Sai Baba Sri Sathya Sai Baba

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Sai Baba. The life breath of every soul



 A few scientists, from the various part of the world, came to Puttaparthi, India, to study and experience Baba, from the year 1974 onwards, motivated by a famous scientist, Erlendur Haraldsson, an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Iceland and  currently a visiting professor at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, USA. He has published a number of research papers on Psychology and parapsychology and is author of 'At the hour of Death' with Karlis Osis (Hasting House, New York) which has been translated into fourteen languages.

 Haraldsson's book, 'Miracles Are My Visiting Cards' (An investigative report on the Psychic Phenomena associated with Sathya Sai Baba), was published in the year 1987. It is a foreign publication, but presently available in India, at Sai Towers, Puttaparthi.

 Haraldsson had done an extensive research on Baba, and visited India several times, during the course of his investigations. The book which runs into 300 pages, contains the details of his first-hand  information, evidence and experience.

 The author would like to mention a few of the incidents taken from Haraldsson's book. They are as follws :

n  Haraldsson writes that Dr.V.K.Gokak, the former Vice Chancellor of Bangalore University, narrated an incident: "In Jamnagar, a few of the devotees were with Swami, in many cars. As we drove near the coast, Swami stopped the cars and we went down the seashore. We sat down in a crescent on the fresh sandy beach only a few yards from the sea with  Sai Baba sitting in the middle. Many of us had come to this area from afar, and we were disappointed because we had not been able to see  Krishna in the temple. "Never mind" Swami said, "I will show it to you". Then He drew with His hand a figure on the sand in front of Him, a very sketchy figure of a man. And then He put His hand into the sand and kept it there for a minute and a half or two. "Aha, it is ready now", He said in English, as this was a multinational group. Then He pulled out of the sand this huge statue of Krishna.

It was so heavy that He had to lift it with both hands. It was a golden statue. You can see it with the Rajmata (Former queen) of Nawanagar in  Bombay. The statue was passed around, and all had to hold it  with both hands. Finally, He handed the statue to the Rajmata of Nawangar for worship.

n   He further writes, "Sai Baba has been filmed extensively while producing objects outdoors, and those present have reported seeing the same movements as were recorded on the film. Also the objects that he produced for us in the interviews (the double Rudraksha and the golden ring with the enamel picture) are still in our possession and were therefore not illusory. For these reasons we can reasonably reject the hypothesis of hypnosis as an explanation for the materialisation.

n    Once Haraldsson told Baba. "We are researchers of Psychic phenomena and have heard many accounts of miracles occurring in His presence. As we were talking , He again made with His right hand that typical small, circular movement that lasts for two or three seconds, and lo  there was a large and shiny golden ring in His palm. He put it on Dr.Osis' right finger and said it was for him. It fitted. (Set into the ring was a large coloured picture of Sai Baba on a stone or some similar material that was firmly encased by the ring. The picture was oval in shape and portrayed a good likeness of his face.)

n    Haraldsson writes, "By the time our second visit to India was over, Dr.Osis and I had observed the ostensible paranormal appearances of objects in Baba's hand about 29 times. None of these events occurred under controlled conditions. Also, we were not able to examine Sai Baba physically either to confirm or to refute the hypothesis that he conceals objects on his body. At this stage, therefore, we have insufficient grounds for accepting the claims made about the genuineness (in terms of paranormal process) of the reported phenomena. But it must also be stated that we detected no evidence of fraud.

I made six more journeys to India, the first in 1976 and the last in 1983, each lasting one to four months. In four of these eight journeys, I was accompanied twice by Dr. Osis, once for three months  by Dr.Michael  Thalbourn of Washington University,  and once for a month by Dr. Joop Houtkooper of the University of Amsterdam.

Once in the midst of our rather heated discussion, Sai Baba impatiently said to Dr. Osis: "Look at your ring". We did. The enamel picture on the ring had disappeared. The large golden ring that Sai Baba had presented to Dr. Osis during our first visit was on the ring finger of his left hand. The stone encased in it had on the top a large enameled coloured picture of Sai Baba. The stone with the picture was missing from the ring and we could see the bare skin of Dr. Osis' finger through the hole. We looked for the picture on the floor, but no trace of it could be found. For the picture to have fallen out of the frame, it would have to be broken or it would have been necessary to bend at least one of the prongs and probably also bend the frame at some point, but the frame and the prongs were undamaged.

When the picture could not be found, Sai Baba somewhat teasingly remarked: "Well, this was my experiment". Later he implied that this was a joke, and then he added, "You asked for a miracle and I just gave it to you".

Some years ago Dr. Osis discussed our observations with Doug Henning. Mr.Henning said that he could, with advance preparation, duplicate all the phenomena he saw on the film. But when Dr. Osis described the incident in which the enamel stone with Sai Baba's picture disappeared from Dr. Osis' ring, Mr. Henning commented that this was beyond the skills of the magicians. He stated further that if Sai Baba produces objects on demand, then he is performing feats that no magician can duplicate.

Where then is our conclusion about the physical phenomena? For lack of experimental evidence it can only be somewhat tentative, though the testimony is extensive and consistent over four decades. Whether some of the physical productions, in some periods of Baba's life, may have been produced by sleight of hand, we can't, of course ascertain. What we can, however, squarely state is that in spite of long standing and painstaking efforts, we found no direct evidence of fraud.

Baba is a man of great unpredictable spontaneity. In 1980 I decided in an interview, for a change, not to pester him with requests that he had earlier turned down nor to argue with him about the necessity for controlled research of his gifts as I was wont to do. Then he seemed irritated and reprimanded me for not doing so. In the interview room with me there were a few people that I had not previously met. Apparently in a move to show me something special he asked an elderly gentleman, who was sitting with us on the floor for a ring he had on one of his fingers. He took it on his hand, held it before our eyes and said to me, "See scientist, within a minute I will change this into different size, style and shape". He gave it to me to examine, took it back, blew on it three times and handed me a ring that was markedly different. Then he explained to those around him in boyish naivety and with a triumphant look on his face "How science can explain this?"


 If we take India as it stands today, the most popular phenomena is Sai Baba. There is no doubt about this;  He has millions of followers. From every point of view, it is a positive movement, because He has given happiness and faith to hundreds and thousands of people. Other people should try to ensure that this faith is sustained because this world certainly needs it in one form or another.

 Whether you agree that the phenomena Baba produces are necessary or not does not make much difference. I accept the necessity of the phenomena because from His point of view that is the quickest way to attract people. If a teacher did not display these phenomena, he would not make sufficient impact. There can be no doubt that Baba is a great phenomenon.

 This visit to Puttaparthi was nice because everybody was happy, everybody received something from Baba in one way or another, and the visitors returned to their country with fine momentos of the occasion.

(All the above matter has been taken from the book 'Miracles are My Visiting Cards' by Erlendur Haraldsson).

 Here below is the reproduction of the Foreword, written by Karlis Osis, for the book 'Miracles are My Visiting Cards' by  Haraldsson.


 'Miracles are My Visiting Cards' has merits of unique proportions. Although miraculous phenomena occurring in connection with the religious leaders have been reported throughout history, Haraldsson's presentation is a first of its kind. The study is based upon the first hand observation of a scientist and is supported by his careful interrogation of witnesses. It describes paranormal phenomena of extraordinary variety and strength attributed to one of the most remarkable men of the century.


India, the land of Guru worship, abounds with holy men who are often called 'Baba'. Sathya Sai Baba is a unique individual - a kind of genius towering over the whole landscape. He sees His mission as primarily devoted to the spiritual and moral renewal of India - extricating his country from its present confusions. Baba's powerful influence, however, touches the whole fabric of Indian life, be its social, justice, political problems, or the educational system. The meek and the downtrodden, as well as the powerful and mighty, flock around him in never-ending crowds streaming through his Ashram. I was present when a person holding one of the highest elected offices in India, escorted by a  General, approached him. They both got down on the floor and touched Baba's feet with their foreheads.

Most Westerners visiting India's Ashrams desire spiritual guidance and enlightenment, but Haraldsson was attracted by something else: the stories of Baba's paranormal phenomena describe power of magnitude, variety and sustained frequency not encountered anywhere else in the modern world. I have seen violent storms of controversy about them on the front pages of publications all over India. Indian journalists are as aggressive as their counterparts anywhere in the world, but no one has been able to find tricks behind his reported phenomena.

Is there some truth behind the said phenomena? This book is the record of 10 years' work of a highly qualified European psychology professor trying hard to find reliable answers. It was not easy for him. Legends grow fast on the fertile soil of India, and observations are often couched in religious terms, for example ESP(extra sensory perception) becomes 'Baba's omniscience'. Sleight of hand and other arts of the magician are well developed in India and some famous Swamis don't mind resorting to them, as I have personally observed Haraldsson is acutely aware of these other  explanations: Readers will see with what vigour he cuts through the jungle of storytelling and candidly reports the outcome of his quest.

 Neither Haraldsson nor I were able to persuade Baba to participate in experiments. Nothing would have clinched the matter so well as, say, a week or two spent in the best parapsychological laboratories in the world,  that we offered. Nevertheless I could understand the reluctance of a religious leader of millions to submit to experimental  protocol designed by people of different beliefs and cultures. After all no one asked the Pope to go to the laboratory, before his Holiness could be trusted.

In the absence of laboratory evidence Haraldsson states his reservations. In the western tradition of experimental science nothing that has not withstood by controlled experiment is considered certain. Many social scientists, however, including myself, have later put more trust in observations of real life events, which often reveal what the lab distorts. Haraldsson wisely presents all sides and asks intelligent readers to judge themselves.

Millions of Baba's followers - East and West - call him Avatar, that is, incarnation of a deity. This is by no means universally accepted in India, just as Jesus, who is said to be incarnation of God, is not universally accepted in the West. These matters of belief and theological reasoning are clearly not in the domain of parapsychology, and Haraldsson wisely avoids evaluation of the religious side of the issues. The paranormal is what Haraldsson is trying to document and understand; and even that - as the reader will see - is not easy. Although some of the phenomena go hand-in-hand with the Western concepts of, telepathy, clairvoyance, foresight of future and mind over matter (psychokinesis), there are other phenomena for which we are not prepared. Translocations of objects and liquid substances, which at times are said to have materialised, are not in the books of modern parapsychology. Some of Baba's out-of-the-body experiences seem to be similar to what we observe in our experiments, and to what many Western people report, others are much more substantial such as claims of the translocation or bilocation of his body - flesh and bones.

Conceptualisations in scientific parapsychology do not go that far. For something so mind-shattering and unique we need stronger evidence than is usually required. Haraldsson wisely reports what he has found so far and keeps the matter open for further research developments. It would have been cowardly simply to ignore what so many witnesses have said and what our own eyes have observed, just because it is so out of the ordinary. I hope the research will go on, impartially, wherever it leads. Some observations may be explained away, others may lead to a deeper understanding of the reality of the human mind, the real miracle behind miracles.

Most open-minded readers, I feel, will be stimulated by this kind of knocking at the very door of the unknown. Even those whose minds are not receptive to these possibilities of the unexplored - be it paranormal or be it spiritual - will not go away empty handed: they at least will find something exciting to scoff at.

So daring a book as 'Miracles Are My Visiting Cards' will mean many things to many people because it presents carefully collected data, rather than opinions, on one of the most remarkable men of our times. For some it will be an unforgettable treat for the heart, for the others food for thought. I personally felt vibrant excitement when reading this book - so pregnant with unfold potentialities.

Karls Osis Ph.D.

Chester F.Carlson Research Fellow

American Society for Psychical Research

New York, NY, USA.

The author would like to conclude this chapter by saying :

Does the Sun need any other light, to prove that there is light in the Sun. The Sun, itself is the LIGHT. Same thing also applies to Baba. He is the Sun, He is the LIGHT, He is the illuminator of all the SOULS.

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