Sai Baba's School Records - A New Light
For some years a simmering controversy on the subject of Sathya Sai Baba's true date of birth has continued to send ripples through the bearings of the whole Sai scandal. Before I proceed to relate my own findings and reflections on the same, I'll attempt to offer the readers a refresher regarding the background of this subject.
This issue was first broached by Hari Sampath in an article for ExBaba.Com, wherein the book 'Love Is My Form' (published 2000, henceforth referred to as 'LIMF') was used as a major source for this claim. To wit, a photostat in LIMF of Sai Baba's school records at Bukkapatnam (a town near his home village of Puttaparthi) was scanned and produced that appeared to evidence the following points:
- Sai Baba (real name Sathyanarayana Raju) was born on October 4 1929.
- According to Indian matriculation levels, Raju was in the 8th Standard at the time.
- Raju was a student of the school on and around July 5 1941 as the date of the record itself is evidence of this, having been dated as such.
- Mention is made of an exam scheduled for April 6 1942.
Raju is listed under Entry No. 466:
Why these facts are important is because, for one thing, since 1950 Raju's birthday has been celebrated on the date of November 23, 1926. Raju is also supposed to have declared his divinity in May 1940 and even went further as to leave home and become a 'full-time' avatar later that year (October 20, 1940). Clearly the dating of these events are contradicted by his school records. Although Sampath made it very clear in later addendums that he was personally convinced that the twin events of the declaration of divinity and the assumption of avatarhood were both false and never happened as real historical events, he stated that he brought all these facts to light in order to highlight the inconsistencies that exist between official administrative documents and the legend.
Following Sampath's arguments, one may ask of the significance of Novermber 23, 1926 and why that date was selected for birthday celebrations? The easy answer is Sri Aurobindo, who, on November 24, 1926, declared the following:
"November 24, 1926, was the descent of Krishna into the physical. A power infallible shall lead the thought. In earthly hearts kindle the Immortal's Fire, even the multitude shall hear the voice."
Unsurprisingly, Sai devotees have seized on this as proof of Sai Baba's divinity and identity with God (Krishna) with no exception, given their belief that Aurobindo was referring to the Baba who was supposedly born on the previous day (Nov. 23). The main problem with this idea is that the followers of Aurobindo widely believe that he was referring to the descent of "Krishna consciousness" into himself, being that he had been in a meditative trance for a long while and had emerged out of said trance on November 24 to inform his followers of his revelation. As an interesting aside, Aurobindo largely retired from public interactions from that date onwards and preferred to spend long periods of time in seclusion while communicating with his followers via letters. Incorrigible Sai devotees seize on that too, presenting it as an example of Aurobindo's taking of voluntary retirement after handing the reins over to "God incarnate"!
Be that as it may, the Aurobindo theory is the most likely explanation for the selection of November 23 1926 as the official birthday of Sathyanarayana Raju. Contemporaneous saints such as Aurobindo, Ramana Maharshi, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Swami Vivekananda and others were very famous in those days, so it is not unlikely that Raju & Co. had heard of Aurobindo and his cryptic pronouncement. What happened next appears to be a sordid example of gross misrepresentationa and a hijacking of a saint's inheritance by way of deliberate deception and wilful concoctions in order to support an "avatarhood" house of cards.
Of course, this theory along with it's supporting evidence cannot be expected to appeal to all. One vociferous critic, Gerald 'Joe' Moreno, had much to say in rebuttal although this is not to affirm said rebuttals as correct or worthy of response. For a start, Moreno made a big hue and cry over the status and price of LIMF, affirming that the text was a private venture that was not approved or authenticated by the Sri Sathya Sai Books & Publications Trust. Given that LIMF is a monumental research work that involved extensive interviewing of Sathya Sai Baba's surviving relatives, friends and classmates over a period of seven years, it is inevitable that new facts would turn up as they have done, and that this in itself does not invalidate the work itself. Complaining about the price of the work ($149.95 hardback, $55.11 paperback) was particularly laughable, especially Moreno's contention that it was "undeniable that the prime motive to make this volume series was money". As a point of interest, a former devotee has been kind enough to donate his copy of LIMF to me for free and I can personally testify to the sheer bulk of the book! It is indeed a work of extraordinary size, and I have trouble holding it in my arms to read it without any form of support.
Bearing this in mind, I think that the expensive price is entirely reasonable when considering the bulkiness of the volume. In the next part of this series, I'll address more of Moreno's shallow criticisms and explain how - in the light of new evidence - they will now be untenable.
Copyright © Sai Baba EXPOSED! 2005-2007. Discuss this post!
Return To Main Page