(Part one)


Date: 08-10-02

By: Robert Priddy


Website: http://www.saibaba-x.org.uk/

Copied from: http://www.saiguru.net/english/articles/53falsepromises.htm

Sai Baba hands out many personal promises to people in private interviews. Such promises are reported in many books about him. One standard format of his is, "I will look after everything", another is, "I give you a long life, healthy life, happy life!". (Unasked, he made both of these 'promises to me'- yet I can hardly be said to have a healthy life since then, having still suffered chronic back and neck problems that have kept me away from work for nearly 20 years). Other assurances he gives are, "I shall protect you"; "I will build an iron wall around you!" and  "I give you liberation, you will not have to take on another body!"

To what extent does the evidence back up these 'divine assurances'? This is a moot question, and it is one that people long to believe is always fulfilled. But this is certainly not the case! Even the adulatory literature contains references to instances of this, but experience has taught me that many instances are not talked about in the strongly self-censored books about SB.

To start with the simpler promises like "I will give interview tomorrow", "I will visit your home" etc. When SB does not follow up as promised, it is said by the faithful that SB has divine sense of time which differs from ours -so when he says 'yes, interview tomorrow' he may mean any time in the future etc. A thousand years is as nothing to him! This sounds crazy - but if one believes that SB is God Almighty Himself, then it seems just about credible. But then it is literally a simple deception, for God would have to know how each person understands what he promises them. It is now common knowledge that there have been a considerable number of suicides due to SB's not keeping his word. A whole family of five was poisoned by the father (and few survived) after SB's broken assurances. (See NEWS on this website)These he makes very freely and often sweepingly in interviews and also in discourses about protecting all who put their faith in him.

One argument frequently heard among devotees is based on what the long-term and very close follower, Dr. John Hislop, wrote in his book 'My Baba and I'. Hislop asked for permission to publish it, but was told by SB he must wait 20 years. However, after 2 years, Hislop received a message from SB saying he should publish straight away. The credulous Hislop had searched for one guru after another, including Yogananda, Krishnamurthi, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and U Ba Thin leaving each in disappointment. He became a keen rationalised of SB's often impenetrably unclear or fantastic assertions, and puts it down to SB having a cosmic perspective and eternal sense of time that no one can understand (as SB had asserted). This became standard doctrine among the majority of disappointed, bemused and betrayed followers so as to save what faith they can after years of major involvement and personal commitment etc.

SB capitalises on people's uncertainty and ignorance of anything to do with real truth by ever reaffirming to people that they are uncertain and ignorant. SB has insisted that he alone knows the right timing for everything and acts accordingly. When, in so many instances, he does not keep his word, he puts the blame on the person he made promises to for not having asked from the heart or that something about them was not genuine, or that they were simply not ready or worthy to receive his grace etc. A good headmaster of a school is just in his judgments and equal-handed in his rewards and punishments. An experienced master uses the carrot and backs it up when it fails to work by the stick. Sathya Sai Baba's visible and invisible rewards (i.e. as promised for the future) are supposed exceed the punishments he is thought eventually to mete out to those who accept positions of trust then seriously let him down. So all his promises have to be taken in the context of this unintelligible cosmic plan which he claims alone to know and effect... and this actually makes them as unreliable in terms of human experience as anything can be.  He can't lose and you can't win, as long as you accept his vast claims at face value! 

Dominic Kennedy wrote in The Times (27/8/01) of three British followers of SB who took their own lives: "an investigation by The Times today discloses that three British men have apparently taken their own lives after becoming followers of the miracle worker. Two of them were encouraged to believe that he could cure their medical problems. One of those also said that he had been touched intimately by the Sai Baba." (See The Times article in this website)

We may take as an example of SB's failed promises, the constantly ill and suffering Mrs. Phyllis Krystal, an elderly lady devotee for decades from the US, who has written about some of her experiences of SB. She described her chronic and terrible headaches, which SB diagnosed as due to five different kinds of headache (see 'The Ultimate Experience'- publ. Samuel Weiser Inc.). She went through some kind of intensification of her symptoms while with SB, which she interpreted as being a part of the treatment in removing one or more of these several headaches. She was a speaker at the Sathya Sai Hamburg Conference in 1992 and was asked point blank from the audience whether SB had now cured her of all her headaches. She hesitated for some time, and eventually said that he had. However, later I was in London talking to Lucas Ralli, (Central Coordinator for UK & Ireland until unceremoniously kicked out) and a close friend of Mrs. Krystal, who stayed with him and his wife sometime during a UK visit. He came to mention that she was in constant need of pain killers for her headaches and I was taken aback. So I asked if she had not been cured, but he confirmed that she still suffered greatly from this. This incident typifies the kind of thinking one meets among Sai devotees. Perhaps a kind of self-deceit to protect one's faith, partly a desire not to admit doubts to oneself or others and thereby publicly embarrass the guru, whose promises are supposed to be as cast in iron and whose healings are infallible etc. Later, Mrs. Krystal's house was shattered by the Californian earthquake in the 90s, making her homeless, along with her deceased husband's lifelong collection of crystal glass reportedly worth much more than $1 million. As she describes in detail in her book 'The Ultimate Experience', SB had himself told her to move to that house, after she had prayed constantly for a very long time and repeatedly asked him whether she could move house! Eventually he had given the go-ahead verbally to her. Devotees, in their great wisdom, regard such things as a boon from SB! It helps one to detach from worldly things and prepare for the final detachment! This reasoning, when taken to its conclusion means it is a boon when anything is destroyed, relatives are lost etc., because it prepares one for death! All very acceptable and faith-inducing, no doubt!

Two of SB's closest collaborators, Prof. N. Kasturi (his official biographer and servitor for over 40 years) and V.K. Narasimhan, who followed Kasturi into the editor's chair of Sanathana Sarathi and worked continuously for SB in that and other capacities for over two decades, both suffered horrible and long illnesses before they died. Kasturi was in a terrible state for 6 weeks before his release (this would not have been known to me had not Narasimhan told me so) and Narasimhan himself lost an eye (SB having claimed he would look after him and applied vibuthi etc. when it got infected). Then VKN suffered up to 3 months with his lungs filling with water before dying in March 2000. Such vastly selfless servers were not exactly eased in any way by the supposedly 'omnipotent and grace-giving' avatar. All kinds of weird and fantastic explanations can be invented to explain away such things, but the gruelling facts and harsh neglect remain. (SB also made VKN write a lie in the press about the Central Trust before his illness, which can't have been all that helpful for the poor man whose former life had been in defence of the truth).

These are far from being all the instances of which I know or have heard about from reliable sources. So what are SB's famous "divine guarantees" worth? Let a Dutch lady correspondent of mine of impeccable insight answer this query:

"After my visit to the ashram I was very disappointed re. sb's attitude towards the invalids. I am having walking problems due to a Guillain Barré spinal disease at the age of 14. I recovered from it apart from a slight right side limp. However, the last 15 years I am loosing strength and balance and need a stick or rollator to stay out of a wheel chair. I used both in the ashram and compared with some of the heavy invalids I counted myself lucky.
It struck me that sb never went to that right hand corner where the wheelchairs were, all at the far end. I was on the bench myself and mostly saw the back of him for 4 weeks.
If Baba could have cured people and took no notice of the heartbreaking misfortunate devotees, he must have been a heartless so-and-so!!!! I am sure he COULD NOT cure real disabled people at all. He would not willingly have renounced the fame it would have brought him!"

Mr. Kutumb Rao, an Indian ex-diplomat, head of the ashram for many years until the mid-80s, is said to have served SB with devoted selflessness etc. He is written about in a number of the earlier SB books. Even though he was the first official to speak to SB every morning, he was never given an interview during 20 years of service. He had longed for this, for he had never been given any such private attention for himself by SB before, which was a known fact to ashramites too! Shortly after he was at last called for the treasured interview, I was told shortly by his colleague, the elderly Head of the Administration Building, Mr. Kanheia Jee, who with his Seva Dal wife Mrs. Kavery, became charming friends of ours. K. Jee said that Baba had not spoken to him until the private interview, when he had taken him alone into the small room and told him simply that a man was on his way to murder K. Rao and he had best make himself scarce for some months. He was told to leave his post to the deputy head of ashram, Mr. Chiranjia Rao, and go to a certain village and lie low there until SB sent word. That was that!

This occurred while I was present at PN, when Chiranjia Rao became head of ashram during early 1987 for a period of some months. Well before 1989, Kutumb Rao was back at his post, but suffering from internal cancers. He was sent to Madras and opened up, but closed again as a hopeless case beyond surgery. He suffered much for a long period altogether and died around 1990. SB apparently did nothing to help him. But devotees speculate nonetheless that surely SB helped him through his karma, or will give him a better new body and life, or already granted him liberation? How can they be so confident, so easily be taken in?

The above instances are but a few among numerous others of which I know and shall record later.