CIA Thought Sathya Sai Baba's Movement Would Become a 'Worldwide Religion'

Hindustan Times (New Delhi, India), January 23, 2017 | Go to article overview

CIA Thought Sathya Sai Baba's Movement Would Become a 'Worldwide Religion'


India, Jan. 23 -- Unlike the movies, not all the work done by spies is cloak-and-dagger or dangerous snooping in exotic locations. Some of it can be very mundane, such as checking the backgrounds of key personalities in a country and preparing a dossier to be sent higher up the chain.

Like the Central Intelligence Agency's rather fanciful report from the 1990s on Sathya Sai Baba, which hailed the late spiritual guru with the distinctive Afro hairdo as a man who could "counterbalance the appeal of Hindu chauvinists and ethnic separatists".

The 16-page report, titled Cultural Trends Study: India's Sai Baba Movement, is among some 13 million declassified documents from the CIA that have been released online. The report was marked "Secret", the agency's second highest classification, and was not meant to be released to any foreign nationals.

The author of the report, whose name has been redacted, began with some key judgements, including the growth of a "worldwide mass religious movement" around the "alleged miracle worker" and the belief that Sai Baba's "well-organised and financed movement.may even become another worldwide religion".

After an exposition on cultural trends, the Hindu religion and the 'sadhus' and 'sannyassins' of India running into almost three pages, the report refers to Sai Baba's claim to be the "Kalki Avatar", whom the CIA operative likens to the return of Jesus Christ or the Muslim Mahdi who is expected to "create a new world of peace and justice".

"In fact, he says he is the Biblical second coming. While such claims may be incredible, most of his devotees believe him," the report states.

Highlights

A trove of 930,000 declassified documents, running into more than 12 million pages, recently posted online by the CIA provides fascinating insights into the way the US spy service covered India.

Hindustan Times did a deep dive into the documents to find out how the CIA tracked important events and personalities in India over a period of more than five decades beginning in the late 1940s.

The report refers in a serious tone to the many "miracles" linked to Sai Baba, such as his ability to change his shape, read minds, and materialise objects such as jewellery, hot food and live animals with a wave of his hand, as well as 'vibhuti' (holy ash) and 'amritha' (nectar) exuding from the guru's photos. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

CIA Thought Sathya Sai Baba's Movement Would Become a 'Worldwide Religion'
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.