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From Lionel in Argentina:

Report on Part 2 of the program concerning SSB on Zona de Investigacion

August 14, 2001

The second part of the program concerning the controversies surrounding Sathya Sai Baba in "Zona de Investigacion, Azul Television, Channel 9, Argentina went on the air last Sunday, August 12 at 10:00 p.m. Extended testimonies were given by Conny Larsson, and Afshin "Said" Korramshahgol with details of the experiences that caused their "spiritual devastation.”

Sharon Purcell, an ex devotee, who for 32 years belonged to the Sai Organization in the United Sates said, "My son was not able to rationalize it and he stopped believing. But I went on thinking that he was re-channeling sexual and spiritual energies I was so stupid." Ms. Purcell decided to leave the cult when she heard the reasons why a friend of hers escaped from India in 1972: "He told me that Baba put his penis in his mouth and ejaculated!"

The Argentinean magician Enrique Marquez, an expert in paranormal fraudulence, explained how Sathya Sai Baba could fake the lingham trick and showed a video in which Baba seems to push something inside his mouth with the help of a handkerchief. It was also explained, through a reconstruction in digital animation, how Baba could do the trick in which an endless amount of vibhutti flows from a large vase.

The president of the Sai Organization in Argentina, Engineer Jorge Hadad, said that all these allegations are part of a defamation campaign, "In Jesus’ time," he said, quoting a recent Sai Baba discourse, "there was one Judas, nowadays the are many Judases, who are capable of betraying the Divinity for a few coins."

There are other devotees, however, who seem to store some doubt or take refuge in the incomprehension of the ways of God. "Something conscious to make the person work or a (human) weakness that he cannot handle...? I don't know." These are the reflections of Daniel Zalzman, a longtime devotee who is presently the coordinator of the Practical Spirituality Foundation, a non- Baba operation.

While Daniel Coifman, who has taken some distance from the Sai Organization after 20 years of full dedication, commented that he was very surprised when he first heard about these allegations some years ago. He says he asked himself then, "Could it be, or could it not? Then I began to understand that there are some things that I just can't comprehend..."

Even though every affirmation by the critics was immediately counteracted by the officers of the Sai Organization, towards the end of the program Leonardo Gutter, president of the Sai Organization in Latin America, spoke live from the floor for about three minutes. Among other things, Gutter commented that if the producers had gone to India instead of Sweden and the United States, "this program would never have happened."

He spoke of the glories of Sai Baba's teachings and the wonderful work done by the Sai Organization. He insisted upon Sai Baba's manifestations from thin air, and he invited the production staff of "Zona de Investigacion" to take their cameras to India to "see for themselves" the truth of the miracles and the work that Sai Baba does in India.

Following this, Gutter and the audience were shown a video tape made available by the Sai Organization in Argentina in which one can clearly see a pellet in Baba's hand, how he pulverizes it pressing it between his index finger and thumb and how, after the supposed materialization, only his index finger and his thumb have traces of the ash and not the rest of the hand.

There weren't any important questions asked by the conductors of the program, Nestor Machiavelli and Cristina Perez, during Gutter's participation. But Perez made a comment regarding the parallels that have been made regarding Jesus and Sai Baba saying, "He only materialized bread and wine and not necklaces and expensive watches."