Call For Media and Government Investigation

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

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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