Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba
My original essay on Sai Baba (dated 2001)
A critical reply to the above (and my counter-reply)
messages from Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba on unity and peace among religions
Sai Baba Feedback by ex-devotees
More recent Sai Baba Feedback - and my involvment in the battle between Slanderous Sai devotees and ex-devotees
Sai Baba's fake claim to be born on the day that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother brought about a descent of the Overmind
What did the Mother (Mirra Alfassa) say regarding a query about Sai Baba? (answer, nothing, this is more disinformation)
My current understanding of Sai Baba (this page)
Sai Baba Links

Sathya Sai Baba - an appraisal

Gurus/Spiritual Masters
Sathya Sai Baba
current suggested assesment
Tradition Hindu
Gurus none?
Category Fake Avatar, Abusive Guru, Lack of self-mastery
Inspiration Astral/Intermediate zone

Sai Baba - changing perspectives

With the exception of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Sathya Saia Baba is one guru that I "followed" for a long time (some 20 odd years in fact). During that period, I had one or two incredible experiences (the most remarkable being one in 1984 or thereabouts when he astrally cured me of a bad cold), as well as heard many stories of miraculous materilaisations and so on that in my naivity I believed. For a long time, I am embarressed to say, I compartmentalised my critical faculties from my immature wish-fullfilment and thus believed that Sai Baba is an avatar and that even the most inflated claims of miracles that have been published about him are all literally true. This however has given me an excellent insight into the mind of the religious believer, and what it means to not use one's critical faculties.

It is most likely that I would still think very highly of Sai Baba today, since I (like many of his devotees) seem to have a sympathetic comnpatability of feeling towards his vibration. Two things changed my opinion quite radically.

The first is that, unlike Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, both of whose record is spotless, Sai Baba has turned out to be a much more controversial figure, with numerous independent reports of his sexual abuse of young male devotees (including one who I have written to personally and in no waty did he come across as a liar or a dupe). That's one. Two is that not only has Sai Baba's own behaviour towrads certain devotees been abusive, but that certain of his followers have shown themselves to behave in the most appalling manner. I mean, I have never, in all my studies of esotericism and differenbt religions, ever ever personally come across any people who behave like this. Never! And to me this is if anything a much stronger proof of Sai Baba not being what he claims to be then the allegations of sexual abuse. Because who knows, the Divine works in mystrerious ways, and maybe my hypothesis regarding absuive gurus is not true. But to be confronted first hand with the most appalling lack of sensitivity, the grossest materialism, the most obsessional slanderous vendettas, and to have this done by people who get their inspiration from Sai Baba, well, it makes you wonder, if such psychologically toxic people get their inspiration from this guru, what sort of guru he is. While it is simplistic to say we can always judge a Guru by eir devotees, in some cases it does seem to be true.

All this is not something that I realised overnight. It was part of a (sometimes unpleasant) journey of discovery in which I became immersed in a world of allegation and counter-allegation, accusation and rebuttal.

Briefly what happened is this. When I first put up the original (since much modified) version of this page I received a couple of emails by concerned ex-devotees. At the time I was still pretty much pro-Sai Baba, so my initial reaction was that this was just more unwarranted criticism. After going to the site indicated by the last one, I began to feel they are speaking honestly. So I have included their emails and the links they specified. Moreover, following my getting to know pro-Sai Baba defenders, I have become further disillusioned with the pro-Sai case. In fact it was the behaviour of people like Gerald Moreno that really put me off any sympathy towards the Sai Baba organisation. The very fact that the movement allows people like that to continue to slander and defame others is in itself highly revealing. Contrast this with the devotees of Da Free John. Despite the fact that I criticise Da Free John (Adi Da) just as much, if not more, on these pages, never have his followers and devotees sunk to the depths that certain Sai devotees have. Instead they always have dialogued with me with the upmost of civility! This says a great deal about them, and it even says a lot of positive things about Adi Da as well! In fact external link apart from scientology I don't know of any guru organisation anywhere that condones this sort of activity as much as the Sathya Sai movement with its slanderous advocates does!

I thus came to the conclusion, on the basis of the huge number of independent allegations of abuse and misconduct on his part and the totally inexusable behaviour of certain of his followers as mentioned above, that my former understanding of Sai Baba was completely in error. This is not to deny that he - or perhaps rather the being or beings working through him - has or have real powers, but so do all the beings of the occult and subtle worlds that manifest in the physical in some way or other.

Sai Baba and the power of the Intermediate Zone

The activity here would seem to pertain to the inner/subtle or affective worlds, rather than to a higher Divine source of Light. As with Da Free John, a lot of this phenomenon can be explained in terms of a mixed Light deriving from the Intermediate Zone. It doesn't appear in an intellectual way, the way the Da revelation does, because Sathyanarayana (the person as popposed to the supra-physical manifestation) is not an intellectual like Franklin (Da). It is as if this Light or higher revelation chooses the positive or best attributes of an individual, but then ends up being distorted by the negative side of the person. Yet exactly as with Da, and with other Intermediate Zoners like Andrew Cohen, Ken Wilber, Osho, and many many others, there is this strange paradoxicxal combination of positive and negative, which seems to characterise much of this phenomenon. In Sai Baba's case the positive side appears as helpful spiritual manifestations in dreams, healings, materialisations, spiritual guidance, etc (very similar reports can be seen with other IZ gurus). To ex-devotees and victims of abuse it is a very different story, which again reflects the dichotomy that one often finds with egotistic or self-absorbed Intermediate Zoner gurus.

It has many claimed that many of these allegations are unsubstantiated and due to christian fundamentalist attacks but I now am convinced that the people making the claims are completely genuine. What convinced me most of all has been the disgusting behaviour of certain current Sai devotees. It is impossible that an authentic enlightened Master, still less an authentic Avatar, could have followers acting like that while still alive (when we look at religions and the ugliness they engender, this always occurs after the avatar or founder has died and the movement degenerates into bickering an dpersecution). This is not to deny that fundamentalist Christians would take adavantage of these things coming public, not to see justice done, but to further their own anti-spiritual agenda. But it is ludicrious to reduce all Sai Baba critics to this mold (or to CIA dupes, a theory promulgated by Lisa De Witt)

The human Sai Baba, born Sathyanarayana Ratnakaram, gives the impression (at least from the accounts of critics) of being spoilt, sexually demanding, and unable to cope with crises or respond in a mature way. These are typical traits of the narcissistic personality type, and in Sathyanarayana's case are not surprising (and perhaps not even Sathyanarayana's fault), considering he has been considered God his whole life, and thus never had to face adult responsibility or consideration of the needs ofother people.

Sathyanarayana is also good at sleight of hand, which he uses because he cannot predict when the occult being will manifest (indeed, it never works the way the personality does). It is hard to get at his real personality, because he is surrounded by minders and has built up these stories about himself but on the 60 Minutes show he was at one point giggling like a child and seemed to have a genuine innocence about him. Obviously like everyone he has a good and bad side, and the human Sai would be no different. But a lifetime of channelling a powerful occult presence would surely have transformed him radically, and like Franklin Jones and other powerful gurus - he would have lost touch with the "real world".

The Intermediate Zone spiritual-occult power that manifests through him is the real "Sai Baba", the presence that I felt, and that others feel. As I said, in no way have I ever felt this being as a negative presence, although others may disagree (I had a clairvoyant friend years ago who considered Sai Baba a demonic presnce, but she never made a big dealof it out of respect for me, as at the time I was positive towards Sai Baba). Perhaps this is similar to the activities of the gods of traditional mythology, or the Virgin Mary manifesting through statues and so on. It is extraordinary to hear about the paranormal phenomena and healing interventions in this way, and as mentioned I also have experienced this first hand. Of course these have to be distinguished from the vast body of rumors and legends and myth and folklore his devotees have built up, and ultimately it may not be possible to separate the the two. Postmodernist philosophy has shown us that what we take for fact is very often an individual or collective social construction. According to Buddhist and Vendantic thought we - the egos or surface personalities - are the co-creators of the world of ignoranjce we are enmeshed in. And this is especially so in the case of religious phenomenona. The following account, related to me by an email correspondent, is typical:

Baba comes to me often in dreams and I believe he saved my life twice through two undeniable miracles. A holographic Bible even materialized in front of me during one experience! And there was a witness with me who saw it too

At first I believed this literally, in the manner of my naive acceptance of other such stories. Later I discovered that the reliability of this person may not be high, as she later acted in a rather different manner that made me question her judgment, and I came to understand certain paranoid actions there. Nevertheless these sort of accounts are typical of Sai Baba urban folklore. Moshe Kroy, who also incidentally suffered from paranoia, indeed probably a more extreme form, would often tell me stories like this. So it seems that delusional people do favour this sort of thing. Either the miracles never occurred, or if they do they support the person's own astral fantasies

Although, it is true, if one looks at other gurus, such as Nityananda (a genuine avataric guru, in my opinion), Babji, and so on, one finds a pattern of miraculous occurances, that can be related to historical figures like Jesus, Apollonius, Padma Sambhava, Milarepa, etc It is not unlikely that most of these historical accounts are similarily exagerations, urban legend, or outright myth. But that does not deny that there is still a kernal of truth there. And materialisations of vibhuti in the homes of Sai Baba devotees are comparible to weeping Virgin Mary statures; there would seem to be a very similar phenomenon at work, and it would be interesting to find analogies in the case of other gurus, religions, and so on.

Yet in addition to this more positive Intermediate Zone energy, I have also felt a very ugly and slimy astral energy associated with the sexual abuse. It may be that a lower astral adverse entity is using the human Sai Baba as a puppet to inflict suffering on many.

Ultimately, if the whole Sai Baba experience shows anything, it shows that the only true Guru lies within one's own heart, and that one's own gnosis is the only true teacher.

Sai Baba original essay (written 31 August 2001):

messages from Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba on unity and peace among religions

Sai Baba's claim to be born on the day that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother brought about a descent of the Overmind

Some Sai Baba Feedback from a Sai supporter which got me involved in this whole thing. I was originally very positive towards these people, but was put off by paranoia and a selective approach to the facts, and even more so by their merthod of using slander and ad hominem attack (external link another set of examples) instead of civilised debate to try to get their point across.

Allegations against Sai Baba


Web links Sai Baba Links Web links

Wikipedia link Wikipedia page

Blog Call For Media and Government Investigation of Sathya Sai Baba - India’s Most Famous and Controversial Guru - Blog maintaind by Sai Baba critic Barry Pittard

Website SAI BABA AVATAR Extensive Information & Viewpoints, comprehensive website by Robert Priddy

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page uploaded 28 May 1998
most recent revision 28 September 2005, and 29 December 2007