Two Messages for Busy Websurfers
Brian Steel May 2004
Copyright © Brian Steel 2004
The SSB saga and current controversy continue to take up much online space and printed pages. In an effort to save effort and paper, the following simplification is offered in the form of one of the shortest plays on record.
SSB and the SSO - for Dummies
(with due deference to and acknowledgement of the copyright holders to the useful "for Dummies" instructional books)
Act 1 (In India, several decades ago)
"Hey, guys! I'm Shirdi Sai's reincarnation, the Avatar of the age. I can do anything. I know everything. I can heal people and materialise lots of nice things. Come and see. Observe Dharma at all times."
"WOW! He's the Avatar! He can do anything. He knows everything. Let us worship him as God on Earth, go and see him, and observe Dharma at all times."
Act 2 (A few years later)
"Hey, overseas guys! I am God (the One who sent Jesus). I can heal people. I can do anything, including materialising lingams. I know everything. Come and see. Love all, serve all."
"Wow! He's God! Let us worship him as God on Earth, go and see him, love all and serve all, and contribute to his charitable works."
Act 3 (A few decades later)
Anonymous media report:
"Ongoing investigation has unearthed substantial basic evidence that although SSB possesses some undetermined paranormal powers, "He" is NOT God, canNOT do everything, and has many gaps in his knowledge and credibility. In fact, he is just a very charismatic guru who advocates love and service to others and is promoted as an Avatar by a powerful support organisation and his unconditional admirers."
"Huh! DON'T pay attention to these scurrilous rumours spread by malevolent agents of envious mainstream Christian religions, disgruntled and jealous devotees, and other miscreants."
Act 4 (Date unknown)
"Why did all those people devote more time and effort to the ephemeral myth of the man than to the more important spiritual message he preached?"
2. For slightly less busy and more demanding readers.
SSB: Myth vs. Message
Brian Steel May 2004
Superimposed on the simple and beneficial spiritual teachings of the charismatic guru, SSB, is a persona of Divinity which, through his own self-presentation and enthusiastic propagation by his spokespersons and devotees, has become inextricably linked with his name. On close examination of sufficient available evidence (and with the strong likelihood of even more yet to be uncovered), this Divine persona can be seen to have elements in common with both myth and mirage. The fact that spokespersons and devotees automatically dismiss this conclusion without attempting to rebut the mounting evidence is a further relevant factor in the long and complex story of the promotion and dissemination of the alleged Divine claims of SSB.
Reducing the phenomenon to its essentials lays bare its fundamental absurdity. (Note: A wide array of evidence of these essentials is now available on the Internet.) So many discrepancies and contradictions are associated with the Divine claims. There is so much evidence of self-promotion, boasting, name-dropping, exaggeration and 'spin'. Favourable associations with spiritual Indian and worldwide icons like Shirdi Sai Baba, Sivananda, and Jesus Christ have been presented by SSB and his devotees as further support for his alleged Divine status. Demonstrably unreliable stories by SSB, his spokespersons, and devotees abound in the vast SSB folkloric literature.
All of this, plus a haze of rumours, gossip, and hearsay about some aspects of his biography and career, reduce the credibility of other major (but otherwise unverifiable) stories offered at different times to establish or re-assert SSB's alleged Divine origins and nature. For example, his own unique and strongly enunciated claims of being the reincarnation of the revered saint Shirdi Sai Baba, of being part of a Divine plan for a Trinity of Divine Saviours promised by the mythical Hindu gods Shiva and Shakti, of an Advent predicted by Jesus Christ, of an Immaculate Conception, of omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence - all unconvincing except to those blinkered by faith. There are equally unsubstantiated (but fervent and frequent) parallel claims by his spokespersons and devotees that SSB's Advent was predicted by the New Testament Book of Revelations, the prophet Muhammad, Nostradamus, Sri Aurobindo, and one or two others for good measure.
In an age of intense spiritual searching and an ever-widening choice of alternative paths to those traditionally offered by the major organised world religions, there is an even more significant consequence of projecting this primitive myth that SSB is the supreme Divine embodiment of the age: the absurdity of it all distracts attention from the main body of spiritual teachings also offered by this extraordinary guru. Unfortunately, these teachings and the laudable social and charitable works (carried out with devotees' donations) are perceived as taking second place to an obsession with unquestioning worship and dogged protection of the firmly entrenched 'Divine' myth.
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