Undoubtedly, the original for the other five is Sathya Sai Baba (née Sathya Narayana Raju) of Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh. Since he began his mission purporting to save humanity from itself at the age of 14, he has become known for doing miracles that would, if genuine, surpass anything every heard of from any other known person on reliable historical record. This reputation and the following it has generated, is obviously one by which many other persons have benefitted, and not least a large number of 'spiritual parasites', mountebanks, swamis, spiritual healers, mediums, self-styled gurus and - inevitably, out-and-out copyists of most of the phenomena, symbolism, teachings and works upon which Sathya Sai Baba's current predominance is founded.

It is hardly necessary to mention that, among the prime motives for such imitators include the hope of taking over (especially dissatisfied) devotees of Sathya Sai Baba to build up a personal following, name and fame, and - last but not least - to tap the huge financial potentiality devotees represent, (especially from rich countries and upper stratas of society).

The parasite problem has been a constant irritant to Sathya Sai Baba and his various close servitors, officials and other beneficiaries of his movement, as the recurring denouncements of some of the more successful frauds in Sathya Sai's official journal (Sanathana Sarathi) make clear. Further, efforts are repeatedly made through the lines of command within his organisation and other institutions to keep such parasites away. However, most of the current imitators are ignored by Sathya Sai Baba and his cohorts... some have been discredited (eg. Swami Premananda), others are less significant in terms of finance and social impact to threaten Sathya Sai's political power or disturb his mini-empire.