SATHYA SAI BABA
GREEN "DIAMOND" PROVED A FAKE
- 'MATERIALISED' FOR ROBERT PRIDDY, EXPOSED BY TOP DANISH DIAMOND EXPERT
by Robert Priddy - former long-term leader of the Sai Organisation in Norway
On 31/10/2002, my wife Reidun and I returned from three days in Copenhagen, Denmark, where the 'green diamond' Sathya Sai Baba gave me in 1986 (shown above) was examined by Mr. Peter Hertz, the Danish Queen Margarethe's jeweller, a top Scandinavian expert on precious stones and diamonds. All was filmed in detail by Øjvind Kyrø's team for Danish TV. The result of the investigation, which took two days, is that the stone is a synthetic green sapphire. Value only about $40 today in super-expensive Denmark. Its value in India today could therefore probably be around $10.
I gave permission for opening the ring, (the stone
is encased at the back so the stone's underside cannot be seen, as are all so-called
Sai Baba diamond rings that I have seen). It turned out to have a layer of green
silver foil behind the stone to enhance the green colour and reflect light. Behind
the silver foil, the golden casing was painted black. The metal is 18 carat gold.
(The stone was formerly estimated by its surface size to be the equivalent of
ca. 5 to 6 carats, the stone being 1.2 cm in diameter). Mr. Hertz estimated the
total value of the ring as perhaps up to $200 in Denmark today. However, such a ring can be bought much more cheaply in India. So, if ‘the Avatar’
materialised it - as he most certainly made the pretence of doing - why did he also put a silver foil in to 'foil' people? He really IS a trickster and a liar about his
materialisations and their composition. See here how easily and cheaply such 'green diamonds' can be bought.
That Sathya Sai Baba claims these rings contain genuine diamonds is well known and can be shown to be a fact by the quotation from his monthly journal (inset right):-
Mr. Hertz assured us that he was able to determine without any doubt that the stone was not natural but artificial or 'synthetic' - that is to say, manufactured by human beings. The film of this visit to the famous jeweller in Copenhagen includes a brief interview with me in which I commented on this. This is to be shown eventually as documentary evidence when the right programme opportunity arises on the Danish National TV channel (DR1). For a preview of some pictures from the filming at the jeweller's click here.
That the stone is a fake conflicts totally with what Sathya Sai Baba let us understand about it when he gave it to me at an interview on Dec. 23'rd, 1986. It was something for which I never asked, but to refuse in that situation was unthinkable. No more, however! Devotees said it was such a great honour and - until that time - very few persons had been given such large 'green diamond' rings. Among those few who had were: 1) the former and subsequent International Chairmen of the Sathya Sai Organisation, Mr. Indulal Shah and Dr. M. Goldstein 2) The Head of Administration at the Vidyagiri ‘deemed’ University - Mr. Kanhaia Jee, 3) Mr. Victor Kanu, who runs an authoritarian Sai school in Zambia, and 4) Mr. Robert Bruce 5) Professor Keith Crichlow 6) Mr. Antonio Craxi (Apropos, Mrs. Craxi stated the opinion that green rings are "power rings”. But her husband was unable to help keep his brother, Bettino Craxi, in power, not with the help of his ring (nor with their Mafia connections, for that matter.) Mr. B. Craxi, who visited Sathya Sai Baba in Puttaparthi while he was Italy's Prime Minister, died recently as a criminal in exile in Tunis, fleeing a conviction in Italy to about 18 years in prison plus massive multi-million dollar fines.
Can such trickery and lies be explained away?
Sathya Sai Baba had every opportunity subsequently to refute that this was a genuine green diamond he had given to me, for he accepted my book 'Source of the Dream' in 1994 and signed it on the inside cover. In that book the 'green diamond' is photographed very clearly and what Sathya Sai Baba said when he gave it to me is stated verbatim (see below). Sathya Sai Baba is supposed to know what is in any book (and anything anywhere!), and he has said as much in public numerous times too. So in no way can he be exonerated for fraudulent behaviour.
Many Sai devotees are deluded enough to explain away such facts in any conceivable fashion. Therefore, I can assure everyone that, when Mr. Hertz put the ring back together after opening it, the original stone WAS used (not exchanged by him with a fake). I can tell this by examining the stone through a strong magnifier, because the same few tiny specks as before can be seen within it and the same tiny broken edges on the stone after hard wear are still present. So the stone is exactly the same as before.
This new and wholly indubitable information backs up very decisively the assertions of David Bailey in his long exposé paper 'The Findings' about a similar discovery with a said ‘diamond’ ring given him by Sathya Sai Baba. It is a pity that he did not have it filmed and documented with photos etc. when he went to a jeweller in Hyderabad in 1999, who actually produced such rings for Sathya Sai Baba. Like many others, I was not then convinced by David Bailey’s brief account (though I was in strong doubt about Sathya Sai Baba already and had become uncertain about my ring’s genuineness). The Hyderabad jeweller (whose name and address were unfortunately not given by Bailey) reportedly also showed that silver foil had been placed behind the enclosed stone to create a silhouette, and demonstrated how he himself did this, placing the foil on a blackened background. Mr. Hertz informed me that the technique of enhancing the brilliance in such rings - even those with genuine diamonds - was used back in the 18th century in Portugal and elsewhere. This was well before more modern diamond technology made this superfluous and allowed diamonds and other precious stones to shine fully without enclosing them or using silver or foil. (Incidentally, Portugal colonised Goa, where this technique could doubtless also have been taken up by Indians - or perhaps vice-versa).
I had occasionally wondered about the authenticity of these stones, such as when I saw the ca. 1 carat green stone in a ring worn by Mrs. Maynard Ferguson. She told my wife and I that the ring was "very worn down" due to her having worn it all the time, doing housework and washing up. The green stone certainly looked dull and much the worse for wear. The same applied to the same sized clear 'diamond' ring worn by Mr. Ron Laing, when we visited him and his wife, Peggy Mason, in Tunbridge Wells in 1987. Ron Laing said he had been told that it was a diamond. Diamonds simply cannot be scratched, except by another diamond. I held it and examined closely, for it was so worn that it looked more like a piece of heavily scoured glass. I certainly have to wonder, now, how on earth I could have gone on believing in the authenticity of the claim of Sathya Sai Baba that these were diamonds after seeing these 'worn rings'. But such is the power of faith, it overrides all reasonable obstacles evidently. Needless to say, it also easily lands you in the ditch with its back broken if you ride it too far. However, it is basic scientific knowledge that genuine diamonds NEVER scratch except by another diamond, for they are the hardest substance known to us. The can only be affected by the abrasion of other diamonds or diamond dust! They can chip, but never become dull through normal abrasions of any kind.
I have a sneaking suspicion that, despite my not wishing to think myself any more blessed than the next man, it crossed my mind that Ron Laing's and Mrs. Ferguson's stones could possibly have become dull because they did not have enough faith (actually they had far too much faith in Sathya Sai Baba and most of the hearsay about him, as if to the nth degree, poor souls). I could not but wonder at that time whether their stones were fake diamonds (an unpleasant thought which I rejected soon because I also believed or really hoped that mine was genuine). Devotees apply this 'doublethink' to all kinds of such incidents... anything unpleasant Sathya Sai Baba says or does to them is attributed to their poor karma, their bad acts etc. Mostly, because of Sathya Sai Baba's constant preaching on this, it is supposed to be lack of firm faith that causes others to meet such disappointments. I have heard this kind of fatuous hypocrisy from various devotees... those who doubt do not have enough faith, so Sathya Sai Baba changes the objects from a distance so they lose their true nature (and also their 'spiritual power').
Numerous others have claimed that, if one acts badly or questions Sathya Sai Baba's genuineness etc., a ring can disappear wherever you may be (because he makes it do so). But they overlook the words of Sathya Sai Baba when he said: "Science transforms things, re-arranges them, studies their composition, re-groups their parts and releases the energy that lies latent in them. But I create the things themselves. And they are as lasting as any that is found in Nature!" (Sathya Sai Speaks - Vol. 2 New ed., p. 73). So Sathya Sai Baba "creates" artificial, man-made sapphires and fixes them up with silver foil? I don't think so!
What Sai Baba and others say about his productions
I have heard most distinctly Sathya Sai Baba say of one ring that he supposedly materialised before us that it was a “one carat diamond and 22 carat gold”. He deceived me about the ring he gave me, saying it was a "better ring" than the clear diamond one he supposedly changed it from, which he verbally confirmed was a diamond. Never once to my knowledge has he stopped the constant statements by nearly all followers that his rings and earrings etc. contain real diamonds... the talk and the deception involved evidently suits him all too well. Sathya Sai Baba also gave a "diamond" trinket to Dr. Michael Goldstein of the USA, a man who has demonstrated how easily he is flattered by Sathya Sai Baba, and easily deluded to a high degree. Think of the donations this has inspired. It was just after I had said in the private interview that I wanted to make a donation that he told me he would make me a ring the next day. Altogether, we have given over £15,000 to Sathya Sai Baba.
Mr. Hertz expressed surprise that Sathya Sai Baba did not rather let us believe that the stone was an emerald, since this was his first impression of what it might be. When I replied to his initial question on what I thought the stone was by saying "it is supposed to be a green diamond", he told me later that he had known at once that it could not be a diamond, not least due to the unevenness in the light it reflected. This unevenness was evidently due to the manner in which the green silver foil was inserted incompletely behind the stone so a painted black background caused some shading, allowing a kind of shadowy, rough silhouette of a head and shoulders to appear from certain angles when shading it from above. This is no "mysterious appearance" of Sai Baba, as many devotees even believe, but a result of the manner of cutting and mounting the stone. (This rough kind of head and shoulders silhouette can be seen in the right hand picture above, where the ring is beside a silver medallion – a so-called ‘Sai dollar’ – that Sathya Sai Baba gave to my wife during our first interview.)
Mr. Victor Kanu, very well-known within the Sai movement and now the principal of a Sathya Sai college in Zambia, had received a virtually identical ring a year or so before I did. When I asked him about it he told me, "Swami said one could see him in the ring from time to time". So Sathya Sai Baba planted the suggestion in him that this silhouette, produced by a jeweller's cheap technique, actually shows him. Prof. N Kasturi wrote in his official biography of Sathya Sai Baba (Sathyam, Sivam, Sundaram Part II, p. 233): "Baba has granted many gem-set rings with the blessing, 'You can see Me inside this stone' ". This brand of wishful thinking has become a standard among nearly all Sai devotees, for the dark silhouette one can see - very unclear and variable with the lighting and surroundings etc. - is perceptible in most of the rings that Sathya Sai Baba calls diamonds. Sathya Sai Baba did this directly when he gave a ring with a smaller clear diamond to a Mr. Kaufmann from Denmark while I sat beside him at an interview in 1989, saying that the gold was "twenty-four carat" and the stone was "one carat diamond".
The famous diamond company of India, Tata Industries, was run by the famous Mr. Kamani. According to the long-serving Head of Administration at Sai Baba's Vidyagiri University in Puttaparthi, Mr. Kanhaia Jee, who had a ring and stone virtually identical to mine, Mr. Kamani told him while visiting Sathya Sai Baba once that the green stone could be "nothing but a diamond". That was very convincing at the time, even though Mr. Kamani had not done any scientific analysis of his ring. Since then I have wondered about what Mr. Kamani may actually have said, or why he said what K. Jee reported... perhaps so as not to disappoint a devotee? Indians are very well-known for yea-saying so as not to cause embarrassment or loss of face etc., a very confusing trait that all who travel to India discover sooner or later. At all events, what Mr. Kamani actually stated remains uncertain, for there is no documentation of his views on Sathya Sai Baba ‘diamonds’.
Add to the above the report of Mr. Robert Bruce who told me he met a man who was claimed to be Australia's foremost expert on opals. Robert Bruce told me that he had estimated the value of his stone (also green and of the same size and cutting as is mine) at "between five and six million dollars". Anyone who wishes to check the value of the world's most expensive diamonds can soon see that this was an incredibly fabulous sum for such a small stone. The perfect clear diamond given to Elizabeth Taylor by Richard Burton in the 1970s was worth only £200,000. It now seems to me that that man, if he is any kind of expert at all, should stick to opals. I also heard at second-hand of someone who was claimed to have had his very similar green-stone ring examined at Tiffany's in New York, which firm had reportedly kept it for two weeks or so and that the result was that the stone was an extremely rare diamond of a sort known only to ancient India. Need I say it... there is no documentary evidence of any of the above claims anywhere to be found. It was evidently just a combination of imagining, wishful thinking, if it was not an out-and-out untruth... or simply the invention of misunderstood hearsay. Such hearsay is the basis of a mass of what is said and written about Sai Baba and to take it all in one's limits of credulity would have to be that of a 3-year old.
Decades ago, Sathya Sai Baba told the editor of the Indian Marxist ‘Blitz’ magazine, Mr. Karanjia; "What I do is a different act of creation. It is neither magic, nor is it siddhi power either. For one thing, I seek no return. For another, I do not cheat people by transferring objects, but I create them." And "I totally create. Whatever I will, instantly materialises…" (from Spirit and the Mind, Samuel Sandweiss, p. 241).
Sathya Sai Baba also said, "There is no miracle, mesmerism or magic in what I do! Mine is genuine Divine power. Small minds and limited intellects are too weak to perceive the Divine." (Discourse on Christmas Day in 1970 at Dharmakshetra, Bombay). Strange that he claimed then that there was 'no miracle'... fraud is hardly miraculous. What Sathya Sai Baba so presumptuously calls 'small minds and limited intellects' can, however, manage to study the nature of a stone and discover that it is not at all what it is supposed to be! What is perhaps somehow near to 'miraculous'; is how so many people have been deceive and still take it all on trust, while not daring to test any of these claims by getting assays or any kind of certificates from renowned jewellers!
Common rationalisations of Sathya Sai Baba 's fraud
Some devotees impressed on me that Sathya Sai Baba has warned people NOT to take his rings and things to jewellers. Even a child should be able to guess why in reality he wants to stop this. But then children do often see some matters more clearly than mind-conditioned adults. The story circulates that, when someone who tried to sell a ring from Sathya Sai Baba, it simply disappeared. Surely just another way of hindering people from risking an objective test of their jewellery’s genuineness. The whole Sai-disinformation system runs in a neatly closed circles which appear to leave no ends untied... and - since it is an extreme kind of subtle self-deception, it is also extremely difficult to unravel oneself from it once one has woven one's life about it.
All these kinds of delusory ideas that Sathya Sai Baba has sown in devotees' minds, some once entertained briefly by me, are stubbornly upheld in the face of any amount of contrary evidence by leaders in the Sai movement like Anil Kumar of India, Art-Ong Jumsai of Thailand, Samuel Sandweiss and Al Drucker of USA, Jagadeeshan of Malaysia, Thorbjørn Meyer of Denmark and so on... Of course, they have all been ‘tested’ by Sathya Sai Baba to the point that they will swallow whole anything Sathya Sai Baba says, which is mainly why they are his trusted 'VIPs' and are rewarded with various privileges (of which they are patently very proud and make sure that everyone knows about the 'grace' they get). Besides, these people seem quite unable to face up to having to realise and admit that they have very largely been made by Sathya Sai Baba into fools who deny all common sense and reasonable counter-evidence. In the Sai dogma, not to lose faith in him makes one superior spiritually, one has 'good karma' and may well qualify for 'liberation' from rebirth etc. Good luck to those who base their lives on this uncertain promise. Otherwise, by common sense questioning one can rather get liberated from the whole delusion and open one's eyes and mind to regain a respect for facts and the truth they naturally indicate. What is more, opening the heart towards the mass of suffering people deceived by Sathya Sai Baba so thoroughly, and those who have been abused sexually etc., is almost impossible without being honest enough with oneself to investigate thoroughly.
During a visit to his Bayswater flat in London in 1987, Mr. Lucas Ralli told me that Sathya Sai Baba had once "materialised" a ring for him with a clear (white) diamond. As soon as he had lowered himself with the aid of his bunched fists to sit cross-legged on the veranda outside the interview room, the unaccustomed ring came in contact with the floor, which is of marble, and the 'diamond' split into two pieces. (Diamonds can only be split by a sharp blow, but not by the sort of pressure involved in that instance). Ralli said that Sathya Sai Baba had explained this to him the next day by saying that there was "some lapse in concentration while visualising" the product he was to bring forth. This same explanation from Sathya Sai Baba has been published by some other devotee writer who experienced a similar faulty product from Sathya Sai Baba's ‘almighty’ hand. One cannot help wondering why one who claims he is always perfect, is always in 'constantly integrated awareness', and so on and so on... can have such 'little' lapses. But lapses he certainly has, to the extent that they are becoming almost the norm... for example in his vague and non-factual discourses.
Are all Sai Baba’s ‘productions’ fakery?
Obviously, there is now all reason to doubt most strongly whether a single one of his jewellry gifts are what they are claimed to be, either by him or by many thousands of devotees. I reckon that the only likelihood of getting such a proof is if Sathya Sai Baba uses some money from his billions to buy a genuine diamond and give it someone to get it tested. The fact that, so far, all the rings that glitter at all are enclosed at the back is sufficient for us to assert that there is not a single such ring from Sathya Sai Baba with a genuine precious stone of any real value. If official documentation from an accredited and known expert cannot be produced, could a person in full possession of their mental faculties believe otherwise? No such evidence exists. This is a rather amazing fact, one that illustrates the degree of mind control that the whole Sathya Sai Baba ‘story’ and social movement exerts on people who receive anything from Sathya Sai Baba. I have been a victim of it, despite my rigorous scientific and philosophical training and reams of critical writings I have published about the methodological failings of various sciences and others systems of thought. So come on, you are not alone.
I challenge anyone to produce a genuine article from Sathya Sai Baba worth more than, say, $500, and produce sound documentary evidence by recognised authorities to that effect. But I doubt that any devotee would dare to try to find out whether a gift from Sathya Sai Baba is a fake.
Nonetheless, it will surely surprise some that I am am still almost certain - on the basis of extended personal observation - that Sathya Sai Baba can and does carry out apports, which therefore can appear as materialisations from nothing. The amount of fraud that has been shown to be involved since astute persons began to notice legerdemain and find trinkets hidden in chairs on which he sits, further indicates that Sathya Sai Baba's claims of divine creation are most unlikely to be true. That there are many phenomena connected with him, like the spontaneous appearance of ashes and nectar etc. on his pictures, I am told that he also has on occasion expressed surprise and interest when he hears of such things, for example by my friend and colleague Prof. Erlendur Haraldsson. Nevertheless he soon lays claim to many such distant phenomena as being his doing.
However, an increasing number of people have told of getting objects assayed and finding them virtually worthless junk. For example, a Dutch friend of Andries Kruger Dagneaux told that he had done this. (See http://home.helnet.nl/~ex-baba/engels/witnesses/andries.html). Though I am am almost certain on the basis of personal observation that Sathya Sai Baba can and does carry out apports, which therefore can appear as materialisations from nothing, the amount of fraud that has been shown to be involved since astute persons began to notice legerdemain and find trinkets hidden in chairs on which he sits, indicates that Sathya Sai Baba's claims of divine creation are most unlikely to be true.
I would also remind that the Internet had an account of the Jesus figure on a small wooden cross which Sathya Sai Baba got Hislop to believe was a piece of the original wood of the cross. A magnified photo of the amulet was examined by an emeritus professor and art expert and proclaimed most likely to be a commonly manufactured amulet from 19th century UK, with visible small defects due to the mass/casting process. The hole in the top of the cross is obviously for a locket chain, not for Sathya Sai Baba's reason - i.e. hanging of the original cross from above. (See "The fake crucifix" and also rational comments and questions here.
Further, the so-called 'little Bible' that Sathya Sai Baba pretended to 'manifest' at Christmas some years ago and claimed was unique, was identical in appearance to one sold widely in India and elsewhere, and which can even be bought at Sathya Sai Baba shops here and there, such as in Australia, according to Brian Steel's investigations. All of these 'miraculous' productions fit a pattern… the name of which must surely be 'cunning deceit'. Then there are the golden lingams that Sathya Sai Baba doubtless swallows (an oft-demonstrated yogic technique, such as by the convicted Swami Premananda and wandering fakirs) within 24 hours of Shivarathri day, and which he then regurgitates with much ado, claiming that all the gold of which it supposedly consists was present in his body all along. This last is quite preposterous.
Many long-term devotees have demonstrated that - whatever happens and however much disgrace it casts on Sathya Sai Baba - they believe it is nevertheless 'all only his divine play'. The faking, legerdemain, lying, boasting, power-seeking, sexual interferences with young men, as well as his criticising and damning his critics and worse things have been ignored by those whose faith in themselves and life has become highly dependent on continuing to believe Sathya Sai Baba is God. They cannot free themselves of the various dependencies on Sathya Sai Baba and attachments to their set beliefs which they have developed with much energy, usually over long periods of time. Anyone who speaks out against Sathya Sai Baba or believes his critics is prejudged as suffering from what Sathya Sai Baba teaches is 'a mad monkey mind' or yet worse moral conditions. But those who say this are unfortunately the ones who are trapped like monkeys with their hands in the gourd that cannot release the proverbial precious peanuts.
Devotees' praises of Sathya Sai Baba as a wonderful example to humanity and their service and other efforts have not been sufficient to stop him railing on (in a recent discourse) that 90% of them are not good devotees. How deeply misguided must the10% whom he considers 'good' actually be? The mind boggles at making an estimate. Well… after all, I should know. Quite uncalled for, Sathya Sai Baba told my wife in front of me that I was a, 'good, good, very good man' on two occasions. So perhaps he is not always so wrong, ha ha... I would hope not. I still follow him in one thing, at least, for he also told me in a private interview to, "Write, write… what you are doing is right!"
Here is what I wrote in an earlier article about this:-
In 1986, my wife and I had two interviews, two mornings running (22nd & 23rd December). During the first private interview with us two, Sathya Sai Baba said to her, "He worries about money." True enough, at times, I admit. Yet there are few indeed who do not at some time or other. I was not worrying at all at that time, however, for I replied, "Swami, I have so much money now, more than I ever had". This was so, for I had recently inherited some money from my mother, but rich we certainly were not by any Western standards. I added that I wanted to donate money. He said I could choose what for, the medical or educational trusts, "It is not for me, but for my students," he added. Shortly after, he pointed to me and told my wife, "Good, good... very good man".
Directly, he examined my hand and asked if not the ring I had was my wedding ring (it was on the right hand 3rd finger, but it was not the usual type - being of silver and gold with small inset malachite stones. A skeptic would say in retrospect that Sathya Sai Baba had been sizing up the thickness of my finger for the ring to be 'produced' next day. A minute later he said he would call us for another interview next day when he would give me a ring. Shortly after that he waved his hand before my wife as she exited from the private interview room and a silver amulet appeared, which he gave her. I have described the main part of that and the following day's interview at length in my book where I did not mention the financial aspect, for I had been led to believe that any talk about such matters involving Sathya Sai Baba was very wrong. That I had already donated by post £3000.- was discreetly not mentioned by me, nor did Sathya Sai Baba mention it. In my desire to believe in his omniscience, I thought that he must already know. It seems likely to me now that he did not. If he did, he could have been informed by his staff that a person who had donated this sum was presently at the ashram. In that case he could have given us interviews because he reckoned he might extract another donation. I do not say he did so, but that it is highly possible.
The leader of our Danish group had a permanent place on the veranda and spoke with Sathya Sai Baba several times before our first interview. He is not a very astute person, one who tends to swallow whole everything he is fed by Sathya Sai Baba. He asked Sathya Sai Baba about our group and a possible interview before it took place. This leader was always very tight-lipped about what went on, and has since firmly proved his active engagement in the cover-up of scandals surrounding Sathya Sai Baba, having shown that he is a conniving, unreliable person (i.e. reliable for Sathya Sai Baba only). Since I have learned how he has earned the dislike and mistrust by almost everyone I have met who knew him, including one of his own sons who has contacted me about him! Therefore, I would not put it past him to have provided information about me and my profession to Sathya Sai Baba (just possibly unwitting as to what he was doing). In short, there is no evidence whatever to suggest that Sathya Sai Baba had any data from 'omniscience' in this instance. During the first interview Sathya Sai Baba said to me twice, "Be Ready!" I did not know to what he was referring, but later realised that it must have been the money he was expecting.
Next day in the private interview, Baba soon asked me, "How much money are you going to donate?" I had not thought of this at all in the interval. A sum came to my mind - "£6,000, Swami," I said, knowing that this would make £9,000.- in all. This amounted to well over half of my inheritance. I added that the money came from my mother. He asked what her name was and I told him. He said, "I will build an indoor sports hall for the students and hers and your name will be put up on the wall." I then believed Sathya Sai Baba's claim that - due to his being omnipresent in the inner heart of everyone - he knew (or could know) all things. I did not think that he could not have known her name, but that seems fairly obvious to me now that I am convinced of his fallibility. The typical devotee will assume that Sathya Sai Baba was just pretending that he didn't know her name. This is one of Sathya Sai Baba's smartest ways of duping people, to pretend that he knows all, but behaves as if he does not. But the problem is that he pretends so much about so many things so often that in the end he loses all credibility. There is no reasoning with a person who is ensnared in the system of excuses that surrounds Sathya Sai Baba and absolves him of everything imaginable in advance.
Of course, Sathya Sai Baba never did put my name or my mother's up anywhere, and I have never regretted it. I was not at all keen on the idea anyhow but would have accepted it 'if Swami wanted it'. I have always disliked boasting and telling what good things one has done... as Sathya Sai Baba used to teach and once almost followed himself. Now he has demonstrated firmly that he is the biggest braggart in the world.
Incidentally, in the second day's interview, Sathya Sai Baba ‘took’ a ring with a white (clear) stone from somewhere - it was between 1 and 3 carats (the Sathya Sai Baba standard 'smaller diamond ring') and proved to be too small for my finger. "Never mind", he said. My wife and I were then taken into the private room again by Sathya Sai Baba. When we came back out, he produced the white stone ring again and sent it around to some ladies. He asked an Indian lady to describe it. She said it was a diamond set in a gold lotus ring. He confirmed both points. He then asked what I wanted and I said I did not know, so he said, "I will make you a better ring". He blew three times into his closed fist - in which he had been holding the white stone ring - and when he opened his fist, another ring with a larger green stone was there (about 5 or 6 carats). Though it crossed my mind at the time that Sathya Sai Baba seemed so eager to draw me into donating and so perhaps the whole set-up was another extremely clever Indian way of deceiving people into giving money, I immediately rejected the thought as heretical. After all, does not Sathya Sai Baba do so much for the poor, his students etc. (Since then, I have come to know that his students are mostly from well-to-do middle-class, and often power-broking, rich, families, not least sons of 'top people' from abroad). No, I put all my trust in Sathya Sai Baba and his assurances that "not a single naya paise is ever wasted", unquestionably a lie, and one repeated brazenly in a discourse even after the Central Trust was found sadly wanting in its incomplete accounts in 1993.