An unknown lady from Australia made known that she had taken a black-and-while photo of Jesus on the shroud of Turin to get Sai Baba to bless it. When he took it, she claimed he wiped across it with his hand and the photo became a coloured image instead.
Robert Perry has written an illumining article ('The Face of Jesus') see below. It is not hard to palm a colour photo of a well-known image. The lady, if she really did experience Sai Baba taking the photo she offered etc., would most likely already have been to darsan often before, and seen how people got things blessed by him (if they were 'lucky'). As is common, she would very probably have had to hold out to Sai Baba for days on end which he would have noticed (as was his way) before deigning to take it. This would have given him time to arrange for the coloured substitute and for concealing it to palm it at darshan. He very often used to misdirect the attention of people quite skillfully. However, if you believe that Sai Baba could do such a 'miracle', you would also tend to believe in anything and everything that was claimed by him and about him, because he always insisted that he adhered 100% strictly to the truth. As is usual, he almost never denies any story about himself, and these accounts got spread far and wide throughout the Sai Organization and movement. For example, the fully signed-up believer and devotee, David Jevons of the Ramala Centre in Glastonbury, reproduced the entire account with no second thoughts or criticism whatever and offered to sell copies of the photo from his business there.
It was shown on an exhaustive Discovery Channel research programme exactly how one can recreate the exact three-dimensional effects as seen on the Turin shroud with technology available at the time of Leonardo (involving stereoscopic mirrors and lenses). Whatever the truth about it, however, Sathya Sai Baba has exceeded himself in allegedly taking a black-and-white photo of the Turin shroud image, passing his hand over it and thus turning it into the colour image seen above right! As one would expect, there is no documentation of this event, no independent witnesses and even the Australian lady - remaining anonymous! - who made the claim that she had handed him the photo and experienced this cannot be found, nor has she deposited any affidavit or other verifiable statement anywhere to affirm this, as far as is known.
THE FACE OF JESUS
By Robert Perry
A mysterious photograph which was reportedly manifested by famed Indian spiritual master, Sai Baba, is becoming increasingly popular as an object of
veneration around the world. According to the story, an Australian woman (known as "B .A.") visited Sai Baba's ashram in Puttaparti, India, in 1985. While
there, she held up a black-and-white computer-generated printout of the Shroud of Turin. Sai Baba, who is known for his spontaneous miracles, reportedly
took this paper from her and "manifested" a blank sheet of glossy photo paper. He then passed his hand over this paper and on it appeared a color "photo" of
the face of Jesus. The dimensions of this face matched exactly the dimensions of the face on the Shroud. Furthermore, in the upper left and lower right
comers of the photo, one could even see traces of the Shroud image itself, including its distinctive bloodstains. The photo was quite beautiful and has gained increasing circulation, both in Europe and America, including being used on the cover of a book entitled, "Love Without Conditions," by Paul Ferrini.
What is not generally known is that this "photograph" of Jesus is actually a reproduction of a painting created in 1935 by an Armenian artist named
Aggemian. Every feature in the photo, including every hair in the moustache and beard, is exactly the same as the painting. The Sai Baba "photo" is a poor-
quality reproduction of the original, and being murky and dark makes it hard to tell that it is a copy of a painting and not a photograph. Aggemian's painting, which is based on the Shroud of Turin, has enjoyed some popularity on its own merit. One can even obtain a version of it called "The Original Double-Effect Shroud Image," in which from one angle one sees the painting by Aggemian, and from another angle, the face on the Shroud; from a certain angle, one can see overlapping images of both the Shroud and the painting - just
as in the Sai Baba "photo."
This raises some very interesting questions: Was the "Sai Baba photo" actually "manifested" by Sai Baba or was it produced by other means? Also, does the "Sai Baba photo" violate any copyright laws? The Original Double-Effect Shroud Image, for instance, was copyrighted in 1979 by VARI-VUE in Pelham, New York. Wouldn't it be ironic if a miraculous manifestation broke the law? And most important of all, this may afford us a fascinating and instructive glimpse into the mechanism of miracles. If we accept that Sai Baba actually did manifest this image, he clearly did not reach back 2,000 years in time and manifest a photograph of genuine, unadomed history. Instead, he drew from humanly- created images that are circulating right now.
The Face of Jesus has parallels with the phenomenon of stigmatists, that rare group of Christian believers who manifest wounds that imitate the wounds of the crucified Christ, especially nail holes in their palms. Yet research has shown that nails through palms would be unable to support the weight of a crucified man - more likely, the nails went through the wrists (significantly, the figure on the Shroud of Turin has nail wounds on the wrists). The wounds of stigmatists, then, reflect popular misconceptions of the Crucifixion, rather than historical fact. If we can take these two examples as our cue, perhaps such miraculous manifestations are not windows into pure history but (at least in some cases) merely reproductions of images already existing in the mass mind.
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