"Loose" quotations #1
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In this page you find a series of various quotations from Sai Baba, taken here and there, with comment. Have "fun"...
Sai Baba, the Craxi family, education, and waste of public money
Anybody in Italy, in ggo and bad, knows Bettino Craxi. He was one of the most powerful and influent italian politicians of the '80s. He has been Italy's Prime Minister, reaching in that position a high degree of international prestige. Then he has been swept away by that chain of judiciary scandals, involving almost all levels of italian political, economical and social life, which undergoes under the name of "Mani Pulite (Clean Hands)". Bettino Craxi then had to be jailed, but he escaped in Tunisy, where he lives in volountary exhile. Far less famous than him is his brother, Antonio Craxi, who has been one of the first italians to leave his country for many years, to live more closely to his guru, Sai Baba. In Italy, then, he dedicated himself to the publishing of books about Sai Baba. Now, reading the book "Sai Baba" di Armando Pavese, we learn an intersting anecdote regarding him, here it is:
"An example of attempt to introduce the S.S.E.H.V. [Sathya Sai Education on Human Values, based on the five human values: Sathya (truth), Dharma (righteous action), Prema (love), Shanti (peace), Ahimsa (non violence). NdA] has been made in Milano. I reproduce the news published on "Famiglia Cristiana" regarding Antonio Craxi:
<<Once back in motherland, after long stay in India, Antonio Craxi wrote a booklet about human values which, in spite of a very bad review, has been distributed in 28,000 copies between the students of Milano's schools at expense of the Municipality. Cost: 100 millions lire>>.
[quoted in "Famiglia Cristiana", n. 48, p.91, year 1991, source: G. Locatelli and D. Martini, "Mi manda papa'", Longanesi editions, Milano 1991]"
(passage drawn from "Sai Baba" by Armando Pavese, personal translation)
What to say? It's worthy to be noticed that among the human values that Antonio Craxi was trying to spread in Milano, there are Dharma, i.e. duty, righteous and impartial action; and Sathya, i.e. truth. It's in order to spread those values that Antonio Craxi took advantage of the influence due to the fact of being brother of Bettino Craxi (for whoever else the Milano Municipality would have payed out 100 millions lire uselessly?), who at that time surely still was the most powerful and influent italian politician (he was Prime Minister, as well as secretary of Italian Socialist Party - PSI, which in Milano was holding practically the total power). All this to make the Milano Municipality to waste 100 millions lire for the diffusion of a useless cheap booklet about Sai Baba's educational system, a system that surely was not (and is not, fortunately) neither in the priority list of italian Public Education Department, nor in the one of Milano Municipality.
If the spreading of his guru's message was so important for him, why mr. Antonio didn't payed by himself the 100 milions? And since that money was payed by the citizens of Milano, why he didn't informed in advance, whether if the argument was of public interest or not, at least to justify that expense? How many useful works in the educational field could have been done with that public money?
"The present situation in the world is like a typhoon [...] panic reigns even while the conquest of space and the creation of new planets is being hailed."
(from a speech of 2 February 1958)
What to say? Who and when, according to Sai Baba, would have talked of "creation of new planets" ? This is the nth example of nonsense words and incompetence...
"You can call me Premaswarupa [Embodiment of Divine Love]! You will not be wrong! Prema [divine love] is the wealth I have and which I scatter among the miserable and afflicted."
(from a speech of 22 July 1958)
Sure, and with that "prema" surely the poors fed themselves, built a home, cured the illnesses. Thanks to it wars had stopped, the world has become fair, and the miserables got back their dignity... unfortunately one cannot survive with divine love.
"The tragedy is that when Godhead is invisible, formless, you concretise it as you like and pray to it and get consolation and strength out of it; but when it is before you, concretised in human form, you doubt and discuss and deny!"
(from a discourse of 10 July 1959)
When Sai Baba will succeed in demonstrating of being what he claims to be, then we'll stop "doubt and discuss and deny". He's alive and present, and he cannot pretend to shirk the examination without paying the consequences of this denial (i.e. the doubt). He acts lie a man who claims to be God, who in surface says to be humble and selfless but indeed he's arrogant and pedantic, and with some trick he tries to persuade us of his "powers". Give us one, just one demonstration of divinity, which could not be reproduced by a human being, and the he will be able to reproach us freely.
"A group of scholars who had come to me recently asked me, "Swami! You talk of the flames of anxiety and fear; but, surely, you appreciate the great step forward that man has taken by landing on the moon!" I told them, it was wrong to spend billions of dollars and roubles on such enterprises. It is a question of priorities; first things first. When so many nations upon the Earth are undernourished, undereducated, underhoused, it is sheer absence of discrimination to spend time, skill and money for this spectacular competitive adventure. Later, when the earth has been made the home of a happy family of peoples, such enterprises can be planned."
(from a speech of 6 March 1970)
Evidently 30 years after these speech, when so many people are still underfed, without education and home, it's not wrong that India is spend huge quantities of rupees to build nuclear missiles, while permitting godmen like Sai Baba to deceive people levering up on their real neds. "It is a question of priorities", says SB: why then he had nothing to say on this argument? Why he has not made one of his speeches condemning this "sheer absence of discrimination"? Perhaps nuclear bombs are prioritary to SB?
"In western countries now, God is denied, and man is relying on himself; he exaggerates his own intelligence and sense of adventure and prides himself on the advance he has made through science and technology. But, intelligence without equanimity is filling mental hospitals. Peace is fleeing from the hearts of men and women; social harmony is becoming a distant dream; international concord is a mirage, pursued by a few. Man travels to the moon, but does not explore his own inner levels of consciousness." (1968)
"It is a strange [that] westerners ... during the past 200 years ... have done their best to get control over the powers of nature and to create fearful machines for that purpose. But ... today, although man has conquered the entire world, ... he is not able to conquer himself. To conquer and control one's mind is the primary duty of man. The path which enables us to control our mind is the spiritual path." (1975)
I've seen so many people good for the "mental hospital" even among the "spiritual seekers"...! And it seems that also the easterns worked to build "fearful machines" We may however agree on some generic criticizings, which may be shareable, although they are to be extended to all human kind and not to the west alone. But let's think about this: in the whole east spirituality and divinity have a preminent position. From long time in th east people are following the spiritual paths which are so dear to Sai Baba, and many like him undertook in the exploration of consciousness levels, in the control of mind and in the "divine life". Well, I think that abything is to be measured with its results: it's really possible to affirm that these spiritual practices have given to the east better conditions than the "materialist" west? Perhaps eastern countries are better examples than the western countries on the theme of social justice and fairness, international concord, social harmony, peace, etc.? Did life's conditions of eastern people have been improved and better distributed due to "spirituali practices"? I believe instead that also these are nothing else than a system of power, like many others; and SB is part of it, and certainly he has no lack of power... power that the more rational and materialistic western conceptions would remove from his hands. Here lies the basic criticsm expressed by SB. Which has also another name: fear. The same fear that led him to refuse any kind of rational and objective examination, and to spit poison on science and rationalists. (Question: if he is "the whole", as he claims, if all things are inherent to him, SB wouldn't have to oppose science... isn't him the science and its contrary, and any other couple of polar opposites? How would he explain this?)
"The question about life in the universe arises because you project your own particular circumstances. You feel that other ways of life would be intolerable because such ways of life would be intolerable for you. In the hot, blazing Sun, for instance, beings are living. This life exists in circumstances considered to be intolerable by you. Elsewhere in the universe, life feels it is Divinity, is one with Divinity, and is quiet happy, and feeling all is right. ... This small planet Earth is very special. It is unique in the universe. One who can understand the mystery of the Earth is great indeed. He is infinite."
(quoted in John Hislop's "My Baba and I", from a talk of 23 October 1984)
Useless to say that, also in this case, anyone would have been able to say similar things, generic and without any content and support. But supposing (and I underline "supposing") that what SB said is true, then he could, by his "omniscence", tell us something about these beings living in the Sun and in the rest of the Universe. How are they made? What's their biological basis? How they bear certain conditions, for us indeed intolerable? Where they are? How they live? What's their technology and knowledge level? Instead of giving us some affordable information, SB makes evident that he's the first one who "project his own circumstances" on questions: infact according to him life in the universe "feels it is Divinity, is one with Divinity...", so revealing that this is the unique, monotonous key of reading wich he possesses for anything. Finally: since he has mentioned it, could he tell us, please, something about this great "mistery" regarding the Earth?
Reading from Hinduism Today an article related to a prize awarded to SB, and a question-answer on the theme "Sai Baba neither belongs nor promotes any particular religion, etc etc.":
With 1,638 centers in 137 countries, Satya Sai Baba guides the largest Hindu organization in the world today. Most Hindus remain unaware of the depth and breadth of his extensive worldwide programs spreading the ancient Vedic teachings. Hinduism Today bestowed its 1996 Hindu Renaissance Award upon this remarkable 70-year-old saint for his 56 years of service. The award carries a "Hindu of the Year" bronze plaque and a nominal honorarium of rs51,000.
Since 1990 Hinduism Today has yearly honored one saint who has impacted the faith and spread its vastness, compassion and profundity. Dharma's renaissance leaders have been: Swami Paramananda Bharati ('90), Swami Chidananda Saraswati ('91), Swami Chinmayananda ('92), Mata Amritanandamayi ('93), Swami Satchidananda ('94) and Pramukhswami Maharaj ('95).
[...] [the article then goes on listing the works and the achievements of Sai Baba, emphasizing all the good aspects of his organizations, works, devotees; and with a brief history of Sai Baba. [...]
(from "induism today international", december '96)
Is Sai Baba Beyond Hinduism? You may probably well receive other, more eloquent and complete, responses to the Sai Baba article ("Sai: Hindu of Year," awards, December '96), but I believe that the article does a great disservice to the community of Sai devotees. Sai Baba does not guide a Hindu organization. He was born and lives in South India, and must lead and follow in the Hindu traditions of that area, but his teachings and organization are beyond culture and religion. Indians find it very difficult to avoid making foreign Sai Centers into extensions of the Hindu religion, making it difficult for non-Indian, non-Hindu followers of Sai Baba. The centers are not to be extensions of Hindu culture. Sai Baba repeats over and over and over again that he does not preach one religion, and that he is not creating a religion. He often exhorts his followers to become stronger in their own beliefs and practices. He has told the Western centers to sing bhajans in their own languages. Many of us love to sing bhajans in Indian dialects, but this creates separation rather than inclusion when it comes to encompassing new followers of Sai -- as does this article telling Hindus that Sai Baba leads a Hindu organization! Sai Baba is the Avatar of our age for all people of all religion.
* Hmmm! Let's see. Sai Baba was born to Hindu parents, raised in a Hindu community, took a Hindu name, wears the saffron-colored vestments of a Hindu sannyasin, and when he leaves this Earth will be honored by Hindu funeral rites. He teaches the highest form of Hindu philosophy, quotes from Hindu scriptures, urges mankind to follow Sanatana Dharma and directs an overwhelmingly Hindu following to sing traditional Hindu devotional songs. You say he is an avatar, which is an exclusively Hindu theological concept found nowhere else. Other than that, I have to agree he is beyond Hinduism entirely.
Signed, the Editor.
* Further reply: Thanks for your thoughtful response to my diatribe. How can I possibly disagree with your points -- they are all completely accurate. I suppose what I took (take) issue with is the fact that Sai Baba is all that you say in terms of Hindu culture and religion, and yet much more beyond that. The Sarva Dharma symbol is placed conspicuously on entrance gates, buildings, publications, etc. that Sai Baba presides over. That Sarva Dharma symbol is a symbol of the unity of faiths, showing symbols of Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Christianity and Zoroastrianism around its perimeter. This may be an indication that Baba is beyond Hinduism alone.
(from "induism today international", January '97)
Here the most singular thing is that Sai Baba has carefully avoided to refuses the prize of "Hindu of the year 1996", possibly by saying something like: "Thank you but I can't accept it, I trascend all religions and I don't promote any particular one, I want to unifiy the faiths and so you cannot label me as hindu, etc. etc.". Sai Baba leaves his devotees to deal with these questions... What the devotee has written to the director belongs to the purest Sai propaganda. On the other hand the director's reply instead is very synthetic, incisive, clear and exhaustive. It's a matter of fact that, at least in Italy (and I've seen it), Sai Baba is worshipped by almost all with rituals and external manifestations of hindu origin: perfumed inceses, arathi ritual, floral homages, puja (altar) with figurines of hindu deities, Ganesha and Krishna ahead. He's worshipped as an avatar (hindu concept, as we have seen), and to him are dedicated devotional songs (bhajan) in which he's chanted as supreme lord in the various divine forms, attributes and incarnations, the 95% of which are hindu tradizionals. These chants are in sanskrit, and in sanskrito are the most part of concepts expressed in Sai Baba's books and speeches. He never discusses a single line of hindu scriptures, while he does it often with other scriptures, mostly with christian ones. This all in spite of the claim that "Sai Baba doesn't aks to be worshipped or to change religion, he doesn't belong nor promotes any particular religion, etc. etc.".
In the book "Conversations with Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba" by John Hislop, there is an astonishing passage, where Sai Baba prepares and chews betel. To those people remarking him that this is quite not a good habit, he instead says that it is not a bad habit and that the substance (betel) purifies blood. Well, It could be of some interest to read these informations:
"In Taiwan, 80% of total deaths due to oral cancer has been reported to be associated with the betel-chewing habit. Since metabolic absorption of ingredients of betel nut or quid directs the cancer-causing principles of betel nut or quid to other organs/tissues of the body, the evidence is growing to indicate that cancers other than oropharyngeal may also be caused by betel-nut or quid chewing. For instance, urinary tract and urinary bladder are likely to be susceptible to cancer due to betel nut or quid chewing."
"Betel nut contains a toxic substance, arecoline, which has been linked to oesophageal cancer. The importation and sale of Betel nut or products made with Betel nut is considered to be a violation of Section 4(a) of the Food and Drugs Act. While the traditional use of Betel nut products is recognized, the Health Protection Branch can not allow a toxic food to be sold in Canada."
Not so bad this "blood purifying"... sure, it has some meaningless secondary effect! Sai Baba's omniscience is a continuous surprise... maybe one day he'll tell us that nuclear wastes are healthy, increasing human body's energy...?
When the "Avatar" gets hurt...
...even the "divine powers" rise up to explain why it happened!!! The following speech is quite funny. There's only one fact here: during a show Sai Baba fell off from a chariot, he got hurt and cut a bad figure. Starting from this, after the usual long "philosophical" preamble which opens every speech and practically doesn't says anything remarkable, he develops a "divine thesis" to explain the reason of the accident. It is an evident example of how SB, thanks to his power and his devotees' suggestibility, is able to make them "drink" any absurdity without fearing of doubts or critics. In order to limit this page's size, the speech is on another page. Click here and you'll see.
For the series: don't speak about what you don't know...
We've seen that one of the claims regarding Sai Baba made by hos devotees and propaganda, is that he is omniscient, he has unparalleled knowledges in every field, and that many scientists and experts ask him advice for their own professions. The following could be helpful, if even there is still need of it, to point out the absurdity of those claims. Let's read this passage:
"Now consder the beard; when you drink coffee or tea or yogurt, also the beard absorbs a certain quantity of it. Many are the things going into coffe and other drinks. The beard occludes both nose and mouth. To inhale is the process which can be carried out with both one or the other organ. When inhaling, the substance called ammonia comes into mouth or nose. When exhaling it comes out hydrogen. By this way it forms an acid called acetic acid, which together with various bacteriums and microbes goes into the body. This acid is very dangerous! All the illnesses of lungs like TBC, and also the various heart diseases, have their cause in this acid, included the throat cancer. Here is what beard and moustaches can cause! Your face would have to be free as a full moon and only by this way you could get full health and the splendour of Divinity will emanate from you. Many times Swami has told you about the intimate relationship between mind and the moon. Just as the one existing between the moon and sea waves. In the sea the 80% is sodium, and there's also calcium and potassium, and in the moon we find the same chemical substances. Our body is composed for the 60% of water, in which there's sodium, clacium and potassium. When moon is full, even our feelings are influenced by it like the waves of the ocean. The only thing it that we are not aware of this. Consider e.g. crazy or unhealthy minded people, during the plenilune they suffer of nervousness."
(quoted and translated from a speech of 17 February 1985)
This is an astonishing passage. Does Sai Baba has ever tried to inhale ammonia? I did it, because of a stupid joke, when I studied chemistry at school, and I felt bad: it's IMPOSSIBLE to inhale ammonia so naturally as SB says. If he would have tried it, and if he would know what he says, he would avoid to say such foolishnesses. And also, according to this SB's passage, human respiration consists in inhaling ammonia and exhaling hydrogen! But it seemed to me that we inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide...! Regarding the acetic acid, it absolutely doesn't form as said by SB, let's read:
"ACETIC, ACID: It is the most important organic acid...its formula is CH(3)COOH...is is obtained by bacterial oxidation of the alcohol contained in fermented liquids, by dry distillation of wood and by synthesis through a number of processes (oxidation of acetaldehyde, oxidation of butane, addition of carbon oxide on methyl acohol)..."
(from Enciclopedia Mondadori delle Scienze "S4")
Moreover there's no relation between the illnesses indicated by Sai Baba and the acetic acid, while we've seen above that the betel is relationed to serious diseases, but SB says that it "purififies blood"! Anyway I asked a skilled chemistry scientist, who works in an italian university and who is author of various scientifical articles and works. I forwarded him the passage from SB, and here is summarized his answer:
"[...] I read with interest the affirmations of Sai Baba [...]. In al the things stated by Sai Baba, the only correct ones on the scientifical level seem to be the following: 'To inhale is the process which can be carried out with both one or the other organ.' - 'Our body is composed for the 60% of water, in which there's sodium, clacium and potassium.' All the others statements, frankly speaking, seem to be delirious. [...] (signature)"
It's delirious to say that the sea is composed at 80% of sodium, and it's delirious too the affirmation that the moon is composed the same way, while its average composition is similar to the one of earth's rocks. And when SB points out beard and moustaches as responsible of the harm due to the "forming of acetic acid", and when he makes the absurd chain of connections "face-moon-sea-mind", he's even more delirious. His words are those of an ignorant man (meaning that "he ignores what he's talking about"), trying to give himself a tone by talking (wrongly) about scientifical arguments. Why Sai Baba often tries to do this, since his contempt and haughtiness regarding science? He wouldn't have need do to so...
Let's read also these more recent passages, all taken from a speech of 13 September 1999:
"[...] Great scientists like Galilio, Schrodinger and others, who were on par with Newton and Einstein in terms of knowledge, also could not comprehend reality due to the perversion of Buddhi (intellect)."
The first thing coming to my mind is that, if I would have to choose, I would absolutely prefer to have the "intellectual perversion" of Newton or Einstein, rather than Sai Baba's "divine wisdom"; even more when we see that the latter doesn't seem to be much effective, judging by SB's sayings...! Anyway, SB shows here to be prisoner of his "spiritual" mind habits: the concept of "level of knowledge" doesn't fit on science, and it's senseless saying that "Galileo were on par with Newton"... This way of reasoning is typical of spiritual cicles, where any knowledge is not discussable, verifiable, communicable with words, and it must be "received" from sommeone else who then proposes hmself as authority and master, beyonf od any doubt. Those who apply on this path will obtain a certain "spiritual level" which will be considered higher or lower respect to other "spiritual seekers". This is the very circle of Sai Baba.
Onthe other hand, every scientist develops knowledges that are a product of the time in which he's living, of his own intuitions, of the verifying of his ideas (also and mostly from his adversaries) and of the recognizing of his own mistakes, concepts that in the spiritual field are unknown (and feared...). What's more, every scientist is someway debtor to his preceding colleagues, and bound to them: todays' knowledges are the result of a constant evolution of yesterday's ones, even of the wrong ones. If Galileo wouldn't had "created" the experimental method, if Newton wouldn't had discovered the Laws of Universal Gravitation, simlpy there wouldn't had been an Einstein formulating the Theory of Relativity. That's why it is senseless talking of "level of knowledge" between scientists (e.g."Einstein was on a higher level than Galileo"): everyone of the is or has been important for what he did, both in good and bad. Newton didn't knew at all, e.g., the quantum gravitation, but perhaps his work looses value, and perhaps he becomes a low-level scientist? And however: if the various "spiritual masters" possess a better and superior description of reality, why then they don't put it in practice? Where are comparisons, results and evidences of their "sublime" knowledges? Let's go on:
"[...] Newton wanted to know whether the creation has emerged on its own or is there an unseen force governing it. He conducted extensive research for several years to know this truth. Ultimately, he gave up all the scientific experimentation and turned inwards. Within a span of 9 days, he realised that there is a 'divine hand' that is responsible for the entire creation, its sustenance and its annihilation. Other scientists like Einstein, Schrodinger, etc., came to the same conclusion."
These staements on Newton are false and mistaken. We must consider that, at Newton's time, the creation as told in the Bible was still valid and believed as true, even from Newton himself who however was a man of faith, as well as Galileo. The sky was God's abode, and as such it had to be perfect and unchanging. Since this is the context, it appears clear that it's a nonsense to say that Newton asked himself if "the creation has emerged on its own", and that finally he concluded that God "...is responsible for the entire creation, its sustenance and its annihilation". As usual, these are hindu concepts that SB puts in everybody's mouth. For Newton's contemporaries, the universe did not "emerged", but it has been created by God (the God of the Bible) in seven days; moreover in the Bible there is not any ciclic concept of creation-sustenance-annihilation, which is instead associated with the hindu trinity Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva.
And more, it isn't true that Newton abandoned the experimental method to dedicate himself to introspection; it is instead true that, thanks to personal intuitions, he was able to formulate the Laws of Universal Gravitation, which however are physical, scientifica laws, expressed in mathematical language, not intuitive (otherwise they wouldn't be laws). As an irony of fate, the faith in God which is so dear to Sai Baba brought Newton to draw partially wrong conclusions: he infact thought that his laws (which anyway have been perfectly verified in their context) were an expression of a perfect, statical, unchanging universe, like an immense clockwork; a vision influenced by the religious thought of that time. Today we know that this is not true, that the universe is expanding, but Newton already was not able to know this: the expansion of the cosmos have been discovered a great time after him.
What does it means, then, that "scientists like Einstein, Schrodinger, etc., came to the same conclusion"? The scientists mentioned by SB belong to different disciplines, and surely they did NOT came to the same conclusions. Anyway, despite what Sai Baba believes and make his devotee to believe, there are many scientists believing in God, but they absolutely don't insert him into their laws: God stay into equations and laws of physics. At most, one could believe him to be the author of the laws. And finally:
"The modern scientists are not aware of the magnetic power and the electric power that are present in the human body. Our body may be compared to a small generator. [...]"
And also this is false: biology, medicine, neurology, etc., they know perfectly the existance of the various energetical aspects of human body, and they are going to give a coeherent explanation of them. Still here, the difference between Sai Baba and science is substantial: the energy of which SB talks about is "prana", "kundalini", and it resides into the "chakras", but he's not able to quantify it and give us a coherent and comprehensible explanation of it, unless we don't start meditating with him. On the other side, scientific disciplines are able to describe, locate, quantify, explain what they know. By leave of the various godmen on duty.
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