Call For Media and Government Investigation

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

Archive for September, 2007

Contra Cult Crusaders Need to Communicate and Coordinate

Posted by Barry Pittard on September 30, 2007

In the exposure of morally or criminally aberrant gurus and their cults, it is important to keep focus on one’s own exposure campaigns. This alone takes enormous time and energy. 

However, there is often no communication between contra cult activists across the board, each group of whom is exposing the specific cult which it has left.

One would wish to advocate that, to some degree, activists across the board, engage in organized, civil exchange exchange of views, experiences, and, at times, resources.

One of the difficulties in the way of purposeful cross-exchange of views and resources is that the cultic mindset that brought individuals into a belief system can remain, even when exit from a cult has been made. Rigid, illiberal, locked in, and still fear-fraught. On the other hand, experience of a cult can be the very trigger that was needed for rigorous and productive self-introspection and questioning of belief systems.

Another constraint is, at the same time, one of the great strengths of dissenters from a teacher or an organization accused. This is that the organized ex-followers have, often enough, known or known about each other for years. There has already been formed both a trust basis and an intimate knowledge base of the nature, structure and personnel of the specific fold. Naturally, this distinctive advantage needs to be preserved – yet we need to raise our sights, and not get buried in smaller holes. These confines do not reflect the great latitude of what is a society-wide problem, where a society tends to be very shy of recognizing the harms, even though it is cripplingly hurt by them – both directly and indirectly.

There are, of course, some fora for this exchange of perspectives, such as those provided by conferences conducted by ICSA (International Cult Studies Association, formerly AFF), FAIR (Family Action Information and Resource, UK), and so on. At least face-to-face contact at the personal and professional or academic, levels can help sort out what emails and other readings never will. Here, one is heartened by cyberconferencing (both video and voice) developments such as Skype. 

Some cooperation is essential, given especially that there exist dangerous charismatic leaders who have come under widespread accusation of gravely immoral or criminal conduct.  

Just a few of the topics for discussion are:

  • Internet defamation and stalking (and sometimes real-time stalking) of those who have spoken out
  • Misuse of Wikipedia, and the exploitation of its present weaknesses
  • Prevention of unsrupulous and malicious methods of manipulating search engine results. For example, fanatical proponents of the guru accused multiplying – dubious – blog references by adding country prefixes to items. Using country prefixes as smokescreens. ‘Stacking’ Google ratings with multiple negative – and unfounded – references from a labyrinth of websites and blogs
  • Getting onto the political agenda the dangers posed to public well-being of cultic mindsets
  • Encouraging education systems to find effective means of teaching critical thinking
  • Accessing far greater film documentary, DVD, CD and other information resources that can incorporate the testimony of a range of dissenters but satisfy best independent, professional criteria for objective frameworks of presentation. The passion should not dissappear but certainly discountenanced altogether needs to be the vitriol, the libel, the character assassination, the internet flaming, computer hacking, etc., – although these can be portrayed within the ambit of proper and objective rapportage
  • Breaking down academic resistance to the study of cults
  •  Legal reform and better access to existing resources to ensure that human rights and other abuses by cults and institutions are successfully countered
  • Ways need to be found to ensure that those making allegations against gurus, etc., know about rights and processes, such as the careful making of an affidavit, pursuing remedies via media, governments and police agencies whether local federal or Interpol, and lawfirms. Far greater clarity needs to emerge about lawfirm access to de bono representations, class action provisions, and so forth.
  • Access to professional case-taking where individuals are ready to share their experiences of abuse
  • Greater access to trained, qualified counseling professionals. (Although here there are questions  about whether cult-specific professionals are those best-suited to dealing with cult exist presentations. However could there be enough e.g., Sai Baba-specific, Scientology-specific, SYDA-specific mental health professions to go around?)
  • Ensuring effective interactions between government, civic authorities, media etc., and those reporting serious infractions of law and ethics within institutions, and safeguarding the human rights of whistleblowers
  • Protection or relocation of those in danger because of their testifying against abuses
  • Portraying the widespread, non-specific, nature of teacher or institutional abuse within followings. There need to be comparative studies, and enough of these need to be in language accessible to the reasonably competent layperson

Posted in Neglected/sidelined News, New Age, Opinion, Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychotherapy, Rationalism, Religion, Skeptics, Social and Politics, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Why Might There Be Religious and Political Disconnects?

Posted by Barry Pittard on September 25, 2007

These short extracts from Shantanu Dutta’s article, Power of godmen, can provide a stimulus for discussion on the issue – are godmen (and godwomen, one supposes) beneficial or baneful or an intriguing mixture of both? (see extract below)

Of a statement by TRS (Telangana Rashtra Samithi) president K. Chandrasekhara Rao, Dutta says:

 “Apparently (it) indicates that in the political mind there is a big disconnect between the teachings and thoughts shared in discourses and the course of action that naturally follows as a consequence”.

It Can Take Two To Disconnect

And the disconnect no doubt is not just disconnect by politician from spiritual leader, but the reverse as well.

It is surely a situation which is relevant to religious leaders of any country. Are they fortified by ivory towers or dreaming spires – or can they genuinely relate to the day-to-day issues of people in general? If they cannot, then a disconnect is bound to occur. Might, for example, a lay person think the best counselor to go to in quest of a solution to practical marital problems is a lifelong monk or nun?

That is one side of the question. But then, suppose that a spiritual leader – whether worldly-wise or not – has some useful insight into a public matter. I agree with Dutta. Why should Sai Baba, or anyone for that matter, shut up about important issues? In regard to the greater public weal, who is not a stakeholder of one degree or another?

The issue of religious leaders speaking out arises as an explosive one when few speak out. Let only a few do it and they are a novelty – even a shocking one.

What is the case when abstracts or ideals, are preached? What would be needed to bring about a connect?

Ought We Disconnect from Disconnected Gurus?

Here, are but two questions some of my readers might like to run with their spiritual leaders – whether at a mandir or temple, synagogue, mosque, vihara, church, and so forth:

1. what is our Faith’s specific, injunction or declared statement – if there is one – on sexual abuse?

2. What policy guidelines – if any – are there for dealing with offenses, proved or as yet alleged – within the ranks of the authority or amongst the congregation? (Please be so kind as to write to me with the details. I am interested. Email: bpittard (at) optusnet.com.au)

There is bound to be conflict when a preacher does not grapple with the question of how lay persons can, without great stress – and indeed hypocrisy – act out the precepts in practical and meaningful ways.

That is to say – connected.
  ——————————-

Shantanu Dutta Article Extract

“The other Godman in the news was Sri Sathya Sai Baba. He didn’t get accolades of course for his remarks on Telengana and his opinion that those who talk in terms of the division of the country are actually committing a sin. His remarks led to a huge agitation and even violence. The TRS president , K Chandrasekhara Rao commenting on the Sai Baba’s remarks suggested that the Baba stick to singing Bhajans and other dharmic activities. Apparently that statement indicates that in the political mind there is a big disconnect between the teachings and thoughts shared in discourses and the course of action that naturally follows as a consequence”. Power of godmen, by Shantanu Dutta. MeriNews. 25 January 2007, Thursday. Link at begining of this blog. Dutta’s  article is also available at Desicritics.org – HERE

Further Reading

See my article, Sai Baba Sparks Political Furore. At the foot of it there are plentiful links to articles from major Indian newspaper sources. My point here was not whether Sai Baba was correct or not in speaking out about a hot political issue. It was this: He has, at 81 years of age, deviated from long decades of non-entry into hot political topics. My view is that, from time to time, he speaks without full control because of his increasingly visible and audible loss of mental faculties. This deterioration his close servitors have gone to great lengths to hide. In an extremely rare moment, the BBC was able to film this happening. It is little wonder that the ashram authorities evicted the BBC documentary makers, who began to ask perfectly reasonable questions – truthful answers to which the public has a right to know. See various film clips, including one where Sai Baba collapses and afterwards, by way of explanation, utters almost certifiable inanities before a vast crowd, HERE. Or for the whole of the BBC’s one-hour documentary (2004), go HERE for broadband and HERE for dialup modem. My detailed review-article The BBC’s The Secret Swami – A Revision is Here

Posted in Neglected/sidelined News, Opinion, Politics, Religion, Spirituality, Theology, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Robert Priddy (5). Reports Sai Baba Ashram Donation Scams

Posted by Barry Pittard on September 21, 2007

Robert Priddy, retired academic from the University of Oslo, was the head of the Sathya Sai Organization in Norway for fifteen years, and a frequent contributer of articles to Sanathana Sarathi, Sai Baba’s official magazine distributed worldwide.

He tells me that he was in India with Sai Baba nine times since 1984, amounting to well over one year in all, and had five long interviews. On each occasion, there were also private interviews as distinct from group ones, as well as many contacts during darshan (when Sai Baba walks among a seated crowd of many thousands).

In Face of Ashram Scams, Sai Baba Says: “What can I do? My hands are tied”

He relates that he and his wife Reidun donated thousands of pounds sterling to the Sathya Sai Central Trust. However, while still devotees, they were to learn from well-informed insiders that donated money is regularly subject to much waste and embezzlement, despite Sai Baba’s repeated and unconvincing denials.

There are many Sai Baba devotees who know perfectly well of these scams. When some have spoken to Sai Baba he has replied e.g., “What can I do? My hands are tied”. It is heartrending to hear of the sufferings of those who have been defrauded. Such accounts keep on coming.

Process of Spurious Rationalization By Scammed Devotees

The scammed devotees’ reaction (it was mine, too) is, for example, to think that somehow ‘Swami will guide’ or ‘Baba is testing us’, ‘Baba says that he has some evil souls around him and that they are put there to test our sadhana’ (spiritual development), and other such rationalizations. In some cases, the issue is very considerable, such that many devotees from various countries are aware of most shocking irregularities in the ashram’s handling of large payments and other arrangements concerning the purchase of apartments with the ashram. Very shaken devotees tell of being denied access to what they had properly and legally purchased. Still others relate that although they are recognized as the owners, the apartments are used in any way the ashram management likes – which prevents an owner or other members of his or her family, or fellow members of their Sai Center or zone or other close Sai devotee friends from using the apartment when the owner is not there.

Cognitive Dissonance and Cults Are Inseparable

This rationalization process is of course the psychological state of denial or handling of conflicted information, ‘cognitive dissonance’). It has been described classically by the social psychologist Leon Festinger, but by many others in various forms of psychology, psychiatry and psychotherapy. See, Wikipedia reference ‘Cognitive Dissonance’. Robert Priddy has written about some aspects of the Sai Baba ashrams donor scams HERE.

Further Reading

Robert Priddy’s very extensive website is HERE:
He blogs frequently at his blogsite ‘Sathya Sai Baba Exposed’, HERE
His article My Credo is HERE
Wikipedia entry under ‘Robert Priddy’.
The Sathya Sai Organization’s Deception and Propaganda Exposed, a four-Part article co-authored with Barry Pittard, dissecting views of Dr G. Venkataraman (Sai Baba’s head of propaganda and deputy world chairman) antipathetic to those of organized former devotees, whom Venkataraman has badly misrepresented, and demonstrably defamed.

Posted in Neglected/sidelined News, New Age, Religion, Sai Baba, Scandal, Uncategorized, World Religions | 2 Comments »

Caught In One Of History’s Most Powerful Cults (5)

Posted by Barry Pittard on September 19, 2007

The Sai Baba cult’s rank-and-file are often not privy to the cover ups of Sai Baba scandals that extend to the very top of both Central and State Governments in India.

Devotees at large are strongly urged by Sai Baba and his leaders not to view the Internet, and he tells them to view their “innernet”. What an effective way to keep devotees from examining and questioning, as though they had no connection with vital issues as citizens in the everyday world. In an October 1999 discourse, he said:

“Some of the elders sitting in the Verandah are indulging in gossip; it is finding its way into the internet. Anyone found talking in the Verandah should be sent out immediately, whosoever it may be. All those who give misleading information about what Swami tells them in the interview room should also be thrown out. I will never call such people for interview again. Only those who observe silence are good people. Silence fosters purity. Therefore observe silence at all times … Swami has nothing to do with internet. Not only now, even in future also You should not indulge in such wrong activities. This ‘disease’ has its roots in cities and is spreading like wild fire into villages polluting the village environment”

What is more familiar to some devotees are the terrible conflicts between top leaders, which can sometimes tend to boil over and, inescapably, be spotted by others – for example, the famous infights between Dr Michael Goldstein, the world chairman and T.Sri Ramanathan, recently retired head of the Australian Sathya Sai Organization.

These and other such Sai overlords would lord others into looking for their inner Lord but fail singularly in viewing their own “innernet”. Their horrible dogfights Sai Baba would advert to in interviews even among devotees more widely, and put a humorous gloss over what were terrible occasions. 

Many of Sai Baba’s organized followers are to some degree aware of the extraordinary egotism of the top leaders, who are handpicked by Sai Baba. Familiar statements are “Swami will sort it out”. He puts “these people in charge so as to test our sadhana” (application to spiritual disciplines). “Baba, being all-knowing, is speeding up our karmas”. In short, commonsense is abandoned.

However the power and supremacy of these leaders makes the efforts of would-be reformers who have not been thrown out of the organization, like Albert (Alby) Barelds in Australia, come across as extremely ineffective, and superficial in any case.

In purging the cult of those who raised voices of conscience, Indulal Shah (formerly Sai Baba’s longtime world coordinator), Thorbjörn Meyer, 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.

Further Reading

Dr Naresh Bhatia. Silenced Now In Indian Child Abuse Scourge

Letter from Stephen Carthew

See, Story of My Disqualification, and other articles by Serguei Badaev

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

Caught In One Of History’s Most Powerful Cults (4)

Posted by Barry Pittard on September 18, 2007

Workmates and many other acquaintances in the wider community who are not cult followers might be a good source for challenging cult members’ assumptions.

Few Reality Checks

But ‘cult’ here means a considerable closing off from other sources. This may not always be obvious, where cult members ‘blend in’ with workplaces, institutions of learning, volunteer service activities, etc. But the net effect is that there is a poverty of sources for any meaningful challenging of cult members’ assumptions.

In many countries, there is a common cultural sensitivity regarding discussions about religion (and politics), which are often excluded from conversation. Challenges usually come from within the cultic individual’s family, and these occasions can end up in disarray and even family breakdown.

Fear Rules Permanent Residents In Sai Baba Ashrams

Many permanent residents in Sai Baba’s ashrams know of the shocking anomalies but remain silent because they know that they and/or other family members will be cast out.

Families Torn

Former devotee support group members hear heart-rending stories well beyond the accounts of those who have been sexually abused. Others have been horribly treated by Sai Baba or his officials or service volunteers, or badly scammed by certain ashram authorities in the matter of purchase of apartments, or faced threats by the Sathya Sai Organization of being cast out if they raise questions, and so on. From around the world, we hear from those subjected to severe ostracism, after having carefully investigated various allegations, by family members. This has also been the fate of those who have a close relationship with survivors of various forms of abuse by Sai Baba or key figures around him. For fear of alienating family or friends who remain in the cult, there are former devotees who, though they may remain sympathetic to the expose cause, do not want to raise their own heads above the fence – where they are a sure target for fanatical defenders of Sai Baba. Or, what is perhaps worse, the blindness to their plight of those whom they have known and loved for years.

Abuse Survivors Often Say They Want To “Move On”

Freqently, survivors of sexual and other abuses do not wish to feel defined and stigmatized by their experiences, and prefer to remain silent. Many feel that, even if they ‘came out’, they would not be supported by those in their own family and local friendship circles. It is all very sad. 

Those of us who have wide contact with former followers of Sai Baba find that, so as to avoid marriage or other family break-up, some former cult members withold what they know from family who remain devoted to Sai Baba.

Across the contra cult literature, it can be seen that the constraints are very typical. These create considerable difficulty for reformists when it comes to messenging to the world at large – in the attempt to prevent future harm.

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

Caught In One Of History’s Most Powerful Cults (3)

Posted by Barry Pittard on September 16, 2007

An “Us” and “Them” Culture

In many cults the sense of ‘family’ is cultivated. Sai Baba devotees commonly speak of “the Sai family”, “Sai brothers and sisters”.

I used to like this practice myself, because it went with feelings of shared love of the spiritual teacher and of activities such as social service, singing together, sharing experiences of “Swami’s Grace’, and so forth.

However, even at the same time, uncomfortably, I also thought it had a danger, in that it necessarily, and in a well-intentioned but unthinking manner, created a notion of “us” as differentiated from others outside the communion. Sai Baba reinforces this notion by saying that the Sai Organization is THE divine instrument, more than at any time in history, of mankind’s rescue. No matter the incessant preachments about “all people being one”, the “brotherhood of Man and Fatherhood of God”, and so on. Sai Baba, for example has more than once proclaimed that he, in the aspect of the Eternal, told his son, Jesus Christ, “All are one, my son. Be alike to everyone”.

The ‘Sai Revolution’ That Never Came

Since I believed that there would be a ‘Sai Revolution’, in which Sai Baba’s clear and repeated promises would be fulfilled among all the peoples of the earth, I thought, ah, well, one day, all will be able to rejoice in the notion of being ‘Sai brothers and sisters’.

sai-babas-mask-like-face-parkinsons.jpg

The ‘Elect’ Faces An Inner Devastation

Sai Baba’s followers frequently say that “Swami sees and knows guides everything”. This sense of being an Elect was – no doubt inadvertently but with stark self-revelation – expressed by Sai Baba’s world chairman, Dr Michael Goldstein when, right after 9/11, he circularized devotees relating that “Swami prevented many of his devotees from being injured or killed in the World Trade Center where they are employed or had meetings scheduled. His Miraculous Intervention on behalf of His devotees is clearly evident”. See article, 9/11 Memories Discredit Sai Baba and His Global Cult

One of the Great, Failed, Would-be Revolutions of History

A sense of being especially chosen of God greatly enhances group cohesion as well as the individual’s own private sense of being part of the greatest spiritual revolution that has occurred in mankind’s history. W.B. Yeats wrote:

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world

To rephrase this, one may say: Things will fall apart because the Sai centre cannot hold. And mere anarchy will be loosed upon the unfortunate devotees’ inner world.

Given the state of Sai Baba’s advanced age, an move that is not a mighty miracle would preclude and forward movement. He often has to be pushed around in a wheel chair and be carted around in a golf buggy. His age as officially given is nearly 82, his next birthday being 23-11, 2007 but the his birthdate is contested by critics on evidence appearing, e.g.,  in the very prominent devotee R. Padmanaban’s book Love Is My Form, Vol.1, The Advent (1926-1950), Bangalore: Sai Towers Publishing, 2000: pages 68, 132-133, 147). For some facts and scanned documentary evidence, see HERE. Given too his advancing and undisguisable senility, both mental and physical, and his endless trail of broken promises and unfulfilled predictions, it is more arguable that his is one of the great, failed, would-be revolutions of history. Not that this vanquishes the problem. His devotees – although there have been considerable fallings away since our networked former devotee exposure activities came into their own circa 2000 – are fortified by walls no stronger than chronic blindness.

Revelations Slow But They Catch Up

This sad predicament of millions of Sai Baba followers from many countries around the world owes partly to the fact of their own unresolved and unquestioning neediness. And partly to the fact that Sai Baba and his core servitors have not, on numerous occasions, told the rank-and-file members the truth. There are instances already where these maleficent leaders have been confronted by those within their own families and significant others. This phenomenon can only increase as exposure of the dark side of Sai Baba and his core servitors is increasingly made known.

Caveat Emptor, Stercus Accidit

puttaparthi-mandir-shrouded-in-darkness.jpgPuttaparthi Sai Baba mandir (temple). But is it the Holy of All Holies? Or but giving little real light?

Unfortunately, the chances are that, so long as communities around the globe fall for his devotees’ agendas, it matters little whether Sai Baba is dead or alive. Sai Baba’s smiling photos and the vastly exaggerated stories of his protagonists will still, akin to John Brown’s body, go darshaning on, an image which, unless profoundly exposed, can distrastrously entrap unwary men, women and children of many nations.

See, previous instalments: Caught In One Of History’s Most Powerful Cults (1) and (2)

Further Reading

Cultic Depersonalization or Demonization of Dissenters

The Decline and Fall of the Showman Empire Will World Accept Sai Baba?

Will World Accept Sai Baba. He Says Yes. Very Soon

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

Caught In One Of History’s Most Powerful Cults (2)

Posted by Barry Pittard on September 14, 2007

Cultic Dealing With Risk-filled Outer and Inner Worlds

As well as the sense of belonging to a unique group – indeed the unique group! – the individual has intense focus on the personal relationship between the devotee and her/his spiritual master – or in the perceived case of Sai Baba, “Lord” or “Bhagawan”. There is the ‘Blessed Assurance’ that guru or Baba is “mine” and “I am His”. What a reassurance in a world ever more uncertain and dangerous!

Added to that considerable dimension is the often terribly unresolved inner world of conflict that made the person turn to such a belief system in the first place.

See, Caught In One Of History’s Most Powerful Cults (1)

Further Reading

Some Key Cultic Responses To Critics

Cultic Depersonalization or Demonization of Dissenters

Wealthy Americans Prepare Mansions For “God’s” Visit

Note:

This famous Christian hymn may convey something of the fixation of disciple to guru:

Blessed Assurance
Text: Fanny J. Crosby, 1820-1915
Music: Phoebe P. Knapp, 1839-1908

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
born of his Spirit, washed in his blood.
Refrain:
This is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior all the day long;
this is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
angels descending bring from above
echoes of mercy, whispers of love.
(Refrain)

Perfect submission, all is at rest;
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
watching and waiting, looking above,
filled with his goodness, lost in his love.
(Refrain)

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

Caught In One of History’s Most Powerful Cults (1)

Posted by Barry Pittard on September 13, 2007

A cult leader like Sai Baba appoints leaders under him who will act ruthlessly. While the charismatic figure goes around smiling sublimely, the leaders, smiling as often as they can in public, do his hatchet work sub terre.

Sincere Followers Often Know Leadership Is Harsh

Many Sai devotees know that they have many leaders who are unpleasant people indeed, and decidedly not those who they would vote for if there were an open system. The position is difficult for rank-and-file members who may wish to apply reasoning, for the top leaders operate in secrecy. It was not frivolously that the BBC named Sai Baba as “the secret swami” in the 2004 documentary of that name.

“Bias” Means Any Questioning of the Cult

Typical of the lines being fed to followers is a cry of media bias. For example, the deputy world chairman of the Sathya Sai Organization, Dr G. Venkataraman, attempted in a devotee newsletter to portray the BBC as at fault, speaking, in his Radio Sai newsletter read by devotees around the world, of “the notorious so-called documentary on Swami produced by BBC”. (See articles:
Sai Baba’s ‘Minister of Propaganda’ – Dr G. Venkataraman

Sathya Sai Baba’s Deputy Head Dr G. Venkatarman Speaks of “Mr” Idi Amin)

This cry of unfair was also a stock-in-trade of Indulal Shah, Sai Baba’s longtime former world head, who, in September 18, 2001, circularized Sai Baba’s world leaders for them to read out in the worldwide Sai centers. Shah has berated the world media which reported the many and serious worldwide allegations. These sad and at times tragic accounts far from stop at widespread serial sexual molestation of young males but include police killings in Sai Baba’s bedroom, massive deployment of funds to incredibly lavish architectual grandeur, etc., ashram scams involving letting out of apartments, and many other appalling anomalies – bad in the ‘normal’ world but even worse where claims of the highest spirituality are constantly made). Attempting to focus devotees’ minds away from the seriousness of the allegations, Shah said that the media 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.”

Such question-begging, blanket generalizations, which trade on popular prejudice against the media, are very typical of those like I. Shah and G. Venkataraman and other Sai Baba spokespersons. (See article: A Shah Under A Lord of Misrule) and take the place of specific argumentation. Why would the BBC, CBC, SBS, AZUL, India Today, The Times of London, The Telegraph, The Guardian and other serious media in various countries wish to militate against Sai Baba interests? Is the quality investigative media on some rampage against responsible and respectable organizations? In fact, many journalists know that Sai Baba’s executive is extremely elusive, resistent to questioning, and highly skewed in what little they do release. The BBC knew only too well that the Sathya Sai Central Trust Secretary K. Chakravarthy led them on a Soviet or Chinese style highly guided tour. (See article: Probed On Male Sex Abuse, Sai Baba Evicts BBC TV Team)

Why Would Top Media Heed Our Cries?

Here is a megabillion dollar (or name a currency) organization that has huge resources, and yet resents it when a small network of former devotees and other critics – who work at considerable personal sacrifice with limited means – attempt to get their accounts out to the world. There is the great hope that others will listen, when what the Sathya Sai Organization has done is to suppress, engage in monumental cover up, and elude even the simplest ethical requirements of accountability and transparency.

Further Resources

For Viewing:

BBC’s The Secret Swami. 1. Broadband. 2. Modem (.wmv)

For Reading:

The BBC’s The Secret Swami – A Revision

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

The Sathya Sai Organization’s Deception and Propaganda Exposed. Four-part analytical series by Robert Priddy and Barry Pittard.

Posted in Neglected/sidelined News, New Age, Religion, Sai Baba, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | 1 Comment »

9/11 Memories Discredit Sai Baba and His Global Cult

Posted by Barry Pittard on September 12, 2007

“A number of reports have been received from devotees indicating that our Beloved Swami prevented many of his devotees from being injured or killed in the World Trade Center where they are employed or had meetings scheduled. His Miraculous Intervention on behalf of His devotees is clearly evident”.

The above triumphal proclamation to the Elect (through whom Sai Baba has said he will achieved mankind’s greatest spiritual revolution) was circularized to large numbers of Sai Baba devotees around the world. Its author was Sai Baba’s world chairman, Dr Michael Goldstein, a physician of Covina, California, USA.

In a public meeting in Buenos Aires, attended by some 1500 Sai Baba devotees, October 20, 2001, the same Dr Michael Goldstein (reported by Zona de Investigación, Azul TV, Argentina) said:

“There are many devotees that worked in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon… And none of them went to work that day, or they arrived late…all the New York and Washington devotees are safe…”

bbc-clip-dr-micael-goldstein-gets-angry.jpgA raging Dr Goldstein as caught by BBC hidden camera in The Secret Swami (2004). See video clip HERE.

Communities and Governments Need to Heed Sai Baba Cult Facts

Various governments, political, civic and religious leaders have seen the utterly committed nature of Sai Baba’s leaders of his mega rich Sathya Sai Organization who have – at very high levels – contacted them, seeking to affiliate with community mainstreams. One area targeted is the inter-Faith movement, as are executives of  major world Faiths. Another sensitive area is schools and other places of learning. Here, likewise, Sai Baba is largely kept out of mention, but the secret agenda of the one named ‘the secret swami’ by the BBC’ is nonetheless powerfully unfolded. See Dominic Kennedy article, Suicide, sex and the guru, The Times of London, Monday August 27, 2001.

Sai Baba Has Promised To Rule World, Soon

What Sai Baba cultists do not disclose is that their agenda is to see their guru worshipped by the entire world. Despite all evidence to the contrary – including Sai Baba’s visibly and sorely deteriorating health – his devotees (many of them extremely rich and influential at the highest echelons of world power) are high-octane fueled by the absolute belief that he will – with a profusion of miracles the like of which have never been reported in history – make good his promises to rule the world before his dies (they do not use this word!) around 2022 AD. See my article, Will World Accept Sai Baba? He Says Yes. Very Soon

But would any country wish to be ruled by one whose top leaders say that their guru mystically prevented his devotees from being victims on the day of the terrorist attacks on the USA?

Further Reading

9/11 and Sathya Sai Baba’s claimed intervention! Posted by Robert Priddy, September 11th, 2007

Serial Sex Molestations and Bedroom Killings. But Much More

The English translation from Spanish of Gatapado journal article by a top Argentinean investigative journalist and Azul TV presenter Alejandro Agostinelli is HERE

Posted in Neglected/sidelined News, Religion, Sai Baba, September 11, Twin Towers, Uncategorized, World Religions | 2 Comments »

Robert Priddy (4). Cult Exit Painful. Exposure Slow

Posted by Barry Pittard on September 7, 2007

One of the greatest human tendencies when one’s belief system is challenged is to go into the state called by psychologists psychological denial.

This process is very remote from commonsense, rigorous self-introspection and reappraisal. It distorts, warps, and narrows a person’s field of generosity and compassion.

Like countless who dissent from a belief system that they have so deeply been a part of, Robert Priddy reports that he tried to rationalise away difficult realities. Eventually, he was able to speak with some of those who alleged that Sai Baba had sexually abused them. As others in various countries who have investigated, who in some cases have gone to Sathya Sai Organization leaders seeking for proper hearing of the allegations and been sorely rebuffed, Priddy acted. First he listened to the accounts without trying to over-ride the testimony of the individuals and, second, he considered the accounts along with other accounts from very different and unrelated sources. The besetting fault of believers in a cult is to be blind and deaf to what is being put to them, at which they resort to specious arguments, fanciful explanations, thinking the worst of those who speak up, and so on.

Vis à vis the exposure of Sai Baba and his Sathya Sai Organization, my early contacts with Priddy were relatively few. He wrote that he wanted to continue his investigations. I could see that he was still locked in a struggle. Furthermore, Glen Meloy and I, having already made many investigations were firmly set on a direct action trajectory. For example, we interfaced with and informed various government, institutional and civic groups with which the Sathya Sai Organization was globally attempting to ingratiate itself with. In some cases, major media came to us, and in other instances we went to the media, some sections of which investigated Sai Baba and his cult. This brought the allegations against them to the attention of millions. The advantages here are immense. One of the downsides, though, is that a great deal of what investigators found did not get to pages and screens.

During this time, Robert Priddy was increasingly committing his explorations to his website. His opus is now immense, and is often a questioning of a wide range of assumptions that go into accepting of a faith. This would befit habits long laid in his professional academic life in philosophy and social sciences at the University of Oslo, Norway. Glen Meloy and I were often far too busy to read this burgeoning opus, and the lack of feedback and coordination either way was considerable. Indeed, it has been a difficulty all along that there has been so much to do that those of us who have written extensively have not always had time to read what each other has written.

In any case, Glen Meloy and I were under very great constraint to keep much of our vast databases, given their sensitivity and confidentiality, extremely private. Glen died on January 1, 2005, mourned by many around the world, irrespective of whether they were former devotees, humanists, rationalists, etc. It was not, effectively, until months after this that Robert Priddy and I began in earnest to cooperate on various activities and gain permissions, respectively, from his respondents and mine for us to share certain of our resources.

Further Reading

Wikipedia entry for: Robert Priddy

His My Credo is Here

His strongly maintained blogsite is: http://robertpriddy.wordpress.com

Previous articles in this series:

Robert Priddy (1). Erosion of Trust In Sai Baba Over Time
Robert Priddy (2). The Protection of the Young and Innocent
Robert Priddy (3). Friendship With V.K. Narasimhan
 

Posted in Neglected/sidelined News, Religion, Sai Baba, Spirituality, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Cultic Depersonalization or Demonization of Dissenters

Posted by Barry Pittard on September 2, 2007

Where a strong belief system is under question, a state psychologists call ‘psychological denial’ kicks in. 

(A standard dictionary definition is given at Dictionary.com:  ‘an unconscious defense mechanism used to reduce anxiety by denying thoughts, feelings, or facts that are consciously intolerable’).   

The results are very remote from commonsense, rigorous self-introspection and self-reappraisal. An irony is that those who   subsequently dissent undergo, prior to their dissent, the same defensiveness that is maintained by those who remain within the cult. By no means does disaffection tend to happen overnight. Some dissenters speak of how they themselves, often for a   considerable time, ignored the ‘warning flags’. There are many dissenter accounts of how they, prior to exit, made a huge effort to restore their faith. One rationalizes, justifies, and clutches at straws.  

On exit from the fold, one experiences the deeply saddening loss of dear friends and colleagues (in many cases of decades) who remain in the fold. When one starts to raise questions, fellow devotees are immediately reactive, and incapable of listening to what is being pointed out. With sheer force of reactiveness, believers make leaps of assumption – those making allegations must be mentally disturbed. Or being paid to cause trouble. Or they are limelight seekers. Or they must have alligned themselves with some other sect. Or be the plaything of forces of darkness. Or be disgruntled, and missed out on the leader’s interviews, or been denied various other   forms of supposed grace and favour. And what right has anyone to criticize the guru especially when the guru himself calls   his dissenters demons? Those who question are either made to shut up or else evicted from the organization. 

It does not count that the attributions made are falsifiable. One may have spent long years in not being a liar, a troublemaker, disgruntled, mentally deranged, hallucinating, etc., but, overnight as it were, one is transformed in the mind of the faith’s adherents into the image of all things dastardly – or at least as a poor misled fool. One is deemed apostate, and a depersonalizion process takes over – and at its extremes demonization. Within the organization, proper, fair, just and reasonable accountability processes are absent. Lost is the fact that many dissenters, all   along, never were of the nature of what devotees now attribute. Memory is lost or suppressed.  

Within the cult – no matter what its claims to be spiritual, loving, etc., commonsense, compassion, a sense of common justice, and common decency in regard to dissenters all shut down. Those who question are often either absolutely turned upon or absolutely ignored.

Further Reading

Wikipedia:

Post-cult trauma

Denial

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