Sathya & Shirdi Sai Baba Imbroglio: Part 2

The primary source that Sanjay Dadlani used (admittedly) to advance the argument that Sathya Sai Baba was aware of Shirdi Sai Baba in his early childhood (before claiming to be his reincarnation) is the Love Is My Form book, Volume 1, by Dr. R. S. Padmanabhan, ISBN: 8186822771.

For starters, Dr. Ranganathan Padmanabhan (also spelled “Padmanaban”) is a long-time and ardent devotee of Sathya Sai Baba (SSB). Padmanabhan considers SSB to be God Incarnate and has openly declared this in person, in writing and in LIMF. He also published the book “Sri Sathya Sai Baba Life Story for Children”. Padmanabhan’s introductory note in LIMF can be viewed here. A miraculous experience that Padmanabhan attributed to Sathya Sai Baba can be viewed here.

LIMF is a hagiography that documents the incredible and amazing miraculous events that dominated the landscape in the first 25 years of the Sathya Sai Avatar. In LIMF, numerous accounts of early followers and relatives are related that all share the common themes of miracles, manifestations, on-the-spot requested materializations, visions, dreams, experiences, cures, healings, operations, levitations, bilocations and other astounding paranormal phenomena.

LIMF is the same book that Sanjay used as an authority to support his argument that the young Sathyanaranaya was aware of Shirdi Sai Baba in his early childhood (before making the proclaimation that he was a reincarnation of the famous Maharashtran saint, Sai Baba). If all the quotes (taken from LIMF) about the Shirdi Sai Baba controversy were to be compiled together, it would not amount to more than one page. That’s it. However, since Sanjay thinks that LIMF is a reputable and reliable source to formulate his arguments with, he is thereby directly advocating for the integrity, honesty, objectivity and reliability of the contents in the book!

Read the article that appeared in The Hindu about the Love Is My Form (LIMF) book. Keep in mind that this is the same book that Sanjay extensively cited from and considered to be an reputable and reliable source on the Sathya/Shirdi Sai Baba imbroglio:
A Living Phenomenon: July 31st 2001

LOVE IS MY FORM Volume I (The Advent) - Documented Biography of Sri Sathya Sai Baba: R. Padmanaban - Editor; Sai Towers Publishing, 23/1142, Vijayalakshmi Colony, Kadugodi, Bangalore- 560067. Rs. 2,500.

THIS, THE first volume of a uniquely definitive biography of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, covers the first 25 years (1926-1950) of his life. The plan is said to be to follow the story with five more volumes (already in preparation) stretching the account to the year 2000 A.D. Each of these volumes would cover only a decade of his life. In this well- documented edition, the authenticity of each event reported is testified to by actual witness, whom the editor has chased to wherever they may be living at present. This extreme degree of authentication would, even if not required by devotees or general readers, satisfy the suspecting skepticists, regarding their credibility. Such a highly objective and fully attested biography is indeed necessary to convince posterity that once such a transcendent figure walked on earth in this period of history, that he defied a definition except perhaps as an incarnation of God. This is a Hindu concept, of course.

The book opens with an introduction by Dr. R. S. Padmanabhan, who has since become a long-time devotee of Baba. He had an occasion, as a fresh dental graduate, to sit in a Bhajan session of Baba in Bangalore in 1944; Baba, 18 years old at that time, materialised Vibhooti, blessed the youth and said he would get married in February 1945. To the demurring dentist, Baba said that it would surely occur and he would come and bless him. He had, in the same period, told the prospective bride elsewhere in a similar vein; she was just 15 years old. The partners had not known each other and the marriage did occur in February 1945.

Such mysterious phenomena abound in page after page throughout. There have, of course, been quite a few books on Baba, some having been noticed in these columns by the present reviewer. There are also masterly biographies by Ra. Ganapathy and by N. Kasthuri, which are frequently cited in this book. But this present edition is the first systematic chronology, recording events almost as a day-to-day diary.

As a very young boy Raju (as Baba was then known) told the neighbour, Karnam Kamalamma, an astounding truth: “You think I am a human being? No, I am God. I am Easwara himself. You will see my glory in the coming years. Believe me!” From then on, all events that unfolded every day, have only confirmed the veracity of that self-assessment. While at school, he used to materialise Vibhooti, Lingams, photographs of Shirdi Sai Baba and other items. On October 21, 1943, he made a declaration that has since become history: “I am Shirdi Sai Baba in a new life.” Almost the next day, an old lady, a daughter of a district collector in the then Nizam Domain, came in. Raju greeted her with an astounding remark: “My child, you have arrived at last!” She had been a regular visitor to Shirdi; having lost all her four sons, she had once prayed to Shirdi Sai Baba to grant her relief from the pains of worldly life, to which he had replied (before his samadhi that occurred in 1917): “I will be born in Andhra and you will stay with me forever!” This he had told the lady on her oath that she would not divulge it till the time came.

Even when he was at school, he had once dumbfounded an angry teacher who was to give a cane-lash at his palm, because the teacher saw Shirdi Sai Baba’s picture on it. A classmate who had offended him by throwing stones was denied food in the hostel. In the next Thursday Bhajan session, Raju called for Abdul Khader standing somewhere unseen in the rear-end of the queue. He asked him: “You came to plead for Hanumanth Rao! It was I who made the headmaster punish the wrong-doer. Now you can tell the headmaster to resume feeding him!” To this classmate’s query (in 1944) as to when India was likely to achieve independence, Baba had answered “The 15th of August, 1947”. We should remember that neither leaders nor the foreign rulers had any notion not to speak of an agreement about this date.

In January 1948, when Baba was supervising the Mandir construction at Puttaparthi, on one evening, he became uneasy, went into a room and shut himself. When he came out at 7-30 p.m. he announced to the people around: “A great soul has passed away!” The village people in those days could know the news, only a day later, from TheHindu that Mahatma Gandhi had been shot dead. So also he had a peculiar vision and experience on 14th April, 1950 when Ramana Maharshi attained Samadhi.

The events narrated belong to class of “Leelas” of Lord Krishna, especially as Balakrishna. A few are worth mentioning: when the car of the I.G. of Police, in which Baba was travelling got exhausted of petrol, he made it run on water. While at Karur, he forbade a cameraman to take a snap; when it was not heeded, the film roll coolly slipped into Baba’s hands over a long distance. He once brought Ganga floods into the Mandir for all to see and worship. He could often arrange to feed any number of unexpected guests when there were only empty utensils (reminiscent of the Akshaya-Patra episode of the Mahabharata). Reports of his performing surgery on patients (R., T. and others, names omitted herein) without an operation theatre and anaesthesia are vividly presented, convincingly to the non- believer too. An atheist driver was reminded of his accident in the kitchen when he was eight years old; he was told where the boiling oil had caused an injury and left a permanent scar. The stupefied driver fell on all fours, when he was handed over a driving licence of that date with Baba’s photo affixed!

Even at school, he has once given a full-time dance performance without any formal training at that, when the lady artiste fixed had failed to arrive. He enjoyed singing, in tandem, with a famous Chennai vocal duo, many compositions of Thyagaraja. He could invariably read anybody’s thoughts as God alone can. Once he performed a transcorporeal journey (22- 10-1946); his body was in Mysore; but as a cobra, he witnessed the Deepavali celebration in Puttaparthi. Nevertheless he would not grant everybody every wish of his. For example, he once declined to help a badly handicapped child recover normalcy, saying; “It is by past Karmas; if cured, he will suffer in the next life”.

Some 17 rulers of princely states met him on the 29th September, 1947 to seek his godly intervention for retaining rulership against Sardar Patel’s edict. He merely said: “It will all happen as time goes by!” But hours later when a grand feast was to be had in their honour, the princes were asked to serve the commonality, the devotees and the like. As it was going on, Baba said with a winsome, even mischievous, smile, “Times have changed!”

The successive volumes will speak of his welfare projects, but his “Leelas” (that is perhaps the correct description) will continue to enliven, educate and elevate the devotees. The volume is printed in superior art paper; it is heavy, materially and spiritually; over 950 photographs and 10 pages of index are provided. There is practically no typographical error. One would, however, suggest that a usage such as “the devotees performed Padanamaskar to Baba” would be a happier form than the one used at present (that is, “the devotee took Padanamaskar”). Also, the Thyagaraja composition in the list on p. 429 should spell as “Broche- varevare”. It is in Sriranjani raga.A book that would prove a treat and treasure to every Sai Bhakta, it is also useful to historians, parapsychologists, spiritual seekers and the layman.

V. N. VEDANTA DESIKAN (Reference)

Therefore, the primary souce that Sanjay cited against Sathya Sai Baba is taken from a hagiography written by a Sai Devotee. Since Sanjay thinks that LIMF is objective, reliable and honest enough to cite against Sathya Sai Baba, then LIMF must also be objective, reliable and honest enough to cite in favor of Sathya Sai Baba’s astounding paranormal and psychic abilities. Needless to say, Sanjay believes that Sathya Sai Baba is a fraud and that Sai Devotees are liars. Consequently, Sanjay’s reference to LIMF actually contradicts his position.

As a matter of fact, on the QuickTopic forum, Sanjay explicitly called SSB’s sister, Venkamma, a “liar”. Sanjay said (original emphasis used):
I can do anything I want since I am dealing with a bunch of confirmed liars. :-) Raju is a lair and Venkamma is a liar too.

Since Sanjay just conceded that Venkamma is a “liar”, then one is left to wonder why Sanjay cited her as an authority (using LIMF) on what really happened to Sathya Sai Baba? If Sai devotees and relatives are liars, then where is Sanjay getting his accurate & truthful information from? According to Sanjay, none of these devotees and relatives are trustworthy. Therefore, all these citations from LIMF are useless in revealing objective truth because there are no non-devotee biographies written about Sathya Sai Baba. Sanjay’s citations from LIMF are thereby wholly and irreparably compromised. Sanjay must rely exclusively on the words, books and testimonies of Sai Devotees he ceaselessly bashes and trashes on the internet.

Furthermore, LIMF heavily depends on and frequently cites the biographical works of Ra. Ganapathy and Narayana Kasturi. Strangely enough, Sanjay flatly rejects the works and commentaries of Ganapathy and Kasturi, thereby rejecting a majority of LIMF! As a matter of fact, Sanjay repeatedly claimed that Kasturi “couldn’t even get one fact right”, had “poor research skills” and indulged in “poorly-researched fairy stories that are self-contradictory”. Needless to say, Sanjay cannot tell us who got the facts right about SSB. The only people Sanjay cited against Kasturi were other Sai devotees who he claims are untruthworthy and “liars” as well. As a matter of fact, Sanjay attempted to refute Kasturi and said (emphasis added by me):
The real truth is very different. Raju’s elder sister, Venkamma, left behind her unpublished diaries where she had described all of these incidents and which were consulted during the research phase for LIMF.

Yes, this “Venkamma” is the same Venkamma discussed earlier that Sanjay called a “liar”. According to Sanjay, the “real truth” comes from a “liar”.

Sanjay (the hypocrite extraordinaire) even had the audacity to say:
Sensible and rational people who are logical and down-to-earth do not believe in things like reincarnation, spirit possession, miraculous materialisations and the like.

Needless to say, Sanjay is a Hare Krishna Congregational Member who fully believes in the divine authority of the Srimad Bhagavatam that promotes belief in: A geocentric universe, reincarnation, demons, black magic, ghosts, hobgoblins, miracles, manifestatations, shape-shifters, the Sun being closer to the Earth than the Moon, a demon’s head floating in outer space as the cause of eclipses, the Sun being the only star in the universe and all other twinkling stars are similar to the Moon, the Himalayas are 80,000 miles high (they are actually 4.92 miles high), the diameter of the Earth is 807,780 miles (it is actually 7,800 miles), the entire universe ends just prior to Pluto, Lord Krishna literally manifested 16,000 human forms, married 16,000 women and procreated with each one of them and many other simply unbelievable stories (Refs: 01 - 02)!

According to Sanjay, he, his Hare Krishna Gurus (Srila Prahbupada & Srila Gour Govinda Swami) and billions of Christians, Hindus, Gaudiya Vaishanvas and Buddhists are not “sensible”, “rational”, “logical” or “down-to-earth” people because they believe in either miracles, manifestations, reincarnation, possessions and the like!

According to Sanjay, scriptures like the Bible, Koran, Vedas, Puranas, Mahabharata, Bhagavad Gita, Srimad Bhagavatam, Upanishads, Ramayana, Dhammapada, Tanakh, Talmud, Kabbalah and others cannot be believed by “sensible”, “rational”, “logical” or “down-to-earth” people because these scriptures discuss and promote belief in either miracles, manifestations, reincarnation, possessions and the like!

It is also amusing to point out that Sanjay cited passages from LIMF (which promotes belief in and documents testimonies about miracles, manifestations and reincarnation) as a reputable and reliable source against Sathya Sai Baba! Sanjay contradicts himself so often, it is of little wonder that no one takes him seriously.

In Conclusion:
Sanjay said:
...any amount of self-serving reasoning by Ganapati or other authors favourable to Sathya Sai needs to be taken with a pinch of salt...

Since LIMF was authored by Sai Devotees who advanced their wholly favorable views on Sathya Sai Baba, Sanjay needs to practice what he preaches and take the comments in LIMF “with a grain of salt”.

Sanjay also had the following to say about LIMF:
LIMF’s ‘reason’ is bullshit, and they have made many more bullshit explanations, all of which have been discussed and dismissed in my exposť series. I personally do not care, it is a problem for devotees not for me. LOL.

Therefore, Sanjay just refuted, out of his own mouth, the primary reference for his “Sai Baba Shirdi Lies” articles as being “bullshit”. Need I say more?

Shirdi & Sathya Sai Baba Imbroglio - Part 2
- Sai Baba Imbroglio: Part 1
- (Sai Baba Imbroglio: Part 2)
- Sai Baba Imbroglio: Part 3