Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Anti-Christ of latter days

A review of "Sathya Sai Baba, The Christ of Our Days" 

This is a pamphlet promoting the Indian guru Sathya Sai Baba and his teachings. It's written by a Russian devotee, Vladimir Antonov, and is said to have been blessed by the guru himself. The text is short and relatively uninteresting.

Sai Baba's philosophy is broadly similar to Advaita Vedanta with admixtures of Vaishnava devotionalism. The avatar of the present age is said to be Sai Baba himself, in effect making him a direct manifestation of God or the Divine. While this makes him sound almost megalomaniacal to secular Westerners, Jesus made similar claims (at least according to the Gospel of John). Overall, Sai Baba's message sounds like a long string of Hindu commonplaces. Buddhists and even Christians might also find things to agree with in this material.

For some reason, Antonov doesn't mention the more distinct Sai teachings. Thus, Sathya Sai Baba claimed to be the second of three Sai Baba incarnations, the third (known as Prema Sai Baba) arriving in 2033 to usher in a New Age or Golden Age after first purging the Earth from all its sinful inhabitants in a virtual apocalypse! The sinners are presumably the majority of the population which refuses to accept God's triple incarnation…

Sathya Sai Baba is mostly known for his supposed ability to materialize physical objects in the blink of an eye, including holy ash, rings, flowers and wristwatches! In the West, he got the reputation (at least among skeptics) for being something of a conman or stage magician. Even the Amazing Randi cracked a few negative comments about the god-man from Andhra Pradesh. Antonov mentions the miracles, but chooses to concentrate on the actual message of Sai Baba instead.

Later, more serious allegations against the Indian guru were made. Ex-devotees claimed that “God” was really a pedophile and pederast, sexually exploiting his devotees or their children for decades. Sai Baba was never charged with anything in India, but in the Western world his reputation was pretty much destroyed by the accusations. It's possible that Sai Baba's contacts with high-ranking Indian politicians shielded him from further investigation.

Of course, the true believer Antonov doesn't say anything about this. In the end, I will only give this pamphlet two stars.

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