Call For Media and Government Investigation

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

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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