Notes on sathya (truth), asathya (untruth)
and Sai Baba propaganda.
By: Serguei Badaev
Document date: 17-02-03
Sathya Sai Baba and his proponents mention a law of karma and remind us of the karmic consequences for those who spread calumny about Sai Baba. Presenting a lie as truth is a serious wrongdoing and a sin. That is correct. Most critics of Sai Baba are well aware of this too. Equally, those who present a truth as a lie or distort truth or hide important facts to modify it also commit a serious wrongdoing and a sin.
That is just what we see as one of a 'damage control' techniques used in the Sai Baba movement when we hear appeals to those who have some doubts about not investigating the matter, not to look for facts, but to put aside all doubts and put all faith in Bhagavan Baba. I am afraid that this head-in the-sand ostrich strategy can't be effective for long. Suppressed doubts will most likely become a part of one's subconscious and might lead to unconscious anxiety, dependence and even neurotic or worse reactions. As far as I understand the true role of a guru in Hindu tradition, it is removing all doubts, not suppressing them.
To my mind, Sai Baba is not a good example of truth and righteousness. Rather he is a good example of a manipulative power which uses people's idealistic aspirations to teach them how to negate their Divine discriminative power, and even their common sense, and how to mistrust the inner voice of conscience and how to become free from a heavy burden of moral responsibility, leaving all judgements and choices to an 'avatar' who is beyond good and evil.
From this point of view we can see how important the idea of Sai Baba's self-claimed Avatarhood is in promoting his worship and his mission. It is obviously not enough for him to be an enlightened personality or saint or anyone less than an infallible avatar. Otherwise it would be quite reasonable and relevant to see his actions as a result of human nature and apply all the same moral standards to them as to anyone else's. That is absolutely impossible for those within the Sai Baba cult.
So a process of 'conversion' into devotee can be outlined as follows: you are to believe that Sai Baba is an avatar (who is omniscient, omnipresent, etc. in short: a Purna Avatar) before you happen to know about his contradictory words, unfulfilled promises and unacceptable actions. As soon as you believe and accept all this, you have an excellent tool for rationalisation (in the Freudian sense) in the form of an idea of an inconceivable Avatar and that will keep 'safe' your emotional, social, spiritual and even financial investments in Sai Baba.
That is a very core of Sai Baba propaganda. And that is its most vulnerable point.