Sathya Sai Baba, 82 (although records suggest that he is older, see discussion and further links here, The Date of Sai Baba’s Birthday) has long said that he will cause, within his own lifetime, a profound coming together in peace and harmony among the world’s religions. See, Will World Accept Sai Baba? He Says Yes. Very Soon When one looks at the Interfaith horizon, there are many players, and yet Sai Baba and his global Sathya Sai Organization are frequently conspicuous by their absence. A simple check with the organisational leaders of the Interfaith community will reveal all.
‘Divine’ Decline and Decline of the Showman ‘Emperor’
Sai Baba is now showing significant signs of dotage. His devotees – but not his worried minders! – ignore all the patently obvious signs of decrepitude. They claim e.g., that it is “all Bhagawan’s Leela” and that “Swami is simply testing us”, and display a range of rather saddening symptoms of being in deep psychological denial.
The Rise and Rise of Interfaith Diolog (and meaningful action!)?
On the other hand, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has called on Jewish, Christian and Muslim clerics to hold united fora “to defend humanity from harm”. In his meeting with Pope Benedict XVI in November 2007, King Abdullah had foreshadowed the idea, but has surprised some commentators by acting to gather clerics from these denominations. Part of the surprised reaction was because Saudi Arabia is religion-wise very conservative. It bans, for example, public prayer by members of any other religion. Perhaps the surprise is not occasioned, because the King is virtually surrounded by hard-line Islamic leaders committed to jihad. Not far from King Abdullah’s mind must surely be the powerful and continual rise of Iran, which is not an Arab country. The decisive issue may prove to be whether the King and Arab moderates prefer a strong peace settlement with Israel or to have to deal with it as a hostile, as well as with Iran.
Whatever may be the prime motivation – whether Realpolitik or Interfaith leanings – at least King Abdullah is doing what Sai Baba has so long promised but singularly failed to accomplish. Certainly, the Saudi move is not the first Interfaith initiative from within the Muslim world. See my article,
An extraordinary cross-section of mainstream Muslim clerics, theologians and academics have acted in a way that Sai Baba and his mega wealthy worldwide cult, the Sathya Sai organization, have profoundly failed to act. This failure needs to be made very clear within the interfaith movement. The members of the Sathya Sai Organization which has attempted to interact with it, can be challenged to […]
By DONNA ABU-NASR and ABDULLAH SHIHRI, Associated Press Writers Tue Mar 25, 5:21 PM ET
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – The Saudi king has made an impassioned plea for dialogue among Muslims, Christians and Jews – the first such proposal from a nation with no diplomatic ties to Israel and a ban on non-Muslim religious services and symbols …..
By Lily HindyAssociated Press Writer / March 26, 2008
NEW YORK-Several Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders reacted warmly to a proposal for dialogue among the religions by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, welcoming the overture from the leader of the strict Muslim country as a major development in interfaith relations. Specifics of the initiative, including whether Israelis could take part, remained unclear — leading some to caution against too much optimism. Abdullah’s proposal comes at a time of stalled peace negotiations and heightened Middle East tension. It also comes amid Muslim anger over cartoons published in Europe seen as insulting the Prophet Muhammad and in the wake of the pope’s controversial baptism of a prominent Muslim convert […]
See, too: Has ‘World Saviour’ Missed His Plane?
In his February 16, 2007 so-called ‘divine discourse’, Sai Baba said, “I intend to undertake a world tour, shortly.” But will he? How can he?
The guru, perhaps the most wealthy and politically powerful in India’s long history, claims that he will save the world in his own lifetime. He will, he says, preside over the […]