Call For Media and Government Investigation

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

Archive for May, 2008

Joseph. Early Sathya Sai Baba Whistleblower

Posted by Barry Pittard on May 27, 2008

Particularly for those readers those who were Sathya Sai Baba followers for decades – who are continuing to leave the Sathya Sai Organization and gradually recovering memories of their experiences – I am reposting, having unposted, my first WP blog article at – https://barrypittard.wordpress.com

This February 2007 article was then entitled: Joseph’s Reaction. Was it shock of spiritual betrayal?

In exposing corruption, painstaking documentation, as accurate as one can get it under often trying circumstances, is paramount. Sources keep on opening. Including ones that go way back, and it is good to see memories being jogged. Much of the documentation we keep from the public domain, such as the Internet, where fanaticism, distortion, libel, slander, stalking and hatred can ride high. As I often point out in red so there can be no missing it, many former devotees welcome third party investigation by the best quality media, by scholars, and law enforcement agencies.

Documentation is much assisted by those with the rare gift of photographic memory, and also by those who kept careful written records. Yet when there is a sufficient pool of informants, where the chance of any collusion is remote or to be ruled out, the stream of informal information is also important.

It may be urged, and in part mistakenly so, that memory is too fallible to be any reliable guide. Hearsay can dominate. Non-primary evidence can obtrude itself. And so on. The game used by psychologists that is most often known as ‘Chinese Whispers’ (See Wikipedia reference below) illustrates the marked dangers of accounts passed from person to person and of phenomena such as rumor, gossip. However, there are well-established methodologies by which to significantly counteract such problems. Sometimes, commonsense is not to be ruled out as a useful factor.

Resource

Chinese Whispers, Wikipedia Reference

…………………………………………………………………

“The mire was deep, & the child did weep”. William Blake, Songs of Innocence.

 
Let me start with one of a number of experiences that haunt me and will not let my conscience be stilled. In 1979, in the crowd awaiting Sai Baba’s public appearance (darshan), Joseph (USA) sat along with the rest of us.

I knew him well enough, and it was he who found me accommodation on my first arrival with wonderfully simple and decent village folk in Kadogodi, behind Sathya Sai Baba’s Whitefield ashram. He had told me that he was formerly a college lecturer in French. Called a hippy by the village children (who may have been somewhat right), he appeared to be in his thirties, and was one of three or so Westerners remaining after the hippies and others had departed from Sai Baba in the late sixties.

Joseph began to discourse, for all of us to hear, and I sat just behind him. At times with rising stress levels, and with moral outrage, he repeated that that some college boys had told him Sai Baba had asked a number of them (in Joseph’s words) to “line up and masturbate.” On the third or so day of Joseph’s dark rumblings, six hefty Indian male service volunteers (seva dals) came and carried him out onto the street, ordering him not to return. I expect any of the thousand or so present can never forget the fight that the immensely powerful Joseph put up, roaring out the accusations for all to hear. A very distressed Indian man said to me, “If Sai Baba is God, why do they need to use all this violence against this man?” An hour afterwards, one of the volunteers told me that his duty of ejecting Joseph was “like wrestling a tiger.” He told me that his part in manhandling of Joseph saddened him because they had known each other affectionately.

For the next days, while people awaited darshan, Joseph climbed a tree outside the ashram wall, and again cried out the allegations for us all to hear. Then, he was gone. I heard from a close friend and local resident, Siva Subramanian, a Tamil and retired grain merchant who knew some of the Tamil constables, that the Kadugodi village police had soundly thrashed Joseph, and sent him on his way.

So much, then, for the cardinal doctrine of ahimsa or non-violence – in the land that still daily venerates my great hero since I was a child, Mahatma Gandhi – along with the Dalai Lama and Martin Luther King, a towering apostle of non-violence. Sai Baba everywhere preaches ahimsa, but does he – and do those around him – practise it? Many devotees will remember his brutal corrupt servitors like Kumar, the betel nut chewing, stick-wielding ex-superintendent of police, who was Sai Baba’s gatekeeper at Puttaparthi for many years. Diane, a woman in the Sathya Sai Baba group not far from where I live told me of her trauma at seeing violence perpetrated by some of Sai Baba’s assistants. She said it presented her with great doubts about Sai Baba but felt that she could not speak further. Her story is one of many such, a fact that devotees really need to face squarely.

Just a small few of the grave complaints about Sai Baba, which are strenuously covered up by his servitors:

  • Large-scale, serial sexual molestation of boys and young men
  • Being implicated in police killings in his bedroom on June 6, 1993, along with massive cover-up by his ashram authorities and local, state and central government and police
    Faking many miracles
  • Promising but not delivering miraculous cures
  • Making prophecies which have not eventuated
  • Giving accounts known by modern science to be completely unfounded
  • Contradicting himself, over long years, in published discourses
  • Massive misappropriation of funds donated by devotees worldwide
  • Presiding over a highly unaccountable financial empire
  • Creating myths about himself, which he permits to be used as the basis for materials in public exhibitions, like the museums at Puttaparthi and Mumbai
  • Falsifying his birth and school details
  • Plagiarising the sayings of others
  • Running a worldwide organisation that is extreme in its lack of public accountability and transparency, and which hides certain core, but embarrassing beliefs and agendas when it runs its recruitment drives in luxurious, costly venues.

And, alas, Etc., etc.

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Posted in Neglected/sidelined News, New Age, Religion, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Supercool Indian Gurus Under Fire

Posted by Barry Pittard on May 22, 2008

The following readings indicate two-way pulls occurring in India – towards gurus and the extraordinary power many of them have, down millennia, wielded, and away from them.

The article, by Jeremy Page, features criminal allegations, made against Himaval Maheswara Bhadranandaji. The current guru furore has reached prominence in The Times, May 21, 2008
It headlines: Money and sex tarnish Indian guru image.

The Times of London (May 21, 2008 ) has just headlined: Money and sex tarnish Indian guru image. The article features criminal allegations made against Himaval Maheswara Bhadranandaji:

They’re conducting all kinds of criminal and material activities behind their spiritual exteriors,” G. Sudhakaran, Kerala’s minister for temples, told The Times. “Ninety per cent of them are fake and criminals. There are so many swamis who have enlightened the hearts and minds of people, but these people are fakes with no idea about spirituality. They are only interested in women and money and muscle power.” His comments outraged many devout Hindus, who consider swamis to be beyond reproach — even above the law.

From my wide Indian acquaintanceship, one thing is very clear: many devout Hindus are most decidedly concerned about those swamis who are NOT beyond reproach. Nonetheless, by the impulsive and unreflective, the Keralan Minister G. Sudakaran will be badly assailed for his outspokenness.

The Times report continues: :

This isn’t just a problem confined to Kerala — the same thing happens everywhere else,” Narendra Nayak, the president of the Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations, said.

You have all sorts of illegal things going on in ashrams, but police won’t go in there because they’re holy places.” Dr Nayak alleged that many swamis abused their holy status to launder money for politicians, businessmen and criminals and to provide a safe place for their clients to drink and have sex with prostitutes.

Part of the problem, he said, was that the swamis were not regulated by any central religious or government body.

James Vadakkumcherry, a former teacher at the Kerala police training college who is doing a study on bogus swamis, said that there were about 50 or 60 such “holy men” in Kerala alone …

The great irony is that, when religious institutions do not clean themselves up they lay themselves perfectly open to rationalists to come and do the job for them. The great Indian Swami Vivekananda was renowned for outspokenness and one would trust that more would open their mouths. One of his many and splendidly robust writings speaks of how words cognate to the Sanskrit ‘abhi’ (relating to fearlessness) “rang throughout the Vedas” – if I have got my quote exactly right. But if religious institutions do not practice what they so frequently preach, it is little wonder they are beset by rationalists to point out the weaknesses.
As in any society, there are clerics or other religious or self-growth figures who are good, bad and indifferent. Perhaps the best guru is the one who shows people how to dispense with gurus, just like conscientious doctors and dentist on whom we, um, of course, can depend to work hard to put themselves out of a job.

Of course, one needs to factor in complex factors, political, social and religious that determine why certain gurus are pursued with the full force of the law, while others are not.

In the meantime, we may spare a thought for those members of the Indian judiciary, police forces and governments, parties and also courageous private individuals who, in confronting corruption, sometimes risk life and limb.

1) Swami Sharadananda Awarded Capital Punishment In Murder Case

21 May, 2005

2) Swami Premananda of Tiruvannamalai

The Supreme Court today upheld the conviction and life sentence for two terms

Deccan Herald April 5, 2005. Swamy Premananda of Tiruchirapally ashram in Tamil Nadu

“The Supreme Court today upheld the conviction and life sentence for two terms of Swamy Premananda of Tiruchirapally ashram in Tamil Nadu for raping 13 women and murdering one person”.

3) Kanchi Sankaracharya – arrested and accused of murder. Verdict not yet arrived at.
The Hindu
April 11, 2008 wrote: “The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved verdict on a petition by the Kanchi Sankaracharya, Sri Jayendra Saraswathi, for a direction to the Pondicherry government to appoint a public prosecutor to conduct trial in the Sankararaman murder case. The case, in which he is the main accused, has been shifted from Tamil Nadu.”

4) The Case against Swami Rama of the Himalayas.

5) The Sunday Times (UK). July 17, 2005. India‘s yuppies flock to gurus for stress relief.

“When Business gets stressful some managers call in the consultants. In India, however, the stressed-out consultants are calling in the gurus”. By Michael Sheridan, Delhi.

6. From The Times, UK. August 28, 2003. In search of false gurus. A radical sceptic is leading a campaign to expose the fake holy men of India. Tanya Datta.

At: Call For Media and Government Investigation of Sathya Sai Baba -:

Indian Gurus Stifle India‘s Chance To Excel

Inequality Before The Law In India

Criticism of Sai Baba No Reflection On Hinduism

Who In India Will Stand Out Against Abuses

Sai Baba: I Will Save India and Then The World

Posted in Religion, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Sathya Sai Baba World Cult Leaders Fail To Meet Concerns on Libel

Posted by Barry Pittard on May 16, 2008

The excerpts in color orange below are from a communication addressed by JuST, an internationally networked group of former devotees of Sathya Sai Baba, to key officials of the International Sathya Sai Organization.

The leaders have singularly failed, year after year, to meet deep concerns of many former – and indeed of some present – adherents from many countries around the world. See, previous Barry Pittard blog entry: Sathya: Sathya Sai Baba Organization and Libel and DisinformationThe Organization equally failed to act, at least openly, in regard to yet another document into which great time, care and sincerity had also been put, See,
Towards Public Accountability and Due Investigation: A Formal Open Appeal To ‘The Prashanthi Council’.

Excerpt 1. Many official and other closely associated prominent supporters of the Sathya Sai Organization have allowed – particularly since considerable exit from the organization commenced from circa 2000 – deplorable libel and misrepresentation of former devotees in many countries, including stalking of former devotees both on and off the Internet.

Excerpt 2. 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.

Excerpt 3. The Sathya Sai Organization and the Prasanthi Council have both failed to distance themselves from the massive and sustained sabotage attempt through a huge fabric of fraudulence in over 100 emails by Murali Krishna Yachendra. This former Sai student, and quite popular Sai College teacher and very close associate of ashram and Organization officials, is a cousin of a Raja of Venkatagiri (one of Sai Baba’s earliest devotees). This badly miscarried attempt to inflict damage on former devotees has long since been fully exposed in public by B. Premanand (in the 280-page book ‘Sabotage by Murali Krishna Yachendra’.

Excerpt 4.  Your rank-and-file members have every right to hear from you the truth, and not to endure both concealment and false depictions from you as to why law-abiding, honest and community-serving former members have, over many years, raised various types of serious allegation against Sai Baba and certain of his core leaders.

Excerpts From:
The International Sathya Sai Organization – an accessory to a massive libel and disinformation campaign. Open letter to the Prasanthi Council – C/o Dr. M. Goldstein, Dr. G. Venkataraman and its other members.


Posted in Religion, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | 3 Comments »

Sathya Sai Baba Organization and Libel and Disinformation

Posted by Barry Pittard on May 12, 2008

Here is an except from a communication addressed to the heads of the Sathya Sai Organization. The full document is to be viewed at Robert Priddy’s main website, and is entitled:
The International Sathya Sai Organization – an accessory to a massive libel and disinformation campaign. Open letter to the Prasanthi Council – c/o Dr. M. Goldstein, Dr. G. Venkataraman and its other members

We suggest three likely main reasons why you have not moved to remedy wrongs that are all too obvious to reasonable and upright members of the public far removed from cultic and antidemocratic modes of thinking and conduct:-1) Sathya Sai Baba forbade Dr. Michael Goldstein (the top official of his worldwide institutions) to allow any discussion of the allegations – thus rejecting all principles of accountability and transparency. For many years, no official in the Sathya Sai Organization was allowed even to mention these serious matters in public, but for the very brief and severely skewed comments of your former international chairman Indulal Shah (India) and T. Sri Ramanathan (Australia).2) In view of the severe fall-away of adherent numbers and consequent threats to his formerly immense global financial donor base, Sai Baba could not afford that the facts be aired and discussed. This was the case until the pressure was so great that he made an exception and attempted ‘damage limitation’ via several newsletter webpages on the Radio Sai Global Harmony web site by your Deputy International World Chairman, and head of Radio Sai, Dr. G. Venkataraman.3) The testimonies and criticism are so substantial and wide-ranging – and so well-documented – that it is impossible to make any reasonable defence against them. This was well demonstrated by the insubstantial, issue-dodging and often directly untruthful writings by Dr. G. Venkataraman of the Prasanthi Council, Deputy World Chairman of the International Sathya Sai Organization, and head of Sai Global Harmony via WorldSpace digital satellite radio. He cast many serious slurs on the integrity of former devotees, after they dissented. All his untruths have been soundly refuted with documentation at this location:-
(http://home.hetnet.nl/~ex_baba/engels/articles/venk1.htm )If the International Sathya Sai Organization chooses not to reply to this letter – or act upon the issues spelt out for them – it will be taken as further and definitive proof that both you and your founder wish to remain unaccountable, and also are content to be in collusion with vicious libelers.Signed by the following former Sathya Sai Organization leaders and members:

Serguei Badaev, Russia 1995-2001 Ex-President of Sai Org. Moscow Centre and Deputy National Chairman for Russia.
Timothy Conway, USA. Follower for 22 years; President of the Sathya Sai Baba Center of San Francisco from 1982-4.
Dennis J. Hanisch, USA. Follower for 27 years. Founder member and Vice-President, Seattle Center.
David. J. Lyons, USA. Follower from 1981 to 2000. Ex-President of the Center of Greater New Orleans.
Barry Pittard, Australia. 1976-1999. Former English Lecturer, Sathya Sai College, Whitefield.
Robert Priddy, Norway. 1983-2002. Founder member/Ex-Chairman of Oslo Center & Coordinator for Norway 1986-1996.
Reidun Priddy, Norway. 1983-2000. Founder member and Seva Wing Coordinator 1986-1998
Al Rahm, Office-bearing member of the SSO for decades. Regional Devotional Coordinator and founder of first Education in Human Values school in the U.S.
Barbara Shocket, USA Follower: 1980-1990.
Dhyani Jo Sinclair, Canada Member and Sai Centre Secretary, 1995-2000.

There has been no reply either this document or to a much earlier released document from the JuST group of former devotees: Towards Public Accountability and Due Investigation: A Formal Open Appeal To The ‘Prashanthi Council’

The Sathya Sai Organization has ignored many members and former members who have raised concerns with it. The policy is, variously, to ignore and denigrate. Key leaders issue false and misleading statements to the lower echelons of leadership and the rank-and-file.

Some evidence can be exposed on the Internet. There is much more, though (still more terrible but guarded for security and other reasons) that cannot be. However, there is a body of evidence which JuST is able to share – without compromising those individuals and families around the world who have requested privacy in regard to what they have shared – with bona fide investigators such as the police, government and law processes, scholars, institutions, the serious media, etc.

Posted in Religion, Sai Baba, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | 5 Comments »

China Courts Dalai Lama. Olympic Good Spirit?

Posted by Barry Pittard on May 4, 2008

The Chinese government has been making strenuous attempts to ensure a meeting with the Dalai Lama. The troubled events attending the Olympic torch relay, and international condemnation of China for her human rights record, have brought considerable pressure on the Chinese leaders to make this move. This is in marked contrast to its decades of execrating the Tibetan Buddhist leader in exile.

A Man of Peace

The pint-sized – although reprehensible – thuggery of violent protesters only served further to obscure the Chinese government’s monumental thuggery practised for so long. It also demonstrated one of the Dalai Lama‘s difficulties – how to restrain those of his own culture who think violence is the answer. Their lack of restraint lost a priceless opportunity to gain far greater world sympathy for their cause.

It is a great pity that the violent actions of some protesters have detracted from one of the singular facts in the world’s recent history: the Dalai Lama, in the extremely small company of those such as Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela, has been a great voice for peace. The Chinese government responded in the way that it so often has done with other individuals who speak out boldly on behalf of the facts. It attempted to denigrate the Dalai Lama by calling him a liar. It is a ploy extremely often and long used by totalitarian governments and by democratic leaders when there is a good chance of getting away with it.

Rudd’s Diplomacy. Or: Is There Anything So Dainty As An Old China Hand

My own country’s Prime Minister, Mr Kevin Rudd, for all that he spoke frankly to China of human rights concerns about her shockingly violent suppressions in Tibet, will have sore need, when dealing with many other countries, of more than his adroit diplomacy in his recent visit to China. Let us trust that he does not soon become jaded, if he is not already.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd review honour guard, Beijing

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd review honour guard, Beijing.

That Mr Rudd and the Chinese leaders almost wildly succeeded in their trade aims indicates that his outspokenness on human rights was never going to threaten the trade realpolitic at all. All his fine sentiments about China, splashily but cannily delivered in Mandarin, were always bound to have been reported in the Chinese media, just as his remarks about human rights in Tibet were forever doomed to be highly censored. An old China hand would have known this even in his sleep.

India Could Show Way (if she cleans her own backyard).

As India shakes herself loose of antidemocratic forces within her midst, posed by those powerful oligarchies such as Sathya Sai Baba’s cult, one can hope that a great counterweight to Communist China’s influence will swing into place. Ensuring India a place in the UN Security Council is one of the ways in which the international community can resist the impact that China hopes, in part, to achieve by holding a successful Olympic Games. China may find it harder to play games with countries in Asia and elsewhere that have much to fear from a Communist China rampant.

Photo: Sathya Sai Baba in pure gold chariot

Resources

Envoys for China, Dalai Lama to meet Sunday

CNN. May 3, 2008. With the outbreak in violence and the resulting crackdown, Beijing has been under intense international pressure to re-open its dialogue with the Dalai Lama.

When the talks were announced last week, China said it would resume meetings with representatives of the Dalai Lama in hopes the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader would use his influence to stop anti-Chinese protests that threaten to disrupt the Olympics, China‘s official Xinhua news agency reported.

The international torch relay ahead of the Olympics in Beijing was dogged along the way by protesters supporting the Free Tibet Movement. The remainder of the relay will take place within China and its territories and was in Macau on Saturday.

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

Dalai Lama: Forgiveness does not mean forgetfulness

The Guru Trap. Will India Be Forever Trapped?

Indian Minister Shields Sai Baba on BBC television

India A Mature Democracy? BBC Probes

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

Dissent From Guru Cults Draws Slander and Harassment

Indian Gurus Stifle India’s Chance To Excel

Cultic Depersonalization or Demonization of Dissenters

Posted in News and Politics, Social and Politics, Uncategorized, World Issues | 3 Comments »