Ex-Sai student Meenakshi Srikanth posted the following on his website in 2000. "A CRITICAL SITE ABOUT SAI BABA" The account here came from there.

The account of an ex-student:
"Sathya Sai Baba:
The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly"

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The following is [FROM] a chronicle of my experiences in Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higer Learning. These happened a good 4 years ago. But not much has changed, can change in this place. I studied in the Whitefield branch.

Miracles. A few days after I joined the college, during darshan time, Swami was casually talking about the power of meditation or some such thing when all of a sudden he waved his hands in the air and produced a pendant containing a beautiful picture of Lord Muruga as in Pazhani. I was stunned. I had not seen anything like that before. I was not a devotee when I joined the college (I joined because my father asked me to) but this was something which really shook me. I went back to the hostel and waxed eloquent about the power of Swami to some of my seniors. They nodded sagely and gave a cryptic smile. It was not very long when some of them called me aside and said, "Don't start believing all this stuff. It does not take much to become a devotee but it takes a lot to come out of it". Saying this, one of them waved his hand and produced vibhuthi and another produced a ring. Then they told me all. The simplicity of this thing is going to baffle you. So, be prepared for an exposition of gullibility of the common man.

Swami produces things out of 'thin air' by turning his right palm facing the ground and rotating it (parallel to the ground) a few times. He then makes a sudden motion upwards (as if he is plucking a low lying fruit) and gives out whatever he has produced. The mechanism of doing this is simple. When he comes out of the mandir, his left hand will be holding a kerchief or a letter or his flowing robe. Don't look at his smiling face or his swirling right hand or his overflowing hair. Look at his left hand: clutched in the palm with (mostly) the middle finger, ring finger and the little finger is whatever he is going to give out that session. Vibhuthi pellets (those of you who have seen him give out vibhuthi will recollect that he makes a powdering action with his fingers when he is actually delivering), rings or whatever. Just keep looking at this hand. There will be a time when a devotee will fall at his feet or when he will lean forward. At that time the stuff would get transfered to between the fingers in his right hand. This would be visible too (if you are looking for it). Very soon thereafter, the 'materialization' would take place.

Right, so you think this method is so stoooopid that even a goat would have found it out by now. Let me tell you something, just practice this a few times. And try it out on your friends. You will be surprised by their surprise. I can do this easily now and have fooled many of my friends. Only I don't call myself god or have VIPs fall at my feet.

I have seen these things happen hundreds of times. I have received vibhuti, laddu (a sweet) and stuff like these myself. In our hostel there was a coterie who knew about all these tricks. We used to have a ball of a time in the darshan line and used to share the hilarious experiences after the show is over. A couple of experiences would be in place.

Once, Swami was out of the mandir and was collecting letters. He had a small silver pendant in his hand which we had all seen when he had gone past us in the line. He had transfered it to his right hand and was just waiting for someone to give it to, when a devotee from a back row extended a letter. Swami bent forward and out stretched his right palm to receive it. It was a fine Bangalore morning, the sun was out and the pendant in his hand was gleaming for all to see! We went black and blue for a second and suppressing a threatening-to-explode laugh, looked away. Swami went ahead, unperturbed, and gave the pendant to some important looking guy down the line. We were talking about this for a whole week and even thought of writing a letter to Swami asking him to be more careful.

In another occasion, a singer had come to Brindavan and we were inside the mandir listening to him sing. Swami wanted to give him a watch and it was in readiness beneath his left thigh in the sofa on which he was sitting. I was sitting in the third row from Swami and was keeping a 'close' watch. The song got over and Swami shifted in his seat a slight bit and the watch was now in his left hand. He bent forward and moved the watch to his right hand. I saw this and looked up and saw that Swami was watching me! I turned red but so did Swami! He started shifting around a lot, asked one of the students to change the direction of the table fan and when the audience was looking away put the watch back into his left hand. Now, the student who was changing the fan was a nervous wreck with everyone watching him and whatever happened, there were sparks flying out of the socket! Soon a few other students went there to set it alright. By now the watch had gone back to below the thigh. That singer never got it that day (I really felt sorry for him). The next day morning, in the darshan line, Swami came near me and opened his right palm before my eyes and said, "Hmm..Namasivayah! (He called me this since I used to give talks in Tamil and started all my talks with "Namasivayah vaazhga! Naadhan thaaL vaazhga!"), nEthu ennannavO ninaichaachu! raathiri ennannavO swapnam kandaachu! paarthukkO! oNNum illa! Doubting Thomas! Doubting Thomas!". I wish I could have asked him to open the left palm then since, I knew he had something there! Well, now this seems funny, but at that time I got very scared and wrote a very apologetic letter to him!

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