Date: 08-18-03



Document date: 08-15-03


In his discourse "Who is Sai"from June 1974, SSB says:

"Consider the meaning of the name, Sai Baba. 'Sa' means divine; 'ai' or 'ayi' means mother' and 'Baba' means father. The name indicates the divine mother (my italics) and father,"......" I am the embodiment of love; love is My instrument"

Beware of that "mother" and her "love"! If SSB had been just an ordinary mortal mother, he would probably have been considered a dysfunctional mother.

Certainly he who claims to be the "divine mother", would not even have been able to take up competition with those ordinary earthly mothers or "good enough mothers" that Donald W Winnicott, the famous pediatrician has termed them.

The Swedish psychologist Margareta Berg Brodén describes three categories of dysfunctional mother-child relationships, in which the children will get great problems, based on her long-standing work with mothers and their little children. It seems as if SSB shares traits from all these three categories of dysfunctional mothers.
Even if you leave the sexual molestations out of account, SSB isn't that loving good mother he asserts he is.... You may compare his actual behavior with the categories described below, without bothering yourself about what he says. And by the way, isn't that the most reliable course of action, to form your opinion of people by studying their actual behavior, paying less attention to what they say? SSB himself also shares this view according to his discourse from 13 July 2003:
"There is no consistency in your words and deeds..... You are heroes in speech but zeros in practice. Today, the world is being duped by such people."

Yes the world is being duped by such people as him....But he is indeed the master-illusionist, projecting all his own negative traits of character onto other people.

The first category of dysfunctional mothers, Margareta calls "the directing mothers".
These mothersī actions toward their children are directed by their own needs rather than those of their children. Like film-directors they have already from the very beginning a script that dictates who the child is and what sort of role it will play. And the mother will be very disappointed if the child doesnīt live up to the role she has given it.
These mothers are not prepared to listen to their childrenīs signals in order to learn how they function and what they need. Their relations with the children will be one-sided and the mothers regard themselves as the only givers in these relationships.
They also often violate the childrenīs boundaries, because they donīt respect their signals.
They lack sensitivity according to the needs of others and their dialogue with their children is deficient. The rigid routines will also become an obstacle to the relaxed playfulness between mother and child.

These children (if they are of the more passive kind) often get problems when it comes to separation from their mothers. The delayed independence will make the children insecure in many areas and some of them seem to be depressed.

If you compare SSB with the description of "the directing mothers", you will soon find similarities. Many times I wondered, when I visited his ashrams, if we were there for our own sake or for his. Was it we or he who were confirmed by those actions of worship?
Werenīt these well-directed spectacles of his just manifestations of a very sick personīs extremely huge need for admiration?
After so many hours waiting for him on a hard stone floor in a crucifying heat, with a successive shrinking space, I always found the outcome of my effort most petty.

Exactly how much did he listen to our signals and needs and our yearning for confirmation from him, (who we thought was the embodiment of love), by at least a smile or a glance?
I canīt remember that I ever saw him smiling, for those 2― months I spent in his ashrams, when he passed by (thatīs the correct expression īpassed by `) on the female side.
And any sort of dialogue with SSB was certainly out of the question.
Besides he also is the only "giver" in the relationship with his devotees, according to his rather contemptuous statements in his discourses from 1973:

"There are some who declare glibly, O, I have surrendered my body, mind, intellect, my everything to God....
How can they give to God what is not theirs? What right have they? How can any one accept the gift of something which does not belong to the giver?"
"God gives everything, whatever we get is His grace."

Actually, I never discovered exactly what these gifts from him meant, because I never got even a clue of them.... that is to say I couldnīt discover any gifts that I didnīt have before I met him. And even if he asserts that my mind, body and intellect is his, I will go on being quite convinced that they belong to me and definitely not to him!

Like the mothers described above, SSB also violates the boundaries of some of his devotees, his supposed children. Many boys and young men have been forced to experience his sexual molestations.
And all of us who have visited his ashrams have also experienced SSBīs rigid routines and his massive security-measures with numerous safeguards that leave very little space for spontaneity, playfulness and real love; as a matter of fact the lovelessness in his ashrams is quite striking.

That many of SSBīs devotees still chose to stay with him, sometimes for decades, is perhaps at least for some of them due to the strong dependency that the destructive relationship with him creates. Contrary to what many may believe, destructive relations often create very strong (and unhealthy) dependence.
Most people who have written books about SSB have probably made idealized sugar versions about themselves and their hero and kept secret the more negative aspects of the relationship. But there are exceptions.
The Canadian lady Pooja Catherine Kapahi describes in her book: "The Lord and his devotee are one" her depressions, which succeeded each other and her numerous disappointments owing to her endless efforts to get just some confirmation from SSB. I was a little depressed myself when I read her book and I think that there are more readers who share these feelings. And I donīt think Catherine is alone with her experiences.

The second category of dysfunctional mothers, Margareta calls "the blocked up mothers".
These mothers have great difficulties on the whole to relate to their children. It is almost as if the child doesnīt exist for them. The lacking acknowledgement of the child leaves it in a sort of vacuum.
The mothers withdraw themselves and abandon the children in an emotional and psychological sense. Besides the blocked up motherīs face is rather expressionless
. When the child looks into her face it is met by emptiness and joylessness. There is also often lacking eye- contact between mother and child.

Who has not felt abandoned and left in a vacuum by SSB? Especially when, after several weeks or perhaps months in his ashrams, you have to go home without an inkling of response from him. If you are an ardent devotee you will ponder upon the reason for this indifference towards you.
But of course the only possible explanation is that the fault is with you, as SSB himself is supposed to be perfect, even if it sometimes can be rather difficult to establish the exact nature of this fault of yours that caused the rejection.
It is also very hard to get eye-contact with SSB and when you take a look at his face you are not only met by emptiness and joylessness, but also often by a grim expression. I realize now that he is probably quite fed up with most of his devotees, perhaps especially those on the female side, who he has no interest in, even if he at the same time also needs his devoteesī constant admiration.

The third category of dysfunctional mothers, Margareta calls "The erratic mothers".
These mothers have an extremely unpredictable and ambiguous relationship to their children.
They act as if they were directed by internal images or fantasies about their children. They can for example attribute their children with qualities and traits of character that are not realistic according to the childrenīs tender age.
These projections have nothing to do with the real children. The mothers also oscillate in an unpredictable way between closeness and rejection towards the child. The child will get confused messages from the mother, which it has difficulties to understand.

These children donīt get the possibility to discover their own unique selves, with both good and less good traits. In their mothersī eyes they are either all good or all evil.
An erratic and ambiguous mother will block the childīs development as only some of the childīs qualities are noticed and confirmed. To get love, the child has to adjust itself to the changing and erratic feelings of the mother.

The risk these children run is to get disturbances in their identity formation, because many of them will develop a "false self", to use Winnicottīs term, a self formed at the expense of authentic and real identity. These children will lack autonomy and they exist only in relation to others and have great difficulties differentiating themselves from others.
However Winnicott means that the development of a "false self" will take place gradually and can take any form, from the more normal form of compromise and adjustment to the total giving up of oneīs own identity.

Even if there are very predictable routines in the ashrams, SSB as a person is very erratic. One of his much-quoted sayings is "Love my uncertainty." Some of his devotees have had to experience how they suddenly, from being very close to him, have got out of favour with him and have been thrown out from the ashram.

SSBīs temper can also change from charming kindness to fury. In this connection I remind you of what Smt Vijaja Kumari writes about SSB:

"Swami shows as much intense affection as anger. The slightest oversight with regard to arrangements for His meals would provoke Him into a fit of anger. Sometimes He would fling His plate at the wall opposite Him with such force that it would rebound and come back to Him".

SSB is also unreliable when it comes to keeping promises that he has given to devotees. They never know when and if they will get the promised interview from him. And there are also those devotees who get quite confused by messages they get from SSB, which they have great difficulties in interpreting.
SSB also shares this primitive tendency, like the mothers described above, to consider people as either all good or all evil. The all good people are usually those who have served him in some way, like doctors or students at his ashrams.
According to the all evil people, I wonder which "good enough mother" would treat her own children with such contempt and call them "evil-minded" and "wicked" as SSB does in his discourse from 22 July 2002:

"Keep your hearts pure and sacred. Otherwise, you are equal to a living corpse. Such people should not be respected. Better that you perform their obituary rites!"

A description with nuances indeed and nice words from a nice mother! I also wonder how many "good enough mothers" there are, who would forsake some of their children calling them "chaff, Judases, cawing crows, slanderers," etc..... Only the fact that there are now so many ex-devotees all over the world, seems to stand strongly against SSBīs description of himself as a loving mother.

Besides he also, like the mothers described above, attribute his ex-devotees with qualities and traits of character that are quite improper for them. He says for example that we get money in order to "slander" him. He underestimates us extremely and is unable to recognize the sensitive conscience that made many of us dissociate from our former guru.

How many people are there, who live in the physical nearness of SSB, who have been forced to adopt a "false self" in order to survive in this environment that is so charged with his erratic and loveless regime? The tragedy is that they probably believe that they have developed their divine selves, but itīs hard to see whatīs so godly about their submission to the despot SSB...
Now and then I heard descriptions of the ashramites as grey and joyless people whose spiritual development have long ago ceased. When I was still a devotee I always wondered how this is possible for people who are living in the nearness of God.

But it is not only these ashramites who run the risk of developing a "false self". There are also all these ordinary devotees of SSB, who have been moulded and brainwashed by him to think, talk, see, hear and behave in certain ways that fit their swamiīs all black-or-white world, inhabited by either saints or demons.
Most of his devotees are prepared to obey their masterīs slightest wish. SSB constantly exhorts his devotees to talk softly and sweetly. Some of his male lecturers who give discourses on certain festival days talk with such soft and sweet voices that you can mistake them for being women. I feel sorry for these guys, because I suppose that at least some of them, in their over-zealous attempts to comply with their guruīs wish and live up to the role he has given them, have been seduced to give up their male identity in order to be their swamiīs penis-equipped women. SSB has also said that he is the only male in the world and all the others are women....

How many "false selves" have actually been formed by SSBīs ardent devotees?
Today at least some of us understand these things better than we did then... and we can also thank our good fortune that we have rescued ourselves from the "love" of the "divine mother" SSB. Beware of SSB as our "divine mother"!