Call For Media and Government Investigation

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

Archive for June, 2010

Relative Weightings of Allegation and Proof In Exposing Corrupt Institutions (Pt1)

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 29, 2010

Obtaining proof of crimes can be hard and sometimes impossible. It is the nature of evasion to make it so. Sadly, innocence, too, can be hard or impossible to prove. I have long observed that authoritarian cults such as the Sathya Sai Organization make far too little of the role of allegation and large-scale public testimony and far too much of the demand for legal proof. Frequently, the superficial understanding of liberal and democratic notions, such as the freedom of religion or other beliefs, allow authoritarian cults in their self-interest to undermine these cherished notions.
 

Such cults threaten genuinely civil society. Societies that espouse democratic values from top to bottom often accord and vigorously uphold rights in some sectors while, in practice, denying these same rights to other citizens who are equally entitled to them. In countries worldwide, we can see individuals devastated and families and communities torn apart by the activity of cults. Typically, political parties see the issue as too prickly a nettle to grasp. They fear that they will be attacked for subverting the notion of freedom of religion, for example.

Many of these cults have great financial resources, and pump vast amounts into types of promotion that flourish the broad smile and outstretched welcoming arms, but conceal their heavy agendas. Well-heeled cults are prompt to hire high-paid lawyers, and often need but to threaten litigation. Cults, like any other sort of authoritarian regime, bully and harass so as to silence dissent.

I do not say, of course, that rights cannot thrive in a court of litigation. But for those without great funds, it can be a perilous avenue to take, irrespective of the merits of one’s cause. Nonetheless, the Rahm family (whose story was a mainstay of the BBC’s 2004 one-hour documentary on Sai Baba ‘The Secret Swami’) morally supported their young son, Alaya, in civil litigation in the Orange County Superior Court, California, USA. Alaya Rahm alleged that Sathya Sai Baba serially sexually abused him (as, similarly, have many males, or families speaking for minors, around the world). The case was heard by Judge John M. Watson of the Superior Court, County of Orange, California, on April 28th, 2006. See:  Alaya Rahm’s Lawsuit vs Sathya Sai Society of America. Joint Statement by the International JuST Group and the Rahm family (Date: July 16, 2006), and Alaya Rahm’s Testimony – Some Key Statements . California leaders of the Sathya Sai Society of America include the world chairman of Sathya Sai Baba’s organization, Dr Michael Goldstein.

In Part Two of our jointly written four-part article The Sathya Sai Organisation’s Deception and Propaganda Exposed, Robert Priddy and I wrote:

(Dr G.) Venkataraman, with back-up from the facile attorney Robert Baskin, now dares come out into the open, mistakenly asserting that the Alaya Rahm’s self-dismissal of his case against the Society is a triumphant vindication of the Sai forces …

In a statement by the Rahm family, their attorney and the International JuST Group 9, we read: “No court found Alaya’s allegations to be false. Simply, the suit could not continue on a technicality, and the claims of sexual abuse stand irrefutably true, just as before”. Dr. Venkataraman is himself making a false allegation! Attorney William Brelsford Esq., seeing formidable legal obstacles set by the defendants, and not least working against a statute of limitations deadline, advised Alaya Rahm to self-dismiss the case. Along with other difficulties encountered, his attorney has explained, June 29th, 2006, to Alaya Rahm and his family:

“We were successful at the demurrer stage in establishing that a duty would be owed by the Society in the event they sponsored and/or endorsed the trips that Alaya went on when he was abused by Sai Baba. As it turns out, the Society is not the “hub” of all of Sai Baba’s corporate activities. Rather, the Society, pursuant to declarations under penalty of perjury, confirmed they are a bookstore… nothing more. Accordingly, we do not have the necessary factual requirements to establish liability on the Society/Book center.”

(Note:  Eminent legal opinion that I have sought opines that Alaya Rahm, son of one of the formerly highest profile Sathya Sai Baba leaders, Al Rahm of Akansas, USA, had far from the best legal advice. Alaya Rahm’s lawyer, William L. Brelsford, represented him on a profit-seeking, no-win-no-pay basis. It became, all too late, glaringly evident that Brelsford’s research/discovery processes relating to the body he sought to pursue were badly lacking. What a shock it is for a litigant, once the case is in court, to find that there was no incorporated entity to litigate against. The lawyers for the Sathya Society of America represented that the only entity was a bookshop. How could that be sued? What clever foresighted provisions the lawyers of the Sathya Sai Organization had taken against future legal challenges! The blundering Brelsford then advised Alaya Rahm client to self-dismiss his case. 

Should any reputable, bona fide legal, academic or media or agency investigators wish to look at the case, I am happy to refer them to those legal experts consulted.

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Part 2 of Relative Weightings of Allegation and Proof In Exposing Corrupt Institutions is due to appear shortly

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The Public Petition   

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

About the Petition For Official Investigation Into Sathya Sai Baba Cult

(Note: You may prefer to proceed straight to the Petition): Public Petition For Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization   

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Major Downturn of Foreigners Visiting Sai Baba At Puttaparthi

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 26, 2010

Long ago, Sathya Sai Baba told his followers that eventually very few of his devotees would remain. One may posit, of course, less divine explanations for this foretelling, though his devotees think that he speaks from divine all-knowingness. For example, rather, that he saw (rather than omnisciently foresaw) that his unbridled sexual appetite for boys and young men and many other most terrible abuses would finally catch up with him. His game is up, but not his game of relying powerful elements of the Indian power structure to cover up for him.

We receive reports of the enormous decline in the number of foreigners visiting Sathya Sai Baba at the Puttaparthi ashram. It is the western media, such as the BBC, that have investigated and exposed Sathya Sai Baba and his cult. Visitor numbers from within India have been assisted by the pushing of a railhead to Puttaparthi. The airport, however, is now seen by many as a spent force. See Robert Priddy’s: Sathya Sai Airport “white elephant” for sale!  See also: Sai Baba’s tennis stadium another white elephant?

I recall being in a group listening in the 70’s to the late Professor P.N. Kasturi, his official biographer, editor of Sai Baba’s magazine Sanathana Sarathi and often Sai Baba’s on-stage translator, saying that:  A “big government minister” implored Sathya Sai  to allow a railhead all the way up to Puttaparthi, but was refused. It is there now, and enhances Indian crowd numbers, especially among the peasants and the middle class. A powerful reason for his continued patronage in India is that, to its undying shame, most of the Indian media eschews material critical of Sathya Sai Baba. His political clout is too great. 

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The Public Petition   

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

About the Petition For Official Investigation Into Sathya Sai Baba Cult

(Note: You may prefer to proceed straight to the Petition): Public Petition For Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization   

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

Sathya Sai Baba’s Chief Broadcaster Dr G. Venkataraman: Select Critical Articles by Barry Pittard

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 24, 2010

Dr G.Venkataraman is about as close to Sathya Sai Baba as it is possible to get. His worldwide brief as his international broadcaster and his deputy chairmanship of the Sathya Sai Organization makes it relevant to look at his performance. The reader may keep in mind the question:  Is Venkataraman’s performance what one would expect of a chief disciple of – supposedly – God fully incarnate? Of course, even the most eminent disciples of famous spiritual leaders of the past made some bad showings – but (if the historical records are to be credited) turned out okay in the final run home. But has Venkataraman done so? He has had decades of practice for the “run home”? 

A detailed analyis of Venkatarman at work is found in Robert Priddy’s and Barry Pittard’s jointly authored, four-part article ‘The Sathya Sai Organization’s Deception and Propaganda Exposed’ .  To see his machinations in concert with the Vajpayee government and the then Director of UNESCO (which were exposed by the BBC’s David Saville), see: The Case of UNESCO’s Missing Media Advisory

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Sathya Sai Baba’s ‘Minister of Propaganda’ – Dr G. Venkataraman

“G. Venkataraman, formerly an intimate member of India’s nuclear bomb community, was Vice-Chancellor of Sai Baba’s university at Puttaparthi. He is now second-in-charge of the international Sathya Sai Organization, and head of Sai Global Harmony. The latter entity broadcasts, in affiliation with WorldSpace International Satellite Radio Service, 24/7 to many countries. With a behind-the-scenes corporate-style, assisted by the billions of funds that pour from many countries into the Sathya Sai Central Trust, the aim is to penetrate to every corner of the globe. A vital question will be whether politicians in democratic countries will be capable of distinguishing between the issue of freedom of religion and the issue of cults that decidedly do not, whatever may be their rhetoric, respect democracy …. Dr Venkataraman is tantamount to being Sathya Sai Baba’s ‘minister of propaganda’. Practically all heads of the Sathya Sai Organization are forbidden to comment on critical matters, but G. Venkataraman is an exception. The few spokesmen (and they are almost always men!) say very little, as one would expect of a virtually Soviet-style, cultic organization, with a leader and a deputy chairman who can both wax lyrical about how the former dictator of Uganda Idi Amin wept with tears of devotion over Sai Baba”.

Sathya Sai Baba’s Deputy Head, Dr G. Venkataraman, Speaks of “Mr Idi Amin”

“Dr G. Venkataraman speaks of how thrilling was Sai Baba’s account in this ‘Christmas’ 2006 discourse of his 1968 visit to Uganda! But oh, what an inspiring figure was Idi Amin to refer to in a Christmas message! In case G. Venkataraman or anyone badly informed of Idi Amin’s evil deeds and regime, here and here are BBC reports at the time of his death in August 2003 and a list of resources”.

A Bli

(Above photo – is but a graphic art impression of the Dr G. Venkataraman-Sai Baba-Idi Amin Love-Fest).

“THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND” – GOD’S ORDERS and Sai Baba 

“The issue is not about high-profile leaders who unavoidably find themselves mixing with monstrous human beings – for example, dignitaries simply going about their formal duties, such as a King, Queen, President etc. The clear issue is that both Sai Baba and G. Venkataraman enthused warmly about recollections of Sai Baba’s visit to Idi Amin in Uganda in 1968, saying how Amin and his retinue were in copious tears of devotion for Sai Baba. Amin was one of the world’s greatest monsters – causing a holocaust estimated at 400,000 people, torturing, raping, engaging in violent orgies and cannibalism. And yet  – Sai Baba (who claims to be all-knowing and God fully manifest on earth and come to save the planet before he leaves it) and Venkataraman showed the most appalling bad taste and absence of judgement”.

Sathya Sai Baba and Dr G.Venkataraman: Will They Disavow Their Idi Amin Fondness?

“Note how Venkataraman, on Sai Global Radio, refers to Mr Idi Amin. I may add that it is interesting that Amin claimed to have a direct line to God. Did he have in mind, specifically, Sathya Sai Baba? Perhaps Amin scholars may have something among their files, and can let us all know.

Sathya Sai Baba-Idi Amin Nexus. Foolish-fond Memories

Sathya Sai Baba-Idi Amin Nexus. Fond Memories

Dr G. Venkataraman, Sathya Sai Baba’s Nuclear Boon Companion

Robert Priddy is the former long-time head of the Sathya Sai Organization in Norway and a retired philosopher in the Social Sciences, University of Oslo. He has written insightfully on the extraordinary, often Procrustean efforts of Dr G. Venkataraman to rationalise his beliefs in Sathya Sai Baba”.

Indian Scientist Dr G. Venkataraman Accused of Plagiarism

”In his article, Venkataraman – the most gullible physicist alive? Robert Priddy (see Wikipedia entry) notes:

Dr. G. Venkataraman reviews at length developments in our scientific knowledge of the cosmos… though nothing scientific that is not found in hundreds of books and other media. Venkataraman was a physicist working for the Indian government’s nuclear programme. However, he has copied his information on astronomy from other scientific authorities. Yet he does not once attribute anything he reports to its originators or to other scientific sources! He has even plagiarised text from the Dennis Dutton website, without any mention …

BBC Hidden Camera in ‘Secret Swami’. Ethical?

“Despite the alarum and excursions of Dr G. Venkataraman (and informally allied Sathya Sai Baba proxy defenders on the Internet whose libels and slanders are deemed by top lawyers in three countries to be extreme, widespread and highly actionable), the BBC had every just cause to shoot clandestinely. The extensive lack of accountability, transparency and of Duty-of-Care were not only seen clearly by the BBC but have also been noted by other world leading, high quality media in several countries”.

The International Sathya Sai Organization – an accessory to a massive libel and disinformation campaign. Open letter to the Prasanthi Council – c/o Dr. M. Goldstein, Dr. G. Venkataraman and its other members. Here is a quote from that document:

“Two semi-official pro-Sai web sites – saibabaofindia.com/ and saibabalinks.org/ – which could not operate without the help of central officials of the Sathya Sai Organization, Radio Sai Global Harmony and Sai ashrams, have links to websites which libel all former members who have spoken out. Such links reveal the obvious inability of Sai representatives in these groups to reply honestly and cogently to any of the many published allegations about Sai Baba made by those who were long respected members, in some cases prominent leaders, of his international organization. Furthermore, some members link to extremist web sites which have as their primary agenda contrived attempts at character assassination of ex-followers who present critical views. The most prominent of such sites are examined here and here.”

See a list (by no means exhaustive) of typical depradations of those Sathya Sai Baba forces (and those caught up in other cults) who claim to be involved in spirituality: Dissent From Guru Cults Draws Slander and Harassment. See also, Cultic Depersonalization or Demonization of Dissenters

The one-hour BBC dcumentary, The Secret Swami (2004) on Sathya Sai Baba, is compelling, and was the work of more than seven intensive months. Its scope was, however, narrow indeed in comparison to a vast database that discloses that much else ails Puttaparthi Sai Baba and his forces such as the Prashanti Council and the International Sathya Sai Organization. See: The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ – A Revision

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The Public Petition   

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

About the Petition For Official Investigation Into Sathya Sai Baba Cult

(Note: You may prefer to proceed straight to the Petition): Public Petition For Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization   

Posted in New Age, Opinion, Religion, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Indian State High Court Blow For Swami Nityananda In Big Sex Case

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 17, 2010

As previously pointed out at ‘Call For Media and Government Investigation of Sathya Sai Baba’, the Nityananda case has had huge coverage India-wide. The battery of television cameras point and shoot at even the most trivial details, along with excited commentary.  Wealthy, influential and international though it is, Nityananda’s organization cannot bear comparison with the enormous wealth, political and religious clout of Sathya Sai Baba and his global Sathya Sai Organization.

Nityananda has spent over fifty days in jail. It has long been a commonplace in and beyond India that Sathya Sai Baba and his core servitors will never be brought to justice. A traveler round India can hear this comment quite easily. An editor of the Times of India told me privately:  Sai Baba and his people are far too powerful to take on. However, a cross-section of Indian commentary suggests a marked increase, if not a mobilization, of concern about the issues of gurudom or swamihood in India. For those who feel relieved by probing, consecutive analysis (vastly lacking in Sathya Sai Baba-proxy internet attacks on virtually all who raise questions about Sathya Sai Baba), there is lengthy and intelligent discussion in The Medha Journal, here – Lessons from The Swami Nithyananda Saga . Wednesday, 17 March 2010 18:40 by Rajiv Malhotra

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Big Story: Nityananda Verdict

By Vox Purpli – YahooINEditors – June 11th, 2010

Swami Nityananda

The Karnataka High Court delivered its verdict on Swami Nityananda’s bail plea. The 32-year-old spiritual teacher and founder of the Dhyanapeetam, faces several criminal charges including that of rape and “unusual sex”.

12th June 2010: Swami Nityananda has got conditional bail but has been instructed not to teach or preach.

11th June 2010: Swami Nityananda gets bail on Rs 1 lakh bond. No witness against Nityananda in rape case.

30th April 2010: When the CID was interrogating him, the swami’s shocking statement, “I’m not a man. There’s no way I could have indulged in sexual activities with women. Do a potency test on me,” gave a new twist to the  sordid saga.

21st April 2010: Almost a month and a half after the sex scam broke out, Swami Nityananda was arrested from Himachal Pradesh’s Solan district. At the time of his arrest, the Bangalore police found Rs 3 lakh and 2000 dollars with him.

2nd March 2010: The Swami scandal surfaced in March 2010 when a local channel aired video footage of the swami in a compromising position with a Tamil actress after he had retired from his ashram to live a life of “spiritual seclusion”.

After almost 50 days in jail, the decision on his bail plea will be taken today. Amidst allegations against Nityananda and all the controversy, some loyal devotees continue to hold onto their faith.

Swami Nityananda is not the only self-professed godman to be embroiled in a controversy; several others too have been in the news for all the wrong reasons.

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See Also

Robert Priddy

Barry Pittard

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The Public Petition

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

About the Petition For Official Investigation Into Sathya Sai Baba Cult

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

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

There is a Spanish version available:  

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

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Will Hollywood and Bollywood Dare To Take On The Cult Theme?

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 14, 2010

Through very separate channels, I have learnt that there have been discussions in different parts of the movie-making world about what approaches to scripting, venue, demographics, legal issues, and so forth, might best lend themselves to portraying the story of a guru so controversial and ‘larger-than-life’ as Sathya Sai Baba. Other charismatic cult leader names are mentioned, but Sathya Sai Baba is the biggest.

I earlier wrote:  Dare Songstress Nora Jones Touch Sai Baba? Sathya Sai Baba interests courted Jones (the daughter of the famous Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar, both of them his longtime devotees) to play the lead in a movie, oddly titled “My Guy”, and it will be interesting to get confirmation of the story that the project has foundered.

With the above thoughts in mind, as I was looking at a few articles and it struck me how many impactful stories, if followed to their roots,  there would be found in so much work of the more serious and competent critics of Sathya Sai Baba. Wide publics have a thirst for murder and mayhem. This does not lack on Sathya Sai Baba’s bloody trail. There is massive financial, political, and judicial and police corruption. But whether enough audiences can be persuaded to view often-tabooed and acutely distressing themes such as serial sexual abuse is a moot point. One of the top handful of former police chiefs in the world told me that he considered Sathya Sai Baba as plausibly the master criminal of the 20th century. (To reputed media or other serious investigators, I can share his name. He is in consultancy these days). We also know , again at first hand, that in various foreign services there are high-ranking diplomats (including at the level of Ambassador) who do not wish to see Sathya Sai Baba triumph, but in repeated cases they are told by their governments:  not to ‘rock the boat with India’.

The need for excellent movies on the contra cult topic is acute. It is one of the most crucially avoided topics by powerful political and religious  instrumentalities. Apart from common-or-garden cowardice, there is a great deal of misconceived liberalism about, with an excess of political correctness and misunderstanding at large in the matter of what, exactly, religious freedom consists. In the preface to Robert Priddy’s and my long article, we wrote, referring to a writer dear to me: 

“The foes of the ‘open society’ (Sir Karl Popper’s term) are those who use its very openness to achieve their closed and devious ends. Sai Baba and his highly authoritarian and cultist organisation have such ends, which critics have tried to make known. Its foremost leaders silence all those who question it – and never face substantive criticisms. For the first time – after six years of pained and guilty silence – since hundreds of long-term devotees left it in disgust – the Sathya Sai Organisation has found it necessary to try to defuse the debate about Sathya Sai Baba’s alleged crimes, deceits and fraudulence. Dr. Venkataraman’s tendentious cover-up article expresses untruths which have long circulated within the cult, giving an opportunity to confront him with facts and truth”:  The Sathya Sai Organisation’s Deception and Propaganda Exposed 

The cultic costs to society are catastrophic, Intelligent movies driven by more than just profits will need to draw together the two main needs: integrity AND profitability. No reason why creative people should languish for honest work. I notice, incidentally, that some movies, expectedly, are jumping, but crassly, onto the 3D bandwagon. But what better country than India to portray via the 3D medium. Imagine if Sir Richard Attenborough’s ‘Gandhi’ had been made in 3D. Those who wish to see the most powerful exposure of cults need to be on the cutting edge, but not for its own sake.

The articles I had in view (although there are so many others) were:

David Bailey on Sathya Sai Baba (transcript from phone call) Excerpts with surprising facts that came to light when this great favourite of Sai Baba was phoned by Thomas Wiehe of Sweden – concerning the reasons why the Bailey’s rejected Sai Baba and all his works.

David Bailey’s disaffection in 1999 (phone conversation transcript & audio) On how Britain’s MI5 investigated David Bailey on account of protection of the Royal family, and the consequences for him, and other surprising facts.

Truth In Action: David and Faye Bailey Vs Sathya Sai Baba

V.K. Narasimhan on the 1993 Sathya Sai Baba murders Shattering information about the 1993 murders in Sathya Sai Baba’s bedroom – private confidences shared with Robert Priddy’s longtime friend V.K. Narasimhan, one of India’s greatest and most principled newspaper editors.

Inside information on Sathya Sai Baba by very close servitor Famous Indian editor, V.K. Narasimhan, was full of doubts about Sathya Sai Baba’s claims, but supported him due to social improvements his movement has made.

Ullrich Zimmermann’s Shocking Interview With Sathya Sai Baba. With comments by Robert Priddy, referring to the revelations on video by Ullrich Zimmermann of his interviews with Sathya Sai Baba – click here

More Testimony To Male Sexual Abuse By Sathya Sai Baba

Posted by Barry Pittard on May 1, 2010

See also: 

Wikipedia Issues and Sathya Sai Baba

Recent Research on the Claims of Sathya Sai Baba

Glen Meloy (“Standing up for truth and goodness”) – In Memoriam

Sathya Sai Baba Organization’s Betrayal of Love and Compassion

Timothy Conway Ph.D – On ‘The Hislop Letters’

Stephen Carthew, more recently engaged in his Ph.D. work has also given valuable account. He has latterly appeared in a one-hour ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) documentary. See my article:  Stephen Carthew, A Voice of Testimony From Australia, On The Dangers of Cults. An important document is his:

Letter from Stephen Carthew and see too the European head (the late) Thorbjorn Meyer’s similarly soviet-style treatment of Serguei Badaev, when the latter was president of the Sathya Sai Organization’s Moscow center,  deputy national coodinator, and coordinator of the national Sathya Sai Education in Human Values (SSEHV):-

Sathya Sai Baba Critic Serguei Badaev: An Incisive Voice of Conscience From Russia

Badaev’s account is found in his:

Story of My Disqualification

Al Rahm’s Explanatory Letter To Sathya Sai Baba Internet Proxy Gerald Moreno

Why Has Sathya Sai Baba Not Faced The Indian Justice System?

Big Cult Trumps At Law. Is But A ‘Bookshop’

‘BILD’ Story. “Guru Wants Sex” (Sathya Sai Baba)

Barry Pittard’s Guide To His Articles On The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ (Exposing Sai Baba)

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The Public Petition

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

About the Petition For Official Investigation Into Sathya Sai Baba Cult

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

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

There is a Spanish version available:  

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

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Barry Pittard’s Guide To His Articles On The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ (Exposing Sai Baba)

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 6, 2010

Busy journalists, scholars, institutional researchers, and the probing reader in general can do with shortcuts. The following is a guide to my articles written across some six years on the BBC’s one-hour documentary, The Secret Swami (2004) which, according to the BBC itself, has been aired in some two hundred countries.

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The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ – A Revision . (Extensive article by Barry Pittard, an international former Sathya Sai devotee coordinator and former lecturer at Sathya Sai Baba’s college in Whitefield via Bangalore, South India, who closely interfaced with the BBC and former devotees worldwide in the making of the one-hour documentary ‘The Secret Swami’, which has been aired in many countries around the world).

The BBC’s cameras at Sathya Sai Baba’s ashram at Puttaparthi in South India catch the pomp, circumstance, opulence and the highly stage-managed atmosphere of the crowded Mahasivaratri festival, February 2004. India’s most famous (and controversial) ‘Godman’ has promised a great miracle, the materialization from within his stomach via his mouth of a pure gold lingam (a Hindu cosmic symbol of creation) the size of a generous egg, in full public view. Viewers hoping to see this spectacle will not be disappointed – but they will see the sham in full close-up.

linghodhbhavam2004_0001.jpgSai Baba pretends to vomit up pure gold Siva Lingam. A few minutes later, he tells his vast audience, 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“.

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

Datta, Tanya

Here is Tigrett’s statement to the BBC’s Tanya Datta in “The Secret Swami’

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.

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.

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

Isaac Tigrett: Oh, absolutely I believe there is truth to the rumours.  See also: Isaac Tigrett. Selling Out Those Condemned to a House Of Blues

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

‘Shiva Lingam’ so-called miracle. Filmed by the BBC for its documentary ‘The Secret Swami’ at Maha Shivarathri Festival at Puttaparthi (2004).  The carelessness with which Sathya Sai Baba botched his trick may be explicable by reference to other serious mistakes, in the context of his declining mental and physical health. See: Sai Baba To Be Seen In Moon? But Where Was Moon?

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

Repeatedly, on footage of Sathya Sai Baba’s apparent miracles of the materialization type, an observer – other than one stricken with blind faith – can see the same technique that magicians use, the world over. Sathya Sai Baba’s Sleight Hand

Sathya Sai Baba's Sleight Hand

SEE my article with links to some of the world’s most famous magicians (or illusionists) using sleight-of-hand far more sophisticatedly than does Sathya Sai Baba. He gets caught out; many devotees who see this react rather like the people in Hans Christian Anderson’s celebrated tale -’The Emperor’s New Clothes’. I have included the story at this link: When ‘Divine’ Magnetism Becomes A Dead WeightLearn how sleight-of-hand is done: Sleight Of Hand. The Sleightness of Sathya Sai Baba (Exposing film clips).  See also a well-documented (by DR, Denmark’s national radio and television broadcaster) case of Sai Baba’s fraudulent materialization, many of whose miraculous materializations, do not stand the test of professional evaluations:   Sai Baba – A Fake Avatar’s Fake Materialization

Film Clip of Sathya Sai Baba's magic trick

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

Robert Priddy has bloggedUndisputable facts about Sathya Sai Baba by BBC’. This is a summary of a number of major factors that came out of BBC’s television documentary ‘The Secret Swami’ (2004) exposing Sathya Sai Baba and his worldwide cult. The documentary was seen by millions in around 200 countries. He cites a number of the many major British press reviews that highly praised this documentary, such as Andrew Billen, of The Times (of London), who wrote:-

“One of the richest supporters of the Indian guru Sai Baba – no less than Isaac Tigrett, co-founder of the Hard Rock Cafe – told his interviewer that he was perfectly willing to believe that Baba was simultaneously a) quite likely a paedophile and b) God incarnate”

BBC Hidden Camera in ‘Secret Swami’. Ethical?

Was it ethical for the BBC to use a hidden camera in ‘The Secret Swami’? It used it in the case of a highly elusive chairman of a world organization, Dr Michael Goldstein of Covena, California, that faces grave questions in India and many countries around the world. The Sathya Sai Organization, despite many claims not to recruit or fund raise should certainly be scrutinized by a public and its government, political and institutional organs, which it most definitely cultivates at both peak and local levels. Sanctions for the unusual use of hidden camera were obtained by the producers from top echelon BBC management and legals.

Despite the alarums and excursions of Dr G. Venkataraman (and informally allied Sathya Sai Baba proxy defenders on the Internet whose libels and slanders are deemed by top lawyers in three countries to be extreme, widespread and highly actionable), the BBC had every just cause to shoot clandestinely. The extensive lack of accountability, transparency and of Duty-of-Care were not only seen clearly by the BBC but have also been noted by other world leading, high quality media in several countries. See too:  Robert Priddy and Barry Pittard On Dr G. Venkataraman – Sathya Sai Baba Global Propagandist, which contains many recondite links for the avid researcher.

Indian Ex Top Official Dogs Sai Baba On BBC. ‘Cold-blooded Murder’

“Absolutely Cold-blooded Murder”

(Film clip link is below, under Resources)

Former Home Secretary of Sai Baba’s state Andhra Pradesh, V.P.B. Nair,

vpb-nair.jpg

tells the BBC cameras that the police killings in Sai Baba’s private quarters in June 1993 were “absolutely cold-blooded murder,” and that CID investigations, which were suppressed, showed many lies and cover-ups. He is seeking to re-open the case. Here is what Nair had to tell the BBC

India A Mature Democracy? BBC Probes

The Secret Swami reported that Sai Baba “cuts through the red tape” to provide water to poor villages via a costly pipeline. But the documentary missed the opportunity to suggest a major reason why successive Indian governments and opposition parties alike have covered for him. Yes, he (or rather his organization) accomplishes what they fail to provide, but with multi billions – the greater proportion of it from overseas! See my articles: Trade Follows Flag. Abetting Indian Government Corruption. And: British Labor and Tory Whips Suppressed Motion On Sai Baba

BBC Caught UNESCO Head Bowing To Indian Government

The Genesis of the BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ (Sai Baba)

Our concerns addressed to UNESCO, Interpol, U.S. State Department, other governments, institutions and  leading world media – and now to the BBC – ranged far beyond the allegations of long years of wide-scale, serial sexual abuse by Sai Baba. These are itemized at the foot of my article: Serial Sex Molestation and Bedroom Killings. But Much More, HERE.

V.P.B. Nair. B.Premanand. R.Priddy: Sai Baba Bedroom Killings

The one-hour BBC documentary, The Secret Swami (2004) on Sathya Sai Baba, is compelling, and was the work of more than seven intensive months. As well as the reports of Sai Baba’s longtime serial sexual abuse of boys and young men from many countries, The Secret Swami reveals much, including information about gruesome Puttaparthi police killings in Sai Baba’s bedroom on June 6, 1993.

Many Indian journalists and editors and others know of the profound extent of the cover up by the then powerful Home Minister S.B. Chavan, and central, Andhra Pradesh State and local governments. It is a pity that very few have had the courage to speak out publicly on the issue, as has former Andhra Pradesh Home Secretary V.P.B. Nair, who was in office at the time of the killings. It is a sad commentary that very few had the courage in speaking out displayed by those such as Nair and B. Premanand. The BBC shot more than 80 hours of footage. It saw the impressive line-up of former devotee witnesses from various countries and, correspondingly, the sheer degree of cover up by Sai Baba’s officials. Consequently, the producers, Eamon Hardy and David Savill, obtained from the top Executives of the BBC permission to use the terribly sparingly-used resort of a hidden camera. They were able to get such a noble and spiritual glimpse of the Sai Baba’s world head Goldstein exploding with anger, and thus reveal a man whose lashing tongue, like that of his master, is frequently not known about by rank-and-file devotees.

The Genesis of the BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ (Sai Baba)

Protection of Young Was Initial Driving Force For Most Former Sai Baba followers

Our concerns addressed to UNESCO, Interpol, U.S. State Department, other governments, institutions and  leading world media – and now to the BBC – ranged far beyond the allegations of long years of wide-scale, serial sexual abuse by Sai Baba. These are itemized at the foot of my article: Serial Sex Molestation and Bedroom Killings. But Much More, HERE.

Sai Baba followers have attempted to discredit various major media that have listened to us with respect and seriousness, like the BBC, DR, CBC, SBS, ABC, Azul TV, India Today, Daily Telegraph, Salon.com, Guardian,  Age, Australian Financial Times, Guardian, and newspapers in Europe and Canada.

Guru Sex Abuse Testimony To BBC – After Years of Silence

In the interests of establishing a new life for himself, Mark Roche, who had quit Sai Baba at the beginning of the 90′s, preferred overall not to have contact with either devotees or former devotees. The issue was very sensitive with him, as is typical with those who have been sexually traumatized and who feel their deepest trust in their spiritual master betrayed (the latter of which is also a severe ordeal in itself, as many former devotees know who have not been sexually abused). In this way, painful and confusing memories are far easier to suppress.

Click Here for video clip of Mark Roche interview from The Secret Swami, BBC 2, This World, first screened, Thursday 17, 2004.

Probed On Male Sex Abuse, Sai Baba Evicts BBC TV Team

goldiragingbull

Caught by BBC hidden camera: an angry and shouting Sai Baba’s world chairman, Dr Michael Goldstein of Covena, California, USA. He dismisses the BBC interviewer’s point about organization accountability and transparency and says of the worldwide serial sex abuse allegations against Sai Baba, “I would know it in my heart because I am what I am – a consummate professional. Can you understand that?”

Fortunately, before they were summarily thrown out, the BBC crew had shot close up valuable footage that clearly shows Sai Baba faking the miraculous production of a pure gold Shiva lingam or lingodbhava – a ‘cosmic egg’ from his stomach. He then – there are no signs of him faking this – faints. A few minutes later, in but one of his many statements that question the rationality of his devotees as well as his own, Sai Baba told his vast audience,

“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” See also: Sathya Sai Baba Chief, Dr Goldstein, Explodes. “I am the consummate professional” (See Film Clips)

To carefully go through these stark video revelations that expose Sathya Sai Baba cheating with his (so-called) miracles is to see why his chief defenders like Dr G. Venkataraman and Gerald Moreno have raised profound smokescreens and engineered such markedly distorted ‘pictures’ of hundreds of former Sathya Sai Baba devotees. Many of the latter, from many countries, spent deeply dedicated years of their lives serving him. Some of these were leaders such as Terry Gallagher (Australia), Stephen Carthew (Ph.D Program Candidate, Australia), Al Rahm (USA), Richard Nelson, Rick Raines (USA), Timothy Conway Ph.D (USA), Dave Lyons (USA), Serguei Badaev (Russia), Artur Wisniewski (Poland), Britt-Marie Anden (Sweden), Robert Priddy (Norway) …. Although it is men who in real fact lead the Sathya Sai Organization, prominent women leaders who have left after years of work on behalf of the organization include: Shirley Pike, Sharon Purcell and Elena Hartgering (both deceased), Lori Kaplowitz, Ella Evers, and many others …. Shirley Pike and Elena Hartgering have a long professional background as very qualified, experienced mental health counselors, as are a number of former devotees who have very carefully studied the accounts of Sai Baba’s sexual abuse survivors – and some have had personal contact with the terribly stricken individuals and their families and others who know them well.

Robert Priddy, Academic Philosopher and Sathya Sai Baba Critic

Robert Priddy, Academic Philosopher and Sathya Sai Baba Critic. Former longtime head of the Sathya Sai Organization, Norway

See also:  The Late Leo Boogaard: A Dutch Voice of Conscience On Sathya Sai Baba and Sathya Sai Baba Critic Serguei Badaev: An Incisive Voice of Conscience From Russia ‘BILD’ Story. “Guru Wants Sex” (Sathya Sai Baba) and Why Do Prominent Sathya Sai Baba Sect Critics Persist? and Timothy Conway Ph.D – On ‘The Hislop Letters’ and BBC Transcript ‘The Secret Swami’ (Sathya Sai Baba’s Frauds Exposed)

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 are not alone in the movie world, and 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 I were closely associated with the international co-ordination and research that went into the making of this documentary. It was seen in some two hundred countries around the world, and was one of a number of key factors in the monumental decline of the Sathya Sai religious empire. Well may his 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

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The Public Petition

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

About the Petition For Official Investigation Into Sathya Sai Baba Cult

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

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

There is a Spanish version available:  

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

——————————————

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Sathya Sai Baba and Absurdity – Revealed in His Officials’ Documents

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 2, 2010

The simplistic inanity of certain of Sathya Sai Baba’s statements needs no comment. For any reader not blinded by cultic paralysis of reason and commonsense, they are absurd indeed. And sometimes quite – unwittingly – hilarious. Of course, Sai editors have done an extensive job of weeding out many such statements, which give, we are well-informed, great concern to his better-informed servitors. See: The Quiet Weeding Out Of Sathya Sai Baba’s Embarrassing Statements

Here is a sample – from ‘Sai Baba Talks To Russian Ladies’. Excerpts Prashanthi Nilayam 25.06.02, seen at a major Sathya Sai Baba website: saibabaofindia.com/interview_russian.htm  -:

“Now in Russia husband and wife often live separately. They fight with each other. Husband doesn’t want to take care of the family.

Ladies have two stomachs. One is for food, another is for baby. In that other stomach often there are some diseases. One man comes and gives his blood. Another man comes and gives his blood, and so on. This blood mixes inside and causes problems. Ladies also take pills to prevent being pregnant. This is another reason for a disease. This is not good. Control your senses and you will not fall sick”

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Related Posts

(Note: Much of the documentation that exposes Sathya Sai Baba comes from his own official sources, though much has now been ‘weeded’. Indeed, I was part of an editorial team which did some of the weeding, which included some of Sathya Sai Baba’s top officials, such as Professor Anil Kumar)

Sathya Sai Baba’s Tips To Keep Ageing Away

Sathya Sai Baba Is Fast-ailing

Sathya Sai Baba’s Slurred Speech Due To Old Age. ‘Eenadu’ News Report

Sathya Sai Baba’s Amazing Predictions

Menus, Predictions, Promises

Bogus Prophecies about Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba and ‘Suka Nadi’ prophecies

False Predictions by India’s Revered “Omniscient Avatar”

Sai Baba (Baa-Baa Black Sheep) a misunderstood ‘Second Coming’

Sathya Sai and the Turin shroud photos

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The Public Petition

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

About the Petition For Official Investigation Into Sathya Sai Baba Cult

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

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

There is a Spanish version available:  

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

——————————————

Subscribe in   NewsGator Online Subscribe   in Bloglines Add to My AOLAdd to Excite   MIX Add Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba   to Newsburst from CNET News.com Add to   netvibes Add to The   Free Dictionary Add to netomat Hub Add to Webwag Subscribe in a reader Subscribe to Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

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