Call For Media and Government Investigation

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

Archive for April, 2008

Pope’s US Visit. Is US to blame for abuse crisis?

Posted by Barry Pittard on April 30, 2008

The headlines are going up: Pope blames US for abuse crisis.

Of course, we shall need to see whether his statements exactly reflect the headlines. (See BBC News reference below, Pope attacks US sex abuse record)

If they are accurate, it may appear as a type of papal and Roman Catholic hierarchy self-absolution? Surely, the responsibility needs to be taken as a whole by the ‘Captain’. There can be no blame shifting, as decent Roman Catholics themselves have attested, when they were ready to buck an incredibly powerful heirarchy in a courageous coming out against sexual abuse within their church.

A Suggestive Historical Counter-factual

Let us alter the scenario. Suppose this: that, decades ago, a Pope had said: We are getting shocking reports of sexual abuse. We shall move against this iniquity with the utmost urgency and thoroughness and compassionate professionalism – compassionate, above all, for the survivors of this great and abominable abuse. It is not to be tolerated. It would be too facile to blame the problem on any wealthy country, because the same abuses are to be found in countries rich and poor, and at every socio-cultural level.

Resources

BBC NEWS. Pope attacks US sex abuse record

April 18, 2008

‘Pope Benedict XVI has criticized US bishops for their handling of child sex scandals, saying their response to the crisis had sometimes been very poor.

He laid part of the blame for the crisis, of which he feels “deeply ashamed”, on a breakdown in US values’.

The Australian. Pope spreads pedophilia blame

April 18, 2008
‘WASHINGTON: Feted at the White House on his 81st birthday, the Pope told the US’s bishops that the scourge of clergy sex abuse had sometimes been “very badly handled” – and laid part of the blame for the scandal on the breakdown of values in American society … The US church has been racked by falling attendance at mass and financial and other difficulties in recent years, most notably the sexual-abuse scandal that has resulted in the removal of many clergy from the ministry …. Describing clerics who sexually abused children as “gravely immoral”, the Pope warned that the scourge of pedophilia “is found not only in your dioceses but in every sector of society” … Last year, 689 fresh allegations of abuse were lodged, and the church paid out $US615 million to settle child sex abuse cases involving members of the clergy ‘.

Some related Articles at Call For Media and Government Investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

Cult Exposure. By Their Documents Ye Shall Know Them

Australia Says ‘Sorry’. A Lesson For Sai Baba And Followers

The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ – A Revision

Posted in Religion, Spirituality, Theology, Uncategorized, World Religions | 1 Comment »

V.P.B. Nair. B.Premanand. R.Priddy: Sai Baba Bedroom Killings

Posted by Barry Pittard on April 7, 2008

The more media, institutional, academic and other third party investigators become aware of the sheer extent of the evidence of criminal cover up by successive Indian governments over the years of the Puttaparthi police killings in Sathya Sai Baba’s bedroom – the better.

Libel and Slander Replace Due and Proper Third Party Investigation

Researchers will see that what has regrettably too often fallen to the lot of former devotees, and also other critics of Sai Baba (most notably B. Premanand), should have been investigated according to well-laid canons of independent, fully accountable probes by government, parliament, police, judiciary, media and so on.

Instead, there has been, from Sathya Sai Baba ‘down’, the attempt to  ridicule, demean, and slander those many former Sai devotees from countries right round the world who have attempted to raise questions properly to be asked – when serious and sustained allegations are made – of any organization.

The way in which both certain top leaders and various rank-and-file members of the Sathya Sai Organization have covertly reacted in supporting attacks on former devotees on the Internet and elsewhere is light years away from the spirituality they preach. Those who have been so profoundly and viciously slandered and libeled gave decades of deep devotion and service, only to be, virtually from the moment they began to raise questions, demonized.

By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them

This culpability of foremost Sathya Sai Officials, but also, to varying extents, certain rank-and-file members of the Sathya Sai Organization, for covertly supporting scurrilous attacks against former devotees and other Sai Baba critics on the Internet and beyond is now being documented, as for example:

The International Sathya Sai Organization – an accessory to a massive libel and disinformation campaign

There is a key joint former devotee document:

Open letter to the Prasanthi Council – c/o Dr. M. Goldstein, Dr. G. Venkataraman and its other members. Here is a quote from that source:

Two semi-official pro-Sai web sites – saibabaofindia.com/ and saibabalinks.org/ – which could not operate without the help of central officials of the Sathya Sai Organization, Radio Sai Global Harmony and Sai ashrams, have links to websites which libel all former members who have spoken out. Such links reveal the obvious inability of Sai representatives in these groups to reply honestly and cogently to any of the many published allegations about Sai Baba made by those who were long respected members, in some cases prominent leaders, of his international organization. Furthermore, some members link to extremist web sites which have as their primary agenda contrived attempts at character assassination of ex-followers who present critical views. The most prominent of such sites are examined here and here.

See a list (by no means exhaustive) of typical depradations by those Sathya Sai Baba forces (and those caught up in other cults) who claim to be involved in spirituality: Dissent From Guru Cults Draws Slander and Harassment. See also, Cultic Depersonalization or Demonization of Dissenters

The one-hour BBC documentary, The Secret Swami (2004) on Sathya Sai Baba, is compelling, and was the work of more than seven intensive months. Its scope was, however, narrow indeed in comparison to a vast database that discloses that much else ails Puttaparthi Sai Baba and his forces such as the Prashanti Council and the International Sathya Sai Organization.

The Indian Government and Police Cover Up of Killings in Sai Baba’s Bedroom

Even so, The Secret Swami reveals much, including information about gruesome Puttaparthi police killings in Sai Baba’s bedroom on June 6, 1993.

Many Indian journalists and editors and others know of the profound extent of the cover up by the then powerful Home Minister S.B. Chavan, and central, Andhra Pradesh State and local governments. It is a pity that very few have had the courage to speak out publicly on the issue, as has former Andhra Pradesh Home Secretary V.P.B. Nair, who was in office at the time of the killings. It is a sad commentary that very few had the courage in speaking out displayed by those such as Nair and B. Premanand. See transcript of Nair’s statement to the BBC HERE.

Sathya Sai Baba and Chief Officals Caught in Covering Up

The BBC shot more than 80 hours of footage. It saw the impressive line-up of former devotee witnesses from various countries and, correspondingly, the sheer degree of cover up by Sai Baba’s officials. Consequently, the producers, Eamon Hardy and David Savill, obtained from the top Executives of the BBC permission to use the terribly sparingly-used resort of a hidden camera. They were able to get such a noble and spiritual glimpse of the Sai Baba’s world head Goldstein as THIS! Or, should you prefer to see a piece of extemely revealing BBC footage of Sai Baba’s main man (or heavenly messenger?!), see THIS!

Officials included  Sathya Sai Central Trust Secretary, K. Chakravarthy, and Sathya Sai Organization World Chairman, Dr Michael Goldstein of Covena, California, USA. As have other major media organizations, the BBC withstood attempts to silence it by extremely high-ranking officials of Sai Baba’s outfit. Canada’s national broadcaster CBC was waylaid by hundreds of phone calls and emails by Sathya Sai Baba devotees, both before and after the screenings of the documentary in Canada. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation program host said on air:

“We stand by the professionalism of our BBC colleagues”.

See my review (not in some respects favourable) of The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ – A Revision. NOTE: At the foot of this article, there are links to video footage that you can access both on broadband and dialup. See also my articles:

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

Indian Minister Shields Sai Baba on BBC television

BBC Caught UNESCO Head Bowing To Indian Government

Serial Sex Molestation and Bedroom Killings. But Much More

Guru Sex Abuse Testimony To BBC – After Years of Silence

India A Mature Democracy? BBC Probes

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

Criticism of Sai Baba No Reflection On Hinduism

Some Key Cultic Responses To Critics

Serial Sex Molestation and Bedroom Killings. But Much More

 
 
Some Further Resources

“Murders in Sai Baba’s Bedroom” by B. Premanand. Price India Rs. 400/-, Overseas US $40/- (free postage). Publ. by B. Premanand. 11/7 Chettipalayam Road, Podnadur. 641 023 Tamil Nadu, India

B. Premanand Online Articles

see Wikipedia ‘Basava Premanand’
Massive sabotage try by Sai. Org person foiled

Summary: Key Points on the Sai Baba Murders
Indian official tries to conceal facts

Sexual Abuse, healing, or oil anointing?
Sexual abuse, Gerald Moreno etc. part two !
On Alaya Rahm’s testimonies against Sai Baba
Murders issue – a defamatory critic rebutted.
Further rebuttals about the murders
Conclusive rebuttal about the murders – plus
Conclusive final rebuttal on the murders
Concerning my reputation & writings (1 2 3 4 5 )
Further refutation of Moreno’s obfuscations
Unfounded allegations & an anon. letter
Part Four on the ‘Betrayal’ letter
Baseless allegations about a letter refuted
BBC’s ‘This World’ article on Basava Premanand
More unfounded misleading claims about my writings

Articles by Robert Priddy

See Wikipedia article under ‘Robert Priddy’. He was founder member of Sathya Sai Organization, Norway. Office-bearer Oslo Sai Centre 1983. Chairman from 1987 while acting national contact-person of the Sathya Sai Organisation, Norway 1987-2000.  Retired academic, Philosophy and Social Science, University of Oslo. Robert Priddy was for many years a close and trusted friend of (Late) V.K. Narasimhan, one of India’s great newspaper editors, and editor, following  Professor N. Kasturi, of Sai Baba’s official magazine Sanathana Sarathi.

More Concerning The 1993 Murders In Prashanthi Mandir

Excerpts from newspaper reports with information concerning the murders in Sai Baba’s vicinity at Prashanthi Nilayam of 6-6-1993

The Unresolved, Covered-up 1993 Murders in Sathya Sai Baba’s Bedroom Revisited

Sathya Sai Baba Bedroom Murders

A convenient coverage of many of the issues is at Robert Priddy’s blogsite: http://robertpriddy.wordpress.com. See, Sathya Sai Baba Bedroom Murders

Part 1. Part 2. Part 3.

 

police-shootings-sai-babas-bedroom.jpg

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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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Cult Exposure. By Their Documents Ye Shall Know Them

Posted by Barry Pittard on April 1, 2008

Those organizations and individuals approached by the International Sathya Sai Organization may do well to look at the page just constructed by Robert Priddy. Now a retired academic from the University of Norway, he was for over fifteen years its head in Norway, until his prolonged and rigorous investigations disclosed its profound duplicity (often hidden from its rank-and-file).  He documents the Sathya Sai Organization’s (so-called!) ‘Interactive Panel’ of the 8th World Conference (November 2005)
– from [http://www.saiscotland.com/resource/misc/8thWC-QA1.htm].

Non Interactive ‘Interaction’?

The whole notion of interaction can be seen as false by any reader not enmeshed by cultic (non-) thinking. But by what – plausibly more than by the voices of critics – will the Sathya Sai Baba’s cult be exposed to the world? It is by reference to the conflicted words and actions of Sathya Sai Baba’s leaders that the profound failure of intellectual and moral integrity of his operation at large is made manifest to honest enquirers. Indeed, Robert Priddy’s main website is entitled: Sathya Sai Baba In Word And Action

By Their Documents Ye Shall Know Them

It was anciently said: ‘By their fruits ye shall know them’. Very true, and I may add:  By their documents ye shall know them. One does not contend that the leaders of the international Sathya Sai Organization are unendowed with intelligence. If anything, they have all too much of it – but it is unhappily deployed, and if unchallenged, given the group’s Croesus-like wealth,  runs the serious risk of their founder being hailed for centuries. There is, however, a feature that is of interest to those scholars and other investigators who study patterns of cultic thought and action. This factor relates to the way in which – in the worship of a charismatic figurehead – even the most ordinary practices of intellectual probity, the exercise of the most fair, democratic and reasonable processes, the faculty of moral discrimination, and indeed of commonsense itself are self-subverted, and, by powerful reinforcement, undermined by group-think. Or group-non-think. 

Of Ghostly Semi Responses, Floating Disembodied Questions, and Human Immobilization

The genuineness (and indeed perhaps an underlying anxiety) of the questions from the conference floor, as any slightly sensible person can see plainly, are in marked contrast to the evasiveness and poor general poor quality of the virtual non-responses by the top leaders in Sathya Sai Baba’s organization. They have a consummate exemplar in their sorely disfigured figurehead. You can scarcely hear the ghosts of their former, and perhaps even likable human and vulnerable, selves. But you can hear the creaking of the haunted house, and sense the bated breaths of the frightened inhabitants, the captive audience – with a straining-at-the-leash partial awareness of severe need for reform, but unable to see far beyond the kennel to which they are bound.  The Chief ghost has them deeply troubled but immobilized, not even to bay at the moon. Their questions hang in the air like disembodied spirits, never to be communicated with. Sai Baba himself believes in, and claims he is in touch with, ghosts. Yet again is the bad fruit revealed by the self-documentation, publicly available. See, Unnatural Events In Sathya Sai Baba’s Bedroom, Told By Him, Sanathana Sarathi, June 1998, p. 142-3.

The Disappearing Ghost References. Banished by An Eery Touch No Lighter Than An Editorial Hand

Indeed, one of the ghost-vanquishing editorial hands was my own! For a few months ca. 1997-1998, I had a considerable editorial hand in Spiritual Impressions, Puttaparthi, a beautifully-produced magazine distributed worldwide. When I saw Sai Baba’s ghost references (referring to Sai Baba’s account of his seeing his mother’s ghost) in a brand new pencil-written translation by (if I recollect aright) Professor Anil Kumar, Sai Baba’s official translator, I went across the road and conferred with my dear friend (the late) V.K. Narasimhan, one of India’s great newspaper editors, then Editor of Sanathana Sarathi. Each of us censored most of the ghost references felt likely to blow the mind of rational readers, in an account which was, in any case, terribly muddled and a terrible strain on any half-compos mentis translator. Such extraordinary blunders usually get excised before they get into publications that go worldwide like Sanathana Sarathi and Spiritual Impressions. In retrospect, the flap they cause among Sai Baba’s editors and other publication staff are really quite funny. See, Brian Steel,  SB’s Discourses. More Nonsense, where Steel works, as so often, from the tell-tale documents themselves and here from (then devotee and Sai Baba’s official videographer) James Redmond’s video material from which the excisions of the magazine editors were not able to occur.  See also my, Huge Sai Baba Gaffes I quote briefly from Robert Priddy’s pagehttp://www.saibaba-x.org.uk/10/interactive_panel.htm

Here, Robert Priddy copies, and tersely comments on, parts of a transcript of the 8th World Conference (November 2005) of the Sathya Sai Organization – noting that: 

 “the questions and answers demonstrate very well how avoidance of issues, cover-up of damaging facts and patronizing talk is the backbone of all Sathya Sai Organization conferences”.

‘(Dr David Gries) introduced the panel: Dr. Michael Goldstein, Dr. Narendra Reddy, Air Chief Marshall N. C. Suri, and Dr. William Harvey

Question 1. “Why are previous Conference recommendations and resolutions not implemented?” 

Answer 1. (Dr. Goldstein): Many recommendations and resolutions have been made. (Priddy’s comment: That does not answer the question, as usual) Suggested changes to the Charter are being considered by members of the Prasanthi Council. (Priddy: Authoritarian VIPs decide everything, in other words. Anti-democratic because it would all fall apart otherwise)

Q10. Doesn’t the Organization need to set a vision? The Organization is not addressing its sustainability. The speakers are not addressing the theme of the conference.

A10. (Dr. Michael Goldstein, international head of Sathya Sai Organization): First of all, there is no question of addressing sustainability. This organization is imbued with divinity, founded in the name of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Imbued with Love, wisdom and power insofar as we are able to come together as devotees and tap that Love, the organization is invulnerable and eternal as is Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Swami has said so.

A12. (Dr. Goldstein): Swami appointed the members of the Prasanthi Council. (Priddy: and he is a known misogynist) With regard to the panel, I thought these people would be the best to serve you. (Priddy: So it’s a man’s world for Goldstein too!) (Air Chief Marshall Suri): Men and women can relate. Our understanding of Love now is based on animal instincts, but Love should be pure (Priddy: Suri can speak for himself). Swami gives us options, take time to think about what will be correct action. Do relations have to be physical? It is the manner in which we relate to one another that becomes important. Love is different from relationships. We have the task of letting people know the difference. The problem you mention is not foreign to Indians. (Priddy: Women’s liberation may have just begun weakly in India, but certainly NOT in the Sathya Sai Organization!) …  Goldstein is the one to talk about status consciousness see here and treating people with love as his bullying behavior towards Tanya Datta of the BBC)

Q15. Heads of the Sai organization are becoming status conscious. How could this be remedied?

A15. (Dr. Goldstein): The remedy for officers who are so status conscious is to treat them with Love. (Priddy) Better to kick them all out and have genuinely spiritual leaders. Anyone who asks sensitive questions is kicked out (e.g., Leader of the Moscow Centre, Serguei Badaev), so why not also and not least these immature and often authoritarian characters. 

Further General Resources

  • Citizen Initiative
  • Recent Research on the Claims of Sathya Sai Baba
  • Sathya Sai Baba Deceptions Exposed
  • Sathya Sai Baba In Word And Action
  • http://www.exbaba.com
  • http://www.saigurunet.com
  • Posted in Rationalism, Religion, Skeptics, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | 2 Comments »