Sunday, August 01, 2004

Busting the Guru-Buster, Premanand

Busting the Guru-Buster, Premanand
by Lisa De Witt

Premanand, an atheist disguised as rationalist and self-taught guru-buster, prides himself on figuring out how phony gurus, sometimes called fakirs or street magicians, perform their illusions.

Having been thrown out of school at an early age over what he contends was a political dispute, Premanand was home schooled by his father.

Apparently, however, Premanand's home schooling didn't teach him about mercury poisoning. I was aghast after reading in an online article that at the age of 12 he had broken a thermometer in his home and then hid it under his bed on an aluminum plate! When Premanand's father found out he told the 12 year old to scrub the plate really well but no mention is made of where all that mercury went. The toxic fumes emitted from under Premanand's bed were probably highly dangerous given the Indian heat. Anyone living in the house thereafter would be subject to mercury poisoning unless the mercury was disposed of properly.

Having read that article several months ago, I went back recently to find it and realized someone had edited out a specific reference to mercury from the original article, "Miracles Don't Happen", by Beatrice Newbery. It was obvious to me why they edited that portion. Premanand had claimed in the now-missing paragraph that Sai Baba used highly toxic mercury to create vibhuti on photographs. The edited articles are also missing the original title (lest people might wonder whether Beatrice is an atheist?).

Here is the now-missing paragraph:
"Later on, Premanand was to find that this is how SaiBaba produces "vibhuti", or holy ash, from photographs of himself. The photo-frames are made of aluminium, behind which he hides mercury which reacts with damp to create a perfect "holy ash" of aluminium oxide..."

So, according to the great mental giant, Premanand, Sai Baba endangers his followers by contaminating them with mercury and aluminum, since vibhuti is often ingested! Makes you wonder what kind of schooling Beatrice Newbery acquired before writing this article in 2000.

Amazingly, the only original article left on the internet is a copy posted at Imagine that. Is knowingly trying to give people the impression that Sai Baba intentionally poisons his followers with mercury and aluminum or are they just as intellectually inept as Premanand? I'm sure there's a very interesting story as to why the original article by Beatrice Newbery has been edited. We'll probably never hear it though.

Note: Original article is now listed on (as of 2006).


Original, Unedited Miracles Don't Happen article posted at

Edited version from Miracles Don't Happen:
"Instead, from the age of 12, Premanand was given an imaginative schooling at home. His father had a laboratory in the garden shed which he used for concocting products for his various soap and ink manufacturing businesses. "One day, I broke my father's thermometer, so I hid it on an aluminium plate under my bed. When my father found out, he ordered me to wash the plate vigorously. But, when I did, a frothy grey substance appeared." Later on, Premanand was to find that this is how Sai Baba produces "vibhuti", or holy ash from the photographs of himself..."

The Dangers of Mercury Thermometers

Mercury poisoning spurs warning

Greenpeace Accuses Unilever of Negligence Over Poisoning of Indian Tourist Resort

Saturday, July 31, 2004

Sri Sathya Sai Baba: A Living Legend-An Embodiment for All Mankind

There is no greater Sadhana (spiritual exercise) than service. Service is the principle means for acquiring divine grace. Without being a devoted follower, you cannot become a worthy leader. If you are not willing to do work, you cannot attain divinity. Each one has to realize this truth. Service to society is the highest good. It is Truth, Right Conduct, Peace, Love and Non-violence that give happiness. These are the five principles that sustain life. Under no circumstances should these principles be given up. Render service to society with these principles in your mind, and with broad-minded dedication to the well-being of all.--Sathya Sai Baba, Thought for the Day, Sept. 11, 2009


We are deeply pained and anguished by the wild, reckless and concocted allegations made by certain vested interests and people against Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. We would normally expect that responsible media would ascertain the true facts before printing such calumny - especially when the person is revered globally as an embodiment of love and selfless service to humanity. Since this professional ethic has not been observed by a section of the media, we have elected to go public with this signed statement.

We are among several million people in the world who regard Sri Sathya Baba as a great spiritual master and teacher. We come from different nationalities and religions and greatly admire the fact that Sathya Sai Baba asks us to become a true follower of our chosen path. His is a message of truth, right conduct, love, peace and non-violence. He always emphasizes that these universal human values belong to all faiths and religious traditions.

Sri Sathya Sai Baba leads by example. he devotes all his time and energy for the well being of society. People from all walks of life and from all parts of world visit him in Prasanthi Nilayam (Andhra Pradesh, India). He meets them and showers his love and blessings on all those who seek him. He has been the sole inspiration behind some of the most monumental public service projects in recent times. He has set up schools, colleges and universities where finest qualify man-making education is imparted to all at no cost. His educational program of universal human values is being used by thousands of educational institutions all over the world. He has set up hospitals where complex surgical interventions are performed everyday without any cost to the patients. He has set up a mammoth clean drinking water network in drought-prone areas. Indeed the list of activities and projects inspired by him continues to grow with new projects being undertaken in all parts of the world.

We have had the privilege of meeting Sri Sathya Sai Baba many times and seeing him engage ceaselessly in community service projects.

We unequivocally condemn the baseless and malicious allegations being hurled upon Sathya Sai Baba in certain quarters. Great men have often faced slander in their lives. Such pitiful efforts neither diminish their glory nor slow down their resolve to achieve their mission.

May God give good sense to all who create these scurrilous stories and wisdom to all others not to pay any heed to them.

Prime Minister of India

P.N. Bhagawati
Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India

Ranganath Mishra
Chair Person, National Human Rights Commissioner of India
Formerly Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India

Najma Heptulla
President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union; UNDP Distinguished Human Development Ambassador

Shivraj V. Patil
Member of Parliament, India; Formerly of the Lok Sabda & Union Minister