Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba

Infobox Hindu leader
name= Sathya Sai Baba

birth-date= birth date and age|1926|11|23
birth-place= Puttaparthi
birth-name= Sathyanarayana Raju
philosophy= Advaita Vedanta
honors=Sai Baba
quote= Love All Serve All Help Ever Hurt Never

Sathya Sai Baba (Telugu: సత్య సాయి బాబా) was born as Sathyanarayana Raju on November 23 1926cite book | last = Edwards | first = Linda | title = A Brief Guide to Beliefs: Ideas, Theologies, Mysteries, and Movements | publisher = Westminster John Knox Press | date= 2001 | pages = p. 137 | isbn = 0664222595] cite book | last = Lewis | first = James R. (Editor) | title = The Encyclopedia of Cults, Sects, and New Religions:Second Edition | publisher = Prometheus Books | date= 2002 | isbn = 1-57392-88-7] — or later than 1927 [Nagel, Alexandra (note: Nagel is a critical former follower) "Een mysterieuze ontmoeting... :Sai Baba en mentalist Wolf Messing" published in Tijdschrift voor Parapsychologie 368, vol. 72 nr 4, December 2005, pp. 14-17 (Dutch language)] — with the family name of "Ratnakaram",Haraldsson, Erlendur, "Miracles are my visiting cards - An investigative inquiry on Sathya Sai Baba, an Indian mystic with the gift of foresight believed to perform modern miracles" (1997 revised and updated edition published by Sai Towers, Prashanti Nilayam, India) ISBN 81-86822-32-1] and is a South Indian guru, religious leader, orator and described by his followers - not uncontroversially - as a Godman [cite book | last = Lochtefeld | first = James G. | title = The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism (Vol. 2 N-Z) | publisher = New York: Rosen | date= 2002 | isbn = 0-8239-2287-1
Hindu religious figure of the type known a avatar, godman (pg 583)
] and a miracle worker.cite book | last = Kasturi | first = Narayana | title = Sathyam Sivam Sundaram (Vol. 1) | publisher = Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust | date = | isbn = 81-7208-127-8 [ Available online] ] [*Nagel, Alexandra (note: Nagel is a critical former follower) "Een mysterieuze ontmoeting... :Sai Baba en mentalist Wolf Messing" published in Tijdschrift voor Parapsychologie 368, vol. 72 nr 4, December 2005, pp. 14-17 (Dutch language)
*Haraldsson, Erlendur, "Miracles are my visiting cards - An investigative inquiry on Sathya Sai Baba, an Indian mystic with the gift of foresight believed to perform modern miracles" (1997 revised and updated edition published by Sai Towers, Prasanthi Nilayam, India) ISBN 81-86822-32-1 page 55: "They carried the family name of Ratnakara and belonged to the Raju caste [..] "
*cite web | last = Menon | first = Amarnath K. | coauthors = Ashok Malik | title = A God Accused | publisher = India Today | date = 2000-12-04 | url = | accessdate = 2007-12-18: "Controversy could well be Sai Baba's middle name. He has been dogged by various kinds of allegations in the past-though none of them has ever been proven."
*cite book | last = Woodhead | first = Linda | coauthors = Paul Fletcher | title = Religion in the Modern World: Traditions and Transformation | publisher = Routledge | date = | pages = | month = | isbn = 0-415-21784-9
*cite book | last = Lochtefeld | first = James G. | coauthors = | title = The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism (Vol. 1) | publisher = Rosen | date= 2002 | isbn = 0-8239-3179-X Entry: "Godman"
*cite web | last = Hummel | first = Reinhart | authorlink = Reinhart Hummel | coauthors = Linda W. Duddy (translator) | title = Guru, Miracle Worker, Religious Founder: Sathya Sai Baba | work = | publisher = Dialog Center | date= 1984 | url = | accessdate = 2007-12-18: "People's motives for that journey are often serious or incurable diseases, for Sai Baba has an unrivaled reputation as a miracle worker."

According to the Sathya Sai Organization there are an estimated 1,200 Sathya Sai Baba Centers in 114 countries world-wide. [ [ The Sai Organization: Numbers to Sai Centers and Names of Countries]
"The inspiration of Sathya Sai Baba's example and message of unselfish love and service has resulted in the establishment of over 1,200 Sathya Sai Baba Centers in 114 countries throughout the world."
] The number of Sathya Sai Baba adherents is estimated sometimes as around 6 million, and followers cite "50 to 100 million." [*Nagel, Alexandra "De Sai Paradox: Tegenstrijdigheden van en rondom Sathya Sai Baba"/"The Sai Paradox contradictions of and surrounding Sathya Sai Baba" from the magazine "Religieuze Bewegingen in Nederland, 'Sekten' "/"Religious movements in the Netherlands, 'Cults/Sects' ", 1994, nr. 29. published by the Free University Amsterdam press, (1994) ISBN 90-5383-341-2 reports the following estimates: Beyerstein (1992:3) [skeptic] : 6 million; Riti & Theodore (1993:31): 30 million; Sluizer (1993:19): 70 million; Van Dijk (1993:30) [follower] "between 50 and 100 million."
* [ Adherents] cites Chryssides, George. "Exploring New Religions". London, UK: Cassells (1999) (10 million)
*cite news | last = Brown | first = Mick | title = Divine Downfall | pages = | publisher = Daily Telegraph | date = 2000-10-28 | url = | accessdate = 2007-03-12"The guru Sai Baba has left India only once, yet his devotees across the world are estimated at up to 50 million."
*cite book | last = Edwards | first = Linda | title = A Brief Guide to Beliefs: Ideas, Theologies, Mysteries, and Movements | publisher = Westminster John Knox Press | date= 2001 | isbn = 0664222595 (venerated by hundreds of millions in India and abroad)
] He is considered by his followers to be an avatar and the reincarnation of the saint Sai Baba of Shirdi.

Early life

Sathyanarayana Raju was born to Peddavenkama Raju and Eswaramma in a poor agrarian family in the remote village of Puttaparthi, located in Anantapur district, Andhra Pradesh. He was given the name Sathya Narayana Raju. It is believed that instruments played on their own accord in his household. [Chennai Online, "Sri Sathya Sai Baba : A living Devil" by Ramakrishnan R, [ Available online] ] An official four-volume biography, called a hagiography by the Daily Telegraph, was written by Prof. Narayana Kasturi [cite news | last = Brown | first = Mick | title = Divine Downfall | publisher = Daily Telegraph | date = 2000-10-28 | url = | accessdate = 2007-12-16
"According to the four-volume hagiography written by his late secretary and disciple, Professor N Kasturi, Sai Baba was born 'of immaculate conception' in the southern Indian village of Puttaparthi in 1926."
] in which he reported that Easwaramma found herself pregnant after dreaming of the Hindu Lord Sathyanarayana Swamy and after a huge sphere of blue light rolled in and made her faint. [cite book | last = Kasturi | first = Narayana | title = Easwaramma - The Chosen Mother of Bhagwan Sri Sathya Sai Baba | publisher = Sri Sathya Sai Books & Publications Trust | date= 1984 | isbn = 81-7208-066-2] According to Kasturi, a cobra was found in the bedclothes of the baby shortly after Sathya Sai Baba was born [cite book | last = Kent | first = Alexandra | title = Divinity and Diversity: A Hindu Revitalization Movement in Malaysia | publisher = Nordic Institute of Asian Studies | date= 2001 | pages = pp. 37 | isbn = 8791114403
"The birth was symbolically marked by a frog in the bedclothes [..] "
] which has led to his being identified as the Lord of Serpents, Shesha. However, the Hollywood screenwriter Arnold Schulman contradicts this story by reporting that Sai Baba's sister denied the presence of a cobra and that "the cobra was not found under the blanket, but several hours after Baba was born a cobra was seen outside the house." [cite book | last = Schulman | first = Arnold | title = Baba | publisher = Viking Press | date= 1971 | pages = pp. 122-124 | isbn = 0-670-14343-X
"One of Baba's two sisters, however, who claims to have been present at his birth, says that the cobra was not found under the blanket, but several hours after Baba was born a cobra was seen outside the house, a sight not uncommon in the village."
] He also affirms that "for any episode of Baba's childhood, there are countless contrasting versions and, at this point, the author discovered that it was no longer possible to separate the facts from the legend". [cite book | last = Schulman | first = Arnold | title = Baba | publisher = Viking Press | date= 1971 | pages = pp. 122-124 | isbn = 0-670-14343-X
According to him, contrasting versions about Baba's childhood may be due to the fact that he needed interpreters to interpret other interpreters (as in the case of his interview with Baba's sister). Schulman concluded that what the translators said may well have been quite different from what was actually said.
] The young Sathyanarayana was a vegetarian and was known for his aversion to animal cruelty and for his compassion for the poor, disabled and elderly. According to Kasturi and to Sathya Sai Baba himself, the young Sathya composed bhajans spontaneously (even as young as eight years of age).

At the age of eight, Satynanarayana Raju attended Higher Elementary School in Bukkapatnam.cite book | last = Murphet | first = Howard | title = Man of Miracles | publisher = Weiser | date= 1977 | isbn = 0877283354] . After that Sai Baba joined another High School at Uravakonda. On March 8, 1940, Satynanarayana Raju started behaving as if a scorpion had stung in his foot. He exhibited strange behaviour after this and entered a coma state. After some time, he got up and his behaviour worried his parents - he didn't want to eat, he would often keep silent for a long time, recited ancient shlokas or elaborated on holy Hindu scriptures. In May 1940, he proclaimed himself to be a reincarnation of the fakir and Saint Sai Baba of Shirdi (d. 1918) and subsequently took the fakir's name, Sai Baba. [cite journal | last = Babb | first = Lawrence A. | title = Sathya Sai Baba's Magic | journal = Anthropological Quarterly | volume = 56 | issue = 3 | pages = 116–124 | publisher = The George Washington University Institute for Ethnographic Research | location = Washington DC | date = 1983 | url = | format = PDF | accessdate = 2007-12-18 | doi = 10.2307/3317305: "In 1940, at the age of fourteen, he proclaimed himself to be a reincarnation of the celebrated Sai Baba of Shirdi-a saint who became famous in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries."]

According to Kasturi, on 20 October 1940 at the age of 14, Sai Baba threw away his books and announced, "My devotees are calling me. I have my work." He then spent the next three days under a tree in the garden of an excise inspector (government officer) and many people gathered around him. Baba taught them "bhajans". From then on Sai Baba claimed to be the avatar for our age, i.e. a divine incarnation sent to Earth to bring about spiritual renewal. He has consistently maintained this position ever since. Sathya Sai Baba is listed in the 1942 school record of Bukkapatnam. [cite book | last = Padmanaban | first = Ranganathan | title = Love Is My Form (Vol. 1: The Advent) | publisher = Sai Towers Publishing | date= 2000 | pages = pp. 68, 132-133, 147 | isbn = 8186822763] In 1944 a mandir for followers of Sathya Sai Baba was built near the village which is now called the "old mandir".cite book | last = Bowen | first = David | title = The Sathya Sai Baba Community in Bradford: Its origins and development, religious beliefs and practices | publisher = Leeds: University Press | date= 1988 | isbn = 1871363020] The construction of Prashanthi Nilayam, the current ashram, was started in 1948.

In 1958, Sanathana Sarathi, the official magazine for the followers of Sathya Sai Baba, was published for the first time.

In 1963, during a discourse, Swami made statements claiming to be a reincarnation of Shiva and Shakti. [ [ Available online] "Shiva Shakthi", Gurupournima Day, 6 July 1963, (Sathya Sai Baba, Sathya Sai Speaks III 5, 19.)] He also claimed that Sai Baba of Shirdi was an incarnation of Shiva and that his future reincarnation, "Prema Sai Baba", would be a reincarnation of Shakti. He publicly repeated this claim in 1976. [cite web | title = Interview with Blitz journalist - September 1976 | url= | accessdate = 2007-12-20
"Finally, Prema Sai, the third Avathar will promote the evangelical news that not only does God reside in everybody, but everybody is God. That will be the final wisdom which will enable every man and woman to go to God. The three Avathars carry the triple message of work, worship and wisdom."
] Baba's biography states that Prema Sai Baba will be born in Mysore Statecite book | last = Kasturi | first = Narayana | title = Sathyam Sivam Sundaram - Part II: The Life of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba | publisher = Sri Sathya Sai Books & Publications Trust | date= 1973 | pages = pp. 88-89 | isbn = 81-7208-127-8
"He said, "I have been keeping back from you all these years one secret about Me; the time has come when I can reveal it to you. This is a sacred day. I am Siva-Sakthi," He declared, "born in the gothra of Bharadwaja, according to a boon won by that sage from Siva and Sakthi. Sakthi Herself was born in the gothra of that sage as Sai Baba of Shirdi; Siva and Sakthi have incarnated as Myself in his gothra now; Siva alone will incarnate as the third Sai (Prema Sai Baba) in the same gothra in Mysore State."]

In the late 1960s Sathya began to gain notoriety among Western spiritual seekers. Sathya traveled only once outside India to visit North East Africa in 1968. [Kasturi, Narayana, "Sathyam, Shivam, Sundaram", ISBN 1-57836-077-3]

In 1960, Sathya Sai Baba said that he would be in this mortal Human form for another 59 years. [Sathya Sai Speaks Vol. I, 31:198; Prashanthi Nilayam (29-9-1960) Sathya Sai Geetha iii [ Available online (pdf file)] ] According to a 1984 book, Sathya Sai Baba said that "In this body I will not become old or infirm as in my old body."Fact|date=May 2008 In 2003 Michael Goldstein, an official of the Sathya Sai Organisation, reported that Baba had suffered an accident that injured his hip. As of 2005, Sathya Sai Baba sometimes uses a wheelchair. [ [ SSB in wheelchair] ]

Sathya Sai Baba had two sisters, one older brother (the late Seshama Raju) and a younger brother (late R.V.Janaki Ramaiah). [cite web | title = Sathya Sai Baba's younger brother dies | publisher = Times of India | date = 2003-10-18 | url = | format = CMS | accessdate = 2007-12-20] [cite web | title = Satya Saibaba's brother passes away | publisher = The Hindu | date = 2003-10-18 | url = | format = HTML | accessdate = 2007-12-20]

Beliefs and practices of Sathya Sai Baba's followers

Ashrams and mandirs

Puttaparthi, where Sathya Sai Baba was born and still lives, was originally a small village where one can now find an extensive University complex, "Chaitanya Jyoti" (a World-Religions Museum that has won several international awards for design [The Star, "Enlightening experience in India", by M. Krishnamoorthy [ Available online] ] ), a spiritual museum, a Planetarium, a railway station, a hill-view stadium, an administrative building, an airport, an indoor sports stadium and more. [Places to see at Puttaparthi. Referenced from official Sathya Sai Organization website, [ Available online] ] High ranking Indian politicians, like the former President Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee have been official guests at the ashram in Puttaparthi. [The Hindu, "A 5-point recipe for happiness", by Our Staff Reporter, November 24 2006 [ Available online] ] [The Hindu, "Warm welcome to PM at Puttaparthi", by Our Staff Reporter, February 12 2004 [ Available online] ] On Sathya Sai Baba's 80th birthday celebration, it was reported that well over a million people attended, including 13,000 delegates from India and 180 other countries. [Deccan Herald: "Sathya Sai's birthday celebrations on" by Terry Kennedy, November 23 2005, [ Available online] ]

Sathya Sai Baba resides much of the time in his main ashram called "Prashanthi Nilayam" (abode of highest peace) at Puttaparthi. In the hot summer Baba leaves for his other ashram called "Brindavan" in Kadugodi, Whitefield, a town on the outskirts of Bangalore. Occasionally, he visits his Sai Shruti ashram in Kodaikanal. [The ashrams of Sathya Sai Baba. Referenced from the official Sathya Sai Organization website, [ Available online] ]

Sathya Sai Baba established three primary mandirs in India. The first center, established in Mumbai, is referred to as either "Dharmakshetra" or "Sathyam". The second center, established in Hyderabad, is referred to as "Shivam". The third center, established in Chennai, is referred to as "Sundaram". [Sathyam, Shivam and Sundaram Mandirs On Official website [ Available online] ] . Sundaram is famous for its bhajan group and they have released 54 volumes of cassettes and CD's as of now, with the 54th volume having bhajans sung by Baba.

The daily program at Sathya Sai Baba's ashrams usually begin with the chanting of "OM" and a morning prayer (Suprabatham). This is followed by Veda Parayan (chanting of the Vedas), nagarasankirtana (morning devotional songs) and twice a day bhajans and darshan(appearance of Sai Baba to devotees)The Encyclopedia of Cults, Sects, and New Religions:Second Edition, Editor, James R. Lewis, 2002, ISBN 1-57392-88-7] . Particularly significant are the darshans during October (the Dasara holidays and November (the month of Sai Baba's birth).During "darshan" Sathya Sai Baba walks among his followers and may interact with people, accept letters, materialize and distribute vibhuti (sacred ash) or call groups or individuals for interviews. Interviews are chosen solely by the guru's discretion. Followers consider it a great privilege to get an interview and sometimes a single person, group or family will be invited for a private interview. It is claimed by the Sathya Sai Organization that, people who receive such interviews may be startled by the materializations and the disclosures that Sathya Sai Baba as a clairvoyant reveals of their own lives. [Hummel, Reinhart| "Guru, Miracle Worker, Religious Founder: Sathya Sai Baba" article in Update IX 3, Sept. 1985, originally published in German in Materialdienst der EZW, 47 Jahrgang, 1 February 1984 (retrieved 20 Feb. 2007)
"If the visitor finally managed to meet him, he would be startled not only with materializations but also with disclosures of his own life that Sai Baba, as clairvoyant, reveals"
] Sathya Sai Baba claims that his darshan has spiritual benefits.

Reported miracles

In some books, magazines, filmed interviews and articles, Sathya Sai Baba's followers report miracles and healings of various kinds that they attribute to him.cite book
last = Babb
first = Lawrence A.
title = Redemptive Encounters: Three Modern Styles in the Hindu Tradition
origyear = 1986
year = 2000
publisher = Waveland Press Inc.
location = Prospect Heights, Illinois
isbn = 1577661532
oclc = 45491795
id = LCCN|85|0|28897
] Sathya Sai Baba's devotees believe that he relieves his devotees by transferring their pain to himself. [Sathya Sai Baba "Shiva Shakthi, on "Gurupournima" Day, 6 July 1963, in Sathya Sai Speaks III 5, 19.) [ Available online] ] Daily, he is observed to allegedly manifest vibuthi (holy ash), and sometimes food and small objects such as rings, necklaces and watches. [Nagel, Alexandra (note: Nagel is a critical former follower) "De Sai Paradox: Tegenstrijdigheden van en rondom Sathya Sai Baba"/"The Sai Paradox contradictions of and surrounding Sathya Sai Baba" from the magazine "Religieuze Bewegingen in Nederland, 'Sekten' "/"Religious movements in the Netherlands, 'Cults/Sects' ", 1994, nr. 29. published by the Free University of Amsterdam press, (1994) ISBN 90-5383-341-2
English "For example, he materializes vibuthi constantly."
Dutch original "Vibhuti bijv. materialiseert hij aan de lopende band."

In devotees' houses all around the world, there are claims from observers, journalists and devotees that vibuthi, kumkum, turmeric powder, holy water, Siva lingams, statues of deities (brass and gold), Sugar Candy, fruits, herbs, amrita (a fragrant, nectar-like honey), gems, colored string, writings in ash and various other substances spontaneously manifest and materialize on the walls, furniture, pictures and altars of Sathya Sai Baba. [Nair, Yogas, "Raisins, ash raise eyebrows", The Post April 19 2006, [ Available online] ] [Brown Mick, The Spiritual Tourist, Ch: The Miracle In North London, pp. 29-30, 1998 ISBN 1-58234-034-X ] [March 17 2004 in the newspaper "Post" South Africa [ Available online] ] ["House of Miracles", Sunday 24 March 2002, Durban news, "Sunday Times" [ Available online] ] [India Express, "Sai Baba in a DDA flat?" by Rekha Bakshi, [ Available online] ] [Kent, Alexandra "Divinity and Diversity: a Hindu revitalization movement in Malaysia", Copenhagen Nias Press, first published in 2005, ISBN 8791114403, page 125]

The retired Icelandic psychology professor Erlendur Haraldsson wrote that he did not get Sathya Sai Baba's permission to study him under controlled circumstances. Nevertheless, he wrote, he investigated and documented the guru's alleged miracles and manifestations through first-hand interviews with devotees and ex-devotees. Haraldsson's research yielded many extraordinary testimonies of reported miracles. Some of the reported miracles attributed to Sathya Sai Baba included levitation (both indoors and outdoors), bilocation, physical disappearances, changing granite into sugar candy, changing water into another drink, changing water into gasoline, producing objects on demand, changing the color of his gown into a different color while wearing it, multiplying food, healings, visions, dreams, making different fruits appear on any tree hanging from actual stems, controlling the weather, physically transforming into various deities and physically emitting brilliant light.Haraldsson, "op. cit", pp. ??]

These devotees and ex-devotees also claimed that they witnessed Sathya Sai Baba materialize many substances from his hand such as vibuthi, lost objects, statues, photographs, Indian pastries (both hot and cold), food (hot, cold, solid and fluid), out of season fruits, new banknotes, pendants, necklaces, watches and rings. Haraldsson wrote that the largest allegedly materialized object that he saw was a mangalsutra necklace, 32 inches long, 16 inches long on each side. [Haraldsson, "op. cit", pp. 43] Haraldsson wrote that some miracles attributed to Sathya Sai Baba resemble the ones described in the New Testament, but also with some differences. According to Haraldsson, although healings certainly figure into Sai Baba's reputation, his impression is that healings do not play a prominent role in Sathya Sai Baba's activities as in those of Jesus. [Haraldsson, "op. cit.", pp 231, 239-241]

Sathya Sai Baba has explained the phenomenon of manifestation as being an act of divine creation, but refused to have his materializations investigated under experimental conditions. Critics claim that these materializations are done by sleight of hand and question his claims to perform miracles and other paranormal feats. In April 1976, Dr. H. Narasimhaiah, a physicist, rationalist and then vice chancellor of Bangalore University, founded and chaired a committee "to rationally and scientifically investigate miracles and other verifiable superstitions". Haraldsson stated that Narasimhaiah wrote Sathya Sai Baba a polite letter and two subsequent letters that were widely publicized in which he publicly challenged Baba to perform his miracles under controlled conditions.Haraldson, "op. cit", pp 204-205] Sathya Sai Baba said that he ignored Narasimhaiah's challenge because he felt his approach was improper. Sathya Sai Baba further said about the Narasimhaiah committee that "Science must confine its inquiry only to things belonging to the human senses, while spiritualism transcends the senses. If you want to understand the nature of spiritual power you can do so only through the path of spirituality and not science. What science has been able to unravel is merely a fraction of the cosmic phenomena [...] "

According to Erlendur Haraldsson, the formal challenge from the committee came to a dead end because the negative attitude of the committee was obvious and perhaps because of all the fanfare involved. Narasimhaiah stated that he considered the fact that Sathya Sai Baba ignored his letters as one among several indications that his miracles are fraudulent. [Haraldsson, pp 209] As a result of this episode, a public debate raged for several months in Indian newspapers. [Haraldsson, "op. cit.", pp. 206] Narasimhaiah's committee was dissolved in August of 1977.

According to a 1994 article written by Alexandra Nagel, a critic of the guru, the 1992 work of the Canadian skeptic, Dale Beyerstein convincingly negated supernatural stories of all kinds circulating about Sathya Sai Baba.Nagel, Alexandra (note: Nagel is a critical former follower) "De Sai Paradox: Tegenstrijdigheden van en rondom Sathya Sai Baba"/"The Sai Paradox contradictions of and surrounding Sathya Sai Baba" from the magazine "Religieuze Bewegingen in Nederland, 'Sekten' "/"Religious movements in the Netherlands, 'Cults/Sects' ", 1994, nr. 29. published by the Free University Amsterdam press, (1994) ISBN 90-5383-341-2] In the 1995 TV documentary "Guru Busters" [] , by UK's Channel 4, Sathya Sai Baba was accused of faking his materializations and a videotape was supplied alleging fraud [] . The same videotape was mentioned in the Deccan Chronicle, on November 23 1992, on a front page headline "DD Tape Unveils Baba Magic". Erlendur Haraldsson stated that he and his associates carried out a careful analysis of the videotape shown in the "Guru Busters" documentary and mentioned by the Deccan Chronicle. Haraldsson stated that the videotape's quality and resolution left much to be desired and limited the inferences that could be drawn from it. Haraldsson claimed that Dr. Wiseman took the video to a company that specialized in corporate fraud, and which possessed some of the world's best equipment designed to enhance poor quality videotapes. According to Haraldsson, after the videotape was enhanced using a threefold process, the resulting tape contained no firm evidence of fraud. The same company analyzed several still frames from the videotape, enhanced and enlarged them and the images still did not reveal any further information. [Haraldsson, "op. cit.", pp. 295-301]

The magazine India Today published in December 2000 a cover story about the Baba and the allegations of fake miracles quoting the magician P. C. Sorcar, Jr. who considered the Baba a fraud.India Today, "A God Accused", December 04, 2000 [ Available online] ] Basava Premanand, a skeptic and amateur magician, asserted that he has been investigating Sathya Sai Baba since 1968 and believes the guru to be a cheater and charlatan. Premanand sued Sathya Sai Baba in 1986 for violation of the Gold Control Act for Sathya Sai Baba's materializations of gold objects. The case was dismissed, but Premanand appealed on the ground that spiritual power is not a defence recognised in law. [cite web
last =Datta
first =Tanya
authorlink =
coauthors =
title =Sai Baba: God-man or con man?
work =
publisher =BBC News
date =Thursday, 17 June, 2004
url =
format =html
doi =
accessdate =2007-02-24

"In 1986, he was arrested by the police for marching to Puttaparthi with 500 volunteers for a well-publicised confrontation with Sai Baba. Later that year, he took Sai Baba to court for violating the Gold Control Act by producing gold necklaces out of thin air without the permission of a Gold Control Administrator.
When his case was dismissed, Mr Premanand appealed on the grounds that spiritual power is not a defence recognised in law.
] Premanand also displayed, in the 2004 BBC documentary "Secret Swami", that he could duplicate some of the same acts that Sathya Sai Baba presents as miracles; such as materializations by sleight of hand and the production of a lingam from his mouth. The BBC documentary reported that even some of Sathya Sai Baba's critics believe that he has genuine paranormal powers.

The British journalist Mick Brown discussed in his 1998 book that Sathya Sai Baba's claim of resurrecting the American Walter Cowan in 1971 was probably untrue. [Brown, Mick "The Spiritual Tourist" 1998 Bloomsbury publishing ISBN 1-58234-034-X Chapter "In the House of God" pp. 73 - 74] His opinion was based on the letters from attending doctors, provided in the Indian Skeptic magazine (published by Premanand). [Hislop, John S. "My Baba and I" 1985 published by Birth Day Publishing Company, San Diego, California ISBN 0-960-0958-8-8 chapter "The Resurrection of Walter Cowan" pages 28-31 [ available online] ] [ Narayna Kasturi "Sathyam Sivam Sundaram" Volume I 1961 "Chapter "Moves in His Game"
"He brought Walter Cowan back from the region beyond death because, as He said, "he has not completed the work he has to do." Sri Sathya Sai Books & Publications Trust, ISBN 81-7208-127-8 " [ available online]
] [Brown, Mick "The Spiritual Tourist" 1998 Bloomsbury publishing ISBN 1-58234-034-XChapter "In the House of God" pp. 73 - 74] In this same book, Mick Brown also related his experiences with manifestations of vibuthi, from Sathya Sai Baba's pictures in houses in London, and felt that these miraculous manifestations were not fraudulent or the result of trickery. [Brown Mick, The Spiritual Tourist, Ch: The Miracle In North London, pp. 29-30, 1998 ISBN 1-58234-034-X See Miracles, Claims and Ashrams section.] Brown wrote with regards to Sathya Sai Baba's claims of omniscience, that "skeptics have produced documentation clearly showing discrepancies between Baba's reading of historical events and biblical prophecies and the established accounts." [Brown, Mick The Spiritual Tourist 1998 Bloomsbury publishing ISBN 1582340013 Chapter In the House of God pp. 73]

In October 2007, Baba reportedly announced that he would appear on the moon and asked devotees to proceed to the local airport. The miracle failed to happen after clouds appeared to cover the moon and the Baba had to turn back after waiting for an hour. Police officers found it difficult to disperse the disappointed crowd and no explanation was offered by the Sai Trust for the failure of the miracle. Rationalists claimed the publicity was an attempt to boost the Baba's waning popularity. [cite news | last = IANS | title = Sai Baba's 'moon miracle' fails | publisher = Indiatimes.Com | date = 2007-10-04 | url = | accessdate = 2007-12-06]


Sathya Sai Baba is a prolific orator about religious topics in his native language Telugu, and he is regarded by some as an excellent speaker.cite book
last = Babb
first = Lawrence A.
title = Redemptive Encounters: Three Modern Styles in the Hindu Tradition
origyear = 1986
year = 2000
publisher = Waveland Press Inc.
location = Prospect Heights, Illinois
isbn = 1577661532
oclc = 45491795
id = LCCN|85|0|28897
pages = pp. 198-199
"Sathya Sai Baba is, among other things, a teacher. He is a frequent giver of discourses, now compiled in several volumes. He usually speaks in Telugu, and before a Hindi-speaking audience an interpreter is required. One of his most characteristic rhetorical devices is the ad hoc (and often false) etymology. For example, he has stated that Hindu means 'one who is nonviolent' by the combination of hinsa (violence) and dur (distant)."] He asserted that he is an avatar of God in whom all names and forms ascribed by man to God are manifest. ["The Revelation", "Sathya Sai Speaks VI", 210-213, 17 May 1968 [ Available online] ] He also says that everybody else is God and that the difference is that he is aware of this and others have yet to realize it, which is consistent with advaita vedanta, including modern teachers such as Ramana Maharshi and Nisargadatta Maharaj.

He stresses humans should always be free from desires and states that desires bring mental pain (depression, anger, jealousy etc).Interview given by Sathya Sai Baba to R. K. Karanjia of Blitz News Magazine in September of 1976 [ Available online] ]

Sathya Sai Baba preaches love and the unity of all world religions and asserts that people who follow him do not need to give up their original religion. His followers view his teachings as syncretic (uniting all religions), but one scholar has said that his message remains fundamentally Hindu. [] He says that he has come to restore faith in, and encourage the practice of the teachings in the Vedas (Vedasamrakshana). ["The Encyclopedia of Cults, Sects, and New Religions: Second Edition", Editor James R. Lewis, 2002, ISBN 1-57392-88-7] Several books and discourses by him, such as the book "Ramakatha Rasavahini" teach the literal interpretation of Hindu mythology and advocate the practice of Hindu Dharma (Sthapana). ["The Encyclopedia of Cults, Sects, and New Religions:Second Edition", Editor James R. Lewis, 2002, ISBN 1-57392-88-7]

Apart from teaching the unity and equality of all the religions, Sathya Sai Baba places particular emphasis on the role of women (especially mothers) in society. He has stated that mothers build society. That is why he teaches respect for parents, especially for the mother. He also said that the level of a nation depends on their respect for women. ["The Hindu," "Day of introspection at Puttaparthi" by Chitra Mahesh, January 4, 2002, [ Available online] .]

Across the globe, local Sathya Sai Baba groups assemble to sing "bhajans" (Hindu devotional songs), study Sathya Sai Baba's teachings, do collective community service (called "seva"), and teach "Education in Human Values" (Sai "Sunday School"). Baba's movement is not missionary [Knott, Kim Dr. "South Asian Religions in Britain" page 766, Table 22.1 "Principal Sectarian movements in Britain and their primary characteristics" in the "Handbook of Living Religions" edited by John R. Hinnels (1997), second edition, ISBN 0-14-051480-5] and Baba discouraged publicity for him in a public discourse in 1968. [ Public discourse by Sathya Sai Baba on November 23 1968 (also published in Samuel Sandweiss 1972 book "Sai Baba: The Holy man and the psychiatrist" Part II "Coming Home") [ Available online on the website of the Sathya Sai organization] ] Bhajans are sung at nearly every meeting with the names of the traditional Hindu deities as well as saints and prophets of other religions occasionally replaced by Baba's name.

Based on Sathya Sai Baba's teachings, his organization advocates the five basic human values. These values are "sathya" (truth), "dharma" (right conduct, living in accord with natural law), "ahimsa" (non-violence), "prema" (love for God and all his creatures)The Baker Pocket Guide to New Religions, by Nigel Scotland , 2006, ISBN 0-8010-6620-4] and "shantih" (peace).

Other primary teachings are:
* Service and charity (seva) to others.
* Love for all creatures and objects.
* Putting a ceiling (limit) on one's desires is sadhana (Spiritual discipline).
* Celibacy after age of fifty.
* Everything that has been created is maya (illusion), only God is real.Fact|date=September 2008
* Every creature and object is God in form, though most do not experience this as their reality.Fact|date=September 2008
* Vegetarianism, moderate and sattvik diet.
* Abstinence from drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, and taking drugs.
* Detachment from the material world.
*Meditation, preferably at 3:00 or 4:00 A.M.
* Meditation (dhyan). Baba teaches four techniques: repetition of the name of God, visualizing the form of God, sitting in silence, and "jyoti" (Flame/Light meditation).
* Inclusive acceptance of all religions as paths to realizing the One (God).
* Importance of bhakti (devotion) to God.
* Developing virtues (prashanti) and eschewing vices of character.
* Japa and other sadhana (spiritual exercise) to foster devotion.
* Reverence for parents, teachers and elders.
* Sense control
* Highly committed devotees use the phrase "Sai Ram" as a salutation.
* Women should strive to realize stri-dharma, the inherent virtues of womanhood.
* Altruism

Sathya Sai Baba's teachings are said to be realized by observing the following four principlesFact|date=February 2007:
*There is only one Caste, the Caste of Humanity;
*There is only one Religion, the Religion of Love;
*There is only one Language, the Language of the Heart;
*There is only One God and He is Omnipresent

Prominent Indian newspapers regularly cite Sathya Sai Baba's teachings and publish segments to his discourses. [See: [ 1] [ 2] [ 3] [ 4] [ 5] [ 6] [ 7] [ 8] [ 9] ]


Sathya Sai Baba is the figurehead to a number of free educational institutions, charitable organizations and service projects that are spread over 10,000 centers in 166 countries around the world.

The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning in Prashanti Nilayam is the only college in India to have received an "A++" rating by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (an autonomous body established by the University Grants Commission). [The Hindu: City colleges cheer NAAC rating, June 8 2006, [ Available online] .] [Draft Report of the Peer Team on Institutional Accreditation of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (Deemed University) Vidyagiri, Prashanthi Nilayam – 515 134 (A.P) Visit Dates: December 2 – 4, 2002 [ Available online: DOC File] .] Besides this institute, there is also an Institute of Music and an Institute of Higher Learning in Anantapur, which is a women's college. [Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Anantapur Campus, from an Official Sathya Sai site, [ Available online] ]

The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences in Puttaparthi (also known as the Super Specialty Hospital) is a 220 bed facility providing advanced surgical and medical care free of cost to the public. It is situated 6 kilometers from the guru's ashram and was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister Narasimha Rao on November 22 1991 and was designed by the Prince of Wales's architectural adviser, Keith Critchlow [The Hindu: Healing with Love and Compassion, November 23 2005, [ Available online] ] The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences in Bangalore is a 333 bed facility with advanced operation theatres, ICUs and CCUs meant to benefit the poor. [Deccan Harald: "Where service comes first " by Aruna Chandaraju, January 17 2006 [ Available online] ] The hospital was inaugurated on January 19 2001 by the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. [The Hindu: Vajpayee hits out at high cost of medicare by A. Jayaram, January 20, 2001 [ Available online] ] Other eminent participants were Abdul Kalam, Michael Nobel (grandson of Alfred Nobel), Noah Samara and Anji Reddy. [Times Of India, "Sai hospital to host health meet on Saturday", January 14 2002 [ Available online] ] The hospital has served 250,000 patients, free of cost, from January 2001 to April 2004. [The Times Of India: Super-Specialty hospital touches 2.5 lakh cases by Manu Rao, [ Available online] ]

The Sri Sathya Sai General Hospital was opened in Whitefield, Bangalore, in 1977 by Sathya Sai Baba to provide free care to poor local villagers. Since that time, the general hospital has grown to a convert|35000|sqft|m2|-2|abbr=on building that provides complex surgeries, food and medicines free of cost. The hospital has, since its inception, treated over 2 million cases. ["Sai Baba hospital: A refuge to millions", May 1 2001, [ Available online] ]

The Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust runs several general hospitals, two super specialty hospitals, dispensaries, eye hospitals and mobile dispensaries and conducts medical camps in rural and slum areas in India.Times Of India, "Sathya Sai Baba Trust to set up second superspecialty hospital at Bangalore", May 29 2000] It was in the year 2000-2001 the largest recipient of foreign donations. ["Sathya Sai Trust gets most foreign donations" in rediff August 16, 2003 [ available online] retrieved 12 Feb. 2007
" the Andhra Pradesh-based Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust is the largest recipient of foreign contributions."
] The Trust has also funded several major drinking water projects. The first drinking water project, completed in 1996, supplies water to 1.2 million people in 730-800 villages in the drought-prone Anantapur district in Andhra Pradesh. [The Week: Showers of Grace by Hiramalini Seshadri, May 26 2002 [ Available online] .] The second drinking water project, completed in 2004, supplies water to Chennai (formerly known as Madras) through a rebuilt waterway named "Sathya Sai Ganga Canal". [The Hindu: Chennai benefits from Sai Baba's initiative by Our Special Correspondent, December 1 2004, [ Available online] ] [The Hindu: Project Water by Hiramalini Seshadri, June 25 2003, [ Available online] ] The Chennai water drinking project was praised by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, M. Karunanidhi. Karunanidhi said that although he is an atheist, he differentiated between good spiritual leaders like Sathya Sai Baba and fake god. [Chennai Online: MK hails Sai Baba's service to mankind, January 21 2007, [ Available online] ] [IBN: Karunanidhi shares dais with Sai Baba, January 21 2007, [ Available online] ] The third drinking water project, expected to be completed in April 2006, would supply water from the Godavari River to half a million people living in five hundred villages in East and West Godavari Districts. [The Hindu, Water, the Elixir of life, November 2005 [ Available online] .] Other completed water projects include the Medak District Project benefiting 450,000 people in 179 villages and the Mahbubnagar District Project benefitting 350,000 people in 141 villages.The Hindu: Water projects: CM all praise for Satya Sai Trust by Our Staff Reporter, February 13, 2004, [ Available online] ] In January 2007, the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust revealed that it would undertake another drinking water project in Latur, Maharashtra.The Hindu: Saibaba Trust to undertake drinking water project in Latur, January 17, 2007, [ Available online] ]

His Educare (formerly called Education in Human Values) program seeks to found schools in all countries with the explicit goal to educate children in the five human values and spirituality. According to the Sai Educare site (authorized by the Sathya Sai Organization), schools have been founded in 33 countries world-wide. [Sai Educare Website, authorized by the Sathya Sai Organization, [ Available online] .]

All the local "Sai Samithis" (Sathya Sai Baba groups) are part of a hierarchical structure called the Sathya Sai Organization. The chairman of the organization is Michael Goldstein of the U.S. The logo of the Sathya Sai organization is a stylized lotus flower with the text of five human values in its petals. They are Love, Peace, Truth, Righteousness and Non-violence. This text version has replaced the old logo with the symbols of the 5 or 6 world religions in the petals.

The Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust is the official publisher of the "Sathya Sai Organization". It publishes the international monthly magazine called Sanathana Sarathi in English and Telugu. According to their website, they shelve over a thousand books and provide Sai-related literature in 40 languages. The book trust also supplies CDs, DVDs and audio tapes. In various nations, similar publication trusts are maintained in their own native language.

On November 23 2001, the digital radio network "Radio Sai Global Harmony" was launched through the World Space Organization, USA. Dr. Michael Oleinikof Nobel (distant relative to Alfred Nobel and one of the patrons for the radio network) said that the radio network would spread Sathya Sai Baba's message of global harmony and peace. [The Hindu, "Saibaba Gospel Goes On Air", November 24 2001, [ Available online] ]

In January 2007 the Baba was given a big felicitation in Chennai Nehru stadium organised by the Chennai Citizens Conclave for thanking him for the 200 crore water project which brought water from the River Krishna in Andhra Pradesh to Chennai city. Four chief ministers attended the function. The notable news about this event was that Sai Baba was sharing the same dais with Karunanidhi (Chief Minister of Chennai) who is a very well known hardcore atheist against Hindu gurus / godman and that Karunanidhi was felicitating Sai Baba. This was covered in all newspapers. Felicitation for Water Project, Indian Express: [ Available Online] ] Chennai Visit in January 2007: [ Online] ]


On June 6, 1993 four people who were armed with knives were killed after they had intruded in Sai Baba's bedroom. The intruders had killed two aides of Sai Baba. The incident was widely published in the Indian press. Sathya Sai Baba claimed in his 1993 Guru Poornima discourse on July 3 that jealousy among his followers was behind the incident, without giving a detailed explanation of the events. [Guru Purnima Discourse, July 3 1993, Keep Truth as Your Aim: [ Available online] ] The former Secretary of the Home Minister of Andhra Pradesh, V.P.B. Nair, who came from of a police background, expressed in the BBC documentary his opinion that the four assailants in 1993 had unnecessarily and illegally been shot by the police. There are other opinions from the eye witnesses who were present in the Mandir premises on that night, that police did the right thing to protect the life of several others, as the four people were armed and had already stabbed two people to death. The debates about Sathya Sai Baba were fueled by a document published in 2000 called "The Findings",Goldberg, Michelle "Untouchable" 25 July 2001 in ] written by David and Faye Bailey (former followers who together wrote three books on Sathya Sai Baba ["Bailey, David, A Journey To Love, 1996 ISBN 81-86822-04-6
Bailey, David, A Journey To Love Book 2: Love and Marriage, 1988 ISBN 81-86822-60-7
Bailey, Faye, Another Journey To Love: Experiences with Sathya Sai Baba, 1998 ISBN 81-86822-40-2"
] ), in which they described their disillusionment with the guru. According to an article in in the year 2001, a great part of the Findings contains testimonies of sexual harassment and sexual abuse. The Findings contain allegations of fakery, claims that Sai Baba does not heal sick people and allegations of financial irregularities with charity projects, such as the Super Specialty Hospital and water project. David Bailey previously wrote, in his two books about Sathya Sai Baba, that he personally witnessed manifestations, healings, miracles and was saved from a car accident by Sathya Sai Baba. [David Bailey: "A Journey to Love"] The Daily Telegraph stated that Sathya Sai Baba rubbed oil on the genitals of a young male devotee. The testimonies of sexual abuse of young men were shown in TV documentaries, including "Seduced by Sai Baba" by Denmark's national television, and documentary film "Secret Swami" by BBC. The TV documentary "Seduced By Sai Baba", produced by Denmark's national television and radio broadcaster Danish radio aired in Denmark, Australia and Norway.

Al Rahm, a father of one of the young men who claimed to have been sexually abused by Sathya Sai Baba, spoke with Dr. Michael Goldstein, in the USA about the alleged sexual abuse. According to Rahm, Dr. Goldstein responded by saying that he hated the idea of having wasted 25 years of his life and that he accepted Sri Sathya Sai Baba's statement "Swami is pure" as the truth. Dr. Goldstein further stated that he did not support an investigation of the sexual abuse allegations, although he felt that Sathya Sai Baba was not above the law. He said that it was against his "heart and conscience" to believe the allegations because he had personally observed Baba interact with students very frequently, in very informal circumstances, and he had never seen anything inappropriate, ominous or anything indicative of fear or apprehension.Secret Swami BBC TV documentary, June 2004, [ Transcript available online] ] Isaac Tigrett, co-founder of the Hard Rock Café and a prominent follower of Baba, stated in the BBC documentary that his admiration for the Baba will not change even if the charges of child sexual abuse and murder were proved beyond all doubt. In this same documentary, Khushwant Singh stated that Sathya Sai Baba's popularity could not be ascribed to any type of publicity campaign. Singh compared Sathya Sai Baba to Mahatma Gandhi, in that Gandhi never had any publicity but became nationally known through word of mouth According to the BBC reporter Tanya Datta, numerous sexual abuse victims have undergone a genital oiling by Sathya Sai Baba that they believe is part of Hinduism. Singh reacted to this by saying that this genital oiling is not part of Indian tradition.

According to the journalist Michelle Goldberg of the fact that the Baba has high ranking Indian politicians as his supporters and the charity works done by the various organizations associated with the Baba help to explain why he has not been brought into a court of law in India. The Indian consulate website states that crime victims must file charges with the police. In an article that was published in the "India Today" magazine in December 2000, it was stated that no complaints had been filed against Sathya Sai Baba by any alleged victim, in India. The magazine stated they are in possession of an affidavit signed by Jens Sethi (an ex-devotee) and reported that he filed a complaint with the police in Munich.

Sathya Sai Baba did not give a detailed public rebuttal to the accusations of sexual abuse. In his Christmas 2000 discourse Sai Baba said that people disseminate false negative stories about him because they have been bribed. [Rao, Manu B.S. "Sai Baba lashes out at detractors". Times of India 26 December 2000
"BANGALORE: Sri Sathya Sai Baba on Monday lashed out at his detractors in a rare display of anger while delivering a discourse on the occasion of Christmas at Brindavana, Whitefield ashram here. [...]
In an obvious reference to some of what has been written against him in the recent days, Baba said that many have been bought and they speak against him for the money they have received to do so."
] [Discourse by Sathya Sai Baba on 25 December 2000 [ Available online (pdf file)] ] Koert van der Velde, a reporter for Dutch newspaper "Trouw", claimed in a critical article that Sathya Sai Baba forbade people to look at the internet. [Velde, Koert van der "The Downfall of a guru, Sai Baba" 6 September 2000 in the Dutch tabloid newspaper Trouw] In the years 1999 and 2000 Sri Sathya Sai Baba has repeatedly belittled the internet and discouraged its use. [Discourse by Sathya Sai Baba on October 15 1999, [ Available online] ] [Discourse by Sai Baba on September 26 2000, [ Available online] ]

The Guardian and DNA stated that, although Sathya Sai Baba has not been charged over old allegations of sexual abuse, a travel warning was issued by the US State Department about reports of "unconfirmed inappropriate sexual behavior by a prominent local religious leader", which officials later confirmed was a reference to Sai Baba. [Paul Lewis, The Guardian, "The Indian living god, the paedophilia claims and the Duke of Edinburgh awards', November 4 2006, page 3, [,,1939405,00.html Available online] '] [Ginnie Mahajan/Brajesh Kumar, DNA World, "A holy furore rages in Britain", [ Available online] ] The Guardian further expressed concerns over a contingent of 200 youths travelling to the Baba's ashram in order to gain their Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

According to The Telegraph, Glen Meloy (an ex-devotee) organized a campaign that concentrated on "e-bombing" allegations against Sathya Sai Baba to various agencies and officials. The Telegraph stated that the most conspicuous success of Meloy's campaign came when, in September 2000, UNESCO withdrew its participation in an educational conference at Puttaparthi, expressing "deep concern" about the allegations of sexual abuse. The Telegraph also stated that despite all the allegations made against Sathya Sai Baba over the years, he has never been charged with any crime, sexual or otherwise.cite news | last = Brown | first = Mick | title = Divine Downfall | publisher = Daily Telegraph | date = 2000-10-28 | url = | accessdate = 2007-12-16]

Responses to criticism

In an official letter released to the general public, in December 2001, A.B. Vajpayee (then Prime Minister of India), P.N. Bhagawati (Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India), Ranganath Mishra (Chair Person, National Human Rights Commissioner of India and Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India), Najma Heptulla (President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union; UNDP Distinguished Human Development Ambassador) and Shivraj V. Patil (Member of Parliament, India; Formerly of the Lok Sabha & Union Minister) all signed a letter that called the allegations against Sathya Sai Baba "wild, reckless and concocted allegations made by certain vested interests" and that they "unequivocally condemned" the allegations as "baseless and malicious".Fact|date=September 2008

Bill Aitken stated that Sathya Sai Baba's reputation has only increased despite negative stories being published against Baba, by rationalists, critics and skeptics, for at least a generation. Aitken contended that critics are so distemperate in their dislike that their vituperation comes across as near comical. Aitken also expressed the opinion that the BBC is ultimately governed by the Anglican establishment and does not criticize public icons like the Queen, who happens to be the head of the Anglican church. Aitken felt that the Church of England can have no objection to programs that weaken perceived threats, such as the Sai Movement. Aitken also expressed the opinion that the more detractors rail against Sathya Sai Baba, it seems even greater numbers of people flock to see him. [cite web | last = Aitken | first = Bill | title = Awareness of divinity | url= | accessdate = 2007-12-29]

In an interview with an "Asian Voice" correspondent, Mr Ashok Bhagani, a trustee of the Sai Organization in the UK, said that he believed the allegations in the "Secret Swami" BBC documentary were completely without facts, baseless and have never been proved. Mr Bhagani also stated that when devotees are selected by Baba for a private interview, there is always someone else present in the room, and this is especially the case when women and children meet him.New Allegations Of Abuse Against Sai Baba by Payal Nair, Asian Voice, June 26 2004: [ Available online] ] Navin Patel, a biochemistry student at the Sathya Sai Arts College in Bangalore during the 1970s, told "Asian Voice" that he visited Baba's ashram many times and studied at Baba's college long enough to know the allegations are untrue. Patel claimed the "Secret Swami" BBC documentary was very misleading and was based on only two westerners who had their own monetary agendas. Patel expressed the opinion that western journalists were bashing Baba collectively.

The secretary of the Puttaparthi ashram, K. Chakravarthi, refused to comment on the accusations. Anil Kumar, Sathya Sai Baba's principal translator, believes that the controversy is part of Baba's divine plan and said that every great religious teacher has had to face criticism in his/her lifetime. Kumar said that allegations have been leveled at Sai Baba since childhood, but with every criticism Baba becomes more and more triumphant.

Thorbjørn Meyer, in a letter to the DR, called the allegations undocumented and untrue. In the "Seduced" documentary, Peter Pruzan stated that he believed Sathya Sai Baba is not a pedophile nor does he perform conjuring tricks. Pruzan claimed that he personally experienced Sathya Sai Baba's "wholly extraordinary powers" both in Baba's presence as well as in Denmark. ["Seduced" TV documentary produced by Danish Radio broadcasted on January 30 2002 at 8:05 pm. [ transcript Available online] ]

Political row

In January 2007, Sathya Sai Baba found himself embroiled in a political row after his remarks opposing the proposed partition of Andhra Pradesh as a "great sin", claiming that there was no demand from the people to bifurcate the state into Telangana and Andhra states.cite web | | title=Telangana activists upset with Sai Baba | url=,000900020004.htm | accessdate=19 Feb | accessyear=2007] The comments caused an outcry among pro-Telangana activists who angrily voiced their protests in street marches and attacks on the Sivam building, Sathya Sai Baba's temple in Hyderabad, which was staffed by a few followers. Shouting anti-Sai Baba slogans, the protestors pulled down a large picture of the holy man and trampled on it before taking it outside and setting it on fire. An effigy of Sathya Sai Baba was also reported to have been burnt, and twenty protestors were arrested following several police complaints.

A number of political figures criticised Sathya Sai Baba including K. Chandrasekhar Rao, leader of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi and former Union Minister, who suggested that Sathya Sai Baba should restrict himself to religious functions and not involve himself in politics. Sai Baba's followers responded by calling a 'bandh' in which shops and business establishments were shut down to protest against the remarks of the Telangana leaders, and effigies of the critics were set alight. [cite web | | title=Spiritual guru criticised for opposing statehood for Telangana region | url= | accessdate=19 Feb | accessyear=2007] K. Kesava Rao, President of the Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee, maintained that Sathya Sai Baba's comments had been "misinterpreted" and that the remark was not political. Digvijay Singh, Congress secretary-general, disagreed with suggestions that Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy could have instigated Sathya Sai Baba to make his statement, and confirmed that his party approved plans for the creation of a separate Telangana state. "With due respect to Sai Baba we can say that the work for setting up the second state reorganisation commission will go on," he said. [cite web | | title=Cong ignores Sai Baba's remarks | url= | accessdate=19 Feb | accessyear=2007]


ee also

* Bibliography of Sathya Sai Baba
* Bibliography of books about Sathya Sai Baba
* Vishwarupa (the cosmic form of the Divine)

External links

Official Sathya Sai Baba websites

* [ Online Resource: Sathya Sai Speaks Series]

Other websites

* [ Sai Bhajans, discourses and Veda chanting]
* [ Photographs of (alleged) Sai Baba miracles]
* [ A Website about Sathya Sai Baba Temple in USA - Pittsburgh, PA]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем решить контрольную работу

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sathya Sai Baba — Sathya Narayana Raju Ratnakaram im Jahr 1946 Sathya Sai Baba (* 23. November 1926 in Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh; † 24. April 2011 ebenda; bürgerlicher Name: Sathya Narayana Raju Ratnakaram) war ein indischer Guru. Anhänger seiner Lehre gibt es… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Sathya Sai Baba — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Shirdi Sai Baba. Sri Sathya Sai Baba XXe siècle …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Sathya Sai Baba — Existen desacuerdos sobre la neutralidad en el punto de vista de la versión actual de este artículo o sección. En la página de discusión puedes consultar el debate al respecto. Sathya Sai Baba …   Wikipedia Español

  • Sathya Sai Baba movement — ambox type = content text = This article may be inaccurate or in favor of certain viewpoints. Please [SERVERlocalurl:Sathya Sai Baba movement|action=edit improve the article] by adding information on neglected viewpoints, or discuss the issue on… …   Wikipedia

  • Bibliography of books about Sathya Sai Baba — The Bibliography of books about Sathya Sai Baba includes major books and articles about Sathya Sai Baba.Bibliography of books about Sathya Sai Baba* House of Miracles , Sunday 24 March 2002, Durban news, Sunday Times * Sai Baba hospital: A refuge …   Wikipedia

  • Bibliography of Sathya Sai Baba — This is a bibliography of works by the Indian guru Sathya Sai Baba.Suggestion:Since this is only the vaguest beginning of a Bibliography of the hundreds of books on Sathya Sai Baba, I suggest that someone should make a representative selection of …   Wikipedia

  • Sai Baba (Shirdi) — Sai Baba Sai Baba (* um 1838 oder 1856; † 1918 in Shirdi) war ein spiritueller Lehrer, Yogi und Fakir, der in Shirdi in der Nähe von Mumbai (Maharashtra) gewirkt hat. „Sai Baba“ ist ein Ehrentitel, der ihm von Verehrern verliehen worden ist (Pers …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Sai Baba — Saï Baba Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Saï Baba de Shirdi, est un sage indien décédé le 15 octobre 1918. Il a habité dans la ville de Shirdi , un temple lui est consacré dans cette… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Sai baba — Saï Baba Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Saï Baba de Shirdi, est un sage indien décédé le 15 octobre 1918. Il a habité dans la ville de Shirdi , un temple lui est consacré dans cette… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Saï baba — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Saï Baba de Shirdi, est un sage indien décédé le 15 octobre 1918. Il a habité dans la ville de Shirdi , un temple lui est consacré dans cette même ville.… …   Wikipédia en Français

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”