October 07, 2006

To Be-lieve Or Not To Be-lieve?

Gerald Moreno, thanks to his daily seva (service) of defending Sathya Sai Baba with a Malcolm X-like strategy ("through any means necessary"), is often mistaken for a devotee of the guru. After all, given the vast and incredible amount of time and energy that Moreno pours into his self-appointed mission by way of blogs, websites and forums, the ordinary guy on the street could be forgiven for making that mistake. Moreno himself is quick to dismiss it with a wave of his hand, even though no ring drops out of it. I think it is important to take a cursory look at the history behind this claim.

When Moreno first bounded onto the scene unpreparedly, he declared thus on his FAQ:

"I am not a Sathya Sai Baba devotee. Nevertheless, I have had many positive, powerful and spiritual experiences with SSB, as I have had with any other spiritual personalities. I do not belong to, go to, or affiliate myself with SSB Centers or the SSO."

Aside from the fact that having an FAQ was a tad on the presumptuous side since no one knew or cared to know who he was, Moreno soon realised that the above was insufficient to justify his full-time participation in defending Sathya Sai Baba. Very quietly and without a word of notice, he changed it to the following:

"I am not a Sathya Sai Baba devotee. I was a devotee from the age of 18 to the age of 25. I had/have basic philosophical differences of opinion, with several aspects to SSB's teachings (in particular, God Concepts & Karma), and I left the Sai Movement for that reason. Nevertheless, I have had many beautiful, powerful and spiritual experiences with SSB, as I have had with many other spiritual personalities. My opinion about Sathya Sai Baba (based on my personal experiences with him) is positive. I do not belong to, go to, or affiliate myself with SSB Centers or the SSO. I am an open-minded (but not gullible) agnostic."

Wow, what a change! From going to a non-devotee to an ex-devotee is a significant change in status. I strongly suspect that the reason for this change was precisely because he was feeling the heat from all those who were openly wondering why he has committed a significant amount of time and energy writing in defence of a troubled avatar who he does not believe in. It appears to have been a cynical move to gain legitimacy for his viewpoint by claiming that he has a reason for investment. Even then he fails, as his current activity does not represent his current beliefs about Sai Baba. He maintains a total of

  • two yahoogroups and one quicktopic forum
  • seven blogs (possibly more)
  • three pro-Sai sites, two of which include devotional content, pictures, biographies, etc.

That's a total of thirteen separate presences on the Internet (so far) dedicated to defending and propagating an individual who he claims not to believe in, and which frankly makes him look very silly. Although one should note that, of late, Gerald Moreno has decided to nomenclate himself as a 'Sathya Sai Baba Advocate'. At least that is the name that he uses to sign his blogs, and has even requested to be referred to as such:

Now see if that makes any sense to you: Moreno declares that he is not a "devotee, disciple or a follower", yet wastes no time in propagating and advocating him anyway, which includes hilarious "defences" of faked pictures, humiliating exposures of insufficient philosophical knowledge, and so on.

A day in the life of an insincere propagandist... :-)