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Wednesday, March 23

Playing stupid coin tricks with Shirdi Sai Baba

A few weeks ago Sai Baba 'appeared' to me in his Sathya form. Under ordinary conditions I would have found this visitation remarkable because the last time he appeared was a few days before his death in 2011 and before that it had been about ten years. But I was so upset at the moment that if he'd given me time to speak I think my only reaction to his appearance would have been an impatient, "Yes??"

But he wasn't there to chit-chat. He said with quiet concern, "Think of me" then the vision vanished. The expression on his face had matched the concern in his voice. Never when I'd known him had he looked at me with concern and never had he asked me to think of him.

It didn't take much reflection to understand the cause for his concern. I had become increasingly upset as I'd learned more about my government's role in the Syrian tragedy. Part of the upset was just lack of sleep and an erratic sleep schedule for months on end; I was living on Syria time for half the time and the other half on Washington, DC time, but the revelations were the final straw for me after Afghanistan, Libya, and Ukraine. How many more countries did the American government intend to reduce to ruins in this decade? Without realizing it I was drifting toward hatred. 

Okay, think of Sathya Sai Baba. But it was like the reverse of trying not to think of a pink elephant. The harder I tried to think about him, the more my thoughts scattered in a hundred directions. Finally I went to YouTube and watched a couple of his lectures but my attention kept flagging. Then I tried listening to a few of his bhajan songs and singing along. Then I tried chanting along with a video of him chanting the Gayati mantra. But I couldn't concentrate on the mantra, much less Sai Baba. All I wanted to do was get back to Syrian war reports.

I returned to clicking at random through bhajan videos. Then I spied a video on the YouTube sidebar about a vaunted miracle filmed by some devotees of Shirdi Sai Baba, who'd died in 1918.  (He was Sathya's previous incarnation, although there are many devotees of Shirdi Baba who dispute the claim.) I quickly discovered that there was an entire genre of Shirdi Sai Baba 'miracle' films on YouTube; e.g., someone swore that an image of him had appeared on a wall, or that he'd been seen walking into a temple, and so on.

There was one film, from a security camera, of an empty darkened room in a Shirdi Sai Baba temple that was illuminated only by two tall oil lamps. The supposed miracle was a little blob of bright light appearing a few times and jerking around a part of the room.

One commenter at YouTube wrote in exasperation that the miracle was an insect walking across the CCTV lens. Another commenter snapped, "It's a rat." Another commenter wrote that the only miracle was that he'd actually sat through the video.

My interest piqued, I looked at the video, which went on and on, with the changing time stamp on the CCTV footage the only thing to relieve the boredom. Finally a little bright blob appeared and jerked around, then jerked out of camera range. Then, more of watching nothing but the time stamp. I began cheating, fast-forwarding through the video, trying to get another sight of the blob. Then I reversed, trying to find the first appearance of the blob.

Suddenly I blurted, "Wait a minute. One of the lamps is extinguished. When did that happen?"

I'd been so busy looking for the little blob that I'd completely missed what was actually a rather large mysterious event in the room. The other viewers at YouTube were in the same boat, by their comments. We were all focused on the blob.

There could have been a reasonable explanation for the lamp going out. Maybe the temple caretaker hadn't added enough oil to the receptacle before he left for the night. Or maybe a breeze had extinguished the flame. But by then I was hooked. I went looking for more Shirdi Baba miracle videos.

That was how I ended up studying an 11:50 minute video titled Coin miracles at [Shirdi] Sai Baba Mandir at Unn, (Navsari, Gujarat, India) - 2nd June 2011 posted by Travels in India, London & the UK:
Having seen this several times on previous visits I was really hoping that I would see this happen whilst videoing - the video I took is in one take & unedited. Pilgrims having said their prayers at the front of the statue of Sai Baba then walk round to the rear of the statue & make a wish or prayer, and if it's done with real heartfelt intention then the coin they place at Sai Baba's back will stick to the wall.

One of the YouTube commenters complained that he'd spent 11;50 minutes watching [expletive deleted]. Another commenter proposed an obvious explanation for the miracle:
bubble gum???????????/ lol idiots
Then there were the magnet theorists:
Law of Magnetism! One rupee and many coins are attracted with magnetic force. Try it and observe it...
They placed a huge electromagnet right behind the wall. You can clealry see that the wall was broken into to place the high power electromagnet, which is operated by the Pujari. [temple caretaker]
And the wall-paint theorists:
If I press a coin into the paint on any of the walls of my apartment, it will stick. Did any of these believers notice that the coin would not stick to the part of the wall that had no paint. And the reason that part of the wall had no paint is because credulous people have stuck coins to it and when whoever designed this petty racket relocates the coins to his greedy pockets, the paint comes with them. How could ANYONE think THIS is a violation of natural laws?
don't wish 2 insult your superstitious blind-sided faith as I respect Sai Baba; but here is no miracle, I myself stuck coins on walls when I was a kid; it's due to the "wrinkled paint wall" apparently you need 2 stuck coin on the smoother plain cemented wall which eventually no one was able to do it; so they stuck coin on the painted wall which had cracks and uneven surface or even a mere spit on the coin can do the trick, for miracle I prefer to stuck coin on smooth cemented wall not on edges
The coin miracles video was like the darkened temple video in that it went on and on while the viewer waited for something to happen. In this case one waited for a person to walk by and try his luck with a coin. It reminded me of what life was like at Sathya Sai Baba's ashram. It was mostly waiting around. But if you fogged out while waiting, that was the moment something strange would happen and you'd missed it, as you learned from others who'd been paying attention.

I straightened up, restarted the video, and this time I stayed focused.

A possible challenge to all the theories is that few coins stick to the wall.


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