Secular Right | Reality & Reason

Jul/11

4

Sexy Sadie (Remix)

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I am shocked, shocked that this has happened:

Thousands of followers around the world believed the Indian guru Sai Baba was a god, but since his death it has emerged that the fortunes people donated to him were not all invested in good works.

The Indian guru Sai Baba’s life seemed to have it all: sex, money and religion.

A lifetime of claiming to be the incarnation of God had brought him a £5.5 billion fortune and a worldwide following of 50 million people. It also brought accusations that he molested his young acolytes and used cheap trickery to perform his miracles.

Yet all this is now in danger of being eclipsed by the extraordinary saga which has been playing out since his death in April, a story of hidden treasure troves, of mountains of gold and diamonds, of missing millions, all set against a backdrop of a struggle for control of his empire.

In his prime, the diminutive holy man with the bright orange robes and huge afro haircut could count kings and presidents among his friends, and the likes of Sarah Ferguson among the admirers of his home-spun, “love all, serve all” philosophy.

The film actress Goldie Hawn has visited his religious centre or ashram at least three times and donated tens of thousands of dollars to his projects; the Duchess of York paid a call after her marriage broke up; while the cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, who gave £40,000 for a statue of the guru, and a myriad of Indian politicians and Bollywood stars claimed inspiration from his message of putting service above self.

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3 comments

  • jb · July 5, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Oh man, if I still had my hair, I’d be looking into a new career right now!

  • Susan · July 6, 2011 at 1:13 am

    Insofar as objects of veneration go, a Chia Pet would provide the same visual yet have been far less costly.

  • jb · July 6, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    On second thought, maybe we are being too harsh. After all, £5.5 billion from 50 million followers comes out to just £110 a head. At that price, it’s at least conceivable that his followers were paying less than they would for a psychiatrist, but getting better results!

    Also, if his teachings were sufficiently benign, maybe the world really did benefit from his presence. I mean, if his followers hadn’t hooked up with him, most of them would have latched on to someone or something else. You can do a lot worse than “love all, serve all.”

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