Sathya Sai Baba Critic Serguei Badaev: An Incisive Voice of Conscience From Russia
Posted by Barry Pittard on November 2, 2009
Serguei Badaev was ex-President of the Sathya Sai Organization’s Moscow centre, ex-deputy National Coordinator, and National Sathya Sai Education in Human Values (SSEHV) Coordinator for Russia. He is a biology graduate from Moscow University and an educator.
Serguei Badaev is an incisive writer with a professional background. His writings critical of the Sai sect – no less than those of others who have raised critical questions – receive no answer from Sathya Sai Baba and his officials. Nor do the latter explain how those with years of loving, sacrificial and dedicated service to the Sathya Sai Baba organization (what to speak in their own professions and wider communities) should, supposedly and practically overnight, become demons, naysayers, and defamers.
The Moscow centre wrote a letter (see below) to Indulal Shah (then head of the Sathya Sai Baba Organization) and 7th World Conference seeking an explanation from their teacher for the spiritual meaning of the up-rush of criticism on the Internet about him and his mission.In various parts of the so-called ‘Sai Kingdom’, there had been some earlier alarums and excursions. For but three examples of confronting issues, which, however, were contained by Sathya Sai Baba’s bans on discussion and other actions of profound cover up, See:
and references to the principled resignation of a probing Terry Gallagher (an agricultural scientist and businessman), the first leader of the Australian Sathya Sai Organization, in the article:
However, there was the enormous growth of the Internet. Starting in great earnest circa 2000, amid allegations coming from a number of countries of Sathya Sai Baba’s serial sexual abuse of boys and young men (not to mention other gravely crime-related allegations), there was significant leave-taking and much consternation in Sai centers round the world. Some believed that an airing of concerns was needed, and that, irrespective of findings or views, clampdown invited great risk to the integrity of the organization, as well as to matters of individual integrity and fearlessness to raise the issues no matter how fraught.
Issues about transparency and accountability in the organization arose in acute form. The presence of a highly authoritarian organization was perceived not only by those in active dissent from it but by investigative third parties, such as some of the world’s leading investigative media, UNESCO, scholars and, not least, families, friends and colleagues of those who were involved with Sathya Sai Baba. See:
Sathya Sai Organisation – Further Subterfuge and Misinformation, by Robert Priddy and Barry Pittard
Badaev has written about the evils of Soviet secretiveness and suppression in past decades. But here were he and his peers finding that these oppressions now visited from a source that they had thought to be all Light and Love.
The letter drew silence, except that Badaev was dismissed as President of the Moscow Centre.
The then head of the Sathya Sai Organization in Australia, T.Sri Ramanathan, meted out remarkably similar treatment to Stephen Carthew, spiritual coordinator of that organization in South Australia. He too had called for a democratic and properly chaired forum for the airing of members’ concerns. He too was summarily dismissed. See: Caught In One Of History’s Most Powerful Cults (5)
Story of my disqualification
From: Serguei Badaev (Russia)
Date: 12-21-01. Date of disqualification: April 2001
It started about 2 years ago when we (I mean Russian devotees) were informed that David Baily left the Organisation and disseminated dirty rumours about Sai Baba. It was a sort of a shock because D.Bailey had visited Russia several times (with Faye) and had given talks and appeared to be a dedicated devotee. We were not told about the reasons so we were puzzled very much. The situation was similar with Conny Larsson. Then again with Dr.Bhatia. It was like a mysterious virus which struck people and converted them against Swami.
Then we learnt that some information can be found on the Internet. After some web sites with negative information were located, we looked them through and realised that the accusations were serious enough not to be ignored. We decided to discuss them during the special meeting of the active members in the Moscow Sai centre. I sent to Steen Piculell (central coordinator for region 16) 2 questions about false materialisations and homosexual activities. Both questions were formulated like this: do you know (or believe) that the information about … is a fake or they do exist and have some special spiritual meaning? Steen Piculell did not answer. He forwarded it to T.Meyer (Chairman for the zone 4), who replied not to me but to the Moscow Sai centre. He told us that we were not allowed to arrange such a sort of meeting and that if Serguei Badaev could ask such questions that meant he did not have enough faith to be an office bearer in the Organisation.
The Moscow centre wrote a letter to I.Shah and 7th World Conference with the appeal to acknowledge these facts and ask Bhagavan for their spiritual explanation. The letter was passed to our National Coordinator who went to 7thWC and he passed it to S. Piculell and T.Meyer. As far as I understand it never went further. In the beginning of January the National Coordinator phoned me and announced about my disqualification as a deputy of the National Coordinator and National SSEHV Coordinator. He told it was a sort of recommendation of T.Meyer. When I asked about the reason the answer was – “lack of faith in Bhagavan Baba and His teaching”.
That time my tenure as a President of the Moscow Sai centre after 4 years was finishing, but the active members meeting decided to postpone the change of the President in regard to this situation. When the National Coordinator learnt about it he disqualified me as a President of the centre. The Moscow centre wrote a letter to the National Coordinator asking him to come to the Moscow centre to have a meeting with the active members. He failed. I wrote a letter to all the Central Council members with the appeal not to accept this decision until collective settlement would be reached.
Soon after that the meeting of the Central Council of Russian speaking countries was held. S.Piculell and T.Meyer came there. I was not invited. But I went as an observer as well as a delegation of the office bearers and active members from Moscow, about a dozen people altogether. During the meeting of the Central Council people from Moscow were not given a word. After all the previous decision was confirmed and imposed on the CC members who were keeping absolute silence. So that is the story in brief.
According to the Charter the reason for disqualification is deliberate violation of 9 Points of Code of Conduct. That was not the case. But during the CC meeting T.Meyer clearly formulated that a National Coordinator has the right to disqualify any office bearer under his supervision without assigning any reasons. I have never seen or heard about such regulations in the Organisation.
Soon after this CC meeting National Youth Coordiantor, Maria Ponomareva-Stepnaya, resigned.
P.S. In April 2001 I left the Sai Organisation.
A Small Selection of Sergei Badaev’s Writings
SAI BABA’S CLAIMS ABOUT JESUS CHRIST AND CHRISTIANITY Documented texts of Sathya Sai Baba on Jesus and the Christian religion analysed.
DISCREPANCIES IN SAI BABA’S PUBLISHED WORDS Documented texts
Barry Pittard’s comments in regard to the Public Petition) -:
Posted by Barry Pittard on July 10, 2009
There is a Spanish version of the Petition available: