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Posts Tagged ‘Swami Vivekananda’

Sathya Sai Baba’s Death Falsifies Vivekananda ‘Reincarnation’ Story (Part 3)

Posted by Barry Pittard on May 31, 2011

Concluding the three-part series. This follows:   Sathya Sai Baba’s Death Falsifies Vivekananda ‘Reincarnation’ Story (Part 2)

To refresh on our theme.  Here are quotations for two of the most respected of all Sai devotee writers on Sathya Sai Baba.

Professor N. Kasturi, Sathya Sai Baba’s official biographer, wrote:

“Vivekananda has come again; he is growing up in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). He will come to Me and join in My task.” Sathyam, Shivam, Sundaram, by Professor P.N. Kasturi. Part II, p. 130. 1960-61.

And Howard Murphet, the Australian journalist and theosophist, who also interviewed various witnesses, including a young Sri Lankan Nalin Sedera, stated that in an interview in the late 60′s, Sai Baba told him and his wife, Iris:

“Vivekananda has been reborn in Sri Lanka. When his education and training are complete, he will help me with my mission. “  ‘Sai Inner Views and Insight’, Chapter 10: The Rebirth of Vivekananda by Howard Murphet, Faber, VA, Leela Press, 1996, pp. 60-66

On Sunday April 19th, 1998, I had planned for a quiet evening in my room at the Ramakrishna Mission in Columbo, the capital of Sri Lanka.  I had arranged with Nalin Sedera’s brother, Ajitha, to go to their home on the Monday.  He told me that Nalin had been spending a few days meditating in a temple at the southern tip of his country – at Karthirkamagiri, long a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists and Hindus.

At 6.15 p.m., as I made my way up Ramakrishna Road for a quiet cup of Horlicks, a fairly tall, slender, striking young Singhalese man around thirty years called across to me, “Are you the Australian gentleman staying at the Ramakrishna Mission?” 

(Photo:  Swami Vivekananda)

It was Nalin accompanied by his brother, Ajitha.  He explained that they thought they would find me more easily than I them.  A few minutes later, as we sat ourselves down at the table of the crowded vegetarian restaurant, I sat facing a lithe, well-built young man, clean-shaven, dressed very neatly, wearing denim, his dark red shirt smart. He blended in with middle class Sri Lankans. His face had a fine-boned, sculptured look, and a bright, golden brown that had an inner lustre. His voice was rich and resonant, as though coming from a cavern. Among my stray thoughts, I wondered – quaintly enough:  Was there anything about his physical appearance which resembled Vivekananda? Yes, I thought, in a way  –  the lips:  delicate, fine-etched, contoured. I  sensed strong character. His gaze had an honest directness, and he displayed spontaneous, sincere good manners. There appeared to me to be a controlled but passionate intensity about the issues, as our discussion unfolded, that clearly mattered to him.  Even before we sat down, I had asked him whether the attention he had received had affected his life. That is to say, the wide-spread belief that Sai Baba had said that Nalin was the great Swami Vivekananda reborn, who would eventually take over the running of Puttaparthi when Sai Baba died.

They are trying to take my life”

That was sudden. Was there a paranoia? Or was this part of his spontaneity, a cutting-to-the-chase, that I had already begun to notice. There struck me a warmth, a humanity about him. When he referred to the way in which people mobbed him, I saw his palpable distaste for such excesses. 

I asked Nalin, “do you mean that your life is actually in danger from anyone?” As if looking inward at some quarry he had in mind and with burning intensity, and a mix of smile and leer that reminded me of Humphrey Bogart, he replied, “They would be writing their last will and testament if they tried!”

I did not sense a Vivekananda-like commitment to ahimsa (non-violence). Nalin’s occasional intense flashes remain one of my abiding impressions of him.

As we took our seats, he referred to crowds that gathered round him after word travelled bushfire-like that Sathya Sai Baba had said that Nalin, in his previous life, was Swami Vivekananda. He said:

 “My mind didn’t go. But I lost a lot  –  my liberty, my freedom.”

I checked with him, just to be sure I understood his exact meaning. By “my life”, he meant:  a broad leeway to be himself. 

I asked  Nalin if he related to books? Again, the intensity.

I want to have experience. It is all that matters. Not read about anyone else’s. Books are a waste of time.”

I mentioned the book by the Australian writer Howard Murphet’s book. Nalin said that he felt very let down by the people who had informed the author of his story (he referred to them as Tamilians  –  i.e., belonging to or originating from the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu).

 “I had asked them to allow nothing to be published without my permission. They went ahead without consulting me”.

As he began to unfold his experiences, he said:

 “I’ve had a lot of troubles. I am a normal person, whatever people may think.  Whatever may have been the case in my last life, I am living in this  life!  I have no idea what happened in my last life.  When Swami made the revelation  –  or call it a pronouncement  –  I had no idea of who Swami Vivekananda was.  This is this life.  It’s all I’m interested in.  Now, as a result of all the attention, I’ve lost what is most precious to me  –  my liberty, my freedom.  At the ashram after Swami had spoken, there were hundreds of people milling all round me. And hundreds of people here in Sri Lanka.”

What did the mobs ask? 

They asked funny questions.  Do I remember my previous birth?  They regard me as some kind of alien.  Some of them say I should be wearing a robe like a sadhu (ed., spiritual renunciate).  Why should I do that?  I want to wear my denims.  Some have even said that, at a certain time, I’ll get up in darshan and take over Puttaparthi.”

Typically, here, after reflection, usually following a question of mine, he would return with a perfectly crystallised reply, like a pearl slipping out of the oyster shell when, after inner effort, it opens at last.  His voice struck flint; a small spark lit his eye. “I don’t like that!”  The tone was very emphatic.  Again the spurt of intensity.  I sensed a deep indignity, a smouldering anguish from which he had only somewhat distanced himself. Embers still glowed hot.

He spoke of his anger at the time of Sai Baba’s ‘revelation’ or ‘pronouncement.’  The interview in which this was made occurred, he said, at Puttaparthi, March 23, 1987.  Two more interviews followed – on the 24th and 26th.  He was then nineteen years. He said that the Sri Lankan group of which Nalin was a member was led by Mrs Ganhewa. He was baffled to know how the news got out.  “Swami took me into a private room next to the interview room. I cannot see how others in the interview could have heard what Swami said.  I certainly didn’t say anything about it.”

I have since asked a number of others their opinion as to the audibility or otherwise of what is said, from the standpoint of someone in the outer room.  Some say speech inside is too muffled to be understood.  Others say that sometimes one can hear what is being said. In an interview on July 24,1998, I noted this: a curtain separates the two rooms, as it has long done. I was in a group of seven Australians. However, a Canadian husband and wife briefly preceded us into the inner room. Later, Sai Baba also saw the three ladies in our group separately to the men. In both cases, a few drifting words of speech could be understood; but much could not be, because he and the Canadians and, separately, he and the Australian women spoke quite quietly.

Nalin told me that he returned to Puttaparthi in August 1987.  Sai Baba called him and his group for interview.  He said that Sai Baba asked the group leader, referring to Nalin’s parents, “Are his parents happy?”  Nalin relates that she replied yes, they were very happy when they heard the news, but

Swami replied, ‘No, no, no, they are not happy but they are worried about that boy. Look at him, he’s just a boy.  Just leave him alone and don’t disturb him, because if anything happens, you must be responsible for that”‘. 

Nalin said:

Swami turned to me and said, ‘A lot of people are angry with you and jealous of you, here and there.  Don’t go to any bhajan places. You just stay at your home, and do your work’” 

I asked Nalin what work did he do? 

Not ordinary work. A friend of my age and I have been working among the poorer classes. At one time, we got involved in an eye camp.”

(These were organised clinics designed to bring medical aid to the poor. For example, combating eye diseases such as glaucoma).

Nalin continued,

Swami then said, ‘You are angry with me.  Why are you angry with me?’  I said, ‘You know why I am angry with you.’  Baba said, ‘Yes, I know.’” 

Nalin related that it was only on his return home that he discovered from his parents that they had been in fact worried at the extraordinary revelation about their son. Not wanting to trouble their family, they had kept their concern to themselves.

He said that, in two or three months, he would like to visit Sai Baba wherever he was stationed at the time. A lot would depend on how Nalin’s father managed with a shortly upcoming by-pass operation in Chennai. He wondered whether it would be possible to get Sri Lankan Sai devotees to leave him alone – perhaps via a note printed in Sanathana Sarathi, the official magazine of the Sathya Sai Central Trust. Considering the essential purpose of the publication (to publish Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s Discourses, a small few articles by contributors, Sathya Sai Organization news), I rather doubted his chances, but suggested he call on the Editor, V.K. Narasimhan, whom I regarded as a good, decent man and a warm friend. With distinction and courage, V.K.N. had formerly edited major Indian newspapers – the Indian Express, Hindustan Times and Deccan Herald– and he and I had a warm friendship and were in fairly regular contact. From V.K.N. I soon after found that Nalin had, while I was absent, called on him, a visit I had already told V.K.N that Nalin may make. When we later spoke, V.K.N smiled wryly and admitted defeat in observing any similarities to Swami Vivekananda.

Since so many of Sathya Sai Baba’s predictions large and small have proved false, one may fail to see how the one about Nalin could come true. Trustfully, given the fickleness of the madding crowd, Nalin’s botherers will have long given up their bothering of him.

This concludes the 3-part series: 

Sathya Sai Baba’s Death Falsifies His Vivekananda ‘Reincarnation’ Claim (Part 1)

Sathya Sai Baba’s Death Falsifies Vivekananda ‘Reincarnation’ Story (Part 2)

Sathya Sai Baba’s Death Falsifies Vivekananda ‘Reincarnation’ Story (Part 3)

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Sathya Sai Baba’s Death Falsifies His Vivekananda ‘Reincarnation’ Claim (Part 1)

Posted by Barry Pittard on May 17, 2011

Reportedly, Sathya Sai Baba told a young Sri Lankan man that he was the reincarnation of the great Hindu monk, Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902).  The latter had traveled, briefly, to the West and made a large impression on both scholars and liberal laity alike.

Will Swami Vivekananda's Soul Fix Puttaparthi Succession Woes?

Much before the date he predicted – circa AD 2022, – Sathya Sai is dead.  Yet another of his self-progagated myths is exploded. Accounts of his Vivekananda-reborn myth appear in two writers close to Sai Baba, Kasturi and Murphet.  Devotees treat their writings as sacrosanct.

Significantly, both official and unofficial Sai Baba devotees strive at present to rationalize the date of Sathya Sai Baba’s death with his prophecy. The premises on which they base their calculations are empirically faulty. They still further expose their ignorance of at least two other death date predictions that he made, and which are in the officially-published Sathya Sai discourses. These statements the officials would be hard-put to weed out. Although in other crucial instances they have done so. See:  The Quiet Weeding Out Of Sathya Sai Baba’s Embarrassing StatementsIn this article, I reference some Brian Steel links. Steel’s detailed scholarly work deserves the closest attention by those prepared to do some rigorous thinking about the many, extremely revealing, Sathya Sai Baba contradictions, and his capacity for generating potent myths about himself.

But more of this in Part 2.  In the next days, I shall relate my search for the Sri Lankan man, and my meeting him.

If he is to be in charge of Puttaparthi, in Sai Baba’s aftermath, he had better do a nifty hop, skip and a jump from Sri Lanka to Puttaparthi, and thus end forever the intense infighting over succession that has been going on following Sathya Sai Baba’s death.

Sathya Sai Baba’s longtime associate and his official biographer, the late Professor P.N. Kasturi, wrote that Sai Baba said: 

“Vivekananda has come again; he is growing up in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). He will come to Me and join in My task.” Sathyam, Shivam, Sundaram, Part II, p. 130. 1960-61.

Another close Sathya Sai Baba associate, the late Howard Murphet, author of best-selling books on Sathya Sai Baba, reported that in an interview in the late 60’s, Sai Baba told him and his wife, Iris:

“Vivekananda has been reborn in Sri Lanka. When his education and training are complete, he will help me with my mission”.

Murphet met the individual concerned, Nalin Sedera, in 1989, and relates that Sai Baba told Sedera:

“I have been waiting for you for eighty-five years”

and that Sedera would come to live at the Puttaparthi ashram in (CE) 2021.

See:  Sai Inner Views and Insight, Chapter 10: The Rebirth of Vivekananda, by Howard Murphet, Faber, VA, Leela Press, 1996, pp. 60- 66.

Vivekananda’s appearance in the West was a remote beginning of a wider Western interest in Eastern spirituality and philosophy which did not combust until the descent upon India of thousands of spiritual seekers, most of them young. Central to its impetus was a broad and strong reaction to the gross materialism in the socio-economically developed countries. Superficial views link this convergence on India as being a ‘Hippie’ phenomenon, but those who lived in India or traveled there or else well-acquainted with the serious literature know plainly that this is a vast oversimplification.

Neither India nor the West was ready for this decamping. India was beginning to recover from British imperial domination (in my view, it has never really recovered, and in many cases, where the old oppressions have been overcome, home-grown ones keep springing up in their place). The very notion of ‘seeking’ can imply either a degree of lack of fulfilment or loss outright – real hungering and thirsting. When there is neediness, especially when individuals travel in unfamiliar terrain, two mutally opposed forces, either to aid or to thwart them, arise. One is compassion expressed through decency. The other is exploitation.

Of course, human nature being what it is, such dichotomies as compassion for, as opposed to exploitation of, the seeker are simplistic. There are any number of gurus – no less than human beings in general – who have done many acts of which we may all approve, yet, along with the kindly actions, have done ill.

Leaving aside the many other forms of exploitation, the list of Indian gurus who have been exposed as shams is considerable, as has been the exposure of many religious and other authority figures in countries around the world.

Whatever may be said of the strengths and the integrity of figures such as Vivekananda, Yogananda and other Indian teachers who visited the West, the adulation which they received – and still receive though they are long dead – needs to be looked at critically. I think the greatest benefit that can spring when one looks at these historical developments is to spend serious time in self-examination. That is to say, each one of us can keep posing the question:  how did I, and how do I, react to influential role models? Not what is somebody else’s adulation, reverence, attachment. But what constitutes my own tendencies.

If we can find a way to challenge the adulation, and the clinging attachment to external figures, perhaps we will have begun to find instead of to seek. That is, forever, to seek external buttresses for our being.

But, emphatically, this was not my state when attached to the figure of Sathya Sai Baba.

Continued at:    Sathya Sai Baba’s Death Falsifies Vivekananda ‘Reincarnation’ Story (Part 2)

Further Reading

Sathya Sai Baba’s lunar age 96

Sathya Sai Baba’s death and ‘mahasamadhi’

Indian Gurus Stifle India’s Chance To Excel

Indian Media’s Reticence on Top Guru, Sathya Sai Baba, Weakens

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Sai Baba To Be Seen In Moon? But Where Was Moon?

Posted by Barry Pittard on October 26, 2007

Today’s blog suggests that Sathya Sai Baba has, leave aside his recent would-be moon sightings, not been particularly bright himself.

And how can he be so when the evidence – that can less and less be hidden from his rank-and-file devotees – suggests that he now suffers from senile dementia?

He has not selected the brightest moon. Nor  a cloudless evening by which his religious and spiritual élite of devotees could view him in the moon on October 4, 2007. Nor the brightest students of his alumni – who now rush to the Internet to prove that Sai mooning is not moon madness.


Today’s blog suggests that Sai Baba has, leave aside his recent would-be moon sightings, not been particularly bright himself.

And how can he be so when the evidence – that can less and less be hidden from his rank-and-file devotees – suggests that he now suffers from senile dementia?

He has not selected the brightest moon. Nor  a cloudless evening by which his religious and spiritual élite of devotees could view him in the moon on October 4, 2007. Nor the brightest students of his alumni – who now rush to the Internet to prove that Sai mooning is not moon madness.

Why Seek They After A Sign?

Note, King James Bible. Mark 8.

“And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation”.

Note, the great Hindu monk, Swami Vivekananda:

“I look upon miracles as the greatest stumbling block in the way of truth. When the disciples of Buddha told him of a man who had performed a so-called miracle and showed him the bowl, he took it and crushed it under his feet and told them never to build their faith on miracles, but to look for truth in everlasting principles”

Note, writer of the ancient classic treatise The Yoga SutrasSage Patanjali:

‘These (psychic) powers of spreading or outgoing mind are injurious to contemplation”

SBOI (Sai Baba of India Group) Are Over the Moon

It is interesting to find highly unofficially-officially connected prominent Sathya Sai Baba devotees, including those who as students were long in his colleges and university, now enthusing about visions in the moon of their guru. That some get so extremely excitable as to support calls on the Internet for people’s experiences of Sathya Sai Baba induced moon visions, suggests that Sai Baba’s years of education have failed them. (Yes, by the way, their education was ‘free’ but many of their parents forked out a fortune in donations and supposedly incidental expenses).

Unless, of course, a moon vision of Sai Baba in the absence of a moon is one of his greatest miracles.

The astronomical moon chart for October 2007 sustains Robert Priddy’s point in his article Deceiving ‘devotee’ makes bogus image of Sai in the Moon. He writes “

“it so happens that the moon on October 23 was not full but was still ’waxing gibbous’, as can be seen from the following image taken from the astronomical website This shows the moon two days before full moon. Full moon did not occur until Oct 26  04:52, according to NASA“.

Tonight, quite a bit of the eastern seaboard in Australia looks as though it may be in cloud. A pity. Otherwise, we’d get to see the moon at its brightest for 2007, a large brilliant perigree moon. If you were Sathya Sai Baba – who says that he is the fullest manifestation of God in mankind’s history – perhaps, you might:

a) have chosen the brightest moon for the delectation of your followers and

b) made sure to check with your inner Divine Weather Forecaster – because, on October 4, clouds descended over Puttaparthi obscuring the moon. Ah, that old devil cloud!  Or, let me be true to that marvelous American lyricist Yip Harburg with the Burton Lane tune:

I look at you and suddenly,
Something in your eyes I see;
Soon begins bewitching me.
It’s that old devil moon;
That you stole from the skies.
It’s that old devil moon in your eyes

Can Visions Be Deceptions?

In regard to later capers by some of Sathya Sai Baba’s well-known (many of them young) propagandists of SBOI (SaibabaofIndia), I leave Robert Priddy on his blogsite at to make the point about whether one of a group of highly active supporters of Sai Baba, Darpan Rane, has fabricated a deception. Perhaps more interesting from the point of view of human growth to maturity is this:  Just suppose Sai Baba’s image were to have appeared on the moon. Then, let us ask, of what advancement would such a quaint manifestation have been to individuals collected around their guru? Or to all those international devotees so fervently racking up huge mobile phone costs trying to get the latest ‘moon miracle’ reports from their contacts at Puttaparthi? Or, much less, to humanity as a whole?

Form vs Essence

It is interesting that so many devotees have assumed that the vision apparently promised by Sai Baba via his chief translator and close servitor Professor Anil Kumar to many thousands of devotees gathered at his Puttaparthi ashram would entail seeing the form of Sai Baba on the moon. If they had consulted their timeless sacred classic, Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, they might have recalled that the vision granted by Sri Krishna to Lord Arjuna (vishwarupa or vishvarupa darshana) was of a very different character. It was not the form of Sri Krishna -who was right beside him! – but a cosmic vision of enormous range and depth. But what fools who rush all agape in to Sai Baba’s local airport would ever want something both noble and fiercesome as that?

  • Was it not enough for them to have seen it where they had daily darshan (sight) of him within his Puttaparthi ashram?
  • Why all the sensationalism, and indeed threat to life and limb, of thousands of devotees rushing headlong to his nearby private airport?
  • Is an unruly crowd, which police had great difficulty in controlling, likely to be in a fit state to receive a divine and blissful vision?

Certainly, if it was the form of Sathya Sai Baba that was so eagerly sought after by the crowds of devotees, they have entirely missed one of his most insistent teachings: that the form is not what is important – but the essence of the teachings, and that attachment to the form is deleterious to spiritual growth.

A Dotty Sai Moon, A Smudgey Sai Earth

Why then, after all these years, do his devotees, both old and young, quest so fervently after a mere rather dotty semblance of his form somehow superimposed on the moon?

And are they so uncertain of their faith that they need to grasp at ‘proofs’ of their guru’s divinity?

Certainly, Sai Baba’s so-called ‘spiritual’ museum exhibitors cater for such spurious ‘confirmatory’ evidence of their ‘Lord’s’ greatness. On show for example is what purports to be a NASA satellite photo of Sai Baba. It appears to some as though the very terrain for miles around his abode shows him watching over it. (I rather think that this is what Darpan Rane has in view and it harks back to material in Chapter 10 of (the late) Sai Baba devotee-journalist Shakuntala Balu’s book, Living Divinity. Here you are, dear Reader – but gaze on this divine miracle of Sai Baba, and, should you become fully enlightened, please remember me in your Will):


Or, with no authentication by Muslim or any other bona fide scholars, you may like to take a trip to India to witness material in Sathya Sai Baba’s self-glorifying Chaitanya Jyoti museum at Puttaparthi that purports to be many clear prophecies of the so-called ‘Advent’ of Sathya Sai Baba – as the promised Medhi Moud. What? Allah in form?! See, HERE

Further Reading

Other articles on the Sai Baba moon issue at: are:

Sai Baba Fails to Grant Great Moon Darshan

Sai Baba Fails To Appear In The Moon, IANS Reports

Is Indian ‘Godman’ Sai Baba’s Moon Waning Still Further

Brian Steel: For a detailed, critical examination of the Medhi Moud so-called prophecy regarding Sai Baba, see The “Mehdi Moud” Prophecy Revisited


Robert Priddy:

Deceiving ‘devotee’ makes bogus image of Sai in the Moon

Oops! Apparently Sai Baba DID appear on the moon?

Why build moon rockets when Sai Baba has mantras?

More Sathya Sai Baba Moon Madness

Sai Baba postpones moon buggy ride


The Decline and Fall of the Showman Empire

The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ – A Revision

For Online Viewing and/or Dowloading

The Secret Swami (BBC Television) Broadband 154 MB

Seduced (DR, Danish Broadcasting, Denmark’s national television and radio broadcaster):   (80 MB, Broadband)

Still More Video Resources

Right Hand. Sleight Hand. Watch Sai Baba Cheat With Sacred Ash (Film clip)

BBC and Other Film Footage Shows India’s Top Guru Sathya Sai Baba Faking Miracles

BBC Footage Exposes Fake Sathya Sai Baba Miracle « Call For Media and Government Investigation

Sathya Sai Baba Chief, Dr Goldstein, Explodes. “I am the consummate professional” (See Film Clips)

Raising ever more serious questions about how spiritual is the head of what Sathya Sai Baba has called THE divine organization in the world,

Michael Goldstein explodes with anger (710kbs)

at the BBC’s perfectly reasonable questions about accountability

Dr. Goldstein again reveals his higher self (1.500Kb)

Michael Goldstein and the sexual allegations (2,10 Mbs)

Michael Goldstein admits his view is merely a belief (456kbs)

Sathya Sai Baba Cult Exposure By Major TV Channel In Australia « Call For Media and Government Investigation


Note: Many surfers used the following search terms to get to the articles at on the Sai Baba moon issue:

sai baba moon miracle
sai baba appears on the moon
sai in the moon, October 2007
sai Baba on moon
baba in moon
sathya sai baba in moon
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sai baba viwa darshan


The Public Petition   

Information 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 proceed straight to the Petition): Public Petition For Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization   

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