IS THIS GOD? A Critical study

B.Premanand

Courtesy: ASIDE, Vol.14, No.5, For the fortnight 1-15 March 1990. Editor: Janaki Venkatraman, Aside Publications Pvt.Ltd., 15, first Main Road, Karpagam Gardens, Adyar, Madras 600 020. Annual Subscription Rs.120/-. Overseas by Air Mail Rs.375/-.

In the above fortnightly journal there is a criticial cover story titled IS THIS GOD? Shanmugasundaram aged 25 tells about his experience with Satya Sai Baba:

there has been no time that I can remember when I was not a devotee of Baba... Everyone in my family was. Once my elder brother Raja fell ill. Doctors tested him and the X-rays showed something badly wrong with his stomach. An immediate operation was suggested. My uncle went to Puttaparthi. Upon seeing the Baba, he began, "Baba, my nephew..." Baba interrupted him and said "Don't worry. Raja will be all right". Nothing more was said. Raja's operation had been fixed for the next day. X-rays were taken again that morning, prior to surgery. They showed no growth; in fact, nothing abnormal in the stomach! The doctors were amazed; they decided that no surgery was required, after all. Raja felt perfectly well again. If that is not Baba's grace, what do you call it?"

I wrote to the Editor whether she had collected any proof for such stories published by her. Though she wrote to me that the authors of the articles are on leave and she will revert back immediately they return she has not yet replied. I am wondering whether they are living or dead. What is Shanmugha Sundaram's address? What is the address of the doctor who tested Raja and suggested operation? When was it? Who was the doctor who took x-ray second time which showed nothing abnormal? What is his address? Umpteen number of such stories are published by Satya Sai Baba which cannot be verified.

Here is another story narrated by Srinivasa Raghavan, who is the editor of Sanathana Sarathi, Tamil Edition.

"When my wife fell ill seriously twice, he saved her. But the third time when I prayed to Baba to save her he appeared in my dream and said, "Don't worry. She has come to me. She has no more births. True enough, she reached Baba's graceful feet soon after."

Now was she treated by any doctor? What is the proof that she has reached Baba's feet? Was it just the dream? Now when he asked Baba to save his wife the third time was she already dead? Who said she was dead?

This is another story of a Brigadier:

During the Dasara Festival last year, ex-army Officer who was helping at some construction work in Prasanthi Nilayam, suddenly collapsed even while he was in Baba's presence. Mahadevan was near him. Some doctors in the place rushed to his side and felt his pulse. Swamy, there is no pulse, he is dead! they said, but Baba just walked upto the man and said, "Brigadier, get up!" He said this three times and amazingly, the Brigadier did get up and looked quite normal. Baba then said, "You have a lot to do yet, Brigadier, so I won't allow you to be carried away now."

Now the question is whether after death they reach the feet of the Baba or are carried away, and who is this Brigadier?

To the question "have you personally experienced miracles?", Major General S.P.Mahadevan, the State President of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation and central co-ordinator of the south zone narrated the following experience:-

"Yes, of course. Many times. Not just I, but my wife, my son. There are some happenings which you can't explain in any other way except as the force of his divinity. Like I had a blackout once when I was in Hyderabad and was hospitalised. That very same day, I received vibhuti prasadam from the Baba from Puttaparthi with a letter, 'Do not worry. I am with you.' I had not informed him of my ill health. He was miles away. How did he know? There are many such experiences.

Pratibha Iyer in her article "The Miracle of Faith" comes to the conclusion that there are other factors that set Sai Baba apart from mere magicians.

For example, the miraculous cures he affects. How do we explain them? There are several well-documented cases that prove the curative powers of Sai Baba. But then, we must remember, there are even better documented cases that prove the curative powers of placebos. The Sai effect may in fact be only a placebo effect, which releases the curative powers of the body. The power of "miracle" is not in him, but in you."

She also talks about Sai Baba's powers of precognition. She comes to the conclusion that this power of Sai Baba is independent of the faith of the faithful. She also says: "But we also have to acknowledge that there are very many people around us with similar powers - the other day a colleague of mine ran into a psychic, a total stranger met by chance, who immediately started telling her personal details known only to her. How do we explain the phenomenon? Are we all in some way interconnected? The atoms of which you and I are made, we know, are identical to the atoms of which Sai Baba, as well as the stars a billion light years away, are made. So it is possible that everything knows, in a chemical sense, everything else in the cosmos. Can it be that certain paranormal persons can draw on this chemical knowledge of paramatma? Sai Baba would probably be baffled by these speculations. They are irrelevant to his work. But they are relevant to the understanding of phenomena like him."

All these fraudulent claims of Satya Sai Baba and his inner circle members of his precognition, curative powers, resurrecting from death etc., have been proved false by the following accident which happened at his ashram on Friday the 26th October 1990. Here is the news from The Hindu dated 29.10.1990:


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Last update: 22 July 1998