On The Sathya Sai Baba Cult Exposé – Barry Pittard, An Early Note
Posted by Barry Pittard on March 12, 2013
Here is a brief note which I wrote a few years back. To my more recent crop of readers, including media and scholarly researchers, it gives a glimpse at the origins of our exposé of Sathya Sai Baba and his international cult, an exposure which has intensively lasted, with much success, over two decades. I include below a select list of links, which are far more recondite with other links, too.
I was deeply devoted to Sai Baba – who is arguably the most powerful Indian guru in history – for 25 years. At his behest, and as an unpaid service, I taught all three years of the Humanities degree course at the Sathya Sai College at Whitefield, via Bangalore, South India for most of 1977-1978, and some drama work there before this with the American actor Ron Klein. I spent a number of very happy years in India, a wonderful culture which can thrive in the future if only the endemic, corrupt leaderships stops, and provided she does not succumb to the hollow materialistic dazzle of Westernization.
In October 1999, I read the accounts of Terry Gallagher, first head of Australian Sathya Sai Organization and others. These spoke of Sai Baba having sex with boys and young men, and of many other disturbing anomalies. By email and phone, I directly investigated allegations round the world, and found primary corroboration from families, friends and each molestation survivor. These reports come from many parts of the world, and from primary victims who, in a many cases, did not know each other. Many accounts were harrowing, sickening and heart-rending. Here were people in excellent standing in their professions, trades and wider communities. They were typical of many decent, law-abiding and caring seekers, from various cultures who have sought spiritual guidance from Sai Baba or other teachers. There was, of course, a major social trend of Westerners seeking out Eastern teachers, escalating from the sixties onwards.
Towards the end of 1999, I joined an international network of former Sathya Sai Baba followers, which included a broad cross-section of educational and cultural backgrounds. Among this number were some outstanding mental health professionals familiar with the various cases. Our core collective campaigned strongly. Some, mainly in the USA, had attempted a little before us, to get the allegations out into the open. This sad state of affairs is true the world over. Most victims fear going public. Some said that they would coöperate if there were court or governmental or institutional investigations. Glen Meloy, of southern California, USA, a well-loved follower of Sai Baba for 26 years who died in 2005, and I worked closely on many initiatives, as have, after Glen’s death, Robert Priddy.
Priddy is the former head and co-founder of the Sathya Sai Organization, Norway, and a retired academic of the University of Oslo.
It is unfortunate that many of these activities we have to conduct on a need-to-know basis. This is because of the extreme sensitivity of the issues. In India especially, we have done our utmost to make sure that grave harm does not befall survivors, families and friends who contact us, or of whom we come to know via other means.
Many in the Sathya Sai Organization are decent and good people, and for many years, before some of us became aware of the leaders’ dereliction of duty of care, accountability and transparency, among them were our dearest and closest friends and colleagues. Losing them was not the least of the shocks. However, core leaders in the Sathya Sai Organization engage in extreme cover-up. They are appalling in their dereliction of duty of care, are unaccountable to their own members, the public, and refuse to be open with the most distinguished investigative media and scholars. Hence, for example, title of the BBC’s television documentary (2004) ‘The Secret Swami’. The international Sathya Sai Organization is very wealthy, influential and powerful, with an exchequer rated in billions, and has become ever more of an authoritarian cult over the years. Former devotee activists – including a number of victims of the sexual abuse and other abuses – wish to share their evidence with well-reputed bona fide investigators from media, government, civic and academic institutions, and so on.
Some Select Readings on Our Early Exposure Campaigns
Posted by Barry Pittard on November 18, 2009
Barry Pittard Replies to Saionline.com writer, 1 July 2002
Posted by Barry Pittard on February 16, 2007
Posted by Barry Pittard on April 4, 2007
Posted by Barry Pittard on November 14, 2009
Posted by Barry Pittard on June 26, 2007
Posted Barry Pittard, 14 April 2003.
Posted by Barry Pittard on April 7, 2008
Posted by Barry Pittard on June 6, 2010
Posted by Barry Pittard on January 31, 2010
Posted by Barry Pittard on November 20, 2009
Posted by Barry Pittard on November 20, 2009
Posted by Barry Pittard on June 24, 2010
See also: The Late Leo Boogaard: A Dutch Voice of Conscience On Sathya Sai Baba and Sathya Sai Baba Critic Serguei Badaev: An Incisive Voice of Conscience From Russia ‘BILD’ Story. “Guru Wants Sex” (Sathya Sai Baba) and Why Do Prominent Sathya Sai Baba Sect Critics Persist? and Timothy Conway Ph.D – On ‘The Hislop Letters’ and BBC Transcript ‘The Secret Swami’ (Sathya Sai Baba’s Frauds Exposed)
Excerpt From Public Petition (and introduction)