News from Latin America II


The second part of the program concerning the controversies surrounding
Sathya Sai Baba in "Zona de Investigación", Azul Television, Channel 9,
Argentina went on the air last Sunday August 12 at 10:00 p.m.

Extended testimonies were given  by Conny Larsson, and Afshin "Said"
Korramshahgol with details of the experiences that caused their "spiritual
devastation". Sharon Purcell, an ex devotee, who for 32 years  belonged to
the Sai Organization in the United Sates said. "My son was not able to
rationalize it and he stopped believing. But I went on thinking that he was
re-channeling sexual and spiritual energies, I was so stupid." Ms. Purcell
decided to leave the cult when she heard the reasons why a friend of hers
escaped from India in 1972: "He told me that Baba put his penis in his mouth
and ejaculated!".

The Argentinean magician Enrique Marquez, an expert in paranormal
fraudulence explained how Sathya Sai Baba could fake the lingam trick and
showed a video in which Baba seems to push something inside his mouth with
the help of a handkerchief. It was also explained, through a reconstruction
in digital animation, how Baba could do the trick in which  an endless
amount of vibhuti  flows from a large vase.

The president of the Sai Organization in Argentina, Engineer Jorge Hadad
said that all these allegations are part of a defamation campaign, "In Jesus
's time," he said, quoting a recent Sai Baba discourse, "there was one
Judas, nowadays the are many Judases, who are capable of  betraying the
Divinity for a few coins". There are other devotees, however, who seem to
store some doubt or take refuge in the incomprehension of the ways of God.
"Something conscious to make the person work or a (human) weakness that he
cannot handle...? I don't know." These are the reflections of Daniel
Zalzman, a longtime devotee who is presently the coordinator of the
Practical Spirituality Foundation, a non Baba operation. While Daniel
Coifman, who has taken some distance from the Sai Organization after 20
years of full dedication commented that he was very surprised when he first
heard about these allegations some years ago. He says he asked himself then,
"Could it be, or could it not? Then I began to understand that there are
some things that I just can't comprehend..."

Even though every affirmation by the critics was immediately counteracted by
the officers of the Sai Organization, towards the end of the program,
Leonardo Gutter, president of the Sai Organization in Latin America spoke
live from the floor for about three minutes. Among other things, Gutter
commented that if the producers had gone to India instead of Sweden and the
United States "this program would have never happened". He spoke of the
glories of Sai Baba's teachings and the wonderful work done by the Sai
Organization. He insisted upon Sai Baba's manifestations from thin air and
he invited the production staff of  "Zona de Investigación" to take their
cameras to India to "see for themselves" the truth of the miracles and the
work that Sai Baba does in India. Following this, Gutter and the audience
were shown a video tape made available by the Sai Organization itself in
Argentina in which one can clearly see a pellet in Baba's hand, how he
pulverizes it pressing it between his index finger and thumb and how, after
the supposed materialization, only his index finger and his thumb have
traces of the ash and not the rest of the hand.

There weren't any important questions asked by the conductors of the
program, Nestor Machiavelli and Cristina Perez during Gutter's
participation.  But Perez made a comment regarding the parallels that have
been made regarding Jesus and Sai Baba saying, "He only materialized bread
and wine and not necklaces and expensive watches".