Sai Baba on why the Sai Movement
has such "slow growth"!
By: Robert Priddy
In "Conversations " in the 1995 re-edited version (p. 232), Hislop tells Baba that the American Sai centres have slow growth. "We should have 300 or 400 instead of just over 100."
Baba replies: "One reason for the slow growth is that Hislops discipline is too harsh. The Sai Organisation works through softness, kindness, love and harmony. In America the people are outspoken with strong and often harsh ideas and opinions, and when they are confronted with an equally harsh ruling there is a confrontation and cessation of advancement and progress. Persuasion should be applied softly and with kindness."
Hislop replied: "Swamiji, I do months of soft persuasion without effect; then I have to act with firmness."
Comment: Poor Hislop, he did not always see eye to eye with SBs "omniscient truths". But he had to bow and scrape nonetheless, so spellbound he was. In contrast to SBs harsh opinion of Americans, my experiences during nine very long visits to India proved that people holding office in his ashrams are the ones who often have harsh ideas and opinions. The ashram gives Westerners introduction to how little helpful and directly unpleasant, overbearing and patronising some of its officials and residents can be with their opinions and ideas. I need not expand on this in detail, for habitués of Baba ashrams who do not know what I mean are most certainly very few and far between!
My general experience of many Americans involved in the Sai Movement (at least, apart from the overall leader!) is that they do not have such harsh ideas, rulings and opinions. They are often amenable to open discussion and a free give and take of ideas, certainly more so than most Indian devotees (but there are some very honourable exceptions). Americans are after all brought up under a non-authoritarian educational system which allows serious questions which can at least reckon on being answered civilly, whether affirmatively or not.
But the brush-offs one often gets at the ashrams from imperious officials are well-known and may often be seen to have the trademark of SB himself on them he ignores, scowls, and in the interview room - gives unpleasant answers and makes people the butt of his often cheap humour (You fight with your husband! General laughter from sycophantic devotees. You are a mad girl! Much amusement among those not addressed). That the writers of endless and top-heavy praise of SB and everything he says hardly ever mention such glaring facts and blatant incidents that all have to deal with regularly is just another of the distortions made on the cloud-cuckoo-land principle. Unlike them, I exercise the same right as does SB in many discourses to express certain harsh opinions, because they are based on fact and are needed in order to help somewhat to right the unbalanced propaganda from mind-blindfolded believers.