When compared with the critical and prolonged illness of Sathya Sai Baba in April 2011, many texts from his discourses are to be seen as unsustainable claims based on Sai Baba's proclamation that is perfection and purity itself. For example:-

The attributes of the Avatars are beyond human comprehension…. Rama and Krishna were ever youthful. Have you ever seen a picture of Rama or Krishna with grey hair?….. Usually old people have wrinkles on their faces … I do not have any signs of old age. (loud applause). There is not a single wrinkle on My face”. (The monthly official journal: Sanathana Sarathi, October, 2002.)

Desire to which you are too fondly attached breeds anger and its nefarious brood. Discard it and you can have perpetual youth! The Aanandha that the Aathman can manifest will keep age and ageing away!(Discourse of Sathya Sai Baba, Prashanthi Nilayam, 22 Feb 1971. Published by Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust.)

"I do not suffer from any kind of disease because there is no trace of greed in Me. That is why I am always healthy..." (Sanathana Sarathi September 2001, page 257f) 186)

Purity, patience and perseverance. With these three you are bound to acquire good health and bliss. You may believe it or not. But the truth is that these three are responsible for my health (Arogya) and bliss (Ananda)” (Sanathana Sarathi July 1995, p. 173)

"One day, nine years ago, after having a head bath, I wanted to dry My hair. One of the American doctors had lovingly presented a hair-drier to Me. When I was trying to use the same, the power supply was cut off. It was restored when I was having a close look at the drier. Consequently, a sudden gust of hot air ripped through My eye damaging the retina. I was least perturbed. One eye is sufficient to see this wide world.
Dr. Hemanth Murthy (ophthalmic surgeon) pleaded with Me to undergo an eye operation as well, along with the hip surgery. The damaged retina, which was removed from My eye, was as dark as charcoal. Since then I am able to see clearly with both My eyes
posted on the large Sai website (June, 2003)

The retina is protected by the cornea and the lens, so it is highly unlikely that it could be damaged by a quick blast of hot air from a hair dryer! This report is therefore judged inaccurate, which is very typical of so many reports on Sathya Sai, definitely not excluding his own statements either. An 'edited' version of his discourses appears monthly in Sanathana Sarathi for July 2003, where Sathya Sai Baba is reported saying he had a lens replaced. The cornea could have been damaged and the lens (protected by the cornea) could possibly have been affected. But the accounts are contradictory, as usual. As often happens, Sanathana Sarathi reported differently... that Sathya Sai Baba said it was the lens that was damaged.

"One day, some nine years ago, I was trying to dry My hair with a hair dryer presented to Me by an American doctor." (Note: he claims he NEVER accepts anything from anyone!!) "I am not accustomed to using modern gadgets. When I was trying to use the same, the electricity went off. While I was having a close look at the dryer to know why it was not working, electricity was restored. Consequently, a sudden gust of hot air blew into My left eye and damaged the eye lens. But I was least perturbed. I thought, one eye is sufficient to see this wide world. Sahasra Seersha Purusha Sahasraksha Pad (God has a thousand heads, eyes and feet)."
"When I was in the hospital for hip surgery, Dr. Hemanth Murthy (opthalmic surgeon) prayed to me to undergo and eye operation as well.He performed the operation and replaced the lens. Since then I am able to see clearly with both My eyes. (loud prolonged applause)
(Discourse, 5 July 2003)

We can also surmise that Sathya Sai Baba may not have suffered retinal damage for 9 years (it is a very serious condition) but have simply had an operation for an advanced stage of cataract, which is blurring of vision and, if untreated, leads to blindness. Cataract which affects the lens can result from a former trauma and also from old age. Medical textbooks state that traumatic cataract can follow bruising or penetrative injury. The accident with a hair of his elephant, Sai Geetha, which pierced one of his eyes may have been the true cause (see below). Glass-blower cataract comes of long exposure to excessive light and radiant heat (eg. in the glass-blowing and iron-smelting industries). Cataract can also result from diabetes. In senile cataract opacity develops very slowly as a degenerative process in later life.

Replacement of the lens is a standard treatment precisely for cataract. Cataract is undoubtedly an illness, not just the result of an accident. In Sathya Sai Baba 's case it would most likely have grown worse over the period of nine years. This amounts to physical ill-health, which he always says he never has. But now he admits of ill health:-

"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." (Discourse - September 1988)

As usual, Sathya Sai Baba and his medical cronies reveal as little as possible about him, it seems, and often not even the actual facts. This is not surprising in view of his constant claims of always being in perfect health because he is so pure, selfless, patient, persevering etc., allegedly. resulting in perfect bodily health (i.e. no roga or 'illness'!). He said, perhaps rather injudiciously, on June 2nd, 2003 in his discourse:

"Doubt is like a cataract that blurs our vision. A person with cataract in his eyes cannot see his own wife and children even if they are standing by his side. Similarly, one with doubts cannot see God. You have to undergo ‘cataract’ operation to have vision of God.”>
How could he then admit to having had a cataract himself? It would be that much too patently revealing!
His servitors evidently want to confuse the issue and so cover over the facts. Their typical secrecy and the "official reason" (i.e. a cover-up lie) about what had happened is evident from the posting from

"On 4th early morning darshan was cancelled. The official reason given for the cancellation of the morning darshan was the central trust meeting. It is leaned that in spite of phycical injury to his leg he attended the central trust meeting in the morning of 4th june. All the central trust members had come for the meeting.
By afternoon the message has spread and hords of anxious of devotees came to whitefield. The officials informed that there is only slight injury and darshan is temporary suspended.
It is learned that swami will give darshan only after he has willed his injury to heal and when that happens only he knows.

As in Sanathana Sarathi, the 'Kingdom of Sai' website also reported Sathya Sai Baba as saying:

"This eye has not seen the world for the last 9 years (Swami indicated His left eye). Now I am able to see very clearly."

The "all-knowing avatar" whose name is "truth" and claims to be "all-seeing" and to know the past, present and future of everyone and everything. He speaks of having a thousand eyes!! [Why does he need physical eyes then? Who can tell - "it is all his mystery, you see"] He has previously stated:-

Doctors know that in the eye there are billions of cells which react to light rays. If any of these cells are affected, the vision is affected….” And “I am 70 years now. I can see even an ant that is far away. It is physical power. What is the reason? Diet control..” (Sanathana Sarathi, July 1995, page 171-2 also Sathya Sai Speaks Vol. 28 - p. 186).

In November 1998, my close friend V.K. Narasimhan, the editor of Sanathana Sarathi, who confided in me regularly about many of his personal matters - especially those concering diverse very troubling events he had witnessed and heard, told me that Sathya Sai Baba had just told him that he he was in 100% good health. He reported that Sai Baba had also told him once that, during the 1980s, his elephant Sai Geetha had pierced one of his eyes with a hair on her trunk, which are as sharp as needles. This had caused him much pain at the time and a bloodshot eye, he told VKN, but he said that it had healed up naturally without medication. I had seen that he had a blood-red eye for some weeks early in 1985, and also again some years later.

V.K. Narasimhan had - on Sai Baba's advice - suffered a temporarily successful operation to one eye in 1992 which became infected by Prashanthi's germ-laden dust. Directly, Sathya Sai Baba applied vibuti on the veranda but this failed to cure the infection... so VKN lost his vision totally within a day or so. All this was well known to staff and insider residents of the ashrams, who never publicise anything that could reflect back on their Lord and Ruler. Despite that, Sathya Sai Baba insisted that he continue editing Sanathana Sarathi, though he told me several times that he really wanted to compose a book on the question of avatarhood instead (he doubted that Sai was what he claimed, certainly not omniscient or omnipotent). Considering his own eye problem, he would certainly have discussed any eye problem Sathya Sai Baba might have had at that time and the alleged successful retina operation, as he exchanged news with him and was close beside him for hours daily from then on until he fell ill and was hospitalised and died in March 2000. But he had heard nothing about it.

In short, since one simply cannot rely on what Sathya Sai Baba says about his own condition, for what can anyone rely on him?

If you visited this page looking for information about Sathya Sai Baba's health in 2011, please go instead to the following pages:-

Sai Baba: health condition prompts succession struggle
Sai Baba’s life on thread – battles over his wealth?
Sathya Sai Baba on illness and death