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Archive for May, 2007

Sai Baba. Some Dissenting Themes and Resources

Posted by Barry Pittard on May 31, 2007

Robert Priddy, former head of the Sathya Sai Organization in Norway, and retired lecturer in Philosophy and Social Science at the University of Oslo, has just posted a number of thematic links, for which, click HERE. Many further links accompany the articles themselves.

For this post, I have selected a quote from all but the first of the articles – the Bailey piece, which is virtually a small book in itself, and the second, a detailed four-part series by Robert Priddy and me, Barry Pittard. 

Investigations into Sathya Sai Baba Deceptions exposed on Ex-Baba.com
 
Pioneering materials from David and Faye Bailey’s investigations into Sathya Sai Baba’s deceptions: ‘The Findings’. This husband a wife were very close to Sai Baba, who appointed David Baily as a music lecturer in at his university, and also as his emissary to a number of countries. He selected the couple for marriage, and married them, David from the U.K., and Faye from Australia. However, as the couple travelled far and wide, the accounts of Sai Baba sexual molestation of young males and other types of serious allegations mounted drastically. As many others worldwide have done, both leaders and rank-and-file, they resigned. (Although, indeed, many quietly leave without the formality of resignation). They were unlike many who know the facts of the allegations which face Sai Baba and his very powerful and influential worldwide Sathya Sai Organization. They spoke up!  I should add that the vast preponderance of these allegations are not posted – because of their sensitivity – to the Internet. The handling of serious allegations has been extremely badly handled by Sai devotees in general, and the one mitigating circumstance is that the core leaders have not told them that the allegations are frequently made by those whose character was never under dispute when they were members of the Sai Organization, nor have been so in their professions or wider communities. However, with the carefully consulted permission of the accusing individuals and families, many of the facts ARE available to reputable, bona fide third party investigators from senior echelon media, government, law enforcement agencies, law firms, academies or institutions.

The Bailies did their best to bring the allegations to light – e.g., in the international media, UNESCO, UNICEF, police such as Scotland Yard, FBI, AFP (Australian Federal Police), government, Chief Prosecutor’s Office, Germany, etc. Like every other individual who has stood up, including former leaders like Terry Gallagher (Australia), Rick Raines, Al Rahm, Shirley Pike, Elena Hartgering, Glen Meloy, Dave Lyons, (U.S.A.), Serguei Badaev (Russia), Conny Larsson, Britt Marie (Bi-ma) Andén (Sweden), Robert Priddy (Norway), David and Faye Bailey have been subject to distortion, abuse, slander, outright libel, and shunning by those they had long come to regard as more than brothers and sisters. 

The Sathya Sai Organisation’s Deception and Propaganda Series on Ex-Baba.com

Four-part series, by Robert Priddy and Barry Pittard, with extensive links. It responds to points raised by Dr G. Venkataraman, Deputy Chairman under Dr Michael Goldstein of the world Sathya Sai Baba Organization.

Deceptions and Molestations Exposed by Sharon Purcell

(The late) Glen Meloy wrote, “As if the molestations were not enough, the infamous shootings at Puttaparthi occurred while Sathya (ed. Satya or Satch Purcell) and his Mother were still there and young Sathya remembers vividly having to jump out of the way when they were still sweeping the blood from the temple later that morning. (Hal)Honig’s group of boys had been allowed to be on the veranda for morning darshan”.

Wilful wholesale deception by Sai Baba exposed

“‘Nothing in nature is in vain’, was the Aristotelian tenet, itself the basis of belief in natural laws that can be investigated scientifically. Sai Baba has also used this unfortunate idea to dominate everyone who enters his domain as virtual slaves to his will… nothing can be done without his Divine Will, operating in the ever-unseen, ever-uncontrollable limbo of his inscrutable personality! But this is a travesty of philosophy and all that is best in human civilisation!”

Failed Sai predictions or outright deceptions

“A documented overview of the history and extent of the alleged sexual abuses by Sathya Sai Baba and examination of questions they raise.

Part 1 – The Great Scandal Has Come to Stay
1 Revelations in waves through the years
2 How allegations about Sathya Sai Baba’s sexual proclivities and abuses are silenced & ignored
3 Sathya Sai Baba’s bluff called by a major favourite devotee, David Bailey in ‘The Findings’
4. Failed predictions or outright deceptions…’
5. ‘Hearsay’ and ‘rumour’ versus ‘circumstantial and corroborative evidence’
6.”A great scandal is coming” – SB’s bogus Divine Prescience and an unstoppable exposure

Part 2 – Smoke Not Without Fire – Claims and Evidence of Serious Molestations
6 The ‘oiling’ of genitals of young males by Sathya Sai Baba
7 Major abuse testimonies world-wide by young men and their relatives
8 More “Good Chances” for Sex with the Avatar

Part 3 – More smoke and fuel to the fire
9 Why do so many young foreign boys given much attention almost invariably leave Sai Baba?
10 The serial abuse of Sai college boys and young men?

Part 4 – The Jigsaw of Mounting Testimony & Circumstantial Evidence Takes Shape
11 Further presentation in brief of documented claims
12 Tantric practices & ‘kundalini’ yoga – & Ram Das Awle’s perverted values
13 The threat Sai Baba poses for students
14 Homosexual-cum-hermaphrodite evidence

Part 5 – Sathya Sai Baba’s Claims of Purity and Celibacy that Defy all Accounts
15 The organised cover-up, rationalising and defense of pedophile activities
16 Was Sathya Sai Baba ever celibate? New evidence.
17 Why can’t the ‘universal world teacher’ dare ever to broach the subject of sexuality?
See also the latest major revelations – Ullrich Zimmermann’s description of sexual abuse by Sathya Sai Baba ”

The Sai Baba ”mirror trap’ deception

“It works like this: Sathya Sai Baba says he is God, so whatever you see, hear or feel that is not perfect and pure in him is not him, only you. Whenever he does wrong, he tells you that the fault is in your perception, your karma, your lack of faith. This he says to excuse not keeping his promises, failing to heal, not protecting his followers, exaggerating his importance, lying constantly, abusing young men, boys and worse than that, allowing devotees to be brutally murdered in his close vicinity by persons under his control! If you believe this ‘teaching’, your naive acceptance of this clever trick traps you into a hall of mirrors where no way out can be seen. This is the ‘mirror trap’, nothing more than a convenient invention for deluding people and keeping them in line. Adopting any variant of this idea from Sathya Sai Baba or his followers is to begin on a course of self-brainwashing. This ‘mirror trap’ is also part and parcel of the deceptions of many Indian gurus and swamis”.

Sai – a master of deception and delusive appearances

Tests of faith or smokescreening? “Sathya Sai Baba fell full length on what was then the compound’s concrete ground. Sathya Sai Baba got up and continued his round, but the attendant male Seva Dals manhandled the foolish Indian man and bashed his head forcibly and repeatedly on the concrete. Sathya Sai Baba retraced his steps told them to desist, but not until well after the damage was done”.

Sai deception of the ‘materialised’ Bible

Brian Steel writes, “All very impressive, spectacular even, but the truth that I discovered one day long afterwards was that copies of an identical work, the miniature so-called Good News New Testament, have been on sale in India for many years. I bought one from a Sai Baba Centre in Australia for $2.50. It looks exactly the same as the one held aloft by Baba in the ashram photos”.

Sai Deception as abuse of faith

“The very voluminous teachings of Sai Baba, once very appealing, turn out to be a pick-and-mix menu of many kinds of conflicting doctrines and ideas. These almost no one studies properly by retaining any degree of truly independent questioning or evaluation, not least because the material is spread across thousands of documented discourses etc., unmanageable to most minds and persons with limited time. They contain a plethora of sweeping generalizations (which mostly invalidates them as serious advice), any number of factually incorrect assertions on almost any subject that can be counter-checked (especially Christian scripture, Jesus’ life, the lives and sayings of various famous persons and scientists, the sciences of health, geology, history, social movements, and not least as to the size and achievements of Sai Baba and his movement…)”

Deceived by false promises

Tests of faith or smokescreening? “Sathya Sai Baba fell full length on what was then the compound’s concrete ground. Sathya Sai Baba got up and continued his round, but the attendant male Seva Dals manhandled the foolish Indian man and bashed his head forcibly and repeatedly on the concrete. Sathya Sai Baba retraced his steps told them to desist, but not until well after the damage was done”.

The web of Sai deceptions

On surveillance, security and secrecy in Sathya Sai Baba’s ashram, institutions and organisation.  “In India the culture of official secrecy is endemic and those officials who become ashram staff continue and even intensify this, revealing only what suits them, no more and no less… as indeed the inscrutable God also does by all scriptural accounts. No one who has been at any SSB ashram for long can have failed to notice the tight-lipped behaviour of nearly all SSB officials”.

A Great Deceiver Exposed
(Laughable But Still Dangerous)

“Sai Baba is indeed an emperor of his own domain worth many highly unaccountable billions, and the Anderson story slightly transmutes into a tale about an emperor with no other magnetism than the charismatic ability to gull millions – or rather to persuade them to gull themselves. For him to do this so spectacularly well, one imagines that Sai Baba would first have had to have learnt, long ago, to gull himself”.

Sathya Sai Baba: stories, myths and deceits

“A startling number of people believe that SSB creates many things from nothing, is all-powerful and knows everything about everyone. These include a dozen heads of state, various royalty and film stars etc. His ‘creations’ are most often rings, medallions, bracelets, necklaces and so on, through which he says he communicates to – and ‘sees’ what happens to – his devotees. These amulets or talismen are believed by thousands who wear them to be a ‘hotline’ to SSB and also they “bind people to him” and he can see him in them! Sai Baba makes this claim himself … rings that work in much the same was as the rings created by Dark Lord Sauron in Tolkien’s famous fiction!!”

Blog Sites:

Sathya Sai Baba’s Deceptions Exposed http://robertpriddy.wordpress.com/

Robert Priddy, former head of the Sathya Sai Organization, Norway

Call For Media and Government Investigation of Sathya Sai Baba
https://barrypittard.wordpress.com

Barry Pittard, former English lecturer Sri Sathya Sai College of the Arts, Science and Commerce, Whitefield, via Bangalore, Karnataka, South India

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Posted in Morality, Neglected/sidelined News, New Age, Opinion, Propaganda, Protest, Rationalism, Religion, Sai Baba, Scandal, Sex, Skeptics, Spirituality, Theology, Theosophy, Trends, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions | 6 Comments »

About ‘My Life As Sathya Sai Baba’s Prophecy’, Part 2.

Posted by Barry Pittard on May 27, 2007

Sathya (Satya) Purcell’s My Life As Sathya Sai Baba’s Prophecy(Part 2) has been posted to Exbaba.com

On the http://www.exbaba.com Home Page, click on News tab, then:- 

See entry May 26, 2007
See also, Part 1. May 21, 2007.

A few contextualizing comments and further links are within this blogsite at this Link Here:

Of a 1993 trip to Puttaparthi by a large group of youths from various parts of the United States, Satya Purcell, nicknamed Satch, formerly known as Sathya Sai Purcell, writes that Sai Baba, prior to the trip, told Hal Honig, the group leader, “You bring them. I will change them”.

Change it was to prove indeed!  The journey was eventful and decisive – not least because these young men were there at the time of the police killings (various investigators would say executions) in Sai Baba’s mandir, temple. On the upper story of this building, which is a focus of devotion by millions, he then had his bedroom, and it was here that local police shot dead four of Sai Baba’s students who had broken in. Former Andhra Pradesh Home Secretary V.P.B. Nair on the BBC television documentary The Secret Swami (2004) describes this event as “absolute cold-blooded murder”.

Sai Baba Foretold Purcell’s Birth, and Named Him

For Satya Purcell the trip was decisive in the most negative way. He had been named from birth by Sai Baba, and was devoted since his earliest years. His mother, Sharon Purcell, was close to major figures in establishing Sai Baba’s fame in the West, such as the wealthy husband and wife Walter and Elsie Cowan, and Dr John Hislop. He came away profoundly alienated, and his belief that Sai Baba was the Divine in human form was shattered, as it became for his mother too, and a great many others from various contries and cultures who, over the years, have felt profound ethical and spiritual betrayal. A number of the youths on the trip lost their faith in Sai Baba, and confided that he had sexually abused them. They also relate seeing mistakes by Sai Baba that showed that he was faking his ‘miracles’ of materialization.

Sai Baba Devotees Often Silent When They Notice Tricks

(Many devotees have seen through Sai Baba’s magician’s tricks but remain quiet about it. Other phenomena that cannot readily be explained needs proper investigation, and may exceed the present state of scientific knowledge, and yet this should never excuse the Sai Baba and his powerful and influential worldwide Sathya Sai Organization from perfectly reasonable standards of moral and civil accountability. These they repeatedly and profoundly evade. They are true to their founder, whom the BBC aptly named ‘The Secret Swami’. See under Further Resources, below, the link for Terry Gallagher’s account of Sai Baba dropping pellets, meant to be concealed in his hand before being surreptitiously crushed, of his sacred ash (vibhuti, vibuthi, vibhooti). It is by the first head of the Sathya Sai Organization in Australia, Terry Gallagher, who resigned in profound disgust after investigating allegations of Sai Baba’s sexually abusing young males). 

Hal Honig’s Duty of Care In Question 

The group leader Hal Honig (who, despite his advanced age, is curiously now head of the youth wing of the Sathya Sai Organization, U.S.A.) is the subject of very serious allegations, which have been reported to the FBI, New York Police Department and New York Ofice of the Mayor. See Link Here.

Some Satya Purcell quotes:

“Unfortunately for Sai Baba some of the young men in the Hal Honig group sitting close saw him drop the ring in the side of his seat cushion” ….

“Chris confronted him in the private interview room about the fake miracles. He told him that his materializations looked like magic tricks to him. Chris told me that Sai Baba became angry at him and called him a “doubting Thomas”. During the following darshan, Baba scowled at him and said he was a “bad boy” …..  Instead of dispelling doubts, he became defensive and tried to publicly humiliate one who dared to question. In this way, Sai Baba discouraged others from challenging him” ….

“This scene hurt me very much because I once read Sai Baba’s words where he taught that your Guru is the one person you should be able to question. I always remembered that with great respect but he did not live up to his own teaching. Instead of dispelling doubts, he became defensive and tried to publicly humiliate one who dared to question. In this way, Sai Baba discouraged others from challenging him” …..

“Particularly horrific was the aftermath of a human slaughter on June 6, 1993, which was cleaned up before the masses could see it”….

“Later back in the U.S.A., a geologist Sai Baba devotee told me the stone was a particular mineral, while a jeweler said it was certainly not a diamond but that he was not sure what the stone was. Eventually the stone came out of the setting to reveal a piece of foil inside the setting”.

Further Resources:

See BBC’s The Secret Swami video clip of Andhra Pradesh Home Secretary, V.P.B. Nair speaking of “absolute cold-blooded murder” and making clear that there occurred a massive cover-up by Sai Baba, his ashram officials, police, local, state and central governments.

Terry Gallagher, Ex-Central Coordinator of the Sathya Sai Organization, Australia writes (see Link Here)

“The eyewitness accounts were horrific! After bursting into the mandir, four students found themselves trapped upstairs where Sai Baba was staying. Each was interrogated by police, then one at a time they were executed. The stench of death was everywhere ….

“Sai Baba was tense and agitated, and his body language told us all that what we had found out him was the truth! We left the interview and returned to Australia” ….

When we attempted to tell others about our experiences and the truth about Sai Baba, no one would believe us, except those who had also had similar experiences- and mostly fear prevents them from telling others”.

See Robert Priddy’s account of getting assayed the ring Sai Baba produced for him. Retired teacher of Philosophy and Social Sciences at the University of Oslo, Robert Priddy was the head of the Sathya Sai Organization of Norway, and has written prolifically and critically of Sai Baba and his organization. His Home Page is Here

“On 31/10/2002, my wife Reidun and I returned from three days in Copenhagen, Denmark, where the ‘green diamond’ Sathya Sai Baba gave me in 1986 (shown above) was examined by Mr. Peter Hertz, the Danish Queen Margarethe’s jeweller, a top Scandinavian expert on precious stones and diamonds. All was filmed in detail by Øjvind Kyrø’s team for Danish TV. The result of the investigation, which took two days, is that the stone is a synthetic green sapphire.Value only about $40 today in super-expensive Denmark. Its value in India today could therefore probably be around $10 …

Mr. Hertz informed me that the technique of enhancing the brilliance in such rings – even those with genuine diamonds – was used back in the 18th century in Portugal and elsewhere. This was well before more modern diamond technology made this superfluous and allowed diamonds and other precious stones to shine fully without enclosing them or using silver or foil. (Incidentally, Portugal colonised Goa, where this technique could doubtless also have been taken up by Indians – or perhaps vice-versa)….

I gave permission for opening the ring, (the stone is encased at the back so the stone’s underside cannot be seen, as are all so-called Sai Baba diamond rings that I have seen). It turned out to have a layer of green silver foil behind the stone to enhance the green colour and reflect light. Behind the silver foil, the golden casing was painted black. The metal is 18 carat gold. (The stone was formerly estimated by its surface size to be the equivalent of ca. 5 to 6 carats, the stone being 1.2 cm in diameter). Mr. Hertz estimated the total value of the ring as perhaps up to $200 in Denmark today”.

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Posted in Morality, Neglected/sidelined News, New Age, Opinion, Propaganda, Protest, Psychology, Rationalism, Religion, Sai Baba, Scandal, Sex, Skeptics, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions | 1 Comment »

Indian Ex Top Official Dogs Sai Baba On BBC. ‘Cold-blooded Murder’

Posted by Barry Pittard on May 23, 2007

“Absolutely Cold-blooded Murder”

(Film clip link is below, under Resources)

Former Home Secretary of Sai Baba’s state Andhra Pradesh, V.P.B. Nair,

vpb-nair.jpg

tells the BBC cameras that the police killings in Sai Baba’s private quarters in June 1993 were “absolutely cold-blooded murder,” and that CID investigations, which were suppressed, showed many lies and cover-ups. He is seeking to re-open the case. Here is what Nair had to tell the BBC:

Tanya Datta
Sex abuse is not the only controversy tainting the God man’s reputation. On a June night back in nineteen ninety-three, four devotees broke into Sai Baba’s quarters. They were armed with knives.
Their motives are unclear. All four were close to Sai Baba. Some say they wanted to warn him about corruption in the Ashram. Others claim their intention was to kidnap or even kill Sai Baba. As they approached they were stopped by four of Sai Baba’s attendants. In the struggle that followed two of his attendants were killed and the other two badly injured. Hearing the commotion Sai Baba escaped through a back stairway and raised the alarm. Heavily armed police arrived on the scene.
VPB Nair
So these boys, they ran and locked themselves up in a room. And then in the whole, all around a lot of pandemonium and people gathered so the boys were shivering like rats in that small hole.
Tanya Datta
The four men barricaded themselves into Sai Baba’s bedroom. There was a stand-off with the police. Then the order was given to go in.
Tanya Datta
What happened next is hotly disputed. The official version seemed clear.
VPB Nair
These four boys charged towards the police with the knives and started stabbing the inspector and other personnel. Because they were attacked they opened fire.
Tanya Datta
In self-defence?
VPB Nair
In self-defence. They opened fire and killed all the four boys. This the police story.
Tanya Datta
Velayudhan Nair rejects the police version of events. He should know. Until two thousand and two he was Home Secretary of Andhra Pradesh and in charge of the state police. On coming to office he examined the files and found that the original police report was riddled with lies and inconsistencies. This was later exposed by a CID investigation.
VPB Nair
Two or three daggers cannot be a match to roaring guns. So this story of the police being attacked and the police shooting in self-defence is totally baseless.
Tanya Datta
So are you suggesting that the police executed the boys
that night?
VPB Nair
In absolute, this is absolute cold-blooded murder.
Tanya Datta
Some police officers were arrested but never charged. The case was eventually dropped. Sai Baba has always had a close relationship with the police. Even today, senior officers are special guests at the Ashram. With friends in such high places Sai Baba seems to be untouchable. Any attempt to investigate the goings-on at his Ashram even, murder, appear doomed to failure.  Critics say police connections ensured that Sai Baba wasn’t even interviewed, despite being one of the witnesses to the events of that night.

Resources –

BBC Interview with V.P.B. Nair – Former Home Secretary of Andhra Pradesh State

The Sathya Sai Baba Bedroom Murders

More about the 1993 murders

Sathya Sai Baba Bedroom Murders – Part 1
Sathya Sai Baba Bedroom Murders – Part 2

Sathya Sai Bedroom Murders – Part 3
Sathya Sai Bedroom Murders – Part 4
Sathya Sai Baba Bedroom Murders – Part 5

See also notes recording V.K. Narasimhan conversations in the 1990s at the ashrams here and here

Further, see the unofficial reports by an IAS officer, V.Ramnath.
http://www.saibaba-x.org.uk/16/Ramu_Prabhu.html

See also here http://home.chello.no/~reirob/Saibedroom.htm

Robert Priddy blogsite: http://robertpriddy.wordpress.com series, Sathya Sai Baba Bedroom Murders.

Part 1.
Part 2.
Part 3.

————————————————————

Barry Pittard’s comments in regard to the Public Petition) -:

Petition For Official Investigation Into Sathya Sai Baba Cult

                                       ————————————————————————

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, New Age, News and Politics, Opinion, People, Propaganda, Protest, Rationalism, Religion, Sai Baba, Scandal, Sex, Skeptics, Social and Politics, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions | 6 Comments »

Satya Purcell’s ‘My Life As Sathya Sai Baba’s Prophecy’

Posted by Barry Pittard on May 22, 2007

The story of Sharon Purcell, her ex-husband Gary, and her son, formerly known as Sathya Sai Purcell, and now (Satya, nicknamed Satch) harks back to some seminal history of the Sathya Sai Baba movement in the West. One can see the seeds of later disruption – and, indeed, eruption – being already cast.

Of Name and Nature

Sai Baba has given names to various of his devotees. This is considered among the greatest honors that he can bestow, and, among his millions of followers, he exercises this practice sparingly indeed. It is a currency confined so as not, as it were, to ‘devalue’ it. 

Sai Baba gave his own name ‘Sathya’ (which means Truth) to an American child from California, now known as Satya Purcell. (For practical purposes, his name underwent a one-letter orthographical change so that those in his own culture would not pronounce the ‘th’ which is not, in any case, sounded in the Indian original). Satya Purcell, now in his thirties, has told us that, since his own very rude awakening to the fraudulence of his former guru in the early 90’s, he has found the name ‘Sathya’ to be onerous.

My Life As Sathya Sai Baba’s Prophecy Being Serialized On Exbaba.com 

Satya Purcell’s account is being serialized during May-June 2007 at:  http://www.Exbaba.com. After accessing this Url, click on the NEWS tab at the top of the webpage. A later installment will describe his gruesome experience of avoiding a sweeper’s splashing of blood and water during the hasty cover-up of evidence straight after the police killings in Sai Baba’s bedroom. (Retired University of Oslo academic Robert Priddy’s series of short articles entitled Sathya Sai Baba Bedroom Murders has just commenced in his blogsite at:  http://robertpriddy.wordpress.com )

Excerpt from:  My Life As Sathya Sai Baba’s Prophecy

 “Sai Baba predicted my birth and gave me my name and even “foretold” a little bit about my personality. So here I am just past thirty reflecting back on what I now see as an ironic situation and sometimes painful experience. My story is hard, if not impossible, for most of his devotees to credit. He has long proclaimed himself to be the divine incarnation of all divine incarnations occurring across the millennia. Followers flock to him from many lands. He has a charismatic power that instantaneously works in his devotees’ minds to counteract any comment critical of him. My own mother, Sharon Purcell, after 30 years of deep devotion to Sai Baba, spoke out publicly in the last part of her life before she died, stating from her intimate knowledge of what he had done to devotees she had known for many years, that he had engaged in a very great deception”.

Useful Internet Links

Of Sharon Purcell, Satya Purcell’s mother, (the late) Glen Meloy wrote:

“Sharon was a devotee for 32 years and together with Elsie and Walter Cowan, Fritz and Victoria Ellis and her then husband, Gary, started the first official Southern California Center in the hilltop home of Elsie and Walter in the Cowan Heights section of Tustin, California”.

In short, the Purcells were a deeply devoted part of, and connected with seminal leaders in, the origins and spread, in the West, of the movement that culminated in the worldwide Sathya Sai Baba Organization. The late Walter and Elsie Cowan were extremely oil-rich financial supporters of Sai Baba and his mission. Click on this link for Sharon Purcell’s account as related to in careful detail and posted with her permission by her decades-long friend, Glen Meloy.

Some of Sharon’s account also appeared at a cost to herself, because the condition that was soon to kill her in 2003 (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS/ Lou Gehrig’s disease) was worsening. She worked hard to get her own account recorded, and to this end cooperated with the renowned Latin American writer and television presenter Alejandro Agostinelli – who a number of us strongly feel neither Sai Baba devotees nor his critics would have found other than very competent, fair-minded, painstaking and courteous. He refers to her in his long article Divine Sin for the journal Gatapardo (February 2002). She was too sick to travel to Buenos Aires, Argentina, as she had bravely hoped to have been able to do, and Sharon was instead interviewed by Diego Carro, an Argentinean producer in Los Angeles. Some of her testimony appears in the series La Historia de Sai Baba, Zona de Investigación, Azul TV (2001), which received record viewing ratings.

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Posted in Morality, Neglected/sidelined News, New Age, Propaganda, Protest, Psychology, Rationalism, Religion, Sai Baba, Scandal, Sex, Skeptics, Society, Spirituality, World Issues, World Religions | 4 Comments »

Of Anger. BBC’s John Sweeney and the Scientologists.

Posted by Barry Pittard on May 16, 2007

bbc-panoramas-john-sweeny-yelling.jpgPhoto: John Sweeney, of BBC Panorama in a fit of anger. Panorama is BBC television’s Current Affairs flagship.

The film footage on YouTube, the BBC website etc., of the BBC Panorama journalist losing his temper explosively at a scientologist has provoked a huge stir. It may prove that neither side acted well.

Below are photo clips from the BBC’s The Secret Swami. Video clips are available by clicking Here. Caught by the BBC’s hidden camera in a temper at the BBC team’s asking of perfectly reasonable and proper questions is Dr Michael Goldstein of Covina, southern California, U.S.A. He is the world head of Sathya Sai Baba’s powerful, immensely wealthy worldwide Sathya Sai Organization, which Sai Baba says is THE divine organization on the entire planet and about to come under his sway, as God fully incarnate, before he dies in 2022.

bbc-clip-dr-micael-goldstein-gets-angry.jpg

When the BBC was making The Secret Swami (2004), I was intensively involved for seven months in providing documentation and internationally coordinating former Sai Baba follower accounts of sexual molestation of young males and other very serious allegations about him and his Sathya Sai Organization to the BBC.

Broadcaster Guidelines and Support of Staff

One of the key issues in the confrontation between BBC Panorama’s John Sweeney and a scientologist concerns broadcaster guidelines. There are areas like recruitment and vetting, and support with stress management (especially prior to difficult assignments) that need to be addressed. On the other hand, it may be that sometimes the very feisty reporter is the very person to stand up to bullies and others in cover-up mode. Do we want mild-mannered, untrepid investigative journalists? The solutions need be creative, rather than either draconian and stifflingly rule-bound, or wimpish.

Journalistic Standards and Ethics

There will need to be a discussion about respect and courtesy expected to be shown towards an interview subject. However – while the case for civilized behaviour and the avoidance of shouting at an interviewee does not need to be argued – it is important to clarify strategies that may be practised when an investigative team is faced with, for example, lies, evasions, subterfuges, harassment, etc. In the present furore both sides are alleging improper harassment over a period. Whatever may be the case, a broadcaster must not be remiss, no less than a judge or doctor or teacher etc., must be remiss.

What Gets Obscured?

The sad result is that the BBC’s reputation for being the best and most reliable broadcaster in the world has been damaged. The fact that it may be the biggest does, of course, incur the greater risk that, sooner or later, a BBC journalist or production team will err. It would be a pity if any excellence of John Sweeney in the past gets obscured by the incident, just as it would be wrong for any demonstrable good the scientologists may have done in drug rehabilitation to be obscured. However, good works – and the Sathya Sai Organization most assuredly does many – should not obscure proper investigation of any improper conduct by it or its founder.

At the same time, what if the truth about evasive, authoritarian cults is obscured? Do we want that? Do we want to succumb to the fear of the power of, for example, wealthy cults that are litigious? Or ones that are able to buy favours of politicians, governments, police and so on?

Who Will Run Risks, If Not Media Like the BBC?

Ironically enough, risks and boldness are the very essence of excellent investigative journalism – especially in the face of those individuals and organizations that would so powerfully cover up. Are there many media and other institutions big and powerful enough to stand up to extremely powerfully endowed organizations like Scientology and the Sathya Sai Organization? Let us not emasculate the few watchdogs we have. Although, let us encourage them to take necessary steps to monitor, anticipate and reduce e.g., unnecessary stress factors on professionals that would lead to bad messes. 

In the case of The Secret Swami though I think the BBC team (possibly because most on it were rather young) was in some areas less than competent – that the BBC was right to sanction the use of a hidden camera in the case of Dr Michael Goldstein, who, along with his associates, had been extremely evasive. This, in a area where the public has a right-to-know.

Excerpt of Transcript of The Secret Swami, in which Dr Michael Goldstein, the world head of the Sathya Sai Organization, becomes angry and evasive.

Tanya Datta: Why don’t you have thorough investigations, instead of just asking one question to one person?
Michael Goldstein: What do you mean by thorough investigation?
2’nd Interviewer: Objective investigators, not someone asking the perpetrator whether he, he carried out the act. But someone, you know, a proper legal process or a legalistic process should I say.
Tanya Datta: Yes.
Michael Goldstein: Because I don’t believe that’s appropriate with Sai Baba.
2’nd Interviewer: Why not?
Michael Goldstein: Because my heart and my conscience tell me that it’s not possible.

Further Resources:

Sai Baba Saved Devotees From 9/11 Says Dr Michael Goldstein
The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ – A Revision

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Posted in Morality, Neglected/sidelined News, New Age, News, News and Politics, Opinion, People, Propaganda, Protest, Rationalism, Religion, Sai Baba, Scandal, Sex, Skeptics, Society, Spirituality, World Issues, World Religions | 2 Comments »

BBC’s ‘Secret Swami’ Clip. Highly Respected Man Claims Sai Baba Abuse When Young

Posted by Barry Pittard on May 14, 2007

Mark Roche (California, USA) was deeply devoted to Sai Baba from 1969. Among Sai devotees, former devotees and in his wider community, he has long been regarded as a man of decency, compassion and integrity. Revealingly, it is frequently only after former devotees leave Sai Baba (often after decades of great service and devotion) that Sai Baba and Sai Baba protagonists ‘convert’ them – in their own minds – into “demons”, “cawing crows”, “Judases”, etc.

Until he severed the connection, Mark Roche had been a Sai devotee for twenty-five years. Just out of his teens, he first visited Sai Baba in a 1972 group that included Dr John Hislop, for many years the head of Sai Baba’s organization in the U.S.A., and the extremely wealthy husband and wife who hugely funded Sai Baba, Walter and Elsie Cowan. In that same year, Sai Baba allegedly miraculously resurrected Walter Cowan, after he had died of a heart attack. In the final cut of the BBC film, Mark Roche’s account of the events as having been an eye-witness was absent, and not seen by the millions of viewers in many countries. This was unfortunate, because key Sathya Sai Organization leaders and thousands of members have long promulgated a story of miraculous resurrection. Roche’s account supports medical and other evidence that no such resurrection occurred.

Mark Roche says that, in a private place, Sai Baba offered him what is termed ‘pada namaskar‘. This is considered the greatest of privileges granted by a guru – called e.g., ‘bowing unto the Lotus Feet’). Sai Baba is reported to say, “I’ll give you a great chance”. Mark Roche says that Sai Baba then pulled up his robe and asked Mark to put his penis in his mouth. The BBC interviewer Tanya Datta asked, “Why would God want to put his penis in your mouth?” To those who have carefully considered the issues involved in issues such as abuse, self-esteem, the hunger to believe, the betrayal of faith, and human naivete, Roche’s answer resonates: “Got me!” (His emphasis indicated the meaning:  I simply do not know).

This sad scenario recurs in many Sai Baba abuse accounts from around the world, held by both former and non-devotee investigators, that attest to his widespread, serial sexual molestation of young males for many decades.

the-secret-swami-bbc.jpg

Note:  The film clip of Tanya Datta’s interview of Mark Roche is HERE

From BBC transcript of The Secret Swami.
 

Mark Roche
The teachings themselves were very universal and
adopted the attitude of embracing all other religions so that it wasn’t a matter of this religion opposed to that, that you had to leave whatever you were in to be associated with Sai Baba, it was something that just be a better Christian or a better Jew or a better whatever it is rather than necessarily having to leave it mixed with the fact that the person who is the head of that is claiming to be God himself.

Tanya Datta
It’s the special moment when God calls. And Mark couldn’t believe his luck when he was summoned for a private interview. But he emerged shocked and confused. Just like the Rahms, Sai Baba had oiled his genitals. Two years later Mark was called for an audience again.

Mark Roche
He kept saying stuff like that I’m giving you a great chance, millions want to touch the feet, you know, I’m giving you whole body, this is great chance, this is great chance. Then he went over to a different part of the building and pulled up his dhoti, which is Indian garment kind of thing and exposed himself and sort of indicated that I was
supposed to put his penis in my mouth, which, feeling intimidated and confused and all that, I did. And although it didn’t seem right to me but it just seemed like what I was supposed to do.

Tanya Datta
Why would God want to put his penis in your mouth?

Mark Roche
Got me.

——————

the-secret-swami-with-then-pm-vajpayee.jpg

Further Resources

BBC News. Note: Scroll down this news story to click link for viewing or saving The Secret Swami transcript.

Laying on of hands, New Statesman, Andrew Billen. Review of The Secret Swami. The guru who thinks he’s God is exposed as far from divine. As others have done, Billen refers to magicians like Derren Brown (U.K.) who are easily able to show how Sai Baba performs his ‘miracles’, such as producing pendants, sacred ash (vibhuthi, vibuthi, vibuti, vibuuthi), and other objects.

Sai Baba’s miracles, an overview, Dr Dale Beyerstein, This book, by a rationalist and an academic from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada and rationalist, can be downloaded as a 100k zip file in .html format. Scroll down the Index to Section 3. for the material referring to Walter Cowan, which as an analysis, as is the case of the whole book, although dating from circa 1994, is still sharp and relevant.

The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami – A Revision’ (2004-2007). By Barry Pittard

BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ and British Press Praise

BBC Cameras Catch Sai Baba Cheating With Gold Sivalingam. (Film Clip)

BBC Hidden Camera in ‘Secret Swami’. Ethical?

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Robert Priddy

The Secret Swami summary by Robert Priddy – video clips

Posted by robertpriddy on May 27, 2010

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The Public Petition

Information on the Public Petition for Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization  

About the Petition For Official Investigation Into Sathya Sai Baba Cult 

(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 New Age, Religion, Sex, Society, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Police Killings in Sai Baba’s Bedroom

Posted by Barry Pittard on May 10, 2007

Intense Indian Piety

india-a-land-of-pilgrims.jpgmuslim-place-of-pilgrimage-andhra-pradesh.jpgsikh-pilgrim-place.jpg

parsi-tower-of-silence.jpgjain-pilgrim-place.jpgbuddhist-temple-india.jpgIt would be perhaps impossible to imagine a more intensely religious country than India. One way to experience this (a mostly quite delightful way, I have found) is to go on a pilgrimage with an Indian family. Another way (which can lack in delight! as I also know from personal experience of calling for proper third-party investigation of Sathya Sai Baba) is – whether publicly or privately – to criticize a guru or religious leader.

Criticizing Indian Gurus and Religious Leaders. A Tough Job

I do not say that exposing of religious leaders in India cannot occur, but that that the wall against it is extremely formidable. It is the more difficult when a guru – as is the case with Sai Baba – has been able to convince both elites and masses that he is God incarnate. He has also commanded as his devotees an astounding breadth of political persuasions, countries and cultures. The British newspaper The Guardian termed Sai Baba ‘the Indian Living God’. (See, The Indian living god, the paedophilia claims and the Duke of Edinburgh awards, Paul Lewis, The Guardian, Saturday November 4, 2006)

Indian Rationalists and Humanists

Given the depth of this taboo on criticizing Indian religious leaders, it is perhaps, often enough, to rationalist or humanist critics that we may need to look if we have some hope of uncovering even a few religious scandals in India. Leaving aside what may be the rights and the wrongs of the issue, the fact that a Hindu pontiff, Sri Jayendra Saraswathi of Kanchi could be arrested for implication in a temple murder, may indicate that, perhaps amazingly, things are changing in vastly tradition-bound India. Even so, in passing, I raise the question whether he would have been arrested if the charges had related to child abuse instead of murder.

basava-premanand-bbc-news-pic.jpg

Foremost among Indian critics of Sai Baba, is Basava Premanand, founder of the Federation of Indian rationalist Associations, who edits The Indian Skeptic and convenes the Indian chapter of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP)

Some Resources:

The Police Killings in Sai Baba’s Bedroom

Scroll to heading ‘Major Critic Basava Premanand’. This indexes the article links for a series of very detailed comments concerning the killings at Puttaparthi, on June 6,1993. B.Premanand responds to a critic.

On B. Premanand

tanya-data-bbc-presenter-and-journalist.jpg

The BBC’s Tanya Datta, reporter on the 2004 television documentary on Sathya Sai Baba, writes on B.Premanand, India’s best-known Rationalist. Sathya Sai Baba: God-man or con man. “Basava Premanand is India’s leading guru-buster. He believes that the country’s biggest spiritual leader, Sri Satya Sai Baba, is a charlatan and must be exposed”.  Thursday, 17 June, 2004

Wikipedia Entry. “Basava Premanand is an eminent skeptic and rationalist from Tamil Nadu, India”.

Robert Priddy’s Writings on the Killings

Robert Priddy, retired lecturer in Philosophy and Social Sciences, University of Oslo and former head of the Sathya Sai Organization.

Murders at Sathya Sai Baba Ashram

Sathya Sai Baba Murders Revisited

Sathya Sai Baba: Murders/executions, Indian Press evidence

On this blogsite

Barry Pittard, Indian Rationalists, Humanists Unsafe Opposing Sai Baba

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Posted in Morality, Neglected/sidelined News, New Age, Protest, Rationalism, Religion, Sai Baba, Social and Politics, Spirituality, Trends, World Issues, World Religions | 2 Comments »

Genital Oiling. Do Hindu Religious Leaders Approve?

Posted by Barry Pittard on May 8, 2007

My private enquiries disclose that Hindu and other Indian religious leaders do not approve such practices as the oiling of genitals. Ludicrously, Sai Baba’s foremost leaders attempt to exhonerate him by stating that his genital touching and oiling are part of a time-honoured Hindu tradition.

In an e-mail, February 2002, to Robert Priddy, retired academic of the University of Oslo and former head of the Sathya Sai Organization in Norway and devotee of 18 years, Thorbjørn Meyer, the organization’s Central Coordinator for Denmark, and a major world Sai Baba leader, has documented that he considers genital oiling to be “the age old Indian oil ceremony.” Link.

Thorbjørn Meyer’s close colleague Steen Piculell, Co-coordinator for Russia, interviewed on BBC Radio 4, Sunday, November 19, 2000, says:

“Gurus have always, as part of their job, put some oil on the er … upper er . part of their … right hand and g… and gone down in the chakra be … be … behind the testicles to er adjust the chakra there. This is a normal thing. And this I suppose Baba has also done because this is part of his job. That’s all.” (But Steen Piculell does not normally stutter like this!)

Moreover, on Danish radio and TV news, Sathya Sai Baba’s officials admitted that he genitally oils young males. Their responses infuriated a wide Danish public.

Commonsense Deserts Sai Baba Cult Members

Sai Baba’s many devotees who can do no other than admit that he commonly does this ‘genital oiling’ (as many have described it) fail to ask:

  • Why would Sai Baba be so selective as to confine this activity to boys and young men?
  • Why would he not correspondingly touch the genitals of girls and young women? Or older people of either sex?
  • Why would he transgress the laws and ethics that obtain worldwide concerning such practices?
  • Why, when he is not a medical practitioner licensed only under the strictest exceptions to touch the genitals of another person, would he engage in these genital touching or ‘oiling’ actions?
  • Why his secrecy when he grasps or oils the penises of young males?
  • Why do so many reports indicate that the young males receiving this attention from Sai Baba are “pretty”, “good looking”, etc.?
  • In the face of such serious allegations, why are there no accountability and transparency mechanisms in the Sathya Sai Organization, especially when the accusations persist decade after decade?

Indian Constitution Safeguards Unsafe?

Hindu and other Indian religious leaders I have consulted refute that any such practice is sanctioned in their religions or by the laws or Constitution of India.  (One wishes they would all come out and make unequivocal statements on such issues, though!). In fact, Article 32 of the Indian Constitution protects both Indian citizens and foreigners who visit India.  In most countries, legal codes forbid (other than for diagnostic or treatment purposes by a medical doctor) touching a minor’s genitals. Often, it is mandatory for professionals to report any allegations of sexual molestation, and those who fail to report commit a crime.

Sai Baba’s Leaders Fail To Warn Parents

For many years, in many countries, the leaders of the Sathya Sai Organization have failed to warn parents of devotees that profound concerns have been expressed by both members and resignees about allegations of sexual molestation by Sai Baba of boys and young men.

Accusations Exceed Genital Oiling and Touching

Disturbing as the practice is, the oiling of genitals is but the mildest form of molestation of which Sathya Sai Baba is accused.  Far more severe forms of sexual abuse, sometimes extending over months and years, have been often reported.  Sathya Sai Baba is accused, in relation to young males, of:

  • employing and requesting masturbation
  • engaging in oral and anal intercourse with his victims
  • asking for ejaculation of semen into his mouth
  • ejaculating into the young devotees’ mouths.

Sathya Sai Baba is reported to have issued dire threats when his advances have been refused, and to have given bribes of jewelry and large sums of money to enforce the silence of his victims.

The statement common in Sai Baba circles that he is raising the ‘kundalini’ (a mystic power) is absurd, since these acts are for the perpetrator’s own perverse enjoyment.

Wide International Efforts 
 
As well as action which achieved a UNESCO media advisory adverse to Sai Baba and some of his organizers, affidavits and other reports have been availed to the FBI (Chicago), CBI (New Delhi), German Chief Prosecutor’s Office, London Metropolitan Police, Australian Federal Police, Royal Canadian Mounted Police and copied to governments, legal counsel and sexual abuse counsellors. Although officers in various national police forces have been helpful and indeed often commendably sensitive, we record our repeated experience that most senior police and judiciary in India are the opposite. We privately know of cases where Indian police who attempted to investigate Sai Baba properly have been sidelined, posted elsewhere, and who live in fear. Journalists have been prevented from owners and publishers from printing adversely on Sai Baba. Foreign governments and law enforcement agencies are thwarted by the Indian government’s refusal to act, although our sources in foreign services make it plain that governments also do not wish to ‘rock the boat’ with India.

Irrespective of which political party is in government, the Indian power échelons powerfully protect Sathya Sai Baba and his multi-billion dollar empire that has been reported as the biggest single Indian recipient of charitable foreign donations. Link. See also: ‘Sai Baba Exchequer Worth Billions. Many Countries Donate’

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Posted in Morality, Neglected/sidelined News, New Age, News and Politics, Opinion, Pediatrics, People, Propaganda, Protest, Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychotherapy, Rationalism, Religion, Sai Baba, Scandal, Sex, Skeptics, Social and Politics, Spirituality, Trends, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions | 2 Comments »

Indian Rationalists, Humanists Unsafe Opposing Sai Baba

Posted by Barry Pittard on May 5, 2007

Well before formal Sai Baba Exposé activities, which commenced at the end of the 1990’s and which are mainly those of former followers of Sathya Sai Baba, the late Dr Abraham T. Kovoor, the Sri Lankan Rationalist who lived in India for many years, mounted public challenges to Sathya Sai Baba.

So have member organisations of the International Humanist and Ethical Union ( http://www.iheu.org) which has NGO Special Consultative status with the United Nations as well as the Council of Europe.

India’s most renowned rationalist and former Vice Chancellor of the University of Bangalore, South India, the late Dr. H. Narasimhaiah, a scientist, set up a twelve-member academic committee “to investigate rationally and scientifically miracles and any other verifiable superstitions.” However, Sathya Sai Baba refused to co-operate.

Some IHEU member organisations had bruited the notion of staging an international conference on Sathya Sai Baba in a leading city of the world. Its Executive Director Babu Gogineni has emailed me, Thursday, 6 March 2003 7:45 AM:

“Officers of the London-based IHEU have many times voiced their concern at the impunity with which Sathya Sai Baba operates, untouched by the Indian criminal justice system. It considers the allegations of paedophilia against him as gravely as it considers similar accusations against the Catholic and other clergy in the West.” He says that one of the IHEU’s concerns is the personal danger to its activists from fanatical followers of the guru, especially in India”.

B. Premanand, of TV “Guru Buster’s” fame, and fellow Indian Rationalists, among other gutsy actions, tried but failed to expose Sathya Sai Baba in court. He too has reported physical attacks, and has told a number of us that his own son was murdered – the only material stolen being highly compromising to Sathya Sai Baba. Sri Premanand has formed a Committee for Scientific Investigation into Claims of the Paranormal (CSICP). He mounted a court action in Sathya Sai Baba’s state of Andhra Pradesh, in which the High Court Judge Y.V.Anjaneyulu, a prominent Sai Baba devotee, ruled that the law requiring a license to produce gold does not apply to Sathya Sai Baba, who, he determined, materialises his gold from a divine realm. This 1986 case, which B. Premanand brought in the Andhra Pradesh High Court, exposed a close Sai Baba devotee judge’s violation of India’s secular legal system. Judge 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.”

For an example of how an Indian kangaroo court (this time on a stacked Supreme Court of India bench) thwarted famous Indian attorney Kamini Jaiswal to bring Sai Baba to heel, see here. For brief Gold Control Act case details, see here

B. Premanand has published a searing, highly-detailed 800-page book on the 1993 police executions, Murders in Sai Baba’s Bedroom, Available: B. Premanand. 11/7 Chettipalayam Road, Podanur. 641 023 Tamil Nadu, India.


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Posted in Morality, Neglected/sidelined News, New Age, News and Politics, Opinion, Propaganda, Protest, Psychology, Rationalism, Religion, Sai Baba, Scandal, Sex, Skeptics, Social and Politics, Society, Spirituality, World Religions | 3 Comments »