Sorcar: "Baba's a bad trickster"
step by step magician's view of how Sai Baba performs his miracles
ash. Or little ball?
P.C. Sorcar considers Sai Baba's vibhuti feat a "common trick"
conjured with an ash capsule and a repertoire of make-believe "mudras"
to fool the human eye.
SALT FOR ASH: Baba produces vibhuti with ash. Sorcar wets salt
to form a small mass or ball pressed firmly between his fingers for later.
THEATRICS: To make salt (or ash) appear out of thin air, a flurry
of deft hand gestures, never once giving away the ball, will follow.
LAST ACT: The hand is held out and the salt mass quashed between
fingers to pour into a powdery heap.
from air. Or robe?
Sorcar attributes this to a technique called palming - "holding an
object in such a way that the palm does not look loaded" - to help
THE CUFF: Sorcar
carefully tucks the object under his sleeve or in the furrow of his palm
in quick motions. The flowing robe is a clever cover.
HANDS FREE: In the palm, the object is invisible, seen at certain
angles "only by close Baba aides". Swift moves conceal.
GOLD GIFTS: Tricking the mind's eye, Sorcar brings forth the object
out of his palm or easing it out from his sleeve.
Or mouth match?
On Shivaratri, Baba produces a green crystalline Shivaling from his mouth.
Sorcar calls it mouth-ball production. "Anybody can do it, and repeat
it too,'' he says.
MATCHING UP: Using a matchbox, Sorcar uses the palming technique,
all the time ensuring hand gestures distract the eye from the object.
FAKING IT: Sorcar uses both hands, one concealing the object, the
other to cover his mouth, in preparation for the final act.
IT: In the "high drama", Sorcar grimaces as his palm discreetly
supplies object into and out of his mouth.
village boy from a middle-class home now meets ministers and runs an empire
of the soul
Born on November 23, 1926, to Pedda Venkama Raju and Easwaramma. He is
named Sathyanarayana Raju.
years: "Materialises" candies and pencils for schoolmates.
At 14, declares himself reincarnation of Sai Baba of Shirdi, the town
in Maharashtra whose saintly figure died in 1918.
In 1944 travels to Bangalore. His first journey as a savant. Gives up
striped shirt and dhoti for a robe, initially greyish-white, then saffron.
home: Between 1948-50 builds Prasanthi Nilayam.
politics: To date, he has not asked his 25 million-odd followers to
vote for anybody. But he has immense political clout and many disciples
from among administrators.
close to him: From P.V. Narasimha Rao and S.B. Chavan to P.N. Bhagwati
to T.N. Seshan. In Andhra Pradesh only NTR stayed away.
Job requests, going back 20 years for foreign secretaries.
Puttaparthi run? The SSS Central Trust manages Prasanthi Nilayam,
Music Academy. The Medical Trust runs the Rs 300-crore hospital. The Education
Trust runs the deemed university and two schools. The Sai Baba establishment's
total investment in the town is Rs 2,000 crore, it owns 600 acres of land.
homes: Sai Baba has ashrams in Whitefield, near Bangalore, and Kodaikanal.
Spends March-June there.
Has 2,560 overseas Sai Centres. Sai bodies run 75 schools. Surprisingly,
Sai Baba has gone abroad only once: to Uganda in 1968.
Among The Believers, There's A Fund Of Faith
says matter is energy. If you will anything, you can create it."
Shivraj Patil, Former Lok Sabha Speaker
was introduced to Sai Baba by S.B. Chavan. Baba helped me preside over
the Lok Sabha for a full five years (1991-96). Whenever the House would
get unruly, I would shut my eyes and think of Baba so that I did not lose
my cool. Such thoughts of Baba would inevitably lead the House to order."
appeared in a dream and taught me to wait patiently for my time."
Jette Madsen, Postwoman, Denmark
I first came to India in 1977 I was 19. After my relationship with an
Indian broke off, I told the Baba that I had left it all to him. I have
been here since November 9 for his birthday and even had a 'carshan' as
he moved in his car. He waved to me and our eyes met. I am sure Baba will
find a spiritual Indian companion for me soon."