SATHYA SAI BABA - 'MYSTERIOUS' MONEY AND GOLD?
ALLEGED 'MATERIALIZATION' OF GOLD AND MONEY BY SATHYA SAI BABA
Sai Baba claimed to be the "master of
maya" (delusion). Another fitting word could be "master of
disinformation", which technique is effective not least because
many people already believe what they dearly want to believe and so close out any disturbing evidence or second thoughts.
Here are more typical 'Sai stories' - persistent accounts of Sathya Sai Baba as
handling cash, and also pretending to materialise both money and gold...
he who claimed he has no money etc. These illustrate the technique of
building a movement through nurturing a mythology alongside much active
& effective disinformation.
Sai Baba: Money and gold During an India visit in 1995/6, a friend high up in the Indian Administrative Service, Mr. V. Ramnath (author of the hagiography 'Waiting for Baba' pub. by Sai Towers, Puttaparthi) told my wife and I of a miracle that supposedly took place during the prime ministership of Indira Gandhi during a visit by Baba to Delhi, as told at the time by Indira Gandhi's security staff to many in Delhi. Mrs. Gandhi had heard of Baba's apparent production of golden objects and may have thought that he had an illicit supply of gold. She sent members of her security force to investigate. They entered the apartment where Baba was staying, intending to search it thoroughly for gold. As they arrived they were shown into a room where Baba was. He is reported to have told them that he knew why they had come and that they were looking for gold. He then told them to look out of the window into the adjacent park and said that there was gold there. They looked though the window and saw a small mountain of gold in the park. After this they apologised humbly and Sathya Sai Baba supposedly gave them his blessings. Basically the same story but with differences which prove that one or the other was a fabrication (or more likely both were) - was circulated by a Sai deotee on Argentinian TV - see here.
Another money materialisation story was told me by the same trusted IAS official, in 1996. A well-to-do and long-term Indian Sai devotee who runs a car sales firm in London who has had much attention from Sathya Sai Baba was visiting Prashanthi. He had gone to great trouble to import from the U.K. a new car as a gift to Sathya Sai Baba, the problem being that the Indian customs people extorted from him over 100% the value of the car in extra duties, probably not all legal ones. Sathya Sai Baba called him and his family to an interview, during which Sathya Sai Baba said he would recompense him for all the extra expense and, so saying, waved his hand and produced a huge pile of banknotes equal to all the expenses the man had faced. The man refused to accept the money saying that everything was Swami's anyhow, so what did it matter etc. Sathya Sai Baba pressed him to accept it, but the man would not. The money was in a pile on the floor in front of Swami, who put his foot on the pile and pressed down. The money disappeared as Sathya Sai Baba's foot descended to the floor.
All are free to believe in the Sai Baba legend or not - as based on their own experiences and within their given personal limitations. Ideas about him assimilated from books and stories make it hard for those who take the first step of faith not to start building out perceptions that they put down to the rolling Sathya Sai Baba snowball legend. But with any embracing system of faith held together mainly by a few personal experiences interpreted through beliefs that bind it together, internal fractures usually arise... when facts begin to undermine it. The truth sooner or later batters down dearly-held illusions.
The suspension of belief in specific events that lie beyond one's own observation and detailed knowledge is the best policy. In the atmosphere of secrecy, disinformation and arms-length avoidance of questioning that Sathya Sai Baba enforces, most matters cannot even be discussed, let alone investigated properly. It soon all rests on acceptance of mainly third-hand information and continued clinging to one's adopted belief-system. Meanwhile, a broad and cool examination of all the material available will show that much of what Sathya Sai Baba claims about himself that can be evaluated, starting from day-to-day facts, is deception. Here, then, are but a few more examples of the legend that rests on the mirages of secrecy and shifting sands of hearsay upon which his peculiar reputation is overwhelmingly based.
Sathya Sai Baba's duplicity and disinformation about money
Sathya Sai Baba claimed: "Right from a tender age, I never received
anything from others. I only give and give and give, I never receive." (Sanathana Sarathi October 1998, p. 275).
Also "Though 56 years have passed, I have not got even one shirt
or gown stitched for Me. I am now wearing what is given by a student..."
(Sathya Sai Speaks Volume XV. page 312)
So where do his constant changes of robes, food, cars, furniture and all the rest come from? He is the recipient of gifts... he says so! He somehow gets plenty of ready cash which he hands out on occasion.
Sathya Sai Baba rails against gurus whose eyes are on devotees' purses (Sathya
Sai Speaks Vol. 1, p. 31). Sathya Sai Baba says many good things about
the greed for and misuse of money, and criticises the collection of money
by gurus as "a heinous act" (Sathya Sai Speaks Vol. 5, p. 18). Yet, amazingly, he claims that he has nothing to
do with money (see Sanathana Sarathi January 1998,
p. 4)! For Sathya Sai Baba is indisputably by far the biggest collector of
foreigners' funds in India! He even asks people openly where their donations
are in the darshan lines, such as he did to the Austrian SSO leader, Richard
Friedrich! He signs every cheque donated to any of his funds. This is
sheer duplicity, neither do his words and actions concur, nor his words
with his words. This is the same as deceit, lying!
That Sathya Sai Baba directly gives cash in hand was first (to my innocent consternation) told me in 1985 by the former gardener at Prashanthi Nilayam, Mr. Walia, who also owned a small restaurant in Puttaparthi. He related how Sathya Sai Baba had tried to interfere in the marriage plans of a neighbour. But the boy would not follow Sathya Sai Baba's advice and took another as wife than the one Sathya Sai Baba wanted. The parents were very devoted to Sathya Sai Baba and thus were extremely upset at their son's opposition to Sathya Sai Baba. When the day came around at last, Sathya Sai Baba stopped his car outside their house and handed them a thousand rupees in notes for wedding expenses. One may say this was generous, but also ask where the money came from? Sathya Sai Baba certainly did not earn it by the sweat of his brow, but accepted it from donors! A number of the letters Sathya Sai Baba accepts daily also undoubtedly contain cash (several authors state this in their pro-Sai books), and Sathya Sai Baba has claimed he opens all of them! So he certainly receives and personally handles money then too.
It is rather intriguing that various devotees also assert that he "materialises money":In the film 'La Historia de Sai Baba (I)' by the Argentinian broadcasting company, Zona de Investigacion, a South American devotee, Cristina, spreads a myth which I have heard in India in a similar but varied versions:-
Sathya Sai Baba can easily pay off with almost any sum he chooses virtually anyone he needs to, and this is also done when necessary with abuse victims. A pay-off was done when his car driver of over 20 years' service ran down and killed a villager while driving around testing Sathya Sai Baba's latest vehicle. I learned about this from a reliable old friend resident in Brindavan for many years (name not given to save him from what could happen to him) and checked the facts with V.K. Narasimhan. He told me that the relatives and other villagers were paid off for their silence and that the driver was thrown out of the ashram by the staff with nothing to live on and wandered about in a terrible state. After praying to Sathya Sai Baba to help him but being barred from entry to the ashram, he set fire to himself within days under the Shiva statue in the Hillview Stadium. I swear on all that is holy that V.K. Narasimhan told me all this and that this poor man had recently heard Sathya Sai Baba say that if anyone ignored a direction from him three times, he might as well go and set fire to himself. This is the kind of threatening stuff Sathya Sai Baba spreads around in his close vicinity, this is your "compassionate one" who claims he would do anything for the sake of his devotees.
The alleged "materialisations of money" would remind most people more of something like the 3-card trick. If he really can "make money", he must be a boon to the politicians who flock to the honey pot and the official tax-free haven that the Central Trust provides. However Sathya Sai Baba need not materialise money when so much is donated by so many rich and unsuspecting fall guys all over the world.
Here is a 'money materialisation story' I was told by the IAS official in 1996:-
A well-to-do and long-term Indian Sai devotee who
runs a car sales firm in London who has had much attention from Sathya Sai Baba was
visiting Prashanthi. He had gone to great trouble to import from the U.K.
a new car as a gift to Sathya Sai Baba, the problem being that the Indian customs
people extorted from him over 100% the value of the car in extra duties,
probably not all legal ones. Sathya Sai Baba called him and his family to an interview,
during which Sathya Sai Baba said he would recompense him for all the extra expense
and, so saying, waved his hand and produced a huge pile of banknotes equal
to all the expenses the man had faced. The man refused to accept the money
saying that everything was Swami's anyhow, so what did it matter etc.
Sathya Sai Baba pressed him to accept it, but the man would not. The money was in
a pile on the floor in front of Swami, who put his foot on the pile and
pressed down. The money disappeared as Sathya Sai Baba's foot descended to the floor.
People will probably believe what they want. But I risk a guess that the vast majority of people in the world will not be able to credit this.
Judge Anjaneyulu, however, ruled that the law doesn't apply to Sai Baba because he materialises his gold from thin air. The only objection that Premanand could make against this strange decision was to appeal to the voice of reason: "Defence based on spiritual powers is not recognised in law. If such a defence is permitted, there is not a single offence the commission of which could be met with the penalties and punishments, for the reason that on a plea of spiritual power being raised by the accused there is no way to prove or disprove the existence or non-existence of the pleaded spiritual power." Unfortunately Premanand's words went unheeded.
Premanand has written a books which recounts his battle in the courts: ' Satya Sai Baba and the Gold Control Act'. Published 1986 by INDIAN CSICOP, c/o 11/7 Chettipalayam Rd., Podanur 641023. Tamil Nadu (India) Price: US$ 3.00 (includes Air Mail)
There was no doubt in my IAS friend's mind that Sathya Sai Baba was accustomed to having quite large sums of money in banknotes in his room, which his servitors used to pay for various goods or services rendered by Sathya Sai Baba's tailors, barber, and numerous others. He claimed that some of the intruders who were executed in 1993 were partly motivated by finding ready cash in Sathya Sai Baba's apartment, but that it a theory which conveniently conceals the much more likely reason, their aim to pressure Baba into stopping the widespread corruption in the ashram and Central Trust, and possibly also to try to stop any sexual abuse by him.
My wife and I heard several accounts of his giving money to people, not least in January 1996 from a lady and her family we visited in Bangalore who was the leader of the Brindavan bhajan group, S. Prabha, and who performed arathi to Sathya Sai Baba there for many years. She had been in daily contact with him whenever he was at Brindavan, had fed him in her house and he had married both her sons etc. We were told:-A man in Harayana, a Mr. Grover had a dream of Sathya Sai Baba around 1980 where he was told that he must flee his house immediately - within the day - with his family and go to Bangalore because his own brother was on the way to murder him! On the strength of this dream alone, the man took his family and about Rs. 5000.- (all he could get) and left house and riches behind. He met Sathya Sai Baba eventually, who told him never to return to his house but to lay low - telling his brother nothing of his whereabouts - and also told him to purchase a particular car. He had no money and said so. Sathya Sai Baba said that he knew this and gave the money to him on the spot, during darshan at Brindavan. Not knowing how to manage, he kept going to darshan. Soon a man introduced himself to him in the darshan lines and invited him without further ado to become a business partner. He began to thrive and
One can interpret the above in various ways... Sai believers will see it as a wonderful rescue from fratricide. Everyone else would regard this as false, or at best a mass of assumptions and projections. The fact that the man met a business partner would be ascribed to Sathya Sai Baba by followers, but again, others may not think this so very extraordinary. Besides, Sai followers tend strongly to accept each other much more easily than outsiders, seeing them as 'brothers and 'Sai family'. The interesting bit in the above is that Sathya Sai Baba gave him money on the spot, enough to buy a car!
Sathya Sai Baba is locally well known for giving rupees as handouts. A blind beggar, who stood for many years at a corner near to Puttaparthi and called out to every passing car for alms, would receive some rupees from Sathya Sai Baba whenever he passed by in his vehicle. Further, the semi-official biographer of Sathya Sai Baba, Ra. Ganapati, reports Sathya Sai Baba giving money to a poor tailor from Mangalore (Baba: Sathya Sai II - p. 65).
In Sanathana Sarathi (August 1991, page 223) we can read a much publicised verbatim report of questions and answers between SSN and his 9-year old and totally brainwashed schoolboy, Sai Giridhar, Sathya Sai Baba insists on giving him a 100-rupee note. Sathya Sai Baba is quoted as saying "Now take this 100-rupee note and put it properly in your pocket."
Last, but not least, Sathya Sai Baba is alleged by some of the young men who report sexual abuse by him that he gave them hush money along with typical pedophile threats of what he would do if they told of the abuses. Timothy Conway’s Letter to a longtime friend, posted on exposé websites, contains the following: "Baba has threatened to deny interviews to many of the boys' parents if the boys resist his sexual predatory behavior. He has paid or bribed most of these male youth for sexual favors and for their silence with money, rings, watches, etc.-- up to $10,000 for one boy (an American youth well known to several former members of our Santa Barbara Sai Center)"
From a diary of a 15-year old American boy, well-known to persons
I fully trust and attested as genuine by them, one can read about "two
interviews with Sathya Sai Baba on Sept. 20 and Sept. 23, 1999":
“Sometimes you are wasting money. Sometimes mother doesn’t give. There’s no income.” (He waved his hand and out popped six 500 rupee bills. He counted them [Rs. 3000]) “For food. Spend it. keep it inside. Inside! (I put it in my wallet.) Don’t tell anyone!” even Mother?
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