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Sai Baba Fails To Grant Great Moon Vision. Endangers Crowds

Posted by Barry Pittard on October 6, 2007

Once, my life nearly succumbed to an Indian headlong pilgrim rush.

Crowd Delirium at Puttaparthi

What wondrous relief, then, not to have been caught up in the crowd surges of Sathya Sai Baba devotees which, last Thursday evening, plunged towards Sai Baba’s Puttaparthi airport. They hungered after Sai Baba’s reportedly promised divine vision as hunger-maddened human beings might rush for food.

Sai Baba had announced through one of his chief servitors, Professor Anil Kumar, news reports state, that he would grant to his assembled devotees a great vision – no less than “Vishwarupa Darshanam”.


This is the sort of peak divine experience that Lord Krishna is said to have granted to his servitor and boon companion Arjuna. See Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, At a point north east, all the divinely and incredibly fortunate Sai devotees would have to do would be to look up at the moon, and, lo, they would receive a blessing granted usually only to yogis or rishis (sages) who had meditated for thousands of years. (Too bad, of course, for any blind Sai Baba devotees). But the weather turned cloudy, and Puttaparthi officials are reported as saying that their Bhagawan Sai Baba had refused to go ahead with the event because the crowds had become unruly, holding up his car, in which he had been driven to the airport, for an hour.

How anyone could attain redemptive deliverance by trampling to death one’s fellow pilgrims may seem something of a mystery. But it is not a spiritual mystery. How Sai Baba could have set up a situation which any sane Indian knows is bound to cause incredible crowd turmoil is not, I think, a mystery at all. But, rather, is explicable in terms of serious recurring evidence of an encroaching mental condition that his core assistants work overtime in trying to keep from devotees and the general public. See my article: Sai Baba’s Tip to Keep Ageing Away.

In India, ‘Guest is God’. My 15 Minutes of Godhood

To speak of fervent ‘religous’ crowds who can trample you underfoot in the twinkling of a foot. One day at Sai Baba’s Puttaparthi ashram, in the late ’70’s, I was seized by a fit of (would-be) renunciation.

I was a lecturer in Sai Baba’s boys college at Whitefield, via Bangalore, and used to my place on Sai Baba’s temple (mandir) verandah and other ‘privilegious’ vantage points. One of these was a spot among Sai Baba’s male bhajan lead singers who sat right up front in the Puttaparthi auditorium, the Poorna Chandra, at that time said to be the second-largest auditorium in South-East Asia.


With no prizes available for grand naivity, I thought:  let me get out of this unseemly easefulness and sit as far up towards the back as possible, among the seething humanity, in this way working towards combatting egoic attachment to Sai Baba’s form. Unlike my normal seating position, to which I could go freely without queuing, I now had to wait among great throngs. At length, the roller doors of the Poorna Chandra were thown open, whence followed as fiece a charge as a Kiplingesque ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’ – except that this was the charge of myriad heavy brigades. Pakistan would have been defeated in an instant!

Salvational Desperation

I did not then know what many a surviving pilgrim in India will know – which is:  Do rush. Do plunge pell-mell. Do charge with the charge. Otherwise you’re done for – life or limb. Unless you want to stay at home and risk getting run over by a vehicle. Nothing in India’s scriptures, nor in any, had quite prepared me for this important annexure to sacred Wisdom.

Thou Shalt Not Trample Foreign Visitors, Unless Moksha (Soul Liberation) Needs Forbid

Fortunately, there were a few quick thinkers among that madding crowd. As it surged forward stormily – avid after sitting places – an instinctive protectiveness by alert Indians saved this Australian “innocent abroad”. One had better not, if at all manageable, paste an innocent foreign face on the floor. Of course, my Indian brothers have known millennia before the American humorist Mark Twain wrote “Innocents Abroad” that foreign travellers tend to be … ah, well … Or, to express the matter mildly, that we can magnify Murphy’s Law to the power of ten.

Then, several pairs of hands swept me up until I was carried over the heads of my benignly strong-armed rescuers. Perhaps that was the prize – my life.

My Fifteen Minutes of Sacred (or Scared) Fame

Once we sat down, I found that some knew I was a teacher in Sai Baba’s college and, at odd times, a bhajan leader, and “I” found “myself” – so to speak – duly worshipped – for God’s sake! The chump being worshipped was still alive, if rather shaken. And Andy Warhol was assiduously timing the whole event – pretty well right down to his statutary fifteen minutes.

Further earnest devotees started beckoning me to work my way down, and, with pained concern inscribed in their faces and tender care vibrating in their outreaching hands, swept me up and passed me continually forward to yet myriad other caring hands (which minutes ago might have belonged to individuals who would gingerly have trampled me underfoot), until service volunteers (seva dals), also brimfull of earnest solicitation, conducted me back to my accustomed, privilegious seat.

For, of course, one of the great courtesies of India is, veritably, that ‘guest is God’.

Vintage Quote From Sai Baba

“I will have to forego the car and even the aeroplane when I move from place to place, for the crowds pressing around them will be too huge; I will have to move across the sky; yes, that too will happen, believe Me.” (Sathya Sai Speaks Vol. II, p. 92)

Further Reading news report, updated: October 4, 2007. Hysteric crowds force Sai Baba to differ Viwa Rupa. Below, I have excerpted from this news release:

HYDERABAD : Hysteric crowds and overhanging clouds persuaded Sri Satya Sai Baba to postpone his promised Vishwarupa darshanam on Thursday evening. There was chaos at the Puttaparthi airport after Sai Baba devotees thronged the premises to witness the Vishwarupa darshanam of their master….
They returned disappointed. Sai Baba had earlier given darshan to his devotees at Sai Kulwant hall in Puttaparthi. After the bhajan, he told his assistant Anil Kumar that he would give Vishwarupa darshanam at around 7 pm on the northeastern direction of the airport….
As soon as Mr Anil Kumar announced this, devotees ran towards the airport chanting his name. Television channels also telecast the news and people in Puttaparthi locked up their houses and ran towards the airport. Thousands also rushed to the area from surrounding villages….
All the devotees crowding the area focused their attention on the northeastern direction in the sky. In a fit of devotion, some of them surrounded the car of Sai Baba and he could not come out. Devotees did not relent even after members of Satya Sai Trust urged them to sit down. Instead, they ran after the car….
A small stage was set up before the car for Viswarupa Darshanam but Sai Baba could not reach the stage as devotees prostrated before him. He was forced to remain in the car for about an hour….
A short while later, the office-bearers of the Satya Sai Trust announced that the Viswarupa Darsanam was postponed because of the non-cooperation of devotees and the cloudy weather. Sai Baba then returned to his Ashram. Sai Baba devotees in other countries also called up their friends and relatives in Puttaparthy to find out about the incident….
Because of the rush, traffic on the road from Puttaparthy to the airport was thrown out of gear. At one stage, doors of the airport had to be closed. Police finally cleared the traffic to enable Sai Baba to return to his Ashram. Most devotees expressed disappointment at not being able to see the Viswarupa Darsanam.

Further Reading

Other articles on the Sai Baba moon issue at: are:

Sai Baba Fails To Appear In The Moon, IANS Reports

Is Indian ‘Godman’ Sai Baba’s Moon Waning Still Further


Robert Priddy: Sai Baba postpones moon buggy ride


The Decline and Fall of the Showman Empire

The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ – A Revision

Note: Many surfers used the following search terms to get to the articles at on the Sai Baba moon issue:

Sai Baba on moon
baba in moon
sathya sai baba in moon
satya sai baba in moon
saibaba on moon
moon appear satya sai


9 Responses to “Sai Baba Fails To Grant Great Moon Vision. Endangers Crowds”

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