ON GOOD AND EVIL
IN WORD AND DEED
in examination of Sathya Sai Baba's moral teaching
Explaining the origin of so-called 'evil', what is experienced by us as bad, is a main problem for the theologies of all religions. The basic question is: How can God be an all-good creator if he has allowed evil to exist? Sathya Sai Baba has tried to deal with this problem, yet as will be seen, he had made highly conflicting statements about it:-
In a public discourse in January 1995, Sathya Sai Baba said: "The good and evil in the world are expressions
of Divine consciousness. Man should not be misled by these expressions.
Behind all the various actions of the actors, the Divine Director is at
work." (Sathya Sai Speaks Vol.28 new ed., p.1)
Since Sathya Sai Baba has many a time proclaimed himself to be the Divine Director of everything, if he is therefore responsible in any way for anything good that happens, he must also be equally responsible for all the evil. This is the classic dilemma of those who believe in an omnipotent God... how could he (or she or it) be good and at the same time create or 'direct' evil actions? To say that whatever this avatar does is merely an expression of divine consciousness does not solve the problem by any means.
Looking closely at his actual words it is remarkable to see that, he has also said: "The 'bad' too is in fact 'good' in reverse.
It serves to teach what has to be avoided. It would not be 'bad' for all
time; it is ever short-lived. Neither 'good' nor 'bad' can be pronounced
as 'absolutely unrelieved' states. Knowledge (vidya) reveals and makes
clear that 'good' and 'bad' are only the reactions caused by the failings
and feelings of the mind of man." (Vidya Vahini, p.
22.) This far-reaching claim supposedly clears
Omnipotent God (qua Sai Baba) of all responsibility for anything that happens,
putting the whole burden for all good and evil on mankind's "failings
and feelings". It it were not a mockery of alleged 'universal love', it would make a very handy excuse!
Add to this:- "God
assumes a role in the dharma of the world in human form. He has to behave
as a human being only. This should be clearly understood by all."
(Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol. 26 new ed. p. 229f).
This clearly indicates that he - Sathya Sai Baba - has human failings too, as many of his closest servitors - such as Prof. Gokak, Prof. Kasturi and V.K. Narasimhan - have pointed out in various connections. A self-proclaimed God and Deity of all Deities with human failings? The whole matter is an absurdity which shows the bogus nature of Sai Baba's claims of pure, unsullied and Divine Goodness. So, despite his continual self-praise as the source of all truth, goodness and beauty as backed up by the praise of his supreme goodness by many hundreds of devotees - he does not actually deny being behind evil in the world.
Sathya Sai Baba as human, with failings: Sai has often stated that he is a human embodiment of Divinity. As a human being, he has said, he has a body which he has said is subject to all the same influences as that of anybody. such as when he had a hairline fracture of his hip in 9/8/1988 and declared that his fall was because he "slipped on a piece of soap in the bathroom and fell on his back" calling this a "natural consequence" and made clear "everyone is subject to the laws governing nature" (Sanathana Sarathi Sept. 1988, p. 226). He has been said to be "very human" [to Erlendur Haraldsson by Prof. Kasturi , who also said that he was at times "very divine"]. He has stated that his body is subject to all the same influences as any human. We must therefore conclude that Sai Baba acts in the human frame are his responsibility, and this applies equally to those which are judged 'good' and 'bad'. Like everyone, an embodied avatar can evidently just as well do bad (what he calls 'evil') as he can do good.
Sai Baba has also made very clear (such as to John Hislop) that good and bad are found in varying admixtures in all persons in the world today. He stated that none are free from the taint of evil (Sathya Sai Speaks Vol 3., p4)But, typically conflicting with this, he has also held that some people do not even have the spark of divinity and are but demons. (Eg. "... a hard-hearted person cannot be called a spark of Divinity; he is verily a demon." p. 323, Sanathana Sarathi, November 2002). At the same time, yet more confusedly, he has sometimes also denied that anyone is either good or bad... or that good and bad even exists at all.
Confusing the issue, blurring it by unclear and incompatible statements is one way of numbing the intelligence of devotees and causing them to give up trying to understand "this Divine Mystery". Sathya Sai Baba has encouraged this by repeatedly pronouncing that he is beyond any human understanding:- "You may endeavour your best for thousands of years and have all mankind with you in your search. But you cannot understand My Reality." (US ed. of Kasturi's Sathyam Sivam Sundaram Vol 3, page 315). One's good works - however great they may or may not be - can never balance out grave crimes. It is best to clear one's name in frank and open investigation, for if innocent, one has nothing to fear (truth will always prevail, according to Sai Baba. His successful attempts to avoid due scrutiny have long since been built into his teachings. One oft-quoted example is, "Examine yourself and leave me to myself" and many huge claims of the kind: "My truth is inexplicable, unfathomable. I am beyond the reach of the most intensive inquiry, the most meticulous measurement. There is nothing I do not see..." ( p.131, J. Hislop, My Baba and I. San Diego, 1985)
Human actions (karma) as the source of all evil?: At the same time, Sathya Sai Baba repeatedly speaks of human karma as the sole cause of all that happens to us, whether good or bad. Meanwhile he claims that he, as God and the creator and absolute ruler of the laws of karma, is above and beyond karma... untouched by good, evil or the consequences of any action or event. The doctrine of karma as developed in a variety of religious pundits (mostly Hindu or other Indian religious sects, yet nowadays also in so-called 'New Age' theories and pseudo-religions) attempts to get around the charge against God that he created evil (and this assumes without evidence that some creator God exists). It puts the burden of 'evil' on humankind alone as being the creators of evil (and of good) as the consequences of their thoughts and actions. One can agree that many bad things - sufferings and diverse the ills of society - are caused (or sustained) by humans. To put the on us on God is to affirm that an undetectable first divine agent is responsible for events that cannot be related to anything but natural events. However, this does not stop Sai Baba making the inconceivable and outrageous claims that all natural disasters are ALSO caused by human actions. He includes earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, accidents and all diseases (see here)! Everything un toward is due solely to the 'karmic' consequences of 'bad' actions by people, which bring reactions, including or 'automatic retribution' for 'sins' of one kind or another. It is here that the doctrine of karma in Sai Baba's version falls down completely, and thus also the entire edifice of ideas built upon it in his confused and conflicting views on good and evil. In fact, his ideas lack all true compassion and understanding of real causes of all natural and human events, for he makes all who suffer deserving of it and ignores that anyone who suffers can be free of responsibility for the condition. Fortunately, all of enlightened and concerned humanity sees this as pre-scientific nonsense and brute religious fundamentalism - primitive superstition which is bound to wither away more and more as humanity progresses!
Most scandalously, Sathya Sai Baba’s karmic doctrine is used by a cordon of his devotees to justify the most repulsive (and criminal) sexual abuses of which he stands so widely and credibly accused. (See here)
Sathya Sai Baba's record not all good by far! Claiming to be an exemplary avatar, having taken over Gandhi's well-known declaration as carved on his tomb - 'My Life is My Message', Sai Baba sets himself up as the prime example of righteousness and goodness, one who exceeds all human beings in purity, selfless desirelessness and truthfulness. At the same time he holds that good and evil make no difference 'ultimately' or from the Divine viewpoint (basing this on the otherworldly and totally impracticable Advaita 'philosophy').
Though Sai Baba tries to disclaim his responsibility for anything that is not 'good', he is keen to instill the good in others, even though he sees the ideas of good and bad merely as a "human frailty" Such a repressive belief (for fact it is not) easily leads to the total confusion of values with anti-values when acting in the real world. Indeed, it makes a great deal of difference whether people do what is regarded by civilized and caring humans as being good or bad actions. This concern mst also be applied to any pretender to pure divinity or avatarhood. What is perhaps most shocking about the evidence that has emerged about Sathya Sai Baba's active involvement in unjust and illegal matters, from the systematic cover-up of murders in his rooms while he stood by to the weighty evidence of his homosexual and pedophile activities. A huge gap has been seen to have appeared between his words and reported actions. This is nothing but wilful deception on a grand scale. That a self-proclaimed holy avatar can condone the unjust repression of truth and justice and be so widely accused of sexual acts of a sort that the Pope in 2002 eventually openly and forcible condemned as 'evil' requires a thoroughgoing reevaluation by followers of what Sai Baba actually stands for.
Despite this there are followers who hold that, being God and omniscient, he may carry out any kind of sexually-oriented interference or direct abuse on boys and young men against their expectations and despite their wishes without it affecting his purity or his truthfulness. This is in denial of common sense and decency as understood in morally-enlightened society. Such actions are a most terrible perversion of spirituality and a major abuse of faith of all those who have put their trust in Sathya Sai Baba.
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