27 September 2006

Sai Baba's Shirdi LIES

One | Two | Three | Four | Five

To get to the heart of this issue, I have relied almost wholly on an independently-researched biography of Sathya Sai Baba, 'Love Is My Form' (hereafter referred to as 'LIMF'), which was produced by a team of devotees to commemorate his 75th birthday. The work is scintillating in the amount of new information turned up, old sites revisited and the sheer number of the Baba's contemporaries being interviewed about his history. Unless directly stated and to avoid confusion, Shirdi Sai Baba will be referred to by his full name whereas Sathya Sai Baba will be referred to by his civil surname ('Raju') and nickname ('Sathya').


Much has been made of Sathya Sai Baba's declaration to be the reincarnation of Shirdi Sai Baba, and rightly so since everyone is in agreement over the fact that the proclamation was a pivotal event in the Puttaparthi Baba's life. The basic story goes like this: On the 23rd May 1940, the young Sathyanarayana Raju woke up and drew a sizeable crowd to him and proceeded to materialise various eatables for them. Raju had been exhibiting extremely strange behaviour for the previous couple of weeks after suffering an alleged scorpion bite, his moods having ranged from bitter weeping to manic laughter after being in a comatose state for several days.

The moods and the materialisations were increasing gradually with each passing day until this day, when Raju's father, Venkappa, could take no more. Brandishing a stick, he pushed and shoved his way through the crowd and stood before his son. Prof. Narayana Kasturi (Sathya Sai Baba's authorised biographer) relates the scene as follows:

Arming himself with a stick, he moved a step nearer and threatened to beat it out of him. "Are you a God, or a ghost or a madcap? Tell me!" he shouted. Prompt came the answer, the announcement, that had been held back so long, "I am Sai Baba."

Further argument became impossible Venkapa Raju was stunned into silence; the stick slid from his hands. He stood staring at Sathya, trying to grasp the implications of that announcement, "I am Sai Baba." But, Sathya continued, " I belong to Apasthamba Suthra; I am of the Bharadwaja Gothra; I am Sai Baba; I have come to ward off all your troubles; keep your houses clean and pure." ... The elder brother, Seshama Raju went near him, and asked, "What do you mean by 'Sai Baba'?" He did not reply, but only said this much: "Your Venkavadhootha prayed that I be born in your family; so, I came." - Sathyam Sivam Sundaram 1, Chapter 5.

These events are described further in another of Kasturi's works - 'Easwaramma - The Chosen Mother' - with major revisions that allow much more verbosity on the father's part:

"Someone in the crowd turned to Venkapa. 'Sathya gets sugar candy in his palm from nowhere when he waves his hand. He gets flowers that are already strung. Look! He gave me these. Everyone got something.' Venkapa was outraged. 'Sugar! Flowers! The cheat! Everything, a trick!' he yelled. 'This must be the last!' and pushed himself towards the boy. Easwaramma [Sai Baba's mother] stood alone on the edge of the crowd. She closed her eyes tight , not to see the stick coming down on Sathya's head. She prayed to the village gods.

"Venkapa reached Sathya. 'Stop this stupid drama! Tell me, are you a ghost or a rogue or a madcap? Are you a God? Are you Narasimha or Narayana?' 'I AM SAI BABA!' said Sathya, calm and fearless, for he spoke the Truth! Easwaramma gasped. This was someone no one knew! 'Sai Baba?' his father queried, 'Sai Baba?' The lathi [cane] had fallen from his hands but he went on angrily. 'You may be Sai Baba or Hai Baba. It doesn't concern us. But you had better leave this boy and this place!' He was apparently addressing the spirit he thought dwelt in his son ... But there was yet another problem to worry the family and every curious man and woman of Puttaparthi: who or what was this 'Sai Baba'?"

Further into the story we find a statement that describes the reaction of the Puttaparthi villagers as one of "fear and amazement" to the mention of the name 'Sai Baba'. Enquiries into the meaning of this name led them to the house of a government officer who lived in nearby Penukonda and who was a devotee of Shirdi Sai Baba, who promptly denounced the young upstart as a victim of mental derangement.

The general mood of the biographies present Puttaparthi and it's cultural milieu as a typical backwoods village isolated from the outside world, symbolically (even literally) represented by it's geographical locale, a valley surrounded with high hills. As such, the name and fame of Shirdi Sai Baba could not penetrate this inaccessible village and nobody knew who he was. The biographical literature acts as if Raju's declaration was a stunning event for precisely this reason; since no one knew of Shirdi Sai Baba, 'who is this strange figure who has possessed this little boy, our darling?'

Hagiographers like Ra. Ganapati ('Baba Satya Sai') inform us that several years prior to his declaration, Raju formed a club amongst his schoolmates known as the 'Pandhari Bhajan Group', whose main aim was to walk through the streets of Puttaparthi and surrounding villages singing loud hymns in praise of Lord Vitthala of Pandharpur. As Raju composed almost all of the hymns himself, it is related that several cryptic references to Shirdi and the Baba who lived there abounded throughout them. Again, we are informed that although the villagers relished the public sing-songs, they were puzzled by the Shirdi references.

In rounding off this introduction, we can take note of the most emphatic statement of Shirdi ignorance in Puttaparthi, incidentally made by Sathya Sai Baba in the only full-length interview that he has given to the media in 1976:

Q: What makes you so sure that you are Shirdi Baba incarnate?

Baba: The knowledge of My own authentic experience, of course. Since no one who knew Shirdi Baba is alive today, there is no evidence except My own knowledge and experience. The very fact that I announced that I am Shirdi Baba 40 years ago, when I was only 10 and when nobody in this part of the South had known or even heard of Shirdi Baba proves this fact.

We will proceed to analyse the truth of this.

One | Two | Three | Four | Five

Copyright © Sai Baba EXPOSED! 2005-2007. Discuss this post!

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  • Hi. How do know that this news paper interview is autenthic? For if SSB says he made Shirdi Baba reincarnation claim at 10 years old, it would make it happen 1936, as he says. But as we know it happened 1940 it means that suggested day of birth is actually 1929 as recommended!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 02 November, 2009 13:32  

  • who asked you to belive Shirdi, he is also a crap

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 25 April, 2011 18:17  

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