Call For Media and Government Investigation

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

Archive for July, 2009

Brian Steel On Dr John Hislop’s Gift From Sathya Sai Baba – Idol claimed to have wood from cross of Jesus

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 28, 2009

Among commentators, Brian Steel has done especial service in portraying the sheer impact and spread of the works of Sathya Sai Baba’s early apostles and popularizers. Especially prominent among these are Dr John Hislop (the first Sai Baba organizational leader outside India), Howard Murphet, Dr Samuel Sandweis, Phyllis Krystal.
 

Today’s blog note continues my series highlighting – all too selectively – certain aspects of Brian Steel’s work. As I have pointed out, it would be a great pity if – because his opus is vast, and also because most of his work is not blogged but contained on his websites (See details below) – his extremely valuable work were to suffer any eclipse. My recent articles on Steel’s work are:

Brian Steel Demythologizes Early Foreign-led Sathya Sai Baba Myths

Brian Steel On John Hislop’s 27 Years as Sathya Sai Baba’s Spokesman

Brian Steel On Sathya Sai Baba’s Credibility Gap. John Hislop Contributions

Demythologizing Sathya Sai Baba

 There are many other writers, and when I worked as a publisher’s editor in Sai Towers, Puttaparthi, I counted over 600 books in the collection of R.Padmanaban, the publisher. Random checks showed that almost all of them were very hagiographical, and poorly written, commonly self-published or with the non-professional aid of others. None of their works has had anything like the impact of the books by the above , and also the same authors’ talks in various parts of the world. In Sai Baba circles, these figures have attained an almost god status. One hears them referred to as “rishis”, “saints”, “apostles”, and so forth. 

Although the alleged miracles of Sathya Sai Baba appear to be endless, there are a few which have especially captured the popular imagination and devotion of many of his followers, irrespective of their levels of education. One of these is the iconic crucifix, which Sai Baba ostensibly materialized for Jack Hislop at the mahashivratri festival in 1973.

Sai Baba told Hislop that he – by his divine powers – fetched the wood on which the idol is hung from the wood of the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified.

Sathya Sai Baba Crucifix: Miraculously materialized?

  Sathya Sai Baba Crucifix: Miraculously materialized?

For those wishing some key backgrounding on this ‘miracle’, there is a fairly brief but succinct page by the Norwegian academic and former leader of the Sathya Sai Organization in Norway, Robert Priddy

Alleged miracle crucifix materialised for Dr. John Hislop

He has blogged at: 

Faked “miracle”: crucifix given by Sai Baba to Dr. Hislop

Brian D.Steel On Dr John Hislop and Sai Baba’s Crucifix Gift

The following two quotes are excerpts from Brian Steel’s long and detailed article, which deals with various aspects relating to Hislop, his relationship with Sai Baba, and role in hugely extending the Sai movement world-wide: Sathya Sai Baba’s credibility gap: Contributions by John Hislop(Brian Steel. January 2009).

(Note: there is an important companion piece to this: Sathya Sai Baba, Elsie and Walter Cowan, and John Hislop. A Discredited 1971 Resurrection Claim (Brian Steel. February 2009). He comments on the book My Baba and I  by Dr. John Hislop, [1985: Birth Day Publishing, San Diego]:

“For tens (or perhaps hundreds) of thousands of readers, this has been one of the principal introductory books on Sathya Sai Baba. It has been translated into many languages. The title was chosen by Sathya Sai Baba himself (p. vi). The book deals with Hislop’s prolonged and intimate experiences of SSB’s teachings, some miracles (most notably that of the famous Crucifix allegedly materialised for Hislop by SSB from wood reconstituted from the True Cross on Mahasivaratri Day, 1973). The experiences are followed by 22 supplementary conversations (January 1978-October 1984), and a treasure trove of letters from SSB to Hislop (as well as a few from Hislop to SSB) written between 1969 and 1983, during the important formative years of the American Sathya Sai Organization, of which Hislop was such a prominent figure”. 

“This famous icon, however implausible, has been the object of endless fascination for devotees. Photographs of the crucifix are available in the front pages of My Baba and I and in many other books, including those by Fanibunda, Sandweiss, Peter Phipps (Sathya Sai Baba and Jesus Christ. A Gospel for the Golden Age – and also in his second book on a similar theme). That the surreal icon still has the full backing of the SSO is evident in its inclusion in a recent compilation published by the SSSBPT, Be Like Jesus). Indeed, almost 40 years after the alleged event (in October 2008), when I was visiting the Bombay SSO Centre (Dharmakshetra), a young devotee who took it upon himself to show me round and tell me about SSB, insisted at the end of our meeting that the best book for me to start with would be John Hislop’s My Baba and I, and he specifically mentioned a crucifix materialised for the revered American devotee. This special crucifix – whatever its provenance – has been, and remains, an outstandingly powerful advertisement for Sathya Sai Baba’s alleged omnipotence”. 

 

See also, Robert Priddy’s compilation of resources:  Sai Deceptions. Fraud, Legerdemain, Rumour-spreading and Lies By Sathya Sai Baba 

…………………………………………………………

Select writings from Brian Steel’s Extensive Opus

Sathya Sai Baba can be documented by any conscientious reader as having made contradictory statements and egregious historical and scientific blunders. These include his remarks on Jesus Christ and Martin Luther . For Steel’s detailed and sharply contextualized discussion, see: Sai Baba and Christianity. Some Observations (2002). Steel remarks here the alarming “extent of Sai Baba’s inventiveness”. This can be instructively read in concert with his Basic Notes On Sai Baba’s Credibility Problem (2004)

Brian Steel Indexes

Barry Pittard’s Earlier Articles On Brian Steel

Revealing Materials On Sai Baba Of India

Brian Steel’s Surprise Visit To Sathya Sai Baba’s Ashram

William Aitken’s Book Fails to Answer Sai Baba Critics

For Brian Steel’s detailed exposure of severe inadequacies of a foremost Sai Baba hagiographer mentioned in this article refer to Steel’s:

Bill Aitken and Sathya Sai Baba. A Writer’s Dilemma,

on William Aitken’s book, ‘Sri Sathya Sai Baba. A Life (New Delhi, Penguin Books, India, 2004. Paperback edition, 2006) 

…………………………………………………………

General
Excerpt From Public Petition

(Note: You may prefer to proceed straight to the Petition):

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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Posted in Miracles, Opinion, Rationalism, Religion, Skeptics, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Brian Steel Demythologizes Early Foreign-led Sathya Sai Baba Myths

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 23, 2009

My previous blog was: Brian Steel On John Hislop’s 27 Years as Sathya Sai Baba’s SpokesmanIt refers to the article: Sathya Sai Baba’s credibility gap: Contributions by John Hislop. (Brian Steel. January 2009).

This latter article, as one expects of Brian Steel, is scholarly and readable. Considerable length and attention to minute detail distinguish his work.  Recognizing that many of my readers have heavy demands on their time, I shall, in a series of blogs, select what I think are some of the key lines of his investigations. The reader may like to pick and chose among these – or else, of course, aim to read deeply into Steel.

At the moment, I am drawing attention to some more recent work of Steel, whose books while yet a follower of Sathya Sai Baba were highly-regarded, as they are now by ex-devotees and other critics of the Sathya Sai cult. Those who have time – perhaps for exhaustive academic, media investigative or book preparation purposes – will find Steel’s work indispensable. It is vast and rigorous. Some who wish to recapture some of the steps in the saga that led them to accept or reject one or more than one aspect of the Sathya Sai Baba phenomenon will also find a considerable historic overview and many sources that have taken Steel an immense effort to assemble. I should think that readers whether pro or contra Sai Baba’s perception of his role, inasmuch as they are level-headed, will greatly appreciate the balance, calm and seriousness of Brian Steel’s writing.

Given the vastness of Steel’s endeavour, and the fact that he blogs only occasionally on these topics at his blogsite  – http://briansteel.wordpress.com – it is important that his work does not languish for due attention. (For further links to his work, see resources at the foot of this note)

In my previous blog (see abover link), I quoted from Brian Steel where he refers to one of the key areas of contest in regard to the credibility of Sathya Sai Baba’s own and his devotees claims as to his divinity. Here he mentions the scans available at:  ‘Professor Erlendur Haraldsson contests Sai Baba’s claim of resurrection as bogus’. At the foot of this material, the editor (Robert Priddy) has placed an ‘anchor’ which leads to the precisely relevant paragraphs in a longer article:  Misleading Evangelism (Updated) , Brian Steel  November 2002.

For those wishing to consider Dr John Hislop’s reportages, and those of others, in regard to the alleged resurrection of the early devotee, the wealthy American Walter Cowan, there is a Steel companion piece: 

Sathya Sai Baba, Elsie and Walter Cowan, and John Hislop.
A Discredited 1971 Resurrection Claim
(Brian Steel. February 2009)

This details a good deal further the onset of American interest in Sathya Sai Baba circa 1965-1970. Steel lists key American followers of this period who had already emarked in actively publicising him in the USA.

“By 1971, the following Americans had already been attracted to Sathya Sai Baba and were already publicising his name back in USA: Indra Devi and Hilda Charlton (major independent early proselytisers, 1965- ), Arnold Schulman, Charles Penn, Hilda Charlton, Bob Rayman (or Reiman), Elsie and Walter Cowan, Dr John Hislop, Tal Brooke and Howard Levin. (All, except Schulman, became devotees and proselytisers, and Tal Brooke had already become the first ‘defector’ and critic.) 1971 saw the publication of the first books about SSB by foreigners Schulman and (Australian) Howard Murphet. Phyllis Krystal and Dr Samuel Sandweiss would be drawn to meet SSB in 1972, the businessman Isaac Tigrett in 1973 and Robert A. Bozzani in 1974. The 1970s would see a strong general growth in foreign devotee numbers and Sathya Sai Organisation Centres but it was the Americans who were the original driving force behind international recognition and worship of Sathya Sai Baba.

By 1965, with the formation of the first Sathya Sai Samithis (Centres), and later the Sathya Sai Seva Organisation under the capable leadership of Indulal Shah, an effective corporate structure had begun to take shape, to be followed by a rapid expansion in India of SSO Centres and in quick succession, All-India Conferences of members and (a few years later) International Conferences. By 1974, with the inauguration of the Sathya Sai Baba Association of the Americas and Canada, the Sathya Sai Organisation would be launched on a significantly wider international expansion of its activities”.

…………………………………………………………

Select writings from Brian Steel’s Extensive Opus

Sathya Sai Baba can be documented by any conscientious reader as having made contradictory statements and egregious historical and scientific blunders. These include his remarks on Jesus Christ and Martin Luther . For Steel’s detailed and sharply contextualized discussion, see: Sai Baba and Christianity. Some Observations (2002). Steel remarks here the alarming “extent of Sai Baba’s inventiveness”. This can be instructively read in concert with his Basic Notes On Sai Baba’s Credibility Problem (2004)

Brian Steel Indexes

Barry Pittard On Brian Steel

Revealing Materials On Sai Baba Of India

Brian Steel’s Surprise Visit To Sathya Sai Baba’s Ashram

William Aitken’s Book Fails to Answer Sai Baba Critics

For Brian Steel’s detailed exposure of severe inadequacies of a foremost Sai Baba hagiographer mentioned in this article refer to Steel’s:

Bill Aitken and Sathya Sai Baba. A Writer’s Dilemma,

on William Aitken’s book, ‘Sri Sathya Sai Baba. A Life (New Delhi, Penguin Books, India, 2004. Paperback edition, 2006) 

…………………………………………………………

General

Excerpt From Public Petition

(Note: You may prefer to proceed straight to the Petition):

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)

Posted in Opinion, Religion, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Brian Steel On John Hislop’s 27 Years as Sathya Sai Baba’s Spokesman

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 18, 2009

In my recent note Brian Steel On Sathya Sai Baba’s Credibility Gap. John Hislop Contributions, I drew attention to Brian Steel’s scholarly article which deals with a seminal figure, Jack Hislop, in the spread of the Sathya Sai Baba movement:  Sathya Sai Baba’s credibility gap: Contributions by John Hislop.  (Brian Steel January 2009).

Steel refers to the controversial Walter Cowan ‘resurrection’ in 1971, mentioning the refuting evidence presented by Professor Erlendur araldsson, B. Premanand, (the late) Professor Dale Beyerstein.

For decades, these critical points met with no satisfactory explanations from the Sathya Sai Baba camp, and yet a great number of devotees rejoice in this so-called miracle of resurrection, as they do in so many ‘miracles’ of their guru, which, however, keep on being disproved by film footage of excellent provenance:

Right Hand. Sleight Hand. Watch Sai Baba Cheat With Sacred Ash (Film clip)

BC and Other Film Footage Shows India’s Top Guru Sathya Sai Baba Faking Miracles 

For those of my readers who may not have time to read highly detailed, longer articles, I shall excerpt here and in the next days select parts of his John Hislop article.

Excerpt from Brian Steel’s Sathya Sai Baba’s credibility gap: Contributions by John Hislop (January 2009)

“The case of Dr John (Jack) Hislop (1904-1995), like those of other prominent devotees such as those mentioned above who met Sathya Sai Baba in the expansionist and surging 1960s or 1970s, is very instructive. Following a successful career in teaching and business, his quarter of a century of total devotion to the SSB cause and of intimate contact with SSB himself coincided with the major international expansion of the Organisation. By the end of his life, John Hislop was internationally famous in devotee circles and the two books he filled with his accounts of SSB’s words and deeds had become international bestsellers (in devotee circles) in several languages.These had helped to make SSB known to countless thousands of people, mostly outside of India. The books were Conversations with Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba and My Baba and I, both published by the Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust of Prasanthi Nilayam. There would later be a third, posthumous compilation by his American associates in 1997: Seeking Divinity [Talks by Dr John S. Hislop], published by the Sathya Sai Society of America, Tustin, California.

Hislop had been a spiritual seeker for many years, together with his wife, Victoria. In 1958 he gave up his job as Vice-President of a large company and went to India to find land and build a training college in the Himalayas for the up and coming celebrity guru of the 1960s, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (later of TM fame). Hislop accompanied Maharishi on his tour of Germany and became the first US President of the Mahesh Yogi American Organization. He also taught TM and was said to be capable of day-long meditations. He finally left the Maharishi’s Organisation, it is said, because of an imagined fault in himself.

Hislop’s first visit to Sathya Sai Baba was in January 1968, when he taped two deeply spiritual conversations with the guru who, he immediately felt, was the true source of wisdom. At that time there were only a few foreigners in Puttaparthi and Hislop was especially privileged to have daily meetings with SSB, and visits from him, lasting up to two hours per day (My Baba and I, p.15). The results of these long conversations (mainly question and answer sessions) were later published in California (in 1978) as Conversations with Sathya Sai Baba , a book which offered many invaluable insights into SSB’s teachings and revealed to foreign devotees and others his opinions on many topics. As a result of many further visits and periods of residence in the ashram, Dr. Hislop later wrote My Baba and I, which, like the first book, has been instrumental in U.S.A. and around the world in increasing knowledge about Sathya Sai Baba and drawing devotees to him (especially foreigners). The inclusion of several translated and typewritten letters to Hislop from SSB underlines the fact that at the time and for many years, SSB regarded him as his main representative in USA, as well as the foreigner with whom he felt most comfortable.

My Baba and I (pp. 28-31) includes Hislop’s account of the alleged Walter Cowan ‘resurrection’ in 1971. This claim is not only controversial but was refuted by Professor Haraldsson in his widely read 1987 book (and a year later by Indian rationalist B. Premanand), on the grounds that two attending doctors denied certifying Cowan’s death. The issue was also critically analysed by Professor Dale Beyerstein in his 1994 book. In spite of this, for over 20 years these proofs have been denied or ignored by Hislop, the SSO and devotees, all of whom still reiterate the ‘resurrection’ claim as if it were a fact. (Another major earlier claim, alleging the resurrection of devotee Ramakrishna, was also refuted by Haraldsson.) In view of Hislop’s key role in the narration and dissemination of the Cowan story, I have published a companion article ‘Sathya Sai Baba, Elsie and Walter Cowan, and John Hislop. A Discredited 1971 Resurrection Claim’) setting out the history and the detailed background to this extraordinary story which offers further evidence of the importance and impact of the role of spokespersons in the SSB Mission.

(For those interested, scans of the relevant critical pages of Erlendur’s Haraldsson’s book are available on the Internet: ‘Professor Erlendur Haraldsson contests Sai Baba’s claim of resurrection as bogus’.)

Dr Hislop was not only the first President of the Sathya Sai Baba Council of America but also an indefatigable contributor to the development of Sathya Sai Centres in U.S.A. and to the worldwide Sathya Sai Movement. Because of this prominent position, his total devotion, and his specially privileged access to SSB, clearly evidenced in his books, Hislop became one of SSB’s most influential overseas spokespersons and a popular lecturer in SSO Centres in many countries during the years of rapid overseas expansion of the SSO from 1970 until his death in 1995″.

Select writings from Brian Steel’s Extensive Opus

Sathya Sai Baba can be documented by any conscientious reader as having made contradictory statements and egregious historical and scientific blunders. These include his remarks on Jesus Christ and Martin Luther . For Steel’s detailed and sharply contextualized discussion, see: Sai Baba and Christianity. Some Observations (2002). Steel remarks here the alarming “extent of Sai Baba’s inventiveness”. This can be instructively read in concert with his Basic Notes On Sai Baba’s Credibility Problem (2004)

Brian Steel Indexes

Barry Pittard On Brian Steel

Revealing Materials On Sai Baba Of India

Brian Steel’s Surprise Visit To Sathya Sai Baba’s Ashram

William Aitken’s Book Fails to Answer Sai Baba Critics

For Brian Steel’s detailed exposure of severe inadequacies of a foremost Sai Baba hagiographer mentioned in this article refer to Steel’s:

Bill Aitken and Sathya Sai Baba. A Writer’s Dilemma,

on William Aitken’s book, ‘Sri Sathya Sai Baba. A Life (New Delhi, Penguin Books, India, 2004. Paperback edition, 2006) 

…………………………………………………………………….

See:  Petition For Official Investigation Into Sathya Sai Baba Cult

Posted in Opinion, Rationalism, Skeptics | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Brian Steel On Sathya Sai Baba’s Credibility Gap. John Hislop Contributions

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 16, 2009

In some ways, it is regrettable that scholarly habits can limit readership. It is fortunate that Brian Steel writes clearly. Now retired, his background is in academic studies and teaching at a leading Australian university. His fairly lengthy January 2009 piece Sathya Sai Baba’s credibility gap: Contributions by John Hislop deserves to see light of day.  One might well think that thoughtful readers who still adhere to Sathya Sai Baba would, nonetheless, still be among Steel’s appreciative readers. They certainly appreciated his writing when he followed Sathya Sai Baba and wrote notable works in that area. Other readers who likely to find value in Steel’s writing would surely include those who have left the Sathya Sai Baba fold who appreciate historic overviews of the movement of which they have been a part. The calmness and balance of the writing are key strengths.

QUOTE

“For many Sathya Sai Baba devotees, Dr John Hislop (between 1965 and 1995), the Australian devotee, Howard Murphet (between 1965 and 2004), and the American psychiatrist Dr Samuel Sandweiss (1971-), are the three foreign (non-Hindu) devotees who have contributed the most to the propagation of SSB’s teachings and stories, both through their passionate books on SSB and their enthusiastic talks and lectures to devotee groups all over the English-speaking world and beyond. However, it was the mild, humble but spiritually questing Hislop who achieved the closest personal rapport with his “Swami”. Sathya Sai Baba, in return, responded fully to his devotee’s constant respectful and appreciative questioning and performed some of his most sensational (and, it must be added, least credible) ‘miracles’ for Hislop’s benefit. Therefore, Hislop’s individual influence in disseminating these extraordinary aspects of the SSB story and his teachings is incalculable.

The proselytising work of all three of the above-named foreign devotees (along with other spokespersons and writers) is also of considerable interest for the study of the development of the Sathya Sai Baba Mission, as I have attempted to explain elsewhere on this web page. Between 1943 and approximately 1965, SSB had concentrated on his Indian “constituency” (which remains, and will continue to be, the largest). With the formation of the first Sathya Sai Seva Samithisin about 1963, and the Sathya Sai Organisation in 1965, when Indulal Shah became a prime associate and organiser, a major expansion began (coinciding also with the sudden Western interest in India marked by the Beatles and “the Maharishi”). In 1969, after 26 years of Sathya Sai Baba’s close association with the name of Shirdi Sai Baba, this familiar name disappears from his Discourses (though not from worship within the SSB ashrams and Centres) for about twenty years and quite suddenly (as I have also documented), Sathya Sai Baba develops a strong interest in discoursing on Jesus Christ and the perceived similarities between the two teachers. As I show more fully in my companion article, the American interest in SSB had become quite strong during the period 1965-1970. By 1971, the following Americans had been attracted to SSB and were already publicising his name back in USA:

Indra Devi, Arnold Schulman, Charles Penn, Hilda Charlton, Bob Rayman, Elsie and Walter Cowan, Dr John Hislop, Tal Brooke and Howard Levin. (All, except Schulman, became devotees and proselytisers, although Tal Brooke was also soon to become the first ‘defector’ and critic.) 1971 saw the publication of the first books about SSB by foreigners: (American) Schulman (Baba) and (Australian) Howard Murphet (Sai Baba [sic]. Man of Miracles). The 1970s would see a strong growth in foreign devotee numbers and SSO Centres.

Following the creation of SSB Centres in New York and California and the opening of Elsie Cowan’s Sathya Sai bookshop in Tustin, California, the American Sathya Sai Organisation was formed in 1974, with Hislop as President. (It may be of interest to point out that the creation of the US SSO was largely carried out by Christians, Jews and New ‘Agers’ rather than by Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) as was the case in some other countries, notably UK, which had a growing NRI population including recent refugees from East Africa). The U.S. Sathya Sai Organization was quickly to become by far the largest and most influential – and independent – of all the overseas national SSOs. Although a promised visit from Sathya Sai Baba to USA did not materialise, his close associate Dr Gokak toured U.S. (and UK) SSO Centres in 1974″.

Select writings from Brian Steel’s Extensive Opus

Sathya Sai Baba can be documented by any conscientious reader as having made contradictory statements and egregious historical and scientific blunders. These include his remarks on Jesus Christ and Martin Luther . For Steel’s detailed and sharply contextualized discussion, see: Sai Baba and Christianity. Some Observations (2002). Steel remarks here the alarming “extent of Sai Baba’s inventiveness”. This can be instructively read in concert with his Basic Notes On Sai Baba’s Credibility Problem (2004)

Brian Steel Indexes

Barry Pittard On Brian Steel

Revealing Materials On Sai Baba Of India

Brian Steel’s Surprise Visit To Sathya Sai Baba’s Ashram

William Aitken’s Book Fails to Answer Sai Baba Critics

For Brian Steel’s detailed exposure of severe inadequacies of a foremost Sai Baba hagiographer mentioned in this article refer to Steel’s:

Bill Aitken and Sathya Sai Baba. A Writer’s Dilemma,

on William Aitken’s book, ‘Sri Sathya Sai Baba. A Life (New Delhi, Penguin Books, India, 2004. Paperback edition, 2006)

…………………………………………………………………….

See:  Petition For Official Investigation Into Sathya Sai Baba Cult

Posted in Miracles, New Age, Opinion, Religion, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

About the Petition For Official Investigation Into Sathya Sai Baba Cult

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 10, 2009

A key difficulty facing an authoritarian, suppressive, unaccountable sect such as the Sathya Sai Organization is this: When there are serious scandals being hushed up, there is -:

  • organized, networked dissent and public exposure of its disinformation, secret directives, methods and real agendas

  • quiet disruption and internal decay that happens quite apart from formal, focused, widespread efforts.

  • the exponential spread of crisis for the organization.

The leaders of “the Secret Swami” (as the BBC termed Sathya Sai Baba, as a result of their extensive investigations, including 80 plus hours of film footage) know and suffer the effects of these three factors. They know the terrible facts. It suits them to allow ignorant and unconscionable voices to attack those who have responsibly and clearly raised the issues in various parts of the world. Those such as Dr G. Venkataraman find it easier to put out entirely erroneous information about the withdrawal of UNESCO and the University of Flinders, South Australia, from a major education conference at Puttaparthi. It is their style to attack the credentials of the BBC and other organisations which have investigated extensively and carefully into the allegations of very many compelling witnesses from various countries. Further down the chain of command, center leaders are expected to inform their congregations the the dissent comes from the smallest handful of disgruntled ex-members. There is a useful Summary of Main Failings and Deceptions of the International Sathya Sai Organisation. This is complied from Robert Priddy’s eighteen years experience as a founder member and national leader in Norway. From the same writer – a retired academic from the University of Oslo in philosophy and social sciences – there is a sociological analysis of the organization and feedback from former members.


 

Apart from cult leaders cynically engaged in the getting and holding of power, with all the accompaniements of realpolitik, there is, more widely, a psychological shrinking on BOTH the part of those resistant to the seriousness of the allegations of abuse of various kinds AND among many who have satisfied themselves that the allegations are true. The desire for the ‘quiet life’ is irresistible.


 

A hard fact of human nature is that most people shy away from anything approaching controversy. This is all the more noticeable when an often socially tabooed subject as sexual abuse is involved. Many feel that the problems and responsibilities of work, study, family and so on, which already loom large in their lives, are more than enough to handle. It is not surprising that much of the investigative, analytical and presentational work – where there is a strongly-maintained continuum – is done by those who have retired from their professions.

 

 

At best, those who are cautious and conservative will act to address the problems in their own locality. They will investigate situations of abuse in their own midst, and satisfy themselves that the more widely-spread allegations are true, having dealt with their localized instance of abuse by Sathya Sai Baba or those closely associated with him.

 

Many exit from the Sathya Sai Organization resigning. Organized, networked dissenters working with the greater overview can hear of these instances but often the participants do not get in touch. When contacted, they tend to say, e.g., “We want to move on”. “We do not want to have a falling out within … ” – the family or workplace or circle of friends, etc. “We don’t want it to affect our children’s study”. “We have to be careful that our business is not affected”. “We are prepared to testify, so long as there is a properly-mounted class action lawsuit against the Sathya Sai Organization or a reputable media or institutional investigation”. The list of reasons or excuses is longer!

 

Major reputed media in several countries, such as the BBC in ‘The Secret Swami’ (first screened July 2004 and subsequently broadcast in many countries) have raised questions that are the utmost responsibility of an alert and responsible media to ask. See:

 

BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ and British Press Praise

In case after case, media and even the most scholarly investigators (whose distinguished details can be made know to responsible, reputed media etc)who have tried to examine the organization have been thwarted by its extraordinary secrecy. On the rare occasions that its officials such as Indulal Shah (retired), Dr G. Venkataraman, Sri T. Ramanathan (retired), Leonard Gutter, Dr Michael Goldstein, Thorbjörn Meyer,  J. Jegathesan … have spoken to media, it has been to obfuscate issues. Other officials, except in straightforward local matters such as participation in festivals, service activities and so forth are bound to the strictest silence.

Sathya Sai Baba apologist Thorbjörn Meyer Interviewed on Danish TV News

Indulal Shah and Indian Government Cover Up

Barry Pittards Letter to Sri T. Ramanatham

Michael Goldstein’s Chilling 9/11 Remarks

‘Divine Sin’, by Alejandro Agostinelli

The Petition

Information on the Public Petition for Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization

About the Petition For Official Investigation Into Sathya Sai Baba Cult

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 10, 2009

(Note: You may prefer to proceed straight to the Petition):

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)

Serial, Wide Scale Sexual Abuse of Boys and Young Men

  • This Petition is to bring attention to serious allegations of child molestation and homosexual abuse by Sathya Sai Baba at his ashrams in South India, involving many victims there including boys and young men visiting from other countries. Another grave concern is the issue of unresolved murders at Sai Baba’s main ashram in 1993. Sathya Sai Baba, an Indian man who claims to be the full manifestation of God on earth, is worshipped by several million followers from most countries of the world.

  • The world’s leading investigative newspaper media have reported on his alleged sexual molestations of numerous boys and young men from all over the world, many of whom were raised to believe that he was God Almighty. Some of the many highly credible personal testimonies can be examined at http://www.saiguru.net/ or at http://www.exbaba.com/.

  • Certain officials of the Sathya Sai Organization have failed in their moral and compassionate duty by disregarding and not alerting membership to the allegations, thus putting minors at risk in Sai Baba’s presence. (In some countries, sexual abuse is taken so seriously that Mandatory Reporting laws exist.)

  • The US State Department is aware of these many allegations of sexual abuse and in effect for all US travellers going to India, making specific reference to Andhra Pradesh State, where Sathya Sai Baba’s main ashram is located. (see below, 1-) In mid 2004, as referred to in the BBC’s The Secret Swami, the US State Department confirmed to the BBC that Sathya Sai Baba was, in fact, the Indian religious teacher referred to, but not by name, in its warning to US travellers to Andhra Pradesh.

  • a British MP has lodged questions in the House of Commons concerning possible risk to the children of UK citizens visiting Sai Baba in India.

UNESCO’s Withdrawal From Major Education Conference at Puttaparthi

  • UNESCO officially withdrew from an educational conference planned for September 2000 at Sai Baba’s ashram under the auspices of the Sathya Sai Organization, citing “widely reported allegations of sexual abuse involving youth and children … levelled at the leader of the movement in question, Sathya Sai Baba.”

Police Killings In Sathya Sai Baba’s Bedroom and Subsequent Indian Governmnet Cover Up

  • In June 1993, Sai Baba passively stood by while six persons were murdered in his apartments in Prashanthi Nilayam independent township, his main ashram, known to be completely under his strict control. After discussions between Sai Baba’s officials and the local police, the police shot at close range and in cold blood killed four of these persons. Although Sai Baba reportedly first spoke to the intruders and remained nearby throughout the whole episode, conferring with his officials, he was not even questioned by police or law investigators! Due to their serious inconsistency and ineptitude, the case was taken over from the local police by the CBI, but the entire investigation was subsequently quashed by government order by the intervention of devotees of Sai Baba holding top positions of political power. Thus, no adequate court action was taken and no justice or redress was possible for the victims’ families.

  • To sustain police or judicial inactivity violates the human rights of the victims and turns also the civil authorities into violators of human rights.

Many Former Devotees Worldwide Have Signed Petition

  • We appeal to all those who wish that these matters should be properly investigated, and who wish that the responsible persons be made accountable through proper legal process, to PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION. We especially appeal to all religious and spiritual leaders, NGOs, politicians and official functionaries, and the media organizations of all countries to participate. This Petition is for the benefit of the general public and will be sent to any relevant authority that may forward the Petition. Please see sign-up instructions on the page.
    The initiators of this Petition (see the Undersigned, below) each left the Sathya Sai Baba cult for various reasons. Some have been active members of the Sathya Sai Organization for many years, others did not hold office in the SSO but were devoted followers. See personal resignation letters at
    www.saiguru.net

The International JuST Group (Just Seekers of Truth Group) included all those who conferred on the forming and posting of the Public Petition for Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and his Organisation. Listed alphabetically they are:-

Dinara Badaeva, Russia 1995-2001 Moscow Centre Educational Coordinator.
Serguei Badaev,Russia 1995-2001 Ex-President of Sai Org. Moscow Centre and Deputy National Chairman for Russia.
Dave. G. Brandt, USA 1970-1999 USA. Official Contact for Nebraska, N. and S. Dakota.
Stephen Carthew, Australia. Follower for 15 years Ex-office-bearer in the South Australian Org.
Timothy Conway, Ph.D. USA. Follower for 22 years President of the Sathya Sai Baba Center of San Francisco from 1982-4.
Andries Krugers Dagneaux, The Netherlands. Follower from 1992-2001. Ex-Coordinator of seva wing.
James Albert Danis, Canada. Follower for 13 years Coordinator of Retreats etc., Vancouver Center.
Lionel Fernandez, Mexico. Follower since1967. Centre Chairman May-October 2000.
Dennis J. Hanisch, USA. Follower for 27 years. Founder member and Vice-President, Seattle Center.
Elena Hartgering, USA. Follower for 20 years Ex-Vice-President of Centre and Regional Workshop presenter.
John Hartgering, USA. Follower for 10 years. Ex-President/Service Coordinator of Centre.
Soma Jeyendren, Australia. Devotee 1989 -2001. Coordinator of celebrations, Pennanthills Center, NSW.
Alexander Keilonat, Germany 1998-2000
Marit Larssen, Norway. Bergen group Coordinator 1996-2000.
David. J. Lyons, USA. Follower from 1981 to 2000. Ex-President of the Center of Greater New Orleans.
Helen Lewers, Australia. Member 1980 – 2000.
Glen Meloy, USA. 1974-2000. Member of 1st Advisory Board of the SSB Society & Co-Mgr. Official Tustin Book Centre
Alexandra Nagel, The Netherlands. Follower briefly in 2000, Active in exposé investigations.
Richard Nelson, USA. Member 1979-2000 Ex-President Santa Barbara Center.
Keith Ord, Spain. Follower from 1986-1991.
Terry Nelson, USA. Member 1979-2000.
Shirley J. Pike, USA. Ex-President, NC Region: Ex-President Cedar Rapids Center, Iowa
Barry Pittard, Australia. 1976-1999. Former English Lecturer, Sathya Sai College, Whitefield.
Robert Priddy, Norway. 1983-2002. Founder member/Ex-Chairman of Oslo Center (1986-1996) & contact person (later Coordinator) for Norway 1883-2000.
Reidun Priddy, Norway. 1983-2000. Founder member and Seva Wing Coordinator 1986-1998
Hortense Quijs, The Netherlands. 1995 – 2000 Maastricht Group Coordinator.
Stijntje Riemersma, The Netherlands. Follower for 20 years. Coordinator/Secretary Utrecht group, 6 years.
Sathya Purcell, USA. Lifetime follower until age 23.
Sharon Purcell, USA Follower for 32 years. Founder member of Tustin Center, California,
Dr. Everett & Barbara Shocket, USA Followers: 1980-1990. Dhyani Jo Sinclair, Canada Member and Sai Centre Secretary, 1995-2000.
Marc-André St. Jean, Canada. Former member of Sai Center in Montreal.
Margarita Sanchez Van Dyck, Mexico 1984-2000.

Posted in Morality, Opinion, Protest, Religion, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , | 53 Comments »

Prominent Indians Berate India’s Rife Political Corruption

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 6, 2009

Many are the intellectually extremely dishonest ploys used by those who fanatically oppose the exposure of Sathya Sai Baba and core leaders of his sect.

One of these ruses intended to blacken those who have stood for truth for a great many years of their lives is that former devotees who speak out are “India bashers”. To point out how he and his key servitors have only deepened the corruption that is rife in India greatly displeases them. They do not stop to consider that there are forces – many of them tremendously courageous – who criticise India from within. The fact that Sathya Sai Baba’s  apologists will not face is that Sai Baba has many times said that he and his Sathya Sai Organization are going to save the world, mostly within his own lifetime. He has failed. Many of his promises and predictions have already been categorically falsified. Reliable first-hand reports as well as recent photographic evidence show show that he is in marked decline. See related articles below.

Robert Priddy, former longtime leader of the Sathya Sai Organization in Norway and retired academic of the University of Oslo,

robertp

has just blogged most interestingly and with a generous supply of useful authoritative research links, suggesting some poste general election tide-turnings in India. He cites important and respected Indian commentators such as the 10th Chief Election Commissioner of India T.N. Seshan,

Former Indian Election Commissioner T.N. Seshan

and also the British citizen of Indian background, Sir Gulam Noon MBE.

Sir Gukam Noon, MBE - richest Indian immigrant in UK

Such commentators can hardly be accused of “India bashing” – they are telling it like it is – likely because they deeply care for the greatness that resides within India, and they stand against her betrayal.  See: India’s election gives some hope. Posted by robertpriddy on July 5, 2009. Priddy writes:

“The problems of the Indian masses have very largely been disregarded by the politicians and the huge obstructive and nest-feathering bureaucracy. The previous Congress-led government was too weak and dependent on other parties to take strong measures to raise the poor or provide them with the facilities which are essential to a minimum of decent livelihood. It is hoped – on behalf of India’s tortured poor and suffering, that this will begin to change, after setbacks in reduction of poverty in the last two decades. India can only benefit from such changes, the alternatives are too terrible to contemplate. There are many diaspora Indians who would never return to India other than for holidays or possibly old age retirement. Sir Gulam Noon, who made a fortune out of Britain’s appetite for Indian food, is one such. In the tabloid press he is known simply as the Curry King. Interviewed on Hard Talk by Stephen Sackur, he was asked if he thought investing in India would be an option for him, considering the credit crunch and the relative immunity of the Indian economy to its effects. In his reply, he made clear his view that – though he visits often and has involvements in India, not least in his charitable institutions, the country is still ruled by criminally-corrupt politicians. This is a major indictment by a diaspora Indian of such notability”.

Further Related Resources

Sathya Sai Baba: India to lead a unified world soon

Sathya Sai Baba – prophecies in the ‘suka nadi’ palm leaves

Sai Baba predictions, promises and prophecies – index

Sai Baba To Be Seen In Moon? But Where Was Moon?

Sai Baba Fails To Appear In Moon, IANS Reports

“No fear of bombs” in India, Said Sai Baba a Week Before Mumbai Terrorist Attack

Hasty Cover Up Of Sai Baba ‘No bombs in India’ Blunder

Sai Baba 83. Has Said He Will Rule World

Indian God’s Birthday. Says Will Rule World. Photo

‘World Hindu’ by 2030. VHP’s Singhal Reports Sathya Sai Baba Told Him

‘World Avatar’ Sathya Sai Baba’s Troubled Trail

Sai Baba – Miraculous or Disastrous?

Huge Sai Baba Gaffes

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Video Resources

The Secret Swami (BBC Television):
(154 MB, Broadband)

Further Resources

Seduced (DR, Danish Broadcasting, Denmark’s national television and radio broadcaster):
(80 MB, Broadband)

http://home.hetnet.nl/~seduced/seduced.wmv
(21 MB, Modem)

PUBLIC PETITION

Public Petition for Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization

IN SPANISH

(PETICIÓN PÚBLICA PARA INVESTIGACIONES OFICIALES DE SATHYA SAI BABA Y SU ORGANIZACIÓN A NIVEL MUNDIAL)

Posted in Morality, News and Politics, Opinion, Religion, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Sathya Sai Baba Sect: A Crisis of Trust

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 5, 2009

One of the distinctive phenomena that independently confirm voices critical of Sathya Sai Baba and his cult is that his movement is eroding from within.

A glance at each of these older articles in conjunction with the other highlights two important facts:

Quote from: Sathya Sai Baba World Cult At Odds With Itself

“Some of his followers have made progress in thinking their way out of this particular variety of ‘the guru trap’. They do not have to ask whether those who have spoken out (often after many decades as deeply dedicated service workers in his movement) are a tiny handful of disgruntled or money-oriented individuals or “demons” and “Judases” that Sathya Sai Baba and certain of his devotees have branded us as being. Rather, in waking up to the seriousness of the revelations, they discover rude awakenings enough in their own saddened localities”.

Quote from: ‘Secret Swami’ Cult Recruits At Prime Public Venues

“This zeal to recruit (to use the proper word) tends to take place in exceptionally prestigious venues. What does the global Sathya Sai Baba cult  need for its survival – given over a decade of unrelenting exposure? It needs to provide for the stupendously expensive upkeep and maintenance of its costly and sumptuous buildings and various programs that glorify Sathya Sai Baba as God of Gods. See (including photos of the imperial lavishness with which Sathya Sai Baba surrounds himself): Sai Baba, Kubla Khan, Citizen Kane, Bill Gates et alia and India’s ‘Emperor’ Sai Baba. By His Lavish Spending Ye Shall Know Him

But the wherewithal is not likely to proceed from his ever-circling ‘miraculous’ hand. Survival decrees that it is the left and cunning hand that needs to be in operation, and fast”.

Video Resources

The Secret Swami (BBC Television):
(154 MB, Broadband)

Further Resources

Seduced (DR, Danish Broadcasting, Denmark’s national television and radio broadcaster):
(80 MB, Broadband)

http://home.hetnet.nl/~seduced/seduced.wmv
(21 MB, Modem)

Further Resources

Public Petition for Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization

(PETICIÓN PÚBLICA PARA INVESTIGACIONES OFICIALES DE SATHYA SAI BABA Y SU ORGANIZACIÓN A NIVEL MUNDIAL)

Posted in Opinion, Religion, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »