Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Sai Baba: Desperately Seeking Attention

Puttaparthi, India

Talk about Sathya Sai Baba and the words that come up most often are "miracles" and "God". For decades he has been a stalwart of Indian gurudom, providing generation after generation freedom from material worries, spiritual counselling and even the odd miracle.

But times have changed and so has the business. Today, Sai Baba is often mentioned in the same breath as "faggot", "kiddy-fiddler" and "oddball". Many devotees and admirers are turning their backs on his brand of spirituality, denting sales and share prices in the process.

Despite professing to own the souls of over 30 million customers, Sai Baba has not managed to recapture the glory years 1997 and1998 when he made over $15bn in pre-tax profits.
Market growth has stalled and Prashanthi Nilayam recently announced that total sales have slipped; sales in the 10 weeks to 18 September were down 33.3% compared with the 10 weeks to 13 September last year in shops that were open both years.

In a desperate bid to reverse his fortunes, Sai Baba has authorized a mass-survey to be sent to all of his devotees worldwide, even the ones that don't believe in him yet, in order to receive constructive criticism on how he should proceed with his avataric mission. "Its time I stopped talking and started listening," mourned the Baba.

"Yes, I know that every step in the career of the avatar is predetermined," he continued, "but I was young and idealistic when I said that and I made some pretty bad choices along the way. I was full of ambitions but now I realize I may have been daydreaming. But did you notice the inner significance of that drop figure? Three plus three plus three makes nine! Just see the great ways of the Divine! Hey, that rhymed!"

The International Sai Tribune managed to acquire a copy of the survey, noticing that questions led people to suggest changes to Sai Baba's wardrobe, hair, cosmetics, nonsensical prattlings, and ambitions for world domination.

"As I was saying earlier," the self-indulgent Baba continued. "I know that the avatar is meant to guide humanity from the quagmire of illusion and bring it back from the brink of self-destruction, but I am also human when I pretend to be and I get frustrated too when you morons don't listen to me and my Tat-twam-asi teachings!"

When I suggested to the Baba that his style of narcissistic ranting was not a good way of raising his public profile in a positive way, he retorted, "Like I care. I am GOD! Even if you fools return the surveys, I WON'T listen! This was just a PR stunt to get your attention and now I've GOT it!"

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