The Latest Example of His Master's Voice
Brian Steel October 2002
Copyright © Brian Steel 2002
The year 1999 marked the beginning of a new phase for the SB Mission. In the first months of that year came the alarming news of the defections of two prominent devotees who had been very close to SB and who had enthusiastically promoted his image in their books and public lectures. They were David Bailey and Dr Naresh Bhatia. In the ashram and in other SB circles rumours about the imminent appearance of unfavourable revelations were rife. The tense expectation was to continue for over a year, until in March/April 2000 the Bailey "Findings" were finally published and quickly broadcast via the Internet. What was to prove to be an ongoing crisis for SB and the SSO, involving sexual allegations and waves of other disturbing revelations and allegations had begun.
Coincidentally or not, in early 1999 public Lingam "materialisations" were resumed by SB on Sivaratri Day - for the first time since their discontinuation in 1977. During this same difficult period, many Indian and overseas devotees have been offered the opportunity of reading Internet transcriptions (in several languages) of Professor Anil Kumar's Sunday satsang talks in English at the ashram: <www.internety.com/premsai>. The eloquent and humorous Prof. Kumar is a prominent member of SB's entourage and the latest spokesman (and interpreter) of the somewhat 'English-challenged' guru. In his popular (and populist) talks, Prof. Kumar regales his rapt ashram audiences (and now a much wider public) with intimate and revealing reports about the conversation and tales of his spiritual master.
Having only recently read Kumar's web offerings to the world, I recommend them for study by those who wish to see contemporary evidence of a dubious pattern of publicity employed by trusted associates of SB which goes back almost to the beginning of the SB Mission, to the conversion of Prof. N. Kasturi (1948), and then Prof. Gokak, Dr Bhagavantam, and a number of others, both Indian and foreign. Such zealous spokespersons (along with many writers of SB literature) have been particularly instrumental in projecting and sustaining a unique public image of SB far beyond the geographical restrictions of his native Telugu language.
After reading many of Kumar's web-published unquestioning endorsements of SB and his Divine claims (but also of his boastfulness and his peculiar anecdotes), I had intended to divide the following excerpts into sections: claims, exaggeration, far-fetched comparisons, adulation, etc. but the popular style of the talks is so transparent that no reader requires such guidelines. Given this transparence, it is quite sufficient to present a selection of quotations from the satsang of this obsequious devotee (and highly efficient 'stand-in' for SB) which clearly reveal the parameters of his devotion and a few of his over-enthusiastic and uncritical contributions to the SB myth (as well as some injudicious revelations which point to a rather different picture).
Kumar says that his Internet page of satsangs is unofficial, and, strictly speaking, this may well be true. However, such is SB's trust in and reliance on Kumar (as with the long procession of previous human 'interfaces' with masses of devotees) that he must know that the professor would not risk jeopardising his extremely privileged position or incurring SB's well-documented 'displeasure' by reporting anything that SB himself would not approve. And, because of his known proximity to SB, as well as his lively style of lecturing in English, Kumar's narrations (like Kasturi's, Gokak's, Hislop's, etc., etc.) - however bizarre some may sound - are accepted without demur by most devotees as accurate and authentic pieces of the SB story: in other words, as officially endorsed. Much of the SB legend has been strengthened and sustained in this indirect way.
18 July 1999
"The ISD, the STD. the courier services or fax or e-mail, they are all slow when compared to Sai Baba. Sai's Will runs faster than all these latest electronic gadgets and Concord Airways because Sai functions instantaneously. Sai responds immediately. May we grow more and more in faith, all in Bhagavan."
1 August 1999 SB has amended the 'Bhagavad Gita':
"How has He amended it? He said, OK, it is all right that I said I would protect the pious people in the past as Lord Krishna which I declared in that sacred text Bhagavad Gita. It is true. But the second thing is, instead of finishing off people, instead of killing people, instead of destroying wicked people, what I want to do now is to transform them."
SB even improves on this classic by making it more accessible:
"Swami was telling in a discourse the other day that Narada was once asking Lord Vishnu, "Vishnu, where are You? I know You have branch offices. But You are not seen there at any one of Your branch offices. I want to know where is Your head office. Please give me Your latest visiting card." And God gave him a visiting card. What was that address? "My devotee whenever he sings My glory, I install Myself there. O Narada, take My address! I am found wherever My glory is sung." So this is the experience of Shankar Narayan and friends who could see Swami's presence whenever they started singing the praises of Sri Sathya Sai Baba."
1 August 1999
Kumar regurgitates (from a booklet) the old tale about the two (unnamed, of course) East African devotees who come to Puttaparthi and when they take a swig from their beloved whisky bottle in their ashram room there is only water.
6 August 1999 Claims:
"So Swami said: ... 'But remember, I hear everything. I listen to your prayer. I see from there. I see all over, everywhere.' This is a Divine assurance."
13 August 2000 SB is for everyone, and uniquely so:
"So, Bhagavan's discourse caters to the requirements of the entire society. It is not meant for a particular part of the society. It is not meant for scientists alone, doctors alone, engineers alone, or intellectuals alone. No, no. It is meant for A to Z, for everybody."
"Is there anybody living in the world who can satisfy people of all age-groups, people of all languages, people from all over the world, of different vocations, vacations, allocations, provocation, professions, all being satisfied at the same time? It is only Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba who will satisfy the whole of the audience at the same time!"
20 August 2000 Claims:
"Baba said, "I am not new. I am Eternal." It means that Bhagavan has been following us over many, many lives. He has been with us from ages past."
"I don't break empty pots like you, but pots full of milk and curd." 'He's recalling old habits like Krishna long back.'"
20 August 2000 More claims:
"Swami said: "... Believe Me or not, I don't know what sleep is. I don't know what appetite is. I am 75. All these years I am never hungry. All these years I have never slept."
"Softly and delicately I asked Him, "Why do You switch off the light at night if You don't sleep?"
"He said, "If I didn't switch off the light, many people would be here and they wouldn't go. They wouldn't sleep."
"So I asked, "Then why do You have a dining room and table?"
"Baba responded, "Several people join Me at times. To make them eat, I also pretend to eat." "He has transcended food and sleep."
27 August 2000 Intensive name-dropping, claim, and boasting:
"Let me tell you of the latest visitor who is still here. The latest visitor who is here right now is the First Lady from Kazakhstan, with family members." "Swami said yesterday, "You see, the First Lady along with her children, she landed here in Puttaparti straight from Russia. They didn't have any break anywhere. They gave instructions, 'If the government thinks of it, let there be customs checking in Puttaparti Airport, not in Bombay or Bangalore.' Chartered flight straight to this place!"
"The same evening, Bhagavan gave them interview. And Swami walked and said one sentence. It is still ringing in my ears. "All of them want to take Me to their place, Kazakhstan! They said, 'Swami, we are ready with this flight. Please join us. Let's go!'
" ... their first time facing God, first time face-to-face. What a kind of inspiration, what a kind of impact, that made them feel painful when they think of separation from Him. So they want Baba to fly with them to Kazakhstan!"
"Sometime back the Prime Minister from Nepal was here. Swami granted him an interview for about an hour. I have not seen a VIP, 'very important person', given that long an interview. It is because he is not only VIP, but he is also an ardent devotee."
"And He went there and gave him interview for one full hour. After that, you must have seen there on the verandah the movie cameras, the videos and all that.
Swami came slowly and then said, "Do you know what the Prime Minister asked?">
"What did he ask, Swami?"
"He said, "Swami, let me have a photo with you!' "
"I did not keep quiet. "Swami, what did you say?"
And Bhagavan replied, He told the Prime Minister, "You have a number of photos with you, number of photos along with heads of governments from all over the world. Why now photo with Me? Why?"
And then it seems Koirala, the Prime Minister said, "All photos with the heads of the governments from all over the world is one thing. And photo with Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba is worth it, superior to the whole lot! This is another thing, Swami. I must have photo with You!"
"Swami, Your Creation is defective: You created a woman like that, as to resist, and created man so soft, he cannot take it.
He said, "Nothing wrong with My Creation. It's your vision that's defective. Your outlook, your vision, your sight is defective. Nothing is wrong with My Creation."
3 September 2000 Endorsement of claims:
"So, let us be aware of this awareness. Awareness is the gift of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, the Divine Master with whom we are living. Awareness of what? Awareness of Reality, awareness of Divinity, awareness of the Knowledge of the Self, awareness of Immortality, awareness of the soul, awareness of the spirit, awareness of the conscience, awareness of the Consciousness, awareness of life, awareness of the Eternity. This is the gift of the Divine Master."
17 September 2000 Proof that Muslim devotees are rare at SB's ashram: Kumar's surprise.
'Muslims Come To Prashanti Nilayam'
"Two days back you must have watched Muslims here in Prashanti Nilayam. Muslims wear a special white cap with embroidery. So from a distance you could make out that they are Muslims. My impression of Muslims is this - that they do not usually go to any temple. They are very, very rigid about it. They do not accept prasadam (blessed food), none whatsoever. (That's my observation, subject to correction by anybody.) They are very rigid and they don't attend any other discourses referring to other religions and faiths. That has been my experience so far.
"But the moment I saw them in large numbers, I could not believe it! I had to put on a 'question mark' face. When Swami passed by me He said, "Come here. You distribute prasadam to those people."
And then I said, "Swami, it's really wonderful, unbelievable to find Muslims here in Prashanti Nilayam."
He said, "Why not?"
"Why not? Because my experience goes that usually they don't go to any other temple and they are very rigid about it. Fundamentalists."
"Then He said, "No, no, no, no." He didn't like my comment.
21 Sept 2000
On SB's humour (and his own clear admission that news of Miracles, and most particularly Howard Murphet's first book, Sai Baba. Man of Miracles, attracts people to him):
"Do you ever find Bhagavan so serious anytime? I have not found it. Always happy, always blissful, always joking, fun. There's one gentleman by the name of Howard Murphet. Most of you must have heard his name. He wrote about four books. The first book, "The Man of Miracles", is popular all over the world. Most of the devotees of the Western hemisphere have gone into the mansion of Sathya Sai Divinity through the gates of the "Man of Miracles", his book. Beautiful work." [Italics added]
15 October 2000
What non Telugu-speaking devotees miss:
"That's the reason why when Bhagavan passes by the darshan lines and whenever anyone wants to have padnamascar, He says in Telugu, "Do it within! Do it within! Do it within!" Do padnamascar within."
31 December 2000
Kumar often chants a bhajan at the end of his satsang, just like SB. Also his frequent humorous (court jester) touches are sometimes quite revealing: "I have told you a number of times that, "In this age of BBC, British Broadcasting Corporation, I am ABC: Anil Kumar Broadcasting Corporation!" (Laughter)
"... Bhagavan Baba, who ended his formal education at the level of seventh standard, can talk to Nobel Laureates, can talk to the highest scientists of the day. He gives minute details of the body, of the heart, to the cardiologist himself, so that the specialist falls flat (in namaskar) in front of him. (Laughter) He can tell certain special engineering skills to an experienced engineer such that, if he is honest enough, he admits his ignorance on that very subject.
He talks to a computer expert, telling that he is only a computer, saying that computer is nothing but rubbish."
[But see recent dissenting www.exbaba articles on SB's knowledge of magnetism, atoms, etc.]
January 2001 Unconvincing boasting (once again about his youthful prowess):
"And then Swami said, "You see, in Kamalapuram while I was in school, I used the same technique."
"Huh? Same technique? What is that, Swami?"
"We had a running race competition every year. And you know that in the school, they are all big, big boys, older boys, grown up boys, and well-built, hefty personalities. Even now I am short. You can imagine how I was then! (Laughter.) Not just short ... very lean and thin, wearing knickers and a shirt. But I always stood first in the running race. Do you know that?"
"Swami, first in the running race? You stood first in every way!" [N.B.]
"Ah! That's a different thing. You know the secret of My success?"
"All the boys stand in the front. I'm always in the back. They thought, 'This little boy, after all, is useless. I allowed them to think so. (Laughter.) They were all standing in the front. Now the drill teacher will blow the whistle ... 'Start!' All the boys in the front, the grown ups, start running, running, running, running, running. I start running slowly to begin with. The front boys, as they start with a high speed, they get exhausted and start gasping for air. Then they slow down. Then I'll pick up speed. So I used to pass them. (Laughter) That's how I used to win." That's what He said." [The tortoise and the hare?]
"Ahhh! Swami, wonderful, wonderful!"
Compare these contradictory reports by Kumar on a controversial topic:
"Then Bhagavan said, "... I just take a morsel. That's all. I don't eat much. My weight is same." (7 January 2001)
"Baba responded, "Several people join Me at times. To make them eat, I also pretend to eat." "He has transcended food and sleep." (20 August 2000)
4 March 2001 Claim:
"And then further He said, "You know what happened? The Siva Lingam came out by force - like that! Not slowly." You must have watched. All of you must have watched. It came out forcefully like a jet, just like that!
And Swami explained why it happened: In the body of every one of us, all the metals are there, including gold. That's the reason why in Ayurveda (Indian school of medicine) even gold is also given as a curative medicine. So, all metals are there in our body. All these things are there in a liquid form.
Bhagavan said, "When the liquid gets transformed into a solid, a heat is generated. Liquid becomes solid at that time. Heat is generated and therefore the Linga came out forcefully."
"Not only that, I was sweating. You must have watched." That's what Baba said. "I asked two or three lecturers just to fan Me like that. They were doing it. You must have watched. I was sweating because heat is generated when the liquid gets transformed into solid. So it came out forcefully. Because of the heat, I was sweating. So many boys had to fan at that moment." "Oh, Swami."
"Then He said another point. "In your case, solid is transformed into liquid. But in My case, liquid is transformed into solid. That is the difference. Gold is there in you. The solid is transformed into liquid. It remains like that. But in Swami's case, liquid is transformed into solid. Therefore it came out in the form of Siva Linga. "Ah! Swami!"
"Then He said, "This is a demonstration to all of us to know that Siva Linga is there in every one of you."
18 March 2001 Claims:
"But in Bhagavan's case, it is not like that. You are not giving Him any new information. You are only telling Him what He already knows. Yours is knowledge, while He is the Source of all knowledge."
"It is a kind of experience to everybody to know that Bhagavan is all-encompassing, all knowing, that He is omniscient, that He is omnipresent, and that He's omnipotent."
18 March 2001 Total devotion:
"I already told you about my weakness, my inquisitiveness. I always want to know. I want to be informed. Why? I want to tell everybody. Why? 'Yes, this is our Swami! This is what our Swami has done to the universe! This is what our Swami has done to humanity.' Unbelievable things have been happening. Unimaginable things caused by Bhagavan are happening. They are all happening while He is moving in our midst."
"I always tell my friends everywhere and in every congregation, if given the chance to be born again, I don't want to be a millionaire or a politician or a minister. No, I want to be born again only to speak like this to devotees, to Sai devotees. That's all! I don't want any other thing in life." (Applause)
9 December 2001
Kumar begins a series of three successive satsangs dealing with the alleged similarities between SB and Jesus Christ. They must be read in the original satsang to be believed!
In his total unthinking devotion to SB, Kumar reiterates (or paraphrases) some of SB's exotic and unproven statements about Christ [See Chapter 5, 'Omniscience and Truth'] and he also ploughs laboriously though the New Testament, grasping at straws and endeavouring to "prove" all sorts of flimsy and far-fetched connections between Jesus and SB. Without giving all the details (they are embarrassingly available on Kumar's website!), here are a few "lowlights":
"Bhagavan also said in His discourses, "Jesus visited Tibet and spent some time in a monastery there in Tibet. The manuscripts are available there even today. Those manuscripts that depict his visit refer to Jesus as 'Isa'. The Tibetan manuscript clearly recorded that Jesus is called by everybody as 'Isa'." That's what Bhagavan has said."Secondly, 'Isa', as Baba said, turns into 'Sa' meaning 'Divine' + 'i' (pronounced 'e'), which is what we call 'mother'. So, 'Isa' now means 'Divine Mother'. I think I'm clear. So, 'I' is mother + 'Sa' is Divine. Therefore, 'Isa' means 'Divine Mother', as Baba said.
"And the word 'Baba' means 'father'. Jesus always addressed his father as 'Abba' just as we say 'daddy'; Jesus addressed his father, 'Abba'. So, 'Abba' is 'Father', while 'Isa' is Mother. Therefore, 'Isa' + 'Abba' is equal to 'Sai Baba'! That's it! (Applause) Hence, 'Isa' plus 'Abba' is 'Sai Baba', and that is equal to 'Divine Mother and Divine Father'. This is the second interesting point. These points are all taken from Bhagavan's discourses. I'm telling the source also."
Kumar also gets very excited in this satsang as he "proves" in great (imaginative) detail that certain references in the New Testament Book of Revelations (Chapter 19) must predict the Advent of SB. Some of his crucial points of reference involve "crown of crowns" [= "many diadems"], "red robes" ["a robe dipped in blood"] - even Kumar knows that SB usually wears an orange robe nowadays -, "white cars" ["white horses"] and so on. The flimsiness of Kumar's thesis beggars belief - but will still be swallowed by gullible devotees until they begin to wake up to the fact that their devotion (like Kumar's) is clouding their judgement.
(At one point where he is comparing SB's 'afro' hairstyle to the Biblical "crown of crowns", Kumar gives free rein to his poetic vision: "As Bhagavan walks giving darshan, when the wind blows, His beautiful hair tosses like the golden daffodils along the Milky Way of William Wordsworth. How nicely and beautifully our good Lord adjusts His hair, ah-ha! It is a sight for the gods.")
16 December 2001
In an attempted explanation of alleged predictive elements in the Gospel of John, Chapter 14 verse 12, Kumar comments, with unjustified confidence: "So do you see the point? What does he say? Christ said, "Greater works are going to be done by Him because I'm going back to my Father." What does it mean? Christ made certain things happen. Christ did certain miracles and he said, "In future, greater works, more works, in multiples, are going to be done by Him." By Him? Who is He? Sathya Sai Baba! "As I go to my Father. As I go back to my Father, greater works are going to be done by Him."
And on and on, with countless forced comparisons with the New Testament. What educator Kumar performs here is a caricature of "scholarship", tantamount to brain-washing.
All of which leads up to the familiar but quite unjustified claim:
"My friends, this morning I take leave of you, emphasizing once again that the gospel of Truth then, according to the Holy Bible, is the very same gospel repeated by Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, for whom the entire Christian world has been eagerly awaiting. Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba is the Second Coming of Christ. He's the Cosmic Christ. He's the very Father, who had sent His only Son to earth. He's the Cosmic Visitor."
23 December 2001
In his third talk on the parallels between Christ and SB, Kumar includes the following:
A contradiction of SB's usual advice to devotees NOT to give money to local beggars:
"Well, most of you will be wonderstruck if I tell you that Bhagavan gets down from His car on His way to Kodaikanal, rushes toward a beggar who is standing in a corner, and gives money to that beggar. How simple, how compassionate our Lord is!"
Two resounding endorsements:
"As is Jesus Christ the Savior, so is Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba the Savior. As is Jesus Christ the Protector, now is Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba the Protector. As Jesus Christ is the Eternal Teacher, so Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba is the Teacher of teachers!"
"Shirdi: It was Lord Shirdi Bhagavan, the earlier Incarnation of Sathya Sai Baba, who said, "My child, I shall go on giving you all that you want, until you want Me."
An interesting hint that Kumar (or his Master?) and the SSO may not always see eye to eye:
"A few devotees were blessed with an interview. Then they asked Bhagavan, "Bhagavan, tell us the way to serve You." They are all members of the Sai Organization. Such people only get doubts. (Laughter) Devotees will never get doubts. It is because of their position or cadre. "How shall we serve? Tell us so that we can prepare and give circulars, 'Do this, do that' (all excepting this self)! So, how shall we serve God? Swami, let us know!"
Bhagavan said, "I do not need your services. I am serving you. Look here! Day after day, morning and evening, I walk all along. I come out of the Poornachandra Auditorium and walk a number of times. I move amongst you to serve you."
In a further comparative reference to the Book of Revelations, Chapter 19 (verses 11-16), Kumar attempts another identification between the Christian predicted Messiah and his beloved SB in the following way: "On His skin, on His robe it is clearly inscribed: 'Lord of lords, King of kings'."
[The Bible says: "On His robe and on His thigh, He has a name inscribed: 'King of kings, Lord of lords'."]
Kumar continues: "A few years ago, there in Kodaikanal, Bhagavan had just opened the buttons of His gown. For your information, He never wears a banian (undershirt), just the robe, that's all. He opened it. Please believe me, my friends. I am conscious of the Divine Presence. Though I have not sought permission to tell anybody, I am ready to risk my life (Laughter) because there is no secret in my life until this day. It shall be declared, come what may!
"When He opened His buttons, what did we find? We saw the mark of a conch, a sankha. On the other side, we saw a wheel, a chakra. They were big marks on His chest. "Let me see, Bhagavan!" "Come on, you see," He said. (Laughter) All started looking at this, the sankha and chakra. Suddenly one boy came with a camera, a video camera. He wanted to click it, ah! Swami felt so shy, and closed the robe. (Applause and Laughter).
"So my friends, these are these two marks, the sankha and chakra. The conch and the wheel are the marks on the chest of God Himself, as per the Scriptures. As per the Holy Scriptures, these are the two marks on the physical body of an Incarnation. This what is said: "On His robe and on His thigh, He has a name inscribed, 'King of kings, Lord of lords'." So Bhagavan, with the sankha and chakra, is the 'King of kings and the Lord of lords'."
Now let us look at the facts: First of all, the Scriptural quote (quoted correctly this second time by Kumar!) mentions "on His robe and on His thigh", not his chest. But such a small detail does not prevent Kumar from jumping to his unjustified conclusion. Secondly, there is a photograph of a bare-chested young SB with no such marks in LIMF (Vol 1, pp. 286-7). More interestingly, other writers - Purnaiya (p. 124), Vijayakumari (p. 128), Murphet, et al - have variously reported stories of people seeing the Avataric conch and the wheel (sankhya) - but either on SB's soles or his toes. So, all things considered, these seem to be rather suspiciously floating avataric symbols.
1. 23 December 2001
"If you just go through Bhagavan's discourses from 1950 until 1980, you will be finding them full of jokes, full of stories and parables. In the recent times, He has been speaking of laser scientists, magnetism, electricity, heat and all that. Wow! Those subjects go above our heads - bouncers!" (Laughter)
2. 10 March 2002
"Baba, the mathematician; Baba, the scientist; Baba, the chemist: He tells things with perfect precision and in a correct sequential order. This is what is called 'chain reaction' in chemistry. It is what they call 'equation' or 'derivation' in mathematics. Whatever it may be called, Bhagavan Baba is the Scientist of scientists. He tells it in such a scientific rational, logical, sequential way, which is appealing to every modern mind."
[Once again, the reader is referred for a different verdict to recent commentaries at <www.exbaba.com> on SB's "knowledge" of atoms, magnetism, and other scientific topics.]
10 March 2002 Exaggeration:
"Swami said, "You know, these Rajas visited Me long, long ago, when there were absolutely no facilities at all, no approach roads, no comforts, and no buildings. These Rajas, the kings of those days, walked along the sands in the hot sun from Bukkapatnam. They reached here, stayed under the trees, and spent their time here - all the Rajas or rich, kingly people of those days."
The Preposterous Driving Licence Story (10 March 2002):
'Driving License At the Age of Nine'
And then Swami went on to say a few things about His own experience. "You know, I got a license. I could drive My car. You know at what age I got the license? At the age of nine!" (Laughter).
[A.K.] "Ah! Now only You're like that! How short You must have been at the age of nine, Bhagavan! How could you handle the breaks [sic] and all that?' (Laughter)
"I got a license at the age of nine. You know who gave me the license? Two officers in the State and Regional Transport Offices. In what state? In Madras Composite State. In those days, there was no Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and all the rest. The entire South India was under 'Composite Madras State'. For the entire state, there was only one State Transport Officer, by the name of Seshagiri Rao. And there was another Regional Transport Officer, in charge of ten districts, by the name of Hanumantha Rao. These two fellows gave Me the license when I was nine years old, do you know that?" (Laughter) "Swami, they gave it to You?" "Yes!" "How? How, Swami? Let us know how!" (I don't think that I'm eligible for a license now. It is enough if I walk well, leave alone driving.) (Laughter)
"Do you know what Swami said? These two officers drew lines on the ground and asked Bhagavan to drive the car in-between the lines. "I did it excellently! (Laughter) They kept their mouths shut and gave Me a license." "Oh, Swami!"
"Do you know, Anil Kumar, what I did?" "Swami, what did You do?" "I made these two fellows sit in My car and I told them, 'I will take you to Madras.' (Laughter) 'Wow! Swami, Madras?' 'Yes!'
"But those fellows were afraid to sit. (Laughter) Why? Because I would go at a terrific speed! And all of the people would stand on the road there (because cars were very rare in those days), wanting to watch to see how a car looked. All of the villagers, standing on either side, started watching the car and the speed with which I was driving. They started thinking that a drunkard must be driving! (Laughter) 'He must be a drunkard! What is this fast way of driving?' They were feeling like that."
"And then do you know, Anil Kumar, what the Transport Officers did? They closed their eyes and began chanting, 'Sai Ram! Sai Ram!' (Laughter) They were praying because they felt that they might reach Heaven at any moment of time, due to this rate of speed."
"And then what happened? This Regional State Transport Officer Seshagiri Rao's wife was ready there at Madras. Her husband said, "We have started here from Puttaparthi with Swami with our eyes closed! I prayed to Swami to save my life. Don't worry! We may reach there, Madras, any time or no time - I do not know!" (Laughter) His wife said, "Don't talk like that. Swami will take care of you. Don't you know that Swami is God? Why do you feel like that?" But he simply said, "I don't know by what time." But the wife was quite sure that Swami would be arriving there at 11:30.
Swami started from here at 7 AM; 11:30 is lunchtime in Madras! Prrrrt! (Note: A fast car trip from Puttaparthi to Madras usually takes about 8 hours.) That's all! You can only imagine at what speed He went there!
Swami went on speaking about His experiences. "Anil Kumar, for 15 years I drove my car, do you know that?" "Ah, Swami, is that so? Very nice." "And in those days, because it was war time, petrol was not available. Only one gallon was supplied per month. That gallon was not enough for Me because I moved up and down every day." "Ah, Swami, then what did You do?"
"I would ask one servant boy, by the name of Subanna: "Subanna, yes, come on! Draw water out of the well there. Come on, pour it out there." And that water was transformed into petrol! That water only I used, not the government supplied petrol!" "Ah!"
What is remarkable here is the extent and openness of SB's boasting in front of the College boys, as well as the factual weaknesses in this highly unconvincing children's comic book story.
First, back to dates: SB was nine in either 1935 or 1938. The war began in 1939 and lasted just over five years. SB's Mission began in 1943. Seshagiri Rao, probably from Bangalore, is only mentioned in LIMF (p. 213) from 1944 on when he organised a Bhajan Mandali for the newly declared "Sai Baba". As for the Transport Officer Hanumantha Rao, he appears on the scene in Puttaparthi as Transport Commissioner of Madras State, with the task of conducting a preliminary road-building survey. SB accompanies him on this survey and they have lunch together. (LIMF, p. 353) SB's public admission, in front of teenagers, of the illegality of the alleged obtention of the licence (like the impropriety of cheating on behalf of two schoolmates of which SB boasts in another story of his) seems highly inappropriate for an educator and a stern advocate of Dharma. The fifteen years of driving a car fueled by water may also come as a great surprise to many, especially the tireless researchers of the first volume of Love is My Form - in which there is no mention of the licence or the car.
1 September 2002 Omniscience, boasting and more name-dropping:
"He said, "No, no, no! I know everything." Then Swami laughed and made this statement.
My friends, I'm telling you this only to reassure you, to reconfirm the Divinity of Bhagavan. It has to be reaffirmed. It has to be strengthened continuously. It is for this reason that I share this with you today.
"Then Bhagavan said this statement: "Because I know everything, so many people are coming here."
"Because I know everything about everyone, people are rushing to this place." "This is the second beautiful statement that He made."
'All Want To Be Here'
[This includes a brief insight at the beginning into the difficulties of being close to SB.]
"Thirdly He asked, "Did you notice this morning the VIPs there on the veranda?"
"If I had said, "Yes, I noticed," I was afraid that He might point out, "Have you come to see Bhagavan or VIPs?" (Laughter)
"If I had said, "No, I have not seen them," He might say, "Did you keep your eyes closed?"
What am I to do? Then I found one convenient answer, "The VIP must have come after I left, Swami (Laughter), so I did not notice."
"Then Bhagavan said, "The President from Sri Lanka came this morning and yesterday. Her brother was here. He is to become President very soon." Swami was saying this, "President from Sri Lanka, she and her brother - they're all here."
"Further, He said, "Very soon you'll find the Prince of Kashmir, Sardar Karan Singh. He'll be visiting here. Do you know Karan Singh?"
I said, "I know, Swami."
"How do you know?"
"That is the problem! (Laughter) If you say you know, then He says, "How do you know?" If you say you don't know, then He says, "Don't you know that much?" (Laughter) Sharp on both sides, it's like talking on the razor's edge. It's not that simple!
"Ah Swami, I know!"
"How do you know?" "Ah-re, Karan Singh is known to everybody, Swami. He was the Minister for External Affairs for some time and Ambassador to the United States for some time." Then, the most important point I'm yet to mention. "Then he addressed the International Cardiologist Conference here in Prashanti Nilayam. The International Conference of Cardiothorastic [sic] Surgeons Conference - heart specialists - was held here twice, and Karan Singh was Chief Guest once."
"Then this is important, the third important statement: "All want to be here. All VIPs, heads of governments, many, many people want to be here. But still I'm not giving them ample chances. I am not permitting them to be here. They're all waiting ... waiting for Swami's permission."
Such typical anecdotes and comments about SB by the ever popular Kumar are eagerly accepted and passed on by many devotees, ending up as 'gospel' in someone's book about SB. And it should be remembered that Professor Anil Kumar is only one of many spokespersons who have contributed in similar ways over the past five decades to the public image of SB, an image which is increasingly being shown to be in need of serious modification - as some of Kumar's uninhibited blurting confirms.
If you need to read more for yourselves, visit <www.internety.com/premsai>.
(See also: 'Notes on the Responsibility of Writers of Sathya Sai Baba Books', Chapter 3 of The Guru from Puttaparthi:Sathya Sai Baba's Language and its Perception by Devotees and Misleading Evangelism.)
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