Sai Baba's chewing habit 
From: Afshin (
Subject: Sai Baba's chewing habit (a must read) 
Discussions:soc.culture.argentina, soc.culture.brazil, 
brasil.noticias, soc.culture.venezuela, soc.culture.peru,
alt.mexico, soc.culture.mexican
Date: 09-11-03
Document date: 02-09-1999 
Found the following on the net, it was posted by someone in 1996.
While reading book "Conversations with Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba" 
by John Hislop, I came across a puzzling passage (page 24) where Sai 
Baba prepares and chews betel, saying that it is not a bad habit and 
the substance (betel) purifies blood.
Isn't it amazing that even an omniscient and omnipotent Avatar needs
some sort of medicine? Maybe it was only meant as an example to
follow?, but that would require the divine potencies to overcome very
likely side effects of the addiction... 

"In Taiwan, 80% of total deaths due to oral cancer has been reported to
be associated with the betel-chewing habit. Since metabolic absorption
of ingredients of betel nut or quid directs the cancer-causing 
principles of betel nut or quid to other organs/tissues of the body, the
evidence is growing to indicate that cancers other than oropharyngeal
may also be caused by betel-nut or quid chewing. For instance, urinary
tract and urinary bladder are likely to be susceptible to cancer due to
betel nut or quid chewing."                                 
(Editors link doesn't work anymore.)
Just in case you decided to take up this good habit anyway, please 
consider holiday destinations other than Canada...

"Betel nut contains a toxic substance, arecoline, which has been linked
to oesophageal cancer. The importation and sale of Betel nut or products
made with Betel nut is considered to be a violation of Section 4(a) of
the Food and Drugs Act. While the traditional use of Betel nut products
is recognized, the Health Protection Branch can not allow a toxic food
to be sold in Canada."
(Editors link doesn't work anymore.)
Comment from the editors of on the above:
Sai Baba nowadays doesn't chew the betelnut anymore, but not for health 
Read Robert Priddy's article on this.

Addition to 'Sai Baba's chewing habit' from Serguei Badaev
Date: September 22, 2003
With regard to the article about SSB betel chewing habit I would like to
offer a link to WHO evaluation of betel and areca:
I hope it will fit instead the links that do not work in the original article 
about this topic. Here also are the SSB's words about betel:
"Visitor: What is that?
SSB: (in English) That is the nut. This is the leaf. See, the leaves, and
this is betel. This is not a bad habit. If it were a bad habit, Swami would
not chew it. The leaves, their juice purifies the blood. The nut digests.
Here, even with the little puppies, they mix the nut and give it for
digestion. And the other thing that is put is calcium. The three mixed make
red colour. This is Indian." (J. Hislop. Conversations with Bhagavan Sathya
Sai Baba. p.19)