Early in 2002 it was noticed that Sathya Sai Baba was occasionally stumbling or staggering rather than easily strolling around to appear for his followers (i.e. give darsan). On Mahashivarathri day, March 13, 2002, when he would 'regurgitate' one or more egg-shaped golden lingams, he gave a discourse in which he explained the following':-
Formerly the gold in his body he said was churning, churning, churning to produce the golden lingam had caused him hugely increased magnetic power, though gold does not magnetize. That does not worry him who regards all metals as magnetic, along with flowers, temples, the food we eat and the human body. He who said he was so keen on education, evidently threw away his school books far too soon. In discourses, such as on Mahashivarathri, March 13, 2002, he said:-
At the same time he said
both that the magnetic power is only in Divinity (clearly meaning
himself, the one whose feet and hands are got so 'sticky') and yet it "is shining in every single human being", Instead of hailing himself as the only one who had this Divine power causing him great difficulty in lifting his feet etc. a new note came in a rambling, circuitous discourse he gave a year later (16/3/2003) where he reverted to the former position: that the same magnetism is in everyone and,
as seen above, even in flowers and fruit).
Amusingly, he also informed everyone that, when he lifted one foot by his divine will' (Sankalpa), despite the massive force, the other one stuck to the ground. Did he discover this by trying to lift it simultaneously? The magnetism got so powerful in May 2003 that it pulled him hard down to his bathroom floor and broke his hip, so his will was not strong enough, it seems. He had to be operated by doctors in hospital and stop giving darshan!
Three months later, on June 4, his long-weakened hip-joint gave way and - despite a replacement operation by five doctors - he became so debilitated as to remain in invalid chairs for the rest of his days. It is almost indubitable that his earlier stumbling and hobbling was caused by his long-standing hip weakness (and probable osteoarthritic degeneration) after a hairline fracture he suffered by slipping on the soap while showering in 9/8/1988, and not by any fantastic 'divine magnetic power'. Surely only a fully credulous and self-indoctrinated believer could credit such an amphigory of fancy?
He was certainly confused, seemingly by having heard that the earth is magnetic, with North and South magnetic poles? Did he think this power was what dragged on his feet, or rather that the earth is an active Divine magnet instead? He had often referred to the earth as animated, calling it Bhoomidev (Earth Mother), but if Bhoomidev as so attracted by his Divine Magnetism, one is tempted to ask why she or he (inadvertently?) exerted so much force as to cause his hip joint to collapse? Further, why did his food not stick in his mouth, gullet and throughout his body? Divine will? He also said that when he lifted one foot by his divine will'(sankalpa) despite the massive force, the other one stuck to the ground. Did he discover this by trying to lift it simultaneously?
If scientists could take this at all seriously, it would have been of great value for them to study these phenomena, but Sai Baba of course always rigorously avoided them and their tests or experiments. Though all this was all very entertaining, it is disturbing that otherwise allegedly intelligent people could accept it is a mystery to the educated world. Sathya Sai Baba was prone to preaching wisdom on things he knew relatively very little about.
The following article by Jorge Reyesvera from Mexico put these claims in a proper scientific perspective:-
Sathya Sai Babas magnetism (by Jorge Reyesvera of Mexico)
Among the common meanings of the word magnetism is an unusual power to attract, fascinate, or influence. According to this, Sathya Sai Baba undoubtedly possesses much such magnetism, proof being the number of people and material goods etc. from many places that he is able to attract. However such magnetism is far from being exclusive to Sathya Sai Baba . His claims of having divine magnetism are much exaggerated when compared, for example, with the attraction of many other figures and places. Some examples, the Pope in his last visit to Madrid attracted more than 1 million people with World Press coverage (four times more than the biggest crowd ever visiting Sathya Sai Baba ). The Woodstock Festival once attracted over a million persons. Over a million Shia Muslims recently gathered at Kerbala, Iraq. Three million pilgrims were attracted to Mecca last year, seen as a truly gigantic mass of people on TV worldwide. The 12-yearly Kumbha Mela at Allahabad has regularly attracted crowds of from 10 to 12 million. And so on
In India it is common to find sadhus, gurus, and avatars trying to convince others about their supposed supernatural powers in order to gain control over them and/or their goods in various ways. It is also customary for them to try to display knowledge about obscure matters in order to show their superiority. I do not thereby deny that some legitimate phenomena occur around Sathya Sai Baba , but he fits the pattern so neatly that it is worth mentioning mistakes and lapses which confirm that there are such doubtful and vested motives on his part.
Sathya Sai likes to talk about magnetism (just the Sai Baba magnetism type -.look on any Internet search engine and you will find examples). He constantly mixes concepts while also usually trying to explain physical magnetism as connected to or even as itself being - his power of attracting people etc. But his lack of the most basic scientific knowledge in this regard gets exposed very soon. I shall demonstrate this:-
There are only four physical elementary interactions in nature, all others (i.e. Normal Force, Frictional Force, Centripetal Force, Spring Force, etc) are but secondary effects of these. The four are:
Electromagnetism: It causes electric and magnetic effects such as the attraction/repulsion between electrical charges or the interaction of magnets. It is long-ranged, but much weaker than the strong nuclear force.
Gravitation: It is weak, but has a very long-rang. Furthermore, its power of attraction acts between any two pieces of matter in the universe, since mass is its source.
Strong Nuclear Force: It acts over very small distances within an atoms nucleus and maintains the stability of this nucleus in spite of its tendency to fly apart because of the electrostatic repulsion of similarly charged particles. It only acts over very short distances.
Weak Nuclear Force: It is responsible for radioactive decay and neutrino interactions. It has a very short range and is very weak.
In our daily lives we feel the effects of electromagnetism (light, magnets, electricity, friction, etc) and gravitation (our weight, the fact that the planets revolve around the sun, etc.). But the other two interactions have very subtle effects that are not to be detected without the aid of advanced experimentation.
The earth, because its mass, noticeably attracts all objects that are on it surface and because its motion and other factors it acts as a giant magnet and, as such, has magnetic poles. A compass is used to know in which direction the earths north and south poles lie, since the needles magnetic poles (also in a small magnet) will be attracted towards the earths ones.
Sathya Sais recent outrageous statements in his deplorable (and edited) discourse of March 16, 2003.
A very vague statement to suggest that something divine - i.e. superior, all-powerful, without limits - attracts one and all and is under his control.
Attracts the entire world? (Note: Sai Baba repeated this excessive claim Worldly magnets attract only iron filings whereas the Divine magnetic power attracts the entire world. (prolonged applause) Sanathana Sarathi , April 03., p.122) Well if that were the case, some observers or scientists would have the means to register it. Since he refers to physical entities it should be able to be explained in terms of the laws that affect physical entities. He fails to explain why that attraction power is increasing lately. However it is very likely that, if measured, the force that attracts his body to the earth it would be about the same as his weight. And if some electromagnetic field meters were placed beside him or his feet, nothing would be recorded from his body.
Why mention pain? Particularly when this message is going to be circulated worldwide in print and by radio broadcasts etc.? Sathya Sai seems to be particularly confused about gravitational force and magnetic force. In some cases magnetic force can repel. If what he says were true, then he could also levitate?
How is that it is present in every man and the effects he describes are not common occurrences? How can he or anyone know or measure the magnitude and increase in that supposed power?
Gold is considered valuable for some and the same can be said about diamonds but that does not mean that it has attraction for everyone. Further, gold can most certainly be changed by chemical reactions.
Sathya Sai shows signs of confusion again.
At first says that it is he who develops the attraction power,
now says is the earths. But he is not clear whether
it is gravitational force or magnetic force. Since he has
just talked about magnetic power the statement is senseless
because the effect of that would be very different.
And again he over-stresses the pain issue as if he was trying to convince that he does not feel it! If he does not have worries, why the need to explain all this? Why worry? What Sathya Sai Baba says is essentially: You inferior humans, because of your worldly feelings, cannot understand my superiority and the fact that I have no pain. Is this his way of showing boundless love?
Again his repetitive rhetoric adds nothing to what is already said, but shows how anxious he is to convince.
This device is used very frequently to Sathya Sai Baba to those who criticize him. But in any case this kind of writing helps doubting people - as well as those researching into him - to get a clearer picture of the self-obsession of Sathya Sai Baba about his reputation.
If the magnet is strong enough it does not matter if there is rust and dust. The one who fails to understand this much is Sathya Sai Baba himself.
Again his superiority complex behaviour (remember that he calls himself God incarnate): None but I can understand.
Again stressing the no pain issue and again he shows the down-putting nature of his love towards those presumed fortunate in being close to him. It seems he is intolerant of the slightest negative comment on his person. What does it mean to understand him? He suggests that it is to consider all that comes from him as divine and not show the minimum disagreement!
Remember that he himself claims to be God, so he is asking people to love him. And sanctify their lives in his service and adoration.
So the wise Sathya Sai Baba recommends trying to alleviate the suffering of others if you do not want suffering yourself? What about selfless service? What about real love, which thinks not of personal loss or gain?
Comment by Robert Priddy:-
As to his frequent claim that he attracted the entire world, Sai Baba certainly did attract a very large number of people (and material wealth) from many places during his life, but very far from “the entire world”. The power of attraction and charisma are by no means exclusive or dependent on anything like ‘divine magnetism’. His claim that this was his unparalleled Divine power of magnetic attraction appears as vastly exaggerated when compared, for example, with the attraction exerted on countless millions by many other figures. Some brief examples; Ayatollah Khomeni was welcomed back to Iran by up to 5 million, as also did the funeral of Nasser in Egypt. Rod Stewart attracted estimated 4.2 million to a concert in Rio. The Pope has regularly attracted more than 1 million people in many venues with World Press coverage (four times more than the biggest crowd ever visiting Satya Sai Baba). The Woodstock Festival once attracted over a million persons. Over a million Shia Muslims recently gathered at Kerbala, Iraq. Over three million pilgrims visited Mecca in 2012, as seen as a truly gigantic mass of people on TV worldwide. The 12-yearly Kumbha Mela at Allahabad has regularly attracted vast crowds, the one in 2013 over 13 million. And so on… (see List of largest peaceful gatherings in history Sai Baba does not appear anywhere on the extensive list.)
During my follower days, I used not to give too much attention to Sathya Sai Baba s lapses in his written discourses, considering that those were probably mistakes of edition or translation. Now I realise that when one has such a firm conviction it is easy to explain or even be overindulgent of such nonsense. The acid test for someone who claims to be God (in the way Sathya Sai Baba does) requires very much more than what this character is able to say or do.
Some people get convinced by miracles (as mentioned elsewhere, I know that at least some are unexplained phenomena connected with Sathya Sai Baba. There is no handbook to explain what to believe about all the reported phenomena attributed to him, nor any methods developed on how to go about testing them experimentally! But I have the conviction that even that if all wonderful things that are said of Sathya Sai Baba were true (something that is not the case by far!) just one of his misdeeds is enough to discredit his claims of being the Godhead.
He cleverly sometimes says that all is God and every human is God, just that only he knows this, not us. However these words from his very mouth are themselves deeply contradicted by his other words and many of his deeds. So the question I will leave open for the reader to decide is: If he is not what he claims, then what or who is he?