Some Notes on SB's Religious
By: Brian Steel
Copied with permission from the author from:
Christianity and Judaism
1. Jesus Christ
For multiple discrepancies, contradictions, and apparent inventions about the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ, see SB's annual Discourses for Christmas Day, or my web-book: Sathya Sai Baba: God or Guru?, Chapter 5 ('Omniscience and Truth').
On more than one occasion and over many years, SB has demonstrated to his many Jewish devotees that he believes that Judaism and Christianity come under the same religious umbrella and even SHARE the worship of Jesus and the symbol of the Cross. He does not seem to have changed that opinion, in spite of advice from John Hislop and others.
In SB's Sarva Dharma Emblem, there are five symbols for five religions. Noticeably missing is the Star of David, which symbolises the Jewish Faith. It was only because of the persistence of the American Jews and in particular questions from John Hislop that Baba eventually gave permission for Overseas centres and Organisations to add the Jewish Emblem to the Sarva Dharma Symbol, if they wished. To this day, the Star of David does not appear on the Indian Sarva Dharma (nor, interestingly, on that of some Western Nations).
During the following 1978 discussion between Hislop and SB, a surprising fact came to light: Baba did not know that Jews and Christians did not form a homogeneous group.
Hislop: "Swami, some questions arise in the American Centers for which I do not have the answer. Many people of Jewish faith do not understand why the symbol of the Jewish faith is not included in the Sai symbol of all religions, since the Jewish people exceed in numbers some of the other religions represented in the Sai symbol."
Sai: "It is not through any intention that the Jewish Symbol is excluded [from the Sai emblem]. In India, there is not a general awareness that the Jewish symbol is substantially different. Does the Cross fail to symbolize the Jewish faith to a substantial degree?"
MG: "Yes, Swami. There is a substantial difference." [=Michael Goldstein?]
Sai: "Then let the Jewish people make a proposal to us and we will give consideration to it." (J.Hislop, My Baba and I, 1985:186-187; Oct 25, 1978)
SB finally gave them a group interview at Puttaparthi in 1980 at which Hislop was present and quotes SB as explaining to them: "The Sai symbol of five religions represents the five major religions found in India. For the West, the Jewish Star may be added as a sixth representation on the Sai symbol." (J. Hislop, 1985:191; Dec. 1, 1980)
(It is to be assumed that Hislop, the close devotee and confidant of SB, reported this astonishing revelation about SB's knowledge in the most favorable way. For the record, he also states about this meeting with Jewish devotees: "I was unable to keep up with the rapid exchange of questions and answers and could not remember afterwards, largely, I think, because of my unfamiliarity with the subject matter." p. 191)
Among the confused ramblings of SB's Christmas Day Discourse 1996 as captured on a video version but, for obvious reasons, NOT subsequently reproduced in the official printed Discourse, is the following un-omniscient statement:
"Here, at this moment, there are two schools of thought. The first group of thought - Roman Catholics. There is another group that fought with this group. This group is called Protestants. As they protested, they are Protestants. So among Jews there are these two groups: Catholics and Protestants. The difference of opinion has increased day by day. This led to Jesus, whose life was in danger. Jews there in Jerusalem did not permit Jesus to go there."
See also 'The Packaging of SB's Discourses' (Revised).
Ten years ago, a colossal historical/religious error of SB's was pointed out by Dale Beyerstein in his web-book, Sai Baba's Miracles. An Overview (available on several critical websites). In spite of its enormity, and because of the unconditional faith of devotees, most (including myself) took no notice !
In his Discourse for 21-8-1986 (Sathya Sai Speaks, XIX , pp. 137-8), SB says:
"A king from Greece [later identified as Alexander the Great] came to India to study the conditions here ..." (p. 137) "He made a study of the Bible, the Quran and Buddhist texts and found that all of this laid emphasis on Truth, ... In the Quran he found that only by adherence to the Truth can one be a real man." (p. 138)
BUT the enormous discrepancy over this reference to the Quran is a THOUSAND years! (Alexander the great - 4th Century B.C. Muhammad (and the Quran) - 6th to 7th Century A.D.)
We must hope that Hindu scholars will eventually investigate and report if necessary on the accuracy of SB's frequent references to Hindu scriptures and legends. (The scholar and devotee Ra. Ganapati pointed out half a dozen in his book Baba. Satya Sai, Part II, as I reported previously at the beginning of Chapter 5 of 'SSBGOG'.)