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Archive for January, 2007

Sathya Sai Baba’s Deputy Head, Dr G. Venkataraman, Speaks of “Mr Idi Amin”

Posted by Barry Pittard on January 30, 2007

Idi Amin A Gentleman?

Reporting on Sathya Sai Baba’s – so-called ‘Christmas discourse’ of December, 2006, Dr G. Venkataraman, second-in-command of his worldwide organisation, refers to one of the world’s most gruesome men, the heartless African dictator, as “Mr Idi Amin”.

At this URL, Dr G. Venkataraman speaks of how thrilling was Sai Baba’s account in this ‘Christmas’ 2006 discourse of his 1968 visit to Uganda! But oh, what an inspiring figure was Idi Amin to refer to in a Christmas message! In case G. Venkataraman or anyone badly informed of Idi Amin’s evil deeds and regime, here and here are BBC reports at the time of his death in August 2003 and a list of resources.

This strange Sai Baba ‘Christmas’! discourse can be found here. In it, Sai Baba speaks as though the meeting with Idi Amin, one of the world’s worst dictators, torturers and murderers, was a moving, warm and delightful event. Sai Baba has said that, in his own lifetime, he will clean up his “own backyard” (India). Unfit and pathetically doddering (though he promised he would never after 60), he has abjectly failed to do that, just as he certainly didn’t clean up Idi Amin or Amin’s Uganda in which this monster – for all his weeping devotion to Sai Baba – slaughtered an estimated 400, 000 people.

Happy to refer to the raping, cannibalistic Idi Amin as ‘Mr’, G. Venkataraman is also happy, elsewhere, to label Sai Baba dissenters as akin to the demon in the Krishna story called Jarasanda. He adds: “it was finally left to the hefty Pandava Bhima, to tear Jarasanda to pieces, literally”. Indeed, should former devotees prefer to be left to a tearing-to-pieces by the likes of Idi Amin, who delighted in feeding enemies to crocodiles, or of G. Venkataraman with his gleeful wish-list for the fate of those who question his ‘God’.

Or Is Dr Venkataraman Stupendously Naive?

We should consider that despite his words about Sai Baba’s visit to Uganda, it may be that G. Venkataraman, when not slavishly “thrilled” by his God’s more ratty – perhaps age-induced – effusions, is incredibly naive rather than that he would approve of a wife-refrigerating, raping, mass-murdering, torturing monster who, though in a far smaller killing field, was in a number of ways akin to Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot and so on. Is Dr G. Venkataraman so ill-informed about world events that he assumes Amin really was a marvellous devotee, as would many readers of Sai Baba’s discourse? Is Venkataraman equally naive as not to know what is common knowledge among VIPs and many ashram residents – that is, the dark truth of the allegations against Sai Baba?

G. Venkataraman was also the Vice-Chancellor of Baba’s University at Puttaparthi and, given his high-profile international role, he certainly has a duty to non-defensively, properly investigate the status of the allegations, as do all leaders of responsible organizations.

Would Sorely Afflicted Students and Ex-Students Trust Ex-VC Venkataraman? He speaks of how no students have reported abuses to him. This looks very like a digression to avoid admitting what he must know about the matter, But why would they dare want to tell him, given his slavish utter loyalty to Sai Baba? Students were murdered in Sai Baba’s bedroom! But what good would it do for Venkataraman to ask his Lord and Master about such circumstances?

However, parents and students-ex students are not so quiet when it comes to sharing with religious and other institutional heads in India their horror stories of abuse at the hands of Sai Baba and others around him. Let readers enquire of senior leaders of noted religious organizations in India which, over the years, have been a compassionate haven for those with accounts of abuse by Sai Baba. Of course, yet again, this information (still protecting the identities of those attesting individuals) we are prepared to share, and have long shared, with bona fide third-party investigators.

In fact, we know that a weighty number of Sai Baba’s servitors know perfectly well of the countless credible evidences that men and women in many countries have tried to get the Sathya Sai Organization to heed. In short, to act responsibly in response to the reports that he has a long history of serial sex with underage males, and other young males, not to mention other crimes and betrayals. Such truth-telling would include admission that, for example, there was a massive cover-up by the Puttaparthi ashram authorities along with local, state and central governments of the police killings in Sai Baba’s bedroom on June 6, 1993. However, such Soviet-style, cultic lack of transparency and accountability, no matter that the allegations keep on coming year after year, have driven former devotees to go to great labors in producing documentation of their shocking revelations to the Internet, governments, Interpol, FBI, various police forces (who have their hands tied, unfortunately because India will not act), UNESCO, and the world media. Most of the Indian media has a terrible record of shame in not investigating Sai Baba and his core leaders. The shame reflects all the more badly in that leading foreign media have faced the task. See my article below: “Will India’s New Backlash Against Corruption Lash Sathya Sai Baba?”

The German Ullrich Zimmermann’s account of Sai Baba’s demands to suck his penis when Zimmerman was called into private interview was released only weeks ago. However, the interviews he gave (of which the report of fellatio is part 2) which he gave to the US television interviewer Alan Steinfeld were made in 2000 but released only weeks ago. His account is but the latest in a long series of compelling accounts that have been given of severe sexual inappropriateness, including felatio, by Sai Baba:
http://blip.tv/file/127606. (Part 2 of 3 parts). For a highly useful summary with some added links, see Robert Priddy’s page here.
Note: Some have had trouble with accessing the blip.tv. location for the interview. Here is an contingency, alternative cache at Exbaba.com:

G. Venkataraman’s “Mr Idi Amin” Report
“The moment of moments came when Swami stood up to give His divine discourse. Swami thrilled one and all with memories of His Divine tour to Africa, namely Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya. Swami related how Mr. Idi Amin was very fond of Him and used to have the darshan of Swami both in the morning and evening. During His stay, he arranged a dinner for Swami and meticulously got all instructions from Dr. Patel as to Swami’s menu and how it should be prepared. On the day of the dinner, Idi Amin’s wives stood in rows on either side and greeted Swami with veneration. Idi Amin himself introduced each of them one by one to Swami.

On the day Swami was to leave, which happened to be Guru Purnima day, Idi Amin was suffering from pangs of separation and started shedding tears pleading with Swami not to leave them.

Not only did Amin but the Africans were all in tears and fell at the feet of Swami praying:

“Bhagavan! Please spend this day with us.” Their devotion melted the heart of Swami and made Him spend Guru Purnima with them. An important miracle happened on this day. The Africans had wished to take photos with Swami.Swami told them that they might silently pray in their heart so that their requests may be fulfilled. To their joy, each of them found a photo of Swami lying beside them”.

Is Idi Amin, no doubt from some lower depth, still weeping for Sai Baba’s company?

How to Leave the Christ out of Christmas, 2000
G. Venkataraman’s 2006 report is entitled “Swami’s Divine Christmas Discourse”, yet one notes how Idi Amin manages to push aside the spirit of the Christmas celebrations. This reminds how in his Christmas discourse, December 25, 2000, Sai Baba pushed Christianity’s founder almost entirely out of the way, instead denouncing those who have criticised Sai Baba. The Times of India ran the headline: “Sai Baba Lashes Out At His Detractors”. For the ToI reporter B.S. Rao’s news report, see:
http://home.hetnet.nl/~ex-baba/
engels/shortnews/detractors.html

Why Did Sai Baba Keep Thumping The Tub?
Few can surely forget how Sai Baba kept on pounding his lectern. This outburst effectively coincided with a time of concentrated activity by organised former devotees worldwide, in leading venues such as:

India Today – rare section of the Indian media that refused to shut up about Sathya Sai Baba). Its cover story was read by millions, of the same month as the ‘divine’ outburst, December 4, 2000:
www.india-today.com/itoday/20001204/cover.shtml
The Telegraph (UK), Saturday, October 28, 2000. Leading journalist and acclaimed author Mick Brown flew to the USA to interview the Rahm family and other important witnesses:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/main.jhtml?xml=/health/
2000/10/28/tlbaba28.xml

The Ottawa Citizen, , Bob Harvey, December 19, 2000:

http://www.saiguru.net/
english/media/011219ottawa.htm

Trouw, (the Netherlands), Koert van der Velde, September 6, 2000. (See link here).
NEXUS Magazine (Australia), August-September 1999, featured three articles by: Terry Gallagher, Hans de Kraker, also Australia, for a number of years head of the Western Canteen at Puttaparthi, and Jens and Gurprit Sethi, Germany. (See link here)
Note: Jens Sethi and Hans de Kraker,among others in various countries, have provided sworn statements. I have a number of affidavits in safe-keeping at a central location obtainable by our lawyers, ready in the case of a substantive legal turning-of-the-tide. (The producer Øjvind Kyroe, with Denmark’s national broadcaster responsible for ‘Seduced’, has 10 affidavits and the BBC – ‘The Secret Swami’ – can attest to having a plethora of well-validated documentation and 80 plus hours of footage from various countries. Other major media and agencies like UNESCO and the US State Department and UK, German, French, Swedish, Danish and Australian governments and various police agencies, likewise).

Also there were many efforts – the earliest around late 1999 and early 2000 – by Sai devotees most of whom had been devotees for years. Their aim was to get leaders such as Dr John Hislop, Dr Michael Goldstein, Dr John Evans, Dr William Harvey, Robert Bozzani, Richard Bayer, and others, to exercise due diligence, duty-of-care, and proper investigation of the many allegations, particularly concerning those of sexual abuse of male minors by Sai Baba. So that there can be no mistake how long back these efforts go, I note some of these early attempts below. On the other hand, Sai Baba apologists defame and sometimes outrightly libel, one after the other, former devotees who attempt the extremely arduous job of exposing the facts. Venkataraman and other Sai Baba apologists falsely claim that we are but a small handful of those who are “disgruntled”, passed over or ignored by Sai Baba, etc. Indeed, many Sai devotees who were for so long associated with those who have left know the absolute untruth of this sort of statement. This is one reason why former devotees seek third-party investigation.

Sathya Sai Baba’s discourse on Christmas Day 2000 far from celebrated Christmas themes, such as wishing ‘peace and goodwill to all men.’ The Times of India, December 26, 2000 headlined: Sai Baba Lashes Out at His Detractors. He called his dissenters “cawing crows”, “demons”, “grievous sinners”, and thousands of “Judases.” He extensively boasted his social works (actually, they are overwhelmingly those of his devotees, many of whom do wonderful social uplift work in Sai Baba’s name). Jealousy and receipt of money motivated critics, he said. Identifying his own person as God, Sai Baba promised critics a terrible future, saying “Betrayal of God is the worst of all betrayals. It will not be atoned no matter how many births are experienced!”

Throughout the discourse, there was no hint of his practising what he has so often preached: “We should help even those who have harmed us. This is the vow of Sai. No matter if some people criticise or ridicule Me (sic), I will always look at them with kindness.” (Sanathana Sarathi, June 2002). Not that we have harmed him, for he has harmed himself by refusing to face the allegations in a mature, responsible way. Nothing suggested forgiveness, whether Christ-like or in the spirit (in essence the same) of any other tradition of humanity’s great spiritual teachers.

Not All Devotees May Concur with the “Mr Idi Amin” Usage
I am reminded of a medical doctor I fondly knew, a Sai Baba devotee, who told me of his narrow escape from Idi Amin’s executioners. A grateful patient of his was a Secretary in Idi Amin’s secret service. She saw his name on an Amin death list and it was arranged for him to escape through the forest and across the border, with his wife and family being stealthed out separately. No doubt this man and his family are but an example out of a great many Sai devotees who would gain no pleasure from seeing G. Venkataraman refer to Idi Amin as ‘Mr’.

Apologists point to how Sai Baba advised Indian Ugandans to get out of Uganda. Curiously, his Christmas 2006 effusions state nothing of this warning. Nor has this ever been properly documented. What we do know is that, despite Idi Amin’s and his entourage’s copious tears for Sai Baba, Amin later threw every single ethnic Indian out of Uganda on the shortest possible notice, depriving them of all their property and goods, even though many were born there and had lived their whole lives as Ugandans. Perhaps in his dotage – increasing reports of which have been too difficult for his managers to suppress – Sai Baba he has forgotten the dark side.

Who Is Dr G. Venkataraman?
Dr G. Venkataraman is the highest-ranking Sathya Sai Baba official who denounces former devotees who have, particularly since 1999, levelled allegations against Sai Baba. He is head of Radio Sai International (which transmits to many countries) and the Deputy Chairman of Sai Baba’s world governing body, the ‘Prashanthi Council’. In his writings at the Radio Sai website, he has (see here) defamed and denigrated good and decent former devotees, who are in excellent standing in their communities, and who come from a wide variety of ages, educational, professional and cultural backgrounds. From G. Venkataraman and fellow leaders of the Sathya Sai Organization, there is not a word, and certainly not to their congregations either, about the worthy provenance of the many responsibly-made concerns worldwide. G. Venkataraman has also written that media that has investigated Sai Baba and interviewed former devotees – like the India Today, BBC, Times of London, Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, Salon.com, The Age, and others around the world – have, in reporting critically on Sai Baba, failed to exercise standards proper to professional journalism.

Little Wonder Sai Baba’s Christmas Day 2000 Outburst and Lectern Thumping
What was happening in Sai Baba’s life at this time?

The Oregon Sai Center in 2000 (signed by around 75 members) called for an open discussion about the case of yet another boy with an account of being sexually molested by Sai Baba:
http://home.hetnet.nl/~ex-baba/engels/witnesses/ella.html

Gypsie Chapotin, of California, but often living in India, spoke out far and loud, and made known to the United States leaders and rank-and-file, speaking of her son Neptune’s extensive sexual abuse by Sai Baba. Neptune’s diaries, written at age of fifteen, describe gross sexual liberties taken on him by Sai Baba. She believed that Bob Bozzani would act with clarity and honesty, just as did Glen Meloy who she asked to write to him, but her hopes were badly dashed. Her son was, is, an exceptionally gifted individual, fluent in a number of European and Indian languages, including Sanskrit, an outstanding artist and tabla player and bhajan singer. This diary is available in .PDF format at: http://home.hetnet.nl/~ex-baba/engels/witnesses/boy.html

Shirley Pike, former president of the North Central Region of the Sathya Sai Baba Organization of the United States, a highly-qualified school psychologist who had personal interaction with a number of those alleging sexual, abuse at the hands of Sai Baba, including Neptune and Alaya Rahm, and
Angela Cuneo (a Las Angeles businesswoman) and other respected members of the Sathya Sai Organization mass-mailed hundreds of letters to members of the organization calling for proper resolution of the issues. Mrs Pike’s resignation letter is at:
http://home.hetnet.nl/~ex-baba/engels/letters/pike.html

Diana Scott (formerly known as Diana Payne when married to Terry Payne) wrote to Dr John Hislop with allegations that her son, Terry Jnr, for a time a student at Sai Baba’s college at Whitefield, had been sexually abused by him. See:


http://home.hetnet.nl/
~ex_baba/engels/articles/hislop/hislop.html


http://www.saibabaexpose.com/conways.htm

Mrs Ella Evers states: “I wrote the following letter to Dr. Michael Goldstein and nine important other officers in the United States”: http://saiguru.net/english/sai_org/05officersknow.htm

The late Glen Meloy, a retired business consultant, was an historic figure, both as a devotee of 26 years and a foundation member of the worldwide former devotee network from about April 1999. Glen, my much-loved and close associate in the attempt to bring the facts to international attention had close ties with Elsie and Walter Cowan and other seminal leaders of what became the Sathya Sai Society of America or the Sathya Sai Organization. He wrote to his long time friend, Bob Bozzani (now at the top of the US organization) which is copied at:
http://home.hetnet.nl/~ex-baba/engels/witnesses/meloy.html

Hari Sampath, who claimed to have worked with Sai Baba’s security and intelligence apparatus between 1992 and 1995, wrote a lengthy, widely-circulated exposé piece about the high command of Sai Baba’s outfit, entitled ‘How It Works’. For a time, he and Glen Meloy mutually coordinated international former devotee activities, including high-level contact with governments and various agencies and the media. He returned to his native India from the USA, where he had held a Green Card work permit to work as a software engineer. ‘How It Works’ is at:
http://home.hetnet.nl/~ex-baba/engels/witnesses/hari.html

Terry Gallagher, former head of the Sathya Sai Organization in Australia made extensive investigations, and also confronted Sai Baba. Ironically, Terry’s brother-in-law, Neville Fredericks, is now the Australian head, but Terry wishes to keep silence these days, like Stephen Carthew (q.v.) to preserve family harmony. Terry’s account is at:
http://home.hetnet.nl/~ex-baba/engels/witnesses/terry.html

Stephen Carthew, in the closing months of 1999, then a popular spiritual coordinator in South Australia (now doing a PH.D in Communications attempted to bring the issues of duty-of-care and transparency to the Australian Sathya Sai Organization. For his pains, he was summarily cast out by T.Sri Ramanathan, the then head, widely known by Sai devotees themselves to be a bullying autocrat: http://home.hetnet.nl/~ex-baba/engels/letters/carthew.html

This was against the background of Sai Baba’s world-renowned servitors’ Faye and David Bailey in their major and lengthy statement of exposure, ‘The Findings’ and major revelations within Swedish movement when top officials DID compassionately listen to a young man’s testimonies (and soon those of others):
http://www.npi-news.dk/page152.htm

Conny Larsson, who had been the head of the Swedish Sathya Sai Organization, apparently a longer-term lover of Sathya Sai Baba, and Britt Marie Andén (known and loved by many devotees from around the world as Bi-ma) and other key Swedish members supported their afflicted males youths and disclosed facts that resulted in the demise of the virtual disappearance of the Sathya Sai Organization in Sweden. As well as co-heading the Swedish organization, she developed and ran the important Gimle School. Her moving letter to Shirley Pike is at:
http://home.hetnet.nl/~ex-baba/engels/letters/anden.html

Strong investigative activities and support of those most affected also occurred in Holland, leading large numbers to leave the organization, and exodus that was beginning to happen in a number of countries.

A list of ex-office bearers compiled from a variety of sources by Robert Priddy of those who exited the Sathya Sai Organization, many at the time leading up to Sai Baba’s name-calling, lecturn thumping episode is at:
http://www.saibaba-x.org.uk/10/EX-OFFICE%20BEARERS.htm

In short, Sai Baba was receiving a real thumping in the months leading up to his highly un-Christmas-like ‘Christmas’ discourse. So he thumped! – repeatedly striking his lectern.

For Online Viewing and/or Dowloading

Resources

The Secret Swami (BBC Television) Broadband 154 MB

Seduced (DR, Danish Broadcasting, Denmark’s national television and radio broadcaster):   (80 MB, Broadband)

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General

Excerpt From Public Petition

(Note: You may prefer to proceed straight to the Petition):

Public Petition For Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization

There is a Spanish version available:

PETICIÓN PÚBLICA PARA INVESTIGACIONES OFICIALES DE SATHYA SAI BABA Y SU ORGANIZACIÓN A NIVEL MUNDIAL)

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Posted in Morality, Neglected/sidelined News, Religion, Sai Baba, Scandal, Sex, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Dr Timothy Conway’s Summary of Ullrich Zimmermann Interview

Posted by Barry Pittard on January 27, 2007

Here is a summary shared with me by Timothy Conway Ph.D of Part 2. of Ullrich Zimmermann’s three-part interview which describes inappropriate sexual conduct – including getting Ullrich to suck his penis – towards him by Sathya Sai Baba at: http://blip.tv/file/127606 .

(The remaining material is at:

http://blip.tv/file/125164 .  Part 1. and: http://blip.tv/file/127950 . Part 3). I have asked and received Dr Conway’s permission to post his summary).

From Santa Barbara, USA, author of several books and many learned papers, Dr Conway has specialised in Social Science and in comparative religions of the East and West. You can check out his extremely comprehensive, multi-faceted website, http://www.enlightened-spirituality.org –which also has a long, specific page rebutting SSB’s various “true believer” defenders and clarifying different truth-levels at: www.enlightened-spirituality.org/Sathya_Sai_Baba_my_concerns.html

Dr Conway is a former well-respected leader in the Sathya Sai Organization, leaving it, like many others, including prominent leaders, after carefully investigating allegations by under-age males or in some cases their families who gave compelling accounts of sexual abuse by Sathya Sai Baba.

On a separate but germane issue, see the following links. These relate to Dr Conway’s sworn statement verifying the provenance of the implicating internal letters of the late Dr John Hislop that show a) a mix of psychological denial, dereliction of duty-of-care, and b) a cover-up by Hislop and those circularized from their own congregations: See links here and here.

Dr Timothy Conway’s summary:

“All words in quotations are the exact words that Ullrich Zimmermann uses in his video interview:

In a video-filmed interview of seven years ago but not previously released, Ullrich Zimmermann, strongly heterosexual and not at all gay, tells his account of SSB’s “white tantra” with him at age 21; he describes how SSB in each of his first two interviews raised his orange robe and wanted Ullrich to suck on his penis. Ullrich’s mother, who he told of the episodes, was a devotee of SSB and Ullrich totally “trusted” SSB to do the right thing for him, and had heard something about the tantra tradition, so he went along with SSB’s wishes. On the first occasion, SSB kissed him fully on the mouth after rubbing Ullrich’s stomach and chest area with oil that he materialized. Ullrich felt “awkward” over the kiss. SSB took his hand to SSB’s groin area and had him feel SSB’s crotch through his orange robe; the first time it felt like a female; the second time like a male. Ullrich felt at the time that SSB was trying to thereby indicate that this was not about sex. Then SSB pulled up his own robe and requested Ullrich to suck on his erect penis. Again, Ullrich trusted SSB and did it dispassionately for about 90 seconds. Ullrich did not notice any ejaculation and did not see SSB appearing very involved in the act; he appeared “remote.” Then the experience was over and so was the interview. Afterwards, Ullrich says he felt “dumbfounded,” and rationalized it as “white tantra.” Some 30 minutes later he began to feel completely elated with spiritual joy. Ullrich says that SSB had said that he would “completely change him” and sure enough Ullrich, strongly heterosexual and “filled with testosterone,” no longer felt attracted to women’s “tits and butts” after this. Ullrich says that the two sexual experiences with SSB were very “awkward” for him. On the second occasion, he pulled away from sucking on SSB’s penis after only a short time, feeling the whole thing awkward. Upon pulling away, Ullrich saw out of the corner of his own eye a vector of light shooting off in a direction from the angle of the penis, and he felt that this vector of energy was meant for him, i.e., as an energetic shakti empowerment, “a very giving and tantric experience.” For legal purposes, it is noteworthy that Ullrich describes in detail SSB’s anatomy–hairless legs and genitals, with a “childlike penis.” Also noteworthy is that Ullrich on his second interview asked SSB about his brother Peter. SSB at first didn’t know that Peter had died, but nonchalantly said, “He’s fine, he’s fine.” But when Ullrich told him Peter had died, SSB fell silent for about 5 seconds, then said, “Drugs. Bad company, bad company.” Which was true. Peter had become a daredevil, did drugs–his lifestyle was evidently induced by associating with “bad company.” There would be for Ullrich a total of 5 interviews, 2 rings and an amulet materialized, but sex only on the first two interviews. Ullrich reflects on his experiences and says he doesn’t feel “abused” or that SSB was harming him. He feels that SSB totally changed his personality, opening him up energetically. Ullrich says that years later he disconnected from SSB, feeling that, beyond all the interesting energy experiences, SSB doesn’t help people become truly spiritually liberated and God-realized, “becoming your own master in your own Divine power.” Ullrich also expresses concerns about the male youth even younger than himself who are having these experiences in what is evidently being cryptically called “the banana club” around SSB. Zimmermann makes mention of meeting face to face at least one other male youth who had these sexual advances made upon him by SSB”.

Note: A very useful, quite detailed page by Robert Priddy on the Ullrich Zimmermann interviews has just gone up at: http://home.chello.no/~reirob/Z/index.htm

For Online Viewing and/or Dowloading

Resources

The Secret Swami (BBC Television) Broadband 154 MB

Seduced (DR, Danish Broadcasting, Denmark’s national television and radio broadcaster):   (80 MB, Broadband)

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Posted in Morality, Neglected/sidelined News, Religion, Sex, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Will India’s New Backlash Against Corruption Lash Sathya Sai Baba?

Posted by Barry Pittard on January 24, 2007

In India and many other countries, critics of Sathya Sai Baba and his core leaders wish to see proper government, police and judicial actions. Those who defend him in public like Dr. G. Venkataraman, head of Radio Sai International and deputy chairman of the world Sathya Sai Organisation, badly represent this aim. They conceal the fact that many well-reputed and competent men and women, including top leaders (some resigned, some summarily cast out) once esteemed throughout Sai Baba’s worldwide organisation, have investigated the allegations, been horrified, and called for proper duty-of-car and accountability. However, given the extremity of the spiritual, moral and ethical betrayals, one may trust that truth and conscience will eventually force the issue. Organised former devotees worldwide are, and have long been, willing to face the most rigorous third party questioning by any competent authority. The Sathya Sai Organisation is, Soviet-style, impervious to outside questioning. Documentaries viewed by millions such as UK Channel 4′ ‘The Guru Busters’, The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’, DR (Denmark)’s ‘Seduced’, AZUL TV’s ‘The Sinful God’ and other exposures by leading media in the world have convinced all but blinded apologists and the ill-informed of this fact.

“Watershed year for Indian law” reports BBC’s Sanjoy Majumder
“For many, 2006 has been a watershed in Indian legal history”, states Sanjoy Majumder, Friday, 5 January 2007, BBC News, Delhi:
For the first time, a serving cabinet minister (Shibu Soren), was given life imprisonment for murder. Under a fortnight later, a cricket star and MP (Navjot Singh Sidhu) was jailed for manslaughter. Majumder reports “A recent study suggests that nearly a quarter of the country’s MPs are facing criminal charges ranging from murder to extortion and even rape”, and that “India’s courts are estimated to have a backlog of some two million cases”. See useful BBC News links about corruption in India here.

A welcome Indian “Backlash Was Born” reports Tim Sullivan, Associated Press
Recently, another Indian example of how backlashes against corruption can erupt occurred. Because of corruption in India’s judicial system, the 24-year old son of a powerful and wealthy politician in India, who shot a young woman, was released. Key witnesses who withdrew their testimony suddenly got rich. But that other side of India gives hope. Tim Sullivan (Thur., Mar/09/2006) Associated Press reported, “What surprised India was its own reaction: Protesters took to the streets, holding candlelight vigils and waving signs calling for justice; newspapers have kept the story on the front page day after day; officials from the president to the capital’s police chief have called for a review of the investigation. In a country that had all but resigned itself to its barely functioning legal system, a backlash was born”.

To be sure, Sathya Sai Baba, profoundly protected by India’s power brokers irrespective of what party is in power, has not faced court to answer many allegations. These include serial sexual molestation of boys and young men and other crimes such as complicity in the police killings that occurred in his bedroom, June 6, 1993. The latter incident was described to the BBC by V.P.B. Nair, former Home Secretary of Andhra Pradesh, as “absolute cold-blooded murder”. Brief video clips at this link here.  The BBC transcript of ‘The Secret Swami’ is available here.  Police corruption is also widespread in India, as the recent horrendous case of serial pedophilia and murders in Noida, Delhi, exemplifies – see link here.

Widespread corruption of the police and judiciary in India
If a corrupt elite in India can protect one young man and nine co-accused, how much more so does political-judicial patronage favor one to whom countless Indian power brokers, and millions of others around the world, bow as God fully incarnate? Sai Baba is also patronised simply because of vote-catching and other political expediencies, huge trade and financial deals with his many mega rich devotees, and cronyism. For trade advantages, it served corrupt regimes when senior officials in the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office told Tony Colman (when he was Labor MP for Putney, UK) that the government does not wish to rock the boat with India. Interests sans conscience were likewise fulfilled when the US State Department, after many highly credible US citizens have made extensive submissions to it, issued a travel warning in November 23, 2001 that pointed to Sai Baba’s ashram but did not name him, until the might of the BBC extracted a confirmation in May 2004. To see how Sai Baba and his managers have so successfully identified his own interests with India’s interests, see: ‘Does UNESCO Really Protect the Young’ at this link.

High echelon judges flout Law to support Sai Baba
For an inkling of how justice can be thwarted by two Indian Supreme Court judges, G.B. Pattanaik and R.C. Lahoti, partial to Sai Baba, see HERE:

A high profile Sai Baba devotee judge in the Andhra Pradesh High Court,Y. V. Anjaneyulu can, just as flagrantly, put down a lawsuit by B. Premanand, India’s famous ‘guru buster’, about gold taxes. Judge Anjaneyulu held that the gold Sai Baba produces is manifested from a divine source, and cannot therefore be taxed. Of course, this judgement defies Indian law, which is secular, and founded on the British Westminster system.

Another miscarriage of justice occurred in Orange County Court in California, USA. A courageous young man, Alaya Rahm, gives an account of extensive sexual abuse of himself when a teenager by Sai Baba. For the last few years, he has been strongly supported in speaking out by his parents. His father is Al Rahm, formerly one of the highest profile leaders in the US Sathya Sai Baba Organisation. Yet Alaya Rahm’s lawsuit against the directors of the Sathya Sai Baba Society in the USA came badly unstuck. According to his lawyer, William Brelsford, the organisation was structured legalistically so as to avoid lawsuits against itself. See the lawyer’s statements and those of the family and supportive international former Sai Baba devotees here.

Note: My advice, in considering the Rahm case, is to avoid pro bono lawyers unless they are real hotshots who do their homework well beforehand. I do not think that Alaya Rahm was served at all well, nor do lawyers from the USA and other countries who are aquainted with the case.

Ullrich Zimmermann’s testimony of Sai Baba perpetrating oral sex on him
Like Alaya Rahm, over the years, a number of young men, from a number of countries, have come forward with accounts of sexual molestation by Sai Baba. Most of them do not wish to go public. Former devotees (not always working in co-ordination) have collected affidavits, the number of which legal counsel have advised not to discuss publicly. David Savill, assistant producer of ‘The Secret Swami’, told me that the BBC unearthed a number of other compelling cases which were not of that hefty number that we had on our files. There has just been (January 2007) – entirely without our group’s knowledge that it had been made seven years ago and was now going to air – a US television interview of a young German man, Ullrich Zimmermann, who very articulately recounts sexual abuse by Sathya Sai Baba including (as in so many other accounts from around the world) oral sex performed on him by his – then! – spiritual master:
http://blip.tv/file/125164.   pt 1.
http://blip.tv/file/127606. pt 2.  In this part, Ullrich Zimmerman relates specific details alleged to have been perpetrated on him by Sai Baba
http://blip.tv/file/127950.   pt 3.

Indian media and adverse News about Sai Baba
Last November, the Indo-Asian News Service broke through to sections of the Indian news media. It reported on Paul Lewis’s article in The Guardian, Nov.3 – “The Indian living god, the paedophilia claims and the Duke of Edinburgh awards”

Hitherto, for many years, almost all the Indian media refused to publish adverse news or serious questioning about Sai Baba and his organisation’s leaders. Almost exclusively, it was Non-Indian Residents (NRI’s) who came to hear of the seriousness of the allegations. They saw television documentaries such as ‘Guru Busters’, (UK Channel 4, 1995), ‘Seduced’ (DR, Denmark, 2001, repackaged as ‘Seduced by Sai Baba’ by SBS, Australia, 2004), ‘The Sinful God’ (AZUL TV, Argentina, 2002), ‘The Secret Swami’ (BBC, 2004) or articles in leading newspapers of the UK, Canada, Australia, Scandinavian countries, Holland, Germany, etc. Have Indian Editors suddenly developed a conscience? More likely, they now realise that news of the many allegations facing Sai Baba’s is too difficult to suppress, and that the foreign media has done what it has so lamentably failed to do, with an honorable exception being India in its cover story, Dec. 4, 2000:

Is Sathya Sai Baba beyond exposure?
Not that blighted Justice afflicts India alone. Charles Dickens called the law “an ass”. In Western countries, there are T-shirts which, symptomatically, suggest the timelessness of the sentiment in Shakespeare’s line: “the first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers”. Grand scale political patronage always existed. But vision and transformation have, too – including an occasional lawyer and politician. We would be far worse off were it not so. It may indeed be children who, because we held out against the madness, grow up to wield a better sort power fuelled by a better sort of wisdom.

There were those, including within our own ranks, who insisted that Sai Baba was beyond exposure. Had we espoused that self-defeating attitude, the more than six years of persistent work by former devotees and other critics would not have led to the present position. This is that Sai Baba and his servitors now stand exposed to millions, with other projects in preparation. There is the ‘court’ of conscience and of better informed world opinion. There is also time for the facts of what former devotees attest to penetrate to devotees, who can then see the truth of what we state on the Internet and elsewhere (but not always spell out because of sensitivity and security issues). This is of necessity slow because a whole world-view and a psychological dependency come crashing down.

Will the conscience-side of India, reported by Sanjoy Majumder and Tim Sullivan, emerge and expose Sathya Sai Baba and those gurus like him who bring India into such terrible disrepute throughout the world? That would be a good test of whether she deserves to be a super power, or is yet another materialistic State crassly bent on material gain, for all its leaders’ common boasts about her spiritual glory and destiny.

Some Further Resources:

http://home.no.net/anir/Sai/
The most extensive individual website is that of Robert Priddy, retired lecturer in philosophy and social science, University of Oslo, Norway, and former head of the Norwegian Sathya Sai Organisation.

http://bdsteel.tripod.com/More/
Also extensive site of Brian Steel, retired lecturer in Linguistics, University of Monash, Australia.

http://www.exbaba.com/
A general former devotee website, operated from Holland, where, from quite early on, hundreds of Sai devotees quit the Sathya Sai Organisation.

http://saiguru.net/.
A general site in 9 languages. Operated from Mexico by Lionel Fernanandez.

http://www.saibabaexpose.com/saibabaexposed.htm.
Website of Conny Larsson, former Sathya Sai Organisation head in Sweden

A four-part article by Robert Priddy and Barry Pittard responding to written points made by the deputy world chairman of the Sathya Sai Organisation and head of Radio Sai International, Dr G. Venkataraman.

Click here for In Memoriam – Glen Meloy (2005). Glen, of southern California, was an outstanding, much beloved former devotee leader who had been devoted to Sai Baba for 26 years. From early 1999, he was foremost among those, including scores of well-known (sometimes still then) devotees who called for independent, third party investigation of Sathya Sai Baba, and of those servitors who profoundly cover up for him. The series of campaigns that emerged are sometimes known as ‘the exposé’.

A reflection on the BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ which had far more indicting documentation against Sathya Sai Baba (80+ hours of footage!) but chose largely follow the story of just one family, no doubt for focus.

http://www.saiguru.net/english/articles/17pittard.htm
A letter addressed to the consciences of my dear former students at the Sathya Sai College at Whitefield, via Bangalore.

http://home.hetnet.nl/~ex-baba/engels/letters/lundestad.html
Letter to Dr Geir Lundestad, Director, Norwegian Nobel Institute.

http://www.saipetition.net/
The present writer was one of the drafters of this international Internet petition, and, since October 1999 with the publication of three articles in NEXUS, part of organised efforts by former Sai Baba devotees from various backgrounds and countries to bring the allegations against Sai Baba to international attention.

http://home.hetnet.nl/~ex-baba/engels/letters/lundestad.html
Letter to Dr Geir Lundestad, then Director, Norwegian Nobel Institute, after reports that Sai Baba centres were rejoicing because Sai Baba was being nominated for a Nobel Prize.

For Online Viewing and/or Dowloading

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Posted in Neglected/sidelined News, Rationalism, Religion, Sai Baba, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Indian Media’s Reticence on Top Guru, Sathya Sai Baba, Weakens

Posted by Barry Pittard on January 15, 2007

Breaking decades of virtual Indian media silence on comment critical of Sathya Sai Baba, a number of major Indian news organizations have run (mostly November 22, 2006) the Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) report on Paul Lewis’s article in The Guardian, ‘The Indian living god, the paedophilia claims and the Duke of Edinburgh awards’http://tinyurl.com/wokpf . Several times attempting to draw comment from the Awards representative, Shona Taylor, the IANS met with the same evasions from the Palace authorities as investigators like Paul Lewis: http://tinyurl.com/y2vd6v

One hears that many Indian editors and broadcasters are not Sai Baba devotees or even admirers but fear to rock the ‘boats’ of political patronage and advertizing revenues. A notable exception to Indian media censorship of serious criticism of Sai Baba has been the 10-page cover story, India Today, December 4, 2000: http://tinyurl.com/y4ysqo .  Sai Baba devotee attempts to suppress critical news about their guru are not confined to India. In Canada, with its huge Indian diaspora, a Can West newspaper, the Ottawa Citizen, researched a story about allegations against Sai Baba but it was toned down, and a staffer related privately that the newspaper chief, including legal counsel, had been holed up lengthily placating a Sai devotee multi-millionaire advertiser. Former Indian Air Chief Marshal N.C. Suri, went the rounds in the UK attempting to stop media stories inimical to Sai Baba. The senior head of the Sathya Sai Organization in Europe, Thorbjørn Meyer, threatened legal action against the Director of Denmark’s national broadcaster DR, Christian Nissen, who also refused to bend and screened ‘Seduced’ (2001). The then head of the Australian Sathya Sai Organization, T. Sri Ramanathan, threatened – in vain – to sue SBS, Australia’s multi-cultural national broadcaster, which also proceeded with the screening of its in-English version, retitled ‘Seduced by Sai Baba’ (2004): http://tinyurl.com/y2m9a8 .

The one-hour BBC documentary The Secret Swami (2004) has sorely troubled Sai Baba’s international organization, as its the deputy world chairman, Dr. G. Venkataraman, has admitted. Typical of its interfaces with bona fide investigators, our international group was open and cooperative. Sai Baba’s leaders are the opposite. For example, they cast the BBC out of Puttaparthi the moment the producer, Eamon Hardy, raised normal questions about the worldwide allegations against Sai Baba. The Sathya Sai Organization has recruitment drives, often in super deluxe venues, but commonly, cultishly, acts as though it has no responsibility to respond to questions from the media that any democratic public would wish to be answered truthfully:
http://tinyurl.com/unrme . The evasions by his leaders were so serious and repeated that the BBC’s legal advisors sanctioned the use of a secret camera trained on Dr Michael Goldstein, Sai Baba’s world leader, whose rudeness,
arrogance and Soviet-style cover-up have now been seen by millions in scores of countries. These qualities showed too in Dr Murali Manohar Joshi, then a minister in the government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, his fellow staunch Sai Baba devotee. When she asked perfectly valid questions of him, Manohar Joshi grossly bullied the BBC interviewer Tanya Datta. David Savill, the assistant producer, told me that the BBC unearthed more individuals with serious accounts of sexual molestation of young
males by Sathya Sai Baba, including Indians, than the many we had been able to provide. The BBC documentary’s focused on sexual abuse allegations from just one family and one other victim (no doubt to personalize the story). This obscured the sheer extent of the allegations, which come from many countries (although a BBC voiceover did briefly mention these).
The transcript is at: http://tinyurl.com/sngkt Video clips are at: http://tinyurl.com/y6cxan

But what Sai Baba’s leaders do not reveal, including to their own ranks, are the genuineness of many individuals and families who have come to them in anguish, and who they have shunned, and in some cases cast right out of the Organization.The ‘Hislop Letters’ are but one of many examples of the cruel process: http://tinyurl.com/u2j6r . Former devotees or other critics who attempt to bring the allegations to light are defamed on the Internet and elsewhere – sometimes actionably, according to our lawyers in different countries. Statements from a US attorney and others at: http://tinyurl.com/yaqsmt indicate how a courageous young man and his parents, who filed a lawsuit against Dr. Goldstein and the directors of Sathya Sai Society of America can be stymied by a powerful, legalistic, unaccountable group. Sai Baba himself and his chain of command have demonized Ex-leaders and other members of the Sathya Sai Organization, once highly respected, who have attempted to call him and his organization to show accountability and duty-of-care. Such is the cultic character of the organization and their shunning of responsibility points to the acute need in all our education systems for strong teaching of critical thinking.

In 2001, a UNESCO Media Advisory appeared, giving notice of its withdrawal from a conference at Sai Baba’s ashram in Puttaparthi, citing their concerns about allegations against the guru: http://tinyurl.com/yxok9u . Late in 2003, the then Foreign Minister in the Vajpayee government, Jaswant Sinha, managed to draw abject written renunciation and an apology from UNESCO’s Director. It was as though Sai Baba and India were synonymous. Numerous former devotees from around the world protested to UNESCO. Although it was too late for the UNESCO turn-around to be mentioned in The Secret Swami, the BBC confirmed that UNESCO had: (a) folded to Indian government pressure and (b) had claimed to The West Australian, and former-devotee and third-party enquirers, like the Anglican Primate of Australia’s representative, that the disappearance of the Media Advisory from the Internet was simply a routine system purge. The UNESCO spokeswoman, Sue Williams, told the BBC that UNESCO now stood by the original Media Advisory: http://tinyurl.com/y7j49c

In 2001, UNESCO had to go to the Press Trust of India to get The Times of India to publish the whole of the UNESCO Media Advisory, instead of a watered-down version of it. On November 23, 2001, the US State Department issued a warning about a local guru (unnamed) to US citizens traveling in Andhra Pradesh. In The Secret Swami, the BBC stated that the US State Department had confirmed that Sai Baba was the individual referred to in its warning to US citizens traveling in Andhra Pradesh (The official for current status re Sai Baba at the US State Department is: William Hurst, Overseas Citizens Services & Crisis Management Specialist 202 647 5395 FAX 202 647 3732
hurstwf@state.gov )

Many former devotees love India’s sacred culture. It is a source of regret to them that the call for proper legal and governmental investigation of Sai Baba and his leaders has mostly come from other countries. There are, of course, cases of Indian Rationalists and Humanists who have tackled Sai Baba and his cult. Sadly, the famous ‘guru buster’ B. Premanand has had to face attempts on his life; his son’s murder; and detractors have attempted to distort Premanand’s findings regarding the police killings in Sai Baba’s bedroom on June 6, 1993, about which he has written a book, ‘Murders in Sai Baba’s Bedroom’, Publ., B. Premanand. 11/7 Chettipalayam Road, Podnadur. 641 023 Tamil Nadu, India. See, http://tinyurl.com/y92c4o . In 1986, a case B. Premanand brought in the Andhra Pradesh High Court shows a close Sai Baba devotee judge’s violation of India’s secular legal system. Judge Y.V.Anjaneyulu pronounced,

“An article or ornament materialized from air in a split second by the use of spiritual powers or otherwise cannot be said to be made, manufactured, prepared or processed within the meaning of section 11 of the Gold Control Act.”

Another example of how a kangaroo court with Sai Baba-oriented judges undermined attempts by a famous Indian attorney to bring him to heel may be seen at: http://tinyurl.com/ydhmzd

India is a rising superpower. How, then, can Indian governments – so often led by Sai Baba devotees – win world respect unless they address problems of endemic corruption that disgust many Indians themselves as well as close observers worldwide? To stand for truth and integrity, they would need to call for intelligent, unbiased investigation of Sai Baba, arguably the most powerful guru figure in India’s history, and his hand-picked leaders who profoundly cover up for him. Investigation would reveal the incredible irrationality seen in countless high-profile Sai devotee Indian leaders in all walks of life. Most of his devotees accept his word that he is a “full avatar,” that is, a full embodiment of God (all gods and goddesses rolled into one); the “Father” who sent Jesus Christ, Muhammad, and all the other great saviors; completely omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. He has categorically stated that he holds the Universe in the palm of his hand and is the creator and mover of all worlds (see Conversations with Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba (conversations recorded between 1968 and 1990), by Dr. John Hislop, revised edition (undated), Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust, Prasanthi Nilayam, India, pages 36, 73-4, 144). He drew many followers with his demonstrations of so-called miracles (manifesting objects and sacred ash out of thin air) but in recent years his manifestations have been shown on video, to be faked. In the witness of many, he has carelessly drop palmed objects and been caught concealing under cushions, etc., objects about to ‘materialized’. Some intractable phenomena would need to be scientifically investigated, which Sai Baba is against. Many in India (where the present writer lived for several years) do not approve of the way gurus are worshipped as gods and demigods. Although noting the good social works Sai Baba’s followers often do, many Indians strongly disapprove of the pomp and dazzling splendor he spends millions in creating all around him.

Barry Pittard (Former lecturer at a leading Sai Baba college).  Email:  bpittard@optusnet.com.au

Further Links:

http://www.saipetition.net/

http://www.exbaba.com/

http://home.no.net/anir/Sai/enigma/index.htm

http://bdsteel.tripod.com/More/index.html

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Posted in Neglected/sidelined News, Rationalism, Religion, Spirituality, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Posted by Barry Pittard on January 10, 2007

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