“Go see Sai Baba in Bangalore”

neem-karoli-baba-samadhiIf there was one guru I didn’t want to see in India, it was Satya Sai Baba. Between his dubious miracles, his afro haircut and the way he put on such a show, something about him really turned me off, even before I started hearing the rumours about him. So I wasn’t exactly thrilled when Neem Naroli Baba told me to “go see Sai Baba in Bangalore.

In this case, it was a “direct order.” Maharaji was leaving his Vrindavan ashram. As was often the case, he wasn’t telling us where he was going and we were expected to leave the ashram. I got the rare opportunity to briefly ask him a question before he left, so I asked him where I should go in his absence. His answer made me reluctant, though, so I decided to take a roundabout way of getting there.

First I went to Mumbai (then still called Bombay by most), where I called in on a soothsayer a lot of people swore by. He proceeded to tell me I would lead a relatively unremarkable life. I would never be rich, but I would have enough. I was going to have an indeterminate number of children and my later life would be more challenging and successful than my middle years. In retrospect, I can see that he was dead right, especially about the children, which he couldn’t see clearly. Well, I have two biological children and now have four young children who call me ‘Papa’ and who depend upon me.

Photo from Gil and Ariane's Scrapbook
Photo from
Gil and Ariane’s Scrapbook

From Mumbai, I took the ferry to Goa. I’m told Goa is much the same today as it was back then only bigger and more upmarket. Back in 1972 (or was it still ’71?), all that existed in the way of backpacker accommodations was little shacks on the beach and I’m sure there were no big hotels or resorts. The weather was glorious and after such a long stretch of time away from the beach and the hippy lifestyle, I decided to take a break from “the spiritual life” and try hedonism for a few days. Without going into graphic detail, let’s just say I pulled out all the stops, largely because of a beautiful French girl wearing nothing but a lime green loincloth (mine was day glow orange) I met on the beach on my first day. That interlude lasted all of an hour, because she and her boyfriend were leaving, but it set the stage for the remainder of my sojourn in Goa.

After a few days naked in the Goa sun, I developed a bad case of sunstroke. To top it off, I had diarrhoea, probably from the suss food I was eating and water I was drinking. Wasted and miserable, I decided to move on to Bangalore, as instructed by Maharaji. I still wasn’t excited about seeing Sai Baba, but it seemed prudent to take a break from the Goa lifestyle.


The truth is, I don’t remember anything about my trip to Bangalore except the moments before and after the occurrence I’ll describe shortly. I don’t remember how I got there, where I stayed, what or where I ate or how long I stayed. It’s all wiped from my memory banks. I do remember running across an old friend from Maui, because it was he who told me how my girlfriend had died two years previously. I knew she was dead because my former employer had sent me a telegram, but it was Bob (who had changed his name to ‘Baba’ and pronounced himself a guru) who told me she had driven off a cliff on the road to Hana. Strangely enough, I don’t remember meeting another friend and “saving his life” when I found him suffering from a bad case of hepatitis: his son told me about that some 20 years later when he stayed at my house in Australia. This is my one vivid memory from my trip to Bangalore:

sai-baba-darshanIt had to have been on the first or second day of my stay in Bangalore because I remember being barely able to drag myself to the scheduled Satya Sai Baba darshan. I wasn’t in the least bit keen to do it, but that’s what Maharaji had told me to do, so that’s what I was going to do. Somehow, I got a “front row seat.” From memory, there was a wide central pathway (I even remember a red carpet?!?) on either side of which long rows of devotees awaited Sai Baba’s appearance. While they waited in breathless anticipation of his arrival, I slumped miserably in the half lotus position, which was comfortable for me then, waiting for it to all be over.

When Sai Baba made his appearance, it was exactly as I imagined it would be. He sauntered down the aisle, stopping now and then to bless a random devotee or make a little vibhuti. As he got closer to me, I became increasingly determined not to touch his feet if he came up to me or show him any other kind of respect. By then I had heard about his alleged sexual exploits. In fact, I think it was “Baba” (Bob) who warned me about him, but I could be wrong. As the story goes, he was a hermaphrodite who liked to have sex with boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 21 – or something like that.

Anyway, I was thinking about these things as he approached. Together with my sunstroke and diarrhoea, I was in no mood for niceties when Sai Baba sauntered up to me. I didn’t even bother to sit up straight, much less touch his feet. In fact, I positively glowered at him. What did he do in response? He smiled, said, “Acha! Very Good!” and tapped me gently on the top of the head.

I remember a rush of energy rising up my spine. I’d felt it many times before in meditation, but never that intensely or instantly. It actually spontaneously straightened my back and lifted my head. Whether what happened next was samadhi or not, I can’t tell you. I can’t tell you anything. It wasn’t samadhi as I had (possibly – it depends on one’s definition of the word, I suppose) previously experienced it. There were no waves of bliss. It was more like a waking deep sleep – no mental activity at all, but no loss of consciousness. When I “awoke” from it, I had no sense of time having passed, yet the courtyard was nearly deserted, so Sai Baba’s darshan must have ended some time before.

It took me a few minutes to regain my bearing and stand up, but when I did, I realised that my sunstroke was gone. I felt strong and healthy again and my mind was crystal clear. This didn’t come as a revelation or relief to me, though: it was just what had happened. Surprisingly, it didn’t change my attitude towards Sai Baba, either, other than to make me less judgemental about him. I felt no compulsion to have another darshan and I never did. Instead, I must have made arrangements to travel back to Brindavan, because I remember passing through Rajasthan on my way north.

Interestingly, this marks, more or less, one year since Satya Sai Baba’s death. Even that is a matter of controversy. Some say the actual day of his death was earlier than Easter Sunday, 2011, but those in charge kept it a secret in order to give the day greater significance. To be fair to Sai Baba, here is something he had to say about the current state of the world that rings true to me:

The passage of time has clouded the splendour of the message, the fascination exercised by the material and the worldly has drawn them away from the path, and the expansion of science and technology has made them conceited and wrong-headed. So, people now relish the very things prohibited and promote the very things condemned by religion. All religions teach that one should revere the parents and evince gratitude to them; but, ridiculing them and neglecting them have become fashionable now. All religions lay down that the aged are to be honoured, since they are the repositories of experience and their guidance is indispensable; but, now elders and the aged are treated as nuisances and handicapped. All religions insist on truth; but now, the man who sticks to truth is laughed at as if he were a fool. Cruelty and violence, condemned by all religions, have raised themselves to the status of weapons of progress and means for desirable ends. However, the basic truths of religion are not affected or tarnished by the evil that men practise or the competitive propaganda they indulge in.

  • Brenda Macedo

    It’s ironic that Neem Karoli Baba would instruct you to see Satya Sai Baba, a known pedophile and a misogynist. According to many sources, who I spoke with personally, there were murders in his ashram. I know of others who were lured by Satya Sai Baba and invited to come to India in their dreams with their sons. He ended up molesting their sons. When they tried to leave, their passports were confiscated. They had to escape with their children and they fled from one temple to the next trying to get away from his henchmen.

    Satya Sai Baba’s followers justify his molestation of young boys . They claim that by massaging the genitals, he’s trying to relieve them of their sexual karma…But then why isn’t he massaging the genitalia of old men?

    Krisna saw all things equally, a rock, a plant, and all people. Why would Satya Sai Baba only choose to molest young boys, and say, not old men?

    Upon investigating the teachings on pedophelia by the Ascended Masters, I discovered that the reason pedophiles go for children and the youth, is because children “hold the light for the planet.”

    Children have the most energy retained in their chakras. Pedophiles try to steal that shakti.

    They are sexual vampires.

    This is why false gurus focus on children and steal their shakti.

    Satya Sai proponents claim that this is a smear campaign by Christian fundamentalists, but these complaints are heard from people from different religions. His proponents also claim that he must be a saint because he has many devotees working for him in the Satya Sai Baba hospital. These devotees are unaware that Satya Sai Baba is reaping the karma of their good deeds. Whenever you perform good deeds in the name of someone else, like Satya Sai Baba, the fallen yogi reaps the good karma from your good deeds. The Ascended Masters call this “Karma Dodging.” The fallen yogi, through the good works of and sacrifices of others, is able to dodge his own karma and continue his misdeeds. Don’t let him fool you because he can manipulate your thoughts and feelings.

    • Here is a western lady who says that neem karoli baba is wrong and she is right. Btw, Amritananda mayi told someone in my family to go and see sai baba. Ganapathi sachithananda and kanchi sankaracharya (Check the popular singer MS Subbulakshmi life history) have told countless people to go and see sai baba. Lot of worldly people follow media and so can misjudge baba. I have an interest in many saints and when I visit them – I found most of their devotees hostile towards sathya sai baba, because he does miracles. Its better to be a worldly guy than someone in spiritual circle and hating other gurus.

      If Lord Krishna can do miracles, there are millions open minded enough to accept the fact that another avatar of that power can come again. and will come again and again.

      You can tell a lie. But you cannot prove it. You can just keep saying “It happened to someone else…”. Did you see it in person? no. Then why bother wasting time and adding fuel to your hate? at the end of day, you are the one who is losing your spiritual growth and not sai baba! Remember – Silence is the best. Even if you think you are right, silence is golden. The power that made the world knows how to sustain and manage it.

      • Brenda Macedo

        Thank you Kris. Yes, it is entirely possible that Swamini told me one thing, and Amma is saying another thing. I have heard that Amma lies. I don’t make a habit of lying because if you lie, you lose your power of speech in your next lifetime. And I am not lying about this. Thank you for letting me know…but no matter what Amma says, even if she did tell someone to go see Satya Sai Baba, he is still a child molester. The United States Department of State denied Satya Sai Baba into America because of so many complaints of him molesting children. That is why he’s never been to this country.

        • Again the information is wrong. Based on BBC one sided allegation documentary, US govt was led to believe… …. The US Department of State- Bureau of Consular Affairs withdrew its indirect and erroneous reference to Sathya Sai Baba from their official website on July 17th, 2007.

          Again, sai baba did only one trip to africa. He never wanted to leave India and never applied in the first place to get “denied”.

          Kindly, please, only refer to details that you are a first hand person witness too.

          Btw, you may think that i am exaggerating – sathya sai baba did materialize before my father in an accident at morning 4am. This is first hand incident.

          I am a direct witness to vibuthi pouring out of sai baba picture in my home for 3 years. Foot steps of vibuthi appear all ofa sudden. Strange fragrances. Unknown flowers that are not native to India appear on his chair. Chocolates and candies appear from now where in huge amounts…

          Again, I am a first hand witness to all this. Sai baba once came in my mothers dream and told that he came to her house because of the ancestors good deeds.

          Those who claimed as molested by sai baba, they could neither prove nor continue with their lies for long. All those appear on BBC documentary dropped their charges on their own accord.

          Btw, I have heard of few people who used to be close to sai baba and when his attention to them stopped, they couldn’t take it any more and went on a smear campaign.

          Precisely, a human cannot know his own family members that well, then how can you blame someone whom you have not met once or studied for a while to really understand whats happening?


          • Brenda Macedo

            Are you so enamored with a fallen yogi simply because his photograph shits out chocolate candy and ashes? That’s the problem, Indians and Westerners alike are fascinated by black magicians who can produce “miracles” that it blinds them to the truth of who they are…And speaking of who is who…who is Swami Chinmayananda? Never heard of him. What sampradaya does he come from? And what qualifies him to comment on Satya Sai Baba, who by the way also does not come from any bonafide sampradaya. And if you ask the devotees of the original Shirdi Sai Baba if they believe they are the same, they will emphatically say, “NO.”

          • Am not going to take interest to help you understand the difference between black magic and divine leelas. Your are already strong in your belief, and if thats your life purpose I hope it helps you reach your goal.

            What sampradaya Rama is from? And Sankaracharya is from? Ramana Maharishi is from?

            The same that qualifies you to comment on Saibaba, also makes him eligible to comment. That’s fair. And his comment is valid – coz he spent time and met saibaba in person to understand him.

            Most humans around the world will only follow a saint after the holy being leaves the physical body. When they are alive, people hate and spread rumors. Saibaba case is no different.

            Relatives of Kaka-deekshid, and few others who spent time physically with Shiridi baba, did came to see sathya sai baba. Check the book “Shirdi to Parthi” – authored by someone who had real contact with Shirdi sai in physical form.

            Anyways, am out of this discussion. Lot of wonderful things to do in life 🙂

            All the best.

          • Brenda Macedo

            Membership in a sampradaya not only lends a level of authority to one’s claims on truth but also allows one to make those claims in the first place. A verse from the Padma Purana states:

            Mantras which are not received in sampradaya are considered fruitless.

            And another verse states:

            Unless one is initiated by a bona-fide spiritual master in the disciplic succession, the mantra he might have received is without any effect.

            In other words, If a religious group cannot prove its descent from one of the recognised traditions, it risks being dismissed as illegitimate and for very good reasons…you cannot become a teacher without your teacher’s spiritual blessings. Satya Sai Baba was a rogue yogi with incredible powers. He was not a swami, even though he dressed like one because a swami is celibate and does not have sex with boys. He simply posed as a swami like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. If he does not come from a sampradaya, you should not believe him. Even if he raises people from the dead. if you study descriptions about the anti-christ in the Bible, it says he will be able to create living beings out of stones…so much for shitting chocolate out of pictures…. Look at how Satya Sai ruined the lives of thousands of young boys…and how murders took place in his “ashram.” Jesus said, “You will know them by their fruits.”

          • I agree with you. That’s why I only saw him once. What he did was remarkable, but was just a “siddhi” or power, in my opinion. Here in Cambodia they make a distinction between black magic and white magic. We Westerners tend to think anything that can’t be explained by science is “spiritual.”

          • disqus_hbQKIQddHL

            Westerner however study they cannot understand Hinduism. There are sampradaya and there are saints, Finding trues saints is very difficult because they wear the garb of useless to shoo away unworthy people.
            Not everybody can receive blessing or see the god in sadhu. sampradaya is from purohithshahi. but you cannot bind rules to god to emerge in human form.

  • Brenda Macedo

    It’s also important to know that many gurus have warned against Satya Sai Baba. Srila Prabhupada of the Hare Krisna movement, called him a “cheater.” Yogi Bhajan went to India and confronted him to his face and called him a charlatan. And Ammachi’s Swamini told me personally that Amma never told anyone to go visit him. She said Amma was often placed in the awkward position of counseling mothers whose sons had been molested by Satya Sai Baba…

    • My relative is staying with Ammachi for years and I can guarantee that you ae lieing above. She had told many to go and see sai baba. AND I have ACTUAL photos of Ammachi showing aarti to a pooja altar with sathya sai baba photo in the altar.

  • Nice blog. As the law goes, not everyone is meant for everyone. Once Swami chinmayanada was once asked about sathya sai baba and he did said that saibaba is a powerful being with a huge mission. And when asked about his miracles, he did mention that his miracles are meant to waken up millions of souls in slumber to a new REALITY – that they are GOD too. And once the awakening is done, they move on the spiritual path and then as necessary another guru will come to guide them to higher realms. This is exactly what Chinmayananda said. Its up to you to whether believe it or not – but one thing to note, not everyone who goes to sai baba is after miracles. Miracles are to awaken those who are in kinder garden. There are people who are at higher levels and have gone to meet saibaba.

    It would be unfair to hate someone without spending and researching (putting your own effort and not relaying on media) atleast 7yrs of your life about them. That is dharma.

  • disqus_hbQKIQddHL

    All the religions are false and cult but dharma is true and says all the path leads to god.