Archive for the ‘Nothing Supernatural’ Category

People’s Science and Rationalist Movement in West Bengal

A Brief History of Science Movement


A Brief History of Science Movement written by Sabyasachi Chattopadhyay is a research article on the history of Science movement and the development of scientific consciousness and rationalism in West Bengal, India and Bangladesh published in ‘Utsa Manush’, a popular Bengali little magazine on people’s science and culture. (From January-February 2000 to July-August 2001)

Please click the following link to read and download the complete article:

The Rationalist Movement in West Bengal

The Movement for the Development of Rationalism in West Bengal by Sabyasachi Chattopadhyay. It is a research paper on the development of Rationalist movement in West Bengal published in Contemporary History of India- IHC: Proceedings, 71st Session, 2010-2011

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A Bengali Article by Sabyasachi Chattopadhyay

যুক্তির পথে যাত্রা : প্রসঙ্গ পশ্চিমবঙ্গ – সব্যসাচী চট্টোপাধ্যায়

A Bengali article on the brief history of Bharatiya Bijnan o Yuktibadi Samity and the advancement of Rationalism in West Bengal written by Sabyasachi Chattopadhyay. (Contemporary History of India : Paschimbanga Itihas Sansad, Volume- 14, Year-2000, Page-634-641)

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Please click the following link to read and download the complete article:

Courtesy:  Sabysachi Chattopadhyay, ‘Paschimbanga Itihas Sansad’ and ‘Utsa Manush’ magazine For any opinion, comment or suggestion please write to Sabyasachi Chattopadhyay (Email:

“Guru Busters”, a popular documentary film produced and directed by the British film maker Robert Eagle, portrayed Indian Rationalists exhibiting and teaching many apparently “supernatural” stunts such as levitation, flesh piercing, live burials, fire walking etc. This documentary film, about the Indian Rationalists’ movement to obliterate superstition, religious hoax and quackery in India, provoked controversy with its vivid depiction of the activities of leading Indian rationalist campaigners. It showed that the alleged miracles of India’s god-men are little more than a magician’s petty tricks. The film was broadcast on Channel 4, BBC, UK, in the year 1995. I was in the documentary film and it was my great experience working with Robert and his team. I enjoyed a lot the shooting trip. I relish those memorable days when we travel around the villages of West Bengal from Fraud Fakir S. P. Ali’s hermitage (who made “miraculous” fire ball) at Barasat to the snake charmer’s village at Nadia district.
Please watch some interesting video clips from Robert Eagle’s documentary ‘GURU BUSTERS’ exposing supernatural stunts and tricksters in India, including some of the country’s most famous gurus and “god men”.  Click the following link:

Is Sathya Sai Baba’s legacy a contentious one?

A national telecast of debate on Sathya Sai Baba’ legacy on CNN-IBN Television. On “Face the Nation” Sagarika Ghose asked experts if Sai Baba’s legacy is a contentious one. Rahul Easwar, spokesperson, Sabarimala Temple. Harish Das, a Sai baba’s devotee, Kancha Illaiah, Social Activist and Sanal Edamaruku, President, Indian Rationalist Association participated the debate. 67% people voted for the opinion, Sathya Sai Baba’s Legacy is a contentious one.
Please watch the video:


CONDEMN and PROTEST Fundamentalist Role of Indian Government violating Secularism

Please widely circulate this message through email and sms.

Here is awfully humiliating and shocking news of ruthless violation of secularism, dishonouring our national flag by our Indian Government and politicians mocking the Preamble of our constitution. The Preamble to the Constitution of India  declares that India is a secular state and the term secularism in constitution refers to the governmental practice of indifference towards religion which is an attempt to prevent religious philosophies or bodies from influencing governmental policies. We gravely feel that secular character of our Indian democracy is now under serious threat.

Please strongly CONDEMN and PROTEST Fundamentalist Role of Indian Government violating Secularism as described in the Constitution of India and dishonoring our National Flag by draping the casket of mortal body of Sai Baba, a Fanatic Fraudster, a pervert.

I solemnly and sincerely appeal to all of you to please observe today as BLACK DAY. As it is a shameful day for our nation. Please save Secular Humanism.

We strongly condemn the government of India, the Governors of Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan, Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, all ministers and politicians who were solely responsible for this disgraceful and offensive event sponsored by the state and those top political leaders, ministers, bureaucrats, military officers, business tycoons and celebrities who witnessed the funeral of Sathya Sai baba, a Hindu Fundamentalist and Spiritual Fraud. Please read the news attached below. Check the link too:

“A guard of honour was given by policemen who came in slow march, draped the national tri-colour on the transparent casket and removed it after a while as the buglers sounded the Last Post and half a platoon of policemen fired three shots in the air in a gun salute. A general salute was also offered by the men in uniform.

Among the VIPs present for the ceremony were Governors E.S.L. Narasimhan (Andhra Pradesh) and Shivraj Patil (Rajasthan), Chief Ministers N. Kiran Kumar Reddy (AP) and B.S. Yeddyurappa (Karnataka), former Chief Ministers N. Chandrababu Naidu (AP) and Ashok Chavan (Maharashtra), among others.”

Please raise your voice of protest to save our secular humanism and to remonstrate on blatant violation of secularism of our constitution, all kind of superstitions, supernaturalism and fundamentalism.

Let us stand together and fight against the fanatic role of Indian Government, ministers and political leaders for unashamedly violating secularist thought of our Indian Constitution and provoking Hindu fundamentalism.


Sai Baba buried in state funeral, thousands grieve

Wed, Apr 27 2011

By Adnan Abidi

PUTTAPARTHI (Reuters) – Spiritual guru Sri Sathya Sai Baba was buried on Wednesday as hundreds of thousands of devotees flocked to pay their last respects at his temple in Puttaparthi to a man revered as a living God.

Tibetan monks, Muslim clerics, top politicians and military officers sat with hundreds of family members to commemorate the charismatic guru who drew millions of followers around the world with his diverse teachings that blended Hindu and Muslim beliefs.

Revered as the reincarnation of Hindu and Muslim saint Sai Baba of Shirdi, Sai Baba was a cultural icon in a rapidly modernising Indian economy, where religion and spirituality still remain an integral part of daily life.

Sai Baba, who last month was admitted to hospital in his hometown of Puttaparthi, in Andhra Pradesh, died of multiple organ failure on Sunday. He was 85.

Hindu chants echoed around the temple during the funeral, conducted with full state honours, before the guru’s body was hidden behind a curtain for a private family burial. Giant screens around the town broadcast the ceremony to crowds of devotees.

Top politicians such as opposition leader L.K. Advani attended the ceremony, a day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and ruling Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi visited the temple in Puttaparthi.

Hundreds of thousands of people have queued for hours in the stifling heat to file past the guru as his body lay in state since Sunday, dressed in his trademark orange robes. Local officials extended the viewing time tomidnighton Tuesday to accommodate devotees.

Queues stretched for kilometres through the town, which has shuttered its shops and businesses since Sunday. Authorities blocked traffic entering the town on fears of overcrowding, as devotees walked tens of kilometres to reach the temple.

His followers, estimated to number six million worldwide, included top politicians, business tycoons and Bollywood stars. Sachin Tendulkar wept as he crouched by the glass casket on Monday.

Sai Baba, with his distinctive frizzy hair and credited with mystical powers including conjuring objects out of thin air, ran schools and hospitals through trusts in numerous countries.

Questions have arisen over who will take over the management of his substantial assets.

Sathya Sai Baba exposed: The End of an Enigma

We, the members of “Bharater Manabatabadi Samity” (Indian Humanist Association) strongly condemn the appalling and provocative role of a section of News Media who have been propagating superstitions and blind faith on so-called “supernatural” or “divine power” in credulous common people making an “Avatar” or god-man image of the spiritual fraudster Sathya Sai Baba after his demise.

The `miraculous’ story of oozing of scented oil from a Sai baba idol in Puttaparthi and ‘Honey flows’ from Baba’s photo in Warangal is either a tittle-tattle, a manufactured fairy-tale or a simple trivial magic trick which can be easily uncovered by the rationalists or truthful journalists.

We want to recall such a “miraculous” gossip regarding emission of blood from a fiber glass made Jesus Christ’s statue in a house of a lawyer residing at Amherst Streetof Kolkata on 16th April 1998.

We, a team of Rationalists, consisting of 3 members of “Bharater Manabatabadi Samity” (Our General Secretary Mrs. Sutapa Bandyopadhyay, Mr. Chiraranjan Paul and myself) investigated the fact and exposed the natural truth behind this fake “supernatural”.

This kind of unreasonable news definitely spreads anti-science, anti-secular, irrational thought among naive people who are mostly scientifically illiterate and superstitious.

I, on behalf of “Bharater Manabatabadi Samity” sincerely and solemnly appeal to all of you to remonstrate on these superstitious and anti-secular attitudes of our news media, celebrities and political leaders blatantly violating secularist thought of our Indian Constitution and provoking common people to believe in so-called “Supernatural power”.

Earlier well-known Rationalist Dr. Abraham Kovoor, one of the pioneers of Rationalists’ Movement in India as well as South Asia and his competent rationalist inheritors late Prof. H. Narasimhaiah and late Basava Premanand traveled around many parts of the country, accompanied by their associates and magicians, replicating the feats that Sai Baba would perform—materializing objects out of thin air such as “Bivuti” (holy ash), gold rings, necklaces  and watches—to reveal that there was nothing supernatural about it. Many eminent magicians like P C Sorcar Junior came forward to bust Sai Baba’s alleged magic tricks.

Around 1975, Basava Premanand started publicly accusing this “spiritual” hoaxer and solemnly dedicated his life to expose god-men and mystic phenomena. Premanand used his skills as an amateur magician to give a scientific explanation of the so-called miracles of gurus and god men. “Guru Busters”, a popular documentary film produced and directed by the British film maker Robert Eagle, portrayed Premanand exhibiting and teaching many apparently “supernatural” stunts such as levitation, flesh piercing and live burials. This documentary film, about the Indian Rationalists’ movement to obliterate superstition, religious hoax and quackery inIndia, provoked controversy with its vivid depiction of the activities of leading Indian rationalist campaigners. It showed that the alleged miracles ofIndia’s god-men are little more than a magician’s petty tricks. The film was broadcast on Channel 4, BBC, UK, in the year 1995.

From the year 1976 Premanand’s most prominent challenger was Sathya Sai Baba. Premanand was arrested in 1986 by the police for marching, together with 500 rationalist volunteers towards Puttaparthi, the city where the main ashram of the guru is located. In the same year he took legal action against Sai Baba for violation of the Gold Control Act for Sai Baba’s materializations of gold objects. Deplorably the case was dismissed, but Premanand appealed on the ground that spiritual power is not a defense recognized in law.

In the year 1992, a newspaper published a sensational report that a cameraman of Doordarshan had filmed an associate furtively passing on gift objects (a gold necklace) to the Sathya Sai Baba at a public meeting. The film was not telecast. “Guru Busters” was the first documentary to show this suppressed Indian news video footage of Sai Baba that allegedly reveals the guru using a stage magician’s trick to produce a gold necklace.

Followers of the Sathya Sai baba attempted to prevent the documentary being broadcast inSouth AfricaandAustralia, complaining about the film’s use of previously concealed videotape material that allegedly showed the guru using deceitful jugglery. But their attempt went in vein. Anyway, Robert Eagle continued to investigate supposedly supernatural phenomena as series producer of “Supernatural Science” for the BBC.

Sathya Sai Baba exposed in the movie \”Guru Busters\”

Based on numerous evidences collected from foreign devotees, London’s “Daily Telegraph” published an exclusive report in the early 90s accusing sexual abuse of children in Prashanti Nilayam Ashram. In Australia too, “The Sunday Age” carried a controversial chronicle against Sai Baba alleging sexual exploitation of kids in his hermitage.

In the year 2004, a BBC documentary film “Secret Swami,” made by Tanya Datta interviewed two American male followers who alleged the guru had fondled their genitals, claiming it was part of a healing ritual. (Ref: “Sathya Sai Baba, considered a living god by millions of Hindus, dies at 84”, By Mark Magnier, Los Angeles Times April 25, 2011) On 7 April 2004, the International Humanist and Ethical Union raised at the UN Commission on Human Rights 60th session the issue of the Rights of Children and particularly the issue of Satya Sai Baba and the allegations of paedophilia against him. But eventually no action against this impious perverse god man was taken. (Ref: “Sathya Sai Baba-The Truth” blog

Formerly, onJune 8, 1993, there was an alleged attempt to assassinate Sai Baba by four persons. Two of his associates, Radhakrishna Swamy and Kumar Mahajan were stabbed to death by the invaders. However, all the four assailants, E. K. Suresh Kumar, an M.Com student, Suresh Shantaram Prabhu, a former student of the hermitage, Sai Kumar, also a student and Jagannatham, were shot dead by the police guarding the hermitage. For months, there were conflicting news reports about what exactly happened that night. Eventually the case was buried. The incident is still so shrouded in mystery that a provable description of the event is virtually inaccessible.

Sai baba’s first temple was built in 1944 and work on his hermitage, the Prashanthi Nilayam, began in 1948. In 1954, He founded a small free general hospital in thevillageofPuttaparthi.

In the year 1963, Sai Baba suffered a stroke and severe heart attack. It is believed by some devotees that he healed himself of these, and after getting well he predicted  that he would die when he would turn 96 year old and be reborn as “Preama Sai Baba” in the state of Karnataka years later. Afterward Baba announced over and over again that he would expire at the age of 96. But ironically his prophecy failed and he proved once again that neither he was a “Living God” nor he had any amazing “divine power”.

After his death famous rationalist Sanal Edamaruku, President of Indian Rationalist Association & Rationalist International wrote, “When Sathya Sai Baba died this morning (24 April 2011) at the age of 85 years, he proved once again that miracles and predictions fail. He had predicted at a public gathering at his head quarters in Puttaparthy, in 2000, and repeatedly many times, that he would die at the age of 96 only. And till the last moment, many of his devotees clung to his word and waited for a miracle. May it be an eye opener for the millions of gullible people whom he misguided and deluded.”

Sanal Edamaruku’s TV interview on Sathya Sai Baba

Sai Baba ran one of the biggest charitable trusts in the world, with huge assets that run upto Rs 40,000 crores and roots in over a hundred countries that opened hospitals, schools, colleges and even brought drinking water to entire towns and villages.

He transformed the little village of Puttaparthi of Andhra Pradesh into a growing hub that hosted some of the most probably top hospitals and academic institutions in India, centered around his Prashanthi Nilayam ashram, the biggest hermitage in the world.

So these were all about the great spiritual impostor Sathya Sai baba’s exploits in brief. In spite of innumerable allegations of everything from legerdemain trickery and sexual abuse of minors, Baba’s  followers’ and believers’ blind faith did not diminish. They still believe that Sai Baba was an incarnation of god in human form and we, the rationalists have been trying to defame their beloved “guru”.

Sanal Edamaruku correctly said, “Sathya Sai Baba insisted in all seriousness that he was god, the creator of the universe, and “proved” his divinity with a couple of small “miracles”. As son of a village tantric he was familiar with the hand sleights and tricks of the trade. However, he did not only fascinate poor and uneducated villagers with his fraudulent performances. Over the years, he managed to attract a galaxy of India’s rich and powerful, among them ministers, prime ministers, presidents, chief justices, top industrialists and superstars.”

 Sai Baba’s followers are said to be present in as many as 172 countries. His devotees include the common people to politicians, bureaucrats to judges, film stars, sportspersons to mafia and even the distinguished scientists like former President of India APJ Abdul Kalam. Former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Cricket Legend Sachin Tendulkar, Celebrated Singer Asha Bhonsle are among those who consider Baba  a “Living God”.

Boldly criticizing our country’s political corruption and malicious political culture Edamaruku very rightly stated, “Sathya Sai Baba caused great damage to India. His irresponsible political patrons corrupted the political culture of India. Encouraged by the clout of Sathya sai Baba, a new clan of miracle mongers imitated him. India would have been a better place without Sathya Sai Baba”.

Mr. Sanal Edamaruku and his Indian Rationalist Association questioned “Do saffron clothes make an offender untouchable for the law? Do we have to tolerate that political protectionism raises its head so boldly, mocking India’s democracy?” We would like to convey our heartiest congratulations and thanks to Mr. Edamaruku and his Rationalist Association for putting such a burning question and valiantly opposing evil nexus of corrupted politicians and religious god-men inIndia.

Therefore, we implore to all media persons not to publish any trash “hocus-pocus” reports gossiped by Sai Baba’s devotees and disciples without proper investigation or any kind of news applauding this swindler “Guru” as a revered “humanist” or “Mahatma” as these will unquestionably create a wrong impression of your reputed news media.

We request all press media to stop manufacturing a “god-man” or a great “humanist” image of Sathya Sai Baba who was nothing but a fake “Mahatma”, a spiritual swindler, a pervert disguised in saffron garment and a notorious criminal backed by the corrupted politicians, ministers, rich merchants, big industrialists and mafia in reality.

Please raise your voice of protest to eradicate all kind of superstitious beliefs, unscientific notion and anti-secular activities regrettably practiced by our political personalities and celebrities including legendary magician P.C. Sorcar Junior. (On 24th April 2011, Mr. PC Sorcar Junior, who had once busted the ‘miracles’ of Sathya Sai Baba, and publicized himself as a true “Rationalist”, disgracefully mourned the demise of Sai Baba saying that “he had deep respect for his development work”!). Dear, Mr. Sorcar you have proved yourself that you are nothing but a “Pseudo-Rationalist” and a hypocrite. I just want to let you know that it’s beyond words how much we, the rationalists ofIndia have been shocked by your double standards.


With warm regards,

Yours rationally,

Rajesh Datta


Bharater Manabatabadi Samity

(Indian Humanist Association)


Statement of Sanal Edamaruku, President, Indian Rationalist Association & Rationalist International, on Sathya Sai Baba’s demise

Indiawould have been a better place without Sathya Sai Baba

By Sanal Edamaruku onSunday, April 24, 2011, at 11:48 pm

President, Indian Rationalist Association & Rationalist International

When Sathya Sai Baba died this morning (24 April 2011) at the age of 85 years, he proved once again that miracles and predictions fail. He had predicted at a public gathering at his head quarters in Puttaparthy, in 2000, and repeatedly many times, that he would die at the age of 96 only. And till the last moment, many of his devotees clung to his word and waited for a miracle. May it be an eye opener for the millions of gullible people whom he misguided and deluded.

De mortuis nihil nisi bene, they say, say nothing but good of the dead. But I think Sathya Sai Baba’s case qualifies for an exception. Too great is the damage that he did toIndia. His devastating influence on reason and scientific temper caused huge setback to the country. At a time, when scientific progress led to great social and economic leaps and scientific awakening started spreading all over India, Sathya Sai Baba launched a “counter revolution” of superstition, supported by irresponsible politicians and other public figures who should have known better. In my judgment, this is his greatest crime. I have succeeded again and again to expose him publicly as a fraud, so did some other rationalists. But due to his political protectors he was never held responsible for his crimes against public reason. Nor was he ever booked for any other crime he was accused of. Numerous cases of alleged sexual abuse and murder are yet to be investigated, not to mention the financial secrets of his empire.

Sathya Sai Baba insisted in all seriousness that he was god, the creator of the universe, and “proved” his divinity with a couple of small “miracles”. As son of a village tantric he was familiar with the hand sleights and tricks of the trade. However, he did not only fascinate poor and uneducated villagers with his fraudulent performances. Over the years, he managed to attract a galaxy ofIndia’s rich and powerful, among them ministers, prime ministers, presidents, chief justices, top industrialists and superstars.

Sathya Sai Baba had a special modus operandi that was the key for his astonishing success and the root of his enormous clout. Many of his high society devotees came to serve their own vested interests. Some came to rub shoulders with the prominent. Many joined the club because it was working as a powerful syndicate spreading its tentacles all over the political system. It was a way to the top jobs and a way to get things done. Others were seeking financial support or wanted to get rid of ill-gotten black money: The Empire, it is alleged, was based on money laundering, using foreign devotees and branches. In fact, the huge foreign donations to Sai Baba stood in contrast to the comparatively modest number of active foreign devotees and the sometimes quite weak foreign branches, some of them residing in private homes. That is no great surprise, when one considers that Sai Baba did not speak any other language than Telugu and traveled only once in his whole life abroad – to visit his friend Idi Amin inUganda.

On his 80th birthday, Sai Baba’s supporters announced that he would turn from a miracle man to a philanthropist. That was, after I had demonstrated his miracles so often in TV shows that many kids in the streets could imitate them. That he since spent a part of the great fortunes, swindled out of the gullible, for social development around his ancestral village, is highlighted now to present him as a saint. But as useful and welcome hospitals, schools and drinking water projects for the poor always may be: this kind of alibi-philanthropy is well known even from mafia-bosses. It cannot be weighed against his crimes and the damage he has done to the Indian society.

In December 2005, I wrote a letter to then President Dr. Abdul Kalam, one of Sai Baba’s ardent supporters, which was never answered. I demanded criminal investigations against Sai Baba. If his social development projects are meant to be indulgence to nullify his crimes, this procedure is unprecedented and unacceptable, I wrote. It is a shame forIndiathat well-founded accusations and numerous reputed witnesses against Sai Baba are ignored without any investigation. Do saffron clothes make an offender untouchable for the law? Do we have to tolerate that political protectionism raises its head so boldly, mockingIndia’s democracy?

Sathya Sai Baba caused great damage toIndia. His irresponsible political patrons corrupted the political culture ofIndia. Encouraged by the clout of Sathya sai Baba, a new clan of miracle mongers imitated him.Indiawould have been a better place without Sathya Sai Baba.

‘Honey flows’ from Baba’s photo inWarangal

Apr 25, 2011

Please click here to read today’s Times of India

MAHABUBABAD (WARANGAL): Even before the `miraculous’ episode of oozing of scented oil from a Saibaba idol in Puttaparthi could be forgotten, came another `divine miracle’ in Warangal district on Sunday morning when honey reportedly started flowing from a photo frame of Saibaba in the residence of a government employee here.

G Tirumala Rao attributed the phenomenon to the sheer miracle of Saibaba. “I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw honey flowing from the photo frame of the Baba,” he said. Rao said he went to seek blessings from the Baba when he saw honey falling from the Baba’s face. “I firmly believe it was one of his many marvels to assure us that he hasn’t gone anywhere,” he claimed.

As soon as the news spread, hundreds of neighbours thronged Rao’s residence to catch a glimpse of the `honey spectacle.’ Several people gathered and talked about Baba’s myriad ways of his mystical powers. “Everyday, Rao touches the photo frame to seek the Baba’s blessings. It was a miracle that honey was flowing on Sunday morning,” Rao’s relative claimed.

“Within a few hours after the honey stopped flowing we heard the tragic news of Saibaba’s demise,” Rao recalled.

Sathya Sai Baba detractor P.C. Sorcar condoles death

Please click here to read the news: Sathya Sai Baba detractor P.C. Sorcar condoles death

Kolkata, April 24 (IANS) Legendary magician P.C. Sorcar Jr, who had replicated the ‘miracles’ of Sathya Sai Baba during a meeting with him 35 years ago, Sunday mourned the death of the spiritual leader saying he had deep respect for his development work.

Sorcar, a known Baba detractor, said it was immaterial now whether he was ‘a god or fraud’. Considered by millions as a great spiritual leader, Baba died Sunday morning at Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh, at age 85.

‘Whether Sai Baba was a god or fraud is immaterial now. He is out of our physical world. We say people go to heaven after death. He is now there. And he is god for millions,’ Sorcar told IANS when asked to give his views on the god man.

‘At this moment we should not say whether he is god or fraud. We should not go into all this. His disciples are in tremendous pain and sorrow. They are all my brothers and sisters.

‘I have always said that I have deep respect for the Sai Baba phenomenon minus the tricks. He has done lot of development work. In areas which do not have water he has laid water pipelines. He founded hospitals and schools. These things are praise worthy,’ added the magician.

Sorcar had always claimed that Sai Baba was no god man but just a man of tricks like him.

The meeting in ’1975-76′ between P.C. Sorcar Junior and Sai Baba was a well publicized one.

After Sai Baba had given him ‘darshan’, Sorcar asked for a gift. Baba duly produced a sandesh ‘out of thin air’. Sorcar said he didn’t like sandesh, and turned it magically to a rossogolla instead.

‘He used to give vibhuti (holy ash) to all, but it would not be proper to bury all his good work under the ashes by highlighting only his other side. Whatever magical powers he showed, I can do all that without claiming myself to be a god,’ said Sorcar.

‘The Sai Baba Trust has a lot of money. I think if the super speciality hospital (in Puttaparthi) is used to treat the poor free of cost then that would be a greater display of goddom. But it is upto them,’ Sorcar signed off, saying ‘may the soul of god rest in peace!’

Please click here to read the news article of BBC

Obituary: Indian guru Sai Baba

By Tanya Datta
Documentary maker

Sri Satya Sai Baba, India’s revered spiritual guru who counted presidents, prime ministers, judges and generals amongst his millions of followers around the world, has died at the age of 84.

Until the last, he was a man who inspired passionately conflicting emotions (as I discovered when I made a BBC investigative documentary about him in 2004 called Secret Swami).

To his devotees, Sai Baba was an avatar, an incarnation of God in human form, who appeared on Earth to preach his inspirational message in one ofIndia’s poorest corners.

To his critics, he was a fraudster dogged for years by controversial allegations of sexual abuse yet protected from prosecution by virtue of his powerful political sway.

Whatever he was, there was no doubt that over time he rose in prominence to become India’s premier “god-man”, eclipsing the likes of Maharishi and Shri Rajneesh who had first drawn Westerners east in the Sixties and Seventies.

A diminutive, softly spoken man dressed in full length saffron robes and perpetually sporting a trademark afro hairstyle, Sai Baba’s appeal was not limited to Western hippies but cut across Indian society from its lowest to highest echelons as well as spreading to many other countries beyond.

Spiritual metamorphosis

Satya Sai Baba was born Sathyanarayana Raju on 23 November 1926 in the remote village of Puttaparthi in the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, although like many born at this time, there is no proof of his date of birth.

Stories abound of the early signs of his divinity.

It is said that his mother claimed her son came into the world by virgin birth, just like Jesus Christ, another messiah who Sai Baba often identified himself with.

On another occasion, he was alleged to have survived a scorpion bite and on his recovery, was miraculously able to speak Sanskrit, a language he did not know before. Indeed, throughout his childhood, he was said to have been abnormally gifted in artistic pursuits such as music, dance, drama and writing.

When he was 13 years old, the young boy announced to his family that he was the incarnation of Shirdi Sai Baba, a 19th century Indian holy man who had been equally venerated by Hindus and Muslims alike. Changing his name was a key spiritual metamorphosis.

The teenage Sai Baba soon began to attract followers and by 1950, had constructed an ashram called Prasanthi Nilayam (Abode of Peace) near his village to accommodate them.

It heralded the start of the transformation of Puttaparthi into a Sai Baba wonderland spread over some 10 square kilometres; the vast complex of hotels, resorts, university buildings, speciality hospital, airport and enormous ashram thronged with devotees that I witnessed while making the documentary.

Non-dogmatic Part of Sai Baba’s huge global popularity may be explained by his non-dogmatic, non-doctrinal approach to spirituality.

In contrast to many sects, followers were not required to give up their previous religious beliefs as the guru stated that he believed in the one God that lay behind all religious paths.

Certainly, Sai Baba inspired love and admiration.

During our time spent filming at the ashram, devotees from around the world would volunteer stories about how Sai Baba had visited them in a dream or had called to them though moments of curious serendipity.

In addition, his mystical ability to manifest vibhuti (holy ash), food as well as jewellery and watches out of thin air was often cited as further proof of his divinity and akin to the “miracles” ascribed to other past prophets.

His opponents, however, denied this when I asked them about it.

In the Secret Swami, I was shown how these manifestations could easily be explained by illusionists’ techniques and sleight of hand tricks.

For decades, various scientists, rationalists and magicians have in turn, attempted to challenge the guru to perform his ‘miracles’ under controlled conditions.

Sai Baba always refused to submit to these tests, once saying: “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.”

Sexual Abuse

The most damning allegations against the “god-man”, however, concern the sexual abuse of young boys and male adults during private interviews with him.

Damaging rumours have circulated since the seventies of the guru’s sexual exploits but have always been dismissed out of hand by the tightly controlled Sai Baba organisation.

We interviewed the Rahm family inAmericawho had been Sai Baba devotees for years. Both father and son stated that they had been subjected to Sai Baba rubbing oil on their genitals.

“He took me aside,” said Alaya Rahm, “put the oil on his hands, told me to drop my pants and rubbed my genitals with oil. I was really taken aback.”

Dr Michael Goldstein, chairman of the international Sai Baba organisation, admitted he had heard rumours, but told us that he did not believe them. He said: “My heart and my conscience tell me that it is not possible.”

Sai Baba was never investigated on this issue. All attempts to prosecute him failed.

Nor was there any satisfactory resolution to the gruesome killing of four male devotees in 1993 who allegedly entered Sai Baba’s bedroom, armed with knives.

The police claimed they had been shot in self-defence.

The lack of any legal proceedings against the guru was perhaps not surprising in light of the level of influence that he commanded.

A previous Indian prime minister, Atal Vajpayee, once issued a letter on his official notepaper calling the attacks on Sai Baba “wild, reckless and concocted”.

Since 2005, Sai Baba’s health had been deteriorating. Although he once predicted he would die in his mid-90s, he also claimed he could choose the moment of his death.

In death as in life, he remained an enigma to the last.

Tanya Datta is a London-based radio and television broadcaster and writer. She made Secret Swami, an investigative documentary on Sai Baba for BBC Two.
Secret Swami was broadcast in the UK on Thursday, 17 June, 2004 at 2100 BST on BBC Two. Reporter: Tanya Datta
Producer/Director: Eamon Hardy
Editor: Karen O’Connor

Service to man is service to God, says Tamil Nadu Chief Minister

Special Correspondent Photo: PTI

Dayalu Ammal, wife of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi (left), seeks blessings from Sai Baba in Chennai in January 2007.

CHENNAI: Sri Sathya Sai Baba, who passed away on Sunday, had a large following in Tamil Nadu, mainly devotees who looked up to him for spiritual guidance, but his service to society earned him an unlikely admirer four years ago: M. Karunanidhi, veteran Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader and a self-proclaimed rationalist.

Mr. Karunanidhi joined other Chief Ministers and Governors to felicitate Sai Baba onJanuary 21, 2007, for his role in helping augment water supply to Chennai. The spiritual leader had got his charitable trust, the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, to build a concrete lining along a large stretch of the Kandaleru-Poondi canal that brings water from theKrishnaRiverto Chennai. The work, meant to check seepage, cost Rs.200 crore.

In a rare gesture for one used to deferential visits by dignitaries and eminent people from all walks of life to his Prasanthi Nilayam abode at Puttaparthi, Sai Baba called on Mr. Karunanidhi at his residence in Chennai and blessed his family members.

Although he himself is an atheist, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister had wholesome praise for Sai Baba’s service to mankind, and his gesture to the residents of Chennai by helping a project aimed to quench their thirst.

“When it comes to holy men, I know how to distinguish between the fake ones and the genuine ones like Arulmigu Sai Baba, who work for the welfare of the people. He wants to remove the hardships of the poor, and such persons are greater than saints. They are even equivalent to God,” the DMK leader said in his remarks at a public function organized on that day by a Chennai citizens’ forum, comprising mainly Sai devotees.

Other dignitaries who hailed Sai Baba for his benevolence at the function held at the Nehru Indoor Stadium included Tamil Nadu Governor S.S. Barnala, then Maharashtra Governor S.M. Krishna, Union Ministers Shivraj Patil and Lalu Prasad, Chief Ministers Vilasrao Deshmukh (Maharashtra), Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy (Andhra Pradesh) and H.D. Kumaraswamy (Karnataka).

On Sunday, Mr. Karunanidhi once again explained his stand. “As I believe that ‘service to man is service to God,’ I had said even in early 2007 that there is nothing wrong in a politician and a religious leader coming together for the people’s welfare.”

At a time when even some neighbouring State governments were reluctant to release water to Tamil Nadu, Sai Baba had come forward to assist Tamil Nadu to the tune of Rs.200 crore to ensure adequate drinking water to Chennai. “He came to my residence on his own to extend such help,” the Chief Minister recalled. “Even though I am an atheist, this great spiritual leader showed great affection for me.” Conveying his condolences to Sai Baba’s followers, he said Deputy Chief Minister M.K. Stalin was in Puttaparthi to pay his last respects. Mr. Stalin had attended Sai Baba’s birthday celebrations in November 2009

Karunanidhi, Jayalalitha condole Sathya Sai Baba’s death

Chennai, April 24 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK President M. K

Chennai, April 24 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK President M. Karunanidhi and Leader of Opposition J. Jayalalithaa condoled the death of spiritual leader Sathya Sai Baba, who passed away Sunday at Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh after a prolonged illness.

Karunanidhi said Sai Baba had won a place in the hearts of Tamil people by giving Rs.200 crore to bringKrishnawater here.

The chief minister said that even though he (Karunanidhi) is an atheist, Sai Baba always had love and affection for him.

Karunanidhi said he shared the grief of Sai Baba’s devotees.

According to him, Deputy Chief Minister M.K. Stalin has left for Puttaparthi to pay his last respects to the departed soul.

In her condolence message, AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa said Sai Baba spent his life spreading the message of love and humanity.

Citing the various educational institutions and hospitals set up by his trust, Jayalalithaa said Sai Baba served the poor inIndiaand across the world for more than half a century.

Sai Baba, whom his devotees worshipped as god, was suffering from multi-organ dysfunction. He breathed his last Sunday at7.40 the Sathya Sai super-speciality hospital, where he was admitted March 28 with cardiac problems. He was 85.

When Baba stunned DMK leaders with ‘golden’ miracle

Chennai, April 24, DHNS:

A stunning affirmation of spiritual guru Sathya Sai Baba’s controversial paranormal powers had come to the fore when he stepped into the Gopalapuram residence of DMK chief Karunanidhi, known for his atheistic beliefs, on January 2007.

Stepping out of his car, Baba moved slowly on a wheel chair, over a special ramp at the entrance of the DMK patriarch’s house on the evening of Jan uary 20. That was his first visit to Karunanidhi’s house when the latter’s wife Dayalu Ammal was reportedly ill. To the amazement of all who had gathered there, Baba materialized two gold rings from nowhere.

The then state PWD minister, Durai Murugan and the then Union telecom minister, Dayanidhi Maran, among those present, could scarcely believe their eyes at this astonishing feat of Baba to produce objects in a jiffy from thin air.

Murugan was the man who got the first gold ring materialized by Sai Baba, while the second piece of the miracle gold went to Dayanidhi Maran.

Murugan then reportedly asked for another gold ring to be gifted to the DMK leader. But Baba declined the request saying, “ I will give my heart to him (Karunanidhi).”

Tendulkar skips birthday celebrations

Press Trust of India Posted online: Monday Apr 25 2011

Hyderabad : Sachin Tendulkar, a devotee of Sathya Sai Baba, skipped his birthday celebrations in the wake of the spiritual guru’s death, but played the Mumbai Indians’ IPL match against Deccan Chargers on Sunday.

The Mumbai Indians skipper was out for 28 from 24 balls as his side posted 172 for four from 20 overs after being put into bat at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium here.

The iconic batsman turned 38 on Sunday but skipped the celebrations in view of Baba’s death, sources in the hotel where he was staying said.

Tendulkar, who landed inHyderabadlate on Saturday night with wife Anjali and two kids, was confined to his room at the Grand Kakatiya hotel.

“He did not even have breakfast. No one was allowed to enter his room,” a hotel manager told PTI.

There had been speculation that the Mumbai Indians captain would not celebrate his birthday in view of Baba’s health condition.

News of Baba’s demise this morning apparently came as a shock to Tendulkar.

A ‘do not disturb’ sign was hung on his hotel room door since the news of Baba’s demise and Tendulkar did not even meet his teammates, the hotel manager said.

Only Mumbai Indians owner Nita Ambani was said to have met Tendulkar.

Debate: The Sathya Sai controversy – War over riches

Debate: The Sathya Sai controversy – War over riches Part- 1
TIMES NOW’s Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami debates the issue of seizure of Rs 35.5 lakh from Puttaparthi town recently and Sai devotee Isaac Tigrett’s claim that ‘he is a living will of Bhagwan’ with Sanal Edamaruku, President, Indian Rationalist Association and Adv S S Naganand, Trustee, Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust.

Debate: The Sathya Sai controversy – War over riches Part- 2