Call For Media and Government Investigation

of Sathya Sai Baba And his worldwide cult, the Sathya Sai Organization

Archive for July, 2007

Indian Minister Shields Sai Baba on BBC television

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 31, 2007

ab-vajpayee-and-mm-joshi.jpgIn the BBC’s 2004 television documentary The Secret Swami, confronted by the BBC interviewer Tanya Datta, Murali Manohar Joshi (see photo, right), one of the most powerful ministers in the since-defeated A.B. Vajpayee (pictured to left) right-wing government, soon lost his temper, jabbing away with pointed finger at Ms Datta, manjoshiaccusing the BBC and people in England of plotting against Sai Baba, A.B. Vajpayee and P.N. Bhagawati (a key Sathya Sai Central Trust member and former Chief Justice of India). He arrogantly shouts at her,

“No, no, no… You don’t know the meaning of interviewing a minister in my capacity, as a minister of my stature.”

Allegations against Sai are worldwide

Ms Datta’s vulnerability in the face of an arch bully was  touching to see, and she showed some courage but tougher interviewers would not have put up with an evasiveness like Joshi’s. It might have been better had Ms Datta not tried to defend the BBC and herself (although her reaction is transparently natural) but, rather, firmly stated the worldwide nature of the serious evidence that keeps on coming.

At least, Murali Manohar Joshi’s arrogant evasion of the BBC’s totally fair question about Indian Government accountability was unmasked for the world to see. Joshi exposed himself. See him doing it in video footage from the BBC’s The Secret Swami HERE

Successive Indian Governments Have Covered Up Sai Baba Scandals

It may be noted that the present Indian government of Manmohan Singh, who himself sings Sai Baba’s praises and visits him, maintains the chilling silence of successive Indian governments in regard to worldwide allegations against Sathya Sai Baba of large-scale, serial sexual abuse of boys and young men, complicity in police killings in his bedroom on June 6, 1993, and massive unaccountability of billions that flow to the Sathya Sai Central Trust from scores of countries around the world.

Further Viewing and Reading

See one-hour BBC television documentary The Secret Swami HERE

At https://barrypittard.wordpress.com the articles:

The Genesis of the BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ (Sai Baba)

The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ – A Revision

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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 Religion, Scandal, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments »

A Shah Under A Lord of Misrule

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 30, 2007

sai-baba-on-pure-gold-chariot-sept-1997.jpglord-of-misrule.jpg

Indulal Shah,

International Chairmanof Mumbai, India, was replaced by Dr Michael bbc-clip-dr-micael-goldstein-gets-angry.jpgGoldstein, of Covina, California, as world convener of the Sathya Sai Organisation, and still more recently retired from his chairmanship of the Indian organization, too.  The same Shah furnished a prime example of how to successfully prevent police, media and judicial investigation in India. The Hindu, 10-6-1993 reported: 

“When press persons met Mr. Indulal Shah, chief functionary of the Sri Sathya Sai World Trust, he said, ‘the matter is purely internal and we do not wish to have any law enforcement agency investigating into it.’” 

Sai Baba, then, is a feudal Lord with a vice-like grip not only Puttaparthi – site of the most frequented ashram in the world – but far beyond. And above the reach of the laws of India?

In September 18, 2001, Indulal Shah circularized Sai Baba’s world leaders.  Of the world media which reported the allegations, Shah said that it has:

 “a strong propensity for sensationalism. A whiff of scandal always helps their sales and therefore they do not even pause to verify the truth.” 

Soviet-Style Absolutism

Shah it was who did not verify the truth. He was of course playing the blame-the-media game. He gave nothing like a reasoned defense nor even the slightest attempt at accountability and transparency – with the same absolutism that is to be noted of Sai Baba’s Soviet-style leaders throughout the world. Rather, he favours only an acute generalization aimed to play on populist prejudices against “the media”. It does not matter to Shah or other seasoned Sai Baba spin doctors like Dr G. Venkataraman (head of Sai Global Harmony, Sai Baba’s major effort to globalize his propaganda via WorldSpace Radio Satellite Service) that many investigative journalists around the world have outstanding records of professionalism, probity and courage. This does not mean that the BBC and other leading media that have investigated Sai Baba and his movement cannot make mistakes or fail to grasp some of the breadth and depth of detail. Of course not. In fact, for the last 8 and a half years of organized former devotee activity to bring international attention to the hidden side of Sai Baba – whom the BBC has dubbed ‘the secret swami’ – we have repeatedly approached the media with the best reputation for careful research and reporting, such as The Times of London, Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, Salon.com, The Age, The Australian Financial Times, The West Australian (whose award-winning journalist Torrance Mendez, in the face of some exceptionally wealthy and politically connected Sai Baba devotees, had his strongly-researched article spiked by his Editor-in-Chief right at the 11th hour, which had been in readiness for a front-page coverage), and newspapers in Europe and Canada, and broadcast media such the BBC, DR, ABC, SBS, AZUL TV, etc.

In short, the deeply cultic Sai leaders and devotees will do anything but face what is actually being said in these many articles by such notable writers as Dominic Kennedy (Times of London), Mick Brown (Daily Telegraph), Michelle Goldberg (Salon.com), Paul Lewis (The Guardian), etc.

Further Viewing and Reading

To view the BBC’s The Secret Swami – either using broadband or modem, go first to this page HERE

“Absolutely Cold-blooded Murder”

Former Home Secretary of Sai Baba’s state Andhra Pradesh, V.P.B. Nair, 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 a video clip of what Nair had to tell the BBC. I refer to this issue in the article, Indian Ex Top Official Dogs Sai Baba On BBC. ‘Cold-blooded Murder’

For BBC video clip of Los Angeles’ citizen Mark Roche’s testimony of sexual abuse when he was young by Sai Baba, see HERE:

Articles at https://barrypittard.wordpress.com

The Decline and Fall of the Showman Empire

The Genesis of the BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ (Sai Baba)
Guru Sex Abuse Testimony To BBC – After Years of Silence
BBC Caught UNESCO Head Bowing To Indian Government

Wider Resources

Useful are the websites or retired (or refreshed!) academics Robert Priddy (Norway):  

http://home.no.net/anir/Sai/
and Brian Steel (Australia): http://bdsteel.tripod.com/More/
See also Wikipedia reference under: ‘Robert Priddy’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Priddy 

and his blogsite at: http://robertpriddy.wordpress.com

There are also the general former devotee website at http://www.exbaba.com, with English, Dutch, Italian sections. Those at http://saiguru.net/ are in English, Spanish, Russian, Dutch, Italian, German, Danish, Polish and Norwegian

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Posted in Religion, Uncategorized, World Religions | 1 Comment »

Inequality before the law in India

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 28, 2007

sai-baba-disposed-indian-judges.jpgsupreme-court-india.jpg

Robert Priddy, retired academic (Philosophy and Social Sciences, University of Oslo) was the head of the Sathya Sai Organization in Norway –  see his Wikipedia reference.

His article Avoidance of the law in India gives links to BBC and other sources that illustrate how hard it often is, especially for those without great wealth and political clout, to obtain justice in India.

Quote from this Priddy article

“Sai Baba’s “supporters make much of the fact that he has not been brought before a court (he cannot be brought before any court but an Indian one as he always remains in India). No one who has any knowledge of Indian affairs should be surprised that the rich and influential in India can escape justice much more easily even than in the USA or Europe. Proof of this is put forward by India Resource Center, which contributes to advance the understanding of corporate accountability, human rights, labor rights, social and environmental justice issues. They have posted an article about the Noida murders (see New York Times reference below) which show indisputably that justice in India is a two-tier system and is also very inefficient”

A article of mine, Corrupt Indian Judges Stonewall Case Vs Sai Baba, shows something of this corruption so endemic in India.

There are, and always have been, some incredibly valiant fighters against the forces of evil in India. Her freedom fighters remain glorious examples for the rest of the world. She has millennia of great moral and spiritual exemplars – more than in perhaps any other country, one sees many of their images held aloft and worshipped wherever one travels in India. Sadly, as elsewhere, many successes by Indian police and judiciary to stand against corruption will forever go unheralded. A responsible media needs to investigate anticorruption, and non-corruption, as well as corruption – and hold high as excellent role-modeling (without blunting efforts to expose evils) the positive side, too. But then, of course, we need to address a key problem – good news stories can often founder. The extent to which this happens in any of our societies may be taken as some kind of index as to the state of their maturity.

Quotes from this article

“In 2001, the celebrated Indian advocate Kamini Jaiswal (who was a lawyer for the famous ‘Bandit Queen’ Phoolan Devi) attempted to mount, pro bono, a case against Sai Baba on behalf of a former Sai Baba devotee, Hari Sampath.

Jaiswal’s reason for applying for the case to be pled in the Supreme Court of India in New Delhi was precisely for the reason that Andhra Pradesh, Sai Baba’s state, is chockful of Sai Baba police and judges. Therefore, Judges G.B. Paitnaik’s and R.C. Lahoti’s repeated statements (see link below): “Go the Andhra Pradesh court”, and refusals to give reason for their adverse decision is reprehensible. I have shown the transcripted remarks to a Judge who has also been a top government legal advisor in a major Commonwealth country, who was appalled, as other lawyers and laity alike have been ….

…  Two other prominent Indian advocates Prashant Kumar and Gaurav Agarwal appeared along with Kamini Jaiswal. However, they were entirely thwarted by judges in the New Delhi Supreme Court – the Sai Baba-partial Judges Lahoti and Patnaik. There is a document which reveals instantly to any alert and unbiased reader what a ‘kangaroo court’ theirs was. This document’s provenance we can prove to competent and principled enquirers. A legal professional has transcripted the case, and part of this may be viewed”

My article Who In India Will Stand out Against Abuses? points to an encouraging groundswell against corruption in India and expresses the wish that it will come to dwell on corrupt gurus like Sathya Sai Baba.

Quote from this article

“According to reports by Sanjoy Majumdar, BBC New Delhi and Tim Sullivan of Associated Press, there have been some recent populist stirrings in India against corruption and its cover-up.  Not that there have not long been those Indians who have stood up valiantly against these. One may hope that the groundswell will come to include corrupt gurus”

See, too, my longer, more detailed article on this theme, Fighting Multi Billion Corruption Takes Longer

Quote

“Although we know too well that he has formidable protection from successive Indian governments, both State and Central, some of our personnel in India have sacrificially put themselves at considerable risk in raising the allegations with Indian authorities. The Sathya Sai Organization arms itself by aligning itself with the power-brokers of trade, finance and politics, both Indian and foreign, who ensure that the vast funds that pour to its Sathya Sai Central Trust are not affected. One of the foremost officials in the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office asked Hon. Tony Colman, former MP for Putney to back off in regard to Sai Baba because the Blair government did not want to rock the boat with India”.

Further Reading

Police Ignore Serial Killings in Delhi Slum, Exposing Unequal Justice for India’s Poor
By Amelia Gentleman
New York Times
January 7, 2007

Record of Proceedings document of Hari Sampath’s 2001 case against Sai Baba in the Supreme Court of India, and further comments on this case scuppered by Judges G.B. Patnaik and R.C. Lahoti with the concurrence of then Chief Justice Dr A.S. Anand.

Satya Sai Baba and the Gold Control Act
by B. Premanand
Published by INDIAN CSICOP, Podanur 1986

Note: 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 extremely 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, materializes his gold from a divine realm. No surprise to the legally savvy in India, this judgement has the power to shock lawyers in more mature democratic legal systems. 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”

See also,

Wikipedia Reference for: B. Premanand

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Posted in Neglected/sidelined News, Rationalism, Religion, Uncategorized, World Religions | 4 Comments »

Criticism of Sai Baba No Reflection On Hinduism

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 25, 2007

Many Sathya Sai Baba devotees assume that any questioning of him equates to a denunciation of Hinduism. However, Hindus at large do not make this assumption in the least.

A major national Hindu leader has emailed me (December 5, 2006) in the terms I quote below. (Except to those in the responsible media who may wish to obtain a statement from him, I will not disclose his identity). However, Hindus who wish to make enquiry in their own associations as to current views of Sai Baba will be able to establish the factuality of the strong trend inimical to Sai Baba to which my correspondent points): 

“There is considerable concern among the Hindu Community, especially among the educated. It is very hard to get any action from the temples as they do not wish to cause difficulties with the Sathya Sai Baba groups. People are starting to distance themselves from Sathya Sai Baba. It’s going to be gradual process of education. The biggest impact it appears was the ‘The Secret Swami’ … it seems it has had a tremendous negative effect on the SSB”.

Travel widely across India and you will know the exceptionally widespread disdain for Sai Baba – whatever may be the praise for the undoubtedly good social uplift work his devotees perfom in his name. This is especially due to his:

–  emphasis on miracles
–  his claim to be the prime manifestation of God in all history. Quote: “The whole world will be transformed into Sathya Sai Organisation and Sathya Sai will be installed in the hearts of one and all.” (Sanathana Sarathi, January, 1999. page 16). For many more examples, documented in his own official publications, of Sai Baba’s self-deification, see HERE
– the vast pomp and circumstance that surround him, his fleet of luxury foreign cars. See commentary and incredibly revealing pics, Sai Baba, Kubla Khan, Citizen Kane, Bill Gates et alia
– his cultivation of the rich, his giving special seating positions at darshans to the rich, his flattery of the rich and famous … See, Dare Songstress Nora Jones Touch Sai Baba

His flattery of various visiting Indian Prime Ministers is – embarrassingly for his cause – unwittingly, documented across issues of Sanathana Sarathi (the official Sai Baba organ distributed worldwide), including the case of Narasimha Rao, who was sentenced to years in jail, convicted on a slew of corruption charges relating to kickbacks from secret arms deals with the Swedish firm Bofors. It was the Narasimha Rao government which inititiated the profound Indian government cover-up of the circumstances surrounding the police killings in Sai Baba’s bedroom on June 6, 1993, a suppression that has been strictly maintained by each succeeding Indian government to this day. See, Robert Priddy’s The Unresolved, Covered-up 1993 Murders In Sathya Sai Baba’s Bedroom Revisited

Further Reading

The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ – A Revision
The Genesis of the BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ (Sai Baba)
Serial Sex Molestation and Bedroom Killings. But Much More

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Posted in Neglected/sidelined News, New Age, Opinion, Philosophy, Prophecy, Rationalism, Religion, Sai Baba, Skeptics, Society, Spirituality, Theosophy, Trends, Uncategorized, World Religions | 2 Comments »

Some Key Cultic Responses To Critics

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 24, 2007

I think that the following list – which is suggestive rather than exhaustive – will contain pointers to behaviours repeatedly found by any who expose a powerful cult.

* Legal manipulations, so that a leader or his organization cannot be further proceeded against

* Use of a cult’s considerable financial resources and political, religious or civic clout to suppress testimony, rather than to address the issues honorably, compassionately and responsibly

* Production of false witnesses and a connived avoidance of legal accountability

* Ignoring the sheer weight of the evidence, and strong, psychological denial

* The claim that criticism is coming from only a mere handful of malcontents

*  The attribution of mental illness to those who criticise

* Misconstruing what is being alleged, distorting it; ignoring it; laying a worst-case interpretation on virtually every word of critics, bending words in a procrustean way to suit the purposes of the cult’s protagonists and to belittle those who speak out

* Missing the points being urged and instead highlighting peripheral issues

* Derision, defaming and shunning of former followers, no matter how well their character and integrity were regarded when they were members, and still is so regarded in their professions, trades, wider communities, etc

* Use of guilt-by-association, ad hominem arguments, infraction of the ‘Aristotlean’ law of the undistributed middle, argument from a low poll, misinterpretation of facts that have another explanation altogether, tu quoque retorts, and other impoverished forms of argument …

 * Terrible and relentless vilification of primary witnesses and of those former followers who attempt to bring the allegations to light

* Threats of litigation – that can prove to be sheer bluff

*  Stalking and harassment. Attempting to blacken the characters of critics in their workplaces, families, friendships, universities, and so on

* In some cases, threats against life or limb

* Muckracking. Keeping of dossiers against critics, with the intention of harming them

*  Interference in the private, personal lives of those who have spoken out. Intrusions are sometimes pursued against others who know the former members but who are only most peripherally and tenously involved

* Depictions of hell (whether psychological, real or both), shockingly bad “karma” for those who have made revelations of improper conduct within a cult

* Cult members can ignore those who criticise the cult but this means that the abuses being reported ever more seriously unadressed

 * Spurious justification of the teacher’s misdeeds. E.g., claiming that he is raising the kundalini; balancing the devotee’s sexual energy; ‘ironing out sexual kinks’; rapidly expunging the devotee’s bad karmas; stating that, as we are not our bodies, the guru has not violated anybody; disporting in the divine role as Shiva the destroyer

* Blaming of the Media or any institution in every instance where it writes critically of the cult

… And so, woefully, on ….

Further Readings

International Cultic Studies Association

The Genesis of the BBC’s The Secret Swami (Sai Baba)

Guru Sex Abuse Testimony to BBC – After Years of Silence

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Posted in Morality, New Age, Opinion, Protest, Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychotherapy, Rationalism, Religion, Sai Baba, Skeptics, Society, Spirituality, Trends, World Issues, World Religions | 7 Comments »

Cost Of Cover Ups Can Far Exceed Hoped-for Benefits

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 23, 2007

A great irony of cover-ups is this – that once they have been exposed, the initiators of the abuses sustain a cost far greater than would have attended the prompt admission of the initial misdeeds – and genuine, exhaustive measures to address the abuses. Tragically, “cost” may be multiply defined – and in far from money terms alone.

                              sai-babas-symbol-of-world-faiths.jpg

And is there any Faith, major or minor, that is not sorely complicit in profound cover up of systemic sexual abuse?

                              host.jpg

The present repercussions of the Los Angeles Catholic Diocese afford us a ready example. Questions are being raised about whether there is enough – after insurance and money from other Orders have been paid – for even a rich Diocese’s coffers to afford such a vast pay-out. This is but one diocese, and yet many others face, or have already faced, a similar predicament. Is there even a single one (as a BBC television news report would indicate) in which such allegations have not been raised?

The Editorialist in The Boston Globe, July 17, 2007, writes:

“The Los Angeles and Boston money could have been spent on other important projects if Mahony and Law had adopted a zero-tolerance policy against abuse when it first became a national issue for the church in the mid-1980s.

Catholic dioceses across the nation, including Los Angeles, have initiated thorough policies to prevent future abuse, and Mahony apologized to the victims on Sunday. Yet new policies and regrets aren’t enough. In the eyes of victims, the scandal will never be fully resolved as long as bishops who put the interests of their fellow priests over the protection of children remain in positions of leadership”.

‘Or who shall ‘scape whipping’?

But is there any organization – anywhere – which has not covered up serious allegations? Can it be a good thing that when exposure of sexual abuse is discussed the Roman Catholic Church is so often the tarnished exemplar?

Another irony is that first whistleblowers are scapegoated but then public scapegoating can too easily turn on discretely ‘easy’ targets. And what more ‘easy’ than arguably the biggest religious monolith on the planet?

Does convergence of attention on a big institution help to prevent a much wider focus?

Naturally, of course, there is, at least, a chance for other organizations – before it is too late (if it is not already far too late!) for them to act without the courts forcing them to act – to learn from the fate of those churches or other organizations already strongly exposed?

Today, most societies are multicultural. Would it not make sense to take the broad approach, with not a single organization acting as though it, too, is unaffected? Or a wider public permitted to think that it has not its own accountability?

Further Major News Media Readings on the LA scandal and pay0uts are HERE, HERE and HERE.  Website of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) is HERE

See, Robert Priddy’s article ‘Spiritual’ Abuse. Quote:

“One US lady who has been raped by a priest broke down in tears on worldwide TV News (22/7/2007) while telling how she was not believed by her very own church community, which ostracised her. This ‘turning a blind eye’ has been very common, also in the Sathya Sai Organization”.

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Posted in Morality, New Age, News and Politics, Opinion, Philosophy, Politics, Protest, Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychotherapy, Rationalism, Religion, Sai Baba, Scandal, Sex, Skeptics, Social and Politics, Society, Spirituality, Theology, Theosophy, Trends, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions | 3 Comments »

Judge warned: Crippling disease won‘t stop pervert

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 21, 2007

Some devotees of Sathya Sai Baba – the ‘God’ worshipped by so many of India’s top power brokers (and others beyond) who faces worldwide accusations of large-scale, serial sexual molestation of boys and young men – claim that he could not possibly offend, if he ever did, because of his age and physical incapacity, and that therefore his current accusers are caught in a palpable deceit. 

ageing-rapist-wayne-chapman-still-dangerous.jpgsai-baba-in-wheelchair-2006.jpg

L. Ageing multiple rapist Wayne Chapman still Dangerous. (Boston Herald Photo Pool). R. An Ironside Sai Baba – not one to easily push around.

They offer no evidence concerning the nature of sexual capacity and ageing. Yet there is a mass of readings on the topic ‘ageing and sex’ in the popular press, let alone a wealth of information from Gerontology and Geriatrics. As ever, the Internet is an abundant source.  But why go looking for facts when there is a guru to defend at all costs? And the word ‘costs’ is more than appropriate, since Sai Baba’s worldwide cult has to defend many billions of dollars of investment in its notion that Sai Baba is about to rule the earth. Any dear reader who happens to be a billionaire, watch your money – Sai Baba is a consumate master in extracting it from you – without seeming to want it. See my article: Sai Baba, Kubla Khan, Citizen Kane, Bill Gates et alia

Of course, making Champion of the World may require Sai Baba to take a little more than Viagra or Cialis. 

Extract from: Judge warned: Crippling disease won‘t stop pervert
By Laurel J. Sweet
Boston Herald. Friday, March 23, 2007

Aging and Sick Sex Offender to Be Civilly Committed?

Whatever the wisdom of civil commitment laws it would seem that this fellow might qualify.  Increasingly, though, the states are going to have to contend with the high cost of health care in keeping aging and sick convicts behind bars.

Even though his aging, bloated body is confined to a wheelchair, a judge was warned yesterday a 59-year-old convicted sexual predator remains dangerous to children. A forensic psychologist assured Lawrence Superior Court Judge Howard J. Whitehead that convicted child rapist Wayne Chapman, who bragged he had sexually molested between 50 and 100 boys and even fantasized about killing some of them, “presents a high and unacceptable risk to re-offend.” “It just doesn’t go away,” Christine Schnyder Pierce testified. Chapman, an interstate predator, has been incarcerated for 31 years. Having served his time, he is hoping to retire in Massachusetts, but the Essex District Attorney’s Office is fighting to have Whitehead civilly commit him for life as a “sexually dangerous” person’.

Further Resources

Wikipedia, Sexuality in older age

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Posted in Medicine, Morality, Neglected/sidelined News, New Age, News and Politics, Opinion, Pediatrics, Philanthropy, Protest, Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychotherapy, Rationalism, Religion, Sai Baba, Scandal, Sex, Skeptics, Social and Politics, Society, Spirituality, Successful People, Theosophy, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions | Leave a Comment »

Sai Baba’s ‘Miracles’ Panned In Newsweek

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 19, 2007

From his observations of YouTube footage, in a Newsweek debate, Sam Harris opines that Sai Baba’s so-called miracles reveal him to be “a stage magician”. This view accords with that of many former Sai Baba devotees – who speak out about it – and of many devotees – who shut up about it.

You can see Sai Baba cheating HERE

Satya Purcell and Sam Harris Agree

www.exbaba.com has recently run in series an article by Satya Purcell, who, having been a member of the International Magician’s Society, exposes Sai Baba as a “bad magician”. Satya (given his name by Sai Baba) along with his mother and father, Sharon and Gary Purcell, were early Western figures at the commencement of the global spread of Sathya Sai Baba’s cult. He is the godson of famed early Sai Baba supporters, the multimillionaire husband and wife, the late Elsie and Walter Cowan. Sai Baba was alleged by the first major leader of the Western organization Dr Jack Hislop and others to have raised Walter Cowan from the dead in 1972. The details, including the medical documents, are hotly disputed. See, for example, 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, 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.

Sam Harris-Rick Warren Debate Extract

Source: Newsweek.  The God Debate, April 9, 2007, page 3. LINK.

  • Author Sam HARRIS: Let’s go back to the Bible. The reason you believe that Jesus is the son of God is because you believe that the Gospel is a valid account of the miracles of Jesus.

  • Pastor Rick WARREN: It’s one of the reasons.

  • Sam HARRIS: Yeah. It’s one of the reasons. Now, there are many testimonials about miracles, every bit as amazing as the miracles of Jesus, in other literature of the world’s religions. Even contemporary miracles. There are millions of people who believe that Sathya Sai Baba, the south Indian guru, was born of a virgin, has raised the dead and materializes objects. I mean, you can watch some of his miracles on YouTube. Prepare to be underwhelmed. He’s a stage magician. As a Christian, you can say Sathya Sai Baba’s miracle stories are not interesting, let’s not pay attention to them, but if you set them within the prescientific religious milieu of the first-century Roman Empire, suddenly miracle stories become especially compelling.

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The Decline and Fall of the Showman Empire

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 10, 2007

Note: Because of marked upsurges of enquiry and interest in our exposure of Sathya Sai Baba and his cult, I shall briefly post to the Home Page (from 10 September 2007) ‘The Decline and Fall of the Showman Empire’. This article gives background and perspective to our earlier as well as our subsequent work.  A few days ago, I did similarly with an article 4 April 2007 , which I have now reverted to its former chronological position: The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ – A Revision

Despite a great deal of sacrifice of time and health, former devotees have persisted. Against them, there have been remorseless and unconscienable libels, attacks on families (including our children who have been maliciously named on the internet to get at their parents, interference in professions and community lives, and almost daily distortion and vituperation on the internet by a known associate of those closely connected with Sathya Sai Baba and his international Sathya Sai Organization.

The fact that we will not stop has led to profound fallings-away from Sathya Sai and his cult.

Barry Pittard

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Sathya Sai Baba’s ‘showman empire’ is worth many highly unaccountable billions. Frequently, they pour to his Sathya Sai Central Trust from your country and mine. (See Rediff.com reference in my note, Sai Baba Exchequer Worth Billions. Many Countries Donate).

saibabachariot6.jpg

Given India’s endemic corruption that extends to the highest echelons, it is not to be wondered at that successive governments in that otherwise great country have ensured that nothing is allowed to stanch the flow of bounty from foreign countries into India.

Media Empires Are More Effective

rupert-murdoch-mogul-of-media-moguls.jpgturner-799961.jpgsubhash-chandra-chairman-zee.jpgdr-richard-parsons-of-head-of-time-warner.jpg

R to L. Media mogul’s mogul Rupert Murdoch, Ted Turner, a slight competitor! (film star Jane Fonda’s Ex), Zee TV’s Subhash Chandra, Time Warner’s Dr Richard Parsons

But now, Sai Baba has been increasingly exposed to the world on television by the BBC, DR (Denmark), AZUL (Argentina), CBC (Canada), ABC,  SBS (Australia), and in the press – India Today, Times of London, Telegraph, Guardian, Age, Australian Financial Times, and newspapers in several parts of Europe, Canada, and elsewhere. This does not mean that any of these major institutions did a thorough job, for there abound many compelling accounts of various kinds of abuse by both Sathya Sai Baba and his servitors, some of them tragic indeed.

We are now better able to see the Decline and Fall of the Showman Empire. But the core leaders of the ‘Secret swami’ (as the BBC has named Sai Baba) are immensely powerful, and will not go down without a fierce fight. Theirs is a secret world, and this secrecy is one of the first roadblocks encountered by scholars and other investigators who have attempted to study Sai Baba and his organization. It is one of the distinguishing marks that go to defining a cult.

No Edward Gibbon To Chronicle Sai Baba’s Decline and Fall – Yet

Some exceptions to a a long-muzzled Indian media occurred November 2006, when Paul Lewis’s story broke in The GuardianThe Indian living god, the paedophilia claims and the Duke of Edinburgh awards. It raised concerns about the nexus between the Duke of Edinburgh Awards and the UK Sai youth, on their way in large numbers to see Sai Baba. Those, such as myself, who have had to deal with media issues, pay tribute to the work of IANS (Indo Asian News Service) who did some adroit work about getting this story into India.

In London, a not very experienced or competent UK CEO, Peter Westgarth – see HERE – was slow off the mark. However, after very high level representations from our side, the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme trustees and Prince Philip’s Private Secretary, Brigadier Sir Miles Hunt-Davies KCVO, CBE,

sir-miles-hunt-davis.jpg

realized that a serious matter was at hand. Questions were also raised by some powerful citizens, including a former Home Minister, Tom Sackville. The Duke of Edinburgh Awards required of Dr G. Venkataraman, at an official Sai Baba website to take down the triumphant – but absurdly mistaken – information that the Duke of Edinburgh Award had been awarded to Sai Baba himself.

G. Venkataraman, formerly a member of India’s highly secret nuclear establishment, is Sai Baba’s deputy world head, who also directs Sai Baba’s international 7 days 24 hours satellite radio service via the WorldSpace international corporation. According to the Wikipedia entry for ‘Sathya Sai Baba’, its Director Dr Michael Nobel is “one of the patrons for the radio network” and “said that the radio network would spread Sathya Sai Baba’s message of global harmony and peace”. (With little sense of time’s passage, the Sai devotees who wrote the Wiki article say, absurdly, that Michael Nobel is the son of Alfred Nobel, who founded The Nobel Foundation and after whom the Nobel Prize is named)

An Imperial Puttaparthi Wishes To Penetrate Every Corner of Globe

Dr Venkataraman states:

“Sometime in September 2001, two distinguished visitors came to Sri Sathya Sai Super Speciality Hospital in Bangalore. They were Dr. Noah Samara, CEO, WorldSpace Corporation, and Dr. Michael Nobel, Chairman, Nobel Family Society, and a Member of the Board of Directors of WorldSpace. Dr. Nobel is the great grand nephew of Dr. Alfred Nobel, the founder of Nobel Prize … Who can deny the play of the “hidden hand”? Dr. Samara and Dr. Nobel were duly blessed with a Divine Interview, in the course of which Dr. Samara offered at the Lotus Feet an entire digital radio channel for broadcasting Swami’s Message of Love and Compassion to the entire world”.

Duke Versus Emperor. Edinburgh Beats  Puttaparthi

On November 4, 2006, The Guardian ran Paul Lewis’s story (see above). In a development that occurred quite without (a story perhaps to be told one day) The Guardian seeking it, in November 2006, The Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) managed to get a few major Indian media to take the feed on the Paul Lewis story. There have been decades of censorship of material adverse to the politically and religiously too-hot-to-handle Sai Baba and his vast and, in India, extraordinarily powerful Sathya Sai Organization. This feed also went to parts of Asia and the Middle East. It has been an absurd situation that NRI’s (Non Resident Indians) have been accessed in the media of many countries with large Indian diaspora to critical information about Sai Baba, when Indians in their own country have been denied.

Investigative Opportunities

The present writer (email:  bpittard(at)optusnet.com) can provide journalists and other investigators with a slew of media and academic contacts who can verify that the Sathya Sai Organization is a prime example of a cult in hiding from the media and others wishing to examine it. This is why the BBC obtained a difficult to gain sanction from its senior managment and Legals to use a hidden camera on the world chairman of Sai Baba’s orgnanization, Dr Michael Goldstein of Covina, California. (See BBC video footage HERE)

Without hazard to life and limb, astute, seasoned, well-briefed journalists should be able to slip unnoticed into Sai Baba ashrams and centers and other meeting places, and those of other cults. One financial journalist was about to investigate the vast money trails but got reassigned. Another, an award winning journalist from an Australian newspaper was, after weeks of intense investigation, about to front page when, at the last moment, his Editor-In-Chief spiked the story. A Can-West journalist had to modify his piece after heads of his newspaper got ensconced for hours with lawyers of a multi-millionaire advertizer with the same newspaper. However, many media have stood up to pressures from the Sathya Sai Organization senior brass.

Any temptation to obtain a good laugh from silly beliefs or practices should at all costs be avoided. It is no laughing matter that, for example, young people can get themselves horribly enmeshed in cult life, just as we can lose them via drugs and alcohol. Trustfully, by better awareness among broadcasters’ of their journalists getting too close to their stories, (BBC) John Sweeny-like confrontations will be avoided. See my article, Of Anger. BBC’s John Sweeney and the Scientologists.

The Emperor Without Clothes

At this link, in the article When ‘Divine’ Magnetism Becomes A Dead Weight, I provide but one example of the sort of craziness Sai Baba’s many supposedly educated devotees respond to in the manner of the subjects in the Hans Christian Anderson story The Emperor’s New Clothes. The George W. Bush medical advisor Professor Kanwaljeet ‘Sunny’ Anand, the birth scientist, stands as one of many examples around Sai Baba of those who desert their normal intelligence and range into the empirically absurd. There is a naked discrepancy which they, including Sai Baba’s more intellectual followers, see-but-don’t-see. Robert Priddy comments aptly on Sai Baba’s unscientific statements about magnetism and the nature of the atom HERE

Cult Awareness and Non-Cooperation Will Demolish Sai Baba’s Empire

According to the great British historian, Edward Gibbon (1737-1794):

“The union of the Roman empire was dissolved; its genius was humbled in the dust; and armies of unknown barbarians, issuing from the frozen regions of the North, had established their victorious reign over the fairest provinces of Europe and Africa.” Chapter 33, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

But it will not be armies of barbarians who humble the showman emperor’s empire into dust. There has been much exposure of his implication in police killings in Sai Baba’s bedroom on June 6, 1993. There has been the testimony relating to his rampant, serial sexual molestation of boys and young men. Thanks to some of the worlds most respected media, voices of credible witnesses from many parts of the world have been – at last!- heard. Scholarly former devotees, distinguished for their learning when they were devotees (and indeed in their own professions) have extensively exposed whole trails of contradiction and anomaly and bad science and history to be found in Sai Baba’s own – officially recorded – words and deeds. Read his discourses – simply that – and the contradictions, the absurdly non-scientific and blundering historical statements (now excised where possible by his editors, but archived by Robert Priddy and Brian Steel, see below) will demolish him.

He says he will rule the earth, but he cannot even rule the Duke of Edinburgh. Nor, breaking his widely publicized promises, can he transform India. Nor has he been able to honor many years of promises that he is about to travel to other parts of the world – see, Will World Accept Sai Baba. He says yes. Very Soon

Further Resources

Useful are the websites of retired (or refreshed!) academics, Robert Priddy (Norway), HERE, and Brian Steel (Australia) HERE. See also Wikipedia reference under: ‘Robert Priddy’ HERE and his blogsite at: http://Robertpriddy.wordpress.com
There are also the general former devotee website at http://www.exbaba.com, with English, Dutch, Italian sections. Those at Allegations concerning Sathya Sai Baba are in English, Spanish, Russian, Dutch, Italian, German, Danish, Polish and Norwegian……

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, New Age, Protest, Religion, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments »

A Duke Stops An Emperor. Edinburgh Routs Sai Baba

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 9, 2007

duke-of-edinburgh.jpghrh-the-duke-of-edinburgh.jpg

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh is pictured before and after his harrowing linking with Sathya Sai Baba

It is intriguing to find that a mere Duke can stop an Emperor in his tracks.

To their considerable cost, the “secret swami” – as the BBC (see HERE for video footage and other important links) has called India’s and the world’s would-be Emperor Sai Baba, the core leaders of the Sathya Sai Organization know too well the stark factuality of the following.  Rank-and-file members cannot be expected to be told the facts. (The details below, including sharing some direct sources, I shall confirm for well-reputed, bona fide investigators, such as media and academics or their supervised thesis students):

duke-of-edinburgh-awards-scheme.jpg

1. Officials of The Duke of Edinburgh Awards and Buckingham Palace were upset by the boasting of those such as Dr G. Venkataraman and Shitu Chudasama about the Award connections. (Dr. G. Venkataraman is Sai Baba’s deputy world head, who also directs Sai Baba’s international 7 days 24 hours propaganda satellite radio service via the WorldSpace International corporation. See HERE. Shitu Chudasama is the UK Sai Baba national youth coordinator.
2. Superiors to Peter Westgarth, the Director of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards, were of the view that he lacked, in this issue, both judgement and experience
3. When matters were finally taken in hand, both Awards and Palace dropped connection with the Sathya Sai Organization
4.  The official, Puttaparthi website – that is to say, a Sai Baba website senior to all other Sai Organization websites – was asked by the Royal authorities to take down the embarrassing and untrue material. The request was promptly complied with
5. Advice was received from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, with a view to both avoiding any blowbacks in Anglo-Indian relations and further embarrassment to the Royal Family. The advice was:  drop them but not publicly.

6. Legal advice was also canvassed

Click on Link to see related story by Paul Lewis in The GuardianThe Indian living god, the paedophilia claims and the Duke of Edinburgh awards

————————————————————————-


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Posted in Neglected/sidelined News, New Age, People, Propaganda, Protest, Rationalism, Religion, Royal Family, Sai Baba, Sex, Skeptics, Social and Politics, Society, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

My Life As Sathya Sai Baba’s Prophecy. Part 6, Final

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 8, 2007

Satya Purcell’s serialized account ‘My Life As Sathya Sai Baba’s Prophecy’ – subtitled Murder in the ‘Cathedral’! (Or Sai Baba’s Mandir) – concludes with Part 6., at:  http://www.Exbaba.com. It was Sathya Sai Baba, arguably India’s most famous – or infamous – guru who named this son of Sharon and Gary Purcell, who were among foundational figures like the multi millionaire supporters of Sai Baba, Elsie and Walter Cowan (Satya’s godparents), Dr John (Jack) Hislop, and others in the worldwide movement that became the highly organized, powerful and influential authoritarian cult, the Sathya Sai Baba Organization.

To access Part 6, click HERE then click on the NEWS tab then select the entry for Saturday, July 7, 2007. (Links to the other parts are given on each instalment page).

Quotes

“Only a properly conducted investigation would have dispelled the view that has been shared by many – that Sai Baba, who was well in command after the first confusion of events, did what many wealthy and politically powerful criminals do.  He had them killed!

“It is the culture of cover-up in matters both great and small that will surely be the undoing of the Sathya Sai Organization”.

“The crime scene had not been secured, an absolute fundament of proper police procedure. Hours after their prompt arrival, the police had rounded up these former students inside the mandir – the place where worshippers sing to God – and shot them dead. Some investigation! It made the stomach sick, even more than the presence of swilling blood”.

“One of the sweepers pushed the water right up to my bare feet and I had to quickly step back to avoid getting my feet wet with this bloody water.  I remember thinking that there must have been a lot of blood for the water to still be pink by the time it reached me”.

“I carry the name of one of the biggest spiritual frauds of all time, given to me by him when I was a child. I am not a baby now, and will not be silenced – even though knowing that to be a former devotee who speaks out is necessarily to attract extreme vilification, distortion and slander … The truth is hard.  I know because I carry it as my name”.

“Oh, let me not exclude, since I have been a keen amateur magician and member of the International Magician’s Society that, all the while, though a conman of genius, Sai Baba carries off his master act despite being a really bad magician. How ironic!”

Further Resources, including still further Links

Barry Pittard’s contextualising comments on this series from Satya (Sathya, Satch) Purcell series, with added resource links, are found HERE and HERE
For film clip of former Andhra Pradesh Home Minister V.P.B. Nair – telling BBC cameras that the police killings in Sai Baba’s bedroom on June 6, 1993, were “absolute cold blooded murder” HERE

Transcript of the BBC’s The Secret Swami HERE
Sathya Sai Baba Bedroom Murders
Robert Priddy

Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Former leader of Norwegian Sathya Sai Organization and retired academic, University of Oslo, looks at the killings. His Wikpedia resumé is HERE

Barry Pittard
Arts/Teaching/Drama  post-graduate, commenced informal teaching with drama, and then, including being assigned what were to have been Principal Narendra’s third year lectures, lectured in English at all levels of the three-year degree Course (1978-79) at the Sri Sathya Sai College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Whitefield, via Bangalore, South India. Innovated what was known as the ‘Small Library’ project, which brought him into unusually wide contact with boys from many backgrounds and classes from virtually all-India. Co-edited with valued colleague P.K. Mohanty an issue of the College magazine, which boys from across the campus turned into a huge best-seller. (With such fond memories, ex-students and staff are most welcome to contact Barry Pittard at:  bpittard (at) optusnet.com.au. Strictest confidentiality is assured. Or phone or video conference contact can be arranged)
Indian Ex Top Official Dogs Sai Baba On BBC. “Cold-blooded Murder” HERE

Serial Sex Molestation and Bedroom Killings. But Much More HERE

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

When ‘Divine’ Magnetism Becomes A Dead Weight

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 6, 2007

emperors-new-clothes.jpgSai Baba’s alarmingly many scientist and other (supposedly) intellectual followers must have to block ears and eyes when he opines on matters scientific. Heavily rose-tinted glasses can be particularly helpful.

He speaks, for example, of the nature of magnetism. Here, Sai Baba’s educated devotees provide a modern example of the Hans Christian Anderson story of the Emperor New Clothes (see story below) – where the emperor’s subjects saw naked discrepancy but, mystery of mysteries, didn’t see it! 

dr-ks-sunny-anand.jpgProfessor Dr K.S. ‘Sunny’ Anand, birth scientist, a top President Bush medical advisor who worships Sai Baba as God fully incarnate. Only rose-tinted glasses can ignore Sai Baba’s extremely inept statements on birth science.

In his March 13, 2002 Mahashivarathri discourse, Sai Baba said,

“So when I put My foot down,

the whole foot stuck to the ground. It is a little hard to lift a foot that is stuck. Wherever I walk, it sticks there. Whatever is held, it sticks to My hand. This magnet is not in everyone like this. This magnet is so powerful only in Divinity.”

Philosopher and social scientist Robert Priddy comments aptly on Sai Baba’s unscientific statements about magnetism and the nature of the atom HERE. In a recent blog, Priddy says HERE,

“despite all the billions of dollars in hand – (Sai Baba) has not made one inch of progress in getting international recognition from any serious institutions”.

Many Sai Baba followers are at the top of their professions in the armed and police services, government, the judiciary, the sciences, arts, finance, industry, sports, and so on. Of course, healthy-minded individuals see clothes as clothes and nakedness as itself. It is a worry when key world power brokers and their functionaries think that their guru wears clothes.

When Does Life Enter The Fetus?

Also primitive, and very exposing of Sai Baba, but seen and, every so mystically, not seen by his followers is his view about what time life enters the human foetus. You may view HERE scans of two brief extracts, run side by side, of Sai Baba’s entirely conflicting statements on the topic. They are extracted from two editions of the guru’s official magazine (distributed worldwide), Sanathana Sarathi – of a) September 1996 and b) April 1997. This from a guru whose devotees number many thousands of medical doctors. I take but one example –

George W. Bush Medical Advisor Joins The Emperor’s Subjects

Kanwaljeet ‘Sunny’ Anand (read in here strings of the most prestigious medical degrees and other qualifications) is one of countless Sai Baba scientists caught in the emperor-with-no-clothes syndrome. The media might like to interview him. But remember that Sai Baba’s followers typically avoid any challenge to their (non) thinking. They, like cult members the world over, race into hiding. Another thing they chronically do, as does their founder, is to hold up high examples of prestigious figures who go to Sai Baba. They are highlighted among his keynote speakers, and given VIP treatment – sometimes obvious to the public, sometimes only to those in-the-know. They are carefully cultivated.

Dr Anand’s mental gymnastics are considerable, for he has somehow to  shine in his scientific field (accomplishments none can deny) and yet ignore his guru Sai Baba’s risable absurdities – even in Anand’s own branch of birth sciences. Professor Anand rose become a George W. Bush medical advisor – and yet hails Sai Baba as God fully incarnate, even stating, preposterously and unascertainbly, that Sai Baba has one hundred million followers. Like his guru, Anand exposes himself. For this and other palpable nonsense that Dr Anand falls for, see my article Sai Baba Is God Says Top George Bush Doctor, HERE

In the Anderson story, it is a child who sees the actual nakedness as opposed to the ostensible clothing. Perhaps devotees could do worse than ask for the reactions of a few kids to Sai Baba. As long as forces jesuitical have not trapped them.

The Emperor’s New Clothes
Hans Christian Anderson. Denmark
Many years ago there lived an emperor who loved beautiful new clothes so much that he spent all his money on being finely dressed. His only interest was in going to the theater or in riding about in his carriage where he could show off his new clothes. He had a different costume for every hour of the day. Indeed, where it was said of other kings that they were at court, it could only be said of him that he was in his dressing room!

One day two swindlers came to the emperor’s city. They said that they were weavers, claiming that they knew how to make the finest cloth imaginable. Not only were the colors and the patterns extraordinarily beautiful, but in addition, this material had the amazing property that it was to be invisible to anyone who was incompetent or stupid.

“It would be wonderful to have clothes made from that cloth,” thought the emperor. “Then I would know which of my men are unfit for their positions, and I’d also be able to tell clever people from stupid ones.” So he immediately gave the two swindlers a great sum of money to weave their cloth for him.

They set up their looms and pretended to go to work, although there was nothing at all on the looms. They asked for the finest silk and the purest gold, all of which they hid away, continuing to work on the empty looms, often late into the night.

“I would really like to know how they are coming with the cloth!” thought the emperor, but he was a bit uneasy when he recalled that anyone who was unfit for his position or stupid would not be able to see the material. Of course, he himself had nothing to fear, but still he decided to send someone else to see how the work was progressing.

“I’ll send my honest old minister to the weavers,” thought the emperor. He’s the best one to see how the material is coming. He is very sensible, and no one is more worthy of his position than he.

So the good old minister went into the hall where the two swindlers sat working at their empty looms. “Goodness!” thought the old minister, opening his eyes wide. “I cannot see a thing!” But he did not say so.

The two swindlers invited him to step closer, asking him if it wasn’t a beautiful design and if the colors weren’t magnificent. They pointed to the empty loom, and the poor old minister opened his eyes wider and wider. He still could see nothing, for nothing was there. “Gracious” he thought. “Is it possible that I am stupid? I have never thought so. Am I unfit for my position? No one must know this. No, it will never do for me to say that I was unable to see the material.”

“You aren’t saying anything!” said one of the weavers.

“Oh, it is magnificent! The very best!” said the old minister, peering through his glasses. “This pattern and these colors! Yes, I’ll tell the emperor that I am very satisfied with it!”

“That makes us happy!” said the two weavers, and they called the colors and the unusual pattern by name. The old minister listened closely so that he would be able say the same things when he reported back to the emperor, and that is exactly what he did.

The swindlers now asked for more money, more silk, and more gold, all of which they hid away. Then they continued to weave away as before on the empty looms.

The emperor sent other officials as well to observe the weavers’ progress. They too were startled when they saw nothing, and they too reported back to him how wonderful the material was, advising him to have it made into clothes that he could wear in a grand procession. The entire city was alive in praise of the cloth. “Magnifique! Nysseligt! Excellent!” they said, in all languages. The emperor awarded the swindlers with medals of honor, bestowing on each of them the title Lord Weaver.

The swindlers stayed up the entire night before the procession was to take place, burning more than sixteen candles. Everyone could see that they were in a great rush to finish the emperor’s new clothes. They pretended to take the material from the looms. They cut in the air with large scissors. They sewed with needles but without any thread. Finally they announced, “Behold! The clothes are finished!”

The emperor came to them with his most distinguished cavaliers. The two swindlers raised their arms as though they were holding something and said, “Just look at these trousers! Here is the jacket! This is the cloak!” and so forth. “They are as light as spider webs! You might think that you didn’t have a thing on, but that is the good thing about them.”

“Yes,” said the cavaliers, but they couldn’t see a thing, for nothing was there.

“Would his imperial majesty, if it please his grace, kindly remove his clothes.” said the swindlers. “Then we will fit you with the new ones, here in front of the large mirror.”

The emperor took off all his clothes, and the swindlers pretended to dress him, piece by piece, with the new ones that were to be fitted. They took hold of his waist and pretended to tie something about him. It was the train. Then the emperor turned and looked into the mirror.

“Goodness, they suit you well! What a wonderful fit!” they all said. “What a pattern! What colors! Such luxurious clothes!”

“The canopy to be carried above your majesty awaits outside,” said the grandmaster of ceremonies.

“Yes, I am ready!” said the emperor. “Don’t they fit well?” He turned once again toward the mirror, because it had to appear as though he were admiring himself in all his glory.

The chamberlains who were to carry the train held their hands just above the floor as if they were picking up the train. As they walked they pretended to hold the train high, for they could not let anyone notice that they could see nothing.

The emperor walked beneath the beautiful canopy in the procession, and all the people in the street and in their windows said, “Goodness, the emperor’s new clothes are incomparable! What a beautiful train on his jacket. What a perfect fit!” No one wanted it to be noticed that he could see nothing, for then it would be said that he was unfit for his position or that he was stupid. None of the emperor’s clothes had ever before received such praise.

“But he doesn’t have anything on!” said a small child.

“Good Lord, let us hear the voice of an innocent child!” said the father, and whispered to another what the child had said.

“A small child said that he doesn’t have anything on!”

Finally everyone was saying, “He doesn’t have anything on!”

The emperor shuddered, for he knew that they were right, but he thought, “The procession must go on!” He carried himself even more proudly, and the chamberlains walked along behind carrying the train that wasn’t there.
————————————————————–Source: Hans Christian Andersen, Keiserens nye klæder (1837). Andersen’s source was a Spanish story recorded by Don Juan Manuel (1282-1348).

Translated by D. L. Ashliman.

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Posted in Medicine, Morality, Neglected/sidelined News, New Age, Opinion, Pediatrics, People, Philosophy, Propaganda, Protest, Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychotherapy, Rationalism, Religion, Sai Baba, Scandal, Sex, Skeptics, Spirituality, Successful People, Theosophy, Uncategorized, World Religions | 3 Comments »

If Not For Whistleblowers

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 4, 2007

tal-brooke.giftal-brooke.jpg(Tal Brooke front left)

In 1970, in the U.K., Tal Brooke published Lord of the Air, which, evidently because Sai Baba’s people have such political clout, was banned in India. It was re-written and published as Avatar of Night. Paperback: 400 pages. End Run Publishing; December 15, 1999. ISBN: 193004500X.

During the fourteen months that Brooke lived close to him, Sathya Sai Baba conferred on him, as he was later to do with David Bailey, a rare closeness – rather too close for comfort, as matters turned out.

Amazing Grace? Or Incredible Disgrace?

Tal Brooke is author of nine books (at my last count) and is listed in Marquis Who’s Who in the World (Volumes 12 & 13), Contemporary Authors (Vol. 93-96), and The International Who’s Who of Authors. The famous English intellectual and broadcaster Malcolm Muggeridge highly praised his work. Glen Meloy  identified Tal Brooke as the ‘original whistle-blower’ against Sai Baba. Brooke had began to compose a work in praise of Sai Baba which he called The Amazing Advent. However, what he had thought of as such amazing Grace, became incredible disgrace.

Name-calling

It was too easy for some Western, Hindu and other Sai Baba devotees to allude to Brooke’s adoption of a born-again Christian faith, and to pass off his accounts of Sathya Sai Baba’s sexual escapades. Those with accounts of Sai Baba sexually abusing them come from many different backgrounds. Such accounts simply keep on coming, and core leaders of the powerful and mega-rich worldwide Sathya Sai Organization have refused to tell the truth about the abundance – and indeed cultural variety – of serious reports that Sai Baba, and some of those around him, have long engaged in sexual abuse (not to mention other abuses). In short, it is far out of line with many contemporary organizations, both civic and religious, which have clear and strong guidelines concerning accountability and transparency.

Adherents Alone Without Fault. Dissentors Must be Wrong

There is a severe and oft-repeated syndrome to be noted where supporters of a guru, with their whole belief structure at stake, immediately – and with utter emotional and intellectual dishonesty – attribute maleficence to those reporting abuse, who are assailed with the easiest slurs that come to hand. Brooke turned to evangelical Christianity – therefore, he must have a deplorable motive. What then, suppose an evangelical or any other type of Christian or Hindu or Muslim or Buddhist (or whatever!) believes a crime has been committed? Should he or she not report it? What suppose an author makes money out of a book that reports abuse or some other shocking fact? We should ban it? Ridicule it? Refuse to read it? Tacitly assume that what is alleged cannot possibly have been true? Suppose a doctor makes a lot of money out of treating cancer or writing a book about it? Should we thus assume that he or she does not know what they are talking about?

When, in early 1982, I glanced at a few pages of Tal Brooke’s Lord of the air, I thought (as so many Sai devotees before and since have thought) that he had totally missed the point of my spiritual teacher, for whom I thought there were good reasons for regarding as unique in history.  I still think Sai Baba is rare, if not unique in history – but now for reasons far from inspirational but which, rather, give great concern – not only to those who feel they have been catastrophically betrayed by him but to those individuals and institutions throughout the world whom his cult would seek to influence and transform.

Is Cultic Thinking Only Found In Cults?

What if cultic thinking is one of the great threats to a mature humanity? Is there no cultic thinking among terrorists? If there is, should it not be in our interests to understand it better? But, far more than that, what if some at least of its elements are present – all unquestioned – in our own belief systems, whatever they may be? What if the quest for charismatic leaders figures more widely than in those movements we so easily deem to be cultic?

Bizarre Content May Not Preclude Truthfulness Of Abuse Accounts

I now think that we have to take seriously certain reports (such as in the Brooke reportage) like Sai Baba morphing from one gender into another – NOT because they may be literally true but because the mind of a person in an abuse situation – especially with someone they believe is, for example, God incarnate, Christ-like, Buddha-like or whatever it may be – may well be undergoing some kind of pyschopathology. But one which, however, does not mean that they have not been sexually abused. They may indeed hallucinate in one respect – BUT not about the fact of abuse itself. They too have a right to be heard. Whether they have been abused or simply have imagined that they were abused, attacks upon them are reprehensible – and are clearly about defending a guru, and not about humane sensitivity and compassion for our fellow human beings.

Need For Independent Third Party Investigation

What, then, the case of someone who realises that they have had an experience of a kind bound to be disbelieved by most of their fellow human beings. Should they, too, fail to report their belief that they have been abused? Of course, most will take the ‘easy’ way out and shut up. However, there have always been examples of human beings propelled by conscience who will speak out for what they believe is true, even in the face of direst opposition?

Attackers Of Whistleblowers Have A Lot To Answer For

But suppose some human beings speak up because of conscience – for example, because those they have most loved, such as parents, or the founder of their faith or other inspirational role model have instilled in them the importance of telling the truth, even against the odds.

The fact that devotees of a guru under siege so vehemently attack those who dissent should not go unexamined. Their own assertions should be as rigorously examined as the views of dissentors. Indeed, the central contention all along of organized former devotees and other critics of Sai Baba is that independent, third party investigation of such serious allegations is of the utmost importance.

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Posted in Morality, Neglected/sidelined News, New Age, Opinion, Politics, Protest, Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychotherapy, Rationalism, Religion, Sai Baba, Scandal, Sex, Skeptics, Society, Spirituality, Theology, Theosophy, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions | Leave a Comment »