When Facts Fly The Coop of Massive Cover Up
Posted by Barry Pittard on November 18, 2008
Given the sensitivity, the anguish, and difficult situations regarding family, job, studies and so on, a great amount of testimony in the hands of former devotees of Sathya Sai Baba has had to be withheld from public view.
Media Coverage Helps – BUT …
However, some of it, with the permission of those individuals and families involved, has been available to responsible media such as the BBC, Times of London, Telegraph, Guardian, and major respected newspapers in India (India Today), Europe, Canada, Australia and so on.
Here too, most of the testimony proffered is not used – there being so much of it, and also because any day’s media contains so many other reports. Hour by hour, of news there is no end. Newspapers work to fearsome deadlines and cannot be expected (with the exception of a few genuinely interested journalists) to have at heart the interest and motivation of individuals directly involved, no matter how just their cause. Certainly, those of us involved in coordination across several countries were able to glimpse the immense amount of work that can be put into a researched story; in some cases travel (e.g., that of Mick Brown of The Telegraph), Michelle Goldberg of Salon.com, and the BBC team working on ‘The Secret Swami’.
… BUT – the Survivors Find They Are Not Alone
Whatever the limitations of even wide media and internet coverage, for many who turn to questioning their experiences, the exposure of the abuses – anomalies, contradictions, fraudulence, spiritual betrayal, etc., there is value in the processing and clarification their own experiences. Often, they do not have to question whether this or that former devotee article is flawed as to dates, conflicted emotions, agendas, vagaries of memory or other such problems. They are simply able to compare what has been written with their own experiences. They view the BBC and other video materials and sort among many articles (See brief examples below under Resources). Sometimes, they contact others who report the shattering experiences. They realise their frightful experiences are not theirs alone.
Taking In Sunshine. Breathing In Fresh Air. Flying For Oneself
The social networking that then occurs is profound and far-reaching. Quite apart from more or less formal channels, simple accidental meetings with significant other individuals in car parks, airports, supermarkets and so on have enormous consequences. Many do not process their findings by going public but the numbers of people supporting the cult are adversely affected, and no apologist for Sathya Sai Baba can truthfully claim that these individuals and families are out to cause mischief or are merely disgruntled. Many of them had wonderful experiences as well. They did not think (in some cases, after decades of outstanding devotion and service), that their lives would be in upheaval. All those close to the survivors – family, friends, treating professionals – know how real is the sense of frightful discovery and of soul-searching. Sathya Sai apologists who attempt to deny these situations perpetrate a great injustice.
Not All Comparisons Are Odious
Each new ‘flock’ of those soaring beyond their experiences of the powerful but secretly flawed guru and his cult are able to compare their own situation with those which appear on former devotee websites such as:
In this sense, the information – often tended at a great deal of sacrifice of time, energy and personal difficulty – is never ‘stale’.
Unfortunately for the G. Venkataramans, M.Goldsteins, and other prime agencies of Sathya Sai cover up, the birds have flown. Uncaged, many learn to fly by themselves, and attain freedom, and sometimes come to grief, never debriefing or healing. Some go off to another charismatic figure, often in Eastern traditions. Some give in after awhile; others refuse to be intimidated, no matter the attacks, or the evasion of central issues, which the Sathya Sai Organization, forever in damage control by the upmost echelons, has never dealt with.
Cover up gets bogged down under its own internal stresses, its inner denials truths being too shocking to face, and all of its tangled webs of deceit, obfuscation, and inner psychological denial. News of massive cover up travels irrecoverably. There is no wishing it away. No holding of it back.
By Tanya Datta, BBC.
Reporter, Secret Swami
Reporter, Secret Swami
Divine Downfall. The Telegraph. Saturday 28 October 2000. By Mick Brown
Laying on of hands. The guru who thinks he’s God is exposed as far from divine. The Statesman. 21 June 2004. By Andrew Billen
Michelle Goldberg Untouchable? Salon.Com 25, July 2001
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