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Sathya Sai Baba, Divine Holy Ash Vibhuti Satya Expose
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By: Sundara Krishnaswami
July 07, 2007
expressed here are author"s own and not of this website. Full disclaimer
is at the bottom.
(The author is vice-president in an international management consulting
company and is an avid student of Sanatana Dharma.)
Sathya Sai Baba – Holy Ash Exposed or Slandering the Divinity
Rape Charge on Hindu Swami - Why we need Swamis to reform?
Sathya Sai Baba in politics: Rebuttal
Comment: Sri Sathya Sai Baba in politics
Puttaparthi Baba dabbles in politics
Swami"s wake-up call to Hindus
Baba Mourya: An Artist with a Mission
Yoga: An Overiew Dr
Vikram M Pattarkine
This article is written in response to the recent video clipping
titled “Sathya Sai Baba – Holy Ash Exposed?” from Youtube Video posted on this site.
The video"s message was that Baba carries a white salt pellet hidden
between his fingers, brings it out when he wants to materialize vibhuti,
crushes it with his thumb and fingers, and distributes the resultant
powder as vibhuti. The video also alleges that sometimes Baba transfers
the salt pellet from his left hand to the right hand, as needed. The main
allegation is that Baba practices deception and hence the title of the
video, “Holy Ash Exposed?” I wish to say humbly and categorically that
this video and the message it purports to portray are misleading the
My grandmother used to say, "The dog barks at the moon - what does the dog
know? What harm to the moon?" In this sense, and in the larger scheme of
things, the video and its misinformation really do not matter. They do no
harm to Sri Sathya Sai Baba. The misinformation and slander they spread
will disappear much as the dog"s bark fades away in time and space.
However, now that I have come across this video posting, I wish to not
keep quiet but to share the Truth that I have experienced.
The message of the video, and numerous other similar ones on the internet,
disparages Sri Sathya Sai Baba as a charlatan, dismisses these
“materializations” as mere hoodwink and denigrades the believers as
gullible and naďve nit-wits – all in the garb of rationality and
intellectualism! I humbly submit that rationality and intellectualism of
this kind that purport to “excavate the truth” (by exposing untruth and
deception) without the required scientific or spiritual sincerity are in
fact nothing but pseudo-rationality and bourgeois intellectualism.
The inquisitiveness about Baba materializing vibhuti is quite
understandable. We are curious to know how this is done, is it really true
etc. Let me share my enquiry into this “issue” of Sri Sathya Sai Baba
materializing vibhuti and address a few questions that come up in the
1. Is the sacred ash really salt pellet (or some other compacted-powder
pellet) that is hidden and then crushed, as the video posting depicts it?
a) Diane Baskin of California, in her book “Divine Memories”, writes that
her husband had exactly the same question but did not ask it to Baba.
Though unasked, Baba knew it and during a discussion, mischievously looked
at Diane Baskin"s husband, lifted his sleeves up his elbow, showed there
was nothing hidden and then materialized sacred ashes (vibhuti). Baba then
told Diane Baskin"s husband that this was neither magic nor miracle. He
Wills it and It Happens – that"s all.
b) Late Dr. Abdul Razak Baburao Korbu, a teacher and college principal at
Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India, writes in his book “Sai Sathya Sakha (Sai-My
“After a few minutes, Baba said "Abdul, look up," and I raised my head
slightly. Baba moved his right hand, palm facing downward, around my head
and I noticed white vibhuti appearing in the centre of his palm.”
c) Dr. G.Venkataraman, an eminent and well respected scientist and former
vice-chancellor of the Sathya Sai University in Puttaparthi, A.P.,India,
writes in his article, “God, Avatar and the Doubting Thomas”:
“I have witnessed vibhuti materializations on many occasions, in all sorts
of places. I have also been personally given materialized vibhuti on many
occasions. And I have tasted it on all these occasions. IT IS NOT SALT
POWDER BY ANY STRETCH OF IMAGINATION… I have seen vibhuti materialized in
the most unexpected circumstances. Here is an example. In March 1999,
Swami (Sri Sathya Sai Baba) went to Bombay and I was included in the
party. Over there, He went to the houses of many, and one afternoon, He
visited the house of Mr. Sunil Gavsakar in Worli. Swami was seated in a
large room, full of Bombay celebrities, many, of course, drawn from the
sports world and some from the film world. The room was packed and as per
our unwritten code, we the members of the party sat outside. There were
first Bhajans, and then a lot of small talk, after which Baba was led to a
Dining Hall for being served some snacks. People were giving Him letters
and all that. As He came near the door, I could see Him clearly. Seated
there were Polly Umrigar and G.S.Ramchand, cricketing heroes of my era.
While Gavaskar was introducing them, Swami asked them casually as He often
does, “Do you like vibhuti?” Without waiting for their reply, He
materialized it on the spot. I can"t see how anyone could have anticipated
that and carried salt pellets hidden between the fingers all the way
during a long ride from Andheri to Worli, gone up a lift, sat for one hour
and so forth….There are many such occasions…”
d) Capt Oberoi, a retired pilot and executive from Indian Airlines was
diagnosed with throat cancer and was traveling on the same plane with Sri
Sathya Sai Baba from Bangalore to Hyderabad. He narrates his experience on
Radio Sai, a 24-hr per day radio broadcast on WorldSpace:
“During the flight, Swami called me and asked me to sit next to Him. When
I was seated, Swami asked me about my health. I replied, “Swami is
Antaryamin (the In-dweller), and He knows my problem.”
“Tears came to my eyes; I was moved. Swami wiped my tears and said, “I
know, but I want you to tell Me. It would lighten your burden when you
talk about it.” I then told Him that ENT specialist had diagnosed my
problem as Throat Cancer.
“Swami called for a glass of drinking water. He then materialized a
blackish powder, dropped the powder in the glass, stirred the water with a
spoon, and then gave the water to me to drink. The taste was very bitter
but I drank it all. Swami then rubbed whatever was left of the black
powder on His finger-tips on my throat.
“It was very soothing. The pain disappeared immediately, and the hitherto
uncontrollable cough was almost gone. Swami then asked me to consult Dr.
Kameshwar in Madras and get a second opinion about my problem. I pleaded
that since I now was better, why go through another painful physical
examination? Swami insisted and said, “Apne Swami ka agya palan karo aur
second opinion lo (Listen to the command of your Swami and seek a second
Prof. G. Venkatraman, who interviewed Capt Oberoi on Radio Sai, continues,
“Dr. Kamleshwar was different from the specialist who had done the
detailed tests earlier and diagnosed the cancer. Capt Oberoi returned to
Madras and consulted Dr. Kameshwar as advised by Swami. Dr. Kameshwar took
a look at the test reports brought by Capt Oberoi and asked him why he
wanted another opinion, especially since some of the tests were quite
painful and since the tests were done barely ten days back. What great
miraculous recovery could happen in such a short period? Oberoi told the
doctor that he had come to consult with him and to repeat the tests in
such a short period of elapsed time, as advised by Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
Reluctantly Dr. Kameshwar went through the testing. When he was through,
he did a double take – there was absolutely no trace of cancer – Swami had
already cancelled it. Oberoi explained to me why He wanted him to go to
Dr. Kameshwar instead of the doctor who originally examined him. Dr.
Kameshwar did not believe in Swami and after this incident, he completely
changed!... (Some) may declare this also to be a farce, although I do not
know how black and bitter salt powder can cure cancer in one go. May be
Baba knew Oberoi was going to come to Him with a problem, and He therefore
carried a black tablet in advance!”
2. If it is not a hidden salt (or any other) pellet that gets crushed when
Sathya Sai Baba materializes vibhuti, then where do the ashes come from?
To answer this question, we need to really look at where the universe
itself came from. If we believe our universe indeed had a beginning - and
we do believe our universe was born about an estimated 13.7 billion years
ago (Big Bang theory, Explosion in a Black Hole theory), or possibly even
earlier than that (Ekpyrotic theory) - then from where was this universe
born when it did?
Several luminaries in the field of science have wrestled with this
question and have provided answers that fall in the realm of speculation,
although some of the answers have convincing possibilities. The truth of
the matter is, as Swami Vivekananda said in Chicago, “I really do not
But, in seeking to know, let us postulate that the “initial deposit of
energy” that gave “birth” to our universe came from an “entity” and let us
term this entity as “Consciousness”. Our universe is bound in the
knowledge related to space and time. But the Consciousness, since it
defies our ability to know it in the realm of space and time, pervades the
space and time envelope and necessarily transcends it also.
Prof Venkataraman writes in the article referenced earlier, “Many modern
physicists have reluctantly come to the conclusion that material reality
did indeed flow from Universal Consciousness… No less a person than
Freeman Dyson, a brilliant physicist and holder of the prestigious
MacArthur Fellowship, and who provided so much insight into quantum
electrodynamics in the early days, went so far as to write a serious paper
in the prestigious journal “Reviews of Modern Physics” on life without
flesh and blood. Dyson speculated that even if the planet earth became
inhospitable to life as we know it, life could serve in a primordial form
in the Universe as cloud of Consciousness”
If our universe was born from Consciousness, then aspect of this
Consciousness must be present, in an inter-connecting way, in everything
in this Universe, much the same way we carry the genes of whom we are born
to, isn"t it? In fact, such an inter-connectivity was discovered, albeit
accidentally, in 1935, in an experiment conducted by Einstein, Podosky and
Rosen. The results of this experiment have since come to be known as the
“EPR Paradox”. The experiment set out to delineate the limitations of the
principles of quantum mechanics that explainss the behavior of matter at
atomic and sub-atomic levels. The hypothesis of the experiment was that
different entities when separated by sufficient distance in space where
they do not “influence” each other should behave independently of each
other. In fact, the results of the experiment showed the opposite to be
true. Behavior of one entity affected the behavior of the other. Einstein
disagreed with the findings because his postulation was that “different
entities had separate existence”. Prof Venkataraman says, “There is a
hidden Cosmic connectivity, as a result of which all become one! And it is
because of this, there is an apparent violation of the theory of Special
To put this simply, the Consciousness from which we are born connects us
all in a genetic, inherent way, much the same way the electric current
connects the bulbs. For example, the inter-connectivity between us and the
trees goes beyond the mere oxygen/carbon-di-oxide exchange. It is the
inherent compulsion in both us and the trees to support each other"s
welfare. The inter-connectivity between a person who is helping a stranger
suddenly tripping down in front of him on the street is more than the
physical act of help. It is the natural compulsion for mutual welfare.
This inter-connectivity, the cosmic substratum, does not “connect” in the
sense of physically joining two distinct objects. The “connection” is the
play of the genetic sameness or the fundamental essence of the distinctly
different objects, much the same way the quality of sweetness of the
different desserts on the table is the same.
This cosmic connectivity exists between Sri Sathya Sai Baba and the
vibhuti He materializes. It exists between us and the vibhuti too; it
exists between us and Baba also; it exists between you and me too.
3. Does Baba materialize the vibhuti based on this inter-connectivity? If
the inter-connectivity is pervasive and enables Baba to materialize the
vibhuti, then why can I not do it?
To answer the first question, we need to turn to an experiment conducted
by Robert Jahn, Professor of Aerosciences at Princeton University. He
conducted a series of scientific experiments on Mind-matter relationship,
and repeated them several times for results validation. The results were
published in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal IEEE, published by the
Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers of America. Prof G.
Venkataraman writes in his article mentioned earlier,
“Jahn became fascinated by the research and himself plunged into it fully.
He made strange discoveries – basically that Mind could influence matter.
At first, he did not believe his findings; and so he tightened and
tightened the controls; but he kept on finding that the Mind could
influence matter! Jahn then came to the conclusion that the Consciousness
latent in humans was able to influence inert machines because they too
were pervaded by the same Consciousness, though in a passive form. This
led Jahn to write down a mathematical theory of Consciousness as a field,
rather like the fields that form the basis of quantum electro-dynamics and
quantum chromo-dynamics. I am not too sure I agree with the details of
Jahn"s mathematical formulation, but about the basic premise, I have no
“Now, what exactly is it that Jahn did? ... (In one of the experiments)
Jahn had an electronic machine called the Random Number Generator (RNG).
Left to itself, this machine would keep on generating random numbers.
There are very precise tests to check if the numbers generated do follow
the distribution expected of purely random numbers. Jahn now had
volunteers sit before the machine for hours and concentrate on the
machine, almost telling it mentally, “O machine! I am asking you to
deviate from the random distribution.” On the face of it, such an
experiment would be deemed crazy and a total waste of time. Jahn himself
started with such a view. But he told himself, “I shall not be prejudiced
about the outcome. I do not expect anything to come out of this, but let
me try anyway.” And when he did, he found the people were in fact able to
influence the machine!... He started developing a theory of Mind-matter
interactions, mediated by the field of Consciousness…”
If the Consciousness indeed has provided such inter-connectivity and such
common substratum for us, then it is conceivable that we can tap into it
and materialize objects, isn"t it? We can then will various things to
happen. The catch here is to tap into the underlying Consciousness. This
requires training. With proper training to dwell on the Consciousness,
each one of us can do it. The Vedantic term for this ability is Siddhi
power. This power of Consciousness has been known throughout history.
There are stories of saints and prophets from all religions who have
performed miracles, who have brought the dead alive, who have cured
illnesses etc. Yes, charlatans can take people for a ride in matters of
exhibiting siddhi powers, magicians can do sleight of hand and move the
mind, but just because charlatans and magicians exist does not mean all
are charlatans or magicians.
Baba says, when a person who is pure at heart, wills, it simply happens.
Baba Wills and It Happens. He does it because He is Purity personified. He
is Pure because He is Selflessness personified. And I know that He is this
Consciousness personified. I am unable to do what He does today because my
heart is not pure today.
Creation is an unsolved mystery. Dr. Razak says in his book mentioned
earlier, “Right from the beginning of the world-of-science to today"s
modern science, no scientist has been able to give true explanation of
creation, i.e. how and why? He is able to describe it only. For example, a
child is conceived by mating a male and female. Perhaps this can be
explained more with the help of science. But no one is able to answer
"Why?". Let us consider another example. Water is formed by mixing two
atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen – H2O. But this process needs a
catalyst. One cannot make water just by merely keeping two parts of
hydrogen and one part of oxygen in a bottle. In what manner the catalyst
acts is a mystery of nature. In breath, after inhaling we absorb oxygen
and exhale carbon-di-oxide; in plants and trees it is the reverse, thus
maintaining a balance in the atmosphere. Who controls, manages and
maintains this balance?”
In conclusion, let me share with you another interesting peek into the
creation of matter, through Dr. Razak"s own words in the referenced book:
“ Baba – "I know that you have faith in me, but you do not believe in my
power with which I create articles. Is it not so?"
“ By this question, Baba captured me fully. I could not think of anything
to say. In a way, I was happy that finally this topic has surfaced as I
was still not fully satisfied on this account. I wanted to see and
experience it myself. During the past five years, I spoke of Baba and
about Baba to scientists, doctors and other learned persons. I could not
answer their questions on creation of objects from air. I felt it may be
because I did not experience it or I had no adequate knowledge about it
because of my half-hearted efforts.
“ I was not keen on knowing the methodology of creating material objects
from nothing. I wanted to witness it to know if it is a natural phenomenon
or magic. Baba has given me an opportunity today.
“ I – "Forgive me Baba. It is so."
“ Baba – "Your absence of belief in my power of creation is genuine and
inquisitive also. I like your frankness and love you. It is very good that
you do not take anything for granted. Your faith in me is not blind. Very
good. Now I am telling you to ask me for anything and I shall give it to
you here and now. Take your time and ask for anything you desire."
“ Now I had a break. I had seen a number of objects created by Baba and
handled them also. I was convinced about the genuineness of the articles,
but I was not sure whether Baba himself created them. After thinking for a
while, knowing very well that there were very few Muslims among Baba"s
devotees, I decided to ask for an impossible article no one has seen so
“ I – "Baba please give me such a thing which embodies in it the entire
universe and only my own religion is shown on it."
“ Baba – With a sweet smile "Abdul, do you really think that you have put
an impossible request before me?"
“ Without a reply, I only kept on staring at Baba.
“ Baba – "Look at my palm. Do you see anything in it? Nothing is in my
palm or behind it. You can verify it."
“ Baba turned his palm upside down, his cape was above the elbow. I could
not dare to hold his hand. Then Baba caught my wrist forcefully and moved
my palm from around his palm to his elbow.
“ Baba – "Now, go on looking at the centre of my palm for some time."
“ Within seven to eight seconds, the skin in the centre of His palm opened
up and I saw a roundish large sized object coming out of it, soon the skin
became normal as before and there was a beautiful luminous ring there.
“ Baba – (In Hindi) "You pick it up and give it in my hand. Before that
have a careful look at it."
“ As ordered by Baba, I picked up the ring and inspected it very
carefully. It had a crescent moon and a star engraved in gold. I put it
back in Baba"s palm.
“ I – "Baba I cannot understand anything about this ring. Please explain."
“ Baba – "You are only born as a muslim. You do not understand anything
“ That was the truth. Earlier I mentioned my religion to Baba to take his
test. I am not a religious person in the true sense.
“ Baba – "I have made this gold ring in Asta konas (Octangular), embedded
Nava-ratnas (nine gems), both represent the universe, and in the middle of
the navaratnas I have put the Islamic symbol of the star and crescent in
emeralds (green gem stones.)"
“ I – "Baba where is the Muslim religion on this ring".
“ Baba – "Look at these green stones. That is your religion. Now I will
put this ring on the fourth finger of your left hand as your right hand
finger is disfigured."
“ As I came into the darsan hall, a very large number of devotees
surrounded me, amongst them many foreigners were also there. One of them
was a bearded American devotee. He came near me, saw the ring closely,
took my hand with the ring, put it on his chest and said "All Hum do
Allah! (Oh! God, your pastime is fathomless)."
“ I was astonished by this and asked him to tell me more. He answered "I
am a Muslim. The ring reveals that you too are a Muslim." I asked him
again "How did you make this out". He said "Can you read Arabic?" When I
answered in the negative, he clarified "It is inscribed in the middle all
in green." I further asked "What is the meaning of the inscription?" He
answered "It is Allah in Arabic."
“ Only at that time I came to know that Baba has inscribed the word
"Allah" in the centre of the green emerald stone. I had asked Baba for my
religion, and Baba blessed me in this wonderful manner! Then only to my
surprise I realized that Baba spoke of the disfigured fourth finger of the
right hand without ever seeing or touching it!”
With all this said, and considering the unfulfilled but progressively
revealing rational and scientific answers and keeping in view peoples"
knowledge gained from personal first-hand experiences, I believe the
correct way to find the answer to the question, “How does Sri Sathya Sai
Baba materialize Vibhuti?” is to ask Him. He is the one who does it and
therefore, He is the one who knows how it is done.
Enquiries into unknown subjects such as creation of matter are best done
with sincerity and with an honest thirst to know. It does no good to
anybody to slander or cast aspersions on a person with a pure heart such
as Sri Sathya Sai Baba who has done, and is doing even today at His
advanced age, exemplary and monumental service to the society.
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