SAI BABA "GREEN DIAMOND" PROVEN
A FAKE BY TOP DIAMOND EXPERT
By: Robert Priddy - former long-term leader of the Sai Organisation in Norway
Website: Sathya Sai Baba - Extensive Information and Viewpoints
On 31/10/2002, my wife Reidun and I returned from three days in Copenhagen, Denmark, where the 'green diamond' Sathya Sai Baba (or 'SSB') gave me in 1986 (shown above) was examined by Mr. Peter Hertz, the Danish Queen Margarethe's jeweller, a top Scandinavian expert on precious stones and diamonds. All was filmed in detail by ōjvind KyrÝ's team for Danish TV. The result of the investigation, which took two days, is that the stone is a synthetic green sapphire.Value only about $40 today in super-expensive Denmark. Its value in India today could therefore probably be around $10.
I gave permission for opening the ring, (the stone is encased at the back so the stone's underside cannot be seen, as are all so-called Sai Baba diamond rings that I have seen). It turned out to have a layer of green silver foil behind the stone to enhance the green colour and reflect light. Behind the silver foil, the golden casing was painted black. The metal is 18 carat gold. (The stone was formerly estimated by its surface size to be the equivalent of ca. 5 to 6 carats, the stone being 1.2 cm in diameter). Mr. Hertz estimated the total value of the ring as perhaps up to $200 in Denmark today. So, if the Avatar materialised it as he certainly made pretence of doing, why did he also put a silver foil in to 'foil' people? He really IS a trickster and a liar about his materialisations and their composition.
Mr. Hertz assured us that he was able to determine without any doubt that the stone was not natural but artificial or 'synthetic' - that is to say, manufactured by human beings. The film of this visit to the famous jeweller in Copenhagen includes a brief interview with me in which I commented on this. This is part of a four-part TV series debunking paranormal powers showing on the Danish National TV channel (DR1) on Thursdays in April, 2003 in the series investigating paranormal phenomena called "En fornemmelse av snyd". For a preview of some pictures, click here.
That the stone is a fake conflicts totally with what SB let us understand about it when he gave it to me at an interview on Dec. 23'rd, 1986. It was something for which I never asked, but to refuse in that situation was unthinkable. No more, however! Devotees said it was such a great honour and - until that time - very few persons had been given such large 'green diamond' rings. Among those few who had were: 1) the International Chairman of the Sathya Sai Organisation, Mr. Indulal Shah, 2) The Head of Administration at the Vidyagiri deemed University - Mr. Kanhaia Jee, 3) Mr. Victor Kanu, and 4) Mr. Antonio Craxi 5) Mr. Robert Bruce. (Apropos, Mrs. Craxi stated the opinion that green rings are "power rings. But her husband was unable to help keep his brother, Bettino Craxi, in power, not with the help of his ring (nor with their Mafia connections, for that matter.) Mr. B. Craxi, who visited Sai Baba in Puttaparthi while he was Italy's Prime Minister, died recently as a criminal in exile in Tunis, fleeing a conviction in Italy to about 18 years in prison plus massive multi-million dollar fines.
Can such trickery and lies be explained away?
Sai Baba had every opportunity subsequently to refute that this was a genuine green diamond he had given to me, for he accepted my book 'Source of the Dream' in 1994 and signed it on the inside cover. In that book the 'green diamond' is photographed very clearly and what SSB said when he gave it to me is stated verbatim (see below). SSB is supposed to know what is in any book (and anything anywhere!), and he has said as much in public numerous times too. So in no way can he be exonerated for fraudulent behaviour.
Many Sai devotees are deluded enough to explain away such facts in any conceivable fashion. Therefore, I can assure everyone that, when Mr. Hertz put the ring back together after opening it, the original stone WAS used (not exchanged by him with a fake). I can tell this by examining the stone through a strong magnifier, because the same few tiny specks as before can be seen within it and the same tiny broken edges on the stone after hard wear are still present. So the stone is exactly the same as before.
This new and wholly indubitable information backs up very decisively the assertions of David Bailey in his long exposť paper 'The Findings' about a similar discovery with a said diamond ring given him by SSB. It is a pity that he did not have it filmed and documented with photos etc. when he went to a jeweller in Hyderabad in 1999, who actually produced such rings for SSB. Like many others, I was not then convinced by David Baileys brief account (though I was in strong doubt about SSB already and had become uncertain about my rings genuineness). The Hyderabad jeweller (whose name and address were unfortunately not given by Bailey) reportedly also showed that silver foil had been placed behind the enclosed stone to create a silhouette, and demonstrated how he himself did this, placing the foil on a blackened background. Mr. Hertz informed me that the technique of enhancing the brilliance in such rings - even those with genuine diamonds - was used back in the 18th century in Portugal and elsewhere. This was well before more modern diamond technology made this superfluous and allowed diamonds and other precious stones to shine fully without enclosing them or using silver or foil. (Incidentally, Portugal colonised Goa, where this technique could doubtless also have been taken up by Indians - or perhaps vice-versa).
I had occasionally wondered about the authenticity of these stones, such as when I saw the ca. 1 carat green stone in a ring worn by Mrs. Maynard Ferguson. She told my wife and I that the ring was "very worn down" due to her having worn it all the time, doing housework and washing up. The green stone certainly looked dull and much the worse for wear. The same applied to the same sized clear 'diamond' ring worn by Mr. Ron Laing, when we visited him and his wife, Peggy Mason, in Tunbridge Wells in 1987. Ron Laing said he had been told that it was a diamond. Diamonds simply cannot be scratched, except by another diamond. I held it and examined closely, for it was so worn that it looked more like a piece of heavily scoured glass. I certainly have to wonder, now, how on earth I could have gone on believing in the authenticity of the claim of SSB that these were diamonds after seeing these 'worn rings'. But such is the power of faith, it overrides all reasonable obstacles evidently. Needless to say, it also easily lands you in the ditch with its back broken if you ride it too far.
I have a sneaking suspicion that, despite my not wishing to think myself any more blessed than the next man, it crossed my mind that Ron Laing's and Mrs. Ferguson's stones could possibly have become dull because they did not have enough faith (actually they had far too much faith in SSB and most of the hearsay about him, as if to the nth degree, poor souls). I could not but wonder at that time whether their stones were fake diamonds (an unpleasant thought which I rejected soon because I also believed or really hoped that mine was genuine). Devotees apply this 'doublethink' to all kinds of such incidents... anything unpleasant SB says or does to them is attributed to their poor karma, their bad acts etc. Mostly, because of SSB's constant preaching on this, it is supposed to be lack of firm faith that causes others to meet such disappointments. I have heard this kind of fatuous hypocrisy from various devotees... those who doubt do not have enough faith, so SB changes the objects from a distance so they lose their true nature (and also their 'spiritual power'). However, it is basic scientific knowlege that genuine diamonds NEVER scratch, for they are the hardest substance known to us. The can only be affected by the abrasion of other diamonds or diamond dust! They can chip, but never become dull through normal abrasions of any kind.
Numerous others have claimed that, if one acts badly or questions SB's genuineness etc., a ring can disappear wherever you may be (because he makes it do so). But they overlook the words of SSB when he said: "Science transforms things, re-arranges them, studies their composition, re-groups their parts and releases the energy that lies latent in them. But I create the things themselves. And they are as lasting as any that is found in Nature!" (Sathya Sai Speaks - Vol. 2 New ed., p. 73). So SB "creates" artificial, man-made sapphires and fixes them up with silver foil? I don't think so!
What Sai Baba and others say about his productions
I have heard most distinctly SSB say of one ring that he supposedly materialised before us that it was a one carat diamond and 22 carat gold. He deceived me about the ring he gave me, saying it was a "better ring" than the clear diamond one he supposedly changed it from, which he verbally confirmed was a diamond. Never once to my knowledge has he stopped the constant statements by nearly all followers that his rings and earrings etc. contain real diamonds... the talk and the deception involved evidently suits him all too well. SSB also gave a "diamond" trinket to Dr. Michael Goldstein of the USA, a man who has demonstrated how easily he is flattered by SB, and easily deluded to a high degree. Think of the donations this has inspired. It was just after I had said in the private interview that I wanted to make a donation that he told me he would make me a ring the next day. Altogether, we have given over £15,000 to SB.
Mr. Hertz expressed surprise that SSB did not rather let us believe that the stone was an emerald, since this was his first impression of what it might be. When I replied to his initial question on what I thought the stone was by saying "it is supposed to be a green diamond", he told me later that he had known at once that it could not be a diamond, not least due to the unevenness in the light it reflected. This unevenness was evidently due to the manner in which the green silver foil was inserted incompletely behind the stone so a painted black background caused some shading, allowing a kind of shadowy, rough silhouette of a head and shoulders to appear from certain angles when shading it from above. This is no "mysterious appearance" of Sai Baba, as many devotees even believe, but a result of the manner of cutting and mounting the stone. (This rough kind of head and shoulders silhouette can be seen in the right hand picture above, where the ring is beside a silver medallion a so-called Sai dollar that SSB gave to my wife during our first interview.)
Mr. Victor Kanu, very well-known within the Sai movement and now the principal of a Sathya Sai college in Zambia, had received a virtually identical ring a year or so before I did. When I asked him about it he told me, "Swami said one could see him in the ring from time to time". So SSB planted the suggestion in him that this silhouette, produced by a jeweller's cheap technique, actually shows him. This brand of wishful thinking has become a standard among nearly all Sai devotees, for the dark silhouette one can see - very unclear and variable with the lighting and surroundings etc. - is perceptible in most of the rings that SB calls diamonds. SB did this when he gave a ring with a smaller clear diamond to a Mr. Kaufmann from Denmark while I sat beside him at an interview in 1989.
The famous diamond company of India, Tata Industries, was run by the famous Mr. Kamani. According to the long-serving Head of Administration at Sai Baba's Vidyagiri University in Puttaparthi, Mr. Kanhaia Jee, who had a ring and stone virtually identical to mine, Mr. Kamani told him while visiting SSB once that the green stone could be "nothing but a diamond". That was very convincing at the time, even though Mr. Kamani had not done any scientific analysis of his ring. Since then I have wondered about what Mr. Kamani may actually have said, or why he said what K. Jee reported... perhaps so as not to disappoint a devotee? Indians are very well-known for yea-saying so as not to cause embarrassment or loss of face etc., a very confusing trait that all who travel to India discover sooner or later. At all events, what Mr. Kamani actually stated remains uncertain, for there is no documentation of his views on SB diamonds.
Add to the above the report of Mr. Robert Bruce who told me he met a man who was claimed to be Australia's foremost expert on opals. Robert Bruce told me that he had estimated the value of his stone (also green and of the same size and cutting as is mine) at "between five and six million dollars". Anyone who wishes to check the value of the world's most expensive diamonds can soon see that this was an incredibly fabulous sum for such a small stone. The perfect clear diamond given to Elizabeth Taylor by Richard Burton in the 1970s was worth only £200,000. It now seems to me that that man, if he is any kind of expert at all, should stick to opals. I also heard at second-hand of someone who was claimed to have had his very similar green-stone ring examined at Tiffany's in New York, which firm had reportedly kept it for two weeks or so and that the result was that the stone was an extremely rare diamond of a sort known only to ancient India. Need I say it... there is no documentary evidence of any of the above claims anywhere to be found. It was evidently just a combination of imagining, wishful thinking, if it was not an out-and-out untruth... or simply the invention of misunderstood hearsay. Such hearsay is the basis of a mass of what is said and written about Sai Baba and to take it all in one's limits of credulity would have to be that of a 3-year old.
Decades ago, SB told the editor of the Indian Marxist Blitz magazine, Mr. Karanjia; "What I do is a different act of creation. It is neither magic, nor is it siddhi power either. For one thing, I seek no return. For another, I do not cheat people by transferring objects, but I create them." And "I totally create. Whatever I will, instantly materialises " (from Spirit and the Mind, Samuel Sandweiss, p. 241).
Common rationalisations of Sai Baba's fraud
Some devotees impressed on me that SSB has warned people NOT to take his rings and things to jewellers. Even a child should be able to guess why in reality he wants to stop this. But then children do often see some matters more clearly than mind-conditioned adults. The story circulates that, when someone who tried to sell a ring from SB, it simply disappeared. Surely just another way of hindering people from risking an objective test of their jewellerys genuineness. The whole Sai-disinformation system runs in a neatly closed circles which appear to leave no ends untied... and - since it is an extreme kind of subtle self-deception, it is also extremely difficult to unravel oneself from it once one has woven one's life about it.
All these kinds of delusory ideas that SSB has sown in devotees' minds, some once entertained briefly by me, are stubbornly upheld in the face of any amount of contrary evidence by leaders in the Sai movement like Anil Kumar of India, Art-Ong Jumsai of Thailand, Samuel Sandweiss and Al Drucker of USA, Jagadeeshan of Malaysia, ThorbjÝrn Meyer of Denmark and so on... Of course, they have all been tested by SSB to the point that they will swallow whole anything SSB says, which is mainly why they are his trusted 'VIPs' and are rewarded with various privileges (of which they are patently very proud and make sure that everyone knows about the 'grace' they get). Besides, these people seem quite unable to face up to having to realise and admit that they have very largely been made by SSB into fools who deny all common sense and reasonable counter-evidence. In the Sai dogma, not to lose faith in him makes one superior spiritually, one has 'good karma' and may well qualify for 'liberation' from rebirth etc. Good luck to those who base their lives on this uncertain promise. Otherwise, by common sense questioning one can rather get liberated from the whole delusion and open one's eyes and mind to regain a respect for facts and the truth they naturally indicate. What is more, opening the heart towards the mass of suffering people deceived by SSB so thoroughly, and those who have been abused sexually etc., is almost impossible without being honest enough with oneself to investigate thoroughly.
During a visit to his Bayswater flat in London in 1987, Mr. Lucas Ralli told me that SB had once "materialised" a ring for him with a clear (white) diamond. As soon as he had lowered himself with the aid of his bunched fists to sit cross-legged on the veranda outside the interview room, the unaccustomed ring came in contact with the floor, which is of marble, and the 'diamond' split into two pieces. (Diamonds can only be split by a sharp blow, but not by the sort of pressure involved in that instance). Ralli said that SSB had explained this to him the next day by saying that there was "some lapse in concentration while visualising" the product he was to bring forth. This same explanation from SSB has been published by some other devotee writer who experienced a similar faulty product from SSB's almighty hand. One cannot help wondering why one who claims he is always perfect, is always in 'constantly integrated awareness', and so on and so on... can have such 'little' lapses. But lapses he certainly has, to the extent that they are becoming almost the norm... for example in his vague and non-factual discourses.
Are all Sai Babas productions fakery?
Obviously, there is now all reason to doubt most strongly whether a single one of his jewellry gifts are what they are claimed to be, either by him or by many thousands of devotees. I reckon that the only likelihood of getting such a proof is if Sai Baba uses some money from his billions to buy a genuine diamond and give it someone to get it tested. The fact that, so far, all the rings that glitter at all are enclosed at the back is sufficient for us to assert that there is not a single such ring from SSB with a genuine precious stone of any real value. If official documentation from an accredited and known expert cannot be produced, could a person in full possession of their mental faculties believe otherwise? No such evidence exists. This is a rather amazing fact, one that illustrates the degree of mind control that the whole SSB story and social movement exerts on people who receive anything from SSB. I have been a victim of it, despite my rigorous scientific and philosophical training and reams of critical writings I have published about the methodological failings of various sciences and others systems of thought. So come on, you are not alone.
I challenge anyone to produce a genuine article from SSB worth more than, say, $500, and produce sound documentary evidence by recognised authorities to that effect. But I doubt that any devotee would dare to try to find out whether a gift from Sai Baba is a fake.
Nonetheless, it will surely surprise some that I am am still almost certain - on the basis of extended personal observation - that SSB can and does carry out apports, which therefore can appear as materialisations from nothing. The amount of fraud that has been shown to be involved since astute persons began to notice legardemain and find trinkets hidden in chairs on which he sits, further indicates that SSB's claims of divine creation are most unlikely to be true. That there are many phenomena connected with him, like the spontaneous appearance of ashes and nectar etc. on his pictures, I am told that he also has on occasion expressed surprise and interest when he hears of such things, for example by my friend and colleague Prof. Erlendur Haraldsson. Nevertheless he soon lays claim to many such distant phenomena as being his doing.
However, an increasing number of people have told of getting objects assayed and finding them virtually worthless junk. For example, a Dutch friend of Andries Kruger Dagneaux told that he had done this. (See http://home.helnet.nl/~ex-baba/engels/witnesses/andries.html). Though I am am almost certain on the basis of personal observation that SSB can and does carry out apports, which therefore can appear as materialisations from nothing, the amount of fraud that has been shown to be involved since astute persons began to notice legardemain and find trinkets hidden in chairs on which he sits, indicates that Sai Baba's claims of divine creation are most unlikely to be true.
That there are many phenomena connected with him, like the spontaneous appearance of ashes and nectar etc. on his pictures, I am told that he also has on occasion expressed surprise and interest when he hears of such things, for example by my friend and colleague Prof. Erlendur Haraldsson. Nevertheless he soon lays claim to many such distant phenomena as being his doing. I would also remind that the Internet had an account of the Jesus figure on a small wooden cross which Sai Baba got Hislop to believe was a piece of the original wood of the cross. A magnified photo of the amulet was examined by an emeritus professor and art expert and proclaimed most likely to be a commonly manufactured amulet from 19th century UK, with visible small defects due to the mass/casting process. The hole in the top of the cross is obviously for a locket chain, not for SSB's reason - i.e. hanging of the original cross from above. (See "The fake crucifix" and also comments at http://home.hetnet.nl/~ex-baba/engels/articles/premanand3.html).
Further, the so-called 'little Bible' that Sai Baba pretended to 'manifest' at Christmas some years ago and claimed was unique, was identical in appearance to one sold widely in India and elsewhere, and which can even be bought at SSB shops here and there, such as in Australia, according to Brian Steel's investigations. All of these 'miraculous' productions fit a pattern the name of which must surely be 'cunning deceit'. Then there are the golden lingams that SSB doubtless swallows (an oft-demonstrated yogic technique, such as by the convicted Swami Premananda and wandering fakirs) within 24 hours of Shivarathri day, and which he then regurgitates with much ado, claiming that all the gold of which it supposedly consists was present in his body all along. This last is quite preposterous.
Many long-term devotees have demonstrated that - whatever happens and however much disgrace it casts on SSB - they believe it is nevertheless 'all only his divine play'. The faking, legerdemain, lying, boasting, power-seeking, sexual interferences with young men, as well as his criticising and damning his critics and worse things have been ignored by those whose faith in themselves and life has become highly dependent on continuing to believe Sai Baba is God. They cannot free themselves of the various dependencies on SSB and attachments to their set beliefs which they have developed with much energy, usually over long periods of time. Anyone who speaks out against SSB or believes his critics is prejudged as suffering from what SB teaches is 'a mad monkey mind' or yet worse moral conditions. But those who say this are unfortunately the ones who are trapped like monkeys with their hands in the gourd that cannot release the proverbial precious peanuts.
Devotees' praises of SSB as a wonderful example to humanity and their service and other efforts have not been sufficient to stop him railing on (in a recent discourse) that 90% of them are not good devotees. How deeply misguided must the10% whom he considers 'good' actually be? The mind boggles at making an estimate. Well after all, I should know. Quite uncalled for, SSB told my wife in front of me that I was a, 'good, good, very good man' on two occasions. So perhaps he is not always so wrong, ha ha... I would hope not. I still follow him in one thing, at least, for he also told me in a private interview to, "Write, write what you are doing is right!"
NOTE: Many articles by me examining the facts and truth about Sai Baba, his ashrams, Organisation and movement generally are to be found on my website at http://www.saibaba-x.org.uk/enigma/
Here is what I wrote in an earlier article about this:-