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

Archive for July 20th, 2008

The Two Sai Baba’s and Miracles. (Intro)

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 20, 2008

The interested reader can readily find a whole literature concerning the scientific investigation of miracles and other alleged supraphenomena.

(I shall soon blog on the issue of the alleged Shirdi Sai Baba miracle, said to have occurred in Bangalore on July 18, 2008, courting such headlines in the Indian national press such as the Times of India as: Frenzy over Sai idol with one eye open).

Blind Faith and Blind Science. Unbeknown to themselves – quarreling cousins with a stark family resemblance

Many serious and well-qualified investigators who have gone to homes, temples, grottos, etc., that are scenes of apparent miracles have not always found fraudulence – nor even unconscious self-deception on the part of the hosts.

There appear to be phenomena as yet unexplained within the present state of scientific knowledge. Ironically enough, it may be true that Papal investigators of miracles have more in common with rationalists. Comparative studies are important. There are many cases that need scientific enquiry and understanding, and – if there is not cross-cultural, interdisciplinary work – any serious undertaking risks being weakened from the start.


The tendency of many faithful of various persuasions is to think that God is blessing them as Hindus or Sikhs or Christians or Buddhists, or whatever the Faith, all the while not realizing that similar phenomena – with different historical-cultural reference points – occur throughout the world.

There are also those in many belief systems whose adherents are perfectly ready to believe that mystic phenomena (beyond the merely ‘spooky’or superficial) are likely to happen anywhere and to anyone irrespective of religious background. There are those, too, from many faiths who do not regard the ‘miraculous’ as important for them at all.

The Mountain Human Beings Created Without A Single Miracle

The interfaith movement has made headway in breaking down such insularity, but there is a mountain of profound ignorance exhibited by one culture of another. Diminish its sovereign power and one is likely, in both the jolt and delight of it all, to start getting some clearer views of those who are ‘different’. From a human and humane point of view, one can find more commonalities than points of quarrel. Such a discovery process can shame all except the shameless out of demonizing or misunderstanding those of other beliefs and, indeed, non-beliefs.

None of this is to say that one needs to lapse into a simpering uncriticalness or bloodless relativism, in which none is served well.

The Almost Miracle of Those Who Are Most Civil 

Criticism among those who have learnt to respect each other is an ennobling, rather than bloodletting activity. An urbane discussion between a civilized believer and a civilized rationalist may not bring conversion either way, but what exists is something far finer – civilized behavior, which is a given and requires no conversion. Neither participant is likely to be lacking in a good sense of humor. So much so that if a miracle happened to them they would not find in it cause to take up arms, one against the other.

Select Readings

(Regarding the two Sai Babas, especially in the light of the use made of the old saint’s fame by Sathya Sai Baba on his own myth-making pathway to fame): 

Robert Priddy:

by Marianne Warren. Sterling Paperbacks – New Delhi Revised edition 2004 – ISBN 81-207-2147-0
Featured on Robert Priddy’s website:

Brian Steel:

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