Sai Baba's clearly stated overalll aim has been to see the reestablishment of ancient Indian values - a fundamental kind of religious life (sanathana dharma)- which he points out must includes
unselfish service to others and the community, due respect and care for all living beings and nature, and
non-discrimination as to race, colour, and faith and the exercise of individual moral conscience. He also promotes the historically quite recent addition to Indian value system - Gandhian non-violence
in all walks of life - though he presents this as part of the perennial Indian philosophy (despite the widespread and often institutionalised violence that historical India from ancient time of the Mahabharata war until today has always been part of and party to). His values do specifically not include human rights, democracy, freedom of speech, public accountability (i.e. in his own case), reliance on human justice alone, women's rights, gender liberation (taboo for Sai Baba) and much else that constitutes progressive human values today. Whether these ancient values were much
Sathya Sais' antipathy to human rights is evident, unfortunately,
as he never has a good word to say about them, only but criticises that movement
on the grounds that what people need to have is a better sense of their duties.
This is truly black-and-white, semi-reactionary talk, for human rights ought to
go hand in hand with duties, and not be seen as opposing values. Thus, he never
speaks in support of the moderating influence that the activities of the educated
and intellectuals can have on social injustice, rigid ideologies and rabid religious
dogmas, nor of their analysis and criticisms that help to uncover beliefs, policies
and doctrines of all kinds - religious or secular - that can and do wreak major
psychological and social damage. In short, Sathya Sai Baba's traditionalism negates many progressive
egalitarian reforms arising from improved science and well-informed educated people
in the understanding of society, and the many benefits of democratic systems.
This is really and truly a backward-looking traditionalism. It is seen also in
his ambivalence towards women and his preference for the traditional female role
which has always been bound up with their suppression through the ages. (See A Few of Sathya Sai Baba's Confused and Traditional Views on Women)
A constructive or passive agenda?
Sathya Sai Baba puts education high on his agenda for world change, more especially moral and spiritual education. He repeatedly derides any kind of intellectualism that is without adequate practical benefit and is scornful of academics as being book-learned fools. He constantly rejects many scientific proofs and claims and attacks the sciences for not being able to tell us anything of what he claims is the inherent meaning of all human life. This alone places the Sai Baba doctrine outside the pale of accepted human values. Further, his teaching diverges from universalism by insisting on his Hindu theory of karma and liberation, which conflicts strongly with other religious doctrines. Sathya Sai Baba insists life has an inherent spiritual goal besides which the entire scientific enterprise as worthless, except as a provider of material comforts and technology (which he also characterises as 'tricknology'). He shows no understanding whatever that science has progressively removed countless baseless superstitions in favour of controllable explanations - especially invalidating many scripture based and now totally out-dated religious beliefs and superstitions - in the fields of medicine, individual and group psychology, social life, biology, physics, cosmology and so on and on. Sathya Sai Baba has also shown his grasp of much science to be second-hand and frequently grossly mistaken.
In many negative judgements of the world and its leaders in his constant repetitive discourses, Sathya Sai Baba rejects and ignores many benefits of modern civilising influence, from the human rights movement to the defense of workers' rights through strike action, from the movement against casteism to the struggle for elemental women's rights. He remains silent on most of the deplorable practices in India today, a catalogue of calamitous social conditions, criminal behaviour, extreme forms of repression and the horrific treatment of outcasts and the defenceless.
Despite his much publicised teaching of non-discrimination due to colour,
creed, caste & religion Sai Baba speaks favourably of the four-caste system
(as it was in ancient
Sathya Sai Baba has often criticised political
A conflict between secular human values and 'divine justice'
This conflict arises quite often in Sathya Sai Baba's ashrams, where justice for anyone who claims to be an injured party is denied a hearing and - if they persist - are blacklisted ostracised and forbidden to enter the ashram again. They can also be harassed, physically threatened or even killed. (Witness the horrific 1993 murders in Sathya Sai Baba's bedroom episode). Further, Sathya Sai Baba insists that one should not and cannot "bargain with God". (see Sanathana Sarathi 11-89, p.297 or Sathya Sai Speaks Vol. 4, p. 386 or Vol. 22, p. 213, and E. Fanibunda 's Vision of the Divine, p. 70). According to his own previous close official, Dr. Bhatia, this was exactly what Sathya Sai Baba said him in anger when he tried to defend an injured party - an extremely upset 8th grade child whom he had examined in his capacity as a doctor and reportedly found to have been anally raped by Sathya Sai Baba.