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