The Late Leo Boogaard: A Dutch Voice of Conscience On Sathya Sai Baba
Posted by Barry Pittard on November 13, 2009
Many individuals who have led lives of dedicated service, both in the Sathya Sai Organization and well beyond it, have left Sai Baba for the most prinicipled reasons. In a moment, I shall come to the case of the former leader of the Dutch organization, Leo Boogaard.
The ruthless and unconscienable manner in which Sathya Sai Baba’s foremost servitors have treated members who have dared to question has led to further serious erosion of the Sathya Sai Organization membership. This cruel and authoritarian behaviour of officials has been, in itself, an important factor in the exposure of the cultic nature of the Sathya Sai Baba sect. It is as though their heavy-handedness is a sort of explosive device that blows up in their own faces.
I have written, for example, of the terrible treatment which the former Australian organizational head T.Sri Ramananthan meted out to the then South Australian spiritual coordinator Stephen Carthew:
Carthew’s account is available in his:
and the European head Thorbjorn Meyer’s similarly soviet-style treatment of Serguei Badaev, when the latter was president of the Sathya Sai Organization’s Moscow center, deputy national coodinator, and coordinator of the national Sathya Sai Education in Human Values (SSEHV)
Badaev’s account is found in his:
In like manner, Thorbjorn Meyer sacked yet another widely-loved leader, (the late) Leo Boogaard, who was the chairman of the Dutch Sathya Sai Organization until 1984
Former cofounder and head of the Sathya Sai Organization in Norway, Robert Priddy has paid tribute to his old friend:
Robert Priddy writes:
“Leo Boogaard was the Chairman of the Dutch Sathya Sai Organization in 1984, but he was sacked by the Central Coordinator Thorbjorn Meyer because he refused to exclude certain groups of Indian and Sri Lankan devotees from the organization who did not follow Meyer’s strict rules. Meyer replaced him with one of his cronies. Later, when re-election for the post was eventually arranged, Leo was voted in by a large majority against Thorbjørn Meyer’s opposition by Dutch devotees …
Leo told me on several occasions in the 1990s of the Dutch Organization’s attempts to get a more sensible set of guidelines and teaching methods accepted on Education in Human Values in the Sathya Sai Organization. Meyer wanted to determine everything himself (a man who had no pedagogical qualifications and was a tough manipulator of people), so the self-defeating policy he pursued was retained. Among Meyer’s “achievements” was the signal failure of a projected Sathya Sai College and ‘Educare’ programme under his leadership which was to be at Arresødal Castle in Copenhagen was rejected by a public protest movement! The US financed 6 million dollar project had to be abandoned! Leo Boogaard left the Sathya Sai Organization and later renounced Sathya Sai Baba too”.
Given to ‘Bild’, Germany’s highest circulated magazine – the testimony of a German husband and wife, Jens and Gurprit Sethi. After naively sharing their account while still at the ashram, the Sethis say there were serious threats from the ashram heavies, after which they fled the Puttaparthi ashram. Circa 2000, Jens Sethi, was particularly active in giving direct testimony of Sathya Sai Baba’s sexual abuse of himself. He made sworn testimony (a copy of which I have). Before leaving India, the Sethi’s went to the German Embassy in New Delhi. The first German official was open and sypathetic, showing knowledge that this was not the first time he had heard of such abuses related to Sathya Sai Baba, but the next step of the Embassy was to close up on the matter, which other individuals have also found to be the case when they gave testimony in their own countries. Jens Sethi also made detail report to the German police. Again, the sympathy – and, finally, no action. Officials in each country say: but what can we do? We know through impeccable sources (available to the media, bona fide scholars, etc) that the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials have been told not to “rock the boat with India” in matters appertaining to Sathya Sai Baba.
Searing true testimony about Sathya Sai Baba abuse (the case of Hans de Kraker, Australia, who was for a number of years in charge of the Western Canteen at Puttaparthi. Article by Robert Priddy)
Sathya Sai Baba Organization’s Betrayal of Love and Compassion (including Terry Gallagher case – Gallagher investigated extensively, and, in consequence, resigned as leader of the Sathya Sai Organization, Australia)
The Sathya Sai Organizations Treatment of the Rahm Family
Alaya Rahm’s Lawsuit vs Sathya Sai Society of America. Joint Statement by the International JuST Group and the Rahm family (Al Rahm was one of the foremost of top leaders in the SS Org.) and:
Further Interconnected Articles
Wikipedia Issues and Sathya Sai Baba (By the Independent British writer on religion and philosophy Kevin R.D. Shepherd)
Barry Pittard’s comments in regard to the Public Petition) -:
Posted by Barry Pittard on July 10, 2009
There is a Spanish version available: