I was talking to one of our Sri Lankan members the other day when he revealed that Sai Baba was a much bigger influence amongst the Hindus of western Sydney than I’d realised.
For the uninitiated Sai Baba is an popular Indian guru who considers himself greater than Christ. In his Conversations with Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Dr. John Hislop observes:
“Buddha, Christ, Mohammed and others were not Avatars. They had some divine power. Only in India are Avatars born, because only in India are the Sastras understood.”
This gives me much to ponder.
3 thoughts on “Sai Baba and the Christ question”
That is a good assessment of the situation, especially as Hinduism has a very strong Avatar tradition as, for instance in the 10 Avatars of Vishnu. The final Avatar, namely Kalki is yet to appear.
One of the best books on the appearance and cultural significance of the God-Man altogether either via the Avatar tradition of India and the Incarnation tradition of the West, is Avatar and Incarnation by Geoffrey Parrinder.
One of the baneful limitations of the Western and especially Christian tradition is that it claims that Jesus was the only God-Man that ever appeared on this planet. Such a claim just aint true.
Meanwhile Sai Baba is not an Avatar. He is essentially a yogic magician who practices sleight of hand magic tricks which have no real significance except to fascinate and mystify the crowds that flock to his Ashram.
You also have to understand that the entire complex religious and Spiritual tradition of Hinduism is based upon the Guru-devotee relationship, and the common understanding that the Guru has Realized something remarkable about the Divine Nature of existence altogether, and is thus qualified to speak with first-hand authority about Spiritual, religious, and cultural matters.
Sri Ramakrishna and Ramana Maharshi for instance never read any books, and yet they gave remarkable discourses and commentaries.
Sue, I thank you for your comments, as I appreciate the window this provides into non-Christian perspectives. But I should highlight that I’m not sure you’ve entirely grasped my own perspective.
Firstly, I don’t consider Christianity to BE a western tradition. Sure, Christianity HAS western traditions. But it is neither limited to the west, nor began in the west, nor is it’s current centre of gravity even in the west. It emerged as a near eastern tradition – it is now a world tradition. And if you look at the art galleries associated with this blog, you’ll see I draw inspiration from both western and eastern Christian traditions.
Secondly, I see Jesus as more than an avatar. I am open to the possibility than gods have manifested in human form previously. The Bible itself alludes to this, naming them Nephilim. But through his death and resurrection, Jesus revealed he was much more than this.
Most Hindus actually reject him as a fraud…