The Truth Behind Sai Baba's Homosexuality
"Giving the appearance of a strange person, having a basket-like hair on his head, showing no signs which indicate any particular religion or sect, with no specific mark on his face indicative of any particular caste, he appears quickly in a moment and vanishes equally quickly, then suddenly comes into your presence, wearing a robe that comes right down to his feet and sometimes covers the feet and sometimes does not cover the feet. Inherent beauty and attractiveness are obvious in his playing and singing. These are the aspects of Shiva Shakti that are contained in him. Neither his hair nor any particular mark on his body nor the kind of robes that he wears give any clue to his divinity. All these signs point to the young Sathya Sai as he appears in his external form. He always smiles. In him, you will find the aspects of Shiva and Shakti. How is it possible for anyone to understand the secret of Sathya Sai whose form answers this description?"- Summer Showers in Brindavan 1974, 'Who is Sathya Sai Baba?'
The incorporation of masculine and feminine elements in one's personality is correctly known as androgyny, a quality that was noticed in Sai Baba as far back as 1970 by Tal Brooke, who was sexually molested by the Baba and who proceeded to write the first landmark exposure book: Avatar Of Night. At the outset I should mention that this article focuses on the Baba's feminine aspect in the light of continuing and devastating claims of homosexual paedophilia on his part, and Sai Baba's own androgynous tendencies have been brought to light by 'Love Is My Form', a well-researched biography.
Indeed, from the age of five onwards, it was observed thus:
"Sathya never hesitated to assist his family in household chores. He would help his sister Venkamma cook and go shopping for his father, returning with four-donkey-loads of provisions ... Sometimes Sathya was even called Aadamari Sathyakka (Sathya the elder sister), as he would help his parents in cleaning the house; fetching water from the well and doing other chores that were considered girls' work in those days." - LIMF, p. 39.
A clarificatory footnote elsewhere expands on why preoccupations with "worship, rituals and music sometimes had made others feel that he was often too genteel and not one of them." Devotees would seize on this as evidence of Sai Baba's (then Sathyanarayana Raju) divine otherworldliness except for the fact that his gentility is clarified as referring to his being appelled as "'ammani', because he was dancing, cleaning houses, bringing water, wearing saris and so on, like ladies did" (LIMF, p. 560). And although I am loathe to say this, it has been observed that a significant proportion of homosexuals exhibit feminine behaviour not unlike that described above, and close relationships with female family members often feature strongly. And so it was with Raju and his elder sister, Venkamma, of whose closeness to each other was especially prominent in his childhood and youth. As Raju loved to take part in dances and dramas, his lithe form often qualified him to take on female roles almost all of the time. Venkamma and another sister, Parvathamma, frequently took responsibility for his cosmetics and costumes, often clothing him in their own saris for the part.
This was especially noted in an instance in the mid-1930s whereby a popular dance artist, Rishyendramani, went touring around South India to entertain towns and villages with her impressive show. She was famous for feats such as dancing to music while picking up handkerchiefs off the floor with her teeth. Once when Rishyendramani and her troupe were due to perform at Raju's Annual School Day function, a last-minute announcement informed that the artiste would not be appearing and the event was cancelled. To prevent the disappointmentment of the crowd, Raju rushed into action and decked himself in fancy clothes and enabled an announcement to say that the artiste had turned up after all. Due to his lithe form he was able to pass for a young female, and reportedly improved upon Rishyendramani's feats to the delight of the crowd. The funny part was when the District Board President wished to present a prize of a silk sari to the 'artiste', asking for 'her' to come up on stage to receive it. Raju had changed back into his male clothes by then but walked towards the stage to claim his prize. He was stopped by officials and the situation was defused when a senior teacher informed that it was actually he who had saved the day and thus he deserved a prize, though it is unknown whether he received the sari!
What this tells us is that, by now, Raju had identified with females closely enough to take his prize in spite of having his deception unravelled. Any average individual who had done such a charitable and altruistic act to help in a time of disaster might have fought shy of admitting that they had to dress up as a female to do so, but not for Raju apparently. It should be noted that it is quite common in some Indian drama performances for the actors to switch gender roles; a play on Radha and Krishna may sometimes feature a female in the (male) role of Krishna. In any case Raju's relishing of female roles seem to be a prominent feature, as he often starred in female roles in dramas that he wrote himself.
This whole business with saris was first brought to my attention in 1997 when I purchased the book 'Recapitulation of Baba's Divine Teachings' by Grace J. McMartin in the ashram bookshop. The following image was published within it with an accompanying history provided by the preface's author, Pramod Kumar Suri:
The story behind this image follows, with significant cleanup from myself:
"I am reminded of the actual miracle of Bhagavan [Sai Baba] performed five decades ago with Mrs. Thippamma of Anantapur. Thippamma offered prayers and prasadam in a tray and paid obeisances. When she raised her head, she saw Swami standing in front of her. Mrs. Thippamma asked Swami, 'Just now I offered prasadam to a lady goddess and paid respects, where is she?' Swami waved His divine hand and materialised the photo of 'Swami wearing a sari' and asked, 'Was it this you saw?' This rare photo is being printed in this book."
As a devotee, I did not think much about it at the time since this was apparently a materialised photograph, although I did have some suspicions about it's being so unusual. Upon reading all of the anecdotes above I was forced to take another look at the picture and see it in a different light. What surprised me was that this same picture was also printed in LIMF (cleaned up and clearer) with significant differences to the story!
As per the LIMF account:
"The families of Gummagatta Thippamma, Yadalam Nagamma and Subbamma assembled at the mandir with Kudumulu and other items to perform Gouri Puja in Baba's presence ... The ladies petitioned to offer the [valedictory offering] to Easwaramma. Baba said, 'Why Easwaramma? I will receive it myself.' They were confused and looked at each other. By the time they looked back at Baba, he had transformed himself into a lady wearing a white sari, bedecked with a lot of jewellery, flowers and kumkum ... They touched her feet and received her blessings. After receiving the [valedictions], she transformed herself back into Baba.
"Thippamma expressed her desire to see the lady again. Baba materialised for her a photo of him as the same 'lady' and gave it to her. (To prove that he was the very same Gouri Devi, he hassumed the form of the lady that had received the [offering].) He said, 'I am not that Parvathi of those days.' In the photograph was a 'modern' Parvathi - dressed in a silk sari and adorned with necklaces and bangles. Characteristic of Baba's humour, she was wearing a pair of glasses too! Thippamma bowed down at the feet of Baba shedding tears of happiness and contentment." - LIMF, p. 523.
If that didn't blow your mind enough, we are observing a notable outbreak of transvestism in Sai Baba's lifestyle. A more in-depth look is needed at his childhood but, suffice to say, continued bullying at school, an aptitude for female-oriented tasks, regular performances in female roles and cruel beatings inflicted on him at home may have affected his psychosexual development in a major way for these cross-dressing tendencies to exhibit themselves at the most inopportune of times. Of course I don't believe that either of this photograph was "materialised"! It so obviously leads us to conclude that Sathya Sai Baba had dressed up as a woman and posed for these pictures.
What follows herein is a brief photographic record of various incidents in Raju's young life that invariably reveal more evidence of Raju's patent effeminacy. These are not the only indications of his burgeoning androgynous and effeminate characteristics; as with the above photographs, these two photos were snapped during a visit to the palace of the then King and Queen of Chincholi, Karur, in June 1949, at a time when Raju was openly advertising himself as an avatar on a mission to save the world:
Bangles and pearl necklaces? Need any more be said? Unfortunately yes.
In 1958 the Prashanti Nilayam temple had completed construction and was ready to be inaugurated. The date for the opening was 23rd November of that year and it was a momentous celebration. After years of living in a dilapidated shed in the village that was full to the brim with visiting devotees all the year round, Sai Baba finally had his own grand temple (paid for by wealthy benefactors) to live in and call his own. How did he dress for the opening ceremony and procession from the old shed to the new temple?
It seems that Sai Baba was rather a habitual wearer of saris and other feminine clothes. Eyewitness accounts of devotees present during the ten-day Dassera festivals (dedicated to the Divine Mother) in the mid-1940s have given testimony to the fact that for each day of the festival Sai Baba wore a different colour of sari and was paraded in public on a palanquin. It is not without cause that many who have seen him for the first time mistook him to be a woman, explicitly citing his long hair and robe as causing that impression.
And let's face it: the long orange robe that Sai Baba wears is not that much of a fashionable style among most of India's gurus, who almost always retain traditional styles of dress. Early photos of the Baba in his robes invariably reveal that they were oversized to say the least. And when you consider that the word 'robe' is rather flattering (and misleading), a more apt name for his choice of costume is dress!
To think that all this time Sai Baba, the Androgynous Avatar, has been beautifying himself with cosmetics, hair dye, and effeminately posing for photos wearing long dresses for pretty much all of his career in an odd bid to satisfy his cravings for transvestism and generally behaving like a drag queen. In the light of all these cold and hard facts, it's no surprise that the Baba has been the butt of jokes (pun intended) and speculations about being a practising homosexual. Happy 81st Birthday, Swamini!
Copyright © Sai Baba EXPOSED! 2005-2007. Discuss this post!
Return To Main Page