Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sathya Sai Baba - The History

Sathya Sai Baba born Sathyanarayana Raju on 23 November 1926, is a popular South Indian guru, religious figure and educator. He is described by his devotees as an avatar, godman, spiritual teacher and miracle worker. Sathya Sai Baba's "miracles", in which he materializes vibuthi (holy ash) and small objects such as rings, necklaces and watches, have been a source of both fame and controversy – sceptics assert that they are conjuring tricks, while devotees consider them evidence of divinity. Sathya Sai Baba has claimed to be the reincarnation of the great Maharashtrian saint, Shirdi Sai Baba of whose teachings were an eclectic blend of Hindu and Muslim beliefs.

Sathya Sai Baba and his organizations support a variety of free educational institutions, hospitals, and other charitable works in India and abroad. The number of active Sathya Sai Baba adherents was estimated in 1999 to be around 6 million, although followers' estimations are far higher. Since there are no formal ties of membership, the actual figure may never be known. The Sathya Sai Organization reports that there are an estimated 1,200 Sathya Sai Baba Centers in 114 countries worldwide. In India itself, Sai Baba draws followers from predominantly upper-middle-class, urban sections of society who have the "most wealth, education and exposure to Western ideas." A cultural icon in his home country, Sai Baba has attracted presidents and prime ministers from India and beyond who have become his devotees; in 2002, he claimed to have followers in 178 countries.

Sathyanarayana Raju was born to Eswaramma and Peddavenkama Raju Ratnakaram in the village of Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh, India. Almost everything known about his life is based on the hagiography that has grown around him, recounting episodes that hold special meaning to his devotees and are considered evidence of his divine nature. His birth, which his mother Eswaramma asserted was by immaculate conception, was said to be heralded by miracles. As a child, he was described as "unusually intelligent" and charitable.

He was exceptionally talented in drama, music, dance and writing, and was an avid composer of poems and plays. He was said to be capable of materialising objects such as food and sweets out of thin air.

Sathya attended the local school in Puttaparthi until the third grade, then was transferred to the Bukkapatnam school. On 8 March 1940, while living with his brother in Uravakonda, Sathya was apparently stung by a scorpion. He lost consciousness for several hours. Within the next few days there was a noticeable change in Sathya's behavior. There were "symptoms of laughing and weeping, eloquence and silence." "He began to sing Sanskrit verses, a language of which he had no prior knowledge." Doctors believed his behavior to be hysteria. His parents brought Sathya home to Puttaparthi. Concerned, they took him to many priests, "doctors" and exorcists.

"On 23rd of May 1940, the symptoms culminated with the disclosure of his divine identity. Sathya called household members and materialized sugar candy and other items". His father who became furious seeing this took a stick thinking his son was bewitched and questioned him Who he was? To this Sathya announced calmly and firmly "I am Sai Baba". The reference he made was to Sai Baba of Shirdi. He proclaimed himself to be a reincarnation of Sai Baba of Shirdi -- a saint who became famous in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in Maharashtra, and who had died eight years before Sathya was born.

Sathya Sai Baba declared that he had no worldly relationship with anyone, and gradually devotees began to gather around him. On Thursdays bhajans were sung, which grew to every day. In 1940, Sathya Sai Baba began to travel to Madras and elsewhere in South India and soon had a large regional following.

In 1944, a mandir (temple) for Sathya Sai Baba's devotees was built near the village. It is now referred to as the old mandir. The construction of Prashanthi Nilayam, the current ashram, began in 1948 and after 2 years, was completed in 1950. In 1957 Sathya Sai Baba went on a North Indian temple tour. In 1954, Sathya Sai Baba established a small free General Hospital in the village of Puttaparthi.

In 1963, Sathya Sai Baba suffered a stroke and four severe heart attacks. He is believed to have healed himself from these, and on recovering announced that he would be reborn as Prema Sai Baba in the state of Karnataka.

He said, "I am Siva-Sakthi, born in the gothra (lineage) of Bharadwaja, according to a boon won by that sage from Siva and Sakthi. Siva was born in the gothra of that sage as Sai Baba of Shirdi; Siva and Sakthi have incarnated as Myself in his gothra now; Sakthi alone will incarnate as the third Sai (Prema Sai Baba) in the same gothra in Mysore State."

On 29 June 1968, Sathya Sai Baba made his first, and only, trip overseas, to Uganda. His party proceeded by car to Kampala, the capital city. Narayana Kasturi writes, "During His stay He addressed gatherings of lions and rotarians, doctors, businessmen, members and workers of service organizations," as well as government ministers and officials. During a discourse in Nairobi (Kenya, East Africa) Sathya Sai Baba stated, "I have come to light the lamp of Love in your hearts, to see that it shines day by day with added luster. I have not come on behalf of any exclusive religion. I have not come on a mission of publicity for a sect or creed or cause, nor have I come to collect followers for a doctrine. I have no plan to attract disciples or devotees into my fold or any fold. I have come to tell you of this unitary faith, this spiritual principle, this path of Love, this virtue of Love, this duty of Love, this obligation of Love." In 1968, he established Dharmakshetra or Sathyam Mandir in Mumbai.

In March 1995, he started the water project to provide drinking water to 1.2 million people in the drought-prone Rayalaseema region in Anantapur. In 1973, he established Shivam Mandir in Hyderabad. On 19 January 1981, in Chennai he inaugurated Sundaram Mandir. In 2001 Sathya Sai Baba established another free Super Speciality hospital in Bangalore to benefit the poor. In april 1999 He inagurated Ananda Nilayam mandir in Madurai,Tamil Nadu.

Since 2005, Sathya Sai Baba has used a wheelchair, and his failing health has forced him to make fewer public appearances. In 2006, he suffered a fractured hip bone when a student fell from a stool he was standing on and accidentally knocked him down. He gives darshan now from a car or his Porte Chair.

He is also known as a singer, having released several CDs of bhajans (devotional songs).

Sathya Sai Baba himself says,"I am beyond the reach of the most intensive enquiry and the most meticulous measurement. Only those who have recognized my love and experienced that love can assert that they have glimpsed my reality. Do not attempt to know me through the external eyes."

Beliefs and practices of devotees

Sathya Sai Baba movement

Sathya Sai Baba has said that his followers do not need to give up their original religion, saying "My objective is the establishment of sanathana dharma, which believes in one God as propitiated by the founders of all religions. So none has to give up his religion or deity."

Internationally, Sathya Sai Baba devotees gather daily or weekly on Sundays (and/or Thursdays) for group devotional singing (bhajans), prayer, spiritual meditation, service to the community (Seva), and to participate in "Education in Human Values" also known as Sai Sunday School.

A primary aspect of Sathya Sai Baba's teachings is the spiritual benefit of darshan for his students. At that time, Sai Baba may interact with people, accept letters, materialize and distribute vibhuti (sacred ash) or call groups or individuals for interviews. Devotees consider it a great privilege to have an interview and sometimes a single person, group or family will be invited for a private interview.

"There is no published formal doctrine or set of rules for the Sai Baba movement."

Ashrams and mandirs

Prashanthi Nilayam, Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh

Puttaparthi, where Sathya Sai Baba was born and still lives, was originally a small remote South Indian village in Andhra Pradesh. Now one can find an extensive University complex, a Super Specialty Hospital, Chaitanya Jyoti (a World-Religions Museum that has won several international awards for design, a Planetarium, a railway station, a hill-view stadium, an administrative building, an airport, an indoor sports stadium and more. High ranking Indian politicians, like the former President Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Konijeti Rosaiah and Karnataka Chief Minister B. S. Yeddyurappa have been official guests at the ashram in Puttaparthi. During Sathya Sai Baba's recent birthday celebration, it was reported that well over a million people attended, including 13,000 delegates from India and 180 other countries.

Sathya Sai Baba resides much of the time in his main ashram called Prashanthi Nilayam (Abode of Highest Peace) at Puttaparthi. In the hot summer, he leaves for his other ashram, called Brindavan, in Kadugodi, Whitefield, a town on the outskirts of Bangalore. Occasionally he visits his Sai Shruti ashram in Kodaikanal.

Sathya Sai Baba established three primary mandirs (Spiritual centres) in India. The first mandir, founded in Mumbai in 1968, is referred to as either "Dharmakshetra" or "Sathyam".

The second centre, established in Hyderabad in 1973, is referred to as "Shivam". The third centre, inaugurated on 19 January 1981, in Chennai, is referred to as "Sundaram".

Institutions, organizations and projects
Sathya Sai Organization

The Sathya Sai Organisation (or Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation) was founded in the 1960s by Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. The first Sai Centers were started in India under the name Sri Sathya Sai Seva Samithi. The Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation originated "to enable its members to undertake service activities as a means to spiritual advancement." According to the Sathya Sai Organization, there are an estimated 1,200 Sathya Sai Baba Centers in 130 countries worldwide. Its current chairperson is Michael Goldstein.

Sri Sai Baba Hospital, Manglore - Karnataka, India

Sathya Sai Baba further explains the quality of service expected of the organization. "The Organisations named after Me are not to be used for publicising My Name, or creating a new cult around My worship. They must try to spread interest in jabam (recitation of God's Name), dhyaanam (meditation) and other sadhanas (spiritual practices), which lead man Godward; they must demonstrate the joy derivable from bhajan (devotional group singing) and Naamasmarana (remembering God's Name), the Shanthi (peace) that one can draw from Sathsang (good company). They must render seva (service) to the helpless, the sick, the distressed, the illiterate and the needy. Their seva (selfless service) should not be exhibitionistic; it must seek no reward, not even gratitude or thanks from the recipients. Seva is sadhana (spiritual exercise), not a pastime of the rich and well placed. Each one must realize this truth."


The International Sai Organization hosts a number of various institutes, trusts and associations. They include:
* Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust.
* Sri Sathya Sai Sadhana Trust -Publications Division.
* Radio Sai.

Educational Institutions
* Sathya Sai Schools and Institutes.
* Sri Sathya Sai University. The University founded by Sathya Sai Baba in 1981, which provides free education on three campuses: Ananthapur (for women), Prasanthi Nilayam (for men), and Brindavan (for men, on the outskirts of Bangalore).
* Sai International Centre for Human Values.

Sri Sathya Sai Medical Trust
* Primary Health Care - Medical camps organised to visit orphanages, old age homes, leprosy homes etc.
* Secondary Healthcare (The general hospitals) Sri Sathya Sai General Hospitals in Prasanthi Nilayam and Whitefield, Bangalore, render free medical aid.
* Tertiary Health Care (the super-speciality hospitals) These hospitals provide excellent patient care facilities to all, free of cost.
* Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Science. There are two campuses, one being in Prasanthi Nilayam, A.P. and the other in Whitefield, Karnataka, India.

* Prasanthi Nilayam, in Puttaparthi, Andra Pradesh.
* Brindavan, in Whitefield (on the outskirts of Bangalore).
* Kodai Kanal, a "hill station" in the south of India.

Service, Devotion and Education Wings.

Drinking Water Supply Projects.

Activities of the Organization

* Spiritual activities include devotional singing, study circles, public lectures, seminars, meditation etc.
* Educational activities cover 'Bal Vikas' (for children) and Education in Human Values Programmes, besides formal academic education combined with the development of the character of the students for age group of 6 to 15.
* Service activities include items such as organizing medical check-up camps, adoption of under-developed villages for accelerating rural development, blood donation, old age homes, etc.

Sathya Sai Baba supports a variety of free educational institutions, hospitals, and other charitable works in over 166 countries. The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning in Prashanthi Nilayam is the only college in India to have received an "A++" rating by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (an autonomous body established by the University Grants Commission). His charity supports the Institute of Music and the Institute of Higher Learning in Anantapur, which is a women's college.

Sathya Sai Baba chairs the Muddenahalli-Sathya Sai Loka Seva School and Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust Educational Institutions in Muddenahalli-Kanivenarayanapura regions. In addition, a Sathya Sai Baba University and Medical School as well as a world class Hospital and Research Institute are being constructed on over 200 acres to serve the destitute population. Baba has said that the campus will be modeled after Puttaparthi and will infuse spirituality with academics.

Sri Sathya Sai Super Specialty Hospital, Whitefield (suburb of Bangalore), Karnataka, India

The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences in Puttaparthi is a 220 bed facility that provides free surgical and medical care and was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister Narasimha Rao on 22 November 1991. The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences in Bangalore is a 333 bed hospital meant to benefit the poor. The hospital was inaugurated on 19 January 2001 by the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. The hospital has provided free medical care to over 250,000 patients.

The Sri Sathya Sai General Hospital was opened in Whitefield, Bangalore, in 1977 and provides complex surgeries, food and medicines free of cost. The hospital has treated over 2 million patients.

The Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust runs several general hospitals, two specialty hospitals, eye hospitals and mobile dispensaries and conducts medical camps in rural and slum areas in India. The Trust has also funded several major drinking water projects. One project completed in 1996 supplies water to 1.2 million people in about 750 villages in the drought-prone Anantapur district in Andhra Pradesh. The second drinking water project, completed in 2004, supplies water to Chennai through a rebuilt waterway named "Sathya Sai Ganga Canal".

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi praised the Chennai water project and Sai Baba's involvement. Other completed water projects include the Medak District Project benefiting 450,000 people in 179 villages and the Mahbubnagar District Project benefitting 350,000 people in 141 villages. In January 2007, the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust said it would start a drinking water project in Latur, Maharashtra.

Sathya Sai Baba's Educare program seeks to found schools throughout the world with the goal of educating children in the five human values. According to the Sai Educare site, schools have been founded in 33 countries, including Australia, Mexico, UK and Peru. The Times of Zambia states, "The positive influence of Sathya Sai is unprecedented in the annals of education in Zambia. Sai Baba's education ideals as embodied in his human values-based approach in education are an eye opener to educationists in Zambia."

In Canada, the Fraser Institute, an independent Canadian research and educational organization, ranked the Sathya Sai School of Canada as one of the top 37 elementary schools in Ontario. The Sathya Sai School scored a perfect 10 out of 10 in the Institute's overall rating for academic performance.

On 23 November 1999, the Department of Posts, Government of India, released a postage stamp and a postal cover in recognition of the service rendered by Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba in addressing the problem of providing safe drinking water to the rural masses.

On 23 November 2001, the digital radio network "Radio Sai Global Harmony" was launched through the World Space Organization, USA. Dr. Michael Oleinikof Nobel (distant relative to Alfred Nobel and one of the patrons for the radio network) said that the radio network would spread Sathya Sai Baba's message of global harmony and peace.

The Sathya Sai School of Canada began the Walk for Values in 2003. The Walk for Values is an annual walk to raise awareness for the five human values: Love, Peace, Truth, Non-Violence and Right-Conduct, No money is solicited, "instead, people are asked to pledge to try to live up to one or more of the human values in their lives." Some have said, "It is a human movement forward, a call to attention, a walk to adopt a value for life." The 2009 Walk for Values took place in various Canadian cities (Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, New Zealand, Malaysia, Australia (Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and the United States (New York City, Seattle, Dallas. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper commended all those who walked "for their commitment to making a difference in the world."

In January 2007, an event was held in Chennai Nehru stadium organised by the Chennai Citizens Conclave to thank Sathya Sai Baba for the 200 crore water project which brought water from the River Krishna in Andhra Pradesh to Chennai city. Four chief ministers attended the function.


Followers say they have observed Sathya Sai Baba manifesting vibuthi (holy ash), and sometimes food and small objects such as rings, necklaces and watches. In some books, magazines, filmed interviews and articles, Sathya Sai Baba's followers report miracles of various kinds that they attribute to him. Devotees have said that objects have appeared spontaneously in connection with pictures and altars of Sathya Sai Baba. Sathya Sai Baba's devotees believe that he relieves his devotees by transferring their pain to himself. (Please refer to the video in the previous posting).

Sathya Sai Baba has explained the phenomenon of manifestation as being an act of divine creation, but refused to have his materializations investigated under experimental conditions. In a 1974 discourse, he stated, "The optical sense cannot visualize the truth. It gives only false and fogged information. For example, there are many who observe my actions and start declaring that my nature is such and such."

In April 1976, Dr. H. Narasimhaiah, a physicist, rationalist and then vice chancellor of Bangalore University, founded and chaired a committee "to rationally and scientifically investigate miracles and other verifiable superstitions". Haraldsson stated that Narasimhaiah wrote Sathya Sai Baba a polite letter and two subsequent letters that were widely publicized in which he publicly challenged Baba to perform his miracles under controlled conditions. Sathya Sai Baba said that he ignored Narasimhaiah's challenge because he felt his approach was improper. Sathya Sai Baba further said about the Narasimhaiah committee, "Science must confine its inquiry only to things belonging to the human senses, while spiritualism transcends the senses. If you want to understand the nature of spiritual power you can do so only through the path of spirituality and not science. What science has been able to unravel is merely a fraction of the cosmic phenomena ..." According to Erlendur Haraldsson, the formal challenge from the committee came to a dead end because the negative attitude of the committee was obvious and perhaps because of all the fanfare involved. Narasimhaiah stated that he considered the fact that Sathya Sai Baba ignored his letters as one among several indications that his miracles are fraudulent. As a result of this episode, a public debate raged for several months in Indian newspapers. Narasimhaiah's committee was dissolved in August 1977.

Sathya Sai Baba says of "miracles", "those who profess to have understood me, the scholars, the yogis, the pundits, the jnanis, all of them are aware only of the least important, the casual external manifestation of an infinitesimal part of that power, namely, the "miracles"! This has been the case in all ages. People may be very near (physically) to the Avathar, but they live out their lives unaware of their fortune; they exaggerate the role of miracles, which are as trivial, when compared to my glory and majesty, as a mosquito is in size and strength to the elephant upon which it squats. Therefore, when you speak about these 'miracles,' I laugh within myself out of pity that you allow yourself so easily to lose the precious awareness of my reality."

Criticism and controversy

The British journalist Mick Brown discussed in his 1998 book that Sathya Sai Baba's claim of "resurrecting" the American Walter Cowan in 1971 was probably untrue. His opinion was based on the letters from attending doctors, provided in the Indian Skeptic magazine (published by Premanand). Mick Brown also related, in the same book, his experiences with manifestations of vibuthi, from Sathya Sai Baba's pictures in houses in London, which he felt were not fraudulent or the result of trickery. Brown wrote with regards to Sathya Sai Baba's claims of omniscience, that "skeptics have produced documentation clearly showing discrepancies between Baba's reading of historical events and biblical prophecies and the established accounts."

The magazine India Today published in December 2000 a cover story about Baba and allegations of fake miracles by the magician P. C. Sorcar, Jr.. In a BBC documentary Basava Premanand, a skeptic and amateur magician, expressed his opinion that he thinks Baba is faking materialisation and has been investigating Sathya Sai Baba since 1968. He sued Sathya Sai Baba in 1986 for violation of the Gold Control Act for Sathya Sai Baba's purported "materializations" of gold objects. The case was dismissed, but Premanand unsuccessfully appealed on the ground that claimed spiritual power is not a defense recognized in law.

The Vancouver Sun in 2001 reported that Sathya Sai Baba told his adherents not to sign on to the World Wide Web due to the rapid allegations circulating on various Internet sites and in a few newspapers. Although the article does not offer any direct quotes as to what Sathya Sai Baba actually said, in a 2000 public discourse Sathya Sai Baba did say, "These teachings (the Vedas) are highly sacred. Today people are ready to believe all that they see on television and internet but do not repose their faith in the Vedic declarations. Internet is like a waste paper basket. Follow the 'innernet,' not the internet."

The's "Untouchable" article published in 25 July 2001 reported that after Conny Larsson, a Swedish film star alleged his abuse allegations the Sai Organization in Sweden along with a Sai-affiliated school was shut down. It also carried other allegations. The article stated that though controversies surround these ventures, even Sathya Sai Baba's critics admit that he has helped to ease the region's suffering. Illustrated Weekly of India stated that no one doubted the numerous philanthropic works conducted by the Sai organization regardless of the controversial divine status of Baba.

Documentaries produced by the BBC and the Danish Broadcasting Corporation, analyzing videos of the supposed miracles, suggest that they can be explained as sleight of hand tricks. In the 1995 TV documentary Guru Busters, produced by filmmaker Robert Eagle for UK's Channel 4, Sathya Sai Baba was accused of faking his materializations. A videotape was provided which suggested that magician's tricks were being utilized. The same videotape was mentioned in the Deccan Chronicle, on 23 November 1992, on a front page headline "DD Tape Unveils Baba Magic".

In 2004, the BBC aired the documentary entitled The Secret Swami in the United Kingdom and also on BBC World in its series 'The World Uncovered'. One central theme of the BBC documentary was based on Alaya Rahm's sexual abuse allegations about Sathya Sai Baba. The documentary interviewed him together with Mark Roche, who had devoted 25 years of his life since 1969 to the movement and alleged abuse by him. A spokesman for the BBC told Asian Voice that the documentary had gone to great lengths to be balanced and fair, and that the story was one of a crisis and ultimately a betrayal of faith. Another documentary, Seduced By Sai Baba, carried interviews of abuse allegations. It was produced by Denmark's national television and radio broadcast company, Denmarks Radio (DR).

Responses to criticism

Neither Sathya Sai Baba nor any organizations associated with him have been charged or convicted for sexual abuse or any other crime in a court of law.

Alaya Rahm filed a lawsuit against the 'Sathya Sai Baba Society' in the Superior Court of California on January 6, 2005. On April 7, 2006 Alaya Rahm withdrew his lawsuit after indications that his challenge lacked merit. The case was dismissed 'with prejudice' meaning it cannot be filed for the same claims again. The Pioneer also noted that no offers of monetary settlement were paid to Alaya Rahm.

During an interview with Asian Voice magazine Ashok Bhagani, a trustee of the Sai Organization in the UK, said that the allegations in the Secret Swami BBC documentary were baseless. Bhagani said that devotees never meet Baba alone.

Lawrence A. Babb states, "he is certainly more than the mere parlour trick magician many of his critics claim that he is."

Devotee Bill Aitken (traveller) was quoted by The Week as saying that Sathya Sai Baba's reputation has not been harmed by the negative stories published about the guru. He opined that the more detractors rail against Sathya Sai Baba, the more new devotees went to see him.

In the Divine Downfall published in the Daily Telegraph Professor Anil Kumar, the ex-Principal of the Sathya Sai educational Institute said that he believed that the controversy is part of Baba's divine plan and that every great religious teacher had to face criticism in his/her lifetime. Anil Kumar also said that allegations have been leveled at Sathya Sai Baba since childhood, but with every criticism he becomes more and more triumphant.

In an official letter released to the general public in December 2001, A.B. Vajpayee (then Prime Minister of India), P.N. Bhagawati (Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India), Ranganath Misra (Chair Person, National Human Rights Commissioner of India and Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India), Najma Heptulla (President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union; UNDP Distinguished Human Development Ambassador) and Shivraj Patil (Member of Parliament, India; Formerly of the Lok Sabha & Union Minister) all signed a letter which stated as follows "We are deeply pained and anguished by the wild, reckless and concocted allegations made by certain vested interests and people against Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. We would normally expect that responsible media would ascertain the true facts before printing such calumny - especially when the person is revered globally as an embodiment of love and selfless service to humanity. Since this professional ethic has not been observed by a section of the media, we have elected to go public with this signed statement."

The Times Of India article, dated 26 December 2000, said that Sathya Sai Baba "lashed" out at his detractors referring to the criticism printed in a magazine, the newspaper quoted him saying as follows "Jesus Christ underwent many hardships and was put to the cross because of jealousy. Many around him could not bear the good work he did and the large number of followers he gathered. One of his disciples, Judas betrayed him". Further it says Baba said "Today there are thousands just as that Judas was tempted to betray Jesus, the Judases of today too are bought out to lie. Jealousy was the motive behind the allegations levelled at him".

Sathya Sai Baba responded to the allegations against him in a public discourse on 25 December 2000. He states that "Some people out of their mean-mindedness are trying to tarnish the image of Sai Baba. I am not after name and fame. So, I do not lose anything by their false allegations. My glory will go on increasing day by day. It will never diminish even a bit if they were to publicize their false allegations in the whole world in bold letters. Some devotees seem to be perturbed over these false statements. They are not true devotees at all.

Having known the mighty power of Sai, why should they be afraid of the 'cawing of crows'? One should not get carried away by all that is written on walls, said in political meetings or the vulgar tales carried by the print media."

Whether it is true or not, Sai Baba's popularity and followers are still growing despite the controversies. His methods maybe wrong in eyes of the critics but his contributions certainly had helped a lot of the poors.

I had described the pro and the cons and it is up to the readers to decide whether to believe or not.

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