Showing posts from April, 2011

A Failed Oracle

I have to begin writing this piece by making an honest confession that I never viewed Sathya Sai Baba as an incarnation of God. I even refuse to elevate him to the level of a saint. With his demise, Sathya Sai Baba leaves behind more than three million devotees spread across the globe. As a modern day guru who helped transform lives through institutional means, his influence is unparalleled.

In a long-established practice in India, a sacred person often takes the name of a deity or a former sage. At the age of 14, he proclaimed he is the reincarnation of Sai Baba from Shirdi, Maharashtra. The original Sai Baba was a roving mendicant who lived with lepers, shared his supper with stray dogs and at a time, when it was considered dangerous to do so, he actively worked towards reducing the prejudices and misperceptions Hindus and Muslims had towards each other. His teachings never recognized boundaries and he didn't have a scripture or an ideology to guide him through.

In India, we are …