Sunday, 15 July 2007

Santa Claus according to Sai Baba

by Paul Holbach

"The season of Christmas is associated with Christmas Grandpa or Santa Claus. Tokovan was his original name. He was born in Turkey. He began his career as a priest and gradually began to attain spiritual heights. How did he become a spiritual giant? By the spirit of sacrifice. He used to give a chocolate or a doll or a gift to any child he met. All his life he kept on giving continuously. When Christmas was approaching, all the children used to run behind Santa Claus. He used to carry all the gifts in a bag and distribute to all the children. In what manner did he distribute? He said, "Here is a token of God's Love. Here is a token of God's Love," and thus distributed them. Eventually he came to be called Christmas Grandpa, and his original name was forgotten."

(from the discourse of Christmas 1995)

Here is another instance of how SB is used to quote, out-of-topic and in a wrong way, facts and knowledges which are already acquired. To get other examples of this, you can take a look at "Sai Baba's miracles: an overview". Sai Baba does approriate of already existant and known stories, myths and facts, and he alterates and modifies them according to his fantasy, however without being able to give any proof or evidence confirming his versions of facts. But since he claims to be an "Omniscient and Omnipotent Being" he would have to be able to do so. Obviously any Sai Baba's devotee or follower, believing in SB's divinity and omniscience, will accept anything he says as "Divine Truth". But this doesn't change the fact (and not the faith) that Sai Baba is often and abundantly wrong. Nothing wrong in it, we all make often some mistake, apart from the fact that, as we know, SB claims to be "God Omniscient and Omnipotent".

Coming to the above quoted passage, it doesn't seem to me that Santa Claus is ever pictured as somebody who attained "spiritual heights", who became "a spiritual giant the spirit of sacrifice"; on the contrary, Santa Claus' figure is quite a "pagan" and material one, and much little "ascetic". Regarding his name ("Tokovan"?):

Main Entry: San·ta Claus
Pronunciation: 'san-t&-"kloz also 'san-tE-
Function: noun
Etymology: modification of Dutch Sinterklaas, alteration of Sint Nikolaas Saint Nicholas: a plump white-bearded and red-suited old man in modern folklore who delivers presents to good children at Christmastime -- called also Santa

(from Merriam-Webster Dictionary online)

And here is what I have gathered during a brief Internet search. The story of Santa Claus begins from San Nicholas: it s more likely to be a legend which has travelled down the centuries, since there are poor historical references, and moreover the Roman Church has declared that San Nicholas and San Cristopher are not "Authentical Saints". Anyway, the legend says that San Nicholas was the patron Saint of the childhood and of the first Child Christ, and he was Bishop of Myra in Lycia, in Minor Asia, in the first part of the 4th century A.D. Nicholas was pious, generous and prodigal, but he was not a poor Saint, since his father was a rich merchant and so Nicholas, who later on was canonized, was always able to bestow gifts without problems everywhere he went. At a certain point of time, the Dutch claimed "San Nicholas", and a corrupted version of that name became "Sandyclaus" or "Santa Claus". Even the Enciclopedia Britannica defines the use of the term "Santa Claus" as an "American corruption" of the Dutch "Sinterklaus". In German language the word is "Sabdiklos".

Moreover, this Sai Baba's statement is worthy of note: "He used to give a chocolate or a doll or a gift to any child he met". Now, since Santa Claus wpuld have lived in 4th century A.D., it's very unlikely that he could have given chocolate to the children, since cocoa has been brought from America by the Spanish Conquistadores (namely Cortès) in 16th century A.D. (i.e. 12 centuries later), while the solid chocolate is an European product, introduced only from 19th century A.D. (i.e. 15 centuries later).

A lasting but interesting remark: this SB's passage which I have quoted above has been totally deleted from the italian edition. Why this? Why someone would bother himself with correcting, editing and/or deleting the words of an "Omniscient and Omnipotent (thus Infallible) Being"? How can some limited and fallacious human beings correct the words of the one they regard as the "Supreme Lord"?