Account by Hari Sampath about the
working of the Sai Baba scam
Hary Sampath was serving in a voluntary capacity in the Ashram Intelligence and Inner Security Wing between 1992 and 1995, and left the Sai Baba movement on his own after hearing about the true facts.
Messages 22, 106, 107, 108, 126, 127, 350, 352, 353, 356.
Date: 07/14/00 2:16 p.m.
Dear Sai Baba devotees,
I have some explanations for the phenomena that seem to be reported and attributed to Sai Baba, and also the trickery employed by Sai Baba.
1. There have been hundreds of first person eye witness accounts by a variety of people from all over the world that they have SEEN Sai Baba take things out of the cushions, from under his palms etc.
My explanation : If Sai Baba were God as he says he is, then he would NOT have to do it EVEN ONCE, so not only does it prove he is NOT what he says he is, but that also he is a big liar, has done it all the time, and has been caught doing it on more than a few occasions.
2. The phenomena reported by so many people from all over the world can be categorized as follows :
Many of these incidents are probably true, while some could be misreported or exaggerated by faithful devotees who already are fully convinced that Sai Baba is God. With regards to the true manifestation phenomena, I believe it could be a result of the devotees' complete faith in God as "here and now" instead of "remote and far away", a faith that has been promoted due to their complete belief in "miracles done by Sai Baba" which were actually tricks that the devotees are not aware of. Also, this could also be due to the fact that a Genuinely existent Divine Power does fulfil this complete faith in God. This explanation could account for most of the "remote phenomena" that are being attributed to Sai Baba.
3. I am not personally aware of Sai Baba actually "materializing" photos of "past incidents" , but however this has to be completely and thoroughly investigated. My question is, if these "miracles" are meant as a means of strengthening faith, why has Sai Baba NEVER done anything that TOTALLY confirms his so called powers. Agreed, he does not have to subject himself to laboratory like settings, but surely there are several ways he can easily give conclusive evidence of his so called powers. This has to be seen in the context of there being hundreds of eye-witness accounts of Sai Baba cheating, as also very suspicious video evidence.
4. And what to say about ALL the accusations of sexual molestations by so many people ?? I have myself heard personal accounts from so many people for such a long time, that it is IMPOSSIBLE to dismiss them. Again, see all this in the overall context.
5. What about "divine predictions" completely failing and turning out to be utter nonsense ? I have personally experienced this so many times, Sai Baba has told me a lot of things about me, where even basic facts about me were totally incorrect. I have heard this from literally hundreds of people, that he has made elementary blunders about them. Seen against this background, how will a few "successful" predictions, that were quite general in nature, and quite likely to be guesses, ever make Sai Baba divine ?????
Myth and Fact... 1
7/18/00 4:01 p.m.
I am going to post a series of Sai Baba "miracles" and the actual story of what happened so that devotees can see how these things get distorted far out of proportion. ALL these stories are from what I had heard personally and I can testify to their factual accuracy from my own personal encounters with those who knew the facts.
Myth :In the 1970's there was a story doing the rounds in the Sai Baba devotee circles. The story was that an elderly couple from Germany were visiting Sai Baba for the first time in Abbotsbury, Madras where SB was staying. They were seated in the first row, and as Sai Baba went past them, he stopped, turned around, came back to them and said " your daughter and son-in-law were about to be crushed by a truck in Germany on a highway, I saved them" . Later, it was found to be true, and their daughter and son-in-law were indeed nearly involved in a collision with a truck, but had a narrow escape. Effect: All Sai Baba devotees were so excited by this "miracle" and "omniscience" of Sai Baba , that they most enthusiastically spread it all over the place and probably resulted in attracting more devotees.
Fact : What had actually happened was this, their daughter and son-in-law had a narrow escape from a truck collision, and had called their hotel in Madras to tell them about this. As the elderly couple had already left to see Sai Baba, the message was passed onto to some other member of their group who rushed to Abbotsbury to inform them, but couldn't get in as all the lines were full at the Darshan grounds. So, they passed on the message to some head volunteer to be conveyed to the elderly couple from Germany who were inside. Upon hearing this, news about this was taken immediately to Sai Baba by an eager to please and faithful devotee who said " by Swami's Grace, that couple's daughter and son in law were just saved from an accident in Germany". SB , of course smiled knowingly and said "I know, I know..." like he always does, and asked someone to move that couple to the first row. As he had not seen them before, he walked past them first, and then upon a volunteer helpfully saying "this is the one, Swami" ,SB walked back and grandly announced his "miracle".
So, a "miracle" was heard "first hand" by all those present nearby and no doubt passed on to hundreds of others, each time a little bit added probably.
When the couple returned to the hotel, they called their daughter in Germany, who naturally confirmed the story. Thinking they were singled out for some "divine grace", this elderly couple were only too happy to "positively" confirm it for a lot of people to report in their books.
Result : One more "miracle" confirmed personally by the recipient, and "seen" by hundreds of others, goes into the records.
Myth and Fact... 2
7/18/00 4:50 p.m.
This is a very popular story that was doing the rounds in 1995-6.
Myth : An airplane, preparing for landing, in Venezuela, ran into some very serious trouble. The pilot announced that all was lost. A Sai Baba devotee on board prayed to Sai Baba, and saw Sai Baba appear in the skies !!!! He appeared to be holding his right hand, palm facing up, and actually holding the plane, till it landed safely. The Sai Baba devotee, quickly took out her camera and snapped a picture of "Swami in the skies, among the clouds" ( Rs 50-/ in PN , by the way ). This incident was reported in The "Venezuela Times" next day as "Indian Saint appears in mid air to save plane"
Effect : Spectacular !!! What a great miracle !! Swami is giving another example of his Omniscience and control over nature and saving Grace !!! Reported to all and sundry, along with thousands of copies of the photo sold and distributed. When Sai Baba was asked about his comments, he said grandly after taking a look at the photo "where a devotee's heart is pure, Swami would even save hundreds of people by traveling anywhere". Later, news trickles in from the inner circle that actually as the plane was going to crash, Swami was telling those around him that he had just been to the other part of the world to save a plane as a devotee had called. How fantastic !!!!
Fact : Like most landings, the pilot was expecting a bumpy touchdown, that is all. And like all Sai Baba devotees (if any of you have ever flown with Sai Baba devotees, you will know what I am saying), this particular devotee instantly started praying to Sai Baba. She had with her a copy of "Avatar" by Howard Murphet which she was reading and held the book close to her heart . As it was quite into early evening and slightly dark, she saw the reflection of the photo on the book cover on the glass window of the plane ( the picture she took is an exact replica of the photo on the cover of "Avatar", surrounded by clouds) . She was already in a panicky state of mind, and greatly excited, snapped what she thought she saw through the glass window, with her camera. The situation with the plane was ok, and they landed alright.
This was never reported in any newspaper, and there is no paper called "Venezuela Times". All the extra stories about Sai Baba talking about the incident when it is supposed to have happened were later additions, and Sai Baba had later addressed a person during a group interview and said " didn't I tell you when I was going to save that plane? " and of course, the close devotee said "yes , you did , Swami", who would quarrel with God ????
Result : One more spectacular "miracle" goes into the records !!!!!
Myth and Fact... 3
7/18/00 5:50 p.m..
This is a very popular story that I have heard since the 1980's....
Myth: In Bangalore, a devotee family was in the habit of conducting weekly bhajans. Once, after a weekly bhajan session, and after prasadam distribution was over, a very little bit of the prasadam was left over. At that time, four persons came in to the house, saying they were Sai Baba devotees from Puttaparthi, and had come for the Bhajans. The available prasadam was just about enough to give a little to these four persons, who left saying "Today Swami himself is here". The next morning, a fellow staying opposite this house, he was NOT a devotee, asked this family if they had a nice meeting with Sai Baba the previous evening. This man said "I saw Sai Baba go into your house yesterday evening".
Effect : Amazing !!! Since Sai Baba was in Puttaparthi at that time, and had obviously "bilocated" to this home to bless the devotees . He had come as four persons, and so that the family may know it was him, had even made the neighbor convey this to the family. What a fantastic miracle, which God alone could do. This family was so touched and greatly felt blessed, they called up hundreds of devotees and told everyone how Sai Baba had visited them in person and was actually SEEN by their neighbor. Moreover "Sai Baba" had himself said "Swami himself is here today", after receiving the Prasadam from that house. The news spread like wild fire, gathering momentum as it spread, and also new additions and features. When this family visited Puttaparthi next, they naturally told Sai Baba how happy they were about the "visit" , which he was naturally happy to confirm, and it became official for the book writers to report !!!
Fact : What had actually happened was, a group of four persons, on the way back from Puttaparthi were visiting some friends in the neighborhood. They had , by chance asked this family's neighbor the way to the house where Sai Baba Bhajans were conducted and were directed there by him. Since this man was not a devotee, he assumed that Sai Baba was visiting, and so bhajans were conducted. And also, as he saw a number of people going there for Bhajans, he thought that Sai Baba had come. The next day he had actually told the family , and that too just conversationally "How was Sai Baba's visit ? Did you have a nice meeting with Sai Baba ? I saw everything from here" . The family immediately jumped to the conclusion that he had actually SEEN Sai Baba himself, and ever on the look out for special "miracles" , happily spread the story around. Later that neighbor was asked by someone if he indeed knew for sure that Sai Baba visited that house for bhajan, he replied "of course, I myself saw everything" , still assuming that Sai Baba had come personally and so all the crowd was there. This added fuel to fire, and it gathered pace till Sai Baba himself "confirmed" it, and taken along with that visitor's statement "Swami himself is here today" , which all devotees say when they are at Sai Baba Bhajans, this became an "official" bilocation miracle.
Result : Sai Baba can bilocate, something which God alone can do, has done so in many places, here is one example with "hundreds of people" testifying...
Myth and Fact... 4
7/19/00 2:26 p.m..
I heard this story in 1996 .
Myth : A passenger gets into a taxi in Paris, France, and asks to go to a particular address. The taxi driver was not very familiar with the exact location, and so, the passenger who spoke perfect French directed the taxi driver to that address, and upon getting there, gave the taxi driver 200 Francs, saying he will take the taxi drive back in an hour and he wanted the driver to wait. An hour passed and the passenger did not return, so the driver goes up to the apartment complex to the apartment where the passenger said he was visiting and sees a lot of people leaving some kind of a prayer meeting. He sees a big picture of a man in a flowing orange robe and having thick crop of dark hair in the apartment. He says " Hey that is my passenger , he gave me 200 Francs and I have been waiting for him for an hour, is he here ?? " The Sai Baba devotees are astonished !!!! Miracle !!!! They tell that man that it was the photo of a spiritual leader in India who was "god" .The taxi driver is not convinced and leaves somewhat doubtfully. After a couple of weeks, he returns to that apartment to ask about the "god" they were talking about and whether he could see him. As a group of people from France were leaving for India, this specially "blessed" taxi driver was given a air ticket and asked to join them. He came along with them to India, and straight away was seated in the first row. During Darshan, Sai Baba came up to him and asked "where is my 100 Francs? " . The devotees present with him were amazed at Sai Baba's Omniscient knowledge and confirmation of the "miracle".
Effect : This "great Miracle" of Sai Baba actually bilocating to France for a poor taxi driver and "seen" by so many devotees was spread around to all the devotee groups, along with "evidence" of the "miracle" and also Sai Baba's confirmation of all this. Everyone who hear it passed it on to more people, and nobody doubted this since they all "knew" already that Sai Baba was God and could easily do this.
Fact : What had actually happened was a man from some part of Paris was a stranger to all this Sai Baba phenomena, and someone had given him a book he had read. He got the address of a center in Paris and visited to see what it is all about. He had with him a book that had a picture of Sai Baba as he was traveling in the taxi , which the driver saw. He gave the driver 200 Francs , saying he will be back and went up. After the Bhajan session, someone offered to drive him back wherever he had to go, and he just forgot about the money he had given the driver. When the driver went in to the apartment he saw the photo of Sai Baba there and said " that is the picture my passenger had with him " and NOT "that is my passenger". Since the visitor was a stranger coming for the first time, and had already left with someone, no one knew his name and details and thought immediately that Sai Baba had "visited" them in the form of a stranger. They simply went on and on about Sai Baba 's "miracles" to the poor driver and tried to convince him it was indeed Sai Baba who had come. Later, some one got the bright idea of taking this "specially blessed " man to Puttaparthi , when that confused driver came back the next week. They thought, that taking him there will also get them an interview, and it will also be "seva" for a poor devotee to be taken to India, and arranged his ticket too. After coming to Prasanthi Nilayam, they tried to arrange an interview by informing the inner coterie of all the "details" of the "miracle" and so the group along with the driver was seated in the first row. Of course , news about this "miracle" was taken to Sai Baba, along with details of the 200 Francs etc. Sai Baba also got to know from students close by the French translation of "where is my 100 francs" for dramatic effect, and went ahead and "completed" the "miracle" for all to see.
Result:One more"miracle" into the record.
Re: Myth and Fact series
8/21/00 2:12 p.m.
Dear HariOm and others,
I am replying to a few queries by HariOm a little while back, and it may be useful for all to take a look at message #175 to understand what I mean.
Before I begin to answer, I would like to say that I find these queries very relevant and to the point, and that I had asked myself these questions when I was in the Ashram myself.
First of all, let me say those things that I know for a fact. Sai Baba is a HUGE fraud and has quite a few people helping him at various levels. Most of the serious help and active assistance comes from a very close inner coterie of not more than 6 to 10 individuals, almost all Indians, and been with Sai Baba for several decades. It is this group that has total control over the trust funds and report directly and only to Sai Baba.
There is second level of people probably numbering between 12 to 20 persons, and this includes a few overseas people. These people also sometimes report directly to Sai Baba , but mostly have to go through one of the inner coterie. This group does not control trust funds, but have limited access to funds based on Sai Baba and the inner coterie sanctioning it. It is from this section that very loyal and committed people are appointed to the inner coterie.
NOTE : ALL the people in the Inner coterie and the second circle KNOW for a fact that Sai Baba is hardly Divine but deliberately promote the belief among lower levels of followers.
Some functions of the Inner coterie: Overall organization of the Sai Baba funds, investing the money, interacting with Government agencies, politicians etc.
Some functions of the second group: Support layer for inner group, keeping the Sai Baba myth alive overseas, promoting activity among foreign devotees, subtly organizing big donations, and MOST IMPORTANTLY promoting the "miracles" part of the show , both among Indian nationals as well as foreign devotees. Most of the second layer people might be presidents of Sai councils in various countries, or big states in India.
To be contd.....
How it works... 1
8/21/00 2:53 p.m.
Having given a brief summary of the setup at the very top, here is a high level overview of how it all works. Remember that there are thousands of details attended to by hundreds of people at various levels on a daily basis, all with different levels of beliefs, loyalties and power.
The very innermost coterie are usually members of the Sai Baba central trust, and are rarely changed. This trust also includes very eminent men from high positions, but these "public figures" are never given any funds handling authority, but more to act as an effective link to the corridors of power, to add respectability to the Sai Baba org, and they have their own vested interests by way of career advancements, for gaining political favors in exchange for helping money laundering etc. These people usually are direct contacts of other members of the inner coterie who directly report to Sai Baba and have been "recruited" as a result of continuous visits over several years and having publicly committed themselves as "Sai Baba devotees".
These members of the central trust would probably have their partial or total involvement in all trust related activities and it would always be in their own interests to keep the "Sai Baba myth" floating, failing which they themselves would be in serious trouble.In fact, they happily go on, given the advantages of doing so, and the disaster of not doing so. ALL these people KNOW that Sai Baba is a fraud, but NEVER discuss it even among themselves. They compete among themselves to be Sai Baba's "right hand" and Sai Baba uses the policy of divide and rule and no one dares to even convey the impression that he believes Sai Baba to be a hoax.
One of the most reliable sources of information about these people is their immediate family members as I found out. Upon carefully cultivating relationships with some of their family members, I found that these people hardly had any respect for Sai Baba in private, were least worried about Sai Baba's "omniscience" or "powers" and NEVER relied upon Sai Baba's divinity when it came to matters concerning themselves. Also, whenever ANY report of a "miracle" was mentioned in their presence, they always had a "knowing" and cynical expression on their faces, something very strange for those who were very close to "god". Sai Baba , of course knows that they all know, but also that they are circumstantially in his power, often by choice.
Examples of these top level "recruits" would be eminent jurists, top judges, high level govt. officials etc . Examples of the "real in bred top coterie" would be very close members of Sai Baba's family, acquaintances from Sai Baba's early days, and also those "devotees" who had been demonstrating their "loyalty" after knowing everything about Sai Baba. NO ONE at this level ever believes Sai Baba's divinity because they all know he is NOT god, which is why they have been appointed.
to be contd.....
How it works... 2
8/21/00 3:28 p.m.
The members of the second level, usually comprising national level presidents of Sai Baba organizations and state level presidents of large states in India , have their own set of authorities and responsibilities. They completely control state level funds and country level finances in the case of overseas organizations. There are several smaller level trusts in all the countries, and also all the states in India. These trusts are supposedly meant for channeling money easily to the main Sai Baba central trust and they do that too, but the second level people are given ample opportunity to bag some money as a reward for "loyalty". All the accountants of the foreign councils, and state level trusts are appointed by these second level "presidents", most of whom are businessmen in their own lives.
Another common trick all these people do is to simply divert interest coming from the various trust investments into their own private funds and businesses, all with Sai Baba's "blessings". Also, they use the trust funds and huge investments as guarantees for raising loans for their businesses, and get favors from Financial institutions for putting the trust funds in those institutions.
Now, it is easy to understand why a Trust with known assets of around $ 15 billions has only ever contributed around Rs 1000 millions over its entire history . MONEY , very simply put, the same old weakness BIG MONEY , that is what makes the whole thing go around. Most people , even long time devotees ,have absolutely NO IDEA of the kind of big money involved. The value of huge estates and properties donated by wealthy devotees, long dead , is simply too much, and hardly a few people will ever have an accurate estimate. I have talked to a few second level accountants' families and what I have quoted above is from that source.
These national presidents and trust members keep their junior level officials of the Sai Baba org on a tight leash. The reward for these smaller level officials , for their "loyalty" is an annual interview with Sai Baba arranged by the second level trust members. Most of these people do not know the entire Sai Baba story, some of them even believe he is "divine" and powerful and act in misguided beliefs. Others know exactly what is happening, and are just playing their parts to get "promoted" as they would in any business. These people arrange all the conferences, delegations, devotee groups, seva deals, various activities of promoting the Sai Baba org like service activities, educational activities all over the world etc.
But it is usually only people from the second layer who get plum responsibilities like positions in the University, hospital etc.
To Be Contd.......
How it works... 3
8/22/00 2:01 p.m.
The trust members are the ones with maximum access to Sai Baba apart from the "special" students. Most of the college activities, welfare activities and Ashram administration is carried on by members of the second layer. The central trust members are also ruled by an iron hand and ALL checks would have to be signed by Sai Baba and one more member of the central trust.
Practically all the contracts and Ashram related businesses are given to members of the inner coterie and the second layer. The members of the second layer like presidents of councils overseas are ever on the lookout for "influential" and wealthy devotees from their countries. Whenever anyone like that comes along, a complete history of that person is gathered by the top official of that particular country and submitted to some member of the inner coterie.
When the unsuspecting wealthy devotee arrives in PN for the first time, he/she is given an apartment by "Swami's Grace" and worked on by members of the inner coterie. All that the devotee will ever hear is stories of "Swami's miracles" , "Swami's healing powers" etc, especially if that person has a health problem etc. And then Sai Baba will make that person wait for a reasonable time and "Grant" an interview, usually a short group meeting and promise another one soon. Sai Baba will tell them details of their personal lives from his "powers", actually what they would have told fellow group members or someone else. Later, they will get a private interview in which they will be given a "watch" , "materialized ring" etc and asked to do Sadhana , i.e. not talk to anyone about anything, especially Indian devotees and people in the village.
The devotee will be encouraged by Sai Baba to read only spiritual teachings (Sai Baba stories) and helped by the odd coincidence, interpretation of coincidences, "materialization" and the "spiritual atmosphere" would become completely brainwashed into thinking that Sai Baba has specially chosen them. After more talks about "seva" , "charity", "ceiling on desires" , "material detachment" etc, they will feel "blessed" enough by Swami to be "allowed" to make a donation, will ask him, and he will say " I don't want your money, only your heart" and refuse to take any money.
They will leave after their first trip, fully convinced about Sai Baba's Divinity, and also his sincerity. The overseas council president will keep a careful eye on them and ensure that they really think that Sai Baba does not want money. The wealthy devotee will feel they are not "pure" enough at that stage to give the Lord, and will patiently wait their turn and accumulate the money.
Later , after a couple of visits, and a lot of "pleading" with Swami to allow them to help his mission, they will be blessed with "purity" and "allowed to give without ego".
Result : One more fish bites the bait .
To be contd.....