Sathya Sai Baba -- who died in April, 2011 -- was the guru of, among others, Isaac Tigrett, founder of the Hard Rock Cafe.
Sai Baba is the founder of the Sathya Sai Baba Society, and is perhaps the dominant guru in India, having over 20,000,000 followers in that nation; through his writings he is also having an impact in America
Part of the appeal of the Baba, as he is called by followers and others here, is that ever since the 1940's he has been preaching an unusual mixture of faiths and encouraging religious tolerance.
A senior aide to the Baba whispered that the spiritual leader's full name, Sri Sathya Sai Baba, signified holy, truth, divine mother and divine father.
Preaching the five principles of truth, peace, love, nonviolence and right conduct, the Baba "represents unity of religion, all religions," not just Hinduism, the aide said.
Many former devotees around the world accuse Sai Baba of sexual molestation.
The sexual exploits of the guru were exposed 30 years ago by Tal Brooke, a former high-ranked devotee who now runs a cult-watch group in the US. "It appears that now he is out of control. The problem is that people have such faith that these allegations would kill them spiritually," he said from his home in California.
Disillusioned by the scandals, many disciples have been turning away from Satya Sai Baba and to the 35 year-old Palghat (Kerala) born Bala Sai Baba. Bala Sai claims to be the real Sai avatar. He has set up an ashram in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh. He dresses like Satya Sai Baba, performs the same kind of 'miracles' and has been successful in attracting a large number of devotees. He too has western disciples.
From their first meeting, Brooke was heralded by Sai Baba, India's greatest miracle-working godman, as the inner-circle disciple who, like Oppenheimer at Los Alamos, would help trigger the explosion of India's ancient mystical tradition into the Western world.
Within Baba's enchanted realm, Brooke saw and experienced things that seemed to obliterate all Western conceptions of reality as his journey vectored further into an alien universe. What had appeared as the prized state of godlike enlightenment, which seemed just within reach, became a precipice - not of enlightenment - but obliteration, even possession. Brooke was becoming a captive soul of an ancient inner transformation, while Baba's outward divinity concealed a timeless, demonic presence.
After two years of surrender to a Being who claimed to be God on earth, something remarkable happened. The end-game of spiritual powers ensnaring one man's soul turned abruptly and miraculously. Poised on the edge of a precipice, Brooke was rescued from above.
With hauntingly vivid images, unexpected humor, and a profound passion for truth, Brooke lays bare the powerful reality of good and evil and of things beyond the familiar realm of the senses, in a book that will not be easily forgotten.
Examines, "in summary form, the paranormal claims made about Indian guru and holy man Sri Sathya Sai Baba, and various investigations that have been done of them.
The summary is intended for two audiences: those who have heard of Sathya Sai Baba through the second-hand stories told by devotees, but who have not looked at the original sources of these stories; and those who are familiar with some of the writings of devotees but not with the literature of those who have made investigations of his claims."
»Religion News Blog RNB logs current and archived news about religious cults, sects, alternative religions and related issues. »Google News Predefined Search. If current news is available on this topic, you will find it here.
In recent months, a storm of allegations have appeared - spurred by a document called The Findings, compiled by an English former devotee named David Bailey - which threaten to shake the very foundations of Sai Baba's holy empire. Sai Baba may represent an ancient tradition of belief, but the instrument of accusation against him is an altogether modern one. Originally published in document form, The Findings quickly found its way on to the Internet, where it has become the catalyst for a raging cyberspace debate about whether Sai Baba is truly divine or, as one disenchanted former devotee describes him, ''a dangerous paedophile''.
"The truth about this controversial guru involves much more than the widely disseminated sexual allegations. Relevant documentary evidence and discussion is available online and in the extensive body of Sathya Sai Baba literature. Academic interest in the wider picture is slowly awakening."
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First posted: Aug. 5, 2002
Last Updated: Apr. 11, 2011)
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