Sai Baba and Religious Knowledge.

Another example.


Date: 05-07-02

From: Serguei Badaev



In his last posting Brian Steel showed a number of examples which make one question Sai Baba’s knowledge of world religions. Those who have studied so called Sai literature extensively would agree that Sai Baba’s references to the world religious traditions except Hinduism are scarce and do not go far from general knowledge. Self-proclaimed Sai Baba’s omniscience has never presented humanity with any new facts, ideas or concepts of spiritual history of mankind which could be checked by researchers, confirmed with proofs and become a contribution to science. Rather the opposite. Some statements can never be checked, some sound like slips of the tongue and others (especially of Christianity) are in contradiction with our current knowledge and with each other.    

Below there is another example which can be interpreted as lack of knowledge of Judaic and Christian history. This is what Sai Baba said in his Christmas discourse in 1978:

“He [=Jesus] went round the holy shrines and discovered that they had become bazaars where Grace was being bargained and commercialised. He condemned the priesthood which tolerated and encouraged these practices. So he drew upon himself the anger of the heads of temples and monasteries. They tempted one of his disciples with 30 silver pieces, to betray him into their hands.”

(25.12.1978. Sathya Sai Speaks XIV, p.111) 

This passage shows that ancient Jews are implied to have numerous sacred places for worship. However it is a general knowledge that Jewish worship was strictly focused on the Temple. Even in 6th century BC “... there was only one place in the world where sacrifices could be offered to Yahweh, and that was on the altar in the Temple at Jerusalem.” (John B. Noss. Man’s Religions. 1963, p.538). So the terms ‘shrines’ and ‘temples’ are inappropriate here. Much more it concerns the term ‘monasteries’. First monasteries appeared in 4th century AD in Egypt as communal settlements of Christian ascetics. 

The whole passage refers to the cleansing of the Temple episode in Matthew 21:12-13, when Jesus entered the temple area, drove out those engaged in selling and buying and overturned the tables of the money changers. This area was the outermost court (the court of Gentiles) were animals for sacrifices were sold and  as only the coinage of Tyre could be used for purchases and other money had to be exchanged for that. In this context ‘Grace’ that ‘being bargained and commercialised’ sounds very unclear. 

As far as we know from Gospels Judas’ betrayal was his own initiative and not a result of temptation by priests. 

So the passage as a whole can’t be interpreted as an interference of some mistake, typos or slip of tongue. It is a sort of a concept which is alternative to the traditional one.