SAI BABA'S SERVICE
PROJECTS AND PUBLICITY
No one who has Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed or other great humble figures
of history as a model could accept Sathya Sai Baba's continual self-praise
and inordinate and wholly unreasonable boasting about various of
'his' achievements. This increasing self-righteousness about his
charitable work (as if it were not shared in by anyone who carries
out these works in practice or contributes financially with their
savings) In this he reminds of the potlatch chiefs of the Kwakiutl
tribe of British Colombia who gave away everything they had to their
neighbouring tribes for the prestige it gave and they boasted endlessly
so as to shame their adversaries.
Under the heading 'Give Help Without Publicity'in Sanathana Sarathi (October 2003, p. 295), Sathya Sai Baba said
in a discourse after an earlier speaker had spoken extensively about
the achievements of the Sai hospital "I always advise the doctors not to publicize what we do in
the hospital. There are several wonderful things that are happening." [NOTE: all
Sai Baba's words are in this colour text]
he goes on at great length about supposedly marvellous achievements
of the hospital in two individual cases! This
yet again shows the complete discrepancy between Sai Baba's word
and deed within the space of two sentences. He knew too that
this went out through huge loudspeakers set all around the ashram,
and that it would be printed and air-mailed to tens of thousands,
posted on various of his official web sites and also sent out repeatedly
on his own world-wide radio! What a pathetic parody of true spirituality!
His wily chutzpah, evident to the level-headed, does not penetrate
the thick cocoons of blind faith in which so many devotees imagine
themselves protected from untruth. Talk
about hollow hypocrisy. But this is the least of his feats of braggadocio
about his selfless service and marvellous achievements for other
people! His discourses are jam-packed with self-publicity! His Organisation
copies him to the hilt, in tons of books, dozens of web sites, in
films (often exhibiting Sai service), in photo exhibitions (to which
all centres must contribute pictures of service projects), in constant
self-serving radio broadcasts (Radio Sai) and in hiring the most
expensive of venues in big cities (New York, San Francisco, London,
Melbourne etc.) to propagate and propagandize about service and
Sai Baba (see examples).
his discourse, Sai Baba also found the opportunity to slip in a
disclaimer about boys sharing his bedroom, as he has previously
stated they did and as is common knowledge, also known to many of
us through contacts with several of those. "These boys from the hospital sleep on the ground floor while
I stay on the first floor. They discuss hospital related matters.
I keep telling them, 'Do not speak about them anywhere outside". Yet
he had just sat uncomplainingly through one of these boy's extensive
accounts of the achievements of the hospital! This is sheer duplicity
which also illustrates Sai Baba's strong desire to have publicity
trumpeted loud and far and repeatedly about the hospitals.
the same discourse he waxed large about having personally allowed
the use of an injection costing Rs. 80,000.- to save a patient's
He said, "Any amount should be spent to save the life of the patient.
I shall bear the expenses..." Can anyone credit it, he will pay out of his own pocket?
He who has no pocket! Besides, this use of huge sums for single
injections is as a direct affront to the millions of poor in India
who can't even afford simple medicines or treatments. His super-expensive
and over-opulent hospital buildings are pretty much of the same
also said: "One patient from Nepal had his heart
on his right side! Our doctors have shifted it back to the correct
location. I told the doctors that no one needed to be informed about
this. People may accuse us of praising ourselves." But it is he who praises himself and informs
about it as publicly as he can! Can hypocrisy get more transparent?
also said, "Thousands of students have received
education in our university totally free of cost. But we have never
publicized the fact." Thereby
he brazenly publicized the fact! And it is NOT true that he has
not publicized this before.
example, in 1993 (Sathya Sai Speaks Vol. 26, p 267) he said
in public: "Nowhere in the world can you see the kind of work
that is being carried on here. Is Free Education offered elsewhere
outside India on the lines offered here?" (The answer happens to be a resounding 'yes', in many nations).
1997 Sai Baba boasted, "From My earliest years I have been
concerned about providing three primary requisites for our people:
Free education, free medical aid and free basic amenities like drinking
water."(Sathya Sai Speaks Vol 30, p. 247)
Is this perhaps not self-publicity too?
In Sanathana Sarathi September, 2001, p. 264, we read: "... the level of free health care and education can be maintained." - "...I have never asked anyone for help. My hand is always
above (giving) and never below (receiving) (prolonged loud applause)"
does he mean, one wonders... for he gets donations for which he
has assured us that he signs every cheque personally? He has asked
for donations to his hospitals and the local water project in public
and these requests have been published in Sanathana Sarathi too! Meanwhile, many others around the world providing free services never solicit for donations but receive them in plenty.
More 'omniscient ignorance' and bombast: Sai Baba also pretends to be able to do the impossible, making the most unfulfillable promises (so as to get cheers from his audience?), as in his discourse 11/8/2001:
"Unfortunately today in this country there are many fatherless and motherless children in great distress. My resolve is to help such children by providing them proper amenities by way of houses, education etc., and mould them into ideal citizens (cheers). I have spoken about this to the local District Collector. He has agreed to help and has allocated some land for this purpose. The construction has to be commenced shortly. There is nothing hidden in My actions. My nature is not to amass riches but to help all the extent possible. Bring to My notice any such deserving orphan or fatherless child. If the mother is alive, I shall arrange to allocate one lakh rupees in her name to be kept in fixed deposit for the upbringing of the children until they are able to support themselves."
For this self-proclaimed 'omniscient God', he should know a whole lot better! He is surrounded by luxury and the well-to-do, who he has cultivated with gifts of cheap false 'diamond rings' etc. for decades. But he is evidently in blissful ignorance of the constantly prevailing conditions of massive poverty, malnutrition and hunger in India, as the following words of his make crystal clear: "I came across a tragic incident in a newspaper. It was about an uneducated and helpless mother and her three children. They were in such a pathetic state of poverty that the mother had to starve herself in order to feed her children. As their situation worsened, she took to the extreme step of committing suicide after poisoning her children. It's a shame on the Bharatiyas! Can we Bharatiyas be so stone-hearted and cruel as to allow such a painful event to take place?"
Considering the number of orphans in India, can Sai Baba's boast be other than straight hypocrisy? In 2002, the World Bank estimated that India is facing an accelerating threat from HIV which greatly impacts the social fabric, especially though the unprecedented number of orphans being left with little or no adult protection. (See http://www1.worldbank.org/sp/safetynets/OVCWorkshop_5-03/Handout_India.pdf
). Sathya Sai does not know the basic facts about his own country. Yet he entertains and blesses all his nation's corrupt and nest-feathering politicians as soon as they pop up at his ashrams. According to UN statistics, there are 20 million child labourers in sweatshops and mines who get no education. Indian government extrapolations of this 1981 data place the current number of child labourers at between seventeen and twenty million (Human Rights Watch 1996, 122). This extrapolation seems highly unlikely as "The Official National Sample Survey of 1983 [of India] reports 17.4 million child labourers, while a study . . . sponsored by the Labour Ministry, concluded that the child-labour force was 44 million" (Weiner 1991, 20-21). UNICEF "cites figures ranging from seventy-five to ninety million child laborers under the age of fourteen" (Human Rights Watch 1996, 122). A universal difficulty in obtaining accurate data may be that individuals fail to report child labour participation during surveys, for fear of persecution.
) UN statistics shows that there are 4 million suffering HIV/AIDS in India, of which 170,000 are children! (See http://www.unicef.org/sowc03/tables/table8.html
). Further, 400,000 children and women in India are subjected to commercial sexual exploitation (see http://www.unicef.org/newsline/01pr97.htm
Though Sai Baba in his bullet- and bomb-proof limousine and in his commando-defended private apartments may be unaware of the extent of it, the world in general knows that India is still full of the homeless, of slum cities, beggars of every kind and the land where the degradation of human beings exceeds all limits. Most 'Bharitayas' (i.e. Indians) are inured to it, on the pavements they daily step across limbless mendicants deformed horribly in childhood into broken-legged 'spidermen' and head-narrowed 'rat-headed children' and other pitiful shapes and forms - for the purposes of begging. Many who give some pittance to them do so because it supposedly engenders good karma for themselves! Is the problem that no one is left around him with the guts to bring anything untoward to the attention of the imperious, conceited Sathya Sai?
Is the Good Sai Baba blazons around true service?
While Sathya Sai Baba urges people to do good things, and is the willing figurehead of numerous good works (actually financed and carried out by others than himself), his inordinate self-publicity and outright boasting is in direct contradiction to his claims that true service is only that which is done with completely selfless motives and without fanfares. Yet he has cawed enormously for years, as in the following quotations from his infamous Christmas Discourse in 2000:
"Is there any government that is giving free medical care? People don't even think about the sanctity behind it. Most of the educated have become so low and mean minded. Is there anyone who is doing even one thousandth of this work ? No, no. It is only Sathya Sai Baba, who is doing this selflessly, always for the welfare of others."
Is he so ignorant as not even to know about the welfare states of Europe where free medical care is guaranteed to entire populations on an egalitarian basis as part of national insurance? His hospitals give free treatment, but to whom? Besides, it is all paid for by all of those of us who have donated sizeable sums to the Central Trust and persons who work there voluntarily or for a low wage. If the hospitals were free for all, there would be a free for all in poor India, where the statistics prove the vast gap between need and medical care available. Yet his hospitals never have a crowd milling at their gates and seem to be half-empty buildings to visitors. One can but wonder why! Actual admission criteria are a guarded secret and names of patients are not released. What proportion of them are privileged Sai devotees or people of influence in India?
many other people are doing much more than one thousandth of the
work Sai Baba does, who does not work in the normal meaning of the
word. How much could he personally do, even if he actually worked
a 14-hour day? And what kind of 'work' is it? Holdings talks,
giving doubtful blessing and accepting adulation from others most
of the day. Or is he exhausting himself with heavy work on astral
planes, perhaps? He personally could not possibly do even one-thousandth
of what 'His' various institutions are reported to undertake under
his compromised name. That 99% plus of the work is done by followers
and 100% of the money comes from them, he always ignores in his
self-glorifying 'discourses' (i.e his Sai personality-boosting public
relations exercises). There is the huge Imran Khan cancer hospital
which provides free medical service in Pakistan, and the Swami Rama
foundation's free hospital. There are a vast number of other people
making sacrifices for the poor and needy, not only in India, but
all around the globe. Many governments provide national health services
with largely free medical care, while his devotees run a government
that ignores the poor totally... it won't even provide toilet or
water facilities for millions, while these politicians live in super
luxury, even greater than Sai Baba lives in! There are also thousands
of schools providing free education in the world, and innumerable
voluntary social and educational projects around the world.
Sai Baba is rendering selfless service to humanity because he is
selfless from top to toe. Are people with brains not able to understand
even such a thing ? Why do people publicise? Such bad publicity
is done for the sake of money alone." This was a veiled reference to those who
many have accused him of various sexual abuses. But it is still
a bare-faced lie that they received or receive money for this, and
he knows it!
advertising/publicity in the media: Some excerpts from a document
circulated to groups and centres in 1985 by the Europe Group 1 Coordinating
Committee show the peculiar self-contradiction that operated w.r.t.
publicity in the SSO generally:
question of public meetings with audio-visual aids (information-meetings)
has been brought up time and time again by various centres and groups.
We are all well aware that we are not to mission in any way, but
rather to spread the Divine teachings through our example as an
inspiration to others. However, rules are that we should conduct
regular public meetings in our centres/groups… Such meetings should
contain information on Sathya Sai Baba (who is He?), His teachings,
the meaning of His miracles (inner significance), the Organisation
(why an Organisation?) the activities and the work of the Organisation
emphasizing Seva (esp. Group Community Sadhana), Bal Vikas and EHV.”
the text soon also declares:
“When others arrange public meetings or in connection with radio/TV,
we should not participate, if other religious organisations participate,
as we want to avoid discussions and polarization. However, in connection
with radio/TV and other public media, we may participate, if we
have separate features, where the sterling worth of the teachings/message
can be safeguarded beforehand.”
later “…but we should be prepared to go to schools, companies/firms,
public institutions & the like when requested and if this locally
is considered right.”
short, after lip service to the way Sai Baba would “spread the Divine
teachings through our example as an inspiration to others”
close to a carte blanche is given for spreading publicity. The above
example is but one of many such subsequent attempts to rationalize
the increasingly organized publicity for Sai, the Sathya Sai Organization etc.
Following Sai Baba’s example again, the Sathya Sai Organization does not correct
wrong information circulated about it by itself or other that would
seem to put it in a good light, nor does it ever present any negative
news about projects that failed or were flawed. All is presented
as being divine perfection itself! Facts about itself, some of its
projects and events that take place are constantly misrepresented
by the Organisation, while all information is clinically censored
to cover-up all ills. I have received testimony for all this from
V.K. Narasimhan, a one-time investigative journalist of great experience,
who was highly percipient and frank in correcting some of my mistaken
impressions and opinions of how the organisation is run and what
has been done by.
Baba as humble or self-praising?
has been written that in personal contacts, Baba usually is a paragon
of humility and speaks without and sense of his putting himself
above his listeners. That may have been his attitude more occasionally
before he had so many followers. However, I have regularly seen
him adopt a know-all stance and a condescending or patronizing attitude
to interviewees. He proclaims himself in many a discourse to be
more pure, more selfless and more totally immersed in love and bliss
than anyone else alive. He has frequently said that no one who comes
to him even has the qualities of a genuine devotee. Such a claim
cannot but make for a crucial sense of difference between him and
everyone else, as did his practice of offering his feet for people
to bow to, touch or kiss until very recently. After 60 years of
padnamaskaar (i.e. touching of his feet), he discovered that it created a sense of separation
between himself and his devotees! It is correct that he says that
there is no one who is not Divine, yet he at the same time puts
everyone at a distance by saying that none but he is pure and unselfish
enough to realize the fact. The Dalai Lama, who always bows back
lower than anyone who bows to him, is an object lesson for Sathya
Sai Baba in authentic spiritual behaviour!
Sathya Sai Baba's self-trumpeting glory is not credible, it is incredible!
It can only arouse further suspicion of him among right-thinking
people. To understand more of why this is so, see here
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