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:
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.
Information on the Public Petition for Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization
Posted by Barry Pittard on July 10, 2009
(Note: You may prefer to proceed straight to the Petition):
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.