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Another Baba Leaves the Scene PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

This morning, the world of woo-woo was buzzing with the news that Sri Satya Sai Baba, India's very favorite claimant to miraculous powers, had died in hospital at age 84. I’ll not shed any tears at his death.

This fumbling sleight-of-hand artist dazzled his believers with an amateur and definitely non-mystical trick in which he claimed to produce an ashy substance he called vibhuti [holy ash] and sometimes scraps of food and cheap bits of jewelry – usually finger-rings bearing tin lithographed likenesses of himself. An occasional wrist-watch was “manifested” as well for especially-generous worshipers, each strangely bearing a factory-imprinted serial number… Think about that... This basic “vibhuti” trick had also been ascribed to former “babas.”

 

At the age of 13, Sathyanarayana Raju – his original name – announced to his family that he was an avatar, an incarnation of God in human form who had appeared on Earth to preach. He said he was the reincarnation of Shirdi Sai Baba, a 19th-century Indian holy man. This was a good choice, since the original had been equally venerated by Hindus and Muslims, giving the newly-created Sai Baba a greater range of appeal, of course.

His mother claimed that her son was born via virginal conception, a popular notion promoted by followers of another well-known messiah with whom Sai Baba often identified himself.

His eventual fame and influence made him very powerful, so much so that presidents, prime ministers, assorted politicians, judges and generals sought his company, guaranteeing them substantial votes and public support – and securing insulation for the baba from any legal problems, which were many.  The faker was dogged for years by allegations of child sexual abuse yet protected from prosecution by virtue of his powerful political sway. The politicians needed him, he needed them, and the two camps happily fed off one another.

Sai Baba far outranked other wealthy gurus such as the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Shri Rajneesh who first lured Westerners east in the 60s and 70s. The Mahareshi had even charmed the Beatles, for a time… Sai Baba transformed his birth town Puttaparthi into a prosperous wonderland spread over some ten square kilometers, a complex of hotels, resorts, university buildings, a hospital, an airport and a huge ashram thronged with wide-eyed and freely-spending devotees.

Aside from numerous charges of sexual abuse of young male worshipers, Sai Baba was never investigated on the issue, and he was so politically – and financially – well-connected, that all attempts to prosecute him failed. Even in 1993, when his bodyguards shot four male devotees who they alleged entered Sai Baba's bedroom armed with knives, there was never any resolution of the matter. This lack of legal proceedings against the baba is not surprising, considering the level of influence that he commanded. Atal Vajpayee, a former Indian prime minister, once issued a formal official letter calling such attacks on Sai Baba "wild, reckless and concocted.”

Although Satya Sai Baba once predicted he would die in his mid-90s, he also claimed that he could choose the moment of his death.

Sure.

I can't wait to see the crowd of opportunists who will vigorously compete to be at his funeral declaring their devotion and jostling to be in camera range.

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Comments (32)Add Comment
Claiming
written by GusGus, April 24, 2011
And all claiming to be his successor!
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written by emactan, April 24, 2011
What exactly does his mother mean when she claims her son was conceived immaculately? The doctrine of Immaculate Conception pertains to Mary's lack of original sin. Perhaps she's referring to virgin birth?
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It means
written by goddess, April 24, 2011
Bullshit!
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written by Zoroaster, April 24, 2011
Hmm... a popular and charismatic person began a public career at a young age, came to be adored by millions, built a "wonderland" around his home and used his power and popularity to slip past repeated accusations of child sexual abuse. Good thing that could never happen here in America.
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Easter
written by nethead, April 24, 2011
Happy Zombie Jesus Day everyone!
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written by lezz666, April 24, 2011
It is nice to see him depart. My only worry is that he has been so successful in duping people with his tricks that other tricksters will get inspired and take the same route of fooling others for their own welfare. Sai Baba spent ages spreading myths about himself. Yes his organisation has done few good things but when looked in totality he has been a curse to the society.
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written by george152, April 24, 2011
Another scam artist down sadly making room for another to take its place.. smilies/sad.gif
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OK so now it is the "hide all of Bea's posts", Lowly rated comment [Show]
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written by golabek, April 24, 2011
Thank god...another scammer down!
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"Virgin birth" is meant
written by Psyence Advisor, April 24, 2011
Immaculate conception refers to Mary, the mother of Jesus being conceived without original sin. The term she really means, Randi, is "virgin birth." A birth such as this was the very ancient sign of a deity or semi-deity. The thought latterly was that the mother had no earthly mate in the birth, and therefore the baby was from a divine source. In earliest times the virgin birth was a sign that the earth mother or goddess who conceives by herself was the mother of the person, and that the person was therefore a deity or semi-deity.
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written by ConspicuousCarl, April 24, 2011
I am declaring this in as many places as I can...

I am now Carl Sai Baba. I am the newest avatar of God. I think I am the first to make this claim since Sathya's death, but regardless I am the only real one. The rest are all liars.

Everyone please send me money, and make excuses for any crimes I may commit.
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hear me, Lowly rated comment [Show]
@ Amnesty
written by popsaw, April 24, 2011
."May be we may have to look over the bad and see the good randi"

Great idea! Everyone has done good in their lives at some point or other so let's overlook the bad, open up the prisons and accommodate the criminals. Any room in your street? smilies/wink.gif
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Media hypeup
written by sumiram, April 24, 2011
I'm from India and it is so disgusting to see the media obsessed with the news of his death. The state has even announced 4 days of mourning. Seriously????? Know what! If his mother had taken the deluded 13 year old who claimed to be God, to a good doctor, all these problems would have never come up. smilies/smiley.gif
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Not as holy as he claimed
written by Zep, April 25, 2011
@Goddess & Amnesty, Contrary to Sai Baba's claims, his hospitals and other "good works" were not as good as he claimed they were. For example, the large irrigation scheme he claimed helped millions did no such thing. The donated money went straight into his bank accounts while the construction has barely provided for a few villages. Barely a fraction of the donations have gone to doing any good. There have been a LOT of questions in India about this...all not reported very much due to pressure from certain sources. When looked at closer, all the positive reporting of Sai Baba's works has come from Sai Babs's sources. Reality paints a different picture.
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A poem
written by Donn, April 25, 2011
Sigh, Bai bye
gone in a flash of ash
it's understood
that riddance is good.

d
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Where is the evidence????, Lowly rated comment [Show]
Age of CONsent
written by ladolphus, April 25, 2011
It hilarious.

Some Baba defenders say that since His true essence was "ageless" to begin with, it didn't matter his death age prediction was flat out wrong.
Why, then, did the Master even bother giving a set age?
Something tells me that if he correctly predicted his demise, they'd be celebrating his omnipotence about now, "ageless essence" be damned.

So why was Baba "never convicted" for sexual abuse in his homeland, (where the police, pols and millions of devotees bowed to him?)

Better to ask why it took nearly 40 years for US Catholic Priests and Bishops to be finally held accountable. This, in a "modern" country where the Church is not nearly as influential, and big lawsuits are solicited 24 hours a day on TV.

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written by BillyJoe, April 25, 2011
goddess,

"Where is the proof or is Guru James Randi a psychic all of a sudden. "

James Randi did not say he was a child abuser. He said, and I quote:
"The faker was dogged for years by allegations of child sexual abuse "
"Aside from numerous charges of sexual abuse of young male worshipers"

He has never been convicted so where is the evidence.

He has not even been investigated!
Despite numerous allegations of sexual abuse, there has been no investigation.
What does that tell you?

It is in poor taste to speak ill of the dead.

Hitler? Pol Pot?

"the man did do much good in the world and you can see pictures of the huge hospital he built where the poor are served for free."

This from James Randi:
"Sai Baba transformed his birth town Puttaparthi into a prosperous wonderland spread over some ten square kilometers, a complex of hotels, resorts, university buildings, a hospital, an airport and a huge ashram"
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Thank you for your clarification, Lowly rated comment [Show]
For a time
written by kdv, April 25, 2011

Randi: The Maharishi had even charmed the Beatles, for a time

Quite so. Especially the "for a time". Then they woke up, and they ( well, John Winston Lennon, at least ) wrote a song about him, Sexy Sadie, from the double album. And when Lennon calls him "the latest and the greatest of them all" I'm rather sure he wasn't being complementary.

Pretty good summary. I couldn't have sung it so well though. Not too sure about Randi's voice, but nothing he can do would surprise me, so maybe he's in the backing vocals somewhere :-)
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Cosmic Master of the Clumsy Palms
written by ladolphus, April 25, 2011
From an ex-disiple, Terry Gallagher:

"…It was during this time that I began to observe things that made me question what I had experienced on previous visits. Having a scientific background, I began to observe a set routine that Sai Baba followed each morning and evening during darshan and, in particular, how he materialised vibhuti (holy ash).

I will never forget the look of anguish on Sai Baba’s face when he came onto the verandah of the mandir early one morning and dropped two vibhuti pellets in front of me as he attempted to accept a rose from a college student. There was no vibhuti materialisation during darshan that morning!

I observed how he transferred these vibhuti pellets from one hand to the other, using the letters he collects from devotees to disguise his movements.

In the many interviews that followed, I also observed more than thirty instances of rings, “diamonds”, japamalas, vibhuti containers, etc., all being produced by sleight of hand and deception

…Sai Baba was tense and agitated, and his body language told us all that what we had found out him was the truth! We left the interview and returned to Australia....

When we attempted to tell others about our experiences and the truth about Sai Baba, no one would believe us, except those who had also had similar experiences- and mostly fear prevents them from telling others...."
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Well, that goes without saying, Lowly rated comment [Show]
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written by BillyJoe, April 26, 2011
He was a magician for sure! Funny so is James Randi. Perhaps James Randi is a God too!!!

The difference is that Sai Baba pretends he's performing miracles.

. . . so have a sweet dream!

Sounds like you're having a different type of dream altogether
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@Billy Joe, Lowly rated comment [Show]
The lord Carl Sai Baba
written by charlieocean, April 26, 2011
Dammit Carl Sai Baba. You beat me to the throne because I slept late today.

Well, you win. You are now the chosen one.

I'll be sending you my credit card number so you can begin your amazing kingdom.

Would a "C-note" help for starters?

Just know that when the next Baba dies, I'm IN and then we'll battle for control of the world.. MhawwwwwHaaaaaaa
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Virgin Birth
written by charlieocean, April 26, 2011
BTW, I know I am conceived of virgin birth. My father said he had nothing to do with it. smilies/grin.gif
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To: Goddess
written by zhombu, April 26, 2011
"All men are sexual deviants in one form or another."

By the very definition of what it means to be "deviant" from the norm, the statement, "all men are sexual deviants in one form or another." is illogical. It can't be true simply on the face of the statement. Also, it's hardly fair to lump all other men in with deviants like me. smilies/grin.gif

Oh, Bea, is that you?
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Deviants
written by charlieocean, April 26, 2011
Dear Goddess:

I agree, most of us men are deviants and the problem with that is.....NOTHING!

Qualifiers: between consenting adults, IF we're all in, if it's not breaking any local ordinance and if no medical costs ensue and no marks are left (that you can see), no animals are harmed (just kidding) and behind closed doors.

(
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written by BillyJoe, April 26, 2011
"and behind closed doors."

That's not fair. smilies/sad.gif
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@Zhombu . . . yes it is me as in Bea
written by goddess, April 28, 2011
Most of you are beyond clueless in the bedroom. It seems you've learned the art of lovemaking through watching porno movies.

You can only read this joke if you are over 18! smilies/wink.gif It came to me while I was reading for someone. My client has fallen in love with a Russian guy and she was complaining how American men after 40 just don't last and her Russian guy is ooh la la. I said, "Girl, you need some of that Communist dick cuz Capitalist dick sucks. . . it's like the market . . . it goes up and the next thing you know it's down again!
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written by BillyJoe, May 01, 2011
goddess,

"Most of you are beyond clueless in the bedroom."
How did you know? You've never been in my bedroom.

"It seems you've learned the art of lovemaking through watching porno movies."

Well...um...er...
...obviously I'm in need of a good teacher. smilies/wink.gif
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