Dr. Timothy Conway's information

on SSB's plagiarism


From: Dr. Timothy Conway

Date: 08-11-01

Dear Friends,


For a book manuscript I'm writing on great Jnanis of modern India (NOT including ssb!) I was going back to some of my very old books on Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh, founder of the well-respected Divine Life Society.

I was rather astonished to see some very "familiar" sayings that, clearly, Swami Sivananda uttered or wrote first, and that later were picked up almost verbatim by Sathya Sai and passed off as his own sayings. Most Sathya Sai devotees quote these as if they were original to Sathya Sai, but now it must be made obvious that he has plagiarized them from Sivananda--or maybe Kasturi plagiarized them and fed them to Baba to repeat to his adoring throngs of devotees. You will also remember that Elena has caught a few instances of plagiarism by ssb (or Kasturi) from Gandhi's sayings. I have also run into many close similarities between ssb's sayings and those of Swami Vivekananda, suggesting yet more plagiarism.

As you know, plagiarism is a serious offense, an act of tremendous intellectual dishonesty. It is basically a rank form of stealing. You can appear to be a great orator or writer by stealing others words and passing them off as though you were the inspired one who came up with such wonderful words.

Of course, certain Sai devotees will be wont to say something like, "Sathya Sai doesn't need to mention someone else like Gandhi or Vivekananda or Sivananda as the source of these sayings because it is He, Sathya Sai, who is God and who inspired them with these sayings. So ultimately these sayings come from Sathya Sai, not Gandhi, Vivekananda, or Sivananda."

And my response to that would be: Prove that Sathya Sai is the one who inspired these illustrious sages! Don't just give me the "Sai-is-the-Avatar" rap.

Anyway, here are some of the obviously plagiarized sayings from Swami Sivananda that Sai has taken and slightly reworked for his own purpose. First, a well-known prayer from Sivanandaji that probably dates from the 1940s if not earlier:

There is only one caste; the caste of humanity.

There is only one religion; the religion of love.

There is only one commandment; the commandment of truthfulness.

There is only one law; the law of cause and effect.

There is only one God;the omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient Lord.

There is only one language; the language of heart or the language of silence.

Here are other, briefer common sayings of Sivananda:

"He who is desireless is the richest man in the world."

"Work is worship."

"Be good. Do good."

If/when I find other plagiarized items, I'll send them along.

Best wishes to all,