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.
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).
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
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 Guardian – The 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,
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
“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.
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
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……
There is a Spanish version available: