Debunked Pseudoscience & Religion

The Bhagwan of Puttaparthi

Ordinary mortals in critical condition need life support systems, but why does a so-called God-man need them?

Sathya Sai Baba

“I do not suffer from any kind of disease because there is no trace of greed in Me. That is why I am always healthy…” (Sanathana Sarathi September 2001, page 257f) 186)

Purity, patience and perseverance. With these three you are bound to acquire good health and bliss. You may believe it or not. But the truth is that these three are responsible for my health (Arogya) and bliss (Ananda)” (Sanathana Sarathi July 1995, p. 173).

Well it is said that it is bad to hit a man who is down. But, the same does not apply to God himself! Today, the God of Puttaparthi Bhagwan Sri Satya Sai Baba, whose real name happens to be Satya Narayana Raju is in the ICU on a ventilator and other such life support systems. While ordinary mortals like us require such things, one always wonders why a God should need all those? In fact, the newspaper reports have stated that at one point of time there were 27 doctors attending on him! Certainly these doctors are not any ordinary ones but those with a roaring practice considered quite competent in their field. One wonders what is happening to their other patients when they are all busy attending on this God. Anyway, it is a wonder as to why someone whose miraculously materialized holy ash or vibhuti and has allegedly cured thousands of people from various diseases from Arthritis to Zollinger’s syndrome has to be attended on by mundane humans! Is it that as many claim, one’s own medicine does not work on oneself?

This 85 year old god started his career as a small time prestidigitator ‘materialising’ things like sweets for his school mates. He also claimed to be an avatar of the Shirdi Sai Baba who is a much revered saint from the eponymous place in Maharashtra. However, he was not allowed to step into that place! The temple there is a very prosperous one and those controlling that would have been certainly scared of him taking over the place! Starting with small time miracles like materialising things such as small trinkets and vibhuti or holy ash, he soon moved to the big leagues. He started with his present headquarters in Andhra Pradesh called Puttaparthi, which grew from a small village to the major pilgrimage center that it is now with its own airport and railway station. He started attracting devotees from all over the world particularly from the very materialistic West and those people who were spiritually minded, and started his missions all over the world. As his fame grew, politicians from India started flocking to him probably seeing him as a store house for their ill-gotten black money. These so called ashrams of these alleged godmen are a major store house for the ill-gotten wealth of these politicians and a source of corruption too. It would be very appropriate to bring these too under scrutiny of the to-be-drafted Lokpal Bill! However, one can be sure that this will not be done as many such are the supporters of Anna Hazare, the new middle class messiah. His supporters have managed to keep away whom they call corrupt politicians but the same yardstick has not been applied to such so -called godmen!

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More than anything this so-called god has been ascribed many miracles. There are numerous biographies of him, or rather hagiographies, crediting him with a plethora of miracles. One should take a look at these as they are what he calls his visiting cards. His most famous ‘miracle’ of materialising holy ash or vibhuti has been exposed innumerable times with video clips all over the web making their rounds. A series made by the Channel IV called Guru Busters that exposed how this trick is done with a pellet of ash hidden in between the fingers and crushed with the rotation of the palm. This has been ascribed miraculous powers by many of his gullible devotees which include eminent physicians too! In fact one such person has gone on record claiming that her patients had been maintained on doses of this panacea. It has been claimed to cure a variety of disorders of organic and functional origin. It has been credited with providing solutions to a number of family, social and probably national problems too. This holy ash however is the present to ordinary mortals who flock to Puttaparthi for a glimpse of their god.

Manmohan Singh with Sathya Sai BabaThe VIPs who visit him are presented with a variety of trinkets like rings, chains and such. However, all the objects which he claims to materialize can be easily hidden in a closed fist and then this is rotated to make it appear as if the object is appearing from thin air. He has been caught in this act many times particularly in video footage by Doordarshan the national channel controlled by the government, when he tried to ‘materialise’ a gold chain from under a memento at a function held at Hyderabad in the presence of the then Prime Minister of India P.V.Narasimha Rao and a number of other VIPs. He wanted to show the whole nation his greatness by getting the same broadcast on the national news to snub his detractors. On the contrary, this video footage showed clearly his modus operandi! This was noticed by an editor of the footage and it was not broadcasted. But, the same was obtained by our movement and started making its rounds all over the country and is now on youtube too. The very same happened to his regurgitation of a gold Shiva lingam on Shivaratri, when he used to bring out the object hidden in a towel, put into his mouth under the pretext of wiping his face and making it appear as if it was coming from his stomach. It was claimed that his body contains a lot of gold which comes out as these lingams. On a particular occasion in 2004 when BBC was filming this, the lingams failed to ‘materialise’ and he vomited some bile. His devotees claimed that what used to come out as solid has emerged as a liquid this time! That was the last time he tried this trick.

Likewise, he has been credited with bringing back to life dead people, converting water into petrol, sand into Bhagavdgita, many different types of fruits from a single tree and many such “miracles”. However, not one of them has been corroborated by independent witnesses or under experimental conditions. He has been challenged innumerable times by us to let his so called miracles be investigated, or perform them under experimental conditions after scrutiny. Abraham Kovoor from Sri Lanka was one of the first to publicly challenge him. Dr.H.Narasimhaiah, a former vice chancellor of the Bangalore University, had constituted a committee for the scientific investigation of so called miracles in the 1970s and had written to him asking for those to be performed under controlled conditions. He had explained that as a physicist he could not believe that something could come from nothing and had requested him to be a subject for an experiment to verify his so-called materialization of things from thin air. He was met at first with silence and was then subjected to vicious personal attacks.

Later Premanand took on this so-called godman by performing his so-called miracles in public and explaining the tricks behind them. He trained thousands of volunteers to perform these and they started doing these all over the country to demonstrate to the common man how they are done. Now, I am continuing this work at the national and international levels giving these demonstrations and training thousands on how these tricks are done. We have laid down challenges to anyone claiming to have such powers, to come forward and perform them under controlled conditions and win huge awards. But so far none has come forward.

Sai Baba’s devotees defend him by pointing to the so-called charitable work which he has been doing. They don’t realize that the whole thing is a facade behind which a huge empire thrives. This is now said to be in billions and there is a big struggle to seize control over it. On one hand there are his relatives who want to take over everything, while on the other there is the trust which has many so called VIPs including retired judges and other bureaucrats. He has also many public figures in the list of his devotees. Now that he is on his death bed these have been threatening to come out into the open. One of reasons why he has been kept away from the public is that all the legalities have to be done when he is alive. If he has not made any will and the whole empire is in his name, then his family will inherit it all! On the other hand if he has made one bequeathing his property to the Trust, he has to live for a year after making one. One has every reason to suspect that he has been kept on life support systems to wait for an appropriate time to switch it off. No one is allowed to see him because of this. Occasional reports are put out that he is improving just for public satisfaction. It would be the best if all his properties be taken over by the government and used for the public purpose they were supposedly intended for. The claimants for the assets should not have any objections to that! Anyway, none of it is his personal property. They are all built from the contributions from the public.

By the time this comes into your hands I am sure that things would have reached a stage where state intervention will be needed. What is made from public contributions for supposedly charitable purposes, should be used for that purpose only. His super specialty hospitals, educational institutions and such are all for such purposes and should be put to such uses only. This would prevent any ugly turn of events and will also be a way to satisfy his devotees who supposedly number in the millions.

About the author

Narendra Nayak


  • A great article, Sir. The ‘editor’ who discovered the bogus miracle of the gold-chain on tape was a friend of my father, who worked in the same office( Doordarshan, New Delhi).When i was a child, my father used to tell me about this bogus baba and his skulduggery. The tape was too embarrassing and was (un)duly suppressed and my father’s friend was under strict instructions too keep mum.

      • It is suspected that Sai Baba has been kept on life support while a battle royale is going on among the top bureaucrats of his casino for the control of his enormous wealth. It is said that there is enormous amount of gold and cash accumulated in his personal treasury. So expect him to “live on” till the machines break down. Then all hell will break loose. Thousands of his devotees will go into mourning and many would commit suicide or end up in psychiatric hospitals.

        I think what will happen is that the whole matter will end up in court, but not before a couple of people are bumped off. Then the victorious will make even more money by selling Sai Baba memorabilia such as statues, ash, trinkets, photos, or even his pubic hair. Sai Baba, like Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley, will be even more lucrative dead than alive.

  • On dangerous vulnerability of human minds:

    If you are a Doctor, your diagnosis and medications are relying on immutable ( and observable, understandable and predictable) laws (physics, chemistry,biology etc).

    This should inform ones beliefs in other areas too.

    The educational profiles of some of the followers (doctors, engineers etc.) and their beliefs are so contrasting that it provides insight about working of human mind. To me this vulnerability is what is exploited by some (clever and sick) individuals, to train terrorist, especially suicide bombers..

    I support “assertive” approach by atheist ( like those associated with Nirmukta). Given the advancement in technology (increasing number of countries can now produce weapons of mass destruction- chemical,biological and nuclear bombs ) we have to “reduce the number of minds” ( though educating them) capable of inflicting severe damage on humanity (while believing that they will be rewarded in heaven with many material things, in addition to unlimited sex..At the least this proves that the “real” motivators are still material but the place of enjoyment is not on Earth..)

    Every religion has his own version of paradise..So I am not refer to any particular one..

    Let us keep spreading reason and science. Persistently and tactfully ( because destructive emotions are triggered).

    My dig on certain acts of magic:

    When I see objects made to appear from nothing and made to disappear, my thoughts immediately pull up E=MC2 ( c squared) and I compare those scientific minds (giants in my opinion) with the tricksters. The amount of energy involved in such appearances/disappearances is so immense that you can expect the whole district to be wiped out !!!(that fortunately does not happen).

  • Shame on the Indian Bloody Media, controlled by rich & in-famous bastards, fooling public, writing all non-sense & still trying to prove that he is a god & showing only the pics that are “CLEAN”, they should show the pics where he wears saree & his postures to photographs like a female…, his bloody tricks are open & shame on all who attend his funeral, the only thing is his charity which leds people to be more concerned to praise him, but one cannot see the behind of it, cheating people & getting money & from that doing charity, hospitals etc., what a non-sense!. The biggest shame “President of India” taking his blessing by keeping himself on his feet. Every of his sins has a reason by his bloody supporters. He mentioned to public that he will live for 96 years & then take another roop…….. & he ended up at 85, that too died like a dog………….!!! All mysterious, his people, his life & his fame…………….

  • Amusing! Despite knowing that these miracles are anything but that, simply parlor tricks, SSB continues to attract followers by the million. For the residents of Puttaparthi SSB is a great benefactor, not because he fed them for free, but because his trusts built infrastructure, making it possible for the residents to practice their trade and craft in peace and make an honest living. The children of the citizens of this town have gone on to make careers in other fields and lead a contented life. SSB has created no clergy and his followers are nothing more than camp followers. Few of them are dependent upon the trust for a living. One of the trustees is PN Bhagawati a former CJ of the Supreme Court, another is Venu Srinivasan a scion of the TVS family, neither one of them needs the money, Venu especially! Several doctors at the two hospitals resply in Whitefield and Puttaparthi are well established professionals (some of them from outside India) who volunteer for extended duration simply to provide the best possible care for free. Bill Gates, the Ramakrishna Mission (a tribute to the foresight of Swami Vivekananda) and SSB’s trust are all to be credited for removing misery not by dispensing platitude and nostrum but by providing services and infrastructure – sanitation in the case of SSB, health care in the case of RKM and immunization and AIDS prevention info in the case of Bill Gates. Unlike the Pope who believes suffering is a gift from the sky fairy, SSB, RKM and Bill Gates believe suffering is unacceptable, and by that they don’t mean some airy fairy “spiritual hunger” or some such nonsense, they mean real material deprivation.
    From all you have raved and ranted it is pretty clear that these vast infrastructure projects of the SSB trust have really worked for the good of the people. When not even his worst detractors can find fault with the works, they must indeed be good.

  • U WILL NEVER question,dare to target any muslim mulla, or a christain church priest, bcoz u feel its matter to be non-secular. pls with secularity dont target hindus only.

    • There is something about religious believers that makes them really stupid when their religious heroes are challenged. Without any evidence they immediately assume that anyone who questions them must be in favor of other religious beliefs. This is beyond silly. This is just plain childish. Grow up. We are equally against all religions and superstitions. If you stop protecting your own religion and start looking at others objectively, you might not make such stupid comments in the future.

    • It’s got nothing to do with religion. If there was a Christian or muslim figure in India with the same influence and wealth as Saibaba he/she would be criticised the same way as well. It is one thing to be superstitious, but it’s something else to keep defending a pedophile conman. What are you holding on to? Your ‘god’ is dead, like any other human being, and his vast hidden stores of wealth are there for all to see. Instead of rationally evaluating your beliefs you lash out at those who point out serious flaws in a man you worshipped as god.

  • Dear readers,
    Keep in mind that our body is made up of blood flesh and bones as years passes it will get affected by ageing and at last the death will happen. Consider the history that happened since 2000 years ago our Jesus the God died as simple human being we all know that he have the power to destroy all the bad people who made him sufferings. But he never did that, and he died as a simple human man. In Hindu Purana there are Rama and Krishna they were God and they leaved this world as humans. because when the birth happens as a human the death will also will happen like human. this is the law of our mother nature. Accept that fact and i am saying not to trust him if you don’t have belief in him. Think the good things that he had presented to this world. creating education for free, Giving super specialty hospitals for free treatment, removing the thirst of lakhs of people in Chennai, Andhra etc. Think if a person whose aim is to earn money illegally he will spend that for himself and make him grow but see the scenario here.
    Think think think again
    your brother

  • It has been proven conclusively(google David Lane PhD)-that Sai Baba was a fake mystic. That does not prove that there aren’t REAL mystics out there.
    I know I was impressed when my friend showed me the ashes that she got from the Sai Baba group when she was in India.
    Why is it so difficult for human beings not to know the difference between Truth and Falsehood????????????-JM

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