The following point-by-point rebuttal of Sai Baba's amazingly ignorant twaddle (and near-miraculous ability for drawing conclusions that do not follow) about the atom, physics etc. is based on the verbatim translation of the premsai website's version of Sathya Sai Baba 's discourse on Guru Purnima, 2002. (The text also appears in an edited-down version in Sanathana Sarathi - August 2002). This piece was sent to me by a gentleman from Mexico, Jorge Reyesvera, who was a prominent office-bearer in the Sathya Sai Organisation there. For reasons of not hurting certain friends who may have been too offended, Jorge Reyesvera did not originally wish to be identified as a defector. I imagine their faith shattered by this tour de force of well-informed common sense!. For the sake of clarity as to which is Sathya Sai Baba's literal statement and which are the critical replies, Sai Baba statements are in brown text:-

“There is Divinity in every atom. Another name for the atom is God. From the time he was born until he died, Kaanaada contemplated on the atom saying, “Paramanu, paramanu, paramanu (meaning, ‘the smallest particle’).” This world could not be seen if the atom didn’t exist.”

The atom is not the smallest particle by far.

“Earlier there was no form at all in the universe.”

Before the Big Bang, it does not make sense to speak about time. Space-time as we understand it is the same thing.

“There was no sun or moon, no sky or earth and no stars -- nothing at all. All was pitch darkness. However, atoms came very densely together. Due to them coming together, there was intense heat generated.”

Physics has demonstrated that in the hypothetical environment of the big bang at the very beginning it was impossible for atoms to be formed.
It does not matter how close atoms are, heat is not generated. In the nuclei of the atoms of some elements there is potential energy that can be released through fusion or fission.

“Due to this heat, an enormous sound came about.”

There can be no sound in the vacuum

“Then only this pitch darkness became pieces and pieces. It went on spreading. This only is the root cause for Creation. This is the experience that happened to Kaanaada.”

Up to now the Big Bang is just a theory, but there are still some others on the table.

“This means that all of these densely combined atoms broke apart and spread everywhere. The sound of that breaking is Pranava, Omkara, which is the Primordial sound. This only is the original and first sound. This Pranava is present everywhere. What did this Pranava arise from? It began from atoms. There is nothing else except atoms.”

There are many more things than atoms, like neutrinos (some scientists think that they account for the majority of the mass of the universe), energy (photons, X rays, gamma rays, microwave radiation, light, etc), loose particles (electrons, protons, muons, etc), space-time, etc.

“What is the way to attain it? Kaanaada investigated into that subject. Finally he realised that, “It is only one sound. It is the first sound.”

Again, sound needs a vehicle to propagate. Some scientific evidence suggests that some microwave radiation is a residue of the Big Bang.

“He taught such a truth to the world. Only after the sound of Omkar began, the sun, moon, earth, sky and stars all arose.”

Stars are forming all the time, the Sun is a second generation star. There is strong evidence also that many stars have planets revolving them. That does not have anything at all to do with sound.

“The root cause for this whole Creation is only the atom. So, every human being is the combination of atoms. A body without atoms and a form without atoms cannot be seen. Man is never trying to recognize such a nature of the atom.

What we see are not the atoms but the light (photons) that comes from them.

“People only put the statue, the forms of the supreme rishis of these days, in front of a town and they show it as a symbol. That is not right for us. We should make those sacred forms safe and secure on the seat of our heart. Man, who should make it safe and secure in this way, is instead putting it to bad use with ridicule and neglect.”

How he can make such a broad assertion? BTW I have never seen the statue of any rishi in any town.

“However, when did this happen? Which time was Kaanaada from? Twenty thousand years ago, people in the world used to speak so much about the subject of Kaanaada. He recognized the subject of hydrogen and oxygen.”

In which part of the world? India ? Hydrogen was discovered much later, in the 1700's.

“Hydrogen and oxygen are equal to a sort of fire. Fire enters into one of them, and the other one extinguishes the fire. This is a truth that scientists recognize.”

Hydrogen is the main fuel for the stars, it is also the fuel for the big rockets, oxygen is essential for combustion

They propagated that the atom should be recognized through atoms.”

He would need to explain this further because, as stated, it is completely nonsensical.

“How can atomic power be recognized? The eyes cannot see it. Where is it? It is in the food that is eaten. It is in the sights that are seen. It is in the words that you speak. It is in the steps that are walked. It is present everywhere. Walking on that, eating that, drinking that, experiencing that – yet that is being forgotten by men of today.”

Atomic power was seen in the Second World War.

“People feel this atomic power is separate from man and they have kept it aside in a scientific way. However, the atomic process is very sacred. Yet, people feel that it is lowly. Kaanaada said that it would be possible to realise God through this process.”

If that is so, then how, please explain....

“This is, as long as the sound of Soham remains, this (the body) has respect. That only is the sound of OM. That only is atomic energy. The power and capabilities of this atom has come from God, but no other has created it. Kaanaada taught to the world this Truth in those days.”

What happens then to the atoms of the dead body?

“Human beings respect the body as long as it exists. After the true and primordial power leaves this body, no one will desire it. All of this is the power of the atoms. No one can understand the nature of the atom. The form of the atom is the form of God. The form of the atom is the form of the universe. The form of the atom is the form of space. The form of the atom is the form of sound. The atom is fully present in everything that is mobile and immobile. So, we should not take the form of the atom as a joke. This form of atom is very great.”

Again, what happens with the atoms of the dead body, the atoms of the bacteria, of the blood, etc?

“Since so long, scientists experimented on this. 22,000 crores years (one crore is ten million) are needed for the atom to reach again where it originated. If it takes so much time, why shouldn’t we realise the atom that is within us?”

Atoms are formed in very violent environments and in the cores of the stars, like the singularity that took place, if the big bang theory is true.

“The earth revolves around itself. Then it also goes around the sun. Who is revolving it? Why is it revolving? Who is revolving it? No one is trying to recognize this truth. The entire world has day and night due to its revolving around itself. All the food and recreation that this body need is obtained due to the earth going around the sun (thus producing the seasons). All of these are not meaningless aspects of Creation. The Will of God is creating all of these causes. All of these are regulations made for the world.”

SSB shows a total lack of understanding of the General Relativity theory of A. Einstein.

“Till today no one has understood the sacred power of the atom. People think that the atom is only a phenomenon without a life force. The power of life that created this entire world is also in the atom. Hence, God is the embodiment of the microcosm and the macrocosm. Therefore, every human being should try to recognize the secret of the world and of the creation of man, and recognize what is his duty and act accordingly.”

What does the understanding of the atom have to do with recognisation of one's duty?

“What man should recognize is the form of the atom. If the atom is understood, man will be one who understands everything. The atom only is God. That only is true humanness. That only is the life principle. The life principle within the atom is moving about throughout the world.”

Then according to this statement, some scientists are totally illumined.

“However, how should one take hold of it? The process of the microcosm has to be undertaken. This is what Kaanaada said. He said that when this (the process of the microcosm) is followed, it would be possible for us to receive (realise) the principle of Divinity.”

And just because Kaanada said it, then it is true?

“Look -- an atom is going there. We may go around it. If we wait around for it and if we proceed (to follow it) with concentration, it will be caught by us. We may catch hold of any amount of atoms every moment. You just held so many. If they are let loose, they go (spread) wherever you look (all over). The sound of OM and the sound of an atom are as small as the atom. The nature of the mind is also dependent on this.”

SSB is rather confused between atoms and molecules and solid and fluid states. In perfect vacuum what would happen according to him?

“In the evening when I was giving the Valedictory Address, I didn’t even know what I was saying.”

How come that the powerful Sathya Sai Baba did not know what he was saying??

“However, I went inside. I lay down. The prayers of all the devotees came in big clusters. (Applause)Swami, ... Selfishness cannot be seen in Me from My toenail to the tips of My hair. (Applause) Therefore, there is (I have) the courage and authority to say, “I and you are One.”

And what about the atom?? 

“Therefore, the power of the atom is the same in every human being. This atomic power should also be understood to some extent. From our ancient times, we continue worshipping and meditating on a form and we are living life with it. Those also have arisen out of atoms.”

“We keep a statue and pray, “Rama!” However, where is that Rama? Not at all there! We say, “ Krishna !” and keep a statue and do puja. Is that Krishna there? Not at all! We worship Easwara, but Easwara can’t be seen at all! This means that Rama exists, Krishna exists, Easwara exists, and there are also all the other forms in the world.”

Then if we worship something, that something exists??

“However, our qualities (feelings) are narrow. Due to man of today keeping a narrow heart, all is seen as empty. Broad feeling is creation. Narrow feeling is death. So as long as narrow feelings are in us, we are equal to one who is dead. We should always develop broad feelings. A broad heart should be developed. Vast Divinity will come in that broad heart. From ancient times, numerous great rishis did many different sadhanas. Kaanaada did very great sadhana. Finally he said, “There is nothing else at all. I came from the atom. I should merge again in the atom.” This means that, as he didn’t have body attachment; he merged in the atom.”

How can one merge in the atom??

“Today in the world, humanity lives by joining with all the objects in the world. It is living with selfishness and self-interests. As long as this exists, we cannot understand at all the nature of the atom, which is Divine. Sadhana may be done, meditation may be done, japa may be done and puja may be done. There is nothing wrong in it. However, just don’t forget the nature of the atom. Everything is in the atom. Hence, we should feel that the nature of the atom is within oneself. Our body is (contains) the atom. Mind is atom. Intellect is atom. Chittha is atom. Antahkarana is atom. All are completely atoms. That which is full of atoms is Divinity.”

The mind is beyond matter so how come that it is formed of atoms, which kind?

“God listens to prayers without fail. However, a few people think, “Oh dear! By praying to God, we might be giving trouble to God.” This is a big mistake. God never has any difficulty. God never will suffer. The bliss of the devotees is the bliss of God. Therefore, there is no difference at all between your bliss and My bliss. However, you get bliss through lowly objects. I am experiencing joy with objects as small as atoms. (Applause) So, if you give anything small, I consider it very big. However, though you get something huge, you won't get so much bliss.”

What about the huge donations? Most visitors do not get anything and they pay for the services. 

“Truly, what does Guru Purnima mean? It shows the path, the Divine path, to us. Purnima means ‘the sacred radiance of the full moon’. What is the full moon? It is the completely full nature of the mind. The completely full nature of the mind, without any spots at all, is observed as the full moon. When the mind has any spot, it is darkness; it won't give bliss.”

The moon has many spots, the sun has many spots, so to what does he refer?

 “Develop your nature of Love -- the nature of the pure mind, which gives radiance. Acquaintance with books, reading, reading, reading and reading grandha (books), finally even the gandha (essence) in you dies. Even when a small amount is read, we feel that we are highly educated. All the knowledge that you studied is not great. It is a minute particle in the atom.”

Again, what does knowledge have to do with the atom?

“Therefore, God cannot be seen in (worldly or bookish) knowledge. We can’t see God through hugeness or bulk. We can’t see God through position. God cannot be seen through leadership. God can only be seen in Love. If you develop even a bit of that nature of Love, you will see God in that. Devotion only means to have full and complete Love for God. That is devotion.”

And what about the subject of the talk?

“Today is Guru Purnima. What is it that we should truly know? That which is in front, behind, below, above and everywhere is God. He is in you, with you, around you. So, He is in you. He is outside you and He is behind you. Truly, who are you? You only are God! (Applause) He is the form of an atom. First and foremost, recognize that Truth.  …  Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakasipu also were ones of very great capabilities. They were great scientists. Hiranyakasipu not only went to the moon; he also went to the sun. Not only the sun, he also reached the stars. When he went to star Dhruva and touched it, the earth spun. With that he suffered. Though he was such a great scientist, things should be done only as much as is needed; but if it is in excess, a very big danger will happen.”

How come that we have not get any of their legacies? And the temperature at a Star surface is very hot (in our Sun's should be at least 6000 degrees Centigrade!

“Therefore, there is death for the physical body of man, but the mind has no death. There is no death for the mind at all. Though the man (his body) dies, the feelings that the person felt are imprinted on the mind. The tendencies of so many births and the tendencies from so many actions are printed on this mind.”
It is not possible to say that this mind is ‘like this or that’. Therefore, we should not feel that the mind will die along with this life (of the physical body). No matter how many births there are, the mind is God. This mind contains atoms. We should not feel that the nature of the mind, which contains atoms, dies."

How come that the mind has atoms and the atoms give life? But the body that really has atoms dies!

“Numerous people, unable to bear their sufferings, take their own life. People think, “It is only due to the mind that there is so much suffering, isn't it so? I will kill this mind.” However, this is a big sin. You are not killing the mind. You feel that your Divinity is like that. We should not have any resolve of suicide. Atma is God. God is Atma. Prahlada said, ‘Don't have the doubt that, ‘He is in this and not in that’.”

When Sathya Sai Baba gives diamonds (fake or real) he usually says, "Die mind"

“Forget the feelings towards worldly objects (materialistic tendencies). All of these are worldly.”

But they are also full of atoms!

Final comment:
is so deflating as to give cause to become the unwitting object of laughter, and therefore one almost has to be sorry for this fellow with the secondary-school education from which he supposedly emerged as all-knowing! Though this seems to ridicule Sathya Sai Baba , it really only points out how ridiculously he ‘teaches’ sometimes. Sathya Sai Baba is not above ridiculing people, both in general and in interviews… so he should be able to take it too! As the writer of the comments above remarked:-

“…he used to ridicule devotees frequently. I remember once that one student friend of mine told me how Sathya Sai Baba was in a bus and some devotees outside were saying loudly, "Sai Baba, Sai Baba...", and his reply was "Donkeys, donkeys..." But with discourses like this one he also shows how much of a donkey he is.

His struggles in the above to stick to his chosen subject - atoms and more atoms to impress the punters - by having to keep going and reeling anything off the top of his head, and somehow to introduce and beat to death his favourite hobby-horses with codswallop, is pathetic. If it were not for what else he does and pretends, if it were not for all the lives he ruins and half-ruins (a subject no one in his favour likes to talk about), we would leave this clown to his own sub-intellectual devices in his divinely-decorated dunce's corner. Alas, the time when we could let it pass have gone, unfortunately, but then it is not our fault at all!

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