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Shirdi Sai Baba and Sathya Sai Baba

Posted by Barry Pittard on January 5, 2009

Drawn by deep alienation from Western materialism, and the attraction of a timeless Indian spirituality, especially in regard to respect for other beings irrespective of race, caste or creed, I lived for a number of years around Sathya Sai Baba.

I had also a great love for Shirdi Sai Baba (died 1918) which would have flourished whether or not Sathya Sai Baba had claimed that he (the Puttaparthi Sai) was the second link in his self-proclaimed triple divine incarnation, commencing with Shirdi Sai Baba, and culminating with Prema Sai Baba, predicted to appear shortly after Sathya Sai departs in circa CE 2022. See my article:

Shirdi Sai Saint’s Fame Spirited By Puttaparthi

This article contains links to a number writings by scholars who have written about the anomalies and confusions:  the late Dr Marianne Warren, Brian Steel and Kevin Shepherd.

At Sathya Sai Baba’s invitation, I taught (1978-79, as unpaid ‘guru seva’ (‘service to the guru’) at the Sathya Sai College of Arts, Science and Commerce at Whitefield via Bangalore, South India, first in drama and then from the commencement of the 1978 academic year, English in the three-year degree course. Among other duties, like instituting wider cultural activities, I was charged with classes originally scheduled to be led by (the late) Principal Narendra, and this constituted an excellent and demanding experience for a fairly recent post graduate student in, separately, teaching and theatre direction.

In the college, I had unsually wide contact with boys from many parts of the college, and, therefore, of India. Many former alumni are now attaining positions of power and influence, and I thought I could sense a new India stirring – de-shackled from the tragic experience of empire. Nonetheless, despite Sathya Sai Baba’s profound betrayal, the experience of teaching boys of so many Indian backgrounds remains a treasured memory.

Indeed, a key notion concerning their supposed destiny was that they are to be Sathya Sai Baba’s great apostles in transforming the entire world, mostly before he dies circa CE 2022. This conditioning becomes ever more fanciful as one witnesses his painful and rapidly ageing steps, his faltering pronouncements and the failure of so many of his predictions.

See, Sai Baba – A Degenerative Disease? and Sai Baba’s Tip To Keep Ageing Away There are, too, his hitherto unreported strange and apparently senile confusions. See, Sai Baba To Be Seen In Moon? But Where Was Moon? And Sai Baba Fails To Grant Great Moon Vision. Endangers Crowds

Note:  (Former devotee writers on the Puttaparthi Sai Baba, of South India, such as Robert Priddy, Brian Steel  and myself, often – although long habit makes it so easy to forget – remember to use his full name so as to avoid unintentional mix-ups in the wider public mind, or in Internet searches, with that other famous figure).


Further Reading

Shirdi Sai Baba’s name hi-jacked by Sathya.

By Robert Priddy, former head of Norwegian Sathya Sai Organization.

Excerpt from correspondence between Marianne Warren andRobert Priddy

23.4  Shirdi Sai Baba and Dr. Marianne Warren’s Rejection of Sathya Sai. By Kevin Shepherd, a British scholar

SB’s Claim to be the Reincarnation of Shirdi Sai Baba. By Australian scholar Brian Steel, a former devotee. Steel carefully sifts through documentary evidence that firmly shows the unconvincingness of Sathya Sai Baba’s tall claim.

Revealing Video Footage 


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Sathya Sai Baba Says He Dislikes Pomp

Posted by Barry Pittard on August 29, 2008

Of pomp, Sathya Sai Baba declares a dislike:

“Let Me tell you this now itself: I do not like this pomp and show. I do not derive any joy out of it. Pomp, such as this, has become a fashion now, even among ascetics and monks who ought to know better. They profess poverty and simplicity and yet, they allow or encourage their disciples to waste much energy and money on pomp and pageantry which serve only to develop the egotism of themselves and their followers. The emphasis on show makes a thing hollow of all meaning.” (Sathya Sai Speaks Vol 3., p 228)

See also, Sanathana Sarathi, 136f S3 40-228 S3

Can one’s eye’s be deceiving, after all? Anyway, one can run the check. See the photos in the Kubla Khan-Citizen Kane-Bill Gates reference below. They display a marked difference to the profound humility of those such as:

Shirdi Sai Baba

A true saint
A true saint whose fame Sathya Sai Baba used to launch his own fame. An outward eccentricity he used as a powerful teaching tool. Many Moslems, Hindus and those of other faiths sought him out
Sri Ramakrishna and Sharada Devi

Sri Ramakrishna and Sharada Devi

Sri Ramakrishna inspired, particularly through his greatest disciple Vivekananda the foundation of the Ramakrishna Mission. It has many branches worldwide and services e.g., among the poor and needy and in education. A careful distinction needs to be made in countries in the West between this organization and the almost ubiquitous Hare Krishna movement

Mahatma Gandhi

Father of modern India, but 'belonging' to the world
Father of modern India, but ‘belonging’ to the world

Sri Ramana Maharshi

The saint of Arunachala Hill
The saint of Arunachala Hill. An exemplar of the ‘neti neti’ practice: I am not (in essence) this, nor that, and so forth through the clinging attachments the mind makes

Sri Aurobindo

Founder of UNESCO-sponsored Auroville
Founder of UNESCO-sponsored Auroville
Tended to many renunciates and others exposed to harsh elements
Meha Baba Tended to many renunciates and others exposed to harsh elements. Many individuals, living in blissful states had left body consciousness, and Meha Baba and his followers took them in and cared for them
Swami Sivananda, founded Divine Life Mission. His successor, Sw. Chidananda, is also regarded as having long lived the ancient monastic ideal, including service to humankind
Swami Sivananda Founded Divine Life Mission. His successor, Swami Chidananda, is also regarded as having long lived the ancient monastic ideal, including service to humankind

Ananda Mai Ma

The 'bliss-filled Mother'
The ‘bliss-filled Mother’. Her main, but far from only mission, was to uplift the condition of India’s women. Yogananda in his world famous ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ writes movingly of her.

and countless other exemplars of saintly simplicity who have have so greatly dignified India’s long history:

Sai Baba, Kubla Khan, Citizen Kane, Bill Gates et alia

For related reading

Sai Baba Says His Cult Is ‘The’ Divine Organization In History

‘Secret Swami’ Cult Recruits At Prime Public Venues
A Strong India Can Bless The World


Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba "dislikes pomp"
Sathya Sai Baba says he “dislikes pomp”

Posted in New Age, Religion, Shirdi Sai Baba, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

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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