Call For Media and Government Investigation

of Sathya Sai Baba And his worldwide cult, the Sathya Sai Organization

William Aitken’s Book Fails to Answer Sai Baba Critics

Posted by Barry Pittard on February 21, 2008

Today’s blog continues my small series on aspects of Brian Steel’s impressive opus, specifically at:  Bill Aitken and Sathya Sai Baba. A Writer’s Dilemma,  on William Aitken’s book, Sri Sathya Sai Baba. A Life (New Delhi, Penguin Books India, 2004. Paperback edition, 2006).

Steel’s Meticulous Work Invaluable

Brian Steel’s approach in this piece is scholarly, but his writing has long been appreciated by a wider readership. All who are in search of detailed evidence will find Steel’s meticulous, painstakingly researched work (from 2001 on) indispensable. It is vast, and has been groundbreaking from the very first. I think that there will be no independent scholars or other investigators of merit who will be able to find serious fault with his project. He will nevertheless be targeted, I think, by fervent pro Sai Baba polemicists, who will increasingly undo themselves wherever there are attentive, critical and sober readers. Of Aitken’s attempts at demolishing Sathya Sai Baba critics, Steel says:

“Aitken’s preoccupation with the sensational, headline-grabbing sexual allegations (by Tal Brooke, or David Bailey, for example) does not leave him time to deal with more serious aspects of past and present critical research on Sathya Sai Baba, like recurring demonstrations by magicians (and video evidence too, especially of recent Mahasivaratri lingam productions) that some of Sathya Sai Baba’s commonest materialisations are easily replicated by others. As for the counter-evidence his claims of Divinity, it is just possible that Aitken may not have bothered to read them”.

The Supreme Preposterousness of Avataraic Claims

Sathya Sai Baba can be documented by any conscientious reader as having made contradictory statements and egregious historical and scientific blunders. These include his remarks on Jesus Christ and Martin Luther . For Steel’s detailed and sharply contextualized discussion, see: Sai Baba and Christianity. Some Observations (2002). Steel remarks here the alarming “extent of Sai Baba’s inventiveness”.  This can be instructively read in concert with his Basic Notes On Sai Baba’s Credibility Problem (2004). Also on the acuteness of the credibility problem, Jorje Reysvera and Robert Priddy have written engagingly on Sai Baba and Magnetism, about his prescientific comments on the nature of magnetism. I have written in the article Huge Sai Baba Gaffes how these stunning inanities in Sai Baba’s discourses are preserved in video materials but quickly expunged by nervy Sai editors from the written records, and of my own first-hand observations of the weeding process when I was editing an internationally distributed Sai Baba magazine and books by Sai Baba devotees. This was at Sai Towers in Puttaparthi, and I saw how those such as Professor Anil Kumar and my late friend V.K.Narasimhan, one of India’s pre-eminent, historic and courageous newspaper editors, did such doctoring. I had a hand in the process myself when Sai Baba’s talk about his mother’s ghost would have raised a few eyebrows if allowed to circulate any further than a public discourse. The extraordinary blunders are excised before they get into publications that go worldwide like Sanathana Sarathi and Spiritual Impressions.

Steel quotes Aitken’s own amazement at Sathya Sai Baba’s well-known pronouncement that “Sanskrit is the parent and core of all languages,” which no respectable language scholar holds. And, indeed, to be amazed by disgrace is appropriate.

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