Superstitious prayers to Sai Baba

Date: 05-23-02

By: Robert Priddy

Website: Sathya Sai Baba - Extensive information and Viewpoints

There are those who get doubts about SB, then decide to ‘ask Swami himself’. But, since they often can’t get to see him in person, they use some other method for deriving his answer. One common practice among Sai followers is to draw one of three prepared papers left on the shrine. One will have the word ‘yes’, another ‘no’ and a third ‘wait’. Some just spin coins or roll dice! Special coins (Umi and Tumi) are even on sale at some Sai shops for this purpose.

Or the uncertain devotee may set up some other precondition, like “If I see an Indian today when I go shopping, then Baba is answering me positively.” If the person happens to see an India, then this event becomes a big ‘graceful leela of the Lord’, an evidence of Baba’s omnipresence. If the desired result is not forthcoming, then one can always have another try with something else. 

Flipping open a volume of SB’s discourses (like ‘asking the Bible’) is a typical method. Whether one sticks to the first sentence one sees, or chooses another which lends itself better to a somewhat relevant meaning, probably depends on the level of desperation of the seeker. 

Those who get ‘the right answers’ are often unaware that this kind of phenomenon is by no means restricted to one name and form. It is a very common occurrence, and often works well when there has been greater investment of emotional and mental energy behind the question. In this way one can, however, sometimes even ask one’s cat, an imagined alien UFO, or the Director of the CIA and get most wonderful answers! 

The psychologist C.G. Jung, who experienced many such ‘coincidences’ and investigated the question deeply, named these effects ‘synchronicities’. That they have to do with the power of projection of subconscious energies seems very likely, and that there is a ‘collective unconscious’ or ‘astral plane’ whereby thoughts and symbols are transmitted, is perhaps the best explanation of them. Some may operate through so-called ‘elementals’, which are powers that seem to exists without being embodied (i.e. deities, spirits, djinns, ‘fairies’, demons and the whole range of identities these forces have been given in different cultures and ages). There is, of course, no guarantee of divinity being attached to any such phenomena. It is an area fraught with deceits, delusions, self-deceptions, fraud and potentially very serious psychic disturbances like uncontrollable apparent ‘psychic invasions’ and even full ‘possession’.