A mature English lady friend of ours, a psychological counsellor, who first visited Sathya Sai Baba in 1986, when she had an interview,
and again in 1996, has also left him. We exchange mails, and some of her experiences and views are well worth quoting.

"...the whole thing about people reading significance from Sathya Sai Baba 's gestures, because that is all they have amongst the crowd of devotees. People are so uncertain, they so much want guidance through life, and the mental clamour makes it so difficult to actually hear one's own inner guidance. You start to play games with yourself - I didn't need Sai Baba to tell me it was ok to follow the Sufi path, I was going to do it anyway.

I tried so hard to follow the Sai Baba way as laid down by the devotees and the org. But I already knew he did magic tricks, from when I had the interview and he "manifested" a Seiko watch for a woman. I saw him go out of the room and then come back, and a minute later produced the watch. I always knew that it was palming, but there is a strong pressure to join in with everybody else and be adoring. I will never do this again, I swear. You remember how I used to complain that there were no goddesses (before I saw Saraswati at Brindavan) on his buildings, and how the Feminine was ignored?

And I never did buy the Avatar thing, I don't believe in Avatars, never have. Like the Jews and Muslims, no graven idols, no pictures, no forms to represent the formless. All gods and goddesses are but images of the different Archetypes, which is a plane of consciousness not very much finer than the mental plane.

In Sufi conceptualization, Sathya Sai Baba is probably a denizen of the Djinn plane, just above the human. Djinns are very tricky, they can zoom about on the Astral and change form and are not to be trusted as they can be both divine and demonic. Yes, Ravana.
...the distinction between "Scepticism" which can be a blanket negativity blocking all spiritual development, and "Discrimination" which is not negative, but allows one to do just that - use your sensitivity to make distinctions and to discover what is trustworthy, and what is false. I suppose it is very necessary to listen to one's own doubts truthfully, and not block them out because one's idealism is driving one on to Accept without question ---- I saw the same think happen in my mother's making excuses for things that were evidently wrong in the USSR , because she idealistically wanted everything to be right there. I have been reading my diaries from 1996 when I went with X to Brindavan, and I see there that I had doubts, but I was trying to cover them up.

However, perhaps this is the opportunity for spiritual progress. The Sufi teachings say that first God is perceived as outside one, then the realization comes that God is Inside oneself, inside one's heart, and once established there, only then can one see that God is in everything.

Just suppose that Sai Baba knew that it was time that all those clinging to his form, defining him as God, needed to take the next step and realize their own divinity. It is much easier to have him as God than to realize God in one's own heart. For the devotees, it is something like an addiction to his form. This is cold turkey, and it's painful, but how can one continue in one's spiritual development while clinging to worshipping his form?

All the decent people, not his devotees, are not hindered by this addiction. They are more easily able to realize that how they behave and feel is more important than a Guru out there. The tendency to say "Baba arranged it for me" is an abrogation of the responsibility to live one's life in a good way.

Yeah, that's my Sufi schtick, and I have to admit that it took Baba's darshan 'wave of recognition' of my inner address to him "Ya Sai" (which was originally how the name came to Shirdi Sai, when a Sufi addressed him this way, Sai meaning Saint) - it kind of felt like Sai Baba acknowledging that it was O.K. for me to follow the Sufi path. Whatever Sai Baba has done, I do not regret following you and Bob to him, because it set me on the path of spiritual development which is what has made me happy, and brought me out of neuroses and depression in my life. So thank you Reidun, do not be sad, know that God lives in your Heart whenever you are loving and kind, which you are a great deal. I'm certainly glad to be free of the influence of Sai Baba. I have been reading my diaries for 1997 and I was very unhappy, and I think a big part of it was that I had Sai Baba interspersed between me and "God", or the "Tao" or whatever is the name for that which is beyond knowing, but which sends guidance through your rabbit twitching nose, or being in touch with the life force, or whatever. But it certainly is your own share of Universal Consciousness.

I think that at this turn of history, what is emerging is the idea of knowing your own inner divinity, and honouring that. I think Djinns must sap the energy of incarnated humans unless they manage to channel their genius down through a human like Mozart or Madame Curie in a positive way for Humanity. Sai Baba is like a dark shadow between you and the sun. Simon Taylor a young artist who used to live with me, very intuitive, drew a picture of Sai Baba from a photograph - it was very fierce with crisscross teeth. I rejected this image, but that is what he saw. That is what I saw when I looked straight into his face - very fierce. I never did go for the softly smiling image. My first ever dream image was of him dancing on the sand - nothing lovey-dovey there."

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