Analysis of a recent Sai Baba



Date: 12-19-01

By: E.C. Owen

Document date: October 3, 2001

Sai Baba recently held a discourse (11/8/01, published in Sanathana Sarathi, September 2001) where he detailed the running costs of the two hospitals, the colleges etc. and how much investment is needed to cover these. This sum - amounting to the interest from 600 crores of rupees (about $150 mill), is perhaps surprisingly little. Half the interest goes to the Bangalore hospital, 2/6th to the Puttaparthi hospital and 1/6th to all the educational institutions together. Sai Baba asks rhetorically, "Wherefrom does it all come?" And adds so self-deprecatingly, "However, I am giving it" (p. 264). Does Sai Baba himself have any money to give, then?

Baba also told, however, that he recently received news that 600 crores of rupees (ca. $150 mill.) was coming from a person in the US whom he has no direct contact with. This covers all expenses then, so what about the other massive donations, often $100 million and more that have even been announced now and again? The kind of figures Hari Sampath worked out in a quite rational way as a conservative estimate of the entire Sai holdings of at least $45 billion - though appearing to be done in a quite rational way as a ‘conservative estimate’ - seems a bit too incredible. However, since all information everything about the Sai empire, including the secrets of its vast wealth and the many sources from which it comes, is protected by the courts and government, one certainly wonders where it all goes!

Speaking of 12,000 heart operations performed at the Puttaparthi hospital, he boasts, "I leave it to your imagination to appreciate who is responsible for saving so many lives." (p. 262) Could he mean the donors, the doctors, all the selfless hospital workers? If he is saying it is all his miraculous aid, then why does he bother with the hospitals? Ah, yes! who can fathom Sai Baba, beyond all sense and reason! But it is striking how Sai Baba in discourse after discourse publicises and praises himself in a way which one will be hard put to find elsewhere. He goes on, for the n`th time, "I have no personal desires or selfishness in Me at all. I have not asked anybody for help. Will anybody simply give hundreds of crores for the mere asking? None." Does Sai Baba not know that there have been thousands of huge benefactors of mankind who have not been asked... eg. from Robert Owen to Rockefeller, Getty to Bill Gates, who behaved with modesty and gave full credit to all those involved without whom their part would not have been possible. Why would an avatar need to harp on about his own excellence, hardly ever mentioning all the others who contribute selflessly in various ways? There were often 'ordinary unenlightened' people (eg. Bob Geldorf) leading big charitable projects or relief work without making any such fuss about themselves. And while on the subject, when money donors to the water project were publicly named and thanked on Baba's 70th birthday, the list included only those who had given over a very high amount (1 crore of rupees), without mention of any or all others who were not so rich but had also contributed.

Along with his self-praise comes repeated talk of his supposedly being unaffected by praise or blame! "All that I do has a great ideal for humanity." Does this include his having stood by without lifting a finger while his officials persuaded the police to shoot young men armed only with knives in cold blood? But, though he would not answer any questions the press put to him about this, he says, "There is nothing hidden in My actions". (p. 266) He proclaims how everyone loves him and all the good he does. "Stones are thrown only on fruit-bearing trees. Similarly, good people receive brickbats." (p. 267) Did Baba 'forget' that the 'bad men' of whom he himself sometimes speaks (mainly in interviews) also sometimes receive brickbats... for which thank goodness!

Sai Baba also said a number of questionable things in the same discourse, "Today is Krishna Janmashtami, the birthday of Lord Krishna. I am making a promise today that the people of all the countries, viz. Pakistan, China, Germany, Russia will be united. That should be our goal. The goodness of Bharat will lead to this unity." (p. 267) This makes any well-informed person think both how vague and how extremely unlikely Baba's 'promises' often are. Does he mean that through India’s offices all countries of the world will join in one union, like a glorified USA or EU? Devotees will doubtless interpret this prediction of the current alliance against terrorism between countries who now agree they are going to war against the terrorists. But Sai Baba specifically included 'the people of all the countries". Even Israel, Palestine, Irak, Iran? Would it were so! But even conveniently united efforts on the political scene against a common external enemy come and go according to circumstances… unlikely to last, as with everything, as I have heard said somewhere!

So what does Sai Baba mean by Bharat? A non-existant country at present, only existing maybe in some distant past, or a future not yet here or in the imagination, even? Surely he can't be talking about the India we know of today, corrupt from top to bottom. How can such a nation, where most human rights are totally disregarded for the great mass of its population, conjure forth all this goodness that will unify the world? Well, only the Lord knows, what with the massive and blind retributive killings by Indian forces of innocents in Jammu/Kashmir and of Nagas in the East, with its persistent and repressive caste system, widespread colour discrimination, ever-repeated murdering of Dalits, Moslems, Christians, tribals and the still very widespread burning of brides, repression of women's rights, slavery of millions of landless bonded labourers and its ca. 20 million child labourers? It’s a nice thought, but is not Sai Baba fanciful now... or, as he says of his critics 'imaginative'? "There are some jealous and petty minds who do false and imaginary propaganda. I take no note of this" - but he noted it just there! He sees the need to combat it and so must have been moved to do so! "In the single family of humankind, where is the room for jealousy or hatred? These are all imaginary." I suppose Baba means among Arabs, terrorists, the most jingoistic Americans perhaps? He is still offering the pseudo-philosophy of 'whatever you imagine, is true for you'. This may be an effective way of influencing those who can't face the staring facts... and so choose to follow that old, old trick of mental enslavement, 'The guru is never wrong, doubt only yourself!'

The present writer is unable, for reasons that should now be obvious, to have that much faith in Sai Baba any longer. Though I have numerous indubitable experiences of Baba’s very real manifestations – even though he may perhaps pretend in some cases – and though I have had many proofs of his truly exceptional psychic or para-normal influences (few of which I can possibly doubt even now), I have come to know that Sai Baba is by no means infallible, nor is it possible that he all that he claims to be. Further, he has dark sides that even some very frequent interviewees have no knowledge of. Though I have never noticed the slightest sexual behaviour on his part, the evidence from many countries through decades has piled up to an extent where abuse cannot seriously be denied.

Sai Baba’s usual pretence that the "whole world" knows about him, repeated yet again in the

August discourse, is a directly laughable claim which would suggest how little he knows of the real world! Does he actually think the 1.4 million Chinese have even heard of him, or most of the world’s 2 billion Christians, 1 billion Muslims, not to detail countless others who care nought for an Indian swami? If so, he is completely out of touch in an eternal world of his own imagining.

"Strange rumours are spread at times. Someone says that Sai Baba is angry with X or Y. But I bear no ill will against anyone, and nobody is against me. Everyone loves and none hates me." (p. 262) What does he say, nobody? But why then did he also say, "Disregard every manner of adverse comments" (adverse to what, to whom. Can you guess?) However, having himself abused many of his ex-followers as 'Judases' - and threatened them with lifetimes of shame - in his Christmas 2000 discourse Sai Baba goes on to say, "... we should disregard abuse and hold to our righteous ideals firmly." "Love even those who abuse you. I am a standing example of this." (p. 267) (What variety of abuses might he have in mind?) The gramophone record is stuck in the same old groove: "Rough diamond acquires value as it is cut and polished. In the same way, abuses turn into ornaments." So if or when abuse might occur, this rule works both ways, may we suppose? Grand stuff!