Call For Media and Government Investigation

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

Archive for March, 2010

Boy Scouts of America – Sex Abuse Revelations. Who Next?

Posted by Barry Pittard on March 31, 2010

Perhaps the day of great account will eventually come for the international Sathya Sai Organization.  


At the moment, the Boy Scouts of America is under close scrutiny for its practices in dealing – and not dealing – with the sexual abuse issue.  


Boy Scouts of America Sorely Tested
Will Parents Be Able To Trust Boy Scouts of America?

In recent articles at ‘Call For Media and Government Investigation of Sathya Sai Baba’, I have been pointing to cases in other areas which have often taken years of persistent activism by those who have exposed appalling levels of cover up by powerful institutions.  

Typically found throughout all these institutions are the themes of psychological denial by the generality of followers and deliberate denial by those authorities who know the facts and go to great lengths to hide them. The amount of denigration, name-calling, distortion of what is being said, shunning, libel and defamation of those who have stood forth to reveal the facts, are also typical. They fly completely in the face of the professed ethical and spiritual teachings of those institutions, which in many cases are unexceptionable.  

An oft-repeated and egregious flaw of apologists is to avoid the fact that the institutions which they defend should be accountable to the law. Pope Benedict’s now says that he is ‘sorry’ for the countless sexual abuses by certain of his priests, but modern notions of reporting abuse to the police were absent in his document. 


Despite the Pope’s recent apology to Irish Roman Catholic survivors of priest abuse – vastly long in coming (and what of huge reported abuses occurring in his church throughout the world?) – still fails to resolve the issue of accountability to civil law. Such a glaring omission suggests no reason why a church with such profound failure in reforming its handling of thousands of sexual abuse cases should be entrusted to exercise ecclesiastical law in these matters. 

The apologists in all these institutions attack the ‘messengers’, who are typically prepared to be accountable for their allegations. It is, rather, those who stand forth who go to the media, mount legal challenges, suffer threats (sometimes to life and limb), set up counseling situations for abuse survivors, do prodigious researches, write articles, attend to voluminous correspondence and (often highly inopportune) telephone calls, do media interviews, consult with lawyers and abuse experts, and maintain websites and blogsites that are in constant need of concentrated attention …. It is they who are so viciously and constantly attacked. It is they and their families and friends who are unconscienably put under pressure by fanatics and other nasty people. It is they who make untold professional, financial and health sacrifices; but it is the institutions which strenuously attempt to avoid account. See recent articles at this site: 

 Sexual Abuse Priests. What?! The Pope Never Knew?  

 Why Nithyananda Sex Scandal Investigations and Not A Sathya Sai Baba Probe?  

Roman Catholics’ Deep Concern At Pope’s Apology. But He Is Way Ahead Of Indian ‘Pope’ Sathya Sai Baba  

BBC Transcript ‘The Secret Swami’ (Sathya Sai Baba’s Frauds Exposed)  

Standing Up To Cultic Monoliths 

Nityananda Sex Scandal Erupts in India. Sathya Sai Baba Lessons?  

Yet another huge institution about whom revelations are also surfacing is the Boy Scots of America. Enough evidence has already been produced by lawyers to show that the cover up has been on a huge scale. 

 Boy Scouts sex abuse files now evidence in suit

‘Perversion’ documents to shed light on how Scouts dealt with molesters  


updated 11:03 p.m. ET March 20, 2010
…. “A judge who had ordered the Scouts to release them received 1,247 files into evidence near the end of the day Friday — the third day of trial that began with a lawyer saying “you will be the first jury to see them.”

Attorneys Paul Mones and Kelly Clark won the release of files from 1965 to 1985 to help them make the case in a $14 million lawsuit against the Boy Scouts filed by a 37-year-old Oregon man. He was sexually molested in the early 1980s by assistant Scoutmaster Timur Dykes, who was convicted three times between 1983 and 1994 of sexually abusing boys, most of them Scouts …  

During questioning by Mones, Marshall acknowledged there was no system in place to warn Scouts or their parents about potential sex abuse, and no procedure for them to report it.  

Scout executives had no written guidelines until a 1972 memo on the subject that also urged them to keep its contents confidential “because of misunderstandings which could develop if it were widely distributed.”  

Earlier Friday, testimony from a bishop for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints responsible for a Scout troop of church members suggested the Scouts never provided leaders with training about spotting abuse or preventing it”.  


Click here to view list of brief video clips available from the BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ documentary  


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

 There is a Spanish version available:  



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Posted in Morality, Opinion, Religion, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Sexual Abuse Priests. What?! The Pope Never Knew?

Posted by Barry Pittard on March 28, 2010

Some international commentators opine that there is a net of terrible revelation closing in on Pope Benedict XVI. One revelation after another indicates that he has for many years known about the endemic sexual abuses, both of children and adults, happening within the Roman Catholic Church. And that he has, all along, failed with any probity (unless it accorded with antiquated, incredibly out-of-touch notions of an ancien régime) to act. To the contrary, he has called, all along, for secrecy. A key issue is whether any ecclesiastical authority has the right to deal with crimes within its own entity. Countless sexual abuses have not been reported to the police, and strong sections within the Catholic hierarchy have triumphed in a division between Church and State that appalls most who live in a western democracy.

See companion article to this post:  

Roman Catholics’ Deep Concern At Pope’s Apology. But He Is Way Ahead Of Indian ‘Pope’ Sathya Sai Baba

Posted by Barry Pittard on March 23, 2010

The same high-handed rebuff to legal sovereignty of the secular state was, in effect, asserted by the longtime, now retired world coordinator of the Sathya Sai Organizer, Indulal Shah. See:  Indian Newspaper Reports of Killings In Sai Baba’s Bedroom . One of the most responsible papers in India stated:

“When press persons met Mr. Indulal Shah, chief functionary of the Sri Satya Sai World Trust, after the murders of six young Sai followers in Sathya Sai Baba’s bedroom in 1993, Indulal Shah is reported as having said: ‘the matter is purely internal and we do not wish to have any law enforcement agency investigating into it.” (from The Hindu, 10-6-1993).

(For further evidence of how powerful institutions which have a respectable facade nonetheless master the dark arts of cover up, I shall in an upcoming post turn to the mounting allegations of massive cover up of sexual abuse by the Boy Scouts of America, which faces watershed legal action)

If any should think that the Vatican has not been for centuries, and is not to this day, a heavy hitter in the murky world of realpolitik, they have not paused to read even the standard historical accounts. 


The BBC has called Sathya Sai Baba ‘the secret swami’. See:  The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ – A Revision . Whether they are from the top handful of universities in the world or from major international media, investigators immediately confirm the entire aptness of this appellation. Both the Vatican and the international Sathya Sai Organization deal, at their very hub, in secrecy. The unsavoury topics guarded by this clandestineness are those from which the rank-and-file members, not to mention investigators, are kept in the utmost ignorance at every opportunity possible.

In the world of power politics, ecclesiastical or secular, Machiavelli, author of ‘The Prince’ is no mere ghost. Or even Italian any more. He mentored: “A wise ruler ought never to keep faith when by doing so it would be against his interests”. Larger than life, he is everywhere kicking in heads, hearts, minds and souls of those who rise up to question elites entrenched in their power. Indeed Italy, the locus of the Vatican, gave birth to this master of statecraft-by-cunning-means. But he belongs to the murky world in every geopolitical cranny. It is said that he was President John F. Kennedy’s bedside reading.

For the cleverest and well-born boys I taught in India at the Sathya Sai college outside Bangalore, South India, and for their familial forebears, the everlasting Indian equivalent is Chanakya (known also as Kautilya), the presumed author of the treatise the ‘Arthashastra’. He predates Machiavelli by eighteen centuries, but cedes nothing to him. He counseled:  “Do not be very upright in your dealings for you would see by going to the forest that straight trees are cut down while crooked ones are left standing”. He too lives vibrantly – another ‘invisible man’. Another ‘secret swami’. Chanakya was whispered into their ears away from the rest of the family, and put into their hands for committing to memory, and otherwise communicated by networks of nods and winks. My erstwhile and much-loved students are now out in the world of power and influence doing their darndest. Some of the choicest and most history-steeped of them would, I am sure, to this day be able to look Mr Pittard in the eye with the greatest of directness, warmth and charm (just as when they last rushed up to me at Puttaparthi in 1997 after my long absence), with the terribly invisible Chanakya sitting godfatherly and approvingly on their shoulder.

Be in Puttaparthi and accompanied by any acutely well-informed Indian observer, you will have discreetly pointed out to you a not always charming gallery of those who protect Sathya Sai Baba to the nth degree.  You will be privy to a long roll-call of players in the inmost circles of power – governmental, political, armed forces, police, judicial, diplomatic, financial, industrial, and so on. Sathya Sai Baba brings vast foreign and other revenues to India, and, irrespective of what party or coalition of parties ascends in India, he is profoundly protected.

One’s ultimate discussion with oneself is whether one rolls over and cedes to the bully boys (and most in these rigid, autocratic hierarchies are indeed male) – or not.

For my observations on the current sex scandal erupting in India concerning Swami Nithynanda, see:

Why Nithyananda Sex Scandal Investigations and Not A Sathya Sai Baba Probe? In this article, I have proffered some reasons why the Nithyananda scandal has not been hushed up, in marked contrast with Sathya Sai Baba. The Pope and Sathya Sai Baba are immensely ‘big fry’. Nityananda, although reputed to have large numbers of devotees worldwide, is a minnow by comparison.

Robert Priddy

Swami ‘Paramahamsa’ Nityananda scandal – latest

Posted by robertpriddy on March 28, 2010

Investigations of sex cover-ups not ’smear campaigns’

Sai Baba school closed because of reported sex abuses

Nityananda sex scandal compounded by his lies and deceits

Nityananda video, lies and ’sex allegations’

Pope Benedict’s Standing In Grave Question

The Netherlands: More than 200 Catholics have until now reported sex assaults.
Germany: Over 250 sex assault cases are under investigation.Austria: A series of accusations of sex abuse have surfaced recently.
Ireland: Two reports in 2009 document sexual and physical abuse on a huge scale in Catholic institutions.
USA: An independent commission in 2004 received 10,667 accusations of abuses by Catholic priests from 1950 to 2002.
UK: A monk who ran a Catholic school was given 8 years prison for decades of child sexual abuse. Two other monks were convicted for sex assaults in 2007.
Australia: In 2008, there were 107 convictions in sex abuse cases connected to the Catholic Church.
New Zealand: There has been a series of accusations of sex abuses in Catholic schools.
Canada: In 1989 a newspaper exposed sex abuse in a Catholic children home in Newfoundland, after which 300 previous children homes have reported sex abuses!
Argentina: Brasil: Peru: the Philippines and Senegal have all reported similar cases.
(Source: Norsk Telegram Byrå and DPA)
See A timeline

US lawyers have released a letter with a potential to be highly damaging to Pope Benedict.

Associated Press Report

Pope under fire for transfer, letter on sex abuse

By NICOLE WINFIELD (AP) – Mar 12, 2010

VATICAN CITY — Germany’s sex abuse scandal has now reached Pope Benedict XVI: His former archdiocese disclosed that while he was archbishop a suspected pedophile priest was transferred to a job where he later abused children.

 The pontiff is also under increasing fire for a 2001 Vatican document he later penned instructing bishops to keep such cases secret.

 The revelations have put the spotlight on Benedict’s handling of abuse claims both when he was archbishop of Munich from 1977-1982 and then the prefect of the Vatican office that deals with such crimes — a position he held until his 2005 election as pope.

 And they may lead to further questions about what the pontiff knew about the scope of abuse in his native Germany, when he knew it and what he did about it during his tenure in Munich and quarter-century term at the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.


The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, issued a statement late Friday noting that the Munich vicar-general who approved the priest’s transfer had taken “full responsibility” for the decision, seeking to remove any question about the pontiff’s potential responsibility as archbishop at the time.

Victims’ advocates weren’t persuaded.

“We find it extraordinarily hard to believe that Ratzinger didn’t reassign the predator, or know about the reassignment,” said Barbara Blaine, president and founder of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

 See remainder of report HERE

See Also

Sinead O’Connor’s statements!

Roman Catholics’ Deep Concern At Pope’s Apology. But He Is Way Ahead Of Indian ‘Pope’ Sathya Sai Baba

Posted by Barry Pittard on March 23, 2010


Click here to view list of brief video clips available from the BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ documentary


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

There is a Spanish version available:



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Posted in Morality, New Age, Opinion, Rationalism, Religion, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Why Nithyananda Sex Scandal Investigations and Not A Sathya Sai Baba Probe?

Posted by Barry Pittard on March 26, 2010

The Swami Nithyananda sex scandal unfolds in India. One might well wonder – although a great many Indians who know the corruption that pervades the power elites in India will not be puzzled – why there have been decades of news blanketing in that country of reports that threaten the power and prestige of Sathya Sai Baba.

 Sathya Sai Baba, Lord of Mega Buck Pomp and Circumstance

Sathya Sai Baba, Lord of Mega Buck Pomp and Circumstance

The greatest factor is the grip that he has on politicians, judiciary, police, armed services, corporates, and so on. But there is a new and questing India that is growing among her young, who are increasingly throwing off the trammels of their forbears, who were profoundly locked in superstition and subservient to their British colonial masters. That she is still to a chronic degree prey to old and crippling attitudes, however, is evidenced by the prevalence of gerontocracy, nepotism and casteism among so many of her rulers. (These days, the casteism is often cleverly disguised). The young Nithyananda, though visited by various politicians, has clearly not had powerful enough protective patronage at high levels. His story got out. It was not spiked – or sufficiently spiked by editors. Which would be a bit difficult after Sun TV had broadcast steamy footage.

Another  factor is that decades of allegations against Sathya Sai Baba relate to pedophilia and also sex with young men. Heavily tabooed sex more often repels. It is not likely to grind down the internet search engines with queries such as:

Nityananda sex video, Nityananda Ranjitha video, Nityananda sex tape, Nityananda fraud, Nityananda video, Nityananda video of sexual act, Swami Nityananda Ranjitha full video, Nityananda video clippings, Ranjitha hot video, etc., …

Heterosexuality is, of course, by far the norm, and here sex sells enormously more widely.  Especially, when the names of glamorous female film actresses like Ranjitha and Yurvarani are coupled with the hapless Nithyananda, the salaciousness index climbs sky-high. Of course, these young women are also hapless, and it is all very saddening to think of the likely impact on their lives.

A glance at a cross-section of the Indian media, blogsite and other reactions indicate an appalling lack of respect for such civilized notions as benefit of doubt until more evidence is produced. The evidence against Sathya Sai Baba is huge, and, if she does nothing about this, India’s shame will endure down the ages. In the case of one so vastly powerful and influential as Sathya Sai Baba, history does not easily forget.

A great many Hindus take the celibacy of monks and nuns under vows very seriously. The practice of ‘bramacharya’  means that a monk and a nun (swami or swamini) abjures a sexual life so that they can pursue single-mindedly a life of service to others, of prayer, meditation, and so on. Millions of Hindus support ashrams with this understanding in mind. It is a very ancient one. Therefore, a monk or nun who practises a double standard violates not only sacred oaths but is breaking faith with the understanding and trust that lie behind huge donations and other forms of support for any given ashram. In short, false pretenses.

See also:

Nityananda Sex Scandal Erupts in India. Sathya Sai Baba Lessons?

Roman Catholics’ Deep Concern At Pope’s Apology. But He Is Way Ahead Of Indian ‘Pope’ Sathya Sai Baba

Robert Priddy

  • Nityananda sex scandal compounded by his lies and deceits
  • Nityananda video, lies and ’sex allegations’
  • Sex scandal in Indian media – Nityananda and forerunners
  • ——————————-

    Report from

    Bangalore, Mar 20: Troubles are only adding up for scandal-tainted Swami Nithyananda as two more cases have been registered against him in Karnataka.

    Ramanagaram district police has received a statement from Guru Charan, nephew of Union external affairs minister SM Krishna alleging that the Swamiji is involved in many more criminal activities, reports DNA.
    “I have come forward on my own to file a complaint against the spiritual leader, who has hurt the religious sentiments of the people of Karnataka. This is required as no other person from the state has come forward to lodge any complaint against him till date,” Charan is quoted as saying.

    Besides this, a Kannada actor, Praveen has also reportedly lodged a similar police complaint.

    The media report published on Saturday, Mar 20 notes that both the men are from Mandya.

    The godman has already been slapped with several charges including rape, cheating, unnatural sex among others. Karnataka police is hunting for the godman, whose sex scandal came to light on Mar 2 when a sleazy video showing the Swamiji in a compromising position with Tamil actress Ranjitha hit the media.

    The case was transferred from Tamil Nadu to Karnataka as the sex tape is believed to have been recorded in Nithyananda’s Bidadi ashram.

    The Karnataka police believes that this is just the beginning and is expecting a lot more cases in the coming days.

    OneIndia News.


    Click here to view list of brief video clips available from the BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ documentary


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

    There is a Spanish version available:



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    Posted in Movie Stars, New Age, Opinion, Religion, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

    Roman Catholics’ Deep Concern At Pope’s Apology. But He Is Way Ahead Of Indian ‘Pope’ Sathya Sai Baba

    Posted by Barry Pittard on March 23, 2010

    It is enormously instructive to watch the unfolding saga of papal apology for clergy sexual abuse. Large numbers of both Roman Catholics and others round the world have expressed deep dissatisfaction with the Pope’s apology. They say that it goes nowhere far enough, and does not address acute issues of crime and punishment. The Roman Catholic Church, like the international Sathya Sai Organization, has every reason to be afraid of sore depletions  of membership and finance, as well as moral standing in the world community.

    RC Abuse Priests Collared. Clergy sex revelation storms threaten worldwide

    RC Abuse Priests Collared. Clergy sex revelation storms threaten worldwide

    There have been many critical commentaries from within and far beyond the Roman Catholic Church. They make it clear that there are central issues of institutional power and control that prevent far-reaching and genuine reforms from taking place. Even when the methods of statecraft far exceed the spirit or even letter of an institution’s spiritual, ethical and moral aims, it is the long history of powerful institutions to use the apparatus of legalistic and other forms of self-protection. In other words, cover up. And, at best, cosmetic reform. For a glimpse at an ancien régime swinging into action, see The Times report: Vatican moves to distance Pope from abuse scandal. Richard Owen. Rome.


    Sorry Pope Indeed

    Sorry Pope


    What many Roman Catholics, including one of the greatest and outspoken theologians in Church history, Professor Hans Kung, and others are, in effect, asking is: why is this man so publically sorry now and not years ago, when he was cognizant of sexual abuses within his church?

    The Dark Pages That Have To Be Faced

    A secular example. The immediate past US President George  W. Bush’s name will stand forever darkened by his secret policy of “extraordinary rendition”, where prisoners deemed to be a threat to US security were spirited away to countries friendly to the US which routinely practise torture, so that the hands of US citizens would not personally be bloodied by the heinous acts then committed without the knowledge and consent of the American people at large.

    Again, cover up. Again, acknowledgement only when the forces of exposure have reached tipping point.

    Typically, among the lower orders of institutional membership, there are many who rationalize and justify an autocratic leadership’s  actions and instructions that appear to enhance or protect an institution. The rank-and-file do not act with the full knowledge, cynicism and realpolitik of those right at the nub of power. That this relative kind of ignorance, naivety, piety (or whatever form it takes) cannot, and should not, be used to plead excuse was made very clear in the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials that ran from 1945 to 1949.

    What of India’s shame?

    As we can see in recent weeks, there has been a public upsurge of concern at sex scandal revelations about high-powered religious figures in India. See: Nityananda Sex Scandal Erupts in India. Sathya Sai Baba Lessons? .



    Puttaparthi Sai Baba. Will soon rule world, he says

    Sathya Sai Baba will soon rule world, he says

    Note: The glitter of pure gold, and immense pomp and circumstance are the order of the day at Sai Baba’s ashram at Puttaparthi. See:

    It forever echoes in my mind how a then editor of The Times of India told me privately that Sathya Sai Baba is too powerful to take on. One irony was that one of the most powerful figures on the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust – the former Chief Justice of India, P.N. Bhagawati, was at the same time on the Board of Directors of The Times of India. In fact, our group had to work extremely hard to get UNESCO senior management to cause the Press Trust of India (PTI) to make amends for publishing a gravely watered-down version of the UNESCO Media Advisory concerning Sathya Sai Baba and certain of his key officals. See:

    The Case of UNESCO’s Missing Media Advisory and BBC Caught UNESCO Head Bowing To Indian Government

    In India, a particularly lamentable fact that speaks  against religious institutions is that their scandals have often had to exposed by such courageous rationalists as the late Basava Premanand.  See:  Basava Premanand Long Challenged Indian Governments To Come Clean On Sathya Sai Baba and Basava Premanand. Vale. A fighter for truth who lived what others preach .

    Or, as anywhere in the world, by whistleblowers from’inside’ who undergo the most shameful attacks by those who proclaim to live by ‘Life, Love and Spirituality‘.

    See also:

    Religion and the Catholic Church Sex Abuses

    Posted by robertpriddy on March 21, 2010

    Ireland Acts On Clergy Sexual Abuse. India Does Not Act On Sathya Sai Baba

    Posted by Barrypittard on November 27, 2009

    Reputed Media and Other Agencies Decried By Sathya Sai Baba’s Defenders


    (Up-and-coming article at Call For Media and Government Investigation of Sathya Sai Baba:  Australia’s Shame …)


    Excerpt from New York Times, Agencies Report

    Pope’s words of remorse fall flat for abuse victims


    March 23, 2010

    “POPE Benedict XVI’s weekend apology to sufferers of sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic clergy in Ireland has drawn a deeply sceptical and angry response from many Catholics.

    In the apology – a pastoral letter read aloud at all weekend Masses across Ireland’s 26 Catholic dioceses and handed out in printed form to thousands of churchgoers – Benedict ex-pressed ”shame and remorse” to victims and their families for what he called ”sinful and criminal” acts by members of the clergy. But in the apology, the Pope did not require that Cardinal Sean Brady, the head of the Irish church, or any other church leaders be disciplined for their mistakes, as some victims had hoped

    Nor did he clarify what critics in Ireland and elsewhere have said are contradictory Vatican rules about the procedures for investigating abuse cases and church leaders’ responsibility to inform civil authorities about offences they uncover, a duty the Pope reiterated strongly in his letter.

    By remaining silent on the issue of punishment for top church figures implicated in what critics in Ireland have described as decades of cover-up, the pastoral letter appears to have done little to assuage the dismay and anger of many in Ireland at years of revelations about paedophile priests and child carers”.  NEW YORK TIMES, AGENCIES


    Click here to view list of brief video clips available from the BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ documentary


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

    There is a Spanish version available:



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    Posted in New Age, Opinion, Rationalism, Religion, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments »

    BBC Transcript ‘The Secret Swami’ (Sathya Sai Baba’s Frauds Exposed)

    Posted by Barry Pittard on March 21, 2010

    Former devotee and other writers critical of Sathya Sai Baba are experiencing a marked upsurge in interest. In this development, there are, for example, scholarly interests new to us, which ranges from post-graduate to professorial, including in one case one of the top handful of universities in the world.

    One of the difficulties scholars, journalists and other investigators have with the Sathya Sai Organization is that it is highly secretive. The BBC documentary was well-named:  ‘The Secret Swami‘. 

    Many who have not the remotest connection with Sathya Sai Baba are finding value in the experiences of former devotees. They say they are inspired by the example of what can be achieved when one stands up for the truth, through thick and thin. Some of the palpably still grief-filled experiences of seduction by Sai Baba come from those who, as young men, happened to travel to his ashram, and were not at all his devotees. 

    Raising an international or national class action litigation would have its own sets of difficulties, but as increased activity occurs, any who are interested in seeing the worldwide exposure of one of history’s most powerful religious betrayals is welcome to contact Robert Priddy (a retired philosopher and social scientist from the University of Oslo, and former head of the Sathya Sai Organization of Norway) or myself – – on the basis of strict confidentiality. So many have contacted us over the years, including former college or university students of his.   Communications seeking us via  or any of the other former devotee internet sites will be, at your request, routed to us . 

    Hollywood interests with a view to glorifying Sathya Sai Baba have been long attempted to raise finance for a movie. They hoped to obtain Nora Jones in a starring role. See: Dare Songstress Nora Jones Touch Sai Baba? However, pro Sathya Sai Baba forces do not on their own inhabit the movie world, and there is preliminary activity. Not all filmakers view charismatic, autocratic cults favourably. Let us see.

    For the convenience of the many new readers coming to blogsites and web sites such as those whose links are given on the left hand side bar of this page, here is the BBC transcript of the 2004 one-hour documentary ‘The Secret Swami’.  The late Glen Meloy, Robert Priddy, and myself were closely associated with the international co-ordination and research that went into the making of this documentary.

    Seen in some two hundred countries around the world, ‘The Secret Swami’ was one of a number of key factors in the monumental decline of the Sathya Sai religious empire. Well may Sai Baba’s devotees ask why there has been such a marked marked erosion of his so-called ‘Sai Kingdom’  in many countries. The crisis of his international Sathya Sai Organization in having to make salvaging recruiting drives in costly and prestigious venues is exposed in this article:  ‘Secret Swami’ Cult Recruits At Prime Public Venues.

    In fact, the BBC unearthed compelling testimony from witnesses well beyond those who appeared on our extensively compiled international list.  Note: On the remarkable figure Glen Meloy – historic in terms of the exposure of Sathya Sai Baba and his cult, see:  Glen Meloy (“Standing up for truth and goodness”) – In Memoriam .

    Some Related Reading

    The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ – A Revision (Barry Pittard’s extensive account, with many further links)

    BBC Cameras Catch Sai Baba Cheating With Gold Sivalingam. (Film Clip) 

    BBC Footage Exposes Fake Sathya Sai Baba Miracle

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

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

      Source: THIS WORLD – Documentary film: “The Secret Swami” TRANSCRIPT10.00.00 This World Theme Music 

    10.00.02 Title Page thisworld

    10.00.07 Music

    10.00.07 Title Page The Secret Swami

    10.00.15 Aston – Puttaparthi, Southern India

    10.00.21 Tanya Datta : Five AM. And these devotees have been awake for hours. In this holy town an auspicious day is about to dawn. These people are followers of India’s biggest spiritual guru. For them he’s an avatar; God in human form.

    10.00.39 Music

    10.00.43 Tanya Datta : Like them, I’ve come today because he’s promised to perform a rare miracle.

    10.00.47 Music

    10.00.51 Tanya Datta: As the sun finally rises thousands are flooding in.

    10.00.54 Music

    10.00.58 Tanya Datta: Some have even waited all night.

    10.01.00 Music

    10.01.07 Tanya Datta: As he approaches a wave of excitement ripples through the hall. The atmosphere turns feverish.

    10.01.15 Music

    10.01.19 Tanya Datta: These people are about to look upon the face of their living God.

    10.01.23 Music

    10.01.27 Tanya Datta: Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

    10.01.29: Music/Singing

    10.01.45 Aston Arkansas, USA

    10.01.51 Tanya Datta: There’s no shortage of God in the American mid-West but even here Sai Baba has made inroads. During the nineties this isolated corner of North Arkansas was the model Sai Baba commune.

    10.02.08 Tanya Datta: It was run by Al and Marisa Rahm and their family.

    10.02.13 Tanya Datta: This is incredible Al.

    10.02.15 Al Rahm: This is where we lived and also we kept it as a, you know we planned it as a centre for the community and…

    10.02.23 Tanya Datta: And this is the house you were saying that you all built.

    10.02.26 Al Rahm: Yes, we built this, our family built this and…

    10.02.28 Marisa Rahm: Friends.

    10.02.29 Al Rahm: And a lot of friends who would come out…

    10.02.30 Aston MARISA & AL RAHM

    10.02.30 Al Rahm: We became the Arkansas Sai Baba Centre. Meaning that it was a spiritual community based on the teachings of Sai Baba and with guidelines that had to do with vegetarianism and…

    10.02.46 Marisa Rahm: We did study groups; we studied Sai Baba’s teachings.

    10.02.49 Marisa Rahm: It was the family home. But since it was the largest home n the community we had our devotional singing here every Thursday. Big parties.

    10.02.56 Al Rahm: Like for Shivaratri, you know, at Shivaratri people would sing all night, we would, we would have…

    10.03.01 Marisa Rahm: Each family had their own home and the community chose to build our own schoolhouse and hired schoolteachers to come and live in an apartment above the schoolhouse.

    10.03.13 Tanya Datta: How were you brought up to see Sai Baba when you were a child?

    10.03.17 Aston ALAYA RAHM: As God. Pretty straightforward. God in human form, the avatar. I didn’t really understand too much of it but that was probably one of the main things that, that kind of made me feel a little excluded from most of the quote, unquote, normal kids going to school and going to church, there’s the fact that my family and a bunch of other families who we were associated with believe that there was a God in human form on earth now.

    10.03.47 Music

    10.03.54 Aston Dr MICHAEL GOLDSTEIN International Chairman Sathya Sai Organisation: We believe that Sri Sathya Sai Baba is Jesus Christ. Sri Sathya Sai Baba is Buddha. Sri Sathya Sai Baba is the founder of all of the world’s religions. Sri Sathya Sai Baba has always been God.

    10.04.11 Music

    10.04.11 Translation of Sai Baba: Tanya Datta: Sri Sathya Sai Baba says whenever you see a sick person, a dispirited, disconsolate, diseased person; there is your field of service.

    10.04.21 Tanya Datta: Today, Doctor Michael Goldstein is the guest of honour at this British Sai Baba function. He’s the
    international chairman of the organisation and a man close to Sai Baba personally.

    10.04.38 Dr Michael Goldstein: I submit to you that every man and women, all of us, are spiritual seekers.

    10.04.46 Dr Michael Goldstein: I had no sense of purpose in my life, until I went to see Sathya Sai Baba. In nineteen seventy-five my wife and I went, we had the good fortune to interact with Sathya Sai Baba. I looked into his eyes and I lost all sense of individuality and became immersed in what I felt was an ocean of love.

    10.05.08 Tanya Datta: The Rahm family also became close to Sai Baba.

    10.05.13 Tanya Datta: So, what’s down here Al?

    10.05.15 Al Rahm: Well, this is a shed where we keep, you know, various tools and supplies and we have a box in there that contains all the stuff that Baba gave us that was supposedly materialised including robes.

    10.05.35 Al Rahm: Check it out. That’s what every devotee would want.

    10.05.38 Tanya Datta: That’s extraordinary. This is at the height of your closeness to Sai Baba.

    10.05.42 Marisa Rahm: Yeah, that was.

    10.05.44 Al Rahm: So these are two of the three robes that Baba gave us. Baba gave one to me, he gave one to Marisa, he gave one to Alaya.

    10.05.51 Tanya Datta: A robe like the one he wears?

    10.05.53 Marissa Rahm: That he wore.

    10.05.53 Al Rahm: That he actually wore.

    10.05.54 Alaya Rahm: Ones that he’s already worn. Actual size, actual everything.

    10.05.59 Music

    10.06.08 Tanya Datta: I’ve always been fascinated by the holy men of India. The swami’s, yogis and gurus. They’re part of an ancient tradition here.

    10.06.17 Music

    10.06.19 Tanya Datta: And then there’s the God men; human beings who declare themselves divine. With an estimated thirty million devotees spread across the world, Sai Baba is India’s biggest God man and its most controversial.

    10.06.36 Tanya Datta: For years he’s been surrounded by scandal, yet his popularity shows no sign of falling. So I’ve come to this Sai Baba wonderland, Puttaparthi, to explore the enigma behind the public face.

    10.06.50 Music

    10.06.55 Aston KHUSHWANT SINGH Writer: We’ve not the slightest doubt that he is the most popular of all the God men and God women we have today. And you can’t ascribe it to a kind of publicity campaign because there’s never been anything of that kind. You don’t see any advertisements in magazines or on TV or anything; it was like Gandhi, he never had any and yet he had this suddenly by word of mouth it was all over the country as the Great Mahatma.

    10.07.28 Tanya Datta: Sai Baba’s followers now come from over one hundred and sixty-five countries. Western devotees have always flocked to him.

    10.07.38 Khushwant Singh: It’s a matter of great prestige to have a foreign following. Indians get highly impressed when they see white people coming and touching and becoming devotees. That applies to the Germans, the Australians, Italians, Spaniards, Americans, all shaved heads with their pigtails behind them and wearing saffron and mumbo jumbo of the prayers that they carry out, dancing in the streets.

    10.08.09 Man in pink shirt: I met Sai Baba psychically twenty-one years before I met him physically.

    10.08.14 Tanya Datta: Psychically?

    10.08.15 Man in pink shirt: Yeah.

    10.08.15 Lady in white: He’s in you, me and everybody; it’s like a golden light.

    10.08.20 Lady in red: He’s love incarnate.

    10.08.22 Young man: Just seeing him, man, I mean I was like, I mean these vibrations of like spasms of ecstasy, it was like going through my body and I was like shivering and hair was standing on its end.

    10.08.35 Khushwant Singh: It’s quite baffling.

    10.08.44 Music

    10.08.51 Tanya Datta: Many devotees came from that Mecca of counter culture, California. It was the late sixties and the
    spirit of the age was revolution.

    10.09.00 Music

    10.09.03 Tanya Datta: The hippie generation sparked up, dropped out and partied. It was also in California that Al and Marisa first met.

    10.09.13 Marisa Rahm: I was living the high life, I was in Hollywood meeting some of the top stars and thought it was all quite exciting but at the same time I was also pretty unaware and pretty drugged most of the time, I was just partying. Life was about beauty, being young, being famous in Hollywood and becoming a star and being noticed.

    10.09.31 Music

    10.09.33 Tanya Datta: As love and peace became the slogan of the times, many embarked on a journey of spiritual exploration.

    10.09.40 Music

    10.09.43 Al Rahm: I was on the opposite end of the spectrum; I was motivated by spiritual pursuits. I was, considered myself a yogi, I mean I focused, I was doing yoga and meditation, fasting and spiritual experiences.

    10.09.58 Music

    10.10.01 Tanya Datta: Drawn by gurus like Maharishi, thousands of westerners flocked to India seeking spiritual enlightenment. Visits from stars like the Beatles brought added glamour to the road East.

    10.10.12 Music

    10.10.15 Aston ISAAC TIGRETT: India’s so unique, it’s so incredible. If there’s a spiritual train then India is the engine. All this mysticism, all the strangeness that surrounds Sai Baba and all that stuff, this is the perfect home for it.

    10.10.29 Music

    10.10.36 Tanya Datta: This man was part of the hippie generation.

    10.10.38 Music

    10.10.41 Tanya Datta: But Isaac Tigrett also saw the age as a wonderful business opportunity.

    10.10.45 Music

    10.10.48 Tanya Datta: He’s one of the founders of the world famous Hard Rock Café. He mixed burgers and beer with rock memorabilia to create a global phenomenon and a massive personal fortune.

    10.11.00 Isaac Tigrett: Well, that was seventy pounds ago. Yes, underneath the hair is my good self here and see my religious life is already beginning.

    10.11.09 Music

    10.11.11 Tanya Datta: The Hard Rock’s so known for its memorabilia round the world but not many people know about its association with Sai Baba.

    10.11.16 Isaac Tigrett: No, no, it’s not public knowledge but now that I’ve done this interview with you guys, it certainly will be.

    10.11.21 Music

    10.11.24 Tanya Datta: Isaac took Sai Baba’s motto; ‘Love All, Serve All’ and made it the motto of the Hard Rock.

    10.11.29 Music

    10.11.31 Tanya Datta: But even with all his wealth and fame Isaac felt there was still something missing from his life.

    10.11.36 Music

    10.11.39 Isaac Tigrett: I said look I need to start a search, I need to go and look for what I think is a master, a guru, a spiritual leader, a teacher, something because of the hunger inside of me. I searched all over India, I went to ever Ashram, every holy place, I heard about this obscure little guru, decided to go down there and there was a festival day, there was a huge crowd and he parted the crowd and came right over to me, I was standing at the back and he said; you’ve come at last, I’ve been waiting for you. So, he turned and said; we have many things that we’re going to do together, you wait right here. He didn’t speak to me again for fifteen years.

    10.12.18 Music

    10.12.23 Tanya Datta: In nineteen seventy-nine, the Rahm family made their own pilgrimage to India. They were married now and their son, Alaya, was just a baby.

    10.12.32 Music

    10.12.33 Tanya Datta: Marisa had embraced her husband’s faith with enthusiasm. For years she’d been having visions of Sai Baba.

    10.12.42 Marisa Rahm: I felt I was coming to heaven on earth; this was going to be the place where my Lord or God at that time lived.

    10.12.51 Tanya Datta: A living God?

    10.12.52 Marisa Rahm: A living God and this was his home and I was coming to his home.

    10.12.56 Music

    10.12.58 Tanya Datta: In India the Rahms imbibed the legends and history of their Guru, stories of how, as a baby, a deadly cobra was found under his blankets but he was unharmed. How at fourteen the devout young boy declared himself to be Sai Baba, God on earth. By nineteen-fifty, he’d opened an Ashram, a spiritual community, it was called Prashanti Nilayam, or abode of eternal peace.

    10.13.25 Music

    10.13.46 Tanya Datta: Amidst the beauty and spirituality of India lies the reality of hard lives. Here in the vast rural state of Andhra Pradesh, villagers face drought and poverty on a daily basis. Little surprise then that when the authorities failed to deliver that essential resource, water, Sai Baba’s ability to cut through the red tape means that he’s hailed as a God.

    10.14.10 Music

    10.14.13 Tanya Datta: In the mid nineteen nineties his charity spent over forty million pounds supplying water to villages like this.

    10.14.20 Music

    10.14.32 Tanya Datta: This says Sri Sathya Sai water.

    10.14.35 Girl: Yeah, Sathya Sai water.

    10.14.36 Tanya Datta: How long has it been here?

    10.14.38 Girl: Fourteen years.

    10.14.39 Tanya Datta: Fourteen years. Is this good water?

    10.14.42 Girl: It is good water, healthy water.

    10.14.45 Tanya Datta: Is it healthy water? It’s clean water?

    10.14.47 Girl: Clean water, healthy water.

    10.14.51 Tanya Datta: And what do you think of Sai Baba?

    10.14.55 Girl : Sai Baba is a God.

    10.14.57 Tanya Datta: Sai Baba is God.

    10.14.59 Isaac Tigrett: The water project that he did in Andhra Pradesh, in one year they laid two thousand kilometres of pipe, they brought to thousands of villages fresh water that they’d never had, that women had to travel twenty miles a day to get a little bucket. That was an amazing project.

    10.15.19 Tanya Datta: Isaac Tigrett did some good works of his own. By the time Sai Baba spoke to him again he’d become an extremely rich man. When the guru told him of his dream for an ultra modern hospital in the heart of Andhra Pradesh, Tigrett donated tens of millions of dollars. Prince Charles’s architect Keith Critchlow, who’s also a Sai Baba devotee, was hired to design it.

    10.15.47 Music

    10.15.51 Tanya Datta: It was opened in nineteen ninety-one, and specialised in hi-tech heart and kidney surgery – free of charge. Tigrett is convinced that the hospital, built on blood, sweat and burgers was worthy of his generosity. And certainly his guru was grateful.

    10.16.14 Translator for Sai Baba: This is, this metal, silver metal is…

    10.16.19 Tanya Datta: Can you tell me how much you donated to the hospital?

    10.16.23 Isaac Tigrett: Err, well I, I don’t really want to say the exact amount but I’ll tell you in India it goes a long way. A long, long way.

    10.16.31 Tanya Datta: I’ve heard it was over a hundred million dollars.

    10.16.33 Isaac Tigrett: No, nothing close to that. Enough to build a five hundred room hospital and equip it and get it started.

    10.16.41 Music

    10.16.47 Tanya Datta: The Rahm family went back to India in nineteen ninety-seven, by then Alaya was a handsome teenager. At the Ashram they eagerly attended Darshan, the daily mass audience with their God.

    10.17.01 Al Rahm: The first day, Baba came walking out and he saw Alaya and his eyes got real big and then he looked at me and he said; how many in your group. And we said; ten. And he said; you go in and he called us in for an interview.

    10.17.15 Tanya DattaL Sai Baba was about to fulfil one of Alaya’s lifelong dreams. He materialised a sacred ring for him.

    10.17.26 Alaya Rahm: I was overjoyed. And I’d heard my Mom often talk about, ooh, I would love to get a ring from Sai Baba, I would love to get a ring from Sai Baba. So, I thought it was just the best thing in the world that had happened to me, the fact that he had given me a ring, I was, I was overjoyed.

    10.17.43 Music

    10.17.46 Tanya Datta: Underpinning Sai Baba’s claim to be a living God is an apparent ability to perform miracles. Many of his followers and even some of his critics believe that he has genuine paranormal powers. Over the years the God man has produced scores of objects out of thin air; watches, rings, necklaces.

    10.18.06 Music

    10.18.13 Dr Michael Goldstein: These are things Sathya Sai Baba has made; this watch, these rings and this. Sometimes he will give somebody something and produce or manifest something and it’s like a calling card, it gets their attention so that they can come and see what he really has to offer.

    10.18.29 Singing

    10.18.31 Tanya Datta: But for many devotees like young Alaya Rahm, Sai Baba’s generosity came at a cost.

    10.18.38 Alaya Rahm: At the same time I was overjoyed, there was also a little bit of confusion because that was the first interview in which he called me in personally.

    10.18.50 Tanya Datta: He took you aside?

    10.18.51 Alaya Rahm: Mm, mm. Took me aside and put the oil on his hands and, and told me to drop my pants and rubbed my genitalia with the oil and pulled me close and started kissing me heavily on the mouth and I was really taken back by it and not understanding what was going on.

    10.19.10 Music

    10.19.13 Al Rahm: I said; so tell me about, you know, your interview. And he said; well I’m not supposed to tell anybody, Baba told me not to tell anybody and I looked at him and I said; did he make oil for you? And his eyes got kind of big and he said; how did you know? And I said; did he rub it on you? And he said; yeah. He said; how did you know? And I said; because it happened to me.

    10.19.35 Music

    10.19.37 Tanya Datta: To Alaya’s surprise his father had had the same oiling experience when he first visited Sai Baba aged eighteen. The guru had told him it was a ritual healing process. Al accepted this and when it happened to Alaya he saw nothing wrong.

    10.19.57 Music

    10.20.09 Tanya Datta: There are still some who are not afraid to pour scorn on Sai Baba’s claims of divinity. Basava Premanand is India’s leading guru buster and a rationalist. His mission is to expose any charlatan who pretends his magic tricks are miracles and to rid his country of superstition and myth.

    10.20.30 Tanya Datta: How many years have you been chasing Sai Baba then?

    10.20.34 Basava Premanand: I have been investigating him since nineteen sixty-eight.

    10.20.38 Tanya Datta: Nineteen sixty-eight.

    10.20.39 Basava Premanand: Sixty-eight. Investigating and drawing my conclusions and keeping it as a hobby.

    10.20.46 Tanya Datta: What do you think of him then?

    10.20.47 Basava Premanand: The thing is, you can explain miracles, you can expose people who act like miracle men and it was in nineteen seventy-six I started going to the public.

    10.21.00 Music

    10.21.06 Tanya Datta: Today we’ve hit the road with the rationalists to see them at work, persuading people to give up blind belief and become more scientific.

    10.21.14 Music

    10.21.17 Tanya Datta: We’ve come to the village of Belthangary. The people here are typical of the bulk of Sai Baba’s followers.

    10.21.23 Music

    10.21.25 Tanya Datta: For the rationalists this is the frontline in the battle between superstition and science. Today another leading rationalist is the ringmaster revealing the tricks that lie behind Sai Baba’s miracles. Narendra Nayak.

    10.21.41 Narendra Nayak; A few years back a miracle was performed by Sai Baba in public. He showed his empty hands, waved them in the air and then produced a chain. Both hands were empty, five fingers were apart. Just hold his empty hand like this and you’re all busy looking at it and here he produces a chain from thin air.

    10.22.04 Tanya Datta: Narendra also reveals that the same technique is behind one of the guru’s most famous displays; the materialisation of Vibhuti, a holy ash sacred to Hindus. It’s the basic magician’s trick of palming.

    10.22.19 Narendra Nayak: The Great Sai Baba of Puttaparthi gives holy ash to his devotees. He just takes an empty hand, waves it in the air like this and when he brings it down he produces holy ash from nowhere.

    10.22.32 Narendra Nayak: Usually God men give with one hand but I’m giving with both the hands. How does it happen? Very, very easy.

    10.22.43 Tanya Datta: So Narendra, how do you hide the Vibhuti in your hands?

    10.22.45 Narendra Nayak: I just hide it in between my palm and my index finger like this.

    10.22.53 Tanya Datta: Can I try it?

    10.22.55 Narendra Nayak: Just like this. But you must absolutely relax so that nobody will know what’s happening. And when you wave it in the air like this you just crush it like this and do this…

    10.23.08 Tanya Datta: That’s quite difficult to do actually, isn’t it?

    10.23.11 Narendra Nayak: But we have practised it quite a lot.

    10.23.13 Tanya Datta: Ok.

    10.23.14 Narendra Nayak: Every miracle man rotates their hand before they produce something. You know why? People don’t see the movement of the fingers because the hand is rotating.

    10.23.30 Music

    10.23.35 Tanya Datta: Back at the Ashram and the Shivaratri festival was in full swing. But the strain of the promised miracle seemed to be taking its toll. The God was looking unwell. He’d pledged to give birth through his mouth to an egg shaped object called a Golden Lingam. It’s said to represent the mystery of the cosmos. There’s little mystery to Sai Baba’s own teachings. He urges people to believe in God, to be charitable, truthful and peace loving. It’s not radical thinking but perhaps that’s the secret of its appeal.

    10.24.10 Aston Santa Monica, California

    10.24.16 Music

    10.24.28 Tanya Datta: Mark Roche devoted twenty-five years of his life to Sai Baba. He first heard of him in nineteen sixty-nine and soon joined the local centre in California. The guru’s message was the big attraction.

    10.24.40 Music

    10.24.44 Aston MARK ROCHE: The teachings themselves were very universal and adopted the attitude of embracing all other religions so that it wasn’t a matter of this religion opposed to that, that you had to leave whatever you were in to be associated with Sai Baba, it was something that just be a better Christian or a better Jew or a better whatever it is rather than necessarily having to leave it mixed with the fact that the person who is the head of that is claiming to be God himself.

    10.25.12 Music

    10.25.15 Tanya Datta: It’s the special moment when God calls. And Mark couldn’t believe his luck when he was summoned for a private interview. But he emerged shocked and confused. Just like the Rahms, Sai Baba had oiled his genitals. Two years later Mark was called for an audience again.

    10.25.37 Mark Roche: He kept saying stuff like that I’m giving you a great chance, millions want to touch the feet, you know, I’m giving you whole body, this is great chance, this is great chance. Then he went over to a different of the building and pulled up his dhoti, which is Indian garment kind of thing and exposed himself and sort of indicated that I was supposed to put his penis in my mouth, which, feeling intimidated and confused and all that, I did. And although it didn’t seem right to me but it just seemed like what I was supposed to do.

    10.26.12 Music

    10.26.15 Tanya Datta: Why would God want to put his penis in your mouth?

    10.26.20 Mark Roche: Got me.

    10.26.21 Music

    10.26.24 Tanya Datta: One of the things that a lot of the abuse victims we’ve talked to have said, is that Sai Baba does these genital oilings because it’s part of Hinduism. Have you ever heard anything like that?

    10.26.35 Aston KHUSHWANT SINGH Writer: I, I, I, for one, it’s nothing to do with, there’s no Indian tradition to support the fact that, you know, worship of the Lingam includes also doing the blow job, if that is what you are referring to. I don’t think there’s any basis for that whatsoever.

    10.27.01 Music

    10.27.14 Tanya Datta: Back in America the Rahm family were fast becoming the stars of the Sai Baba community. They travelled
    across the country preaching the gospel according to Baba.

    10.27.23 Music

    10.27.26 Al Rahm: This is a song that was an extreme joy to be able to sit there right in front of him and look into his eyes and we sang this song. It’s called Oh Baba.

    10.27.37 Singing

    10.27.47 Tanya Datta: Al, Marisa and Alaya formed a singing group called Bhakti, which means path of love. Stars of the
    spiritual circuit, they were the perfect new age family, the embodiment of the Love All, Serve All dream.

    10.28.00 Singing

    10.28.05 Marisa Rahm: We’d talk and tell stories in between what, you know, what inspired this song and you know, Al would, you know, tell a story about Sai Baba and really it was kind of a hit.

    10.28.15 Singing

    10.28.20 Tanya Datta: The family were proving to be quite a hit too. On their various visits to Puttaparthi the Rahm’s were being
    singled out for unprecedented attention from their guru.

    10.28.29 Music

    10.28.35 Al Rahm: This is a lot of the jewellery; these are all pure gold watches.

    10.28.38 Alaya Rahm: Yeah, pure gold with real diamonds. He said, oh real gold a hundred percent, real diamonds, the next day diamonds fall out, the gold starts flaking and people are like what’s the deal with that, you must not be pure.

    10.28.49 Al Rahm: Baba was giving him money; I think he gave him several thousands dollars…

    10.28.52 Marisa Rahm: Jewellery.

    10.28.53 Al Rahm: He gave him a watch and a ring and he…

    10.28.57 Marisa Rahm: A couple of rings.

    10.28.57 Al Rahm: …we all got rings and watches and earrings.

    10.29.00 Marisa Rahm: Yeah, it was just like the trip to Disneyland with God. I mean we were just really ecstatic with joy at getting this attention and this limelight.

    10.29.08 Music

    10.29.10 Tanya Datta: What Al and Marisa didn’t know was that while he was showering their family with gifts and attention Sai Baba was exacting a heavy price from their son.

    10.29.19 Alaya Rahm: Oral sex he would try to get that to happen several times. Both on, he would perform it to me and then, you know, and then sometimes threaten to cut my penis off and hold it, like it’s bad, I should cut it off. He would ask me all the time; why don’t you want me, you don’t want me. It was so far out to me, to think that he was actually just wanting me to physically want him.

    10.29.46 Alaya Rahm: I, I could pretty much stop convincing myself that any of this was spiritual when he lifted his robe and his dhoti up to his chest and showed me the whole bottom half of this body and told me to take my pants off and then he tried to, I’m much taller than he is, he’s like five feet tall maybe and I’m six, six and he tried to climb up onto me, you know.

    10.30.12 Tanya Datta: To rape you?

    10.30.13 Alaya Rahm: Yeah, that’s what it felt like. I mean he was, for a seventy year old man as erect as I think a seventy year old man can get. I even saw semen come out of his penis one time and that was when I was, wow, this is a human being.

    10.30.26 Music

    10.30.32 Tanya Datta: In spite of the growing abuse Alaya continued to play the dutiful son.

    10.30.38 Applause

    10.30.41 Alaya Rahm: Now I think Swami’s plan for me is, he said; we’re all tools. And we just have to be available for Swami to use us at any time that he feels necessary. And so, I just want to be ready because I imagine that he’s going to snatch me up and say I need to use a screwdriver right about now and just use me so I need to be there and I’m doing what I can.

    10.30.03 Alaya Rahm: I’ve even said my mom say so many, so many times, you know, now is, now is the golden time, we’re getting attention, you know Alaya, whatever Sai Baba’s telling you to do, do it. Whatever you’re doing, you’re doing it right because God is paying attention to us.

    10.30.21 Tanya Datta: And yet she had no idea how tragic her words actually were?

    10.31.24 Alaya Rahm: Right.

    10.31.27 Singing

    10.31.34 Tanya Datta: Sai Baba the God was beginning to appear all too human. Rumours of sexual abuse have been circulating for years but rarely have they been made as explicit as in Alaya’s story. It’s said there are also many young Indian victims but they’re too afraid to speak out openly. Defying the organisation here could have serious consequences.

    10.31.56 Singing

    10.31.58 Tanya Datta: Absolute faith is demanded. At these celebrations of the Hindu God Lord Shiva, the people seem to have willingly surrendered themselves in mind and in spirit.

    10.32.09 Singing

    10.32.15 Tanya Datta: Their faith was about to be rewarded.

    10.32.17 Singing

    10.32.29 Tanya Datta: Suddenly there it was; a Golden Lingam, a symbol of the supreme being. And to the devotees around me it was a miracle.

    10.32.46 Tanya Datta: On the rationalists’ road show Mr Premanand was also feeling unwell.

    10.32.53 Narendra Nayak: Oh, oh! He’s paining, stomach is paining.

    10.33.12 Narendra Nayak: He used to have it inside. This is a regurgitation trick which is practiced by many magicians.

    10.33.17 Tanya Datta: So some people will actually swallow a stone and regurgitate it.

    10.33.18 Narendra Nayak: Yes, actual swallow it. Yeah, yeah, yeah, regurgitate it but he stopped doing it.

    10.33.24 Tanya Datta: How do you know he’s stopped doing it?

    10.33.25 Narendra Nayak: Because now we see the towel in the hand. And…

    10.33.29 Tanya Datta: So when he’s moving the towel to his mouth…

    10.33.31 Narendra Nayak: Yeah, mouth, sometimes he takes, makes a, takes a sip of water from a glass and then he slips it into his mouth.

    10.33.37 Tanya Datta: And he’s vomiting up all the time.

    10.33.38 Narendra Nayak: Yeah, he’s vomiting up, sometimes he will mix it out like that, sometimes he hides it in a towel and he will do the actions…and then drop it from that.

    10.33.52 Singing

    10.34.01 Tanya Datta: But the exertion of miracle making had proved too much. Even for a God. To the alarm of the crowd suddenly Sai Baba collapsed.

    10.34.13 Singing

    10.34.17 Tanya Datta: His huge coterie of staff swung into action. There was panic. An organisation used to tight control seemed to have lost its grip.

    10.34.27 Singing

    10.34.32 Tanya Datta: Sai Baba was hastily wheeled off stage.

    10.34.35 Singing/Alaya playing pool

    10.34.47 Tanya Datta: For the Rahm family the tragedy was coming to a head. Alaya’s parents were noticing changes in their son.

    10.34.55 Alaya playing pool

    10.34.57 Marisa Rahm: He wasn’t looking happy even in India going into these interviews. I would wait until he would come out and he didn’t look happy to go in and he didn’t really look happy to come out and there was a suspicion growing in me that, you know, things were going wrong.

    10.35.14 Alaya playing pool

    10.35.20 Al Rahm: We were concerned about Alaya’s behaviour and the way he was acting and so we decided we were going to confront him. Well, to my surprise when Alaya said ok and he started to tell the story, it was so much more than I knew anything about. And that in fact he had been forced, sexually forced and abused by Sai Baba in almost every single interview he had ever been in.

    10.35.53 Tanya Datta: What did you feel like as his mother and father listening to that?

    10.35.58 Marisa Rahm: It’s like everything went white for me, I just, the being which I call Sai Baba, the living God that I had taken for years into my private heart had been truly abusing my son for so long. I felt completely betrayed that I had actually led my son into this, telling my son to trust in this man completely and Sai Baba, the Sai Baba, was a predator and a, and a man who cared only for himself and for taking precious love from his devotees and really I can see now he really didn’t care about me. He wanted my son.

    10.36.55 Music

    10.36.58 Al Rahm: First thing I said was; Alaya, why didn’t you, why, I said; you only told me this one little thing, why didn’t you tell us all of this before, why have you waited so long.

    10.37.10 Tanya Datta: Why didn’t you tell your parents?

    10.37.12 Alaya Rahm: Well because he would tell me not to tell them. He would threaten me. I mean I remember him saying; if you don’t do what I say your life will be full with pain and suffering. And that’s a pretty heavy thing to hear being sixteen and God’s telling you do what I say or your life is going to be full of pain and suffering.

    10.37.34 Al Rahm : And he said; and I was afraid. He said; I was so afraid that, that I would be responsible for bringing down the organisation and…

    10.37.42 Marisa Rahm: And possibly losing us.

    10.37.43 Alaya Rahm: …that I would lose my parents. He said; I was afraid that, that you guys might chose to follow Sai Baba and I would be without my family and no one in the world to, you know, I would be alone.

    10.37.57 Tanya Datta: What do you think now, looking at all these things that were so cherished by you?

    10.38.03 Al Rahm: Really, one word comes to my mind when I look at this box and I would say that this is a box of bribes.

    10.38.09 Alaya Rahm: Yeah.

    10.38.14 Music

    10.38.31 Tanya Datta: At seventy-eight Sai Baba is becoming frail. His reputation is also showing signs of strain. But his
    support from India’s power elite is as strong as ever. Prime ministers and presidents, judges and generals all go to worship at the Ashram.

    10.38.48 Music

    10.38.50 Speaker: His Excellency, the President of India.

    10.38.52 Music

    10.38.57 Tanya Datta: Even the newly elected leader has paid his respects.

    10.38.58 Aston 23 November 1993

    10.39.00 Speaker: The Honourable Mr Manmohan Singh.

    10.39.02 Tanya Datta: The people at the top are aware of the rumours as they’ve been around for at least thirty years. Three years ago, in response to claims against Sai Baba, the former Prime Minister Atal Vajpayee, issued a letter on his official notepaper calling the allegations ‘wild, reckless and concocted’.

    10.39.22 Tanya Datta: Did the government of India know something? Had they investigated Sai Baba and found him to be as
    pure as he proclaimed. I went to Delhi, the political heart of India, to find out why successive governments have given him such support.

    10.39.36 Music

    10.39.39 Tanya Datta: Do you agree with the contents of Mr Vajpayee’s letter?

    10.39.42 Aston Dr MURALI MANOHAR JOSHI Former Cabinet Minister: I do agree that these charges appear to be baseless.

    10.39.46 Tanya Datta: Are you aware of the nature of the claims against Sai Baba?

    10.39.50 Dr Murli Manohar Joshi: Well I have read something and I’m, I know Sai Baba very well, I know most of these people very well. And I can say that whatever Mr Vajpayee has said is the correct position.

    10.40.04 Music

    10.40.05 Tanya Datta: The correct position for Mr Joshi and other former government ministers appears to have been side by side with Sai Baba. Until the recent election he was a senior minister in the Indian government, a powerful man. We were interested to know if any future investigation of Sai Baba had been compromised by the former Prime Minister’s letter.

    10.40.27 Music

    10.40.29 Tanya Datta: Isn’t the point really that any possible investigation by the state of Sai Baba would be compromised?

    10.40.34 Dr Murli Manohar Joshi: No, no, there has been no, you see, there’s no question, any false allegation, you see. I know that this is a case in which your BBC is, is involved and people from England are, have been making certain charges against Sai Baba but that doesn’t mean that the charges are true.

    10.40.50 Tanya Datta: I just wanted to know whether you think that there’s a danger that the Indian government could be bringing itself into disrepute by so many leading members of this government being associated.

    10.41.01 Dr Murli Manohar Joshi: No, no. Not so.

    10.41.04 Tanya Datta: Not so.

    10.41.06 Music

    10.41.08 Tanya Datta: Mr Joshi would brook no criticism. He was starting to lose his temper.

    10.41.14 Dr Murli Manohar Joshi: It is your intention to malign Sai Baba. It is your intention to malign Mr Vajpayee and Mr Bagavati.

    10.41.21 Tanya Datta: Not at all.

    10.41.22 Dr Murli Manohar Joshi: This is and nothing beyond it.

    10.41.23 Tanya Datta: No, it’s not.

    10.41.24 Dr Murli Manohar Joshi: It is.

    10.41.25 Tanya Datta: I know what, I know what I…

    10.41.26 Dr Murli Manohar Joshi: You say, I say, I say the…

    10.41.27 Tanya Datta: I wanted just to ask you…

    10.41.28 Dr Murli Manohar Joshi: No, no, no…

    10.41.31 Dr Murli Manohar Joshi: You don’t know the meaning of interviewing a minister in my capacity, as a minister of my stature.

    10.41.38 Tanya Datta: Of course I understand.

    10.41.39 Dr Murli Manohar Joshi: You don’t understand it.

    10.41.44 Music

    10.41.50 Tanya Datta: Not every government, I discovered, is so enamoured with Sai Baba. The scale of the abuse has caused alarm around the world. In Sweden a Sai Baba school closed down after disturbing revelations from a young boy. The American government is also concerned. On the website of the American Embassy in Delhi, there’s a warning to any US citizen visiting the state of Andhra Pradesh.

    10.42.15 Music

    10.42.17 Tanya Datta: It draws attention to a noted God man who reportedly indulges in inappropriate sexual behaviour with young male devotees. We contacted the US Embassy in Delhi and they confirmed to us for the first time that they’re directly referring to Sai Baba.

    10.42.33 Music

    10.42.39 Tanya Datta: Sex abuse is not the only controversy tainting the God man’s reputation.

    10.42.44 Music

    10.42.56 Tanya Datta: On a June night back in nineteen ninety-three, four devotees broke into Sai Baba’s quarters. They were armed with knives.

    10.43.04 Music

    10.43.06 Tanya Datta: Their motives are unclear. All four were close to Sai Baba. Some say they wanted to warn him about corruption in the Ashram. Others claim their intention was to kidnap or even kill Sai Baba.

    10.43.18 Music

    10.43.21 Tanya Datta: As they approached they were stopped by four of Sai Baba’s attendants.

    10.43.26 Music

    10.43.34 Tanya Datta: In the struggle that followed two of his attendants were killed and the other two badly injured. Hearing the commotion Sai Baba escaped through a back stairway and raised the alarm. Heavily armed police arrived on the scene.

    10.43.48 Music

    10.43.51 Aston VPB NAIR Former Home Minister, Andhra Pradesh: So these boys, they ran and locked themselves up in a room. And then in the whole, all around a lot of pandemonium and people gathered so the boys were shivering like rats in that small hole.

    10.44.10 Music

    10.44.13 Tanya Datta: The four men barricaded themselves into Sai Baba’s bedroom. There was a stand-off with the police. Then the order was given to go in.

    10.44.21 Music

    10.44.24 Tanya Datta: What happened next is hotly disputed. The official version seemed clear.

    10.44.30 VPB Nair: These four boys charged towards the police with the knives and started stabbing the inspector and other personnel. Because they were attacked they opened fire.

    10.44.45 Tanya Datta; In self-defence?

    10.44.46 VPB Nair: In self-defence. They opened fire and killed all the four boys. This the police story.

    10.44.51 Music/gunshots

    10.45.19 Tanya Datta: Velayudhan Nair rejects the police version of events. He should know. Until two thousand and two he was Home Secretary of Andhra Pradesh and in charge of the state police. On coming to office he examined the files and found that the original police report was riddled with lies and inconsistencies. This was later exposed by a CID investigation.

    10.45.45 VPB Nair: Two or three daggers cannot be a match to roaring guns. So this story of the police being attacked and the police shooting in self-defence is totally baseless.

    10.46.01 Tanya Datta: So are you suggesting that the police executed the boys that night?

    10.46.05 VPB Nair: In absolute, this is absolute cold-blooded murder.

    10.46.09 Singing

    10.46.13 Tanya Datta: Some police officers were arrested but never charged. The case was eventually dropped. Sai Baba has always had a close relationship with the police. Even today, senior officers are special guests at the Ashram. With friends in such high places Sai Baba seems to be untouchable. Any attempt to investigate the goings-on at his Ashram even, murder, appear doomed to failure.

    10.46.42 Tanya Datta: Critics say police connections ensured that Sai Baba wasn’t even interviewed, despite being one of the witnesses to the events of that night.

    10.46.51 Aston BASAVA PREMANAND Rationalist & Author: The only person who was a witness to the murders of
    mysterious deaths, that was Sai Baba and he was not examined as, for evidence at all and those students also who were there, two or three students they were not examined at all.

    10.47.08 Tanya Datta: Why do you think that the nineteen ninety-three murders weren’t properly investigated?

    10.47.12 Basava Premanand: The central government stopped the investigation because if the investigation takes place, a lot of things will come out. One thing. Economic offences, sex offences, all these things will come out.

    10.47.28 Music

    10.47.30 Tanya Datta: Shocked at what he considers a travesty of justice, the former Home Secretary is now seeking to reopen the case.

    10.47.37 Music:

    10.47.39 VPB Nair: The killing of the boys was only to buy silence. If the boys are taken to the court of law, if they were arrested and taken to the court of law, they would have stated several things including why did they want to meet Baba.

    10.47.56 Music

    10.48.00 Tanya Datta: In Arkansas, the parents of Alaya Rahm were also eeking justice. They were confident they were going to get it.

    10.48.08 Marisa Rahm: Al and I are driving in the car going; oh my God, this, we thought we had information that was going to bring down a giant organisation.

    10.48.19 Tanya Datta: The Rahms took their son’s story to Doctor Michael Goldstein; he’s the international chairman, in charge of running the organisation around the world. He’s also a medical doctor, so Al had no qualms about telling him the whole painful story. It was September nineteen ninety-nine.

    10.48.39 Al Rahm: Initially he appeared shocked.

    10.48.42 Marisa Rahm: And very shaken.

    10.48.43 Al Rahm: And shaken. And he said; I hate to think that twenty-five years of my life has been for nothing. And he said; words, he said faith has got to be restored and words will not be enough.

    10.48.57 Marisa Rahm: That’s right.

    10.48.58 Alaya Rahm: And those were his words to me; he looked me straight in the eye and said that. And that gave me hope.

    10.49.05 Music

    10.49.07 Al Rahm: Michael said; I’m going to personally talk to Sai Baba about this. I’m going over, I’m going to talk to Sai Baba and please don’t tell anyone until I have a chance to get back with you.

    10.49.17 Music

    10.49.19 Tanya Datta: Doctor Goldstein did go to India to question Sai Baba. When we originally interviewed him, he
    refused to discuss any of the negative allegations about his guru. We asked again on several occasions. He declined. But we felt these issues deserved an answer.

    10.49.35 Music

    10.49.38 Tanya Datta: We decided to secretly film Doctor Goldstein at his home in California, to discover just how he’d gone about investigating Alaya’s case.

    10.49.47 Dr Michael Goldstein: In terms of allegations, Sai Baba’s actual words were; ‘if you want to fight with people in the gutter, you also have to go into the gutter, don’t’.

    10.49.57 Tanya Datta: Doctor Goldstein’s idea of an investigation was rather different to what the Rahms had had in mind.

    10.50.03 Al Rahm: He comes back, he calls me and he says; well, I talked to Sai Baba, I did what I said I would do. Swami said that he is pure. Michael said; my heart and my mind are with Swami, you have to do whatever you have to do.

    10.50.18 Dr Michael Goldstein: I, I, I, yes I said that. Yes.

    10.50.20 Interviewer: Was that enough of an investigation, Doctor Goldstein?

    10.50.22 Dr Michael Goldstein: Yes, it is. For me it is enough.

    10.50.24 Al Rahm: Wait a minute. What happened to; words will not be enough, faith has to be restored, twenty-five years of your life.

    10.50.33 Tanya Datta: You sound to me that you’re completely unafraid of these allegations because you don’t believe them for one second…

    10.50.38 Dr Michael Goldstein: That’s right. That is right.

    10.50.40 Tanya Datta: Then why don’t you allow some transparency into the investigation of them.

    10.50.43 Dr Michael Goldstein: Transparency in what sense?

    10.50.45 Tanya Datta: Why don’t you have thorough investigations, instead of just asking one question to one person…

    10.50.49 Dr Michael Goldstein: What do you mean by thorough investigation?

    10.50.51 Interviewer: Objective investigators, not someone asking the perpetrator whether he, he carried out the act. But
    someone, you know, a proper legal process or a legalistic process should I say.

    10.51.04 Tanya Datta: Yes.

    10.51.05 Dr Michael Goldstein: Because I don’t believe that’s appropriate with Sai Baba.

    10.51.08 Interviewer: Why not?

    10.51.09 Dr Michael Goldstein: Because my heart and my conscience tell me that it’s not possible.

    10.51.12 Tanya Datta: Is Sai Baba above the law then? I mean…

    10.51.14 Dr Michael Goldstein: No, no, he’s not above the law, I don’t believe that it’s possible that he could do anything like that.

    10.51.20 Music

    10.51.27 Tanya Datta: In November nineteen ninety-nine Doctor Goldstein was chief guest of honour at a ceremony for Sai Baba’s university. But he still managed to raise Alaya’s story with Sai Baba personally. It seemed to spark a remarkable reaction.

    10.51.42 Al Rahm: And then I found out from my friend James, who had actually videotaped the, the day after Michael or the same day that Michael had talked to Baba about us, Baba came out with a discourse in which he praised Michael Goldstein more than he’s ever praised any devotee in history.

    10.51.59 Translation of Sai Baba: Doctor Goldstein. Today Doctor Goldstein, the chief guest; he’s not ordinary person. He’s rich enough. He’s highly educated and he’s a great man, he’s highly reputed. He has got all the three sacred qualities, discipline, duty and devotion. His wife is also sitting here.

    10.52.28 Al Rahm: And Michael came up to James and said; I want a copy of that video, it’s the peak of my life. And I remember thinking; he’s being played. I just remember feeling like Baba’s playing him.

    10.52.44 Translation of Sai Baba: Goldstein has all good qualities in him. Do good, be good, and see good. This is the way to God.

    10.52.57 Dr Michael Goldstein: All of these years I’ve seen him interact with his students very, very frequently, in very informal circumstances over many, many years. And because I am a physician I also understand human behaviour. Because of that, if Sai Baba had done anything of this kind with any one of those boys at any time, ever, I would see something in one of those children’s eyes, I would see something in one of the expressions on their faces that would indicate to me fear, apprehension, depression, something unsavoury, something inappropriate, something scary, something ominous, I would know it in my heart because I am what I am – a consummate professional. Can you understand that?

    10.53.48 Tanya Datta: The Rahms certainly didn’t understand. In despair they contacted Isaac Tigrett of the Hard Rock Café.

    10.53.56 Tanya Datta: He was sympathetic but not very helpful.

    10.54.00 Aston ISAAC TIGRETT: His dad talked to me and I said; look, I, sorry if this happened to your family, to your son, whatever, anyone would be sympathetic, anybody. I said; but it’s not changing my feelings about Sai Baba, it just isn’t.

    10.54.15 Tanya Datta: But even if it was proven to you that Sai Baba was a paedophile and a serial sex abuser, you’re saying it wouldn’t change the fact that he is your guru.

    10.54.25 Isaac Tigrett: Absolutely not. Absolutely not. He could go out and murder someone tomorrow, as I said, it’s not going to change my evolution, it’s not going to change the good things that have come out of my relationship down there.

    10.54.38 Tanya Datta: Does that mean that some part of you believes there could be some truth to the rumours?

    10.54.43 Isaac Tigrett: Oh, absolutely I believe there is truth to the rumours.

    10.54.46 Tanya Datta: You believe there is truth to the rumours?

    10.54.47 Isaac Tigrett: Sure, there probably is, probably is.

    10.54.49 Music

    10.54.54 Tanya Datta: Back at the Ashram and this God was back on his feet. Looking better but still a little shaky. Just like the scandals that increasingly dog him, it seems that nothing in the end is able to bring down Sai Baba.

    10.55.06 Singing

    10.55.08 Tanya Datta: There’s always an explanation for everything.

    10.55.12 Applause

    10.55.25 Translation of Sai Baba: Out of the stomach emanated Shiva Lingas of the weight of three tonnes. That’s the reason why some strain on the face and the body.

    10.55.43 Tanya Datta: Sai Baba went on to explain his love and compassion for his students.

    10.55.48 Translation of Sai Baba: All boys are golden. Therefore the Bhagwan will protect them at any time, any where. Don’t worry. Past is past, forget the past.

    10.56.12 Applause

    10.56.21 Music

    10.56.29 Tanya Datta: For those who’ve suffered at Sai Baba’s hands forgetting the past is not so easy. In Arkansas Alaya Rahm is trying to make it as a music producer. But he’s still haunted by what happened.

    10.56.41 Tanya Datta: Mark Roche is also trying to overcome his experiences. He flew to Arkansas to share them with the Rahm family.

    10.56.47 Music

    10.57.02 Tanya Datta: Despite their anger at what happened to them, these former devotees know they must move on with their lives.

    10.57.08 Music

    10.57.12 Mark Roche: The odd, perverse, ironic, hypocritical thing of it is that he’s the one that’s, that’s doing the perverse things but making us feel the guilt about it. Given normal worldly standards, it’s the kind of thing that he deserves to have his face pummelled to the ground for.

    10.57.31 Alaya Rahm: Yeah.

    10.57.32 Mark Roche: You know. And you seem above that which is to your credit. I don’t know how the heck you have the courage to get through it all, it seems like you have.

    10.57.40 Alaya Rahm: I’d like to say that I’m over it but I don’t think that I’ll ever be over it. A lot of decisions that I make are still, you know, weighted by experiences I’ve been though and a lot of them have to do with Sai Baba, you know what I mean. He’s behind the door, you know, with his wrath, you know what I mean, there’s time…yeah.

    10.57.59 Music

    10.58.04 Tanya Datta: At the Ashram God was retiring for the evening. As he went I wondered what it would take to dent the faith. The allegations seemed to have no effect. And perhaps it is asking too much for someone to abandon their God.

    10.58.19 Tanya Datta: For the followers of Sai Baba, it’s just another test of their faith.

    10.58.24 Music

    10.58.30 End music

    10.58.32 Voice over: Have your say on tonight’s show and explore a world of extra information, news stories and features by visiting our web site at:
    Credits: 10.58.30
    Reporter TANYA DATTA
    Camera STEVE ORGAN
    Sound SEAN POE
    Dubbing Mixer NIGEL READ
    Production Manager JANE WILLEY
    Unit Manager SUSAN CRIGHTON
    Film Research NICK DODD
    Research IRIS ARSIC
    Assistant Producer DAVID SAVILL
    Produced and Directed by EAMON HARDY

    10.58.56 THIS WORLD


    © BBC MMIV


    Click here to view list of brief video clips available from ‘The Secret Swami’ documentary


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

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    Posted in New Age, Opinion, Religion, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , | 10 Comments »

    Standing Up To Cultic Monoliths. (Sathya Sai Baba Organization Example)

    Posted by Barry Pittard on March 17, 2010

    Confronted by the smallest questioning of Sathya Sai Baba, his defenders commonly refer to instances such as the miracles he is supposed to have performed. Or indeed those phenomena which have happened beyond his physical presence but been related to him in some way.  

    Yet there is much proof that he routinely fakes these performances. Many of his devotees know that he has bungled various “miracles”; however, they take refuge in such notions as that he is only testing their faith. They will not examine the large corpus of evidence that exposes him, as the BBC did with its cameras in 2004. See: 

    The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ – A Revision

    BBC Footage Exposes Fake Sathya Sai Baba Miracle

    Sai Baba No Shiva. Gold From His Gut Is Regurgitator’s Trick

    The followers do not look at the evidence that human beings can be deceived both by fraudsters or magicians. Or that humankind has a vast track record of mental projection and of interpretation of phenomena according to unexamined presupposition. Nor do they consider – supposing that unusual phenomena can manifest, quite apart from any attempt to deceive – that parapsychological agencies yet to be fathomed by the sciences may be implicated. Instead, human beings tend to be quick to ascribe religious or philosophical interpretations that draw from their own religio-cultural predispositions.

    Whatever one may conclude about topics demanding of complex discussion, the call for accountability and transparency of organizations is a relatively straightforward matter. In democracies, we expect it in our workplaces, civil associations, and institutions such as our judiciaries, governments and so forth. We have notions, too, of good citizenship and community, in which many individuals cherish and practise fairness and care for each other. All the Sathya Sai Organization’s talk about “service to others” rings hollow indeed when it treats those who question it so badly.  

    In regard to good faith, one might fairly wish to see members of the Sathya Sai Organization refuse to be any part of a cover up. One would  like to assume them to be worthy citizens who share the benefits and responsibilities as members of the civil society. One might think that, in the face of repeated, widespread and serious allegations, they would subscribe to proper processes of accountability. People at large have a right to know the facts – especially given the seriousness of the allegations of serial, widespread sexual abuse of boys and young men, the killings in Sathya Sai Baba’s bedroom, the massive lack of accountability in regard to astronomical donations to the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust from many countries, the huge expenditure in lavish and showy buildings, the pomp and ceremony surrounding Sathya Sai Baba, the apartments scams, and so on.  

    In the matter of the sexual abuse issues (which involve others of his key servitors as well as Sai Baba), it is extremely wrong of devotees who are in-the-know to shut up about these matters, for it denies parents and guardians the opportunity to make their own minds up whether they send their young to be in his presence, and in his colleges. 

    There has now been Irish government acknowledgement of decades of profoundly covered up sexual abuse of children – girls and boys – on a huge scale by Catholic Priests in Ireland. India’s failure to act in regard to Sathya Sai Baba and other notable cases shames her before the world. 

    (Note: India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is one of a line of Indian Prime Ministers who have prostrated before Sathya Sai Baba. Those close to Singh have been involved in attempts to bring Sai Baba to account, but Singh, as did his predecessor A.B. Vajpayee, has turned a deaf ear. I would add that he and other Indian Prime Ministers and other senior figures have been provided with greater depth of information than it is sometimes possible to expose on the internet or other public fora).

    There has been, as in the case of the Sathya Sai Organization leaders, the persistent and scandalous cover-up at all levels in the Roman Catholic Church up to and including Popes. Those Roman Catholics who for decades have been speaking out have been subjected to attacks very much like what other whistleblowers (including many former devotees of Sathya Sai Baba) have had to endure. It is terrible and wrong. The Irish case is full of stark parallels. Sathya Sai Baba is protected at the very highest levels in India. In regard to him, we learn at first hand from very senior diplomatic sources that diplomats are instructed not to “rock the boat with India”. The fallacy that most thinking Indians would be bound to detect is the absurd conflation of Sathya Sai Baba with India! Those who have traveled extensively in India know how huge is the repudiation of him in that great but tragic country.  

    When one speaks to dissenters from other areas, the same presentations of cultic believers are the case – cover up, character assassination, libel and defamation, vile vituperation on the one hand and cold shunning on the other, threats to sue and other bullying tactics, working to get people fired from their jobs, families broken up, inability to discuss without poor argument and distortion of what has actually been stated, and so on.  

    Standing forth for truthfulness is not an easy job.  



    Video Resources 

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

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    Posted in Morality, New Age, Opinion, Religion, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

    Reply To Yaani (“Have Truth, Will Travel”) Drucker’s Request To Remove Blog Articles

    Posted by Barry Pittard on March 15, 2010

    For context to this email to Yaani Drucker, who claims to be spiritually enlightened, but who (as any reasoning reader can see at once) frequently avoids many issues of substance and also confuses what clearly has been said, see the links to my series of posts, below. I have spent time on this issue because it strikes me that her many evasions – which I do not think are insincere – show aspects of the cultic mind in full flight. I quickly add, though, that Yaani Drucker in other respects is remarkably free of the viciousness of certain other key Sathya Sai Baba apologists. She is touchingly decent, and her language free of attack and put-down. Indeed she has lessons to teach her own guru, whose nastiness, whatever may be the positives, is only too well documented by countless and compelling testimonies from many countries.
    Dear Yaani,

    I have carefully thought through your request that I take down what I have written on yourself and your husband Professor Drucker. These posts were made with genuineness, time, effort and care. You have since sent a number of documents that you say show you to be a good person. You referred to your “purity of heart”.

    Yaani, I will not entertain any implication that many former devotees who have raised the issues of which I have written are not good people, too. It is you who are “not listening”. You are not listening to them – whom you once respected as your fine ‘Sai brothers and sisters’. They feel let down by you both, especially Al.

    Perhaps at some time, you will be ready to answer my questions properly, instead of via emotionalism (which is very different to emotion). Should you and/or Al be ready to make out a response, I shall be glad to give your answers ample space at (Call For Media and Government Investigation of Sathya Sai Baba).

    It is clear to me and to others – who are not afraid to criticize me if they think that I am being unreasonable – that you have reacted emotively and evasively, and taken matters personally, such as where you assume that I am saying that you are dangerous. Clearly, you have difficulty in separating what is really being said from your own upset reaction to it. In public, you have advanced your notions about self-realization. On your website and to me in an email, you have said you are glad to debate. You are a public figure, given your role as a speaker, workshop facilitator and owner of a website. You have declared on that website: “Have truth, will travel”. Naturally, sooner or later, you will find people who disagree with you, and who speak up. They have a perfect right to do so. Former devotee critics such as Robert Priddy (long-time ex-head of the Sathya Sai Organization in Norway), Brian Steel and other articulate and immensely hard-working researchers have not ducked for cover, and in fact have faced almost unimaginable attacks. Yaani, if it is too hot in the public ‘kitchen’, why enter it with undertakings to “discuss and debate”, as you have done?

    In what I have written in my latest post, I have given my further reasons for not ceding to your request to take down the posts.

    Perhaps at some time you will feel ready to deal with issues with reason and non-evasion of serious questions, which are of deep and genuine concern especially for many former devotees whose lives have been shattered by the terrible deeds of Sathya Sai Baba, and those of his key servitors who have cooperated in a large-scale, tragic cover up. Some of the parents of those with compelling accounts of their (then) young male children have very real concerns that your husband Al Drucker profoundly let them down when they came to him in trust at the worst period in their lives. (Not that there lack many other types of Sathya Sai Baba abuses that are also well-documented, including extensive research by the BBC and other institutions of great repute). I have stated this matter about the parents in my extended email to you, and you ignored it, except, when later again asked, but where all you had to to say was that you had heard “rumors”.

    Your replies have been about you, and how you have been made to feel, and how public comment causes you to lose attendees for your workshop on handling ‘ego’. There was no compassionate engagement of yours in the former devotees’ grave and heart-stricken concerns. Or, indeed – any real engagement at all.
    Yours faithfully,
    Barry Pittard


    Previous Posts On This Issue

  • Reply To Claimer of Spiritual Enlightenment (Yaani Drucker Correspondence) Part 6
  • Reply To Claimer of Spiritual Enlightenment (Yaani Drucker Correspondence) Part 5
  • Reply To Claimer of Spiritual Enlightenment (Yaani Drucker Correspondence) Part 4
  • Reply To Claimer of Spiritual Enlightenment (Yaani Drucker Correspondence) Part 3
  • Reply To Claimer of Enlightenment (Yaani Drucker Correspondence) Part 2
  • Reply To Claimer of Spiritual Enlightenment (Yaani Drucker Correspondence) Part 1
  • Dangerous to Rationalize Rape. A major Sathya Sai Baba Follower’s Example
  • Barry Pittard Replies To Sathya Sai Center Rape Survivor’s Note To Him

    Posted in New Age, Opinion, Religion, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

    Nityananda Sex Scandal Erupts in India. Sathya Sai Baba Lessons?

    Posted by Barry Pittard on March 12, 2010

    More than once, I have alluded to that India which is profoundly wonderful, but an India which has been traduced by her often immeasurably corrupt elites. Sometimes – according to presence or lack of the ‘right’ political patronage and the amounts of grubby money and other enticements at stake – the crimes of gurus are exposed but often the cover up is great.

    However, there has been a big backlash against corrupt gurus in recent days. A hugely publicized sex scandal involving sex allegations against Swami Nityananda (alternative, Nithyananda) is part of the outrage. Apparently, he claims to be an avatar of Shiva, claiming 2 million devotees in 33 countries. Like Sathya Sai Baba, he has presided over social work and so forth. Some of Sathya Sai Baba’s followers who do not deny his sexual and other activities say: but look at all the good social work that he does. (Actually, one might have thought that it is his devotees that do it!). The laws of many countries, though there may be elements of mitigation, do not take any such absurd position.

    I have yet to examine the issues, but fully expect, as has been the response of Sai Baba’s apologists to the mountain of evidence against him, no end of the same types of spurious, head-in-the-sand justification from devotees of the exposed gurus and malicious attacks on those who have stood forth to speak the truth, and who call – all the while at great readiness themselves to be accountable – for independent and proper third party investigation of allegations. See my update:

    Why Nithyananda Sex Scandal Investigations and Not A Sathya Sai Baba Probe?

    Posted by Barry Pittard on March 26, 2010

    My colleague Robert Priddy, former leader of the Sathya Sai Organization in Norway, has written posts on the uproar, looking at instructive parallels and providing useful links to footage and media commentary:

    Swami ‘Paramahamsa’ Nityananda scandal – latest

    Posted by robertpriddy on March 28, 2010

    Nityananda sex scandal compounded by his lies and deceits

    Posted by robertpriddy on March 13, 2010

    Nityananda video, lies and ’sex allegations’

    Posted by robertpriddy on March 10, 2010

    Sex scandal in Indian media – Nityananda and forerunners

    Posted by robertpriddy on March 6, 2010



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

    There is a Spanish version available:


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    Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

    Posted in Morality, New Age, Opinion, Protest, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , | 11 Comments »

    Reply To Claimer of Spiritual Enlightenment (Yaani Drucker Correspondence) Part 6

    Posted by Barry Pittard on March 2, 2010

    This piece continues from:  Reply To Claimer of Spiritual Enlightenment (Yaani Drucker Correspondence) Part 5 – my response to Yaani Drucker, who wrote to me in the first instance. Many Sathya Sai devotees worldwide have hero-worshipped her and her husband Professor Al Drucker (formerly with NASA). To some devotees, it has not mattered that Sai Baba has treated them both very harshly – for they regard such harsh treatment as the guru’s ineffable tough love. I have not noted that she anywhere accepts responsibility for (the very influential) talks she and Al Drucker gave at Kingdom Hall in the UK in April 2000.  She seems incapable of seeing how easy it is for impressionable individuals to see her notion of how to deal with rape (or other grave trauma) as the way they should go. See:  Reply To Claimer of Spiritual Enlightenment (Yaani Drucker Correspondence) Part 4 . Or that in her writings on her website it is important that she makes clear that psychologists have a genuine role to play in the case of trauma, just as medics are important to consult in physical injury. Instead, she now writes saying:

    “You told your audience that I have a hatred for psychology”.

    The interested reader will see that this is an entire distortion, for I have said nothing of the sort. The context is this, as I have, in various ways said:   “… it is important for survivors of severe trauma to seek qualified professional counseling, and also – bearing in mind that she is a public  figure – she has the responsibility correctly to model this kind of service to those who read her writings”.

    She further states:

    You lose nothing, except ego, which was never real. which psychology does not get, therefore psychology is not absolute truth. You lean heavily on psychology, as though it has answers. It does not. Sure it can help people overcome trauma, but so can truth. That is all I have ever suggested.

    I have said not a word about psychology being absolute truth. I have talked about what psychology (across many schools, a few of which I have named), does indeed “get”. Which is precisely what Ms Drucker does not “get”.

    Again, as the rational reader can see at every turning, I have not said that psychology has all the answers. I have said, for example, “There is much impressive evidence that the body, mind and personality are one, not a dualism (ref. science of consciousness, neurology and philosophical neurology). Therefore, I want to say to you that notions which deny the interaction that goes on in the psycho-soma are very flawed, inept. And, yes, present their real dangers to human health and well-being. I do not resile from the notions of rationalization (in context) and danger”. See: HERE.

    Can it be that she has lost track of the position she stated in earlier correspondence?  See: Reply To Claimer of Spiritual Enlightenment (Yaani Drucker Correspondence) Part 3 . 

    “Is it necessary for a rape victim to receive professional counseling? This assumes that psychology/ psychotherapy has answers that ABSOLUTE TRUTH does not”.

    She also asserted that I have said that I am a psychologist. Yet again, I have said nothing of the sort. Ms Drucker does not seem to have much of her mind concentrated on simple matters within the mundane world. Himalayas of cloudiness seem more to her liking.

    Note: Ms Drucker wrote that:

    “I am happy to discuss and debate issues. I have responded to every issue you raised”.

    But has she been as good as her word? The reader can examine her own words throughout this series. In subsequent emails from her that I have not cited, she constantly claims to be answering questions but resorts to large abstractions, and avoids the issues that I have raised. These are unrooted in reference to the practical world of those men and women who inhabit the normal world. That she tells us she enlighted and that she tell us that she has had independent confirmations should be enough for us. She says that the latter have come to in various ways and a major one came when she traveled to the Himalayas. Today (3 March, 2010), she wrote:

    Earlier articles on this topic at Call For Media and Government Investigation of Sathya Sai Baba are: Dangerous to Rationalize Rape. A major Sathya Sai Baba Follower’s Example and Barry Pittard Replies To Sathya Sai Center Rape Survivor’s Note To Him

    “You pointed out that so many claim on their web to be enlightened, so what makes me authentic – a fair question. I would say that what makes me authentic is that I had an experience in darshan, as described to you previously. This experience was more than an epiphany or light experience, it was a moment wherein all the pieces of the puzzle to the human condition came together perfectly and I understood in the very essence of my being and the search was over. I knew that I knew. This does not mean I knew that I was enlightened. I simply had no way to measure that. However a year later I was directed to the Himalayas where enlightenment was confirmed.
    What part did Sai Baba play in the confirmation of my enlightenment? NONE directly. Of course I see that He did direct me, but He used instruments who were not Sai devotees, so it was not Baba directly. Because Baba is omnipresent, He directed me both toward my enlightenment and its confirmation. Because you have no faith in Baba, it would make no sense for me to suggest that because Baba confirmed is evidence of my legitimacy. He did not confirm directly. Baba works in subtle ways, ways that communicate perfectly, to those who choose to hear… and see…
    Bottom line Barry is that you have not the power to stop God’s work through this instrument”.



    Al and I were black listed after we married. That means we have had nothing to do with the Sai organization since 1990 or rather the Sai organization has had nothing to do with us.

    I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Sai Baba knows He is not his body. Once a young man from Sweden requested Baba’s permission to give Baba a hug. When Baba obliged and the young man wrapped his arms around Baba’s torso, his arms wrapped around an empty robe  – there was no body to make contact with. I met this man personally.

    These are a few of many examples where Baba demonstrates that He clearly manipulates the laws of physical reality, because He can.  If He has these powers, He is certainly not driven by personality disorders, but rather does all that he does for the highest good for all, in the most efficacious manner possible. No pedophile that I have ever heard or read about has had the powers that Sai Baba has.

    I have heard rumors, but I have had no direct contact with any of the young men to claim abuse at Baba’s hand, nor have I personally met any of their family members. You want me to put Sai Baba on the level of a common criminal – it is a joke surely???

    Do you think that years and thousands of hours (and ‘thousands’ is no exaggeration) of former devotees’ time and efforts are to be reduced to some poor joke? We put heart and soul and care and love – and vast amounts of time and labor into these matters. Your suggestion of joking is not a worthy one. Let me quote to you a snippet from a note. It comes from old friends of yours.  It may act as an aide-memoire for Al and you:

    “(Al) told us of his disillusionment with Baba – that time after time, parents of young boys would come to his room in great distress after interviews, seeking an explanation… Al said this is why he left the ashram and got married. (It was) with the great shock (heard) this from Al and also his wife Yaani (and later from other close contacts , people we trusted , who had no motivation for telling lies about Baba” …

    It is these sort of situations that I think are good to clear up, once and for all. Indulal Shah, John Hislop, Michael Goldstein, William Harvey, G.Venkataraman, Samuel Sandweiss,  Phyllis Kristal, J. Jagadeesan, Thorbjorn Meyer, Ashok Bhagani, T.Sri RamanathanSara Pavan, and many others have profoundly failed in their duty of care for the devotees who have come to them with terrible accounts. I speak of devotees, now former devotees, whose goodness and integrity were NOT assailed in all their long years around Sathya Sai Baba and in his organization. But – virtually overnight! – they were declared demons. Jaani, please tell me straight – is that how Sathya Sai Baba, who forever says we should speak sweetly, and his core leaders and many rank-and-file devotees should be speaking?

    That the leaders of the Sathya Sai Organization have failed in this regard will, without any reasonable doubt, remain as a very dark blot in the pages of history. And, though much has been withheld from them by core Sai Baba servitors, the rank-and-file devotees have their own kind of culpability – for they have closed their hearts and blinded their eyes to the plight of those whom they have long known to be good.

    Jaani, can you understand why there is a difficulty about perception? Though you say above “we have had nothing to do with the Sai organization since 1990 or rather the Sai organization has had nothing to do with us” and your current status in regard to association with the Sathya Sai Organization, there are many who saw Al Drucker subscribe to the Paduka ceremony in Puttaparthi 1998, and saw him around the ashram. Yes – we have those who saw and spoke with him. You will surely understand, therefore, why many have continued to see a link between Al and you and Sathya Sai Baba. In the eyes of some, Al was the most prominent VIP there over a number of years. Has he renounced his faith in Sathya Sai baba then?

    There are those who went to Al (and indeed to other very prominent leaders around Sathya Sai Baba) and have deeply grieved, first, over their afflicted children and second, that they feel profoundly let down by those to whom they thought they could bring their harrowing accounts. The Drucker name figures among these. It is very sad – although you may be above it all. Given that you say that you remember only “rumours”, I am wondering whether the accounts of the individuals concerned would have proved too difficult for you to embrace, and that, if the recollections of various informants are correct, you have filtered the reported presentations from your awareness. (Yet again, need I really add, that I am not saying that you are deliberately telling untruths). When I learnt of Al’s driving absorption in the advaitin endeavour, I wondered: why does he keep coming back to the form, when he is supposed to be practising to attain the formless apprehension of the divine?

    Can you understand how your website appears to promote a ‘solution’ to the rape question, quite strongly – e.g., “Have truth, will travel”?

    A number of people, including very qualified mental health professionals with long experience in the sexual abuse area, observed how your website can be too readily interpreted as campaigning for recognition that rape and other terrible occurrences have an answer – if only people will follow what you hold forth to be Truth. It may be that you cannot accept that you have – and I would surely think without meaning to – promoted a very misleading ‘theory’ based entirely on belief. And this belief is one from which you may not be able to free yourself, for, if you were to free yourself without recourse to a psychological in-denial situation, you would have to face the trauma. These conditions hide. Sooner or later, however, the suppressed stuffs will not be denied – and manifest in illnesses and social disruptions of one kind or another. Many former devotees have had courageously, and with great self-honesty, to face their years of psychological denial. You now explain that it was not to justify rape – but it was to say that rape is not really a problem if one will just recognize that one is not the body. This view goes against the fact that we all HAVE a body and serious violations of it have an extremely forceful effect on the psyche.

    I wish you the very best in all your endeavors. May all humanity find peace. May all humanity find truth.

    Yaani Drucker

    I thank you, Yaani. It would seem that you are one of the few who do not shun and revile. Especially given the craven ducking for cover of so many Sathya Sai Baba devotees, I honor you for your readiness to exchange, and wish you and Al love and best wishes, whatever may be the divide,

    Barry Pittard


    Select Further Reading

    Dangerous to Rationalize Rape. A major Sathya Sai Baba Follower’s Example

    Barry Pittard Replies To Sathya Sai Center Rape Survivor’s Note To Him

    Will the Real Professor Alvin Drucker Be Upstanding?


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

    There is a Spanish version available:


    Subscribe to Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

    Subscribe in a reader

    Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

    Typically, as one can see below, too, Yaani is unable to provide any alternative explanations for her inner processes. How can others possible examine her processes?  She does not even examine them herself. She says she “knows”.
    Nor has she shown any attempt to get from her own husband, Professor Al Drucker, his account of why he ignored those parents and others who came to him in great distress, and who felt deeply let down by one whom they came to in trust and in grief. While it is true that she is a different person, would she not be in an excellent position to ascertain his response to events so important as these?
    Nor has she examined – much less critically examined – the reasons in writings by Robert Priddy, Brian Steel,  Timothy Conway Ph.D.,  Kevin R.D.Shepherd (an independent author on religion and philosophy), Barry Pittard and others who have advanced reasons why Sathya Sai Baba presides over what is a formidable cult, which is highly authoritarian, unaccountable and untransparent.
    Nor – even given that for some years she and Al Drucker have had a but tenuous link with the Sathya Sai Baba Organization – does she show any responsibility for her frequent extolling references to Sathya Sai Baba, despite worldwide allegations against him and some of his servitors, which are of a grave nature indeed.
    Thus I find Yaani Drucker’s of the terms “discuss” and “debate” all but vacuous.

    Posted in Miracles, Opinion, Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychotherapy, Religion, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »