Traditional Hindu-based moralism
Sai Baba's doctrine is mostly a simplified form of traditional Hindu moralism that part of the culture rooted in traditional views on life, religion, society, women, and science and also which is much rooted in scriptural mythology and Indian legend - justifying itself from an imaginary semi-utopian 'Vedic' past and highly improbable prophesied future events. His claims about himself are very largely drawn from Indian mythology about avatars and incredible legendary events, which also form the basis of his 'teachings'. It is SO incredible, but also so attractive an idea to otherwise disillusioned persons who are seeking hard for something to bring them spiritual benefits, that some think it is not impossible, or could just be true, then even perhaps likely considering all the documentation and then the fatal leap of faith is made. The equivalent to Sai Baba's schemes to save and change humanity - which he puts across with great chutzpah and subtle deception - would have their equivalent in the more ordinary world of conmen who try to sell people the Eiffel Tower.
Charisma as the main draw card
Due to Sathya Sai Baba's undoubted charisma, ability to charm and flatter (yet also to reject and 'punish') and his so-called psychic powers of a genuinely hypnotic or manipulative nature (in addition to many fraudulent 'manifestations'), his moralistic teaching is accepted as infallible even by many for whom his account of man and nature are not really believable, consistent or even understandable (which doubts can only be mentioned in private). The teaching is apparently strengthened if one can accept the explanation of its origin, on which it depends heavily that the teacher Sai Baba is God Almighty. According to this, he - qua the Divinity - only ever does good and all ills are entirely the fault of everyone else. In fact, one's delusions are only reinforced. Overall, Sai Baba propounds a self-defeating teaching par excellence! Had his followers been capable of any critical thinking and deeper study of his statements, there would have been far fewer of them.
Practice predominates, theory and understanding stagnates
Though Sathya Sai Baba supports and repeats the ancient Hindu strand of teaching about the divinity of everyone, deep study (and recommended practice) fails to make consistent sense out of it. He rejects any such study if it is intellectual (or critical) and insists instead only on 'spiritual practice'. He preaches that realisation of one's true (divine) nature is achieved primarily by constant prayer to God (really meaning himself, since he has declared he is the Deity of all Deities to whom all prayers eventually arrive). This requires endless [and preferably mindless!] repetition of his name, constant worship and service to God [who is supposedly represented in each human being].which he has very willingly accepted for many decades]. All this 'spiritual practice' (sadhana) is designed to create a constant condition of self-denial and self-sacrifice keeping consciousness only on God. This involves of course, negating all human desires, abasing oneself (before God, preferably Sai baba) and relinquishing all autonomy, freedom of choice and responsibility. Actually, this is a patent impossibility, but it does not stop him insisting and his devotees doing their best to believe and follow this prescription! The consequences for those who do best at it are often very pitiful to behold.
Religious 'cash and carry'?
His teaching as a whole is a catch-all web of ancient Indian though, religious sentiment, myth and superstition. While also containing all variants of the six Indian philosophies (watered-down and often mixed up with an unintelligible intermingling of dualistic, monistic and vishtadvaitic perspectives) - plus some imported Christian values and ideas already well-known in India (eg. via Ramakrishna, Yogananda and others) . The whole amounts to a grand hodgepodge of conflicting elements and sweepingly vague directions. A kind of 'religious cash-and-carry'. Yet because its horizons do not stretch more than a little beyond the Hindu-oriented world view, it fails signally to engage more than a tiny handful of semi-Muslims, Buddhists, Christians etc. (Westerners are all classed as 'Christians' at Sathya Sai Baba ashrams - be they Jews, Mormons, agnostics, disinterested... or whatever).
Non-worldly, anti-scientific and fallacious 'knowledge'
All this is compounded by Sai Baba's flawed 'knowledge', that is, often incorrect and unfounded historical and other nonfactual statements. He bases his moral views on a rambling and inconsistent, weird 'ancient' account of how everything is constituted... the make-up of the human being, the nature of the cosmos and of the Divine reality or God - as the Universal Being of Infinite Love and Consciousness ( embodied most fully in himself, according to him). This teaching he calls 'Saience' in opposition to 'Science'!
Some of the many fads, simplistic fallacies and hidebound traditional doctrines he has published are discussed in the following articles:-