Sathya Sai Baba’s Deterioration: Long Mental and Physical Slide Into Chaos
Posted by Barry Pittard on September 18, 2011
How many times must a charismatic figure, like a guru, err before people’s mesmerization tapers, and, hopefully, ends. Before, that is, they begin to see the trail of anomaly, broken promises, and betrayed hopes?
Commonly, infantile belief systems – however dressed up to look all grown up – intrudes. Devotees are lost in adulating their idealized father or mother figure. They rationalize away absurdities and often downright lies. They feel comforted by the cultic group that feeds and shelters their sense of belonging. In the case of figures like Sai Baba, they think that the guru holds the power over their chances for heaven or hell.
Sathya Sai Baba’s minders did all that they could to hide the dreadful physical and mental wreck that he became in his last years. But it cannot be upheld that thousands of devotees from around the world did not see at least some of the signs. Certainly, the many doctors attending darshan or his interviews could not other than have noticed. The Australian scholar Brian Steel’s remark of February 2002 had almost a touch of prescience. He noted:
‘Since the ‘discrepancies’ appear to be increasing nowadays, is there any possibility that Sai Baba is suffering from a degenerative ageing disease which might have an effect on his thinking and speaking?’
Likewise, in October 2002, the Swedish psychologist Åsa Samsioe, noting physical signs of Sai Baba’s ageing like his development of a ’turkey throat’ and also the “low intellectual level” of his discourses, remarked:
‘He must have one heck of a job, Sathya Sai Baba… it can’t be easy to age in his situation, besides being under so much criticism as he has recently been… not surprising that it leaves its marks. Occasionally I think ‘poor man’… feel some pity for him. A whole life built on lies… captured by the myth about himself… to be the object of the projections of millions… and to be forced , at least outwardly, to live up to all the expectations put to him… to always have to have all those people around him’.
Nonetheless, Sai Baba always claimed he would never suffer from illness, not least due to his self-claimed ‘purity, patience and perserverence’ as in the following statement scanned from one of his web pages:-
The Public Petition
(Note: You may prefer to go straight to the Petition): Public Petition For Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization