The origin of the 'light' or 'subtle' body of Sai Baba and how it was capitalised on
In June 2014, a farcical charade was played out at Kodaikanal, Sai Baba’s ghostly ‘subtle form’ was announced as being present by the masterful Isaac Burton Tigrett. ‘the man in black. It took place in Sai Baba’s Kodaikanal residence with a remnant of deluded devotees and some current ‘Sai-VIPs’ present. (Whether any were elevated to VIP status by SB is not certain). A sorry gang of lost persons who were so unscrupulously deceived by Sai Baba and the mini-empire of beneficiaries and cover-up propagandists that surrounded him, grasped at the attempt to keep him as if alive through bogus claims, anonymous reports of his mysterious appearances or paranormal ‘leelas‘ (divine jokes) and suchlike. However, the ‘official’ Sai Prasanthi officials rejected Tigrett’s claims, as they have done before concerning many other of his self-promotional stories being the person to carry forth Sai Baba's ‘Living Testament' plans. The imaginary ‘subtle body’ of ‘Swami’ was the focus of events. More photos of this were posted on the internet. Among other fanciful absurdities circulated by a Tigrett e-mail – a boy saw Sai Baba’s form and delivered ‘divine discourses’. No credible details of how this occurred were given, though it was all soon denied by a privately circulated announcement from the ruling Prasanti Council in Puttaparthi. This incident was, however, the first report which later led to the usurpation of the Sai Baba identity by his former student, Madhu Sudan, who claimed SB's 'subtle body' communicated through himself. At the time, true believers in the invisible 'body' concocted a video with fade in and fade out effects (giving a fake ‘mystery atmosphere’ for simpleton zealots, no doubt) on a YouTube video, about which a comment states:-
“Published on 13 June 2014 Photos of Sathya Sai Baba who manifested in his subtle body at Kodaikanal, South India from May 12 – 21, 2014. Apparently the 150 devotees present during the time of the apparitions could see him/his light body. Unfortunately, the camera was unable to record his presence. My guess is that he prevented the camera from doing that to prevent publicity as the time for that is not yet ripe. Note the angle of the head, eyes and postures of those present there — they are apparently focused on the apparitions of Swami.”
This immaterial, incorporeal or surreal figment of their minds was honoured with ardent devotees welcoming a car, the red carpet laid out for his long-departed feet, his chair empty but for the supposed spectre and the hankies for his former continual mouth-wiping. Tigrett rebuffed the critics saying "It is not possible to comprehend this phenomenon intellectually but only through the boundless perception of the heart" (which means, only through blind faith!” Other somewhat phantasmagoric highlights of the event included the ‘crowd’ of about 150 in attendance worshipping the pretend ‘Swami’, kissing his ethereal feet and a juula (Krishna-type swing) installed for Swami to swing on! In imitation of former days, the ‘Seva Dal’ boys handed out the Baba’s blessed gifts (‘divine prasad‘) to those present. It appears that an entry fee was one way of keeping the usual poverty-striken lunch-ticket seekers and general hoi polloi out of the event, no longer having the one-time Seva Dal security force to bounce undesirables. No quite so ridiculous a laughing-stock has occurred evening the world of cults for ages.
This egregious scam, however, is supported fully by numerous former Prashanthi Nilayam visiting devotees, though far form all. One such is the self-promoting Connie Shaw who circulated an e-mail saying she is overjoyed that at last there is Sri Madhusudhan Naidu. She continues by asking herself what her Sai friends would want to know about this Madhu Sudan who is held in deep reverence as Swami’ true mouthpiece. (She had added at the end of her mail, including: “Ms. Shaw has given over 2,000 talks on the Love, Power and Divinity of the Avatar both in person and in 130 venues on Skype, on five continents.”) She lists a series of questions she puts to herself about whether one can trust him etc., and then answers them. Shaw considers Madhu Sudan ” …a person of integrity who was playing the current role of the “communicator/translator” (not medium, not channel, not guru) for the Invisible Subtle Form of Sathya Sai”. This is empty wordplay to mislead, for either there is a disembodied ‘subtle entity’ at the other end or there is not, and to endeavour to convey anything from it is to act as a medium, a channel. She asks: “Would he do the same outstanding job of translation of Baba’s discourses that we have enjoyed over the years via such elevating and electrifying translators… " She concluded that he was: “not dull in vibration”. He was “so devoid of “stage personality” while translating as to be almost a slide transparency through which the Avatar can clearly work”. “Several times this writer saw Sathya Sai in His chair, intermittently, and was thrilled. The vibration of Baba was unmistakable, and yet it contained, for this writer, a new resolve, intent and nuances that we had not experienced in the past”. (read full account here)
One big question Shaw avoided is why anyone would want to hear any more of Sai Baba’s countless utterly repetitive discourses. Are not his own writings and the endless volumes of Sathya Sai Speaks and Sanathana Sarathi sufficient? What more could Madhu Sudan add that was not his own invention and would be worth travelling across half the globe to hear? Since I have studied every writings and discourse up until 2003 (indexing them in 18,000 entries) and many after that, I can assure everyone that everything that Sai Baba expressed could be redacted down to 10% of the whole without losing anything of import. (But it would admittedly be a problem to include in that all the hundreds of documented contradictions, howling absurdities, and his pseudo-scientific ideas about almost every phenomenon, from physics to geology, medicine and not least the history of Christianity).
Shaw's boundless naivety in believing all about Sai Baba (even when his guaranteed certain prediction to her of the cessation of all war by 2007 failed) is again seen when she wrote of Madhusudan:- “The communicator would faithfully translate the message, without additions or deletions,especially regarding the content of the Avatar’s message and mission.” How on earth could anyone know whether this was so, considering that no one could hear the voiceless ghost of Swami? Why is 'translating' involved when both spoke Telugu ... or is this to admit the 'language' he was translating from was merely 'the language of the heart'? That would amount to channeling or mediumistic, which most likely means sheer fraud.