"A CRITICAL SITE ABOUT SAI BABA"
Sai Baba, Alexander the Great and the philosophers...
From a site of a greek devotee, which address is at thelinks page, we read some "interesting" digressions of Sai Baba about the history of Alexander the Great and greek philosophers:
"Sai: Who was the Guru of Alexander? Guru of Alexander was Aristotle. Guru of Aristotle was Plato. Guru of Plato was Socrates. First Socrates, the Plato,then Aristotle,then Alexander and then nothing in Greece. They fight and killed between them. Only on the Second World War with Hitler, Greeks sacrificed themselves, and this is good. Alexander brought four goods from India. First he brought Bhagavat Gita, then sacred ashes from the feet of the saints. Third Ganges water and forth a sannyasin. [a renouncer, an ascetic].
Sai: Who was the Guru of Alexander?
Sai: He was very spiritual man. Great spiritual leader. At that time he had many problems from the government. Aristotle had Truth - Beauty - Purity.He was a very good man, very good heart. He did a great work. He had Divine inspiration. He took from above and gave with his heart to the people. He was a very good advisor and gave good advises to Alexander. In Greece they don't understand who where these Beings. They had no difference from Me. They were true devotees. Only time and place was different.
Aristotle told Alexander: "go to India. There you'll not fight, you must respect this country. You'll meet there gurus. You'll bring me from there 5 things".
Alexander: "What shall I bring you Guruji?"
Aristotele: ""1.Earth from the holy land of Bharat. [ancient name of India] 2. Water from Ganges. Ganges water is sacred that's why it never get spoil if you live it in a vessel for a long period of time.Even after for years remains the same. On the other hand common water after some days makes worms.3. A Bhagavat Gita.4. A Bhagavatam. 5. And if you can one Sannyasin.
Sai : Who was the Guru of Plato?
Sai : No Socrates but Socratis. Pronunciation is very important. What is the meaning of Sokratis? So-Crat-Is. So(That - God) Crat(The Creator) Is. So Creator Is. He is God. Sokratis loved the youth like Swami. Because the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow. Start early, drive slowly, reach safely.
There is a story from the Upanisands which Sokratis used to say."Once there were two sisya [disciples], father and son. Udalaka and Natsiketas. [...] Sokratis remained silent for 5 minutes. Suddenly He started crying. All the disciples looked at Him and asked Him? "Guruji, what's the matter? [...]"
Sai :Do you want to see Alexander's ring? (He moves His hand and appears a big gold ring with a very big green diamond. Its dimension is like four fingers together). This is the ring of Alexander's' the Great. I brought it from a Greek museum. That he wore Alexander.He was very strong and pull his sword and...(Swami show to us how Alexander fought making the same movements). This ring costs 10.000.000 US dollars. Who wants it? (He puts it on His right Hand- then he claps the hands once) Now it's gone.
Q. Swami in west they say that Alexander with all these wars he did killed many people.
Sai: No, he was a good man. He want expansion of his kingdom. He was very kind."
(taken from an interview with greek devotees)
Sai Baba has reproposed these same concepts also in the occasion of some public speeches. Here we can really find everything: greek philosophers and students using the terms "Guru", "Guruji" (lovely appellative for Guru) and "Sisya"; words that are indeed part of the indian disciplar tradition (the only one known by Sai Baba, being him an indian ascetic), and Socrates teaching stories from the Upanishads; the explanation of Socrate's name (Sokratis --> So Creator Is) is almost hallucinating... but this is the norm in Sai Baba's teachings!
He then sets himself at same level of Alexander the Great and Aristotle; really, indeed, is the contrary: Alexander and Aristotle are at his level. Aristotle was the "Guru" of Alexander, which would have called him "Guruji": this all doesn't have any sense, greek schools had not "guru" and "sisya". Sai Baba turns history like a sock to make us see it under an indian outlook, the only one that he knows. Regarding this point, it is exemplary the examination of how Sai Baba proposes the question of Aristotle, Alexander the Great, and the conquest of India:
The historical reality is quite different, and consulting any book of history one can read it: when he was very young, Alexander th Great conquered all the conquerable at that time, with many wars in which he was always the winner; about in 327 b.C., he started the campaign in India: he crossed the Indo river, fought on the indian ground defeating king Poros and then, reached the Ifasi river, he was planning to reach the Indian Ocean. He had to give up the conquest of India for various reasons: dissents inside his suite due to factors such as the divine invistiture, the introduction of genuflexion before his person, ecc.; and most of all because the discontent among the macedonian troops which were exhausted from the long campaigns. An historical source, CURZIO RUFO, tells the soldier's refusal to follow Alexander:
"The soldiers were waiting the generals and the heads to report to the king that, exhausted from the wounds and from the continuous military works, they had, yes, the will of complete their service, but they didn't have the strength to do it. The officers however, amazed for the fear, held their eyes turned to the ground. Then a spontaneous murmur rose at first, and after it rose even some moans; slowly the pain began to reveal itself more freely and the tears gushed out from the eyes, so much that even the king, whose anger had changed in compassion, was not able to hold back his ones..."
Then Alexander had to give up, and he returned in his country anyway as a winner (in any case he had overcome any enemy); there he died very young on 13 June of 323 b.C. He was certainly a great strategist, a man of action and arms, and he used, for his time, unusual and genial strategies and weapons systems (like the macedonian phalanx, inventated by his father; it was a fearful fighting method, for that age). Surely his conquest wars made some victims... but SB assures us of the contrary. As a further confirm of what written above, let's read this brief history of Alexander the Great:
"Alexander the Great king of Macedon: son of Philip II and Olimpia, he had Aristotle as master, who tought him rhetoric, literature, science, medicine and philosophy. Alexander came to the throne at the death of the father, Philip II, murdered in 336 b.C. After the taming with great energy of the rebellions of inner and outer enemies, he dedicated himself to an ambitious project of conquest which after about ten years brought him to subjugate Greece, Egypt and the Persian Empire and to rule over the most part of the territories known to the ancient world. He introduced everywhere the study of greek culture and language; his army was one of the most trained ones: it is said that he had 30,000 young macedonians to study military tactics and greek language, and that only after that training he enlisted them. On 332 b.C. he founded the city of Alexandria, in Egypt, which became the literary, scientifical and commercial center of the ancient world. In 331 b.C. he made a pilgrimage to the temple of Amon-Ra, seat of the oracle of the egyptian sun's god, that the Greeks identified with Zeus, and he made himself to be recognized as a son of that divinity. Then, on the same year, he reorganized his troops and defeated the persians; the city of Babylon surrendered and Alexander captured Susa, seizing its enormous treasures, and then Persepholis, the persian capital, which he sacked and set on fire. But his thirst of conquest still seemed not to be quenched: according to many historians he aspired to reunite the East and the West in a world empire. Proclaimed king of Asia, he undertook the conquest of India reaching the Indo river, but the rebellions exploded inside the troops obliged him to quit that enterprise. The macedonian army, infact, roused in rebellion and refused to advance further. The discontent also originated from the complex eastern-styled ceremonial that the emperor pretended to estabilish, after the claiming of divine birth. Alexander died at the age of 33 in 323 b.C., at Babylon." (personal translation)
Now, it's right as SB says: it's the picture of a man who has never caused the death of anyone, who was "good" and "kind", and "just" wanted the expansion of his kingdom... The most funny aspect of the question is that this history of Alexander, that totally belies the picture of Alexander given by Sai Baba, has been published right from the Sathya Sai Baba Organization of Italy on its official site, as a note included in the speeche of 26 July 1999. It seems to me that this doesnt' need further comments...!
Worthy of note, finally, is the "materialization" of the "ring of Alexander": apart from the nice conjuring trick, it would be interesting to know from what museum SB "has taken" the ring, how it is catalogued, from where it comes, where is it now, etc. But the interesting thing is that from that interview Sai Baba admits the making of a "remore bringing" (transfering an object from a place to another through supernatural powers), thing that in the Blitz Interview he had firmly denied, stating that he doesn't "brings", but "creates":
"[...] All performances of magic, as you know are done for the sake of income. These are tricks of the magicians trade. They constitute a kind of legalized cheating, the transfer of an object from one place to another by a trick of the hand which goes unnoticed. They involve no siddhi (occult power) or miraculous power.[...]Q: I am sorry to be persistent, Swamiji, but isn't the gift of an Omega or HMT watch an act of cheating the company or breach of its patent?
Baba: I assure you there is no such thing. It would be cheating the company or breaching the patent if it were a case of transfer of the watch from one place to the other. But I do not transfer; I totally create. Whatever I will, instantly materializes. I know of no company that has complained about any breach of patent..[...]"
(quoted from the "Blitz Interview")
Yet, according to his words, SB would have subtracted temporarily "the ring of Alexander" from a museum. I repeat it: what museum? At what time? Does anybody, in the museum, have noticed its disappearance? And where is the ring now, is it possible to find it out?
Finally let's read a lasting passage on that argument, this time drawn from "Sanathana Sarathi", the official periodical publication of Sai Baba's organization ("Sanathana Sarathi" means "Eternal Charioteer", and it's one of Krishna's attributes, which SB took possession of):
"...By following the advice of one country or other India has made a hash of its economy and finances. In ancient times, India served as an example to other countries. A king from Greece came to India to study the conditions here, especially in regard to education and religion, after visiting other countries in Asia. He was impressed by the gurukula system of education and the kind of relations that existed between the guru and the sishyas. The ashram of every guru was a veritable university, without any of the paraphernalia of modern universities. The students were prepared for all kinds of hardship to acquire knowledge from the gurus. He noted also the discipline and high character of the students. He collected books like the Upanishads and the Gita and realised what values Indians attached to truth and integrity. He made a study of the Bible, the Quran and Buddhist texts and found that all of them laid emphasis on Truth. [...] He [...] recognised that in Bharat there was religious toleration and harmony as part of the people's code of ethics. He decided to follow India's example in Greece. Alexander the Great, who came to India at the behest of his teacher, on his way back to Greece took with him a lump of Indian earth, a vessel full of Ganges water, copies of the Bhagavad Gita and Mahabharata and the blessings of an Indian sage."
(from a speech of 21 August 1986, reported in Sanathana Sarathi September 1986)
Here again we find the same fanciful elements that we have already seen and discussed before. In addition, here we find also other SB's characteristic elements:
the nationalistic character of his speeches: India for him is always the reference point to which he brings back all things and all nations; it's the example to be followed by everybody. Anyway the India he dreams of is the past one and certainly not the present one. Attention: there's nothing bad in this, but one then would have not to pretend to show SB as universal "avatar", for all people, of any country, of any religion. As I already noted, he thinks, acts and speaks as an indian in all he does, always trying to bring back everything to his uses, customs and knowledges.
the propagandist character of his discourses : the above passage is nothing more than propaganda for the guru power system and for his students, his universities and his educational system, compared to the public system described as made of "paraphernalia". If the indian public educational system has troubles, maybe the responsibility is also of the various "swamis" feeding people's faith in the guru system, instead of stimulating trust and share to the State and public structures.
Moreover, other considerations of historical and temporal nature arise:
Alexander the Great had already conquered all the conquerable before arriving in India; therefore he already had been in Middle East and other lands. Why then he would have had to go on India to study the Bible and the Quran? But most of all:
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