Saturday, May 03, 2008

The Bee in Vir Sanghvi's Bonnet

©2008Lisa De Witt

Vir Sanghvi is on the prowl again. This time it is in an article (on a website apparently underwritten by The Wall Street Journal) titled "Godmen can't do any better than magicians."

In armchair critic Vir Sanghvi's latest attack on Hindu Godmen, he disingenuously states, "The truth is that every single “miracle” performed by India’s swamis can be reproduced — with more skill — by any moderately talented magician."

Apparently Vir Sanghvi has not done very thorough,
if any, research as there are many miracles such as
healings(Ref. 1),(Ref. 2) attributed to both Sathya Sai Baba and
Shirdi Sai Baba (not to mention other Hindu Masters) which cannot and have not been duplicated by magicians.

Unlike Vir Sanghvi, parapsychologist Dr. Erlendur Haraldsson made several visits to Sathya Sai Baba's ashram and wrote about his many personal experiences regarding Sai Baba's ability to manifest objects at will. In Professor Erlendur Haraldsson's book, Modern Miracles: An Investigative Report on These Psychic Phenomena Associated With Sathya Sai Baba, he stated,

"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."

The operative phrase here is, "with advance preparation". The truth is, no person has been more "investigated and scrutinized" on the spot than Sathya Sai Baba in the over eighty years he has been alive. Over several decades, hundreds of books have been written about the miraculous phenomena surrounding Sathya Sai Baba. In the early seventies, socially conscious playwright and award-winning screenwriter, Rod Serling narrated Man of Miracles: Sathya Sai Baba in a series for broadcast television in the United States.

According to a January 24, 2002 obituary in The Arizona Republic, Dr. Frank Baranowski Ph.D.:

"appeared on the Larry King Show and was tested at four colleges and six clinics, including the famous Schmertz in Basel, Switzerland, for his amazing ability to see the human aura. He was featured in the motion pictures 'Mind, Body & Spirit,'' ''The Psychic Connection'' and has appeared on ''Sightings' ' and ''Unsolved Mysteries.'' Dr. Baranowski was covered by all major networks, the BBC and Canadian television. The consummate radio professional, Baranowski had a faithful and enormous audience on his ''Mysteries Around Us'' program."

Dr. Baranowski made the following statement about Sai Baba:

"Now, I have always been able to see the human aura. The auras around average people extend as much as three to five feet. Auras are composed of every imaginable colour and these colours change as a person's emotional, physical and mental states change. In general, whenever the colour blue is evident in a person's aura, it is an indication of deep spirituality; green is a healing color; yellow indicates high intelligence; and red means anger or frustration.

The colour pink, which is rarely seen, typifies a person capable of selfless love, and this was the colour that Sathya Sai Baba had around Him. The aura around Sathya Sai Baba went beyond the building reaching thirty or forty feet in all directions. Never having seen any aura like this before, my first reaction was to look for fluorescent lights, which may have been shining on Him. But as I watched, the beautiful pink energy pattern moved as He moved; there was no doubt that this was His aura.

Entranced by this remarkable sight, I barely heard the devotional songs that were being sung, and before I knew it, Sathya Sai Baba had gone. The crowd settled in the now-familiar cross-legged positions and prepared themselves to wait until Sathya Sai Baba's next appearance, four hours later.

I have had the pleasure of meeting such personalities as ex-president Gerald Ford, Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, and Pope John Paul II, and I have studied their auras as well as tens of thousands of others, I say this not as a testimonial but as a fact; not one person I have ever seen has an aura to compare to the size and colour of Sathya Sai Baba's aura.
Read more

More recently, temples dedicated to Sai Baba and devotees have been releasing photos onto the internet of miraculous phenomena attributed to Sathya Sai Baba while skeptics remain totally mum about their existence (Ref.).

The last time Mr. Sanghvi wrote an article (The Truth about Sathya Sai Baba) bashing Sai Baba, his minions were quick to censor and delete both my comments and those of my associate Joe Moreno, webmaster of (Ref.) This type of censorship has been a common occurrence when dealing with those inimical to spirituality, Hinduism and Sathya Sai Baba. While skeptics like Vir Sanghvi look down their noses and prattle about "ethics and honesty," their actions show anything but an honest spirit of debate. The skeptics are so threatened by the facts that they have taken to using the media to publish one-sided articles in which they think they will not be held accountable for their dishonest tactics. Skeptics try to present their opinions as fact and try to act like they are being objective when the truth is they are using their half-baked opinions to make money (while simultaneously pretending they have no selfish motives).

Dr. Venkataraman, who is the director of, recently addressed Vir Sanghvi's unsubstantiated
accusations about Sathya Sai Baba by stating,

"Not all need believe that Baba is an Avatar. However, that disbelief does not give them the right to support unsubstantiated slander or cast aspersions on His social missions, and that too without even having bothered to become acquainted with the basic facts – anybody with decency would concede that there is no private charitable Trust that has done so much for the poor and the underprivileged of this country on the health and drinking water fields as Baba has done."

Professor Venkataraman is right. Religious beliefs are sacrosanct while criminal accusations must be addressed by law enforcement, not trial by internet.

One does have to wonder why a supposedly successful editor of a Hindu newspaper has taken upon himself the stance of bashing Hindus for the purpose of making money in written form. Does it pay well?

Update: My comment was posted (05/04/08) here (page 2) on Vir Sanghvi's newest article.