The Godman of India

By Gogineni, Babu | Skeptic (Altadena, CA), Fall 1999 | Go to article overview

The Godman of India

Gogineni, Babu, Skeptic (Altadena, CA)


WHEN A LUMINESCENT BALL OF LIGHT ENTERED Easwaramma while she was bathing, little did she, or Pedda Venkappa Raju, her illiterate husband, realize that the Lord had chosen her surrogate womb for His next parthenogenetic incarnation. Official literature enlightens us that the Lord's coming was anticipated long ago by Jesus and Mohammed. For those who cannot find the relevant passages in their version of the Bible or Koran, a more contemporary declaration was made by the Lord Himself. In 1918 during His earlier incarnation as the Sai Baba of Shirdi, He had revealed that eight years after leaving the Shirdi body, He would be reborn in Puttaparthi village of Andhra Pradesh, India, as Satya Sai Baba. So to fulfill of these predictions, the Lord grew in the womb of Easwaramma, "as the moon grows in the sky," and a male child was born on November 23, 1926. To mark the momentous significance of the event, musical instruments in the house played by themselves at the time of the birth: the thambura twanged melodiously , the maddela accompanied it with a soft beat, a divine fragrance pervaded the air, and a cobra, lord of reptiles, waited in attendance to protect the Lord. It is fair to assume that just as with the birth of the Buddha, elephants trumpeted in joy, peacocks danced, and the gods rejoiced.

Despite His omniscience, Satyanarayana Raju--for that was his given name--went to school where the playful display of his miraculous powers was soon recognized by all. Friends came to love him for his magically created gifts, and teachers feared his just wrath: one of them would not come unstuck from his chair, unless he begged for forgiveness and expressed remorse for ill treating the children. In 1940, at the age of 15, after torturous treatment by doctors for suspected mental illness, Satyanarayana Raju revealed His avatar-hood to the world and identified Himself as Satya Sai Baba. As He was to reveal later to his disciples, "I, the Lord, incarnated at Puttaparthi. Buddha, Christ, Mohammed and others were not avatars. They had some divine power.... My power is infinite; My Truth is inexplicable, even unfathomable. My task is the regeneration of humanity by Truth and Love." We are reassured that when the present incarnation would be over at age 96, in the year 2022, He would be reborn as Prema Sai in Mandy a district of Karnataka.


Satya Sai Baba would often say "miracles are my visiting cards"--a phrase which is also the title of a largely hearsay, cock-and-bull account of Satya Sai Baba's paranormal powers by Icelandic para-psychologist Errlelndur Haraldsson. Despite His insistence that His religious message was more important than the "tinsel" miracles He performed, the stupendous "powers" of Satya Sai Baba soon came to be known all over the world.

Based on the "most reliable information," but mistaking God for guru, the Reader's Digest book Strange Stories, Amazing Facts-II gives us this credulous account: "Sai Baba is an Indian guru blessed with extraordinary powers. He can produce gold rings and coins out of thin air, change rock into candy, and flowers into jewels. He heals the sick with the aid of vibhuti (sacred wood ash), which seems to appear from nowhere as he waves his hand. Perhaps the most astonishing display of Sai Baba's powers took place in 1953, when the blue and stiff body of Radhakrishna, which was cold, shrunken, and starting to decompose, was brought back to life by Baba. In the 50 years that Sai Baba has been demonstrating his apparently miraculous powers, no one has found any evidence of trickery."

In addition to these reports, Dr. John Hislop, American industrialist and management consultant, and also Chairman of the Central Committee of American Sai, earnestly explained how in 1971 Satya Sai Baba resurrected Walter Cowan, declared dead due to cardiac failure. The late Dr. Suri Bhagavantam, director of the prestigious Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, and Scientific Advisor to the Government of India, and also Baba's interpreter, narrated how once Satya Sai Baba created out of nowhere a copy of the Bhagavadgita. …

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