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Sathya Sai Babas Miracles: Truth & Misconceptions
In some books, magazines, filmed interviews and articles, Sathya Sai Baba\'s followers report miracles and healings of various kinds that they attribute to him. Sathya Sai Baba\'s devotees believe that he relieves his devotees by transferring their pain to himself. Daily, he is observed to allegedly manifest vibuthi (holy ash), and sometimes food and small objects such as rings, necklaces and watches.
In devotees\' houses all around the world, there are claims from observers, journalists and devotees that vibuthi, kumkum, turmeric powder, holy water, Siva lingams, statues of deities (brass and gold), Sugar Candy, fruits, herbs, amrita (a fragrant, nectar-like honey), gems, colored string, writings in ash and various other substances spontaneously manifest and materialize on the walls, furniture, pictures and altars of Sathya Sai Baba.
The retired Icelandic psychology professor Erlendur Haraldsson wrote that he did not get Sathya Sai Baba\'s permission to study him under controlled circumstances. Nevertheless, he wrote, he investigated and documented the guru\'s alleged miracles and manifestations through first-hand interviews with devotees and ex-devotees. Haraldsson\'s research yielded many extraordinary testimonies of reported miracles. Some of the reported miracles attributed to Sathya Sai Baba included levitation (both indoors and outdoors), bilocation, physical disappearances, changing granite into sugar candy, changing water into another drink, changing water into gasoline, producing objects on demand, changing the color of his gown into a different color while wearing it, multiplying food, healings, visions, dreams, making different fruits appear on any tree hanging from actual stems, controlling the weather, physically transforming into various deities and physically emitting brilliant light.
These devotees and ex-devotees also claimed that they witnessed Sathya Sai Baba materialize many substances from his hand such as vibuthi, lost objects, statues, photographs, Indian pastries (both hot and cold), food (hot, cold, solid and fluid), out of season fruits, new banknotes, pendants, necklaces, watches and rings. Haraldsson wrote that the largest allegedly materialized object that he saw was a mangalsutra necklace, 32 inches long, 16 inches long on each side. Haraldsson wrote that some miracles attributed to Sathya Sai Baba resemble the ones described in the New Testament, but also with some differences. According to Haraldsson, although healings certainly figure into Sai Baba\'s reputation, his impression is that healings do not play a prominent role in Sathya Sai Baba\'s activities as in those of Jesus.
Sathya Sai Baba has explained the phenomenon of manifestation as being an act of divine creation, but refused to have his materializations investigated under experimental conditions. Critics claim that these materializations are done by sleight of hand and question his claims to perform miracles and other paranormal feats. In April 1976, Dr. H. Narasimhaiah, a physicist, rationalist and then vice chancellor of Bangalore University, founded and chaired a committee \"to rationally and scientifically investigate miracles and other verifiable superstitions\". Haraldsson stated that Narasimhaiah wrote Sathya Sai Baba a polite letter and two subsequent letters that were widely publicized in which he publicly challenged Baba to perform his miracles under controlled conditions. Sathya Sai Baba said that he ignored Narasimhaiah\'s challenge because he felt his approach was improper. Sathya Sai Baba further said about the Narasimhaiah committee that \"Science must confine its inquiry only to things belonging to the human senses, while spiritualism transcends the senses. If you want to understand the nature of spiritual power you can do so only through the path of spirituality and not science. What science has been able to unravel is merely a fraction of the cosmic phenomena [...]\"