Jega Jegathesan - prominent VIP in Sai Baba circles - has invested much prestige in his hagiographic books praising Sathya Sai Baba to the clouds and above. His series of books (entitled 'Journey to God' I to IV) include many stories about Sai Baba and all manner of related (or unrelated) miracles, healing, contacts with the dead and discarnate spirits and diverse Eastern supersitions of the 'lunatic fringe' variety.
In ‘Journey to God – The Malaysian Experience with Sai Baba’, one the guru’s most privileged devotees for decades, Dato’ J. Jegathesan, lists various supposedly miraculous cures by Sai Baba which he had investigated, if only superficially (not with any scientific control of alleged ‘medical’ evidence).
It is instructive to observe here representative examples of the degree of mental acrobatics devotees undertake to explain things Sathya Sai Baba has said to them and to make them appear precognitive.
For example, take the case of a Chinese devotee in Malaysia, Mr. Yap Them Siew. He was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx and in the worst prognosis by one doctor was given a 50-50 chance of survival. (Comment: this alone makes one suspicious – he still did have a 50% chance of survival, even on the worst diagnosis!).
However, Sai Baba’s close confidant, Prof. N. Kasturi, arranged for Mr. Yap to have an interview. I quote Jegathesan directly from page 85 of Journey To God (Vol. 1):
“After they had entered the second room, Baba looked at Mrs. Yap and said with a gesture, “What is cancer? Don’t worry – go for the operation; 11th, 12th, 13th – everything will be all right; I will be with you.”
(and Baba even repeated these dates in a later exchange). Later we read:
“The doctors after re-examining Yap fixed the operation on the 7th January. This caused great concern to the Yaps, for Baba had clearly said, 11th,12th,13th. However, it transpired that the operation on the 7th was a minor one and without their request, by “strange coincidence”, the major operation was fixed for the 11th January, 1977. Though this pleased the Yaps, considerably, they were perplexed by the “12th and 13th”. On the 10th January the meaning became clear to them. Again by coincidence Mr. Yap was shifted from bed No. 7 to bed No. 12 – the 12th bed. On the day of the operation, Mrs. Yap held Bhajans at the house of her brother-in-law, with whom she was staying… the house was No. 13 – the 13th house along Jalan Taman 7/6 in Petaling Jaya. By another conicidence the aggregate of the 7/6 also makes 13.”
Need one say more? Yes, evidently, for this is the kind of totally twisted reasoning used time and again – in my wide experience – by many Sai followers. The devotee mind turns every stone – in this case one searched for every possible appearance of the 11th and 12th in whatever connection – so that Baba’s words may be made to seem precognisant. When this is not possible, however, devotees give up and the difficulty is never publicised… though I have heard of many such embarrassments experienced by devotees who have been told what amounts to soothsaying rubbish by Sai Baba.
Anyone with a modicum of rationality can tell that most of this really is sheer coincidences and that most of the explanation is sheer wishful thinking. The only apparently ‘correct’ words were ‘the 11th’. This seems ‘meaningful’ but that depends on one’s faith, not on anything resembling proof. However, apparently meaningful coincidences of this kind – which C.G. Jung defined as synchronicities’ – certainly do occur, for they are most widely recorded throughout the world quite apart from those recorded by Sai devotees – and most people have experiences them in some form or another.
The frontspiece of one of them gives the jist of his admiration for the guru, despite his knowing full well that Malaysian students left Sai Baba in 1980 due to the sexual abuses to which they said they were subjected. Jegathesan and his wife had access to the information gathered by a prominent pro-Sai activist in Malaysia at the time, ex-follower H. Jayaram. He investigated this sexual abuse matter in considerable depth – speaking to the alleging victims and families and visiting India to meet students there to find out more – and he became convinced that their allegations were true, as he has informed me during a long period of correspondence we had. The Malaysian Sai movement was very disturbed by those incidents, which were widely known at the time.
‘The Fourth Dimension’ ('Journey to God Part 4'): Here he wrote: ”I am no expert on the question of mediums and trance situations”, he soon begins to make very definitive statements like:-”I am quite certain that these “spirits” are similarly highly evolved souls etc.”
In the two excerpts shown in scans here, the fact that Jegathesan has developed a strong conviction that many phenomena of this weird and wonderful kind are important - important enough to write up at such length, despite the warning he also quotes from the one who he regards as his infallible guru that “for every true there are a hundred false” (meaning false mediums) and that he discourages devotees from “running after” such phenomena. However, Jegathesan claims - quite inconsistently - that he believes that Sathya Sai Baba has led him into following up on such phenomena.
These kind of psi-phenomena are referred to in many of the stories about Sathya Sai Baba, not only by Jegathesan but also by others who tell about such things as his belief in black magic, his driving ou of demons from possessed devotees. I short, a very primitive superstitious view of the world and of mental illnesses.
See also documentation of Sai Baba's belief in black magic and related superstitions which plague India.
His last book is called “The Fourth Dimension – Sai Baba, Journey To God Part 4“. As the title suggests it is a highly speculative book. It consists in a farrago of strange experiences, often wild interpretations of them and much hearsay. All of this shows him to be a most naive and uncritical believer in witch doctors, black magic, primitive trance mediums and much else of that kind. This is rather amazing from a man who has been an economic consultant with the United Nations International Development Organization (UNIDO) and the United Nations Council on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)! However, remember that there are thousands of consultants to UN bodies, and surely few are as deluded as that.
A mind more prone to unquestioning about spirits of the fourth dimension – with whom he communicates etc. – would be hard to find among otherwise sane people. Though I once held a tentative view that there might be ‘elementals’, based on some then inexplicable experiences I had, Jegathesan jumps to many extreme conclusions about them. All the experiences he claims to have undegone he attributes totally to the guiding hand of Sai Baba (without anything like proof, as usual, but based entirely on his rock-solid belief in Sai Baba’s omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence!). His belief was severely tested – yet still clung to desperately – by the mysterious death of his Sai-devoted wife Shanti when he was away visiting Sathya Sai Baba, and the later suicide of one of his sons, also a favourite of Sathya Sai Baba!
The origin of healing – but also of sudden deaths – in Jegathesan’s view:
Jegathesan writes in some of his many hagiographic volumes about healing reported to him, attributing everything to Sathya Sai Baba. Now, there is no reason to doubt that healing took place in some cases, at least when attested by doctors. But this does not guarantee the cause of the healing. It could have been natural, it could have been caused by the psychological effects of strong faith – for this occurs all over the worlds and at hundreds of places, among which Lourdes is perhaps the most famous. However, there is nothing remotely like genuine scientific proof of any of these being ‘miracles’ or as having other than natural causes, even though explanations of the causes are lacking in many cases (due mainly to lack of observational evidence). Quite a few of the accounts are obviously massaged with faith and ‘doctored’ by wishful thinking to make what often occurs anyway look like the direct intervention of Sathya Sai Baba. If one believes what Sai Baba claims about himself altogether, as jegathesan explicitly does, one has to believe everything (good?) is done by him!
Healing by miracles is, of course, very widely considered to be most controversial by the huge majority of the medical profession throughout the world. Scientific studies trying to prove healing by supernatural causes have almost entirely proved negative, and studies which claim to be scientific and arrive at the opposite conclusions have recently been examined in detail and been shown to have flaws and not to be able to substantiate what they claim.
Consequently, everything Jegathesan writes only adds bunkum to bunkum. One must sympathise to some extent at least with the poor fellow, however, not only for his sheer naiveity but for the personal suffering it has led him into in placing so much of his trust in Sai Baba, over which he agonises in an e-mail he spread around. Firstly, his wife died – allegedly (but disputed) ‘by accident’ – falling in her bathroom. Years later on his younger son – a favourite of Sathya Sai Baba (!) - took his own life by leaping from the 5th floor of a building in Kuala Lumpur. Fuller documentations about these incidents are found here
So much for Sai Baba’s protection of his great favourite. So much for ‘Why fear when I am here?’
In a chapter entitled 'The African Experience 1 - Of Witch Doctors/ Spirit People', Jegathesan relates how he partook in African dances to 'invoke the spirits'. In Bulawayo he was told a lot of rather typical 'positive news' about himself by a prophesying Black Nganga, which he thought 'remarkable'. Later, in the "sacred hills of Engilele" in Zimbabwe, he was bowled over by Christian 'rainmakers', who are given to 'speaking in tingues' and who believe what the spirits thereby apparently tell them. Jegathesan partook in the intense singing and prayers and was told that the spirits were pleased.. he was himself pleased by that! Then he tells that a few drops of rain fell on his arm and some vehicles nearby... but there were no clouds! This he concluded was a message from the spirits expressing their pleasure. This incident gives the tone of the book in general... a most credulous, mystery-seeking, mystificatory ramble from which Jegathesan draws all manner of doubtful conclusions. A less credible and enthusiastically positive reporter on the supernatural would not be so easy to find.