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The basic tenet of the 'Sai religion' is that Sathya Sai Baba is the predicted great Avatar of the Age, with the more and more fantastic corollaries that he is Vishnu, Rama and Krishna etc. come again, and the Incarnate Father of Jesus, the God of all Gods, the Deity worshipped by all deities and so on ad. inf. Having finally discovered that this was no longer even a possible hypothesis to accept, I saw him and his many claims and 'teachings' with an increasingly critical eye. I knew his own words extremely well from my more intensive 20-year study and constant detailed indexing of his discourses, and I never happened across anyone in the Sai movement during 20 years who could better my knowledge of his actual words and teachings, as V.K. Narasimhan was also well aware which is also why he insisted that I write many articles for Sanathana Sarathi while he edited it). While I had previously sought to help explain away the many discrepancies and inaccuracies, sweeping generalizations and wild ideas, I began to examine them in a much more even-minded manner.

On this sound basis, I have become convinced that Sathya Sai Baba is NOT pure, certainly NOT only full of love and understanding (though charming, smiling, and agreeable when it suits his aims), NOT himself a practitioner of exclusive non-violence (even against even small boys, and the students he let be assassinated), and is NOT truthful in far too many things to list in brief. Summa summarium, his trumpeted 'mission' amounts to a major breach of faith and trust with all his followers, whether they realise it or not.

Without becoming laughably inconsistent, we cannot to my mind say that God is in everyone and everything, yet hold that only Sai Baba is able to will anything that happens, as Sai himself says and many devotees repeat a lot. That speaks only of invalid logic, irrational belief and a weak will. What I write, for example, cannot have been predetermined independently of my conscience and will. We all choose how much or little we are willing to learn, grow, rethink, transform ourselves and express our inherent values. Regarding divinity as in everyone (SSB holds that everything is divine), we all must be partakers in the scenario and agents of its development... within the limits set by those cosmic laws that govern us all. If everything is to be accepted as a gift from God, whatever it is, it will include this writing! To any who doubt me, I swear by all that is good that what I publish here IS true to the very best of my knowledge. Much is based on copious note made at the time and I have cross-checked everything I can.

How can terrible wrong-doing possibly make what Sathya Sai Baba is doing basically good? He has, as almost everyone else alive, done some good. But in my view, the good of anything does not lie mainly in quantity of works (one man can at best only do what the hours allow, even Sathya Sai Baba ) but in the quality and extent of the integrity with which it is done. This integrity is what is constantly and most seriously in question here. More than the lion's share of my praise would go to those guileless followers who do all the work for him anyhow.

On holding back the truth if hurtful? Sathya Sai Baba thinks it best to keep to ourselves thoughts that would hurt others if expressed. But then the question arises, 'Which others?' Experience shows that someone will always be offended by almost anything anyone says, however true and however well-meant or positive. Further, one asks how always speaking agreeably and never telling what is unpleasant to anyone can be reconciled to Sathya Sai Baba 's insistence on unity of thought, word and deed?' To dissemble and pretend otherwise than what one thinks and feels is deceit, and this is often seen among leaders in the Sai movement. I am aware of the vulnerability of those who need to cling regardless to the belief that all is well in the sphere of Sathya Sai Baba , but I cannot afford to help sustain their illusions by not speaking out.

I can just hear Sai followers retorting in quasi-humble bemusement, "And what do we mere humans know about 'truth'." Well, if it were futile for us mere fallible mortals to try to learn the truth about matters in the here and now, that would make life that much less worth living. One recommended spiritual method of truth-seeking is to pray for realisation... pray on endlessly and wait for the truth to drop into one's lap. Let those who prefer to risk all on that do so, but there is little evidence that it is fruitful, though some mystics say that some do succeed, if less than one in a million.

One of Sathya Sai Baba 's most well-know aphorisms is 'silence is the language of realisation'. Nonetheless, Sathya Sai Baba talks a great amount, ever holding long and drawn-out discourses. In the world, language is a personal, social and economic necessity for the great majority of people. Since we have to live in the world, however little we may be worldly-attached in spirit, we can at best try to say whenever possible only what is true and necessary to make known. The danger is, though, that by not being ourselves and allowing self expression - saying what we really feel and think - an air of unreality hangs around us, even until we can hardly breathe. This false atmosphere is not always noticed until it envelops a group of persons, such as is very often the case at ashrams and in religious communities. One wishes only to hear whatever supports what they already believe, and in the social vacuum that this develops, one is so righteously 'right-handed' that soon one can't even see recognise what one's own left hand is doing.

Sai teaching that he is God and his catch-all 'Sai religion': To accept Sathya Sai Baba as an avatar of God is to adopt the dualistic paradigm (dvaita). From his many claims about himself, his constant directions and the practices carried on around him, he is to be devotedly worshipped as God - as a separate 'entity' (person/incarnation). Unfortunately for that thesis, Sathya Sai Baba is himself a duality, the limited human being born as Satya Narayana Raju and the adopted the borrowed 'divine identity' as Sai Baba. This can be seen throughout his life by anyone who really has open eyes, however much he proclaims that God is One and that he alone is aware of being this Unity etc.

The very voluminous teachings of Sai Baba, simply stated and very appealing at first glance, turn out upon closer analysis to be a pick-and-mix menu of many kinds of conflicting doctrines and ideas, virtually none of which are originally his. Hardly a single devotee studies these texts properly nor exercises any degree of truly independent questioning or evaluation, for this implies exclusion from his "Divine Grace" and his organization. Admittedly, the materials are unmanageable for most people with limited time, seeing that it is spread across thousands of documented discourses and numerous books etc. They contain a plethora of sweeping generalizations which largely invalidates them as serious advice, plus any number of factually incorrect assertions on almost any subject that can be counter-checked (especially Christian scripture, Jesus' life, the lives and sayings of various famous persons and scientists, the sciences of health, geology, history, social movements, and not least as to the achievements of Sai Baba and his movement.)

Sai discourses are packed with self-praise to a degree of self-importance never seen in world literature and often make absurdly excessive claims and what are often already failed predictions. Worst of all, Sai Baba fails in countless instances to act fully in accordance with his own words about truthfulness, compassion, and even non-violence. Many facts show this being documented beyond all reasonable doubt. Yet these are ignored or - where this fils - systematically covered up or distorted by most of his supporters and all of his propoents. Followers are charmed and beguiled into a long process of social training and powerful reinforcement of doctrine within more or less closed social environments to see everything connected with Sai Baba as good. I can assert this with confidence, having lived through it myself. But many have come strongly to fear questioning anything properly or of failing to support this extremely gifted psychic and major Indian power-broker, who now openly threatens very dire consequences to the unfaithful.

A new regime of threats from Sathya Sai Baba: Those Sai followers who are well-balanced enough to learn and investigate open-mindedly are still relatively few, it seems. But it does take time and some personal courage. I feel that those who stick their heads in the sand do so more because of fear than for love or righteousness... fear of losses of all kinds. The loss involved would include imagined 'grace', if branded a poor devotee, a Judas, and even a demon by Sathya Sai Baba - terms he used against his critics and those who 'betray' him in his discourse on Christmas day, 2000, of all days- as if to sneer at and deride the message of forgiveness that Jesus preached, and even during his crucifixion! This reveals more about Sathya Sai Baba 's real, hidden nature than most of his utterances! It suggests a colossal disrespect of the core of Jesus' teaching and the significance of Christmas to Christians!

The vagueness of Sathya Sai Baba 's threats - exactly what 'sins' they apply to - appears well-designed to cow devotees into total submission of any injustice and acceptance of any kind of wrong-doing or cover-up by anyone involved in Sathya Sai Baba 's institutions. We had already been gradually alienated from the Sathya Sai Organization by its practices, many of which derive from the ideals Sathya Sai Baba held up for it in earlier days . Instead came authoritarian rules, cronyism and high-handed treatment of people. To work for the protection of good-willed but easily misled young persons (especially young men) everywhere, it is necessary to expose and help contain what - despite all good works also done by the good-intentioned in its name - has unfortunately taken on many subtle characteristics of a secretive, misinforming and many-layered power cult, and is therefore a potential social danger.

The following notice from a bulletin board states the overall position well: "The exposé has laid out thousands of separate web pages which document most of the whole gamut of this fraudulent person's failings in such detail and with such credibility that not one devotee has been able to deal with it, let alone answer cogently or refute anything important in it all. They are schtumm! And remember, silence is the language of those with something to hide. If Sathya Sai Baba should suddenly actually become really famous, his infamy will by the same stroke unavoidably be known.... the media world, scientists, governments, human rights supporters, well-educated people and not least believing Muslims, Jews, Buddhists and Christians will find all the factual information and reasons ready-made as to why they should not credit his false claims of 'universality' etc. The truth will almost always eventually prevail..."

Robert Priddy

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