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Re: REQUEST : Sai baba

Posted By Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian (rbalasub@ecn.purdue.edu)
Wed, 25 Dec 1996 12:36:03 -0500 (EST)

Michael Tandy wrote:

I won't have internet access for the next one month and won't be able to reply
to you before that.

>>> It was obvious
>>> >that he had no clear answers to anything I asked.
>>> Maybe that is why Sai Baba advises people to focus on his
>>> teachings, for those are largely plagiarized from the Gita
>> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>>don't see why Satya Sai Baba teaching from the BG makes him a
>Namas te.
>Thanks for responding reasonably. I'll try to clarify. Here's what
>the American Heritage Dictionary says about the term:
>plagiarize (v.) 1. To steal and use (the ideas or writings of
>another) as one's own. 2. To appropriate passages or ideas from
>(another) and use them as one's own . . . To take and use as
>one's own the writings or ideas of another.
>Since this is pretty easy to understand (N.B. the specification
>"as one's own" in all the definitions), I hope it helps.

Yes, I have been aware of what plagiarize means for a long time, though I knew
it as plagiarise before I came to the US. However that apart, there is no
reason to call Sai Baba a plagiarist. If you ask any teacher from a vedantic
school (at least the existing ones) he/she will no doubt assert that what
he/she teaches is in agreement with the giitaa. Take a simple example,
sha.nkara has written a prakaraNa grantha called the upadeshasaahasrii. His
school asserts that the import of the giitaa and the upadeshasaahasrii are the
same. However, we also call it an original work of sha.nkara. That the teachings
of both coincide does not make sha.nkara a plagiarist. That way the giitaa is a
plagiarism from the vedas. In short, as far as philosophy in Indian tradition
goes, "there is nothing new under the sun", and no claim to originality is ever
made by any vedantin. The only claim made is that the teaching is in agreement
with the shruti. It is, in fact, completely understood without even any
explicit statement to that effect.

Now if you can provide quotes from Satya Sai Baba where he mentions verses from
the giitaa (perhaps in his lectures) and claimed that he made them up himself,
I'll eat all my words and admit that he is a plagiarist. Otherwise, he
certainly is not. Your attitude reminds me of an adage in thamiz,

"miraNDavan kaNNukku iruNDathellAm pEy", roughly, "to the frightened man,
every thing dark, looks like a ghost". If a person who is someone you like and
his teachings coincide with that of the giitaa he is "Oh, so great, what a
mahaatmaa, blah, blah, blah" and if he is someone you don't like, and he
teaches from the giitaa, then he is a "plagiarist".

I admit that I am not a follower of Satya Sai Baba and I haven't even read any
literature of his. But I don't have to, in order to criticize your description
of his teachings, namely as plagiarism. But as I said, if you can provide the
quotes I asked, I'll shamelessly eat all my words.



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