Analysing contradictions & factual errors in Sathya Sai Baba's discourses


Date: 01-21-02

From: Allegations concerning Sathya Sai Baba


Analysing contradictions and factual errors in SSB’s discourses we can put forward several hypotheses to explain them. First of all let us consider those hypotheses which assume that what we read in SSB’s printed discourses is not what he wanted to say, i.e. that we deal with different sorts of errors and mistakes. 

(1) Misprints. This type of errors concerns wrong word spelling or the wrong number in a date. For example, in SSB’s discourse of 25.12.1979, which is printed in the Sathya Sai Speaks series (v.XIV, p.288) the date of Jesus’s birth is given as 28th December. At the same time in the book "Eastern view on Jesus Christ" (as refered in Dale Beyerstein’s materials on the Internet). Jesus’s birth date from the same discourse is given as 24th December. It is very much to the point to say that books published by Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust contain rather a lot of misprints which seem to be reproduced for decades. However, the above examples cannot belong to this type. 

(2) Interpreter’s mistakes. When SSB delivers a discourse he speaks Telugu and speaks quite fast. Often he gives too little time for an interpreter to translate, starting speaking again while an interpreter has not finished translation yet. This impose a sort of pressure on an interpreter and can be a potential cause for mistakes. At the same time we see that SSB watches an interpreter’s work quite carefully and correct him if necessary (see, for example, video of 25.12.1996 discourse). Publications in Sanathana Sarathi and Sathya Sai Speaks series have been prepared by qualified and well educated people who know Telugu (SSB’s mother tongue) and have been able to correct mistakes using the original version in Telugu. So, one is very unlikely to find such sort of mistakes in SSB’s printed discourses. That is why in the collection given above most of quotations might look quite correct but at the same time they are in conflict with other SSB’s quotations. 

(3) Lapses. It might be possible to assume that SSB as an Avatar, playing a role of a being with human limitations, affords himself the possibility of some small human lapses. It seems, for instance, that J.Hislop adhered to this point of view as it can be seen from his discourse published in the book "Seeking Divinity", p.183: So all you can say about any inconsistency in Swami’s pronouncements is that it is evidence of what He, Himself, says, "I come to you as a human being." Now the sages also say that any exibition of human fallibility on Swami’s part will never affect dharma. He will never be unrighteous. These fallibilities could be manifested to a certain extent, but never to a point where it would violate dharma, because Swami is a very soul of dharma." 

Example (4) from the collection can be such sort of a lapse of just a wrong word ("Paul"). However, most of the given above examples are extended thoughts expressed in several sentences. That can by no means be considered as a lapse.

So, we have to assume that in the most cases what we read in SSB’s discourses is exactly what he wanted to say.

The following analysis concerns an important question about possible sources of information available to SSB. According to SSB’s biography it is known that SSB left secondary school at the age of 14 and has not completed his education. At the same time the scope of topics he deals with in his discourses is very vast and reveals encyclopaedic knowledge and erudition. It is worth to note that one of the sources of information for SSB could be those people in his surroundings, with whom he was and has been in constant communication. For example, we can mention here some well educated and erudite people among his close devotees such as former personal biographer prof. Kasturi, former editor of Sanathana Sarathi  Dr. Narasimhan, prof. Gokak and some others.

As well, however, it is unreasonable to discount those paranormal abilities which SSB does have and which give him an access to mental planes of other people. A lot of cases are recorded, when SSB could read other people thoughts, watch their past and future and so on. In regard to these abilities the question could be formulated in such a way: whether SSB has an information access limited by some factors (e.g. {to the}  mental plane of some person) or the source of information for SSB is Universal Consciousness (etheric plan, Akasha chronicles, etc.), i.e. he has unlimited access to all (!) possible information (total knowledge). What SSB himself says sounds as if the last is true. ("J.Hislop: I have asked important persons around Sai if Sai is all knowing at all times, or only when he so chooses. They give different answers. Sai: Sai knows everything. That people are in doubt is due to the Maya of the Avatar." J.Hislop. My Baba and I. p.195, interview of 9.12.1980).

If we assume the first is correct, then we can explain observed mistakes and contradictions by wrong concepts and biased thoughts of some persons’ mental planes which are read by SSB and presented by him. If we assume that the second is correct, the only hypothesis we are able to keep is that SSB does it deliberately, fully realising that people would accept everything he says as pure truth. It seems it is too difficult to find any reasonable explanation to actions of such a sort.

The only reliable conclusion we can come to is the following. There are inner conflicts and contradictions in SSB’s words, so they can’t be taken for pure truth. That means we should apply to his words the same intellectual faculties of reasoning and discrimination that we use in regard to the rest of the world around us.