with the possible exception of more “backward” and less affluent Russians, Poles, Indonesians, etc.
The Sai organization website at sathysai.org is strapped for real news that would attract visitors, but they point out that “The Venezuelan Government has issued a proclamation extolling Swami as a great soul of India, a Mahatma.“ The Venezuelan statement refers to “ON OCCASION OF THE PHYSICAL DISAPPEARANCE OF THE SPIRITUAL LEADER OF THE REPUBLIC OF INDIA, SATHYA SAI BABA” The physical “disappearance” indeed, – and under extremely questionable and totally secret circumstances. In any country where the rule of law and human rights counts for much, the illness and death of Sathya Sai Baba would have been investigated thoroughly or else there would have been a public outcry of dimensions! Not so in India, where even his ‘ordinary’ devotees cannot have a say in anything. So much for Indian democracy and law in action! Among other ‘considerations’ – the Venezuelan declaration also states, “CONSIDERING THAT There exist excellent spiritual, cultural, commercial, technological, and diplomatic relations between the people and governments of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the Republic of India.” This may seem rather surprising to outsiders, but some top political figures in Venezuela visited Sathya Sai Baba in the past and were ‘captivated’ by him. The declaration is obviously made by a mere handful of those who are in power, and does not represent the opinions of many people there, of course. That there is a strong element of politics in the declaration is likely – even appeasement of all those prominent power-brokers in India who set so much store by Sai Baba and try to promote him to foreign governments and the U.N. (but with extremely limited success).