From: Brian Steel
In recent Notes, I have suggested that there is evidence that SB often includes in his Discourses idiosyncratic versions of news garnered from his associates and visitors. For example, the recent SB 'spin' on the alleged World Bank offer of unlimited financial support, not to India but to his Organisation. Also, the very strange and incorrect insinuations he made on his last birthday linking the Nobel Institute to a visitor to Prasanthi Nilayam. (SB didn't name the man, but he turned out to be a foreign executive named Dr Nobel who was attending because of the commercial launch of the SB radio station - see below - with no official function in the prestigious Nobel Institute.) Immediately, rumours spread among overjoyed devotees that SB was to be awarded a Nobel Prize for Peace.
"More, more, more, more will come. To show this to the whole world, it ('Sai Global Harmony Channel' a satellite digital radio channel set up to broadcast Swami's discourses, bhajans, etc) begins within this month. To bring about these changes, numerous people will be involved. I am also telling you a few names.
"They are giving the Nobel Prize to many people. The man who gives the Nobel Prize (Chairman of the Nobel Prize Committee) is coming here on the 22nd November. The ones who will show this [the Radio channel] to the whole world, TV people, are all coming here on the 22nd.
"Who called them? Who invited them? If all things like these are seen, all sorts are coming here. No one has invited them at all. No one is giving them a (special) welcome. Yet they themselves are coming. What is the reason? That Chaitanya Jyothi (meaning Swami Himself) is here and It (He) is pulling them! (Applause)" (www.internety.com/premsai)
Evidence of a similar but much older case of announcing news almost certainly gleaned from others rather than from omniscience has only just come to my attention. It has to be added to the growing dossier of factual information about the life of SB. Because of the subject matter, the story is also relevant to the topic of SB's variations on the Jesus story, of which the reader will find much more in Chapter 5 of my current study: The Guru from Puttaparthi.
Janet and (the late) Richard Bock are well known as the authors of a highly successful film and a book about the 'Lost Years' of Jesus Christ and the alleged travels of "Saint Issa" to India and the Himalayan area for 18 years of studies before returning to his country and undertaking his Mission. The Bocks had become devotees in 1968 and made several visitors to the ashram during the 1970s, carrying out their research on Jesus in the late 1970s. In 1977, before another of their visits, they sent a message to SB through friends asking whether it was true that Jesus had travelled to India. SB gives the friends a vague answer indicating that Jesus arrived in India aged about 16. Mary had sold household possessions to pay for the journey. Jesus attained Christ consciousness aged 25 while in India. He returned via Tibet, Afghan Persia and what is now Russia. (J.Bock, 115) We also have a corroboration of this vague answer, in a very similar reference in Hislop's Conversations ... (XXX, p. 97 - there is no date, but from internal evidence, the conversation probably took place in 1977):
"A Visitor: Mr 'X' wishes to make a film about the so-called 'lost years of Jesus=. He has much experience in making films and he is a Sai Devotee."Sai: "Jesus realized that he was Christ in his 25th yr. For eight years following his 16th birthday he traveled in India, Tibet, Iran, and Russia. He was variously regarded as a beggar or as a sannyasi. Jesus had no money. His parents were very poor and practically abandoned him at an early age."
When the Bocks arrived later that year (1977), SB told them, equally vaguely, "He spent five years in the Himalayan regions of India. After coming to India and practising spiritual disciplines, he proclaimed "I and my father are one." (Bock, 115)
However, a year later, in his Christmas 1978 speech, after the Bocks had done much more research and, in view of their easy 'celebrity' access to SB, after they had presumably shared it with SB on one (or more) of their visits, he is suddenly able to improve slightly on his previous vagueness on the subject of the 'lost years', by telling his audience for the first time (as of course do Richard Bock=s film and Janet Bock=s later - 1980 - book) that Jesus' local name had been Isa [Issa in Janet Bock's research], and also by making a special reference to the Tibetan manuscript and the monastery which feature strongly in the book and the film by the Bocks:
"Jesus' original name was Isa which, when repeated, is Sai. [Yet another misleading wordplay of SB=s - see Chapter 3 of my The Guru from Puttaparthi.] Isa and Sai both mean Ishwara In the Tibetan manuscript, at the monastery where Isa spent some years, his name is written as Isha, which means the Lord of all living beings." (Sathya Sai Speaks, XIV, 16:110)
By that time Dick Bock was a member of the Sathya Sai Council of America which brought even more privileged access to SB. Interestingly, a year later (in his Birthday Discourse in 1979) SB singled out Dick Bock for special mention by name as a member of the Sathya Sai Council of America. (Sathya Sai Speaks, XIV, 43:274)
Janet Bock, The Jesus Mystery. Of Lost Years and Unknown Travels, Los Angeles, Aura Books, 1980.
John S. Hislop, Conversations with Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Prasanthi Nilayam, Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust, [n.d.].