PERSONAL REFLECTIONS OF A DOUBTING DEVOTEE (3)
Third of a series of three postings (1, 2, 3) by Reidun Priddy, former founder member of the Sai Org. in Oslo, Norway in 1983 and active worker until 1999.
By: Robert Priddy's wife Reidun
Website: Sathya Sai Baba - Extensive information and Viewpoints
Personal Reflections - No. 3 - On the confused message of SB's life
The saying 'As above, so below' may make sense after all. I didn't think it did with regard to the ashrams and the organisation. I thought that people have the freedom to choose how to behave, God doesn't turn us into automatons or slaves, so don't expect ordinary people to be saints. That way I managed to find a positive aspect in the fact that there were so many badly behaved people where I had expected quite the opposite. Now I tend to think my reasoning was at fault, for why would Baba pick just those people for various positions that he did instead of people who sincerely would try to live up to the name of the ashram? To give us endless tests (again) which the whole of the rest of the world provides us with constantly anyway? Why not show us instead that it is actually possible for life to be different, that the spiritual teachings are not just myths, but can be quite real? Instead the spiritual teachings remain as theoretical and mythical as ever, for staying at his ashrams is so difficult that even 'toughened' devotees of long experience feel the need to come away and gather strength, such as after major birthday celebrations for example. So what have we here, then? Instead of charging our 'spiritual batteries' in Prasanthi Nilayam as Baba says we do, it is often a great strain and quite exhausting, physically and otherwise, and you need to be in good shape to be able to stand it for long. Those who are ill have the hardest time and the worst seats in the sense of being placed as far away from Baba as possible, at least on the ladies' side.
He has come like Krishna to restore dharma, he has said. But now it seems that rather than giving us a clear message through his life of hope for and faith in pure love for people in a world sadly in need of it, it has turned into a test of blind faith instead. We are told the old story of the wheat being separated from the chaff, and if we are found too light we might end up caught in a demonic round of never ending rebirths. Earlier in my life I have refused to be bullied by fear of a punishing God into sticking to unacceptable doctrines, and I can't let that happen now either.
When I turned my back on organised Christianity in my early teens there was still hope of other things to take its place. Now, if Baba really has lied about himself, and there is very little hope left in me that he hasn't, how can I ever have full confidence in a spiritual teacher again? So many of them have turned out to fall prey to lust for sex, power or money. I felt sorry for their devotees and counted myself lucky that I had Baba! Now Baba seems to be no better after all, and I feel a terrible cynicism growing in me. I feel my mind and heart closing up against the whole mass of spiritual tradition represented by Baba. Why should I believe any of it, any of them? If he is false, maybe all the ancient rishis were false too? How do I know if their teachings of thousands of years ago are true, when I can't even know for certain about Baba who is here now? Did they even exist at all or have they just been thought up by somebody?
Since 1983-84 I had regarded Sathya Sai Baba as my chosen form of God and the embodiment of spiritual truths. Therefore, in my mind and heart, he had been involved in whatever way I have thought of God. Now that I don't know what to think of Baba, I feel out of touch with my own feeling for God.