14 June 2006

The "Sandweiss Principle"

For those who don't know who he is, Samuel H. Sandweiss, M.D., is a practising psychiatrist from San Diego, USA, who is also an author of two popular books about Sai Baba. Much of his fame arises from the fact that he has been close to Sai Baba since 1972 and has many tales to tell as a result. Incidentally his first book, 'Sai Baba: The Holy Man and the Psychiatrist', was the first book that I ever read about Sai Baba. I even told Sandweiss as much when I met him in the summer of 1997 in Sai Baba's ashram, to which he shyly appreciated my complimentary remarks.

But one thing had been nagging me in the back of my mind ever since I read the text; how could a person such as Sandweiss, a practising psychiatrist who knows so much about the innermost workings of the mind, buy into the notion of being "spiritually tested". I am currently a Psychology student and it boggles my mind to think that such an elementary occurrence could be taken as evidence of a higher reality.

Excuse my waffling, without delay I'll show you what I'm referring to. Describing the events of a private interview with Sai Baba and a few others, Sandweiss writes as follows:

"Jeff said that he had received a mantra from Indra Devi and wanted to know the correct way of saying it. Baba agreed to help. I knew that in advising people to repeat the name of God, Baba frequently instructs them to use a japamala, a religious necklace with 108 beads, similar to a rosary ... I said to myself, 'Ah ha! I bet Baba is going to create a japamala for Jeff.' As I watched him, he brought out from behind his back in his left hand what indeed appeared to be a japamala. He continued speaking to Jeff and it seemed to me that nobody else was looking at his left hand, that I was the only one who noticed it. My mind began to work.
"'Could it be that Baba is really just a cheap magician, who hides objects behind his back all the time - so forgetful that he takes this necklace from behind his back now and plays with it in front of my nose? ... What a stupid thought!' But even as my mind attempted to argue away its own doubt, I could feel my heart sinking. No, I would not let him trick me into thinking he is just a bad magician. He continued to talk to us, smiling blissfully, and I continued to watch his left hand carefully.
"Back it went behind his back, then out in front again, and I just knew he was going to give the japamala to Jeff as if he had materialized it. Then all of a sudden he made the familiar circular gesture with the right hand and there appeared in it a beautiful japamala - but quite different to the one in his left hand. The one I had seen in his left hand was gone. I was stupefied by this turn of events. My doubting was certainly not new. It raises its ugly head whenever I'm beginning to take pride in my faith, beginning to believe that it is solid and unshakeable. A fog of confusion comes over me; I know that Baba is destroying me, and I feel almost helpless before this reaction ...
"After this kind of demonstration, I've learned to say to myself, 'Sam, don't fall for any of those tricks, and don't be destroyed. Just expect nothing, want nothing and demand nothing.' I left the interview full of smiles rather than suspicions or hurt feelings, and Baba said we would be called back in another day or so for additional private interviews." - p. 137-139

Sandweiss describes this experience in the context of a chapter discussing Sai Baba's deliberate ignoring of him in order to effect the apparent destruction of his ego and mind, as well as subscribing to the concept of being "spiritually tested" to see if his faith in Sai Baba is whole. But in fairness to Sandweiss he is not the only one who thinks this way, they all do. Each and every one of Sai Baba's devotees affirm the experience of being tested and which they jocularly refer to as being placed in the "repair shop".

I don't need to state here that Sai Baba's suspicious behaviour in regards to materialisations have been observed by many other people; he has even been caught cheating on film. In light of my own discoveries, I have to wonder about the level of sanity and intelligence in these people, how do you figure direct observation of a fraudulent miracle and subsequent rationalisation of it, explicitly going against his own better judgement and instincts about poorly performed magic tricks? It seems to me that the one of the most basic principles of psychology, rationale, is not being applied here. Frankly I'm dumbfounded that a psychiatrist would even allow himself to think in this manner, exposing the depths of his own need to believe in Sai Baba.

It's no wonder that the (past and present) leaders of the International Sai Organisation deliberately ignore and dismiss reports of Sai Baba's fraudulence, child sex abuse, homosexual pedophilia relations and involvement in murders; many of them have been trained by Sai Baba himself according to the "Sandweiss Principle": Repress and kill your doubts and instincts; Become an automaton - Baba is God no matter what.


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  • Disgusting, false accusations! We feel deeply that Sri Sathya Sai Baba is the only hope for this world of greedy humans that worship money and deceit instead of

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 31 August, 2008 03:47  

  • Disgusting false accusations, eh? Perhaps Sri Sathya Sai Baba might be a great hope for the world if he kept his hands to himself, what say?

    I fail to see what exactly is so "disgusting" and "false" when you have one of the top devotees admitting that he caught Sai Baba performing a fake miracle.

    By Blogger Swami Saiexposedananda, at 31 August, 2008 17:32  

  • As you can see this is another idiot's attempt to try and frame the man that people live for...apparently he has no better way for spending his time.

    Oh and he's probably doing this because he wasn't "recognized by Baba" like he didn't get a ring or an interview...seriously grow up and get off the web...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 03 October, 2008 09:42  

  • FYI, Anon, I had two private interviews with Sai Baba and was "recognised" by him on many occasions.

    Funny how you attack me for my supposed "attention seeking" when you have nothing to say about one of Sai Baba's top devotees uncovering an instance of his fraud and passing it off as a "spiritual test".

    Seriously, I'm not the one who needs to grow up.

    By Blogger Swami Saiexposedananda, at 03 October, 2008 14:28  

  • I can understand your doubts, as I too have experienced them. I frequently think, why does Swami create miracles in ways which are so questionable (bringing a japamala from behind his back). I only have two points to make:

    1)The only known in science is that what we know is an increasingly decreasing fraction of what we do not know. Our scientific methods, in medicine, and beyond, are chalk full of flaws. Whether you believe Swami is God or not, his teachings bring peace and spread love to countless people - this in itself is the real miracle. Swami tells us not be impressed by the miracles - our inner-nature to love is the only real miracle.

    2) In regards to mysterious miracles, I have come to find that Swami performs his miracles in this way for a reason. In order to reach God, there needs to be an aspect of faith. For any scientist, this is difficult to accept. I am a medical student and my experiences in Western medicine affirm this attitude. He gives us a little taste of his divinity, but he wants us to be courageous and move towards him via faith. As he tests us in this way, he is not unfair. We, too, can test him, as we do everyday when he say, "Oh God, if you exist, help me out with this dilemma!"

    Whether my comments mean anything to you is up to you. Swami has never taught us to be proselytizing and that is not my intention. He says, "There is no sense in pouring tea into a cup if it is turned over."

    I pray that you reach all your dreams and goals.

    Loving Sai Rams,

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 22 May, 2009 16:16  

  • Totally agree with the article.

    Why is it that educated people fall for dhongi baba's. A simple question to the Bhagwan - Why do you need to lead such a lavish life where most in your country cannot even afford one square meal !!

    Stop playing with people's emotions in the name of god. FYI _ no human can ever be god. It is a super natual power and will never enter a paapi human body.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 24 November, 2009 06:05  

  • its amazing how a small almost insignificant blog(no offence) has brought out such strong emotions!

    the world faces larger problems and authenticity of Sai Baba seems to be an issue...

    why cant it just be this....
    those who don't believe in him, let go, if there is a problem u have with him and the organization, write to it! u can post a letter or even email it.

    those who do believe, as im sure most of this category has read his speeches or literature will know, he has always said dont defend him. those who need to believe will do so and those who dont will talk. who r u or i to defend him?

    just an after thought,
    you, mr. blogger call ur self H. H. Swami Saiexposedananda....
    its just amusing how u use so much of a "spiritual" title....being the logical, no-pretense psychologist that u r or will be.. :)



    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 13 October, 2010 08:49  

  • With due respects to Swami Saiexposedananda., he needs to reperuse the Sandweiss article which says that the fist japmala, which Baba was cradling in his left hand, was different from the second one. Transforming (transmuting) matter from one type into another is one of his miracles (that is, if you attach any importance to them). He converts a silver ring into golden ring by merely blowing on it in full view of the receiver. The ego blowing trick of his is the greater miracle, psychiatry or no psychiatry.
    The mind accepts the world and its matter as being unchangeable and real. But Baba displays that it is a function of ones mind and therefore mutable. That is the real lesson which he preaches, but it evades the vast majority of individuals who are not interested in the principle but in the mundane effect of it.
    Hope this clarifies all the points.

    By Blogger Dilip Trasi, at 05 January, 2011 14:51  

  • If it was a case of transmutation, why not do it in full view of Sandweiss and the rest of the interview room? What is the need to have his hand behind his back?

    By Blogger Swami Saiexposedananda, at 07 January, 2011 23:02  

  • Most of the miracles are performed in full view of all. This specific one was meant to create and then shatter the doubt in the mind of Sandweiss, as I had already explained in my previous posting.

    By Blogger Dilip Trasi, at 15 January, 2011 17:31  

  • You don't have the fairness to put up replies which go against your premise and for which you have no answer. You only approve those for which you have an answer. It is clear that you are prejudicially motivated. I-- and I am sure there are many others who-- can guess who are the ones behind your motivation.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 19 January, 2011 13:41  

  • You have no fairness to approve comments which go against your premise and for which you have no fitting reply. You only reply to those issues for which you have an answer and pretend to ignore those for which you have no satisfactory rebuttal.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 19 January, 2011 13:48  

  • Sorry, I am a busy person and don't check comments every day. Rest assured, all comments ARE published (except purely abusive ones, of course).

    Of course, the idea that such "amateur" miracles are performed in order to create/shatter doubt in the minds of devotees is a popular one indeed. We can expect devotees to always refer to this type of logic in order to maintain a consistent belief in the face of contrary evidence.

    Take a look at it from another angle. It is also a CLEAR example of Sai Baba being caught cheating. This example, multiplied by tons of other examples (some of which are caught on video, what to speak of those that have been personally eye-witnessed) contain increasing evidence that Sai Baba's "miracles" are sleight of hand. And not very good ones at that. I have dealt with miracles elsewhere, but this posting served to remind the community of how an esteemed devotee like Sandweiss who should know FAR better (him being a psychiatrist and all) was an eyewitness and clearly caught Sai Baba in one such situation. As I mentioned in the post, I continue to be dumbfounded by the way he rationalised the incident.

    By Blogger Swami Saiexposedananda, at 20 January, 2011 05:11  

  • I think you should apply the wikipedia principle and stick to objective facts rather than your opinion, that way people can judge for themselves, else this turns out to be just an opinionated blog with not always constructive criticism and lots of slander.

    Mind you, I cant stand that orange blob any more than you. Am just shocked that such an eye sore can have such a following, as they say, it happens only in Ind...!! If only the poor fools worshipping him realise hes probably a front for the govt/real estate mafia/other groups with tonnes off black money to probably launder and do whatever else with..

    Am coming from a point where you, knowing who he is, having been there, have an opportunity to educate the rest, the blind believers as well as the skeptics, doing so impartially will educate those many poor fools who've fallen for this idiot, else, his "devotees" will only spam you with negative comments.

    By Anonymous Ihateorangeblobtoobutwantconstructivecriticismtogowithfacts, at 28 January, 2011 03:50  

  • I have only 2 words for you: sai Ram

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 07 February, 2012 13:54  

  • 'Sai Ram' to you too.

    And what's your explanation for that extract from Sandweiss' popular book?

    How do you as a Sai devotee explain this recorded instance of Sai Baba clearly cheating at 'producing' a japamala?

    By Blogger Swami Saiexposedananda, at 11 February, 2012 19:17  

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