By Robert Priddy
Here we see what seems very like a typical double scam. The story itself is unsourced and undocumented, the date is not given and the 'songstress' remains unnamed. Various lady singers have performed for SSB, including the famous Subbalakshmi and troupe, who is seen receiving such a trinket from SSB on a film by Richard Bock. It may or may not be her who remains unnamed. Firstly SSB presents an object that is doubtless almost valueless (by sleight of hand, most likely), then he produced an identical copy of it to confuse Raja Reddy and others, so that he can make it seem that it is extremely unwise to get any of his gifts valued! Just so that he is not thought to be too harsh, however, the unconfirmable additional part of the story is invented whereby an anonymous husband asks for forgiveness for an anonymous wife and SSB relents.
The same kind of claim was made by Prof. N. Kasturi in Sathyam, Sivam, Sunderam in the instance of the Norwegian magnate Alf Tidemann-Johannessen, who had lost a ring SSB had given him. According to Kasturi, SSB produced the selfsame ring which had fallen off Tidemann-Johannesens' finger into deep water when boarding a vessel, saying that it had fallen into his hands. (Actually most of the rings SSB produces with enamel pictures of himself on are clones of one another with few different types of setting). In any case, Tidemann-Johannessen defected from SSB around 1979, calling him a cheat and a thief... and was never seen at SSB's ashrams again. He lived until 2000. These facts are kept well hidden under the SSB carpet, never mentioned among devotees, to be sure!
SSB has now and again arranged in one way and another for similar stories to circulate with the result that, during my 20 years of contact with believing Sai followers, I never once heard of anyone who took any supposedly valuable trinket for evaluation... not until David Bailey reported that he had got his "diamond ring" opened by the jeweller in Hyderabad who explained its relative worthlessness and told that he supplied such items to buyers himself.
However, in my case, the alleged "green diamond" ring which I got examined by an undisputed authority on diamonds (Queen Margarethe of Denmark's jeweller) turned out to be an almost worthless synthetic sapphire stone. The ring and stone are still in my possession and the stone is the absolutely identical one I wore for 14 years. I defy SSB to apport it away, dematerialise it or whatever. I claim that he can do nothing at all about it!
SAI BABA DIAMOND RING FOR SALE!!
Incidentally, I am quite willing to sell under public scrutiny that allegedly "utterly invaluable" green diamond ring which Sathya Sai Baba "materialised" for me at Christmas 1986. It is very clearly photographed with a macro lens and can be seen in my published book Source of the Dream from 1994, republished in 1998 and 2000. One may also view a macro photo by clicking here. But I require a sum equivalent to what I have donated to SSB through the years. Any takers? I think not! Ha ha!