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Archive for June 6th, 2010

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.


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,


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,, 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


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


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:  



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