Sai Baba: A Present-day Paundraka
"King Paundraka sent a message to Krishna stating concisely, 'I am Krishna'. As the messenger arrived in Dvaraka, Krishna's dominion, he related the message to Krishna as thus follows: 'I am the only Krishna, incarnated on earth out of compassion for all living beings - there is no other. Give up your false title! Give up the insignia of discus, conch, lotus flower and club that you proudly wear out of foolishness and surrender unto me! If you don't, then give me battle!'
"Hearing the dull-witted Paundraka bragging thus, Krishna and the other kings in the assembly laughed loudly. After some laughter and talk, Krishna responded via the messenger: 'I will hurl those insignia at you which you thus boast about, you fool!'
"After the messenger relayed the response to King Paundraka, Krishna then mounted His chariot and headed in the direction of Paundraka's kingdom. After being informed of this, Paundraka too ventured forth with fully-equipped battalions for the purpose of making war. He was conspicuous with the emblems of Krishna - conch, discus, sword, club, bow, [false] mark of Srivatsa, and so forth. He wore the [false] Kausthuba jewel and was adorned with a lotus garland. He had Garuda on his banner, was wearing two yellow silk garments, a priceless helmet and glittering crocodile earrings. Seeing him standing in that dress copied from His own, like an actor whose place is on a stage, Krishna laughed heartily."
The rest of the narrative follows the general layout of many other Krishnaite legends; they made war and the villain lost his life at the hands of Krishna. I couldn't help wondering that since Sai Baba publicly and proudly boasts that he is not just the selfsame Krishna - but a combined incarnation of every form of divinity that exists - does this story serve to predict a fateful end for him? Who can say what may happen in the future? It has been noted on many occasions by various writers that Sai Baba will have to reap the results of the seeds that he sows, a sentiment that was apparently shared by Sai Baba's older brother, Seshama Raju.
However, the Bhagavata does make a very interesting observation that fits Sai Baba to a tee:
yathA bAlo nRpo bAla-kRto 'budhaH
"The fool [Paundraka] was acting like a
child who had been elected king by children."
How ironic, therefore, that Sai Baba - a present-day Paundraka - complains of the various mini-Mes he has spawned:
"In this Kali Yuga also such imitations are cropping up just as Poundraka shaped himself into a Vaasudheva. We have today even Sathya Sai Babas. They get the same type of robe stitched, they strain themselves to cultivate the crown of hair, they study photographs and hold their hands up very nearly like I do and make themselves ridiculous by frantic attempts to imitate Me. They forget that 'imitation is only human; but, Creation is Divine.' Those who attempt to become Sathya Sai Babas by this ludicrous process of imitation only destroy whatever faith some people have placed in the Divine. They are poisonous pests which injure the peace and harmony of society. They collect around themselves insects of like nature. For only birds of the same feather can flock together. These 'pretenders' fall into ruin themselves and bring ruin on the society where they operate, as the proverbial horde of monkeys that ruin themselves and bring ruin on the forest which they inhabit."
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