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SATHYA SAI BABA'S HIP JOINT INJURY & SURGERY - 2003
What are the actual facts of the matter?
Since 2003, Sathya Sai Baba was virtually crippled by a botched hip joint injury, necessitating the use of a golf buggy, an Avatarmobile' and wheelchairs - or constant support from helpers. Despite this, Sathya Sai Baba (unadvisedly) pronounced that his healing took place due to the prayers and sadhana of his devotees!
The accident where Sathya Sai Baba slipped in his bathroom and fractured his hip occurred on June 4th, 2003. This was his second hip fracture, the first having been on 9/8/1988 when he slipped on the soap in his bathroom. My wife and I were at the first interview he gave after this accident where he sustained a hairline hip fracture (a VERY painful event, as he told us himself!). It is clear that neither Sathya Sai Baba can no more learn from experience than can the average Indian architect (considering how water from basins etc. is so often 'recirculated' onto the floor etc.).
From the start of the 2003 injury, the ashram authorities issued various false statements in an attempt to cover up and, failing that, to minimize this fact. For example, Dr. Michael Goldstein, Chairman of the Prashanthi Council, circulated a brief account stating "Our Beloved Bhagawan Baba had a small accident in which he fell and sustained an injury to his hip. Subsequently, he underwent a minor surgical procedure and is responding extremely well." (i.e. nothing like what Sathya Sai Baba himself later blew it all up to be... something that would normally take 2 to 3 years of convalescence! See professional orthopedics evidence). However, a report from a devotee who lived with Sai Baba's sister Venkamma and who defected in 2005 makes clear that there weer further fractures which remained unannounced (see below). It was typical of those around Sai Baba to cover up all possible incidents that could make him seem less than omnipotent and divine.
From the published discourse 13-July-2003 (as in Sathya Sai Speaks Volume 36 (2003) also available on-line in pdf file at www.sssbpt.info/ssspeaks/volume36/sss36-12.pdf )
"What medicine did I use? The intense prayers of the devotees are My medicine. During the last one month, be it in Madras (now Chennai), Hyderabad, Bangalore, or Mumbai, devotees have intensified their prayers and spiritual activities. Each and every house conducted bhajans and Namasmarana. Some devotees undertook penance and performed Yajnas. In this manner, a number of spiritual activities were undertaken praying for the well being of Swami. It is as a result of such fervent prayers that I am able to stand before you and address you. Neither did I want this suffering nor did I desire its cure. You wanted this body to be cured of the pain, and you achieved it through your prayers. This body is not Mine. It is yours. Hence, it is your responsibility to look after this body."
Comment: Now if the prayers and spiritual activities of the devotees were enough for Sai Baba's total recovery from his hip and eye problems, then what was the need for two operations? Why didn't Sai Baba just sit back and let the magic bhajans work? What exactly does Sai Baba have more faith in, bhajans or modern medicine?
"When I fractured My hip, it was not possible to even move My leg. The slightest movement caused excruciating pain like that of an electric shock. I told the doctors, 'This is not My body. This is yours. You may do whatever you deem fit.' One who has given up body consciousness will have no suffering at all."
Comment: So the answer to the question is ...? Did Sai Baba feel pain or didn't he? Was there no suffering experienced or did he experience excruciating pain? Confusion confounded!
"After the operation was over, he [Satyajit] asked, "Swami, how could you bear such pain and suffering?" I told, 'The love of devotees like you is My strength.' The power of love is the ultimate. You can overcome any pain or danger with the power of love."
Comment: So if Sai Baba was not feeling pain, why would someone like Satyajit (Sai Baba's personal male servant) ask the question in the first place? Surely Satyajit would be more than familiar with the Baba's capacity to be unaffected by pain.
"During midnight, at the odd hour of 1 o' clock or 2 o'clock when I get up from the bed and look around, I find these two boys Satyajit and Dilip sitting one near My head and the other at My feet, safely guarding this body."
Comment: What is the need to guard a divine body that is free of suffering and does not experience any pain due to a lack of bodily consciousness? As if the ashram itself isn't heavily guarded, what is the need for two boys in the Baba's own bedroom? And since when did the laws of space and time change so that the hours of 1am and 2am are to be included in the 'midnight' category?
Note also that he had two very young men at his bedside, as he has always had for many years and for reasons reported by many to be quite other than guarding him!
However, http://geocities.com/manojap1000/darshan.htm published a (rather confused) translation-cum-summary of what Sathya Sai Baba said in his first statement on the use of a steel rod in complex surgery on his hip:-
| (Posted by manojap: Thu, 3 Jul 2003 12:08:57) Swami granted interview
to all old students of SSIHL. The following is a narration from one of
the old students: Trayee Brindavan 26-06-03:-
"For the past one month, all of you could not have Swami's Darshan. What is the reason? The reason is the ill health of this body. I have neither taken upon Myself the illness of anybody nor has it emerged from this body. Today I am revealing the truth to you."
"You are all aware that I suffered a fracture of the hip joint; the bone broke into three pieces and the ball also got separated. The excruciating pain one suffers in such a condition cannot be described in words. It is not possible to move this way or that way. The body suffers pain as if subjected to electric shocks. But I was unaffected by it. I underwent all this suffering in order to demonstrate that one should transcend body consciousness and develop Atmic consciousness. I am not this body." etc.
Sai Baba also told of the hip injury and operation... the most absurd bit: Explain this self-contradicting "miracle" anyone who can: "But I was unaffected by it. I underwent all this suffering"!
Further, how could he even know about this excruciating pain if he did not feel/suffer it? How did his accident demonstrate anything that we cannot see every day in hospitals... people bearing up happily under terrible pain? Sathya Sai Baba continued...
|"The age of this body is 78, due to the incident the hip had broken and bone had become into pieces, because of age it cannot become normal without operation. Gone is gone so removed it, what was happened has happened for our good and this is a good experience for you all too. The bones were removed and steel rods were inserted .Swami said, before entering the operation theatre I told to doctors? This is not my body, do what ever you want to do with it?. After 3 hrs of operation, Swami Came out smiling and everyone around were surprised. Swami told us smiling when you are in pain is Greatness; the pain is only for the body. Swami said? I am divinity in Humanity? If I express my pain I'm like any human."|
Manojap also reported that Sathya Sai Baba said his bones are "as strong as diamonds". That would be a massive hindrance to anyone... diamonds are brittle, one sharp blow can split them! Using a hammer on diamonds - as Sathya Sai Baba boasts was done on his bones - would have been fatal if they were that hard! This is just the usual Sai Baba hyperbole and self-enhancement. While he stated to the group in an interview after his first hip injury that his body was the same as any other person and subject to the very same laws and conditions, he contradicts this by pretending his bones are 'hard as diamonds' Such a trite and patently false boast!
His discourses on magnetism blamed his stumbling and staggering on 'earth magnetism', the earth being so attracted to his Divine Presence. Then his hip gave out - so did Mother Earth (Bhoomidev) love him so much she crushed his hip joint? One has to wonder, as this is the puerile level of explanation he has used in at least two discourses previous to the hip fracture. every more powerfully day by day... the cosmos itself is pulling on him! Nor can this omnipotent, omniscient Godsbody with his pratfall Sankalpa avoid
The farcical repeat of the banana skin trick in his private apartment shows he does not learn from experience and his alleged omnipotence is not working any more than his omniscience warned him of the slippery slope he was about to encounter. This is the lighter side of his favourite jibe to some people in interviews, "dirty bathroom"?
HOW SATHYA SAI LIES ABOUT HIS HIP SURGERY
Swami then told Mr. Sundareshan, the orthopedic Surgeon who had performed the operation to Bhagawan to speak to us on the incident. Mr. sundereshan said ? Swami had broken his hip and stayed like that for 18 hrs, which is not possible for any human being to resist ? Swami had started walking after 5 days of the operation which is also impossible for any human being.
But on July 5, Sathya Sai Baba contradicted the surgeon and said in a discourse at Brindavan "After the surgery, I was able to walk within three days. This is bevcause there is not even a trace of body attachment in Me." (Sanathana Sarathi July, 2003, p. 218)One of Sathya Sai Baba 's attendants among the seven or eight doctors who were present at the time of the surgery, Dr. Krishnamurthi, would have us believe that Sathya Sai Baba walked the very first day after his op. What kind of walking, one wonders. If at all normal, then why did it take him so long to come out to his devotees? Three months afterwards, he still hobbles when he walks and he needs his golf car, so is the cure yet not complete?
"For anybody else, it would have taken at least two to three years to walk normally. The ball in the hip joint got separated." p.230
"The doctors said that one year's rest was required for the hip injury to heal completely. I told them it would, not take one year." p.259In developed countries with public health systems thousands of people get hip-joint replacements and major surgeries every week and are nowadays walking in very short periods of time! Does Sathya Sai Baba think we are all ignorant and poor Indian peasants to believe his hype about how incredible, miraculous was his recovery? Here are some facts from international medical websites which show that the recovery time in question does not at all depend on "no trace of body attachment":-
Excerpt from the website http://orthopaedics.hss.edu/services/hip/arthroplasty/index_4.asp (no longer on-line)
The implant for a total hip replacement is composed of 3 parts: the stem, the ball, and the socket. The stem is made out of metal, usually cobalt-chrome or titanium, and is placed within the native thighbone. The ball is usually made out of polished metal or ceramic, and fits on top of the stem. The first day after surgery will have a lot of activity. You will meet our physiotherapists, who will instruct you in more exercises to perform while in bed. In addition, they will help you stand and take a few steps with a walker. You will be taught the positions to avoid with a hip replacement, as well as the safe positions. In the next few days, you will find it easier and easier to move about. Generally, patients are able to walk as much as they want by 6 weeks post-operatively.
Excerpt from the website http://www.ucihealth.com/news/UCI%20Health/joint.htm (no longer on-line)
Hip replacement surgery, Dr. Skinner says, is one of the best operations humans have invented. Many patients feel so good after the surgery they believe they have no physical limits, though Dr. Skinner strongly discourages strenuous activities such as tennis and skiing. The results of a hip prosthesis are usually excellent. The operation relieves pain and stiffness, and most patients (over 80%) need no help walking.The results of a hip prosthesis are usually excellent. The operation relieves pain and stiffness, and most patients (over 80%) need no help walking. You will remain in the hospital for 3 to 5 days after surgery.
Excerpt from the website http://physicaltherapy.about.com/library/weekly/aa081502b.htm (still on-line)
"Usually, people do not spend more than 10 days in the hospital after hip replacement surgery. Full recovery from the surgery takes about 3 to 6 months, depending on the type of surgery, the overall health of the patient, and the success of rehabilitation."
"I do not suffer form any kind of disease because there is no trace of greed in Me. That is why I am always healthy..." "There is no trace of anger or hatred in Me and hence everyone loves Me" (Sanathana Sarathi September 2001, page 257f)
But now it seems that things have changed somewhat? Is a hip joint that crumbles (as badly as Sathya Sai Baba virtually boasted), not ANY kind of disease? The degenerative illness osteo arthritis probably best fits the bill. And who can't think of plenty of people who do not love Sathya Sai Baba?
It is considered by many to be His leela to beguile us all into doubting Him, an inscrutable "test of faith"! But he is only human, and therefore one does feel some ordinary sympathy for his condition. The huge number of cures he has said in a recent discourse were sent him by followers shows that they too surely recognise his limitations and secretly view him as a mortal!
And we are told by fatuous followers that he "cures himself only with the Love of his devotees" (while he has to have doctors rubbernecking and what can only be 'fake surgery' on the side to beguile us further into thinking he is a mortal) One still has to marvel and gawp at this stupendous mahima miracle... i.e. at the credulousness of so many otherwise probably quite intelligent persons who hide from the facts and distort nearly all they perceive through their twisted in-built 'Sai viewfinders'. Only those whose minds have literally been destroyed by the psychic powers, deceitful tricks, and crude psychological advice of Sathya Sai Baba can credit all this. Minds destroyed, but why then no cosmic realisation of simple facts even?
Funny that no famous thinkers or recognised experts in any field of knowledge anywhere in the world have ever bother with the Sathya Sai Baba phenomenon, isn't it? One would also think that religious heads like the Pope, the Dalai Lama, the Ayatollah, the Chief Rabbi , the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Shankaracharya of South India or someone of that ilk would have recognised him by now...ah well!
WHY DID SATHYA SAI LIE ABOUT ALL THIS?
To avert the obvious thought - that he is not what he claims to be at all. That Sathya Sai Baba has said many incompatible and some wholly contradictory things about the causes of his illness and its cure amounts to lies... (certainly so if he were to be all-knowing, as he claims). Reportedly, since June 3, 2003, there have been very long periods without a glimpse of Sathya Sai Baba and there have been no normal interviews since then until the present. The few darshans Sathya Sai Baba has given have been very brief and he has not gone among the crowds, confining himself almost entirely to the more important leaders, verandah guests and students.
Looking at Sathya Sai Baba 's situation from a detached viewpoint, the reason for all these untruths would seem glaringly obvious. It is also partly to try to reassure devotees that he is still available to them, which he is not in the normal sense. Sathya Sai Baba 's very much reduced capacity for appearing at darshan means that fewer people, especially from abroad, will consider the journey to see him worthwhile. This is necessary if the flow of foreign exchange to the ashrams and its' local infrastructure is to be kept flowing and if new donors are to be recruited. His use of the gold buggy at darshans is also for short periods only and reportedly gives few visitors any close darshan. But he tries his hardest to conceal these facts, as when his words are published to reassure those who are not present to judge for themselves:-
"Now I have recovered and am standing before you. What is the medicine I have taken. The intense prayers of devotees is my medicine" Sanathana Sarathi August 2003, p. 225
Secondly, Sathya Sai Baba needs to give those who hope for his attention at least some sense of playing an important role through their prayers and concentration on him, on the claim that their prayers and penances alone that have cured him. (As if he has not had a surgical operation and a long recuperation and rest period). This is doubtless why he has gone on and on about his injury on at least half-a-dozen occasions, emphasising the pain he does not suffer, "being bathed in so much love" etc. This doubtless make devotees feel they have some role in it all and that efforts in visiting etc. are not entirely wasted, however confused they must surely be about what is really going on. The effect of this 'Divine flattery' on his (self-applauding?) devotees is seen in the following:-
"After the operation he [Satyajit] asked, "Swami, how could you bear such pain and suffering?" I told, "The love of devotees like you is My strength." (loud prolonged applause)....Many devotees were very anxious and were praying within. Their anxiety turned into penance. The power of their penance is the cause of My health and happiness. It is because of their love and devotion that I am quite healthy now. I have never used My Divine Power to cure Myself. If I were to use it, I could have cured myself in a trice." Sanathana Sarathi August 2003, p. 231
But the cure was also the result of much exercise, if we are to believe the following:
Subject: Reminiscences Whitefield - From: bala -Radio Sai Listener's Journal - a fortnight e-magazine Volume : PDS / 02
"He was not doing with His Divine powers, no way! Instead, He spent a lot of time exercising Himself! How? Every morning, at four AM, He would go round and round the upper balcony in Trayee for one full hour! Imagine that, allso that He could give Darshan as early as possible. ..........
Hip fracture can be most painful. For sixteen hours or so, Swami just ignored it, and later allowed it to be treated the way anyone else.........He did not go to any fancy hospital or even to His own Super Speciality Hospital but to the General Hospital [which incidentally started as a tin shed with just one tube light three decades ago].........Swami chose to have administered to Him the same treatment in the same hospital as all the poor who come to Him are treated. That, for me, is one fantastic lesson."
Full version at http://www.radiosai.org/journal/
And in any case, Sathya Sai Baba has repeatedly proclaimed that he is totally unaffected by any pain or suffering, so why all the fuss about him?
"The doctors who operated me were astonished to see Me smiling. Usually, the pain that results from a hip fracture is like that of electric shocks. But I was least affected by it. I have no pain whatsoever and I walk easily. There is no suffering whatsoever." (Sanathana Sarathi, Sept. 2003, p. 265)Add to all this the unwittingly revealing e-mail which was sent out to unknown numbers of devotees from
someone signing himself "Gerald in Heaven", where it is hopefully stated:-
The rumor has been that Baba is only giving darshan in the morning. As a result only a few people come in the morning with the hall being almost filled in the afternoon. I noticed that as soon as I sit down in the hall and look around a tremendous sense of peace and bliss overcomes me. I rather have the physical form in front of me but the peace, love and bliss is equally as strong without his physical presence as it is with his physical presence.
If anybody is hesitating to come because Baba may not be giving darshan, this is a mistake. It is all here. Come.
Sunday morning there were a few people in the hall, many of those left as the 7:30 mark was coming supposedly signaling the end of darshan. All of a sudden, there was Baba in the golf cart. People started running in to sit down.
The slow moving cart came to the men's side. This was the first time all week. It proceeded toward the mandir turned right headed to the women's side and out. It was slow paced, brief and intense. Baba, once again, telling us to love his uncertainty.
Among the more disgraceful claims made about this is the one about Sathya Sai Baba having had no recourse to any medical service other than those that the poorest peasants can get in India. The Indian poor are light years away from having hi-tech steel rod hip replacements with over half a dozen doctors attending, even though Sathya Sai Baba did not actually go to his Super-specialty hospital, but was treated by his specialists at the simpler one at Brindavan.
Dr. Michael Goldstein's typical untruthfulness to cover over anything possibly untoward about Sai Baba.
Fortunately, though, one key person who was formerly a 100% believer has come forth to tell of many matters which no follower was allowed to mention, even if they knew of them. Eileen Weed (aka 'Divya') was a very correct and conscientious devotee who learned Telugu and lived for years at Prashanti Nilayam between 1984 and 2002 and knew the female side of Sai Baba's family, living with Venkamma for years and caring for her constantly until her death. She has published many of her letters from 1984 onwards to her parents. Excerpts follows:-
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