The authorship of Joy Thomas - Sathya Sai Baba blind believer

By writing books of unstinting and uncritical praise on Sathya Sai Baba, redolent with her fancies about him and what he conveyed to her, Joy Thomas made a name for herself within the movement and gained prominence at the ashrams, getting a lot of contact with her Lord and Master. As if to show her reverence for what all devotees must accept as Sai Baba's eternal words of wisdom', Joy Thomas chose as book titles some of his remarks about what human life is. Thus we got:-
Life is a Game. Play It. Tustin, Sathya Sai Book Center of America). 1989
Life is a Challenge. Meet It. Tustin 1991
Life is a Dream. Realize It. Beaumont, California, Ontic Press. 1992
Life is Love. Enjoy It. Beaumont 1994
Life is Awareness. Beaumont 1995

Incidentally, why she carefully avoided other SB statements about life, such as "Life is a prison, all must endure it" (p. 12, Dharma Vahini) , "Life is a game of football: you are the ball" (p. 331 Sathya Sai Speaks Vol. 14),"Life is filled with bondages" (p. 92 Sanathana Sarathi, April 1998) one can but surmise. Her chosen titles are hardly representative of the contents, they are more of a sop to Sai Baba which would increase the chance of him blessing the book. The contents are very much about how Sai Baba affected her in various ways (a lot about herself), details of interviews and his 'teachings' how she found esoteric meanings hidden in his words and acts (invariably far-fetched or quite trivial symbolic interpretations) and how the Sai Baba group centre reacted to Baba, her stories and opinions. The books always had numerous photos of herself and Raye with Sai Baba, receiving blessings of various kinds - book signings, vibuthi 'production' and so forth .Further down here, I select two excerpts from 'Life is a Game, Play It' which are representative of her written materials.

At a Brindavan ashram interview in June 1994 (see on the right) Joy Thomas' pressed her latest book on Sai Baba. His signed blessing had been given to her four previous books, and he signed again. Next time she presented (last) offering to him, however, he made clear that she should stop writing and start practising (meaning engage in genuine spiritual activities like service, repetition of the name, prayer etc.).

During the 1994 session, Sai Baba had signed the cover page and handed it with the whole manuscript to one of his close students for perusal. Afterwards they asked him for the manus. but he said it was now his, as Sai Baba had given it to him. They had to beg him to let them borrow it to make a photocopy of it as it was the only version they had! There was no mention of any symbolism potential to be read from this event in her subsequent writings, though.

Joy and Raye Thomas were the leaders of a group from San Diego, who were present at the interview. My wife and I were present too, though we were invited independently. It was the occasion of having received the first copies of my book 'Source of the Dream' [mea culpa] which was also signed by Sai Baba then too. Six years later I published another book 'End of the Dream' (December 2004), the title of which says it all. This latter book was simply a compendium of all the web pages I had written as part of the exposé until then.

Joy and Raye Thomas in interview at Brindavan

navagraha_ringRaye Thomas sported many Sai Baba rings on his fingers, but the one actually given him by Sai Baba was a 'navagraha' ring (of which identical rings are on sale at most Indian jewelers - see image).

The belief in astrology is extremely widespread in India, and the symbolism is taken most seriously, as in the case of which gemstones 'affect' which planetary influence, so these rings are most popular. The religious fancy that a common or garden ring was 'materialised' for Raye by Sai Baba, and further, that it meant that he was granted freedom from the (assumed) cycle of rebirths is held by a majority of Sai devotees. Entire mental worlds are built out of such speculative symbolism, as is seen in the gymnastic convolutions of Joy's zealous interpretations of the hidden meanings she believed to be conveyed by Sai Baba through unnecessarily enigmatic words and hints etc.

The symbolisms of Indian-type numerology are also interwoven in all of Sai Baba's teachings, but this number mysticism is a facile mental exercise, entirely speculative and without any practical values to knowledge, but useful for charlatans to appear wise to the unenlightened and make themselves a living.

The doctrine of liberation is a standard Indian belief system, accepted by a huge preponderance of Indians at all levels of society and hence used by all the self-proclaimed gurus as a bait to attract followers hoping for release from all suffering through them (and for the propounders to attain an aura of mystery, plus prestige and not least money and worldly pleasures). This doctrine is a chief attraction played upon by Sai Baba with his many promises about it (often provably broken too!).

In the next excerpt too, one sees the somewhat hilarious and ridiculous attempts to squeeze out an 'extraordinary' answer from ordinary events as coming in symbolic form from Sai Baba himself, taken as a proof of his self-pronounced omnipresence and omniscience.

An example of what Joy Thomas believed - showing the extent of her huge credulousness 'Dante Called You Beatrice' is found on-line here


This imagined direct contact with Sathya Sai Baba has been most widespread in the Sai movement. It has led to numerous books supposedly written by Sai Baba through the author (as his 'instruments'), and despite his constantly having disavowed that that he spoke through anyone else at all. His journal, Sanathana Sarathi, published various warnings about books claimed to be his vicarious products. Some even claimed to be his real mother (one such, Sai Ma, was denounced in the journal).

Another example is worth mentioning here, though thousands could be found in the literature. In a mail I received (2/20/02) from Glen Meloy, he wrote:-

"Every morning, Elsie Cowan and Walt Neubaurer (Also deceased) and myself used to open, read and answer the mail coming from all over the world... She was a very strong willed woman and had the wealth (from Walter's fortunes) to back it up. Walter made many millions because he figured out the location for much of the natural gas and oil fields and then heavily invested in Real Estate.
There is a section of Tustin that is called Cowan Heights and they had a huge home on a hill ...One evening, Elsie called Walt and myself into her bedroom and was showing some personal items that had been allegedly manifested by sb when he performed a spiritual marriage for them. Then all of a sudden she pounded on the wall 3 times and demanded that Baba tell her what Walter was doing in Heaven. Somehow she got it in her head that he was playing tennis with some angelic looking females. She was very jealous and asked Baba to intercede on the inner planes."

Read also a succinct account of some trials of Joy and Raye they had with Sai Baba and the ashram

Joy Thomas' immense credulity as to Sathya Sai Baba