"A CRITICAL SITE ABOUT SAI BABA"
Specific issues # 4
Sai Baba's "beneficent" works
Sai Baba's "beneficent" works
Yet is true, coming to the practical aspects of Sai Baba's work, that through his organizations he has promoted a series of activities and works of public utility; the principal ones are:
These initiatives are all positive and worthy of praise, and they are often used by Sai propaganda to show how Sai Baba, as an avatar, is helping the human kind also at a practical level. These works generally leave dumbfounded those who are approaching the Sai world: considering the place where Sai Baba realized these things (Puttaparthi is really a rural place, parched and deserted), one even comes to see the "divine hand" in the making of all I have mentioned above... what is escaping, or anyway that is not said, is that:
The problem, I want to underline, is not in the fact that Sai Baba realizes his works, really they are welcome; yet it's in his (and his apologists) pretence, to indicate in those works a divine project, will and intervention in help of humanity, where really they are a human, local intervention, in support of a single rural region of India, the one in which Sai Baba was born.
At this point, however, on this argument are needed other, wider and different considerations. The bringing about of public utility works is something which would have to put a "the end" on all the controversies and criticizings addressed to the personage who brings them about... But in Sai Baba's case we cannot stop to a superficial analysis, since we have already seen that his absurd claims ("divinity", "infinite wisdom", "total knowledge", "divine love", "salvation for the humanity", etc.) don't match the facts, or better, that really very few (if not even nothing at all) of the claims by Sai Baba or by his supporters matches the reality of facts. It's then necessary to extend the analysis to his philantropical works as well, without scaring to be regarded as "wicked beings" due to questioning somebody who has built an hospital or some schools. Sometimes one has to be sharp enough to avoid being dazzled by these works, which simply could be a way to shut up the antagonists, and to mask some other "less agreeable" behaviours. Let's read an excerpt from an article which well expunds these concepts (click here to read the whole article):
"The humanitarian works, organized under the will of this individual, are the usual ones which could strike the human emotional, and which put their executor under shelter from any possible criticizing. Whatever it may happen, and whatever discordant opinion may be expressed, Sai Baba's supporters will always be able to say: "Thanks to him hospital and schools were built, he has helped so many people and he has given assistance and relief to many poor people in India. Could you deny that these works are full of love and kindness for the humanity?". Normally, any interlocutor endowed with logic is forced to shut up in front of such considerations; they represent a fact and not a theory. But how long we'll keep on permitting that through the beneficent works, the evil and the falsehood remain hidden and obscurely justified? An act can not and must not be judged from his effects, but investigated in search of its motivations. The human nature knows well the plots that could be hatched by anyone who wants to veil himself behind a positive appearance. In the daily rottenness and indifference (on worldwide scale) it's enough to devote oneself to philantropical works to be quickly raised above any possible suspect. [...]
So we prompt the readers to become more versed and sharp, stopping to fall in the traps of a kindness thrown at one's face, and beginning to prevent (through their dissent) that the philantropy may be used as a psychological blackmail, in the evaluation of human beings. Ideas spread themselves, thoughts have their inherent power, particluarly when they are emanated from lucid and aware beings (if not even Objective Ones). This means that anyone could do much to change the present state of things, simply by transmitting to others an acquired evaluation ability (based on the investigaions of causes, and not on the passive reception of the effects... i.e. of the actions alone). There's no doubt that beneficent works could be made for reasons which have nothing to do with Love and Compassion. Not only this, but to claim that an AVATARA shows himself through such activities, which are so similar to those the human beings are used to, it means to have not understood anything about the Divine Nature. If the Divine wants to eliminate the human suffering, he would really wait to take a physical body to change this state of things? [...] Therefore - to end the discourse related to the philantropical vision of this personage - we want to invite the readers to reflect on the fact that doing good, in a wide sense, surely could not indicative of the Spiritual calibre of a man; not only this, but that the actions, in their external disclosing, don't reveal at all the intentions (inner and hidden)."
(from an aricle on Sai Baba published on the Anidra website, personal translation)
So Sai Baba could be a philantropist and a benefactor, but the picture of him which outlines after a thorough examination, doesn't fit the description of him which is propagated by his supporters. And sure enough his "charitable" works don't make him neither "divine", nor anything different from a human being. Summarizing:
Therefore, let's try to take a look on Sai Baba's so.called "charity works", examining singularly the main ones, with their related problems and/or limits:
1) SAI BABA'S EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM
Sai Baba's educational system is often praised for its excellent results which, as to what it seems, its students obtain; results which are higher than the average of the results of "normal" schools (i.e. statal ones). And here lays the first big mystification: Sai Baba's schools reach those results because they admit only the best students. The SB schools' entrance exams are very hard and the results needed to get the admittance are very high; therefore those who are admitted are naturally already selected and good students. Let's see an excerpt from SB on this argument:
"The Sri Sathya Sai Vihar school has a limited number of students, therefore the teachers know ideas and feelings of the students entrusted to them, whom make any effort to know the nature of the human values. With a limited number of students, you will keep a total focus on them. When there are too many students, they will not be able to focus on the teachers and the latter will not be able to take care of the students. In ancient times, there were few students, and the teachings were many and wide. Today, because of the increasing number of students, the value of education has lowered; indeed you will have more satisfaction in teaching if the number of students will be lower. The Sri Sathya Sai Educational Centers are promoting this practice not only in this Country, but all over the world."
(from a speech of March 15, 1999. Personal translation)
If we consider that such policy is applied in an overpopulated country like India, where the problem of too much students surely exists, it stands clear that the only reason for which SB's schools seem to run better is because only few and highly selected students are admitted. Thus it is an education which is partially classist and not open to all. On the other hand, statal schools have to admit any kind of students. Then it's no surprise that the statal schools could have some more troubles...! But the Sai propaganda tends to point out this difference as the result of Sai Baba's "divinity", which would have given an "overdrive" to his educational system. Here is David Bailey about the schools, from "The Findings":
"I was led to believe that the schools and colleges in Puttaparthi and Whitefield had been set up to give free education to local children. This is not the case. Last year the fees at the lower grade schools were 20,000 rupees per child for one year, plus books, plus uniform plus accommodation if required.
The village school is government run, and as are all village schools throughout India, and is free - parents pay only for books and uniform.
Assuming that the college boys I taught were local lads, I was amazed at their learning capacity, until I discovered that these boys were brought in from all over India and had to pass very strict entrance exams, needing 85-90% pass marks. As one of the tutors said to me -
Sai Baba takes only the best. Theyd have to try, to fail.
One of my concerns with these lads, was that they had no career officer to guide them as to where they may find a job, and they would return after leaving college and ask me for advice about how to get employment. This occurred regularly over the five years I interacted with them."
(David Bailey, from "The Findings")
The high-praised Sai Baba's educational system, as well as for his other works, is a classic example of how the lack of state authorities is dangerous, since their place is quickly occupated by personages who don't operate basing on state laws, but basing on their own charisma or on the faith they advocate. SB's schools don't work according to indian laws principles, yet they work on the basis of principles present in the sacred scriptures or emanated by SB himself; these schools go in a parallel and independent way respect to the state authority. In cases like this, the law abdicates to his authority in favor of an alleged "divine authority", which surely is far less of warranty for the citizens. Fortunatately, in fact, SB says to his devotees to respect the laws of their own states; what if, one day, he would say them the contrary? What would these people do, since they see him even as God? To whom would they obey? Moreover, this school system doesn't seem at all to be immune from stains, even serious ones. There are testimonies speaking of sexual abuses in SB's institutes, or about the fact that those schools are not at all free as it's claimed; about this aspects you can read this section. In this page we find an investigation on a murder case at a Sai Baba's school; in this other one there's an article by B. Premanand on SB's educational system.
2) THE "SATHYA SAI SUPERSPECIALITY HOSPITAL"
As for the hospital, the main statements made by SB's propaganda are as follows:
Apart fromthefact that, as I've already told above, there is no public and impartial reporting about this works, thus nobody could verify such claims, not even here all that glitters is gold. Still here we find the limits of all human works and structures. It is true that medical cares are free, but it's also true that right for this reason the waiting lists are so long, that for the most part of the desperates turning to this structure, these cares are simply non-existing: they will never get them, and many will die before having seen the door of the Puttaparthi hospital. Moreover there are suspects of involvement of the structure in organs rackets: in this page there's an investigation of B. Premanand on a kidney disappearance. Recently this has had a judiciary evolution, with the beginning of legal actions against some doctors of SB's hospital; in the above link you will also find mention abou this. Moreover there are testimonies of people (who by now want to remain anonymous, for evident reasons), who say that in reality Sai Baba's hospital charge for admittance like any other private hospital, and its operating conditions are not at all so good ones as Sai propaganda tells us. And here is again David Bailey's testimony, about the hospital:
"I know that one wing has never been opened, supposedly through lack of funds. Yet, we are told that just one of the many donations given for the building was US$ 49,000,000.00 (forty-nine million US dollars!). This converts to approximately STú 30,000,000.00 (thirty million pounds sterling!) Names of many other large benefactors are listed in the hospital reception area, making the funds donated for this complex absolutely mind boggling. In relative terms money can buy five times in India what it can here. I question what happens to these huge amounts of donated money.
A doctor I sat near on the mandir porch, who works in this hospital, told me never to let anyone I cared about go there as the sanitation is disgusting and the lack of aseptic technique, appalling. This allegation has been repeated numerous times in correspondence we have received, by people who have seen through the hospital.
The Renal department is now also closed. There is bad publicity regarding allegations of theft of a kidney and subsequent current legal action being taken in India."
(David Bailey, from "The Findings")
3) THE "WATER PROJECT"
Even the acclaimed water project is often mentioned as example of Sai Baba's divine intervention. With data at hand (obviously provided by Sia Baba's Organization), they show how it has been an enormous project, built up "at an impossible speed for normal human projects", and that it has made happy all populations involved. A tutti gli effetti, pero', questo progetto non e' mai stato terminato. Infact there are also different accounts, talking about the troubles that any normal human project may have to face: inadeguacy of the project, slow works, technical troubles, unexpected events, etc. etc. If SB would be really omnipotent and omniscient as he claims, he would have had to foresee these troubles; yet they wouldn't have had to happen at all, if he's divine (remember? "What I will, must take place; what I plan must succeed. (1991)". Let's read:
"SATYA SAI WATER SCHEME IS DRY
The much acclaimed Satya Sai Water Project undertaken by Satya Sai Baba has literally run into dry bed. The ambitious project, envisaged to quench the thirst of the drought stricken villages of Anantapur, is facing problems due to the decline of water table at the water source of the scheme, Chitravati river bed, where the infiltration wells linked to the pipe lines were laid to draw water. The fall in the water table has made the infrastructure nearly useless.
The scheme was bifurcated into two projects - one covers 76 villages from Perumpally to Puttaparthy, while the other was designed to quench the thirst of the people of 91 villages in Chinthakota, Mudigubba and Madiri region. The present difficulties are the result of slow pace of work on the Chitravati balancing reservoir. Once the reservoir is complete, there will be regular water supply to the target villages.
Under the Satya Sai Water Scheme, six infiltration wells, each with a capacity to supply 30 million liters of water per day, were dug at different points of the river bed. Due to sharp decline in the water table level they are not working even up to half their installed capacity.
The people in the villages, whose hopes and expectations have been raised with the project, are a disappointed lot - they were supplied with water for just 20 days during the past 8 months! There may be a long wait of 2 or 3 years i.e. the time needed for the completion of Chitravati reservoir, on which the scheme is dependent."
(from the site "Andhra Today", a site concerned in affairs regardin the Andhrapradesh, the indian State where is located Puttaparthi. This is the link to the specifical page.)
Ed ancora, leggiamo dalla pagina "TELUGU archives -giugno 1998":
"Anantapur drying up.
Anantapur: Even the Bhagwan Satya Sai Baba found it difficult to supply uninterrupted drinking water to the drought ravaged Anantapur district. According to official sources the ambitious Satya Sai water scheme is hampered due to a sharp decline in water table in Chitravati river bed on which the the scheme hinges.
Larsen and Toubro has finished its part of the work of installing pipelines and infliltration wells. The schme is bifurcated into two projects one of which covers 76 villages from Perumpally to Puttaparthy, while the other project envisages to quench the thirst of the people of 91 villages in Chinnakotla, Mudigubba, Madiri region.
However, the declined water table has rendered the infrastructure built for the scheme workless. The work on Chitravati balancing reservoir going on at a snail's pace resulted in this situation. The irregularities and subsequent enquiries on the works have affected the Satya Sai Scheme.
We hope that the present state of affairs does not persist for long. "Once the reservoir is complete we will be able to regularly supply water to the targettted villages," said an engineer KV Sanjeeva Reddy, who works for Satya Sai Water Board.
According to a contract the Larsen and Toubro is to handover the maintenance responsibilities to the Board after the stipulated one year period.
Right now, the officials at the Board are holidaying at the cost of public money as there was little work to do.Under the Satya Sai Scheme six infiltration wells were dug at various ppoints in Chitravati river bed.
Each well was expected to supply 30 million litres of water every day. Due to the sharp decline in the water table not even half of the capacity of the costly motors and pumpsets was being utilised. Recent stray showers did not help increase the water table.
"We had high hopes on the scheme. water was supplied to us only for 20 days since the past eight months," a municipal engineer at Kadiri lamented. "The scheme's future depends on the competition of Chitravati reservoir and it is an unlikely prospect at least for 2 or 3 years to come.
Severe scarcity in Kadiri: Shortage of water is a perennial malady in several towns of Anantapur district. Civic bodies are unable to meet the increasing demand due to scant resources.
According to governments own stipulation a town consisting of a population of 75,000 should be supplied with 15 lakh gallons every day. Leave alone the standards, peple in several towns are not even getting sufficient water to fulfil their barest minimum of needs.
For example Kadiri town has a population of 91,000 according to latest census. "We supply 6 lakh gallons of water every day. half of this supply is untreated. High content of flourine in raw water were called for its treatment to reduce the chemical content," Kadiri Municipal commissioner Ajay Kishore told Deccan Chroncile.
Two proposals were submitted to the State government for the augmentation of water supply. One of the proposals envisages water supply directly from Chitravati balancing reservoir and it was estimated to cost Rs 2 crore." (personal translation)
And this is David Bailey's account on the water project:
"It has been claimed that all seven hundred and fifty villages in the Sai Baba Water Project are now receiving water. This I believed until I was shown a Telegu newspaper with a front page feature article showing photos of villages with no water, broken pipes, no pipes, pipes and no tanks, and many with nothing at all. The headlines translated, read
SAI BABA WHERES OUR WATER? YOUVE CHEATED US AGAIN!.
I went to some of these villages within the project radius and found for myself that the report was correct. My questioning local businessmen in the area revealed some interesting information. General opinion concurred that the project had been set up because the ashram had many problems with its own insufficient well supply; one of which was constantly recurring gastric disturbances, particularly with foreign devotees.
Request for permission to lay a water pipeline to the ashram fell on govt.s deaf ears, the response being that unless villages along the proposed line could also be supplied, permission would be withheld. Hence the huge global fund raising, which also perplexed me - having been indoctrinated with the no fund raising policies given out by Sai Baba. Within twelve months an effective pipeline to the ashram and a selection of villages was established, and then the work stopped. At my consternation at being of told this scandalous situation, the village elders simply shrugged their shoulders saying 'What can we do?' "
(David Bailey, from "The Findings")
Obviously, Sai Baba will never admit that, once more, has not showed himself to be up to his claimed "divine prerogatives"... here is how he "explains" (!!!) the scarcity of water:
"Why does water scarcity arise? When there is a decline in Sathya and Dharma, the level of water in the earth also declines. As compassion and love have diminished in the human heart, water has become scarce. This problem is not due to divine fury as some people may imagine. It is because of the rise in evil qualities in man. If people strictly adhere to the path of truth and righteousness, there will never be water scarcity. People blame bad times for their misfortunes. But there is nothing wrong with time. There are adequate rains and perennial rivers. But they are merging into the ocean without being harnessed."
(from a speech of 15 May 2000)
"Bad, bad feelings. Bad, bad customs. Bad, bad actions. Things are exactly so. Because of the decreasing of compassion and love in the man, the water on earth is decreasing too. It gets frightened when it approaches a man: 'What a disgust! Do I have to approach him? Never in the world!' Due to the human behaviour, even the five elements are getting frightened."
(from a speech of 15 May 2000, personal translation)
Any comment is needless here... and now let's see what Sai Baba has recently said, despite these news and testimonies:
"I found that bore wells were being dug to overcome water scarcity. But they become useless within a short period of time. So, I got a big well dug in the Old Mandir [...] copious spring of pure water gushed forth even at a depth of seven feet! At the backside of the Mandir, an entrance was provided for people to collect water. As you are aware, Swami has now provided drinking water from the river Tungabhadra to the entire district of Anantapur."
(from a speech of 6 may 2000)
But, as to what it seems, these Sai Baba's words are not true... and there's more; let's read this excerpt from a 1997 speech:
"I may have to take on new burdens in the future. I am well prepared for that. This is not the end of the story. I assure the people of Kolar that I shall see to the fulfillment of their needs in the near future (cheers). By the 72nd Birthday [i.e. by the 23rd of November 1997, Author's Note], the drinking water needs of the Kolar people will be met and people in every village will be well served. Even in Anantapur district, some areas remain to be served. I assure them that all that remains to be done will be completed. If any area is not covered I shall get the work done if I am informed about it."
(from a speech of 11 october 1997)
First remark: if SB is "the Lord omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent", then how does he can say: "I shall get the work done if I am informed about it"? It's indeed remarkable this Omniscient Being, who behaves quite like any common human being... anyway, this passage is self-commenting: as we have seen, the Anantapur water supply has never been completed, while the Kolar water supply has never been started.
From what appears from the available documentations, it doesn't seem at all that Sai Baba's public works are an example of "concrete divine intervention, to help the entire human kind", as instead both him and his supporters want to make believe. They are instead a local and partial intervention, which is destined only to a small part of India.
And however, SB's "humanitarian" works surely have, partially if not even totally, the purpose of shut up the most part of the adversaries, as well as that of getting the graces and the consent of India's public authorities (which supporting a famous godman ensure themselves a wide popular consent) and of many India's businessmene (who in his works see a good business).
Another, not less important function of Sai Baba's works is to ensure the Sathya Sai Central Trust (the organization which manages works, donations, funds, etc.) a constant flow of large money donations, mostly in foregin currency; on these money transactions the Central Trust doesn't pay any tax, since the Indian Government has exonerated this organization from paying any tax on national and international money transactions. This means a large flow of foreign values (Dollars, Marks, Yens, etc.) which is totally tax-exempt. And nobody has every seen an annual incomings/outcomings account of the Sathya Sai Central Trust.
Regarding the arguments treated in this section, this page is an interesting reading:
Sai Baba: how it works- Enlightening news from an ex-member of Sai Baba's inner security, related to some seemingly "unexplicable and divine" miracles, and to certain inner aspects of the Sai Baba Organization. A MUST READ.
Go to the Next page, go back to the Opening page, or choose another page:
General issues: what is this about?
The travel to Sai Baba, and my personal experience
Specific issues # 1
Specific issues # 2
Specific issues # 3
Specific issues # 4
Glossary of terms
Related links (pro and con !!!)
The "Golden Age" of Sai
Sai Baba - the "Bad Side"
Links to the thematic pages