Home ] Up ] PART 1 ] PART 2 ] PART 3 ] Images ] Why I am Not a Hindu ] Pseudo Hindus ] Manusmriti ] Belief ] Bride Burning and Dowry Deaths ] Women ] Hindu Tolerance: Myths ] Ram Myth ] Beaf Eating ] Devadasi ] Meenakshipuram ] Matts of Crime ] [ SaiBaba ]




Editor's Introduction

The Purpose of This Study

The purpose of this study is to present, in summary form, the paranormal claims made about Indian guru and holy man Sri Sathya Sai Baba, and various investigations that have been done of them.

The summary is intended for two audiences: those who have heard of Sathya Sai Baba through the second-hand stories told by devotees, but who have not looked at the original sources of these stories; and those who are familiar with some of the writings of devotees but not with the literature of those who have made investigations of his claims.

For those who have a nodding acquaintance with the claims made by devotees, it may be helpful to have gathered in one place original sources of some of these stories. What follows is my collection of texts referred to by those who promote the claims of Sai Baba's psychic powers. Of course it is an abridgement; and any editor's selection is open to charges of bias. My rationale in selecting just this much of a much larger literature is that I am interested in just the paranormal claims, not the dogma of the religion. For the latter, the reader must refer to the sources listed in the bibliography.

For those who are already familiar with the literature put out by the Sai Baba organisation and his devotees, this abridgement will be useful for assessing the claims made about Sai Baba's psychic powers. It will be helpful to have these writings detached from the theology. If the theology is sound, it will stand on its own. But the psychic claims also stand on their own, in the sense that we can raise the question whether these miracles ever occurred independently of discussing what they illustrate about Sai Baba's theology. And many readers who are familiar with Sai Baba's teachings have not had the opportunity to look at what the investigators have said. So, in this volume they will find a summary of what the investigators have had to say. Readers who wish to pursue these criticisms in more depth are again referred to the bibliography.

There are two distinct questions that should be addressed by those who are familiar with the stories of Sai Baba's powers. Several critics have questioned the occurrence of the miracles described by devotees, and have investigated the original reports. Is there any independent evidence -- ie., doctor's reports, hospital records, etc., for the occurrence of these events? I collate here some of these investigations, along with the original reports of the miracles. Second, where there is no doubt of the occurrence of these events, the explanation of these events has been questioned by some critics. Is there a natural explanation -- including the suggestion made by some that Sai Baba produces these effects in the same way a stage magician does -- or do we have good evidence of genuine paranormal powers from these accounts? By placing the accounts of believers and the investigations by researchers side by side, my intention is that readers will be in a better position to form their own opinions about what really happened in these situations.

There are what seem to be exceptions to the rule about avoiding theology in this collection. Chapter 3 cites Sai Baba's remarks on the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, and scholars' interpretations of the Bible. Chapter 7 deals with quotes from Sai Baba which purport to show that the Christian Bible foretells the arrival of Sathya Sai Baba. The point of these sections is not to dispute Sai Baba's divinity, but the evidence he presents for this claim. Those familiar with the complete passages from which our excerpts are taken will agree that Sai Baba is referring to the Scriptures to support his claims. My point in including these passages, and the corresponding analyses by scholars is to dispute his accuracy in reading, and quoting the Christian Bible; not in his claimed first-hand knowledge of the events reported therein, or his interpretation of biblical passages. Readers who agree with Sai Baba's renderings, and disagree with the scholars' interpretations will no doubt have an explanation for why passages referred to by Sai Baba cannot be located, or why fifty generations of biblical scholars have a different interpretation than Sai Baba of the passages that are there. My point in presenting this material is merely to show that there are such disagreements.

Background Information About Sai Baba

Sri Sathya Sai Baba was born in South India in the tiny village of Puttaparthi in 1926. His given name was Satyanarayana and his family name was Raju. At the age of 14 he claimed that he was the reincarnation of an Indian saint who had died in 1918 named Shirdi Sai Baba. Satyanarayana Raju then proclaimed his mission, and began teaching on the basis of his newly announced Divine status. According to his followers there are currently about 6 million followers with over 2000 centres around the world devoted to the promulgation of the message of Sathya Sai Baba. In many major cities in North America and Western Europe there are organized Sathya Sai Baba groups with members often numbering in the hundreds. There are scores of publications associated with the Sai Baba movement. Many of these publications contain records of the public and private talks and discourses given by Sai Baba. But in a good many of the publications paranormal claims are made. What makes Sai Baba particularly interesting is the wide range of claims made about him by devotees, claims which he is, apparently, happy to endorse.

Claims Made About Sathya Sai Baba

Claims made about Sai Baba are as follows:

  1. He is omnipotent and omniscient: "I am everything, everywhere, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent, and so whatever I will instantly happens." (Sai Baba's words, quoted in Sandweiss, Spirit and Mind, p. 243).
  2. He has resurrected two different people including one who was pronounced dead by two doctors, and whose corpse was placed in a storage room, his ears and nose plugged with cotton to await funeral rites. (Kanu, p. 12 and Hislop, My Baba and I, pp.28-31; etc.)
  3. He has complete telepathic knowledge of all his devotees' doings, and can advise even scientists, physicians, engineers, etc. on their professional matters. (Hislop, My Baba & I, p. 74).
  4. He has materialized countless small objects -- jewellery, rings, pendants, etc., as well as holy ash from his palms, and holy ash in amazingly large quantities from an empty urn. As well he has `given birth' through his oesophagus to several inches in diameter egg-like objects, called `lingams'. (These reports are detailed in scores of devotee accounts. See, eg., Murphet, Man of Miracles throughout, and Sandweiss, Spirit and Mind, p. 170, for a typical description of a lingam `birth'.)
  5. He has performed countless miracles of all and sundry sorts: he has turned water into gas when a car was empty of fuel; he once dropped petals onto the ground and they spelled out a message in meticulous calligraphy upon landing on the ground; he has made carved glass bowls appear out of thin air; he has pulled statues out of sands; he has appeared in bodily form in two places at once; and on and on in a veritable cornucopia of anecdotes of the miraculous. (Murphet, Man Of Miracles, etc.)
  6. He has performed countless paranormal healings and `rescues at a distance' when devotees of his have been in danger. (Many devotee accounts refer to such healings and rescues, eg., Kanu and Hislop, works cited.)
  7. His life fulfils ancient prophecies. (Kanu, Sai Baba, God Incarnate, p. 5, etc.)

Each of these claims will be the focus of a chapter to follow.


A quick note on the format of the material that follows: [This has been changed slightly for the HTML version. --tp] I've presented source material as block quotes (indented left and right), and my own introductions, comments, and notes, as regular text. My adjustments within sources for clarity or explanation are indicated with square brackets. I have emphasized some passages within the sources for clarity of focus. Unless otherwise noted (with `sic') the emphasis is mine, and not the original author's. Each source is indicated by a separate numbered heading, and the citation, including page number, follows. The full bibliographic reference is to be found at the end of this work.

The last page of this work contains a list of people to write to if you wish further information.


I have received information, advice and support from countless individuals for this project. Many do not wish to be named here, because they still have connexions with the Sai Baba organisation, or with friends or loved ones who are still involved. One person, however, who deserves special mention is B. Premanand, editor and publisher of the Indian Skeptic, and convenor of the Indian Committee for Scientific Investigation of the Paranormal, who has done more to investigate Sai Baba than anyone.

Next chapter: Sai Baba: Omniscient and Omnipotent?

Home pages: Sai Baba, BC Skeptics, PSG.

Sai Baba: Omniscient and Omnipotent?
  1. Sai Baba's Letter To Hislop, 8-9-69
  2. Sai Baba's Letter To Hislop, 15-1-70
  3. V.K. Gokak's Views
  4. More from Gokak
  5. V. Kanu's Claims
  6. Sai Baba's Explanations
  7. Sai Baba Claims Omniscience
  1. Sai Baba's Letter to Hislop, 8-9-69
Did Sai Baba Resurrect Someone From The Dead?
The Radhakrishna Case
  1. Kanu's Account
  2. Murphet's Account
  3. Dr. Gokak's Endorsement
  4. Mrs. Radhakrishna's Account, As Reported by Dr. Haraldsson
  5. Diary Record Kept by Vijaya Hemchand (Radhakrishna's Daughter)
  6. Hislop's Account
  7. The Rajah of Venkatigiri's Account, as Reported by Haraldsson
The Cowan Case
  1. Kanu's Account
  2. Hislop's Account
  3. Dr. S. Sandweiss' Endorsation of Hislop's Account
  4. Premanand's Comment on the Quality of Hislop's Reporting
  5. Letter from Dr. Vaz (Cowan's attending physician) to Premanand, 12-7-88
  6. Letter from Harish Khanna. General Manager, Connemara Hotel, to B. Premanand, 17-8-88
  7. Letter to B. Premanand from Dr B. Krishna Rau, 13-7-88
  8. Letter to B. Premanand from Dr. R.S. Rajagopalan, 24-7-88
  9. Dr. Haraldsson's Hypothesis
  10. Premanand's Response to Haraldsson's Hypothesis
  11. Hislop's Response to David Lane, 17-7-88
Does Sai Baba Have Complete Telepathic Knowledge?
  1. Hislop's Claim For Sai Baba's Telepathic Knowledge
British Wit
  1. Sai Baba on Winston Churchill
  2. Churchill's Wit, Represented by Everyone Else
Early 20th Century Britain
  1. Sai Baba on Ramsay Macdonald
  2. Biographers of Ramsay Macdonald on the Same Incident
Thomas Edison
  1. Sai Baba's Explanation of Edison's Deafness
  2. Edison Biographer M. Josephson's Debunking of this Myth
Albert Einstein
  1. Sai Baba on Einstein's Kindness to a Little Girl
  2. Ronald Clark Debunks This Story
  3. Sai Baba on Judgment of Character
History of India
  1. Sai Baba on Alexander the Great
  2. Comment by Dr. Anthony Barrett, Professor of Classics, the University of British Columbia
The New Testament and the Life of Jesus of Nazareth
  1. Sai Baba's Claims About the Time Of Jesus's Birth
The Month and Day of Jesus' Birth
  1. Clement of Alexandria on the Month and Day of Jesus's Birth
  2. J.A.S. Evans, Head, Classics Department, the University of British Columbia, on Sai Baba's Dating Jesus's Birth at 2 B.C.
  3. Paul Mosca, Professor Of Hebrew, UBC, on Sai Baba's Dating of 2 B.C.
  4. Paul Mosca's Comment on Sai Baba' Claim that Jesus's Birthday Was a Sunday
  5. Sai Baba's First Statement About the Meaning of the Star of Bethlehem
  6. Sai Baba's Second Statement About the Meaning of the Star of Bethlehem
The Religious Practices of Judea
  1. Sai Baba on Jesus's Attitude Toward Temple Ritual
  2. The Gospels On Jesus's Attitude Toward Temple Rituals
  3. Jesus Endorsing Sacrifice at the Temple
  4. Jesus Endorsing Sacrifice at the End of His Ministry
  5. Paul Mosca's View of Jesus's Position on Sacrifice
  6. Jesus and Money-changers, According to Mark
  7. Sai Baba on Temples (1)
  8. Sai Baba on Temples (2)
  9. Paul Mosca on the Temple of Jerusalem
Jesus' Crucifixion
  1. Sai Baba on Judas Iscariot's Name (1)
  2. Sai Baba on Judas Iscariot's Name (2)
  3. Sai Baba's Claim that Jesus was on an Eight-Day Fast Prior to the Crucifixion
  4. Another Version Of Sai Baba's Remark
  5. Uno Langmann's Comments on the Crucifix
  6. William S. Dale's Comments on the Crucifix
Indian Classical Music
  1. Mrs. Kamala Sarathy's Description of Sai Baba's Knowledge of Music
  2. Data for Alternate Hypothesis, As Reported by Mrs. Sarathy
Physical Sciences
  1. Sai Baba's Knowledge of Geology, and Its Relationship to Chemistry, Physics and Botany
  2. Sai Baba's Comprehension of the Meanings of Scientific Terms
Patent Law
  1. Sai Baba on Patent Law
  2. T. Ganesh U. Pai in Conversation With A Sai Baba Devotee Who Is a Lawyer
  1. Lawrence Babb On Sai Baba's Knowledge of Sanskrit
  2. Sai Baba on `Dharma'
  3. Joseph Campbell on `Dharma'
  4. The Origin of `Guru' According to Sai Baba
What Accounts for Sai Baba's Mistakes?
  1. H. Murphet Quoting from Dr. Bhagavantam on Sai Baba's Attitude Toward Books
Knowledge of Devotees' Lives
  1. Kanu's Claim
  2. Haraldsson's Survey of Devotees
  3. Haraldsson on Sai Baba's Predictions
  4. Premanand's Account of Ramaswamy's Audience With Sai Baba
  5. Transcript of Audiences With Sai Baba, By Devotee Annemarie Marwah
  6. Audience with Phyllis Krystal
Other Materializations
Sundry Miracles
Water Into Gas
The Seiko Watch Materialization
`Petal Calligraphy'
Materialization of a Large Glass Bowl
Other Materializations
Healings and Rescues
Does Sai Baba's Life Fulfil Ancient Prophesies?
Did Jesus Foretell Sai Baba's Arrival?
Mohammed's Prediction of Sai Baba's Arrival
Home ] Introduction ] Myths ] Organizations ] Cultural Fascism ] Riots and attacks ] Role of Govt. & Police ] Hindu ] Dalit ] Muslims ] India ] World Fascism ] Images ] Posters ] Cartoon ] Audio & Video ] Discussion ] Search ] News &  Events ] What's New ]
Discuss The Topic Further On Our Public Bulletin Board  Search  Indian Fascism
1 Add this page to Favorites   * Share it with a Friend   : Make it your Homepage!

FAIR USE NOTICE: Opinions expressed in the articles are those of the contributors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publishers. This Web contains copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are  making these available in our efforts to advance understanding of  human rights,  democracy and social justice issues. We believe that this constitutes a `fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use these copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond `fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. Your suggestions  will keep us abreast of what do u like to see in these pages.
Last updated: February 22, 2000.