PART TWO OF SERIES - SATHYA SAI BABA PROMOTES
AND THRIVES ON RUMOURS
"Trust in my wisdom. I do not make mistakes. Love my uncertainty for it is not a mistake. It is my intent and will. Remember - nothing happens without my will. Be still. Do not ask to understand. Do not want to understand."
Sathya Sai Baba - in his journal Sanathana Sarathi, August 1984
disaster averted? Outwardly, Sathya Sai Baba generally refuses to answer questions
about current stories nowadays. He does an
absolute minimum to deny or stop rumours - even the wildest ones -, and
he only extremely seldom comments clearly or denies the factuality or
accuracy of stories, and not more than a few times in any public way in
at least the last 30/40 years. However, his apparatchiks are known to
have made a private approach to central persons involved to stop certain
reports of what Sathya Sai Baba said in interviews from coming out. Such was the case,
for example, with the 1998 scare about airline navigation due to a shift
in the earth's magnetic pole. Sathya Sai Baba warned interviewees not to fly at a
period near the end of the year. The ashram was alive with this rumour
when I was there. Connected to this rumour was a report published in Mr.
Padmanabhan's 'Spiritual Impressions', but when Sathya Sai Baba found out about it,
it I was told by an ashram source that his officials hot-footed it to
make him withdraw the issue. He was made to remove this report by a messenger
from SB, whom the same source told me informed Padmanabhan that what Swami
had said was specifically meant only for the benefit of those who heard
it! However, before reprinting the issue, Padmanabhan evidently tried
to save money by pasting a photo of Sai Baba over the text in most of the edition.
When steamed off, the report headed "Kodai Sessions" stated
what he said in a discourse at Kodaikanal. The concealed text was read by many. Of course, someone -
probably Sathya Sai Baba, realised that he had gone too far and that the falsity of
this prediction would very soon become evident. In this case, much too
soon for comfort, even knowing how most Sathya Sai Baba devotees are so well-trained at quickly forgetting, rationalising or denying things that show up their
guru's dishonesty (asathya and adharma). The article as it appeared
in Sai Towers' monthly magazine 'Spiritual Impressions' (March/April
1998, p. 37) as follows:-
|Article as it appeared
in Sai Towers' monthly magazine 'Spiritual Impressions' (March/April
1998, p. 37).
A photo of Sai Baba was pasted over the text in most of the edition. When steamed off, the underlying report was headed "Kodai Sessions" and stated what he said in a discourse at Kodaikanal, as follows:-
From the 14th of April, Tamil New Year's Day, Swami gave continual discourses. There was the absolutely stunning news (and so because it was from Swami) in the very first 15th of December 1998, Swami declared the axis of rotation of Earth shall shift.
In other discourses Swami mentioned the effects of the embalance; melting of glaciers at the poles, rising of water level on the planets surface, earthquakes.
Never before has Swami spoken so directly about a future event.
However, the concluding claim in the above article, "Never before has Swami spoken so directly about a future event." is also entirely false. One of the most revealing boasts of Sai Baba was in a public discourse in July 1963, documented as follows:-
"Let me tell you one more thing: Nothing can impede or
halt the work of this Avathaara... Formerly when the Govardhanagiri
(mountain) was raised aloft by a little boy, the gopis and gopalas
realised that Krishna was the Lord. Now, it is not one Govardhanagiri,
a whole range will be lifted, you will see!"
"I will have to forego the car and even the aeroplane
when I move from place to place, for the crowds pressing around
them will be too huge; I will have to move across the sky; yes,
that too will happen, believe Me." (Sathya Sai Speaks Vol.
II, p. 92)
to David Jevons of the Ramala Centre, Glastonbury, writing in
2000, Sai Baba "has recently said that we will very
soon witness this divine power manifesting in the world. I quote
from a recent discourse:
14th of April, Tamil New Year's Day, Swami gave continual discourses.
There was the absolutely stunning news (and so because it was from
Swami) in the very first 15th of December 1998, Swami declared the
axis of rotation of Earth shall shift.
In other discourses Swami mentioned the effects of the imbalance; melting of glaciers at the poles, rising of water level on the planets surface, earthquakes.
Never before has Swami spoken so directly about a future event.
Another false disaster story That Sathya Sai Baba creates the most unfounded rumours himself is shown by what he told New Zealanders at an interview in 1995. Mr. Arthur Hillcoat informed us what Sathya Sai Baba said at this interview when we met briefly at Prashanthi Nilayam in 1995 through Robert and Rita Bruce, who also heard this. Recently I have learned that the same facts were written down and circulated among the group from Australia led by Lorinda and Rick Prescott (22 persons in the group) on November 6th 1995. (On the paper was written 'Phone 059 836414 for further information').
"All coming from the French Bomb tests is over New Land." [You mean New Zealand, Baba?] Yes, New Zealand. The mutton eat the grass, the cows eat the grass, all contaminated. All butter, cheese, curds and other dairy products all contaminated. Many witnesses in New Zealand. In New Zealand a glass of wine is better than a small teaspoon of milk. Fish in the oceans is contaminated. In Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, and China, if people eat fish they will get cancer. Early in October Baba told the New Zealanders that the bombs have weakened the earth’s crust and will cause a chain of volcanic eruptions. There could be up to 8 more bombs. All oceans are contaminated. [This has now happened]."
From a person
who claims to know everything about everyone and everything, the above
would be a tissue of direct lies. However, it proves beyond doubt for
any reasonable person that Sathya Sai Baba is a charlatan soothsayer.
Those highly unscientific predictions have not come to pass and the potential
dangers of nuclear pollution from French tests have long ago passed by.
How he can be so uninformed as not to realise that he will be found out,
and that this will become known to anyone who cares to investigate, is
something of a brain teaser. One
possible explanation is that he has been surrounded for so long by people
who would not say boo to a goose (as it seems to lay golden eggs), that
he overestimates his knowledge, confuses his presumed extrasensory visions
with truth and has simply lost touch with reality as we know it. (V. K.
Narasimhan was at that time the very last person in his entourage who
even dared to put a relevant question to him, though even Narasimhan was
very careful not to challenge too much.). The 'absolute power' that Sathya Sai Baba
enjoys over his mini-realm, surrounded exclusively by his devotees and
insulated from the wide world, has evidently gone to his head more and
more, corrupting his judgement as if absolutely. However, the power is
not absolute even there, for he could not stop police executions taking
place in his bedroom, unless, of course, he ordained and ordered them
personally. Take your choice.
'The Case of the Dematerialising Australian' is also just hearsay from close servitors whose lives are already bound up and dependent on Sathya Sai Baba and for whom the illusion (i.e. Maya) has become deeply habitually, being their own projections onto Sathya Sai Baba, who is their Lord and Master, which they admit openly and often proudly. In January 1994, a story began to make the rounds about how a group of 13 Australians went into the interview room but came out with only 12 persons! The tale varied according to who told it, but the main version seemed to be that an Australian had travelled to see Sathya Sai Baba because his wife, who was believed to be close to death from cancer, asked him to do so.. He was in tears during the interview. Sathya Sai Baba asked him why etc., then tapped the wall on his left side and a picture of a garden and a house, with doors and windows etc., appeared there. "Is that your house?" Sai asked. "Yes". Then Sathya Sai Baba supposedly tapped again and an actual wooden door took the place of the picture. Sai took the man by the hand, went through the door with him and returned without him. The next day a telegram arrived in P.N. from the man who had arrived safely at his home with his wife, and both his luggage and his hand baggage were there too!
Naturally I asked Narasimhan about this and he said he would ask Sathya Sai Baba. A day later VKN told me that "No comment" was the answer. This is not the end of it though... for Sathya Sai Baba was asked by some people for permission to publish this story - such as in Sanathana Sarathi - because it was so convincing about Sathya Sai Baba's divine nature. Sathya Sai Baba is reported to have replied that it should not be published for it was no miracle of his, but it was the man's faith alone that had caused it!
The follow-up to this "story" for me was that it was 'privately confirmed' to a close Indian friend I had at the time by his close friend, Mr. Prasad of the Sathya Sai Central Trust. V. Ramnath reported to me how this friend of his (Prasad) had told him that some days after the incident he and two other persons were in Sathya Sai Baba's car with him driving to the Speciality Hospital i Puttaparthi. They asked Sathya Sai Baba for permission to confirm the incident by publishing it in Sanathana Sarathi. Sathya Sai Baba said "No. It was only that man's faith that did that". They persisted, saying that many devotees were talking about it and that it was such a major Sai miracle etc. Then Baba said, "Do you want to see a miracle? Stop the car". Just there was a very old lady in a wheelchair beside the vehicle. Sathya Sai Baba got out, stood before her and held out his hands saying "Amma, Amma... come on. Up. Up." She got up and walked. Sathya Sai Baba got back in the car and said, "Now that was a miracle".
Sathya Sai Baba's 'no comment' was now spun into an affirmation that the event
took place. This seems a rather crafty attribution, for devotees would
surely attribute it a Sathya Sai Baba miracle nevertheless, saying that it was
only Sathya Sai Baba's humility that made him say it was not his doing etc. (Unfortunately,
any genuine humility Sathya Sai Baba might once have shown has since evaporated
completely and the most exaggerated boasting about himself has taken
its place in a growing number of his published discourses). Now, the old woman apparently did not have this faith, then, but was
still allegedly the recipient of glorious grace! This is how devotees
perceive such things. No one has produced any evidence that the story
of the Australian is based on any evidence, for no one present has
come forward to announce it. The rumour was circulated without any
reliable source and was sustained by Central Trust persons in the
same underhand way. This is a method of wilfully and/or unwittingly
creating great wonders and myths.
Sai Baba impresses his close servitors by false humility, 'it was not I' - followed by the exact opposite... declaring his doing 'a miracle' the next minute. How far did the Amma walk, after Sathya Sai Baba had left her alone, I wonder? It is so easy to assume this to be a miracle once one believes he is what he claims to be. But one conveniently forgets that many people who use wheelchairs can manage to walk a bit, and even bad cases may do so if pressed or if they are moved make a special effort. According to what the US devotee, Joy Thomas, wrote in one of her many rambling books (Life is a Challenge... p. 161), Sathya Sai Baba seemed to 'cure' her temporarily or partially of her painful walking disability when she had to leave her wheelchair before steps up to the Kodiakanal interview room. However, all could observe that she remained tied to her wheelchair for many years until the end of her days, when she bled to death without due treatment while under the care of of Sathya Sai Baba's medical doctors. (A blessing in the eyes of the devoted, but not in that of certain others).
Through the wall to Mecca? A web site which promotes Sai Baba and defends his worst deceptions by feats of mental gymnastic which would even make the fabled Munchausen blush (at <http://www.saibaba-aclearview.com/contents2.html>), reports a different version of the same class of miracle. It apparently it happened about 10 years ago:-
"One day Baba called a poor Muslim family in for an interview, and along with them, one Hindu man. (The person who told me this story heard it directly from the Hindu man.) A boy in the family was distraught because his two best friends had gone on a pilgrimage to Mecca, and his parents couldn’t afford to send him along. (As a consolation, they’d brought him to see Sai Baba.) Baba started the interview by saying to the boy, “So, you want to go to Mecca.” The boy burst into tears, and Baba then turned and spoke to the others for a while. The boy continued crying, and finally Baba turned to him and said, “You really want to go to Mecca, don’t you!” Baba then tapped the wall of the interview room with His hand, and the wall disappeared - and in its place, a street scene from Saudi Arabia appeared. “Look, there are your two friends. Now go! You have half an hour.” The boy walked into the street scene... and the wall reappeared.
Baba spoke with the stunned family for another half an hour, and then tapped the wall again. The street scene reappeared - and the boy walked back into the interview room, proudly carrying some souvenirs from Mecca!
A month later, when his friends returned home, the boy’s parents asked them, “How long was he with you?” Confirming the boy’s account, his friends replied, “Two weeks.” (Clearly Baba is a Master of both time and space - as well as being That which is beyond time and space! That’s the fourth story I’ve heard about Sai Baba instantly transporting someone to a distant land through His interview room wall.)"
The two stories are obviously fakes, the one based on the other. Making a story about Mecca is no doubt a vain attempt to engage Muslims in the Sai Baba mythology. There were but two or three known Muslim followers in all the years I visited! Two were employed by Sai Baba (the Sufi Muslim Bashiruddin and a Seva Dal boss), otherwise there are none to be seen there usually. No ladies wearing hijab for a start. Sai Baba seems not to realise that Islam – whether Sunni or Shiite – totally rejects that God can take human form… so that leaves Sai Baba as nothing but a false prophet for them. Besides, Muslims have been libelled in official Sai Baba literature too! (see here)
boys into girls for doubting his predictions? In 1990, we spent
a long period at the ashrams. An elderly and well-placed Seva Dal servitor
I had known well for years told me that Sathya Sai Baba had recently told a class
of students some amazing 'facts'. My notes made at the time record:
"Prashanthi Nilayam would become vast within ten years, 38 English
miles in circumference. Puttaparthi village would be bulldozed away
before year 2000. It would extend as far as Dharmavaram" (where
the nearest railway station was at that time, 40 English miles distant
- which distance can't be reconciled with the other figure anyhow! Either
figure would make it the size of a major world metropolis.) "Two
students at the rear of the class had scoffed between themselves that
this was another of Sathya Sai Baba's 'bhajans' (i.e. tall stories)! Sathya Sai Baba called
them out and insisted that he had never been more serious. If they doubted
it he would change them into girls for ten years, then they could see
how the girls suffer."
I asked V.K. Narasimhan about the prediction during one of our marathon daily conversations. This is what I noted at the time about the prediction of the ashram's size. He confirmed that Sathya Sai Baba made it but bemoaned the thought of it happening - the commercialisation it would bring etc., also spiritual tourism. It would be bigger than the whole of the area called 'Sathya Sai Taluk' (at least dozens of square miles). He said that the Andhra Pradesh government had designated the Prashanthi area as a special choice for developments of all kinds. Puttaparthi village still exists and the Prashanthi Nilayam ashram is nowhere near to twice the size it was in 1990 even, which was under a mile in circumference. What further comment is required?
Finally, 'another small story', unconfirmed and qualifying as a tall tale even among fables of giants and demons: Sathya Sai Baba's driver (Radhakrishnan - who was killed in the mandir assault in 1993, aged about 40) and a student were driving from Puttaparthi to Madras. They had just got onto the open road outside Puttaparthi when Sathya Sai Baba said to both of them, "Close your eyes and do not open them until I say so". Radhakrishnan was driving, but did so implicitly. When Sai said they could open their eyes, they were confused indeed. It turned out that the car was already on the outskirts of Madras. Believe this those who can. Note that this tale circulates but its source cannot be investigated, of course.
Catastrophe predicted according to numerous sources: The famous 27 predictions involving global catastrophe, which were widely said by ashramites to have been made by SSB to a group of 18 students (some of whom were crying and fearful when they told their parents), were circulated for a decade or more without SSB having stopped the mill or refuted a single word. If he did not know about the anxiety created, then he lied about being omniscient. If he did know, then it was convenient for him... the anxiety to urge people to secure themselves places at the ashrams with donations etc. to be safe from the catastrophe. Only when the hysteria reached potentially damaging proportions (for his name and credibility) after his officials had repeatedly asked him to comment did SSB eventually deny the 27 predictions he had allegedly made. Why would he have made them to young students? One likely hypothesis is that it was one of his oft-reported ways of cowing them so they would fear to speak out about such matters as the constant genital molestations which are so widely reported, even confirmed and defended by a series of leading office-bearers in his Organisation. There are numerous documented examples of his acting so as to create fear in his officials, students and other followers.
The claims that the predictions actually came from SSB are reinforced by the fact of his other similar predictions in public, as noted above. These new 'warnings' also served to induce people to 'buy into' the ashrams where they assume they will be under divine protection from any such dangers (but get no property rights or guarantees whatever in return)
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