Call For Media and Government Investigation

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

Archive for August, 2007

Robert Priddy (3) Friendship With V.K. Narasimhan

Posted by Barry Pittard on August 30, 2007

Robert Priddy says that he found some devastating facts from one of Sai Baba’s very closest confidants in the 1980s and 1990s.

This was V.K. Narasimhan (d. March 2000). This remarkable man, whose history of standing courageously up (many fine citizens were flung into jail!) as a newspaper Editor to Indira Gandhi during the 21-month 1975–1977 Emergency was known and is still remembered with admiration throughout India, and well beyond.

Friendship With VKN Was Worth Cherishing

friends-vk-narasimhan-and-robert-priddy-1998.jpg

Narasimhan, Editor of the Sai Baba official magazine, Sanathana Sarathi, that is distributed worldwide, was a warm mutual friend of the both of us, although Priddy’s and my paths did not cross. VKN, as he was with much affection known, was earlier ex-Editor-in-Chief of the Indian Express group of newspapers, and widely regarded as very upright, and one of the few who were not fauning lickspittles around Sai Baba. He was, although an outstanding public speaker, in many ways a very private man. He would not in any other circumstance than admiration and trust have shared years of trusted friendship with Robert Priddy.

A Top Indian Official Tells BBC Television: “Absolute Cold Blooded Murder”

Robert Priddy relates how, on the direct initiative of Sai Baba’s younger brother and multi millionaire property developer, Janaki Ramiah (now deceased) and other officials of the ashram and Central Trust, the police were blackmailed into executing in cold blood in Sai Baba’s own rooms, four intruders who had killed two of his attendants. No less than a former Andhra Pradesh former Home Secretary, V.P.B. Nair, has described the killings in the BBC’s television documentary The Secret Swami as “absolute cold blooded murder”. View and hear Nair speaking to interviewer Tanya Datta, in this film clip HERE.

These intruders could easily have been captured without murdering them. Sai Baba was nearby as events unfolded, hour by hour, and yet – a virtual ‘omnipotent’ dictator within his independent ashram township, at least – did not lift a finger to stop the deaths. These he said afterwards in a discourse he knew beforehand would happen!

Chilling Whisperings Under Less Than Spiritual Temple Pillars

Priddy recounts how VKN shared this information with him with a lowered voice. Robert has remarked to me in various connections over time that his own subsequent extensive investigations have confirmed Narasimhan’s account. He says that VKN informed him of a discussion to which he was witness between Janaki Ramiah (Sai Baba’s younger brother) and the particularly powerful then Home Minister of India (S.B. Chavan, a Sai Baba devotee) who congratulated the brother on his actions in dealing with the matter, whereupon they laughed together over the words ‘Dead men tell no tales.’ The account is spine-chilling.

Priddy, who kept a detailed journal during these years, has given a long account of his very close friendship through a decade with V.K. Narasimhan and what they shared in hundreds of hours of private conversation, HERE

Further Reading

Wikipedia entry under: Robert Priddy

My Credo

His Blogsite

His Website

On the V.P.B. Nair BBC interview, See my article:
Indian Ex Top Official Dogs Sai Baba On BBC. ‘Cold-blooded Murder’

And more on the BBC 2 This World Documentary:
The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ – A Revision 
Probed On Male Sex Abuse, Sai Baba Evicts BBC TV Team
India A Mature Democracy? BBC Probes

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Posted in Morality, Neglected/sidelined News, New Age, People, Rationalism, Religion, Scandal, Uncategorized, World Religions | 2 Comments »

Robert Priddy (2). The Protection of the Young and Innocent

Posted by Barry Pittard on August 22, 2007

Disaffection from a powerful belief system is often a slowgoing process, particularly when there has been adherence to a charismatic figure. And this, moreover, when many followers experience states difficult to understand for those who undergo them as it is for even sympathetic scientists. Going on then, to expose to the public an institution’s and guru’s corruptions and other major shortcomings, no matter how determined the activist, is an often an extremely uphill journey.

This is a note on but a small aspect of the work of a valued colleague in the exposure of Sai Baba and his worldwide cult, Robert Priddy, now a retired lecturer in philosophy and social science from the University of Oslo. He was a long-term follower of Sai Baba and national leader of the Sathya Sai Organization. He makes the big effort, and stays the long haul, no matter the strenous demands, as a duty of conscience.

Protecting the Young First Imperative

The overwhelming concern of many disaffected, now former, Sai Baba followers was – as it is for adults the world over – the protection of the young and innocent. Comparing notes with Robert Priddy over time has only reinforced my repeated discovery that disaffection from a powerful movement is a slowgoing process, not least for those who are investigative by bent and training. (See, Robert Priddy (1). Erosion of Trust in Sai Baba Over Time).

Priddy, former head of Sai Baba’s Norwegian organization, and I were both strongly commited to work inspired by Sai Baba – he for nearly two decades, and I for 25 years. He ended his affiliation with the Sathya Sai Organization in 2000. My own leave-taking of Sai Baba occurred in October 1999, after my having been lengthily blind to quite a number of situations that for the less blinded would have been warning flags of something deeply amiss. I now begun to contact primary witnesses and/or their families in various parts of the world, with their reports that Sai Baba sexually abused boys and young men, and other allegations of profound misconduct – in regard to him, and – a later development – to certain Staff in his educational establishments. There was repeated evidence of cover up by leaders close to him, and by core leaders of his wordwide Sathya Sai Organization. Ever and again came the gutwrenching accounts, and these from people not remotely connected with each other.

Opposing Cover up That Is On A Grand Scale

This massive cover up prevails  irrespective of which political forces have ruled India at any given time, and which protect Sai Baba. Apart from our own researchers, of whom Robert Pridddy is one of several, information highly adverse to Sai Baba and his ashrams has long been known to professionals in Indian journalism, police, government and politics. See, for example, my articles:  Indian Ex Top Official Dogs Sai Baba On BBC. ‘Cold-blooded Murder’, and The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ – A Revision.

Websites like those of Robert Priddy (Norway), Brian Steel (Australia), Lionel Fernandez (Mexico), www.Exbaba.com (Holland) reflect the far wider concern of former devotees of Sai Baba, and indeed other critics, that there be proper third-party investigation of the many and serious allegations.

Thorbjörn Meyer et alia.

Sathya Sai Organization’s Absence of Transparency, Accountability, and Duty of Care

Robert Priddy has published his Februry 2002 email exchanges with one of Sai Baba’s foremost leaders, Thorbjörn Meyer, HERE. In his introduction to the email exchange, Priddy wrote:

“I decided to approach Mr. Meyer, whom I have known somewhat in the past, with information that might help him investigate better. His response to this confirmed my worst suspicions about his bombastic refusal really to investigate the many and varied allegations about murder and ‘dirty’ play in Sai Baba’s ashram, Prashanti Nilayam. His failure to retract his own groundless allegations against victims of sexual molestation also confirmed and decisively documented, as is seen below, his refusal in fact to do what he falsely promised to do, namely to investigate the allegations properly … He did not even put to me a single question regarding any of these serious matters, which he claims to wish to investigate!”

Priddy comments:

“He stuck himself firmly on formalistic grounds. Extraordinarily, Mr. Meyer repeated that it is all ‘undocumented’, like a mantra to ward off evil! As if statements made by victims on film were not of ‘documentary’ status”.

When Minors Report Sexual Abuse Adults Must Heed and Act

Absurdly far out of line with contemporary public attitudes in more democratically advanced societies, some of Sai Baba’s leaders – like Thorbjörn, Meyer, Professor Peter Pruzan, Steen Piculell – have condoned Sai Baba’s practice of ‘oiling of genitals’ of young males. With absolutely no sanction from Hindu or any other religious authorities, Meyer calls this an “age old Indian anointing oil ceremony”.

It is important that Indian religious leaders speak out on this issue. But will they? Might one be too far out in guessing that they, like the various churches in the West have a great deal to cover up? Although he is not a religious authority, at least the reknowned Indian journalist and writer Khushwant Singh told the interviewer Tanya Datta in the BBC’s The Secret Swami (2004):

“There’s no Indian tradition to support the fact that, you know, worship of the Lingam includes also doing the blow job, if that is what you are referring to. I don’t think there’s any basis for that whatsoever”.

The Robert Priddy-Thorbjörn Meyer Email Exchange

In one of the emails, Priddy wrote to Meyer:

“Your cavalier attitude to ‘oiling’ overlooks the fact that any physical intrusion on genitalia without explicit consent beforehand – even by doctors – is a punishable offence in civilised countries!”

But Thorbjörn Meyer derides the accounts such as those of British musician and former Sai Baba university teacher and global ambassador David Bailey, which include genital oiling but extend far beyond it. Bailey had disaffiliated himself from perhaps the foremost role that Sai Baba has ever conferred on a Westerner. In replying to Priddy, Meyer spoke of “Bailey’s many second hand stories”, saying “Nothing of what Bailey writes is first hand. Nothing is confirmed, everything is blowing in the wind”.

Indeed, some individuals and families did go to leaders of the Sathya Sai Organization. They were, in country after country, shocked and mortified with the lack of humane (much less spiritual!) response.

To Defame Serious Second Hand Accounts of Sexual (and other) Abuse Is Wrong

Here is precisely the point at which Thorbjörn Meyer, together with many other Sai Baba devotees, departs from one of the greatest ethical imperatives. Accounts do not have to be other than second hand. It is entirely absurd to think that they should be. When a young person approaches an adult with a plea for help, citing sexual or other serious abuse, it is the duty of that adult to act on behalf of that individual, ensuring that the individual is accessed to a proper and professional proceedure.

This great responsibility is exactly what so many who are now former devotees have excercised – only to be shunned, ostracized, demeaned, and some threatened, and outrightly slandered.

To be sure, the Board of Church of Christ Grammar School, Perth, one of the leading private colleges in Australia did not cancel the Sai Baba national conference booked at its prestigious venue. However, the message to the conference of Garth Wynne, the Principal (who acted in handling the Sai Baba matter on behalf of the then Anglican Archbishop of Australia, Dr Peter Carnley) was this – as he himself told me:  the accusations against your founder have kept on coming year after year. It puts an institution like ours, as well as your own organization, in a difficult position if you do not follow the appropriate procedures of investigation and accountability.

Failure of Duty of Care and Transparency

This failure of duty of care was the case of the now deceased leader in the USA, Dr. John Hislop, and has all along been so with Sai Baba’s foremost leaders such as Dr Michael Goldstein, Robert Bozzani, William Harvey, Phyllis Kristal, J. Jagadeeshan, T. Sri Ramanathan, and others. They were informed of ‘oilings’ and of worse sexual abuses. In purging the cult of those who raised voices of conscience, Meyer, Indulal Shah (then Sai Baba’s world coordinator) and Steen Picullel were responsible for evicting one of the finest leaders from organization, Serguei Badaev (Russia), just as was T. Sri Ramanathan in getting rid of Stephen Carthew (Australia). These fine men had raised absolutely proper and quintessential questions on matters of conscience.

The like reaction is duplicated by Sai Baba’s top leaders in various countries. For example, when I suggested the wisdom of instituting transparency and accountability processes to Sri T. Ramanathan, then head of Sai Baba’s organization in Australia, he replied that matters only need to go to him. After I had succesfully persuaded a number of foremost Australian religious and political religious leaders not to accept the Sathya Sai Organization’s invitations to appear at the 2003 national conference, Ramanathan phoned me on April 3, 2003 – first to sweet-talk me “I know that you’re a decent man”, and then to threaten legal action. He said “I have only one simple mechanism which I have applied down the years” which is to “deal with complaints personally.” “Your thinking is cloudy,” he said and stated that there was no need for a complaints mechanism in the Sathya Sai Organisation, which is “special and different to any other organisation… and a divine organisation”. (See, HERE and HERE).

Posted in Morality, Neglected/sidelined News, New Age, Protest, Rationalism, Religion, Scandal, Skeptics, Spirituality, Theosophy, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions | Leave a Comment »

Truth Commission Model May Assist Sai Baba Devotees

Posted by Barry Pittard on August 19, 2007

Other group leaders from various countries who we know to have been informed that Sai Baba sexually abuses boys and young men still take groups of all ages to see him. There is repeated evidence that they still do not inform parents of global allegations concerning Sai Baba, nor that highly respected individuals, once loved and esteemed  leaders and members of the Sathya Sai Organization, make them.

Sai Baba’s leaders tell rank-and-file members that those making the allegations are a small disgruntled handful. Blind to commonsense, deaf to basic reasoning processes, rapid to leap to worst case speculations about the motivations of Sai Baba dissenters, Sai Baba’s devotees typically believe that former devotees have become, in an instant, transformed into demons. Racing into deep denial, vacating all commonsense, these devotees chronically deny the good standing of those they have long loved and respected, and worked and worshipped beside. History is bound to ‘out’ those who do this. They cannot possibly defend themselves on the grounds of truth and compassion. They will need, above all, to express profound sorrow, and admit profound failure in duty-of-care, towards those Sai Baba has so criminally, and for so many decades, abused.

Perhaps some of the Truth Commission experiences and insights may assist Sai Baba devotees to pull themselves out of their dilemma. It would be a great pity if the good social uplift works done by many good and decent Sai Baba devotees were to be damaged by the revelations already so extensively available, with many more on their way.

Starting points are:

http://www.truthcommission.org/
http://www.doj.gov.za/trc/

Posted in Neglected/sidelined News, Opinion, Religion, Social and Politics, Society, Theology, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions | 1 Comment »

Networking Secure and Humane Support Systems

Posted by Barry Pittard on August 19, 2007

It was little wonder that in a context of compartmentation of information based on a strict need-to-know that our networkers faced situations that, for most of us, challenged work and notional habits of a lifetime.

A fortunate countervailing factor was that, as the exit from the Sathya Sai Organization – or rather cult – continued, our networks were often enough quickly able to determine the skill base and character profiles of those who flowed in to us. This worked to the benefit of loving and humane support systems, and helped to ameliorate the shocking sense of isolation and shock that attends sexual, ethical and spiritual betrayal by a guru and by his organization.

Another benefit was that nothing could be quite so efficient as this situation in exposing attempts at penetration – or in some cases attempts within the cult to win back what officials such as Chris Parnell (Australia, a man alongside whom I worked in the publishing house Sai Towers, Puttaparthi) called “Waverers”. He spoke to me of what he called a “high-powered” committee being formed involving him, Professor Roger Basham and others to combat the Australian Sathya Sai Organization membership depletions.

We do not trumpet our intentions to Sai Baba and his cult – preferring to continue our careful documentation to bona fide investigators, such as responsible journalists, academics, governments, religious groupings like the interfaith movement, and various civic and political institutions with which the Sathya Sai Organization attempts (without revealing the ‘secret swami’s real agendas) to ingratiate itself.

A linguistic cognate of the word ‘secret’ is ‘sacred’. So – not all secrets are dirty ones.

Posted in Morality, Neglected/sidelined News, Religion, Sai Baba, Uncategorized, World Religions | Leave a Comment »

Loose Lips Sink Ships

Posted by Barry Pittard on August 19, 2007

Sai Baba’s networked former followers face a formidable adversary. We do not cry our plans to expose him and his worldwide cult from the rooftops.

tight-lips-sink-sai-babas-ships.jpgOur security of communications – in a word, secrecy – has been vital. Most of our networked former devotees had never in our lives been party to a public campaign. The complex steps of the ‘dance’ between private and public had yet to be learnt, and to be learnt on-the-hop. 

We found ourselves in a role in which atmospheres of readily-given love, trust and the easeful flow of information were not germane – indeed, could prove dangerous – to our task. Our adversary was a global organization, with billions in its exchequer and devotees in many of the highest positions of power. The Sathya Sai Baba Organization – or cult – was, and is, formidable – and long-practiced in the modes of high secrecy and subterranean influence, including in the worlds of power brokerage even well beyond India’s shores.

Thus, any sincere error on our part could have painful consequences. Survivors and other witnesses come to us with a trust that we should never endanger – for example, with a careless remark, the accidental sending of an email, or the answering of even certain fair and reasonable questions raised on the Internet or shopping mall, etc.

Of course, most human beings are social and gregarious by nature – an often pleasant fact of life, but every bit hazadous in our peculiar circumstances. We do not wish to parade in the marketplace those who come to us with tragic accounts of having been sexually abused by Sai Baba and certain of his teachers or subjected to other abuses within his cult. Those who have done so have been mercilessly attacked and derided, one after the other.

Posted in Morality, Neglected/sidelined News, New Age, News and Politics, Protest, Rationalism, Religion, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions | Leave a Comment »

Secrecy Needs In Exposing A Top Global Cult

Posted by Barry Pittard on August 19, 2007

Our security needs are pragmatic, and are not in the nature of the secrecy and cover-up of scandals so endemic to an authoritarian cult that has so much to hide. The BBC’s own experience in investigating his cult and the testimonies of those who have left it led to its calling Sai Baba ‘The Secret Swami’, and the somewhat Soviet-style secrecy and authoritarianism of Sai Baba’s religious cult have been repeatedly observed by media, institutions and academics who have attempted to examine this founder and his organization.

Regrettable Secrecies

The need for sensitive non-disclosure of the accounts that came to us of sexual abuse by Sai Baba and some around him in his education wing, and other alarming information, was rapidly apparent to some of us, but – rather disturbingly! – to others came only slowly and, astoundingly, to yet others scarcely at all.

If there was an extenuating circumstance for bewilderment at all it may be this:  suddenly, to our great surprise, we found ourselves cast in the role of activists and crusaders. What does the layperson know of sexual abuse? The exceptions in our midst were those such as Shirley Pike and (the late) Elena Hartgering, Dave Brandt and others who were mental health professionals of various kinds. We were entering a world of anguish and complexity. What we learnt was that the first requirement is to listen with compassion. It is the opposite of what cultic defenders show, who race to judgement, leap to the worst imaginable conclusions, and condemn  any who should dare to attempt to communicate their account of abuse.

Males from various countries – in some instances many years later (as in the case of Mark Roche in appearance in the BBC television documentary The Secret Swami) – have attempted to give their accounts of sexual abuse at the hands of Sai Baba. Those devotee apologists for Sai Baba and his Sathya Sai Organization (or rather, cult) who make ready and cruel assumptions about the abuse survivors might well contemplate on a saying of the English philosopher, scientist, statesman and essayist Sir Francis Bacon  (1561-1626) adding the word ‘hear’ and, ‘view’ in the case of television footage from The Secret Swami, and Danish national broadcaster DR’s Seduced (in Australia, Seduced by Sai Baba, SBS) to Bacon’s  ‘read’:

“Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted… but to weigh and consider”.

sir-francis-bacon.jpg

For Viewing

Video clip of Mark Roche interview from  The Secret Swami, BBC 2, This World

The Secret Swami. 1. Broadband. 2. Modem (Both .wmv)

Seduced (version in English over-dub)  1. Broadband. 2. Modem (Both .wmv)

Ullrich Zimmerman Interview, Part 2., Broadband.

Further Reading

Posted in Morality, Neglected/sidelined News, Protest, Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychotherapy, Religion, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Robert Priddy (1). Erosion of Trust in Sai Baba Over Time

Posted by Barry Pittard on August 18, 2007

Robert Priddy was long known by many as a ceaseless worker in the Sathya Sai Organisation, as indeed he has been in the former Sai Baba devotee cause.

The latter – since people from many countries are affected and since billions pour to the Sathya Sai Central Trust globally –  is one of exposure of various forms of allegation and of anomalies in the teaching content – to the world.

He was founder member of the Sai Organization in Norway in 1983 and, for over 15 years, the national leader of the Sathya Sai Organization, resigning his membership 2000. He lectured in philosophy and sociology in various institutes, and retired from his tenure at the University of Oslo in 1985. (See Wikipedia reference under: Robert Priddy)

Expressing the great wish he shares with other former Sai Baba devotees, and critics beyond, to see proper, third party investigation of Sai Baba and his organization, he has been active in researching, analysing, creating web presences both via static sites and blogging, and campaigning in the media and so on.

But the Internet is not the Exposé

The greater part of this work of exposure has been off-screen, and he has often supported those who have more recently become disaffected. Grief – both overt and, more often, controlled – is common in this area. We also have most qualified and experienced male and female counseling professionals ready to assist, but a lot of the work requires being humanly supportive in the most basic ways – listening compassionately, providing information, etc. There are many former devotees who appreciate, and have benefitted by, Priddy’s gentle and patient kindness, a side to his personality which will not always be visible in his writings critical of Sai Baba and the cultic mind that adheres to him. The ever-swelling Priddy opus can be hard-edged and quite polemical. In this service of caring and supporting, sorrow and joy are inseparable. It embodies same spirit of loving service to others that motivates many who have been drawn to Sai Baba.

I well recall in early 1998 reading his book  Source of the Dream, – My Way to Sathya Sai Baba (1994, Bangalore/1998 USA/2000, and 2002, Puttaparthi). At that time, I was working as a voluntary service with the publisher Sai Towers in Puttaparthi. Doing a computation in this busy publishing house’s library, I had estimated that there were at least 600 plus books written by devotees on Sai Baba. Many of these were terribly gushing and rambling, even from the point of view of Sai devotee readers, cried out for editing if not refusal to publish. Fortunately, the owner, R.Padmanaban was very supportive of my editing approach, which was to wield something of a ‘scalpel’. Perhaps I should be kind enough to spare someone else the bother of saying that a sharp editorial blade needs to be directed at my own writings.

Priddy in the Exposé Continuum

But – such a relief! – the Priddy book was from a disciplined mind, and far more readable. It sold very widely within the Sai movement. He has since written End of the Dream: The Fall of Sathya Sai Baba (published 2004 in India by a leading Indian rationalist Basava Premanand. By stark contrast, a book by David BaileyA Journey to Love, Prasanthi Nilayam: Sri Sathya Sai Towers Hotels Pvt. Ltd., 1998 (1997) – was of the devotionally effusive sort. Happily, Bailey, a well-known British semi-classical musician and teacher, renounced, along with his wife Faye, his extremely close connection with Sai Baba which included lecturing in Music at Sai Baba’s university and global ambassadorial duties. He and Faye Bailey wrote (one might say, cobbled together, a work seminal to the exposé of Sai Baba, The Findings (March 200). Faye had been a key figure in the Australian Sathya Sai Organization – and their marriage in 1997 was, and so very summarily, Sai Baba-arranged and officiated. By the time Priddy was ready to become significantly more active, Bailey had left Exposé activity, having been part of a first then second wave of concentrated activity circa late 90’s up to 2002.

The second greater burst of activity was especially that of a small but extremely busy group, the Central Coordinating Group, led by Glen Meloy (now deceased, of Palm Desert, California, USA) and Hari Sampath (Chennai, India, but then on a Green Card as a software engineer in Chicago, USA). For example, Robert Priddy was not part of the small pepper group (CCG) which worked extremely hard (with many selfless inputs from its much wider global network) and succeeded in drawing serious media attention to the allegations against Sai Baba, including a UNESCO Media Advisory in September 2001 and UNESCO’s and Flinders University’s cancellation of joint participation in a large Sai Baba promoted education conference in Puttaparthi, See HERE. Other successful exposures included articles in Times of London, Daily Telegraph, the mass circulation magazine India Today, and major news media in Europe, Canada and Australia. The group gained the attention of the Danish national broadcaster DR, and its television documentary Seduced was first aired in January 2002, then elsewhere in Scandinavia. See this program (with an English overdub) HERE and an English transcript is HERE. It was screened in an English version by Australia’s national multicultural broadcaster SBS as Seduced by Sai Baba in February 2004. By early 2004, however, Priddy, who had in the meantime begun, from time to time, to support efforts coordinated by Glen Meloy and the present writer, was closely involved in assisting the BBC with vital contacts and other documentation as it researched what became The Secret Swami, first screened June 14, 2004 and shown in many scores of countries around the world. See:  The BBC’s The Secret Swami – A Revision and The Genesis of the BBC’s The Secret Swami.

The first ‘wave’ was a surge of effort mostly by those leaving the Sai Organization in USA, U.K., Holland, Sweden, Denmark and Australia. In this perspective, Priddy (and the Australian linguistis scholar Brian Steel) may be regarded – so long as we can acknowledge the nature of overlaps – as comprising part of a third ‘wave’ of intense activity, and both of their involvements strongly orienting to research and writing and unfolding of their websites, although both were, naturally, supportive of those who came to them grief-stricken with their accounts.

The date of Priddy’s Sathya Sai Organization resignation (2000) occurred at the height of great activity by networked former devotees but this does not indicate his specific activism at that time. Especially, he was intensely investigating, reflecting, writing and developing his website. His broadest endeavours came in the months after Glen Meloy’s deeply and internationally mourned death, on January 1, 2005.

To be continued

Furthur Reading

End of the Dream – My Credo and Rejection of Sathya Sai Baba. (Article)

His very regularly maintained blogsite is at:  http://robertpriddy.wordpress.com

Posted in Morality, Neglected/sidelined News, New Age, Rationalism, Religion, Sai Baba, Spirituality, World Religions | 3 Comments »

India Lead World? Sai Baba Says Yes. Robert Priddy No

Posted by Barry Pittard on August 13, 2007

Sai Baba has many times said that, as a result of his appearance as the Avatar of all avatars (divine incarnations), India will lead the whole world in spirituality and the peace of mankind, and that he will guide this whole process, to be essentially accomplished in his own lifetime.

                              sai-baba-says-india-will-lead-world.jpg

Robert Priddy has some terse words to demonstrate his contention that Sathya Sai Baba suffers from a variant of serious cognitive derangement that can fitly be called ‘mythomania’”.

Here are some quotes from his article that appears at: http://robertpriddy.wordpress.com . The article’s page Url is HERE

Quotes 

“The statement that Bharat (i.e India) is the engine that alone is capable of drawing all other countries after it towards a moral world is among the least convincing of Sathya Sai Baba’s many wild prophesies. It expresses a chauvinistic nationalism of a kind like ‘India Uber Alles’, but it absurdly bases this (in the above quotation) entirely on the fact that the decline in the practices of sacred rituals (yagnas and yagas) is the main cause of all the troubles of humanity”.

“To emphasize strictly Hindu rituals as the key to world regeneration is hardly a way to spread ‘universal religion’, as Sathya Sai claims to do. On this day, the 60th anniversary of Partition, Muslims can hardly be enthused by this religiously-divisive claim, which may well have contributed ideologically to the eventual tearing down of the Ayodhya mosque and the agitation to replace it with a Hindu temple”.

“… had India been the original home of democracy, human rights, women’s rights, social justice, equality, fraternity and liberty, then this would have been credible. But it is falling down on every one of these precepts. The non-violence movement of Mahatma Gandhi was truly admirable, but it was a flash in the pan which passed away with him while millions of Hindus and Muslims slaughtered each other in the late 40s”.

“From Independence onwards, India has fought wars against Pakistan (also China and Tamils) and there had been continuous internal strife between Hindus and Muslims, the State and indigenous peoples and minorities of all kinds to this day. As almost every visitor to India soon discovers, criminality and corruption are rife today, which is often so in societies’ where there is large scale extreme poverty”.

Posted in New Age, Prophecy, Rationalism, Religion, Skeptics, Spirituality, World Religions | 1 Comment »

Gurubusting Sathya Sai Baba

Posted by Barry Pittard on August 10, 2007

premanand-doing-a-fakir-trick.jpgBasava Premanand and professor-narendra-nayak.jpgProfessor Narendra Nayak, the courageous Indian Rationalists and tenacious ‘guru busters,’ travel India revealing how tricksters like Sai Baba appear to materialize sacred ash, called vibhuthi, or manifest, as Sai Baba pretends to do, a golden lingam or Shiva lingam, called Lingodhbhava or sometimes Brahmananda lingam.

Premanand has told the BBC he has investigated Sai Baba since 1968, at first “as a hobby”, then speaking out in public from 1976 to this day. In the BBC television documentary The Secret Swami, Premanand demonstrates how, by sleight-of-hand, magicians perform the same ‘miracles’ as Sai Baba – e.g. materializing ash, rings, pendants, etc. Footage showed Narendra Nayak demonstrating to BBC presenter Tanya DattaDatta, Tanya – who realizes that it takes practice – how to secrete a vibhuti (ash) pellet between the thumb and base of the forefinger, and then to crush it into a powder. Nayak says that Sai Baba’s rotations of the hand when producing the ash is the method used by all ‘godmen’ who ‘materialize’ this ash, and this ploy obscures the act of crumbling the pellet. (Various people, such as the former leader of the Australian Sai Organization, Terry Gallagher, a scientist and businessman, have reported seeing Sai Baba inadvertently drop these pellets. See Here).

At first, I thought that, to convince the most critical, it might have been useful for the BBC to use a top magician such as Derren Brown, Noah Kelly, David Copperfield  etc. Certainly, Denmark’s national broadcaster, in its television documentary Seduced (DR, 2003) that exposes Sai Baba (renamed in Australia in its English version as Seduced by Sai Baba, a copy of which we made sure that the BBC possessed), used a renowned Danish magician Nils Krøjgaard to expose some types of fakery Sai Baba uses. This documentary, with an over dubbed English commentary by an acquaintance of the producer, is viewable in a 21 Megabyte download HERE.

Sai Baba Far From Being Top Magician

However, critical close observers of Sai Baba do not regard him as a top magician, and indeed a rather poor one, who sometimes fouls his tricks by carelessness or absent-mindedness, so perhaps the use of amateur magicians to expose his tricks is indeed appropriate. A fair to middling amateur can still trick educated audiences, although not of course experts.

I was recently sitting in a restaurant and got chatting with a local magician. He was a rather touchingly simple man, largely self-taught in his lovely passion for magic, and he was functionally illiterate and had to learn by the kindness of fellow magicians and friends, who would read for him descriptions in magic manuals and magazines. For the next hour he blithely regaled me with a whole range of tricks, deftly employing sleight-of-hand. Except for some very common tricks, he would not, as is the case with principled magicians the world over, disclose the method of these, but some he kindly did, after I had told him of Sai Baba, and he immediately improvised compelling demonstrations of how he thought Sai Baba would fake his miracles. His notions were in a line with those such as Krøjgaard, Premanand, Nayak, et al.

Viewing

For both modem and broadband viewing of The Secret Swami, you may go Here

Readings

Sai Baba: God-man or con man? By Tanya Datta, Reporter, Secret Swami. BBC News 24.

The BBC’s The Secret Swami – A Revision

The Genesis of the BBC’s The Secret Swami

Posted in New Age, People, Psychology, Rationalism, Religion, Skeptics, Uncategorized, World Religions | 3 Comments »

Sai Baba No Shiva. Gold From His Gut Is Regurgitator’s Trick

Posted by Barry Pittard on August 5, 2007

Within Hinduism, the Shiva lingam can represent the wonder and majesty of creation-dissolution, a symbol of limitlessness. See Wikipedia, underLingam‘:

‘The term lingam is sometimes used synonymously for shivalingam or sivalingam a specific type of icon or altar representing the god Shiva’
lordshiva-seated-on-tiger-skin.jpg

View Revealing video Clips From The BBC’s The Secret Swami. See Below

Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

In Sanskrit, this object is often called a lingodhbhava. In India, especially in the south, down the millennia, via literature, drama, temple worship and so on, the sacredness of its associations have become immense.  egg of gold shivalinga.jpg

Sathya Sai Baba had, over a number of years, ostensibly brought from his stomach a pure gold egg-shaped Shiva lingam (Sivalingam, Shivalingam). This event he performed at the festival to the Hindu god Siva, or Mahashivarathri. For two decades, Sai Baba ceased what had been a yearly (so-called miraculous) production of the lingam. Why would he resume it in February 1999? And be caught out by the BBC in 2004?

A Lordly Miracle Might Revive Emperor’s Crumbling Empire

I have elsewhere characterized Sai Baba as, in certain respects but not in all, a master showman, see The Decline and Fall of the Showman Empire. Around Sai Baba, all is panoply, pomp and circumstance – and dazzling architecture costing millions.

hillview-stadium3.jpgSai Baba’s pet elephant, Sai Gita appearing at Sai Baba’s showpiece Hillview Stadium

barnum-and-bailey-the-greatest-show-on-earth.jpgA Hindu dissenter of Sai Baba, chance-met, who was at Puttaparthi on suffrance, once said to me, “This is a national circus”.

sai-baba-dwelling.jpgSai Baba’s humble living quarters

But empire or circus, the show is a voracious money ‘beast’ that has continually to be fed. Gold may or may not come out of Sai Baba’s stomach but it certainly has to keep on going into his coffers.

sai-baba-on-pure-gold-chariot-sept-1997.jpgSai Baba showcased in pure gold

What then the case of a series of calamitous exposures in major media around the world? What of all the leave-takings from his worldwide Sathya Sai Organization – far more numerous than formal resignations? What of the threatened recruitment bases?

Big Money Replenishment – A Desperation to Recruit in Luxurious Venues

In tightly controlled circumstances, the Sathya Sai Organization now recruits in highly costly, luxurious venues. For example, Cooper’s Union, New York; La Mirada Theatre; Los Angeles County, Hilton Ballroom and Sheraton Hotel and Towers, both Chicago; Copley International Conference Center, San Diego; Town Hall, Melbourne; Super Dome, Sydney, etc. See article by Robert Priddy and Barry Pittard, Sai Organization’s Spending Spree In Super Dome, Sydney.

sydney-superdome.jpgSydney Superdome, Australia one of world’s top stadiums, built for the Olympic Games 2000

A Positive BBC Documentary Would Help Recuperate from Intense International Criticism

The BBC was on the scene, and the ashram officials had given a rare permission to shoot inside the Puttaparthi ashram. It was not until the BBC producer of what was to become the television documentary The Secret Swami (2004) Eamon Hardy asked about the worldwide sex abuse allegations that matters drastically altered. The Sathya Sai Central Trust Secretary, K. Chakravarthy, summarily evicted the BBC team. The Indian television company Sanskaar TV also televised this Mahashivarathi event.

There had been, especially from 2000, tremendous international pressure for Sai Baba and his worldwide Sathya Sai Organization. (See, towards the end of the article – Sathya Sai Baba’s Deputy Head, Dr G. Venkataraman, Speaks of “Mr Idi Amin” – a number of heavy stressors that were being applied by globally networked former devotees known as ‘the exposé). One outcome was the display of an anger Sai Baba has long kept behind-the-scenes. Bad cracks began to appear in the Sai monolith, and the world began to peep through. In a Christmas 2000 discourse, in which peace and goodwill to all men were remarkable for their absence, Sai Baba repeatedly pounded his lectern, denouncing his accuses as demons and Judases, and vaunting his accomplisments (even though, contrary to his assertions, far from unique), prompting The Times of India, December 26, 2000, to headline: Sai Baba Lashes Out At His Detractors. He cried,

“Is there any government that is giving free medical care? People don’t even think about the sanctity behind it. Most of the educated have become so low and mean minded. Is there anyone who is doing even one thousandth of this work ? No, no. It is only Sathya Sai Baba, who is doing this selflessly, always for the welfare of others.”

He has at various times said he is anger-free. For example:

“When I am defamed, I never get incensed, for it is only the tree full of edible fruits that is attached by sticks and stones.” (Sathya Sai Speaks Vol. 4 p. 184).

“There is no trace of anger or hatred in Me and hence everyone loves Me” (Sanathana Sarathi September 2002, page 257f)

Sathya Sai Speaks of his alleged lingam creations

“Ah! This is the Brahmaanda Linga! Symbol of the Universe. Inside it, the nine planets (Navagrahas) revolve; the entire Universe is represented herein … You are indeed blessed, the merit of many births as brought you here to see the Great Phenomenon, this rare Creation.” (Sathya Sai Speaks, IV, 4:26).

He has also said:

“This is Amruthtatwam (symbol of immortality). It is changeless. You cannot see such a manifestation anywhere in the world. It is possible only with Divinity.” (Sanathana Sarathi – March 1999, p. 73)

In 2004, as caught by BBC and Indian television cameras, Sai Baba not only produced one lingam, but, if we take his officials’ word for it, two more offstage. The public ‘miracle’ he performed, to the suprise of many, in terribly fumbling and absent-minded fashion. One would think that this to declining faculties that many have noticed but which his minders have tried to mask as best they can under the all too tell-tale circumstances, and which Sai devotees keep a numbed silence about). However, according to Sai Baba’s chief translator and also a world-travelling emissary Professor Anil Kumar in his words to the crowds, Sai Baba privately manifested two more ‘atma lingams’ off-stage.

Datta, Tanya In the BBC’s The Secret Swami, the interviewer Tanya Datta comments:

“To the alarm of the crowd suddenly Sai Baba collapsed. His huge coterie of staff swung into action. There was panic. An organisation used to tight control seemed to have lost its grip. Sai Baba was hastily wheeled off stage.” Later, he is carried hobbling back, with officials claiming that he manifested two more lingams offstage”. Transcript is HERE. See the whole documentary. Broadband users click HERE (80 MB). There is a small version for modem users Here (23,3 MB)
Or you can download it packed in zip file (22 MB) Here.

Returning to the Kulwant Hall stage within the next hour, to the immensely relieved audience of many thousands, a pale and shaken Sai Baba makes the unfathomable claim:

“Out of the stomach emanated Shiva Lingas of the weight of three tonnes. That’s the reason why some strain on the face and the body”

But Centuries of Magicians Have Produced Objects By Regurgitation

Magicians have long produced objects – both precious and trivial – from out of their stomachs. A contemporary example is the British regurgitator Stevie Starr. The website:  http://www.steviestarr.com/index.php informs us that:

“He swallows live goldfish, pool balls, numbered coins, even dry sugar, and manages to bring them back up in order, on command (and in the case of the sugar, completely dry!)”

If you feel that you can control your own stomach, you can see a video clip (4.4mb) of Stevie Star at work HERE

There is a German documentary that shows ‘sadhus’ or Hindu ‘holy men’ performing tricks, including regurgitation:  Das Mysterium Der Shiva – Heilige Männer (Ein film von Eberhart Thiem, Helga Lippert, Arno Peik) from a German series called Terra X – Rätsel alter Weltkulturen). Swallowing of nails and regurgitating them one at a time is shown.

For a fascinating byway in film history, see HADJI ALI, Scenes from POLITIQUERIAS, the Spanish-language version of Laurel and Hardy’s Chickens Come Home. Hadji Ali is of that group of performers known as ‘regurgitators’ or ‘water spouters’. A vaudeville star in the first decades of the last century, this Egyptian-born performer was billed as ‘The Great Regurgitator’. In the webpage just cited, there are stark black and white shots of Hadji Ali performing the regurgitation trick in a 1931 Stanley Laurel and Oliver Hardy movie.

The Indian ‘holyman’ Swami Premananda also used to produce lingams.  He now sits in the bowls of a gaol with a double life sentence for rape  and murder, and not likely to be regurgitated therefrom.

basava-premanand-bbc-news-pic.jpgThe celebrated Indian Rationalist and ‘guru buster’ Basava Premanand appeared in the BBC’s The Secret Swami. Originally a Sai Baba devotee, he reported investigating Sathya Sai Baba since 1968, first “as a hobby” then going public in 1976. In this one-hour television documentary, B. Premanand is seen demonstrating the trick behind Sai Baba’s so-called ‘miraculous’ production of the golden lingam or Shiva lingam.  See my tribute:  Basava Premanand. Vale. A fighter for truth who lived what others preach

Powerful Psycho-religious Role of the Lingam Among Many Hindus

Sai Baba knows well how to tap into aeons-old Indian piety. He says he is all the gods and goddesses. Many Vaishnavites worship him as Lord Vishnu, many Shaivites, as Lord Shiva, and so on. But this phenomenon is not untypical – in the remarkable form of a live-and-let-live philosophy – and is seen in much guru worship throughout India, where an individual is free to worship the guru according to her or his own traditional or temperamental iconography or ishta devata (personalized or favourite form of godhead). To his devotees of Christian background, Sai Baba says that he is the Father who sent Lord Jesus Christ. Because of these deep Indian traditions of religious plurality and acceptance (which goes far deeper than mere tolerance), his devotees are happy, for example, to sing his praises in bhajans (antiphonal, commonly congregational hymn-singing) using the names of all the gods and goddesses.

Crowd Pulling Psychology Far Exceeding Barnum and Bailey

sai-babas-symbol-of-world-faiths.jpgSai Baba’s sarva dharma chakra (all-major Faiths symbol)

In one thing at least Sai Baba is supreme. He has the supreme ability to play the all-religions-are-essentially-one card with brilliance. He virtually adopts the role, at the level of self-proclaimed absolute Divinity, of being all-things-to-all religious men. One of the psychological factors he draws on goes emotionally deep for those worshipping him. Sathya Sai speaks, for example, of how his devotees plead with him not to produce the lingam, particularly now that he is becoming older and has been through a number of hip operations (he is 81, and may be older if we are to regard British colonial records). In The Deccan Herald report of the February 2004 Mahashivrathri, Srikanth Srinivasa wrote,

“Sai Baba’s devotees have been imploring him not to suffer the ordeal of bringing out the Linga every year at the cost of the god man’s health”

Sai Baba’s Promise: Who Witnesses His Production Of the Lingam is Liberated from Sin and Rebirth

Down the years, Sai Baba has made references like this:

“Those who are fortunate to witness Lingodbhava are freed from all sins”. Sanathana Sarathi, 3/99, p. 66

In short, he mines for all it is worth mass anxiety about the karmic future. Will one be damnably consigned to birth after birth? Or will a trip to Puttaparthi mend things, forever? In short, what this great religious showman offers – no, promises, absolutely – is absolution and forgiveness of sins. It is a consideration that motivates millions of religionists the world over.

A similar psychology – the spectacle of God’s pain, as it were – attends Christian attitudes to the ‘Passion’ or crucifixion story, and Christian evangelists have long played deeply on this.

Shiva Rules But Sai Baba Was No Tiger

Majestic symbol of undeniable cosmic forces, Lord Shiva sits forever serenely on his tigers skin. Sathya Sai Baba’s tiger skin is but that – a skin held dazzlingly aloft to make him appear be the real Shiva.

egg of goldPlaying cricket or playing Shiva?

sai-babas-mask-like-face-parkinsons.jpgSai Baba’s mask-like face. A degenerative disease like Parkinson’s?

……………………………..

Further Reading

Faked lingam production. Frame-by-frame analysis of the BBC and other footage is revealing indeed. Former leader of the Sathya Sai Organization, Norway, and retired academic of the University of Oslo, Robert Priddy, analyses and provides background notes, See, Mahahshivarathri 2004.  Quote: “Sai Baba allowed an unprecedented live broadcast in the Indian subcontinent of his so-called ‘lingodbhava’ (bringing the egg-like ellipsoidal object out of his mouth after what looks like a painful process of ‘regurgitation’). However, one can most clearly see that NO lingam ‘actually emerged at all this year. Instead there was a small spurt of yellowish vomit, which was later claimed to be the lingam in liquid golden form!”

Devotees’ Expectations and SSB’s Lingam Production (Background Notes on the 2004 Mahasivaratri Spectacle). In this article, the Australian scholar and former devotee Brian Steel writes:

“It is not unreasonable to hypothesise that in 1999 and 2000, this popular event may even have been deliberately revived for precisely the same promotional reasons, at a time when the Organisation was acutely aware that very strong criticism and denunciation of SSB was about to be made public overseas by two very high-profile close ex-devotees (David Bailey and Naresh Bhatia) who had recently “defected” and whose spectacular revelations were nervously awaited. If this hypothesis is not correct, and if the Lingodbhava performance was discontinued because of fears of unruly crowds in 1977, why revive it when the crowds are much larger today?”

Notes

“Bhagavan Baba kept manifesting His divinity in the form of Lingodbhava year after year on every Shivaratri till 1977 when He announced that he had decided to discontinue Lingodbhava in public. Those who witnessed this Divine phenomenon again on 15 February, 1999 were really fortunate as it happened after a long gap of more than 20 years.” Editor, Sanathana Sarathi, 3/99, p. 81

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

The Decline and Fall of the Showman Empire

The BBC’s The Secret Swami – A Revision

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

View Revealing video Clips From The BBC’s The Secret Swami

For Viewing

The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ – as well as exposing other fraudulence – had the camera well trained on Sathya Sai Baba. Although the Puttaparthi officials thought that the BBC was going to make their day, the crew were well-briefed by former devotees, and had their eyes open – and indeed the lens of their camera! – in a way that blinded devotees and a public that is mostly unaware of how magicians perform their tricks rarely do. Within the quietness of your computer room, however, you can train your eyes simply by seeing, really seeing, what there is to see.

SEE THE VIDEO CLIP OF THE ABOVE FAKING (filesize 700 Kbs)

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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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 Neglected/sidelined News, New Age, Philosophy, Propaganda, Rationalism, Religion, Spirituality, Theology, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Probed On Male Sex Abuse, Sai Baba Evicts BBC TV Team

Posted by Barry Pittard on August 2, 2007

In Puttaparthi, 2004, a BBC This World television team led by producer Eamon Hardy was evicted from the Sai Baba Ashram for asking about the worldwide male sex abuse allegations that face Sai Baba.Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai BabaSubscribe in NewsGator Online

goldiragingbullCaught by BBC hidden camera: an angry and shouting Sai Baba’s world chairman, Dr Michael Goldstein. He dismisses the BBC interviewer’s point about organization accountability and transparency and says of the worldwide serial sex abuse allegations against Sai Baba, “I would know it in my heart because I am what I am – a consummate professional. Can you understand that?”

Fortunately, before they were summarily thrown out, the BBC crew had shot close up valuable footage that clearly shows Sai Baba faking the miraculous production of a pure gold Shiva lingam or lingodbhava – a ‘cosmic egg’ from his stomach. He then – there are no signs of him faking this – faints. A few minutes later, in but one of his many statements that question the rationality of his devotees as well as his own, Sai Baba told his vast audience,

“Out of the stomach emanated Shiva Lingas of the weight of three tonnes. That’s the reason why some strain on the face and the body“.

spewinggoldegg

The final film documentary was The Secret Swami, which has been screened in many countries. 

BBC producers say that Sai Baba’s top officials at first thought, on their own entire assumption, the documentary would present a ‘positive image’ of their guru and the works of his organization to the world. Hence the rare permission for the BBC to shoot at Sai Baba’s ashram.

The ashram authorities extended highly guided tours to the BBC by Central Trust Secretary K. Chakravarthy and other leading officials, including the world head of the Sathya Sai Organization Dr Michael Goldstein of Covina, California, never before granted to a television corporation. In November or December 1997, Indulal Shah (then world head of the Sathya Sai Organization) told me that, over the years, a number of big overseas television companies had sought permission to shoot in the ashram but that ‘Bhagavan had not permitted it’.

A few days into the film shoot, the BBC asked for a comment on the worldwide allegations against Sai Baba of sex abuse of young males. The ashram authorities then peremptorily ordered them to leave, and Dr Goldstein (who was in Puttaparthi at the time) sent a prompt  instruction to all Sai Baba centres throughout the world that no-one must cooperate with the BBC.

Haunted By Other Media Exposure

Quite apart from other exposure in leading media, the exposure by Denmark’s national television and radio broadcaster DR can only have haunted the minds of Sai Baba and his officials. This was in its 2003 documentary Seduced (renamed Seduced By Sai Baba in the English language version by Australia’s national multicultural broadcaster SBS), seen by millions in Denmark, Norway and Australia. At this time, the top Sai leaders in Denmark and Australia made unavailing threats of legal action. In Denmark Sai Baba’s leaders Thorbjörn Meyer and Jørgen Trygved, hiring the top litigation talent in the country, took, between them, as many as ten court actions, all of which failed. In a scene reminiscent of Dr Michael Goldstein’s angry outbursts caught by the BBC’s hidden camera, Thorbjörn Meyer, one of the highest ranking of Sai Baba’s world leaders had, I am reliably informed, to be ordered out of the office of the distinguished head of Denmark’s top national television and radio Director of DR, Christian Nissen.

So much for such cultist. From his grave, the perennially and sorely relevant Sir Karl Popper must be desperately trying to write an update of The Open Society and Its Enemies.

For Viewing

See The Secret Swami HERE. Available in broadband and modem

Further Reading

The BBC’s The Secret Swami – A Revision.
The Genesis of the BBC’s The Secret Swami (Sai Baba)

For a detailed examination relating to Sai Baba’s production of the Shiva lingam, see the article HERE. Its author Robert Priddy, was formerly head of the Sathya Sai Organization in Norway, and is a retired academic in Philosophy and Social Science from the University of Oslo.

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Posted in Neglected/sidelined News, Religion, Sex, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | 10 Comments »

India A Mature Democracy? BBC Probes

Posted by Barry Pittard on August 1, 2007

Showing Sathya Sai Baba’s worthy causes might allow the BBC to appear balanced, but The Secret Swami television documentary (2004)

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

passed by the opportunity to canvas considerable allegations of fraud, and complaints by village elders that the Sathya Sai water project authorities have left a trail of broken promises. (Photo is of Tanya Datta, BBC interviewer for The Secret Swami)

Successive Indian Governments Cover Up For Sai Baba. Why?

Sai Baba’s state of Andhra Pradesh has long been one of India’s poorest. He has not managed to “clean up his own backyard” as he has so long promised to do. But then he was referring to the whole of India as his backyard, and he has not cleaned that up, either.

The Secret Swami reported that Sai Baba “cuts through the red tape” to provide water to poor villages via a costly pipeline. But the documentary missed the opportunity to suggest a major reason why successive Indian governments and opposition parties alike have covered for him. Yes, he (or rather his organization) accomplishes what they fail to provide, but with multi billions – the greater proportion of it from overseas! See my articles:

Trade Follows Flag. Abetting Indian Government Corruption.
British Labor and Tory Whips Suppressed Motion On Sai Baba

Would many Indian politicians, notorious for their extreme corruption, dare expose the foreign goose that lays the (cosmic!) golden egg? Driving this question would have reinforced the producer Eamon Hardy’s original query about whether India is a mature democracy.

View The Secret Swami HERE. Available in broadband and modem

Further Reading

The BBC’s The Secret Swami – A Revision.
The Genesis of the BBC’s The Secret Swami (Sai Baba)

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