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7. 2. 2007

or how to hide reality from oneself and from the world


    In the Sai movement there are standard ways of 'explaining' everything about Sathya Sai Baba. When these are too evidently inapplicable or wholly beside the point, one must realise that "We cannot understand his inscrutable, divine ways", or other words to similar effect. One cannot understand, of course, if one has given up beforehand, and this 'giving up' is precisely 'to surrender to his Divine will'. It is a serious but powerful form of giving up one's autonomy... and a suppression of one's common sense and natural reasoning in never questioning anything he says or does. He must be regarded as perfect and infallible in all things.

    In all major religions, God is not accountable for any kind of error or wrong doing. As long as one really believes that Sathya Sai Baba is God Almighty in person, one surrenders all chance of understanding anything about him. Without exception, Sathya Sai Baba either ignores or fobs off anything remotely like a penetrating question that may be put to him once in a blue moon by some relative newcomer who slipped in through the net.

    Sathya Sai Baba is never held to account to his face for anything, not even by the government or the High Court. Most people who qualify to get near him already have to have so much respect, awe or out-and-out fear to question anything he says or does in any but the most positive or else superficially questioning manner. This is not to say that there have been absolutely no exceptions. There are doubtless those who only pretend subservience, while being self-willed and devious. Most officials in his various institutions who are often in his presence have the 'healthy respect' for him, his will and his word... much like what a timid schoolboy has for an unpredictably punishing headmaster.

    Because he is so distant and unavailable for normal communication and interaction, devotees have to try to squeeze some kind of significance for themselves out of any and every word they hear him utter, or any movement he makes or apparent sign he gives. He has told in discourses that every single thing he does has deep meaning, so he is aware of the way people build fantasies around him and apparently often plays on it cleverly. I can only say this because I have entered into this fully myself for many years. I naturally investigated the reliability of this, with varying results, and became more convinced that, in the end, most of what one experiences is more or less self-created 'delusion'... finding either what one wants or fears to find etc. in words one may pick up from his worn, repetitive phraseology or in his ambiguous non-verbal signs. That his every utterance and gesture bears great meaning has become an undisputable truth at the ashrams and the ways in which one can derive some meaning from his various acts and oft-repeated phrases in English have become an art for the initiated, who willing pass on this 'wisdom' to anyone they can...

    Some examples of the commonly-shared mental paraphernalia that gradually accumulates as a consequence of adopting the basic belief-system concerning Sathya Sai Baba are:

    1) The position that falls to a person at darshan is a sign of Baba's grace or displeasure, according to how near or far from the front line it is.

    2) His touching any object held out to him which represents or expresses one's projects or plans implies that they are blessed and is good. Many believe that he wills that it will necessarily succeed in some way.

    3) His taking a letter written to him means that a question or problem referred to will somehow be 'answered' or solved. Or it is a go-ahead for anything you asked his permission for in it.

    4) His glance itself confers a blessing, though what it may be only time may tell.

    5) When he looks in your direction, he sees through you, knowing all you think and have done, as well as what is to become of you.

    6) His nod (or any other of his characteristic movements like touching his forehead or ear, doffing his hair etc.) is the answer to some question on one's mind, according to each one's particular interpretation or 'intuition'.

    7) His moving finger waved in the air like 'writing' in his characteristic way 'rewrites' the future or fate of each person at whom it points, yet we are so limited that we cannot hope to know why or how this works or what it will effect.

    8) When he throws out a handful of sweets and one hits you, or lands before you, you have his blessings.

    9) Any words one hears him say are heard ONLY by those who need to hear them.

    10) If he ignores you or does not come near you, it is frequently because you need to learn something. Eg. to have more patience, to examine oneself for faults (and he has decried a great nymner of fairly normal human actions as serious faults), to tranform oneself through complete and total surrender to his will etc. etc.

    The above points are but a selection of similar attitudes and beliefs that surround Sathya Sai Baba and help to maintain the aura of Godlike impenetrability and unquestionability. What then about questions he invites from those to whom he grants interviews? How does he usually respond?

    What we would not accept as a valid or relevant answer from other people, many devotees will immediately accept as profound when it comes from the one they believe to be omniscient. Even if it is a blatant howler or a mis-pronunciation, a wholly mistaken guess or a classic faux-pas. He often has to ask people to repeat what they asked him (sometimes moving as if cupping his ear). He has done this quite often when I have been speaking to him. Yet even this is taken as a deep lesson teaching God knows what (you must find out in your heart etc.).

    One example; when asked by a friend of mine why it was that Jehova (i.e. God, i.e. Sathya Sai Baba) had not told the Jews about reincarnation, but asserted the contrary, Sathya Sai Baba did not understand the question. My friend said that the question was about reincarnation. Without waiting to hear the actual question again, Baba replied, in so many words, "Reincarnation. You cannot understand it. Do not try to think about it. It is like the seed and the fruit." I saw that this was no answer at all, but afterwards my friend claimed that it was a perfect answer! His view was that, because the question was one that his Jewish wife considered very important, Sathya Sai Baba was telling that they should rather concentrate on other more important things. This shows how the Sai doctrine works on followers!

    The above is quite typical of Baba's frequent replies to questions... in complete disregard of what is asked. He will use oblique comments as to be no relevant meaning can be made out of his words except by lengthy musings and investigation. He switches the subject unexpectedly, calls it the product of a 'mad monkey mind' or just brushes it aside. The questioner most often takes whatever comes as a significant teaching or even a spiritual directive (fellow interviewees willingly contribute such views afterwards and suggest what it probably signifies) . This is also typical of how an evasive deceiver tries to maintain false perceptions of himself to avoid being unmasked or incriminating himself.

    The 'genuine devotee' must accept that Sathya Sai Baba is God Almighty himself walking on two (intensely super-magnetic) fabulously holy feet etc., and so has to give up all chance of ever understanding anything else about him than Sathya Sai Baba determines. He insists that one's relation to him has to be 'on the inner level', which is to say, preferably only within the interactive creations of one's own mind through chanting his name, praying to him, worshipping him for his 108 or 1008 divine qualities and so on. He most obviously prefers things this way, leaving him to himself unchallenged, and so he frequently warns people to examine only themselves, not him. To dare to so much as to mention any awkward facts about Sathya Sai Baba will soon get one thrown out of the ashram in perpetuity or banned from public Sai meetings in many countries. The indisputable fact is that Sathya Sai Baba does NOT WANT anyone to be able to understand anything about him except what he tells them... virtually everything he says and does signals this. He also is ever telling people in private interviews to keep things secret (especially about money donations, oiling of genitals and other sensitive things!). This is a near paranoid precaution for controlling others and keeping what is generally known about him within limits. He claims that if all humanity combined in an effort to understand him for ages, they could never succeed! This sound rather off-putting to anyone who might try... it rather reminds of an intimidating facade put up those who have some deep wound or vulnerable weak spot, perhaps some terrible secret or trauma, which they are compulsively forced to hide.

    Most devotees get virtually no attention – including a very high proportion of the women. So, to make the stay at the ashram seem meaningful, to salvage at least something to boost self-confidence, they rack their brains to make something positive out of something... to find some significance in his chance movements - or even in what in some connection he did NOT say or do (!) that might seem to apply to them personally. A mere overheard word of Sathya Sai Baba may be treasured for days and weeks... and any scrap of blessing that comes their way, be it a handout of a meal in the canteen, some laddus, mangoes or other 'prasad' that is dished out to all who are there at different times. But has all this any value? Those who cannot manage to do without him and the movement, who have already invested too much of their lives, friendship, money, prestige and faith will usually say there is...

    But there are exceptions to that rule!


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