Since leaving Sathya Sai Baba in October 1999, I have counted around 10 major ‘flags’ that I myself ignored. The realization of most of these resistances only occurred over time. Coming out of the spell’s grip is a painful, arduous process. Approached with rigorous self-questioning and the company of loving, caring and insightful individuals, the process can be full of learning, personal renewal, and a sense of release from hard-held self-concepts. One confronts oneself, far more than anyone or anything else.
Many of us ignored the “whistles” or “flags”. They did not seem at all related to the sublimity (very different to the merely euphoric) of my own and many others’ experiences. I had lovely Sai devotee friends and acquaintances from various cultures and educational levels who reported direct experiences, with clearly the utmost sincerity, supraphenomenal Sai Baba-related events occurring in their homes and other places or even as they travelled around the world, and sometimes in his physical presence. I can see now that such experiences do not equate to establishing the divinity of Sathya Sai Baba. I have met others who have had such remarkable experiences, which are not related to his name or form.
What has been unlovely in many Sai devotees’ response to those in dissent has been their forgetfulness that they, over decades, honored the integrity, devotion and dedication to service of many who have since left, among these being long-time foremost leaders. Again the cultic grip on minds is revealed. It is one that undermines and evaporates many people’s commonsense and, all the more sadly, common decency.
The supraphenomena – which I would distinguish from the many proven instances of Sathya Sai Baba faking miracles – I still cannot, in a number of ways, account for. But the contrary evidence to Sathya Sai Baba’s being other than one of history’s profoundly flawed phenomena, is far too compelling. In regard to the faking of miracles, quite apart from much else, See:
There are disagreements among intelligent, educated former devotees themselves. I think that one of the key reasons for this is that many have not experienced the phenomena, and frequently heard of miracles from others. However, I will not deny my own experiences and am profoundly grateful to have had them. My trust is that a more sophisticated – and honest – science of the future will be able to resolve some of the, for me, as yet unexplained phenomena.
This acknowledgement of mine does not at all refute – as some voices incapable of arguing rigorously have tried to make it appear – the great amount of evidence for criminal and other abuses by Sathya Sai Baba and certain of his core servitors. This has typically and constantly been opposed by libel, harassment, stalking and personal attacks, even to the point of using children whose parents have spoken out (one of them only nine years old!), naming them on the Internet and attacking the growing business of a young decent extremely hard-working mother on the basis of his badly-flawed information and fallacious arguments. The perpetrator, Gerald Joe Moreno of New Mexico, is known to be regularly connected with cooperative prominent and rank-and-file Sathya Sai Baba personnel. Their support in culumnies and attacks are entirely opposed to the guru’s teachings. See:
Nowhere has the Sathya Sai Organization been able to answer the many facts and arguments advanced by writers such as Robert Priddy, Brian Steel, Serguei Badaev (go to Brian Steel’s home page and insert: Serguei Badaev), Timothy Conway Ph.D., and those many former Sathya Sai Baba devotees who have attempted to raise the matters with top leaders of the Sathya Sai Organization. I include, too, the writings of the independent British scholar Kevin Shepherd, who has never had affiliation with Sathya Sai Baba, but likewise (along, even more miserably, with his mother) who, typically, has been attacked as soon as he raised serious issues.
I will not overlook the tremendous motivation within Sai devotees to do worthy social work inspired by their teacher. However, no matter how much worthy social work a leader or (more to the point, his devotees) may do, there is accountability before the law, and other accountability processes that weigh on all citizens, at least in democratic countries.
I shall add that Sathya Sai Baba and many of his devotees to hail the education and social uplift works carried out in his name as unique. These statements do grave injustice to many such works conducted by countless admirable service organizations around the world.