Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Rationalists and Sai Baba

Two great bits and pieces that I found:

The Science and Rationalists’ Association of India who aim to eradicate superstition and blind faith, which include religious fanaticism , astrology , caste-system, spiritualism and numerous other obscurantist beliefs.

Woo hoo! They hold classes, street corner meetings, publish leaflets, go out and investigate paranormal and supernatural claims. They're the JREF of India. Something I need to look into from their website:

Any science club or cultural organization can become our member by paying annual subscription of Rs. 100.00 only, provided they propagate rationalism. On various issues they may join us in our campaigns and hold joint meetings.

Think we could do it not being in India?

The second thing I found was when I just started doing a little digging into Sai Baba. Now, I don't really know much about Sai Baba. My knowledge of this guru is limited to images of a dude with fuzzy hair who used to 'create' ashes in his hands and another dude, much older, who I saw lots of pictures of, usually surrounded by garlands...

Turns out, there's two of 'em! :) One claims to be a reincarnation of the other - and has allegedly faked his birth records to make the dates match up. 'Satya' Sai Baba is still alive (in his 80s and still hanging on...)

The other -- the original Sai Baba -- is popularly called the 'Shirdi' Sai Baba. He died in 1918.

I did remember that there were a lot of stories about the fuzzy dude - he has a whole set of ashrams in India and his followers have reached somewhat of a cult status.

Anyway, it turns out I didn't have to do a whole lot of research into this one - there are many people who have done the legwork for me. Check out The Skeptic's Dictionary's Information which has BUCKETS of information. Apparently, this guy is a pervert, child molester, fraud, and potentially a murderer! He's apparently even been caught faking on video (although I've not been able to track down a copy of said video). There's even a site for people who used to be devotees and who want to speak out about it. Plus, you can check out Prasad Golla's detailed Intro to Satya Sai Baba on the North Texas Skeptics web site.

Maybe we need to follow in the wise and wonderful Robert Lancaster's footsteps and start a StopSaiBaba.com?

Updated on Feb 6 with more detailed information!