"Extraordinary miracles" ?
This story is taken from the site "Gallery of miracles", where it
is indicated as a demonstration of omniscience by Sai Baba. Let's then read this account:
"[...] This photograph of Sai Baba and the tiger skin
involves a miracle Sai Baba performed early in his life, probably in his teens. This may
well be the first miracle involving someone who did not live in Sai Baba's tiny village,
Puttaparthi. A hunter had shot and killed a tiger and was driving home when his car stalled near the
Chitravathi River, which runs through Puttaparthi. The hunter could find no way to get his
car to work. It wouldn't budge and the engine couldn't be started. The driver of the car told the hunter that there was a lad in the village who was said
to have miraculous powers. The hunter, in his frustration, sent the driver into
Puttaparthi to find the miraculous young man. When the teenage Sai Baba returned with the driver, he chastised the hunter and said,
"What did this tiger ever do to you to deserve to be hunted down and killed? This
tiger was a mother and you left her two cubs alone to fend for themselves. Go back and
take care of the tiger cubs.". With that said, Sai Baba slapped the car and it was instantly fixed and ready to go. No
doubt, the hunter's belief system had run into a different view of reality. He went back
to the forest, found the tiger cubs and transported them to a zoo, where they could be
well cared for. Subsequently, he returned to Puttaparthi, gave Sai Baba the skin of the tiger he had
killed, and swore he would never hunt again. That tiger skin and head is the one seen in
"[...] This photograph of Sai Baba and the tiger skin involves a miracle Sai Baba performed early in his life, probably in his teens. This may well be the first miracle involving someone who did not live in Sai Baba's tiny village, Puttaparthi.
A hunter had shot and killed a tiger and was driving home when his car stalled near the Chitravathi River, which runs through Puttaparthi. The hunter could find no way to get his car to work. It wouldn't budge and the engine couldn't be started.
The driver of the car told the hunter that there was a lad in the village who was said to have miraculous powers. The hunter, in his frustration, sent the driver into Puttaparthi to find the miraculous young man.
When the teenage Sai Baba returned with the driver, he chastised the hunter and said, "What did this tiger ever do to you to deserve to be hunted down and killed? This tiger was a mother and you left her two cubs alone to fend for themselves. Go back and take care of the tiger cubs.".
With that said, Sai Baba slapped the car and it was instantly fixed and ready to go. No doubt, the hunter's belief system had run into a different view of reality. He went back to the forest, found the tiger cubs and transported them to a zoo, where they could be well cared for.
Subsequently, he returned to Puttaparthi, gave Sai Baba the skin of the tiger he had killed, and swore he would never hunt again. That tiger skin and head is the one seen in this photograph."
This story fully meets the requirements of the standard Sai Baba's "exciting" miracle account. First of all it took place long time ago: SB was teenager, thus he was not older than 20; then the fact would have taken place not after 1946/48. At that time practically no foreign people were present at Puttaparthi, and it would be quite difficult to find someone who assisted at the event, in fact are only mentioned Sai Baba, "a hunter" and "the driver". The account, appropriately, is moreover lacking in details, but it's always generic: "A hunter had shot and killed a tiger and was driving home...". Some simple questions jump to the mind:
Lack of details, fabled plot... and often these accounts are brought forward as "testimonies" of Sai Baba's miracles. Considering clearly and honestly the possible objections to this kind of stories, one sees that it doesn't remains so much of "miracolous": in my opinion, these are stories created "ad hoc", or even these are otherwise meaningless stories, "pumped" up to emphasize the figure of Sai Baba. Regarding the photo: the skin of a tiger is one of the symbols and attributes which are normally used to represent the godShiva, and SB is also considered a manifestation of Shiva's power. Nothing strange, therefore, in seeing Sai Baba with that tiger skin, but from here to say that it's the skin of the tiger killed by this story's hunter, there's a quite long jump... to prove it, would be enough to call the hunter, or the driver, to testimony. Where they are?
This story is yet a relatively recent one, and it comes from the site "PARTAGE INTERNATIONAL", in french language. I've made the translation to english by myself; let's read:
"MIRACLE IN SOUTH-AMERICAN SKIES
Sai Baba prevents an aerial disaster
In 1995, an airplane carrying passengers was flying over South-American coasts, when the engine had a breakdown. The airplane started loosing altitude an diving dangerously. The pilot knew that on board there was a venezuelan hostess, disciple of Sai Baba. He shouted: "Pray your guru to save us from the disaster!"
The hostess had not the time to invoke Baba's name, that he appeared in the sky, in front of the cockpit! Meanwhile, the airplane regained altitude and the engine recovered.
But the image of Baba remained visible in the sky for 20 minutes, that allowed the hostess to take a photo of it. Finally, the airplane landed at destination without problems. (Peggy Mason, Bulletin trimestriel des fidèles de Saï Baba, G.-B.) (Partage international - avril 1997)"
Here again the usual few, simple, common (but not for everybody) questions:
Addendum: the photo
Recently, some months after the editing of this page, I've found a photo, which I've found on this site. Very correctly, the webmaster premises that it could even be a fake. Anyway notice that the picture is not associated to the "miracle" we've seen above, but it's just described as a "miracolous" Sai Baba's photo taken from a venezuelan airplane. There's some analogy with the story of the airplane's miracle... so here's the photo (click to enlarge):
Either the image could be referred to the airplane's miracle or not; in both cases, it is an evident photo editing (and examining the details one can notice this), which can be performed with any personal computer and softwares such as Adobe Photoshop, Corel Photopaint, and so on. Sai Baba's picture is a very standard one (you can buy such a picture in any Puttaparthi's shop), while the background seems to be a gorgeous sky photographed from a car, or from a bus (on low-right side there's something that could be like a window frame).
Notice then that according to that story, Sai Baba's image would have appeared in front of the cockpit, and the airplane was still in altitude. This photo certainly was not taken from an airplane, looking at the trees' tops which are rather near, and less than ever from the cockpit of an airplane: if so, when the photo was taken the airplane would have been landing (but in the story it was not so), and it would have been landing on trees...!!!
The following story is related to the nth Sai Baba's "exciting materialization". He would have "materialized" a Seiko watch for the Seiko president himself. Here again, it is really not a "creation" of the object but an apporting, i. e. the translation of the object from a place to another; and as I've already said, in the "Blitz Interview" SB has firmly denied the making of apportings, stating that he "creates out of nothing" through divine will (here is the related passage):
"Q: Baba has already clarified most of the issues raised by Dr. Narasimhiah and other critics. Some, however, remain unanswered. Narasimhiah asks why you do not materialize a pumpkin or a cucumber or a watch with a distinct mark to prove that it is your creation and not a transfer of somebody else's manufacture?(taken from the 1976 "Blitz Interview")
Baba: Pumpkins and cucumbers can be materialized as easily as rings or objects. But these are perishable objects and the whole point of materialization as I have already explained, lies in their permanence. That is why rings or watches become more serviceable as talismans or means of contact and communication, between the Avathar and his devotees.
The point they are trying to make is that big objects like pumpkins cannot be transferred while small ones like rings can be. But as I have repeatedly said, I do not transfer things by a sleight-of-hand. I create them to be talismans."
The protagonists of the Seiko watch story are Sai Baba, Dr. Bhagavantam (an ex-scientist rationalist who then has become devotee and part of SB's staff) and Dr. Kovoor, who is one of the most known and perseverant razionalists of the eastern area, together with B. Premanand.
Dr. Abraham T. Kovoor in an old photo from the "Indian Skeptic"
First of all let's read a summary from the "Modern Rationalist":
"Dr. Kovoor narrates in his book 'Begone Godmen!' that in 1973, during a newspaper debate on Satya Sai Baba, Dr.Bhagavantam (Baba's interpreter from Telugu to English) wrote of the "awe-inspiring, wonderful experience of the Seiko watch manufacturer", who, when on a visit to Puttaparthi was presented by Sai Baba with the very watch prototype that the manufacturer had kept in a safe in Japan. With this materialization, all his doubts about the divine powers of Satya Sai Baba melted away. "He fell prostrate at Sai Baba's feet and worshiped him. Since then he is an ardent devotee of the Bhagavan". Since Dr.Bhagavantam was not forth coming with details, Dr.Kovoor, being suspicious, made inquiries with Shoji Hattori, President of Seiko Watch Company in Tokyo to verify the facts. Mr.Hattori wrote back "....I am in no way able to further your knowledge as regards the man mentioned in your letter, Mr.Sai Baba. Neither I, nor any members of my staff have ever made the acquaintance of this individual. I am sure that these reports are completely unfounded". Bhagavantam remained silent when confronted with the response.
The national scandal that broke out when Dr.Kovoor released his correspondence to the press, describing Satya Sai Baba as a "sleight-of-hand" trickster and exposed one of India's brilliant scientists as a Satya Sai Agent ... was only surpassed by nuclear scientist Dr.H.Narasimhaiah's crusade. As Vice-Chancellor of Bangalore University, when in 1976 he appointed a 12 member official committee "to investigate rationally and scientifically miracles and any other verifiable superstitions". Dr.Narasimhaiah's committee exposed Sai Krishna, a 7 year old child-protege of Satya Sai Baba, by pulling out the packet of Vibhuti hidden in Sai Krishna's underclothes. [Author's Note: in the Blitz interview, SB denies any connection with that boy, even without giving any proof] [...] the committee requested him [Sai Baba] to allow them an investigation. When they visited him, a terrified Satya Sai Baba locked himself up in his Whitefield residence, close to Bangalore. All he could do was spew helpless vitriol at the Narasimhaiah committee."
(from "Modern Rationalist" March 1999)
The following is the entire account, told by Dr. Kovoor during the "First Divine Miracle Exposure Campaign":
"[...] A few months ago the editor of a popular malyalam weekly of India wrote me a letter saying that the Editorial Board of his weekly has decided to publish a symposium on "SATHYA SAI BABA - IS HE AN INCARNATION OF GOD OR A CHARLATAN?", and wanted me to be the first contributor to the series. My article was serialized in three issues. It was then followed by two articles countering my thesis by Dr. S.Bhagavantham, M.Sc., D.Sc., Ph.D., a former scientific adviser to the Government of India. Dr. Bhagavantham started his article by saying that in his youth he was a rationalist like me, but after witnessing some of the 'miracles' of Bhagawan Sathya Sai Baba, he had to give up his rationalism. He then continued to describe numerous 'miracles' said to have been performed by Sathya Sai Baba at various times in various places. There was absolutely no mention in the two articles of any one having conducted investigations to establish that they were all genuine miracles, and not conjurer's tricks. The two articles appeared to be clear examples of how unscientific even a good scientist can become if he is a victim of religio-maniacal neurosis or just avaricious. In the whole lot of the miracle stories mentioned by Dr. Bhagavantham, there was only one that was amenable to investigation. Let me quote that part:
"The wonderful experience, some years ago, of a world-famous watch manufacturer of Japan, while he was on tour in India, was awe-inspiring. After completing the Seiko series of watches he made the model of a more superior type, and kept it in his safe for further tests. While touring in India he paid a visit to Sathya Sai Baba's abode just out of curiosity. On seeing the Japanese gentleman among the devotees Sathya Sai Baba materialized a small parcel from the air and gave him. On opening the parcel he was astonished to see the same watch that was kept in his safe. When he saw along with the watch the silk ribbon and the label with the new name of the watch and its price marked on it, all his doubts about the divine powers of Sathya Sai Baba simply melted away. He fell prostrate at Sathya Sai Baba's feet and worshipped him. Since then he is an ardent devotee of the Bhagawan. On his return to Japan, he was shocked to see that the watch he had kept in his safe was not there. What his Personal Secretary told him was still more startling. The Secretary said that a divine-looking person with bushy hair walked into the office one day, opened the safe and walked away with the watch."
[A personal remark: if the watch materialized by SB was a prototype which was "kept it in his safe for further tests", this means that it was not on the market yet. Then how could it have been "created" with "the silk ribbon and the label with the new name of the watch and its price marked on it"? Notice that the japanese man still had not named and priced the watch... Author's Note]
Does Dr. Bhagavantham, who is the holder of covetable qualifications in science, think that a thesis of this nature to prove the miraculous powers of a man, by any scientist, will be accepted by an academic body of scientists if it is not backed by scientific investigations and fool-proof evidence? Although Dr. Bhagavantham is reluctant to test the veracity of his Godman's miraculous powers, I decided to do it myself. With this aim in view I wrote the following letter to Dr. Bhagavantham:
"Tiruvalla", Pamankada Lane,
Colombo-6, Sept. 11, 1973.
Dear Dr. Bhagavantham,
I read your story about a Japanese watch manufacturer getting his own watch that was kept in a safe in Japan, materialized in India from air by Sathya Sai Baba. My scientific attitude does not permit me to accept this fantastic story as true without verification. The reported statement of his personal Secretary enhances my doubt. The first reaction of a responsible Secretary when a stranger walks into the office and opens the safe would be to raise the alarm and to summon the police. As I feel it is unscientific even for a scientist to believe this type of cock-and-bull story without verification, I request you to kindly let me know the name and address of this Japanese so that I may verify the truth about it. Your failure to help me to conduct this investigation by withholding this information, will lead me to suspect your sincerity and honesty, and discard all what you have said about Sathya Sai Baba as utter falsehood deliberately propagated with ulterior motive and vested interest.
Yours in search of Truth,
Abraham T. Kovoor
As there was no response from Dr. Bhagavantham even after two moths, I decided to pursue the matter on my own. The Japanese Embassy in Sri Lanka was kind enough to provide me with the name and address of the proprietor of the Seiko watch-manufacturing firm. In my letter dated 30th October, 1973 to Mr. Shoji Hattori, president of K. Hattori & Co. Ltd., the manufacturers of Seiko watches, I reproduced Dr. Bhagavantham's story about the miracle, and requested him to provide me with answers to the following questions:
1. Did you or any other partner of yours visit Sathya Sai Baba of India any time?
2. Did Sai Baba materialize a watch from air and present it to you or to any of your partners?
3. Did your personal Secretary tell you or any of your partners that a stranger opened the safe and walked away with a watch?
4. Are you or any of your partners a devotee of Sai Baba?
For the benefit of numerous innocent devotees of Godmen of India I reproduce below Mr. Hattori's reply. This I do with the sincere hope that they will be sensible enough to realize the truth that these charlatans who go about in the garb of holy men have numerous agents like Dr. Bhagavantham everywhere working in collusion to propagate the huge hoax and profit materially:
SEIKO - K. HATTORI & CO., LTD.,
5, Koyobashi 2-chome, chuo-ku, Tokyo 104
Established 1881, Cable: Hattori Tokyo.
Phone: Tokyo 563-2111.
November 8, 1973.
Pamankada Lane, Colombo-6, Sri Lanka.,
Dear Dr. Kovoor,
Thank you for your letter of October 30th. I can appreciate your interest in conducting scientific research of paranormal claims, but I am in no way able to further your knowledge as regards the man mentioned in your letter, Mr. Sai Baba. Neither I nor any members of my staff have ever made the acquaintance of this individual. I am sure that these reports are completely unfounded. I must therefore reply in the negative to all four of your questions concerning this incident.
K. Hattori & Co., Ltd.,
Sgd. Shoji Hattori, President
On receipt of this letter I wrote the following letter to Dr. Bhagavantham enclosing a Photostat copy of Mr. Shoji Hattori's letter.
Dear Dr. Bhagavantham,
Absence of any response from you to my request made over two months ago has made me suspect the veracity of your story about the Japanese watch manufacturer getting his own watch that was kept in his safe in Japan from Sai Baba. To pursue my investigation in the matter, I got the name and address of Seiko watch manufacturer from the Japanese Embassy in Sri Lanka. In his reply to my inquiry, Mr. Shoji Hattori, President of K. Hattori & Co., Ltd., who are the manufacturers and proprietors of Seiko watches wrote:
"I can appreciate your interest in conducting scientific research of paranormal claims, but I am in no way able to further your knowledge as regards the man mentioned in your letter, Mr. Sai Baba. Neither I nor any members of my staff have ever made the acquaintance of this individual. I am sure that these reports are completely unfounded."
If Mr. Shoji Hattori is not the person concerned in your story, please let me know about it, and provide me with the correct name and address. Absence of any reply from you for this letter also, will only confirm my firm belief that you are an agent of Sathya Sai Baba doing propaganda for him with ulterior motive and vested interest.
Yours in search of Truth,
Abraham T. Kovoor.
To this day he has not bothered to reply to my letters. (Pauses and get down from the platform walks down the middle isle towards the audience.) Because of people like Bagavantham you all go to Sai Baba thinking that he can perform miracles and cure your ills. And what does he do? Produces holy ash out of nothing. Like this! (Kovoor produces holy ash suddenly out of nowhere and the audience applauds. Some them take it as if they would do in the presence of Sai Baba with all religious reverence.) So next time when you go to Sai Baba and he produces holy ash or other small objects like siva linga ask him to produce a pumpkin or something big that he cannot hide in his sleeves."
Bhagavantam really never answered Kovoor's questions. The only thing that he did, some time after Kovoor's investigation, was to claim that the article telling the false Seiko watch story was wrongly attributed to him, but he has nothing to do with it, since that article was published in a Malayalam language newspaper, and he doesn't know that language. That is a childish and futile excuse: the same Sai Baba really doesn't know English language, nevertheless there are plenty of speeches and writings from SB, written down in a polished and fluent English.
Thus we've found again the usual cock-and-bull, this time with added the shadow of bad-faith in telling them... Dr. Bhagavantam's story gives an indication of what kind of scientist or scholar is pleasant to SB, as we can see also here:
"However, as I have said again and again, those who want to understand me are welcome here. It is the spirit of the investigation that is important. Foreign parapsychologists have come here and examined me in such a positive and constructive spirit. You have seen their reports. They do not write letters or make public demands.
Narasimhiah's approach was improper; that is why I rejected it. If it were not so, he would have been welcome. I do not call people here so that they may bow to a God. I want them to come, see, hear, study, observe, experience and realize Baba. Then only, they will understand me and appreciate the Avatar."
(taken from the 1976 "Blitz Interview")
We have already seen an example of these scientists in Dr. Haraldsson. It's not by chance that SB mentions "foreign parapsychologists": since they need the phenomenons produced by Sai Baba as material for their studies, and since they are not able to make any certain experimentation (until now parapsicology has not yet produced any serious and reliable data), they will be more probably "benevolent" with SB. And it must be that way: the scientist that SB likes has simply to avoid being a scientist. He has not to want going there to verify and ascertain according to precise and undisputable methods. He must be already kindly disposed toward SB, if not even he must become a devotee. Otherwise he will find the door barred. There's no space for the search of objectiveness and transparency: otherwise, where would go Sai Baba's power?
Sai Baba and "a widow"...
Finally, here is another clasic example of Sai Baba's "miracle", this time told directly by he himself:
"The previous speaker Narasimhamurthy spoke about this incident. One day all of a sudden I left this body. Gangadhar Shetty, Narsimhamurthy were surprised at this. Only these two were there inside as it was not possible for others to come in. I told them: "There is a widow who always thinks of Swami. She has two children. After the death of her husband, she took up a small job to maintain her family. She sustained a heart attack. The loss of her husband and her inability to run the family made her depressed. As the money was not sufficient she joined a part-time job. But every moment she used to chant the name, Sairam, Sairam, Sairam ... wholeheartedly. In such a situation, she suffered a heart attack. In fact, she was to die. So I took over the heart attack on Me. For seven long days I did not come down. I took upon Myself all her sufferings and pain and made her healthy. After three days she sent a telegram, "Swami, you came and protected me and my children." She did not know that I had taken her disease on Myself. After a week, she came with her children.
(from a speech of 29 september 1998)
Another quite affordable story, isn't true...? Much probably, as however he has done yet other times, Sai Baba has inventeded this story in order to justify some quite normal, quite human prolonged sickness, which kept him far from the devotees foro some days. But of course "God" would have deserved a bad figure by saying that he had been sick... so he has told this story which has no witnesses, apart from two inner devotees that would never say a single word against him; and however he himself says that "Only these two were there inside as it was not possible for others to come in". So nobody has witnessed this "miracle", and again the usual simple questions:
But as usual there are no useful informations enabling to evaluate the truthfulness of the story, and moreover there are no affordable witnesses. This status of things is even more true with SB's accounts: if to the devotees, when they tell their accounts, is required at least an appearance of reality, this doesn't happens with SB: he could afford to tell anything that passes on his mind, and devotees will take his words as golden truth, because "one has not to doubt God, and his ways are unfathomable, and we are unable to comprehend, and... and... And they will call the miracle.
Note: in this other page pyou can find more interesting informations about other "extraordinary miracles"
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