The Packaging of Sathya Sai Baba's Telugu Discourses. A Stronger Case
By: Brian Steel
When devotees quote any of these two million words by SSB, they and most of their readers or listeners naturally imagine that they are seeing or hearing SSB's words. They are probably aware that most of his Discourses are originally in Telugu with a simultaneous English translation. They quite naturally assume that what gets into print (firstly on the official SSO Internet websites, then in the official Sai Magazine, Sanathana Sarathi and often MUCH later in Sathya Sai Speaks) are the closest English (or other language) equivalent of what their Swami actually said in Telugu. Therefore, by quoting what is printed in English (or another language) on the Internet, in Sanathana Sarathi, or Sathya Sai Speaks, devotees naturally believe they are quoting SSB's words, as exactly as it is possible to do in the circumstances.
It is not therefore surprising that many (perhaps most) devotees seem to regard the volumes of Sathya Sai Speaks reverently as 'Gospel' truth. However, it may come as a surprise to them (they may even be offended) to be told that there is strong evidence that they are NOT being given a close translation of SSB's words in these official magazines and printed volumes, but a very highly edited version (with significant additions and omissions, as we shall see), produced by Organisation editors - initially Kasturi himself, later other equally erudite close associates of Baba. The result is that the packaged versions of SSB's Discourses appear more sophisticated and incisive than they really are, while also concealing many of the less impressive and more erratic characteristics of the original Discourses.
For a full study and documentation of this issue, please go to: