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

Posts Tagged ‘Shirdi Sai Baba’

Sai Baba of Shirdi: Sathya Sai Baba’s Tall Claims (Part 1)

Posted by Barry Pittard on October 5, 2011

A few days back, Robert Priddy posted about Sathya Sai Baba’s claims to have incarnated the major Indian saint Shirdi Sai Baba. See:

Shirdi Sai stated “I am not God”, while Sathya misrepresented him

For those interested in looking at a few of the issues involved in such spectacular claims, I shall, in the next few days, further give some comments and links.

On his way to becoming his own notion of Avatar of all Avatars, did Sathya Sai Baba truly believe that he had incarnated in the 19th century in the north-west Indian state of Maharashtra? Or was he shrewdly aware of practising a deception? My own guess is that, like others who have extraordinary inner experiences, he may have been in the grip of very powerful aspects of mind – especially the right brain – of which we understand far too little.

In certain unusual states of mind, an individual believes that extraordinary, real-seeming experiences are actually God’s voice speaking out of a burning bush to Moses. Actually, Allah speaking to Mohammad. Or actually one’s ‘spirit guides’ speaking from within, and so on. One part of the mind is tricked by other parts of the mind. The intangible seems to solidify. The fictive appears as real.

But how can we know what Sai Baba thought about Shirdi Sai Baba? And why he said that he was part of a series of three avatars – Shirdi Sai Baba, Sathya Sai Baba, and, one yet to come, Prema Sai Baba?

What we do know, however, is that, of all countries, India is the place where (other than in lunatic asylums of which all our countries have their types) a great many take claims of ‘divine’ realization very seriously. India is the place of instinctive veneration. Including of cricket, film, political and other stars. Visit many Hindu Indian homes, as I have done in my years in that country, and you will find countless instances where historic, human saints and masters, have their place on the household shrine – and depicted elsewhere around the house – alongside deities like Rama, Krishna, Siva, Durga, Kali, Saraswati, Mahalaxmi, and so on.

Shirdi Sai Baba is one of the pan Indian saints, like Adi Shankaracharya, Tulsidas, Mira Bai, Ramakrishna, Ramanana Maharshi, Sri Aurobindo, and so many others. Some worship them as aspects, specifically, of ‘avatars’ like Rama, Krishna, Siva, the divine Mother, and so on. Some simply as great lights. Many Hindus regard Lord Buddha as an aspect of Lord Vishnu (Krishna). There is no end to the gradations, subtleties, emphases – and, therefore, sects.

More thoughtful Hindus fully appreciate the allegorical nature of these gods and goddesses. They see the stories associated with them such as an educated westerner might understand Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad, or the characters in Dante, Shakespeare or Goethe or Tolkien – representations of primal forces at work in the human psyche. However, we need to consider the reality in the lives of millions of Indians of a heightened state of mythopoeic conditioning. Of mythopoeic imagination. And of associated rituals, festivals, allowances and proscriptions. All of this along with the ubiquitous supports of temple worship, pilgrimage, funeral and marriage ceremonies, yoga, and so forth. All of this from the very cradle. All of this, as it were, in the air, and everywhere. In the home. In the veneration for the cow. In the astrology. In the priestcraft. In vegetarianism. These norms – daily, and not at a church on Sunday or a synagogue on Saturday – are, perhaps, as alive today as they always were. Flick your television remote and radio dial and it is easy to intercept a pundit or priest or yogi wordily discoursing. Religion is part of the diet – like chapatis, sambar, malai kofta, or sweetmeats, etc. ….. Religious figures attract huge crowds – again the incredible wordiness. Again, eager faces looking up for someone great who speaks to someone small. Some religious figures do not even have to speak; they are, simply, to be seen. In whatever the form, somehow, mysteriously, Grace happens, Merit accrues. The varieties of choice are vast. In anquish, many thoughtful Indians despair of India’s immemorial running after supposed gods, demigods and demagogues.

Sathya Sai Baba appeared to have godlike powers, such as knowing other minds, foreknowledge of the future, the ability to do miracles, to heal terrible illnesses, to forgive sins, to bless with his touch or sight or word, and so on. These seeming divine powers were magnets to the denizens of, arguably, the most hyper-religious and superstitious country in the world. But, interestingly enough, a short walk even for an educated Hindu Indian – so long as there is some sort of appeal to both intellect and emotion. He created his own mythos, relying on an ancient mythos readily available to him, and to his whole milieu.

Sathya Sai Baba was charismatic, but would not have been nearly so had he not appeared to do miracles, see into souls, and answer prayers.

In fact, he was wrong about a lot of things. A recent and dramatic example was the timing of his death in April 2011. See: Sathya Sai Baba death date in serious doubt. Many devotees know perfectly well of his prophecy that he would die (or take ‘mahasamadhi’) ca 2022. Their frequent, addled rationalizations are in full view on official and non-official Sai Baba websites. Their procrustean explanations reveal something of the dreadful confusion he left behind. More than ever before, institutions like UNESCO, governments and civic and religious organizations with whom the Sathya Sai Organization attempts to associate itself reject it. The devotees who now try to reform the organization from within really need to confront their secretive leaders and demand to hear from them the circumstances since 2000 in which many respected organizations have rebuffed Sai Baba leader’s overtures.

But of course unusual phenomena would, of necessity, occur! How can it fail? For, in the annals of medical science, innumerable are the instances of unpredicted remission in the case of many apparently incurable illnesses. Intense belief taps into mental and physical transformation that science is only beginning to understand. And if rational understanding is absent, traditional belief systems, or cosmologies, arise in the form of explanations. Hindu explanations, Jewish ones, Christian ones, Buddhist ones, Muslim ones, and so on.

To these explanations, powerful emotions and dogmas attach themselves. Orthodoxies arise. Dissenting sects arise. We have mainstreams and sects and cults in abundance.

See also:

Sathya Sai Baba Claimed He Will Resurrect After 40 Days

BBC Footage Exposes Fake Sathya Sai Baba Miracle

Sathya Sai Baba Is Dead. Said He Would Rule the World and Die Aged 96

Sathya Sai Baba’s Amazing Predictions

“I intend to undertake a world tour, shortly.”

Wealthy Americans Prepare Mansions For “God’s” Visit

‘World Hindu’ by 2030. VHP’s Singhal Reports Sathya Sai Baba Told Him



Select Barry Pittard poems/lyrics expressive of themes about crimes/sexual and other abuses/ spiritual betrayals by Sathya Sai Baba and his international Sathya Sai Organization.

‘Little Fly’. A Ballad of ‘Rock Spiders’ and Sexual Abuse of the Young

Beth Rude. Ballad of a Child Protectrice. By Barry Pittard

Sathya Sai Baba – The Man Who Would Be ‘King of Kings’

No Friend In Sight Song

They’ve Banned the Bulls At Barcelona. By Barry Pittard

Note: Barry Pittard’s songs are copyright protected by The Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA). Contact:

Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

The Public PetitionInformation on the Public Petition for Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization

About the Petition For Official Investigation Into Sathya Sai Baba Cult

(Note: You may prefer to go straight to the Petition): Public Petition For Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization

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Robert Priddy’s Ten Top Posts on Sathya Sai Baba, Jan 2009

Posted by Barry Pittard on January 9, 2009

It is quite instructive to survey Robert Priddy’s current ten Top Posts posts out of his great many articles on his blogsite at:

Below are the titles, accompanied by a quote from these. 

Extract from Wiki Encyclopedia:

Robert Priddy (born 1936) is the British author of the book Source of the Dream – My Way to Sathya Sai Baba, a book about the Indian guru Sathya Sai Baba. Priddy wrote many articles from 1988 to 1998, in Sanathana Sarathi, the official magazine of the Sathya Sai Organization[1].

He researched and taught philosophy and sociology at the University of Oslo 1968–1985. While at the University of Oslo, Priddy translated an academic paper by Hjalmar Hegge from the original Norwegian.[2]

In 2000, after resigning as an official in the Sathya Sai Organisation[3], Priddy wrote End of the Dream: The Sathya Sai Baba Enigma (published in India by Basava Premanand), a work critical of Sathya Sai Baba. He maintains critical websites[4] on Sathya Sai Baba, and occasionally contributes to Indymedia releases.[5]

Robert Priddy is now retired.


Sai Baba bomb claim demolishes his credibility

Posted by robertpriddy on December 7, 2008

Some days before the horrendous Mumbai terrorist attack, where grenades and bombs were used, Sathya Sai Baba pronounced “India will never have any such attacks” – but India did, and has had many such attacks (see below). This is another stupendous gaffe by the self-proclaimed Omniscient Omnipotent Creator of the Universe!

In three lengthy on-line TV interviews (at the US portal the former Sai Baba follower, Ullrich Zimmermann, gives a thorough description of his experiences with Sathya Sai Baba. This delivers a major blow to any wishful doubts entertained by the faithful that Sathya Sai Baba practices sex on male devotees.

Posted by robertpriddy on October 19, 2008

Some new postings:-

Miracle Man or petty magician? Will the real Sai Baba please standup The meeting between P.C. Sorcar Junior and Sathya Sai Baba has now become the stuff of legend, and Dr. Bhagavantam reportedly denounced Sai Baba as a fake towards the end of his life.

Sai Baba and the News Media- ‘The Week’ coverage of the murders in Sai Baba’s bedroom, with elucidatory diagrams and many comments
How Sathya Sai Baba and his officials reacted to the press inquiries into the 1993 murders

Sex, suicide and the guru – Sathya Sai Baba Three articles by one of The Times feature writers, Dominic Kennedy, which expose the nature of Sathya Sai Baba and related suicides.

Posted by robertpriddy on October 4, 2007

TV broadcasts were made and, when the allegedly omnipotent and all-knowing Sai Baba did NOT appear on the moon (due to unpredictable weather). Instead he was trapped for about one hour in his car amid the uncontrollable crowds, which also caused closure of the airport. The Vishvarupa Darshanam ceremony has to be “postponed” because, according to Sathya Sai Trust officials, of “non-cooperation of devotees and the cloudy weather”.

Sai Baba postpones moon buggy ride

Posted by robertpriddy on October 4, 2007

Waning popularity! This was no doubt another in a long, long line of calculated ‘rumours’ for the grinding minds of devotees who can’t find out what’s going on and are dead keen to know anything… But why Sathya Sai Baba went to the airport is truly a mystery in itself, for he knew he could never appear on the moon.

Posted by robertpriddy on October 20, 2007

Well, moon visits by Indians is nothing new at all, as all assiduous students of Sai Baba and his intimate knowledge of all events that have ever taken place must surely realise? The Prime Minister and ex-President Kalam must surely have read their Sathya Sai Baba on several former Indian moon visitors like the legendary Hiranyakasipu and others. Sai Baba’s scientific advisor, Dr. G. Venkataraman, has never commented on these matters, and one must wonder why. Does he NOT believe his Lord and master’s assurances, perhaps?

Posted by robertpriddy on June 6, 2008

One of the much publicised mahimas (i.e. ‘major miracles’) is one where Sathya Sai Baba supposedly appeared in the sky in the late 1980s to save an airliner over the South Atlantic ocean.

Posted by robertpriddy on July 4, 2008

Recently there appeared on some websites what was claimed to be a recently discovered photo of Shirdi Sai Baba.It is clearly a photo of that much revered Indian ’saint’.

One must not confuse Shirdi Sai Baba with the would-be usurper of his name and fame, Sathya Narayana Raju, who took over the name of Sathya Sai Baba around the age of seventeen (not 14 as is the official version – for his claimed birth date does not agree with the facts. See a thorough examination of this issue by the scholar Brian Steel here.

Though numerous Shirdi Sai Baba followers have also visited Sathya Sai Baba, the official line of the Shirdi Sai Sanasthan is that Sathya Sai Baba’s claims are bogus and fraudulent.

Posted by robertpriddy on October 5, 2008

One present exception to the current harassment of Westerners at Prashanthi Nilayam is Isaac Tigrett.  He is now living in the ashram having fallen on hard times, now being said to have been sitting in a VIP chair on the ladies side of the veranda, hob-nobbing with Indians and avoiding anyone outside his clique. He is apparently now also needing the services of the Puttaparthi Hospital which he donated to Sathya Sai Baba.

Tigrett’s support for Sai Baba was made clear by him on the BBC documentary, The Secret Swami, where Tigrett states he considers him to be a sexual abuser (see here). Should Sai Baba go out and murder someone, Tigrett opined, it would make no difference to his spiritual journey as a devotee! What kind of man is this?

Posted by robertpriddy on September 9, 2007

On this photo from a year or so ago, there is already a decidedly ga-ga look on Sai Baba’s face. Instead of the usual, where he cuts the ribbons, he is ‘assisted’ (he is actually holding onto the hand of his helper!). Likewise, videos also show him unable to cut his birthday cakes any longer.  Rumours that he is non compos mentis have become yet more persistent, having begun with accounts of his apparently senile behaviour already three years ago (including one from a recently-disaffected US resident in India who had been editing some of the Puttaparthi magazine ‘Sai Impressions’). He was heard to be giving instructions about events that were not scheduled and never took place, talking confusedly and sometimes garbling his words.

Posted in Miracles, New Age, Prophecy, Rationalism, Religion, Sai Baba, Skeptics, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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 


Posted in New Age, Opinion, Prophecy, Rationalism, Religion, Sai Baba, Shirdi Sai Baba, Skeptics, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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:

Posted in Miracles, New Age, Rationalism, Religion, Shirdi Sai Baba, Skeptics, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Shirdi Sai Saint’s Fame Spirited By Puttaparthi

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 18, 2008

Below is the image of the famous saint, Shirdi Sai Baba (d. 1918), of the North Indian State of Maharashtra. His repute has endured untainted by the sort of scandals that have for decades beset Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi.

A Saint of Great Renunciation and Humility

Today, the shrine built around the humble musjid (a Muslim place of worship) attracts millions of pilgrims. You can see (as I have done) Hindus, Muslims and those of other faiths honoring his life there. He is hailed for having done much to inspire living in accord irrespective of race, caste or creed.

Apparently, Indian government archives have referred to documents that reveal how a clandestine police watch was set on Sai Baba of Shirdi, who would often be presented with considerable sums of money and valuable artifacts. These were invariably given away to assist the poor and needy, often by the next day or so. The police reports, as did a great many others from a wide variety of witnesses, show that he lived in conditions of the greatest simplicity and renunciation. He begged from five homes of his devotees. (See below for some sources on Shirdi Sai Baba).

Sathya Sai Baba’s Tall Claims

In proclaiming his future role, Sathya Sai Baba claimed (6 July 1963) that a rishi (sage) Bharadwaja had foretold that Lord Siva and his consort Sakti:

“would take human form and be born in the Bharadhwaaja Gothra (lineage) thrice: Shiva alone as Shirdi Sai Baba, Shiva and Shakthi together at Puttaparthy as Sathya Sai Baba and Shakthi alone as Prema Sai later.” (Sathya Sai Speaks, III, 15:89)

It was much on the strength of such pronouncements that Sathya Sai Baba’s early fame spread – riding on the back, as it were of the fame of Shirdi Sai Baba. Not least among the very wealthy and powerful.

Was There Ever A Larger (Serious) Claim In History?

Some readers may be interested in unraveling the mass of Sathya Sai Baba’s own confusions and contradictions (e.g., with regard to dates and details of characteristics of himself as compared to Shirdi Sai Baba), concerning his extraordinary pronouncements. These go well beyond his claiming to be the re-embodiment of Shirdi Sai Baba, for he says that he is the fullest expression in human form of all the gods and goddesses. For a detailed article that exposes Sai Baba and the Sathya Sai Organization’s mix-ups and absurdities – all the more compelling because it relies on publicly obtainable documents emanating from official Puttaparthi Sai Baba sources – see Brian Steel (2002) Sai Baba’s Claim to be the Reincarnation of Shirdi Sai Baba. Still more extensively, [Sathya Sai Sai Baba’s] SB’s Claims of Divinity: Avatar and Triple Avatar (Revised Version, 2002)


Writers on Sathya Sai Baba, such as Robert Priddy, Brian Steel and myself, frequently use the form ‘Sathya Sai Baba’ – rather than ‘Sai Baba’, so as to distinguish Sai Baba of Puttaparthi from Sai Baba of Shirdi.

An great old saint without scandal

Futher Reading

WikipediaShirdi Sai Baba

Marianne Warren, Ph.D. Unravelling The Enigma. Shirdi Sai Baba – In The Light of Sufism. Sterling Paperbacks – New Delhi Revised edition 2004 – ISBN 81-207-2147-0.

The late Marianne Warren, Ph.D (University of Toronto, Canada), was an expert in Hindu studies who did scholarly research on Shirdi Sai Baba. She died in September, 2004. My colleague the late Glen Meloy, who died January 1, 2005, and others who hold documentation that has not been allowed to fall into the hands of proponents of Sathya Sai Baba, apprised Dr Warren of material well beyond the reach of the Internet. She and her husband Michael had for a number of years been involved in various voluntary service activities in the Sathya Sai Organization of Canada, and she was the Centre President, Toronto. They both left it, as did many others around the world, once the credibility of the worldwide accounts of Sathya Sai Baba’s serial sexual abuse of young males became established (most notably from CE 2000 onwards – not least among those many families and individuals and those close to them who never, nor probably would ever, share their accounts on the Internet as some have done.

Dr Warren’s major change of mind about Sathya Sai Baba is reflected in the marked difference between the 1999 and 2004 editions of her book (cited above.

In an email to former head of the Sathya Sai Organization, Norway, Dr Warren wrote to Robert Priddy, referring to Sathya Sai Baba’s incredible and confusing claim – the details of which he stands in contradiction over the decades – that there is:

“no mention in the Shirdi Sai literature of an avataric mission. The Maharashtrian saint does not appear to have been aware of a future triple avatar, and in fact he personally never described himself in these terms, although his Hindu devotees occasionally termed him an avatar, but more as a mark of their esteem, than a literal designation”.

Dr Warren had the advantage of the not hitherto available writings of Abdul, whom Shirdi Sai Baba had long trained as a spiritual adept. In her book, she points out that the sayings of Shirdi Sai Baba as recorded by the trusted Abdul reveal that he, Sai Baba of Shirdi, would not reincarnate.

William ‘Bill’ Aitkin, a travel writer whose flawed hagiographical writings have been compellingly exposed by Brian Steel (see link below), has tried to fault Dr Warren by saying:

“This illustrates the limitations of the intellect and how the presumptuousness of scholars blinds them to the obvious fact that the mystery of rebirth is not open to proof one way or the other. As in all religious affairs, these things are personal matters and historicity is not as important to the heart as the feeling of oneness the two Sai masters engender. When truly in love the analytical mind is in abeyance”.

Aitken’s strong tendency to use or not use intellectual apologia according to his own sweet will on behalf of his idol Sathya Sai Baba I leave to Mr Steel’s detailed analysis to dispose of. See Bill Aitken and Sathya Sai Baba. A Writer’s Dilemma, commenting on William Aitken’s book, Sri Sathya Sai Baba. A Life (New Delhi, Penguin Books India, 2004. Paperback edition, 2006).

See also the British scholar Kevin Shepherd’s comments on the Shirdi Sai Baba issue, and more fully in his book Investigating the Sai Baba Movement: A Clarification of Misrepresented Saints and Opportunism. (Oct 2005). ISBN-10: 0952508931. ISBN-13: 978-0952508939

For a notion of the imperial splendor that Sathya Sai Baba, unlike Shirdi Sai Baba, has built around himself, see:

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

Sai Baba Exchequer Worth Billions. Many Countries Donate

Sai Baba’s Birthday. Vast, Costly Pomp and Ceremony

Still Further Reading

Sai Baba Researchers’ Huge Debt To Scholar Brian D. Steel

B.D. Steel notes: “By winnowing this enormous mass of varied documentation, researchers should be in a better position to separate fact from fantasy and research from propaganda in order to arrive at a fair evaluation of the complex Sathya Sai Baba story”.

William Aitken’s Sai Baba Book. Major Flaws Says Scholar
A Host of Sai Baba Hagiographers
William Aitken Fails on Prof. E. Haraldsson and Dr K. Osis

Revealing Video Footage 

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