Call For Media and Government Investigation

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

Archive for August, 2010

A Sathya Sai Saga. Barry Pittard Recollects. Part 6

Posted by Barry Pittard on August 28, 2010

The series continues from:

A Sathya Sai Saga. Barry Pittard Recollects. Part 5.  Posted by Barry Pittard on August 21, 2010

A Sathya Sai Saga. Barry Pittard Recollects. Part 4.  Posted by Barry Pittard on July 27, 2010

A Sathya Sai Saga. Barry Pittard Recollects. Part 3.  Posted by Barry Pittard on July 25, 2010. 

A Sathya Sai Saga. Barry Pittard Recollects. Part 2. Posted by Barry Pittard on July 23, 2010. 

A Sathya Sai Saga. Barry Pittard Recollects. Part 1. Posted by Barry Pittard on July 20, 2010

Importance to Morale Of Professional Counselors In Former Devotee Networking

Among the increasingly networked former followers were mental health professionals, including highly qualified ones, up to associate professor in status.

One felt thankful for the presence of these abuse counseling professionals.  They, like many of us acquainted with compelling cases from around the world are in no doubt that Sathya Sai Baba has long been a serial sexual abuser of boys and young men, and other grave forms of abuse, including those by certain of his close associates. 

We laypersons can all learn, of course, more effective ways of managing shocking revelations that can occur in our lives. At the same time, the best of intentions can go awry if we mistake our limitations. We had to be aware, for example, that an abuse survivor who may sense urgency to warn and save others can risk unforeseen kinds of attack. This can relate to their families, professions, places of study, and so on. Those active in exposure also have to check their own urgency to obtain compelling documentation. 

A Letter From Shirley Pike, Ex-President , North Central Region – Iowa, U.S.A.

Elena Hartgering – My Story

Experiences of a woman – Åsa Samsioe from Sweden 

Hari Sampath, formerly connected with Sathya Sai Baba’s security and intelligence wing and Glen Meloy (q.v) showed strong leadership in international coordination efforts. Hari Sampath was at that time on a Green Card in the USA, working in software engineering for a major corporation. After a couple of years of intensive involvement, he returned to India, and embarked on other work. Glen  Meloy and I increasingly developed our own network and were involved in many activities, such as supporting survivors and their families and friends, documenting accounts, cooperating with those who were setting up websites (blogsites were a development quite far-off), dealing with the media, government and police instrumentalities, and civic and religious institutions. 

He and I continued to coordinate until he died of cancer on January 1, 2005. He was born May 3, 1930, in DesMoines, Iowa.  By this time, Robert Priddy, the former long-time head of the Sathya Sai Organization in Sweden, and retired academic of the University of Oslo, co-founder had done much investigative and documentary work, often independently. After Glen Meloy’s death (see below),  Robert Priddy and I became close collaborators, and have remained so since.

 Those who, in the uprush of dissident activities, have made public statements include Shirley Pike, psychologist (see above), (the late) Elena Hartgering, a psychotherapist, and Åsa Samsioe, psychologist. Each of them has worked professionally with cases of sexual abuse.

In late 1999, with former devotees from around the world, I began to act internationally at high levels of government, police, civic and religious institutions and media. Others, who at first came mainly from the USA, had attempted a little before us, to get the allegations out into the open.  Most notable of these was (the late) Glen Meloy, a retired Californian businessman. See:  Glen Meloy (“Standing up for truth and goodness”) – In Memoriam, whose valiant fight to bring out the facts was cut short by his death from cancer in January 2005. He magnificently fought – almost entirely away from the public internet – until sickness and death laid him low. His life was a glowing testimony to what Sathya Sai Baba and the Sathya Sai Organization please to call Sathya and Dharma (truth and righteousness), and to those who knew him as a co-worker and fellow devotee for decades, but who have buried their heads deep in the sand in an attempt to annihilate any history that is not found at the bottom of a turgid sand heap. Glen Meloy, however, had true grit.

Inescapably – then as hitherto – we were seriously hamstrung by the acute psychological and social sensitivities of the issues at stake. Some survivors waxed hot and cold in regard to speaking up or at any prospect of joining a class action law suit.  The example of a man now in the last part of his life who has spoken of Sathya Sai Baba’s sexually abusing him many decades before is Mark Roche. Although my close associate (the late) Glen Meloy was more directly involved in private discussion surrounding Mark’s experiences, I was able to see something of the anguish in the lead-up to his final, and indeed complex, decision to appear on the BBC’ documentary The Secret Swami. See:  BBC’s ‘Secret Swami’ Clip. Highly Respected Man Claims Sai Baba Abuse   When Young

One of our keenest ethical duties was to ensure that, in our wish to prevent further abuses, we did not put our correspondents under any pressure. There were quite terrible fragilities, the nature of which most of us (like the rest of the public) knew all too little about. This is why especially those of us who were coordinating the exposure of Sathya Sai Baba and his cult were deeply grateful for the mental health professionals among us.

However, there are some among the leadership in the Sathya Sai Organization who are engaged in extreme cover-up, and who have proven unaccountable to the media, the public and to their own rank and file. Hence the BBC’s title:  The Secret Swami. The international Sathya Sai Organization is very wealthy, influential and powerful, with an exchequer rated in the billions, and has become ever more of an authoritarian cult since active exposure began circa 2000.

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“It is discouraging to think
how many people are shocked by honesty
and how few by deceit.” Sir Noël Coward

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act”.  George Orwell

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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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A Sathya Sai Saga. Barry Pittard Recollects. Part 5

Posted by Barry Pittard on August 21, 2010

The series continues from: 

A Sathya Sai Saga. Barry Pittard Recollects. Part 4.  Posted by Barry Pittard on July 27, 2010

A Sathya Sai Saga. Barry Pittard Recollects. Part 3.  Posted by Barry Pittard on July 25, 2010. 

A Sathya Sai Saga. Barry Pittard Recollects. Part 2. Posted by Barry Pittard on July 23, 2010. 

A Sathya Sai Saga. Barry Pittard Recollects. Part 1. Posted by Barry Pittard on July 20, 2010

A Surge of International Networking, Coordination, Mutual Support, and Focused Exposure

From circa AD 2000, furthered by the growing ascendancy of the internet, dissent from Sathya Sai Baba and his sect gathered to considerable international proportions 

Towards the end of 1999, I joined an international network of former Sai Baba followers. They came from a broad cross-section of educational and cultural backgrounds. Before this dynamic surge forward, individuals who came mainly from the USA, had attempted a little before us, to get the allegations out into the open.  Some, like the notable leaders Sergei Badaev (Russia), Stephen Carthew (Australia), Al Rahm and Shirley Pike (USA), had attempted to raise issues while they were still in the Sathya Sai Organization. See:

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

Stephen Carthew, A Voice of Testimony From Australia, On The Dangers of Cults

The patient scholar will need to sift carefully among roles played by many individuals. Some names to start with are:  Terry Gallagher and Stephen Carthew Australia), Al Rahm (USA), Richard Nelson, Rick Raines (USA), Timothy Conway Ph.D (USA), Dave Lyons (USA),  Artur Wisniewski (Poland), Although, overwhelmingly, it is men who lead the Sathya Sai Organization, prominent women leaders who have left after years of work on behalf of the organization include: Britt-Marie Anden (Sweden), and (from the USA) Shirley Pike, Sharon Purcell, Elena Hartgering (the latter two deceased), Lori Kaplowitz, Ella Evers.  For an incisive writer with a quite academic (though very accessible) approach, see the Dutch former Sai devotee writer:  Alexandra Nagel. A Seminal Writer On Sathya Sai Baba, A Guru Accused

There are many others, but these men and women raised their voices strongly and clearly from the first. They, who had not been derided in all their involvement in official Sathya Sai circles, were now treated to appalling behaviours such as shunning, defaming, and the rather Orwellian historic obliteration from memory. These responses are so typically evident when there is apostasy after sect membership. See the articles:

The Late Leo Boogaard: A Dutch Voice of Conscience On Sathya Sai Baba

New Zealand Lawyer Exposes Official Cover Up of Killings In Sathya Sai Baba Bedroom

(Late) Ron and Peggy Laing: Deeply Alienated From Sathya Sai Organization

Most notable of the leaders to emerge at this time was (the late) Glen Meloy, a retired Californian businesman. See:  Glen Meloy (“Standing up for truth and goodness”) – In Memoriam.

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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 the Law. Is A Real Pro-Con Discussion Possible?

Posted by Barry Pittard on August 5, 2010

This post relates to my previous one:  Why Have Ex-Devotees Not Landed Sathya Sai Baba In Jail? – Posted by Barry Pittard on July 31, 2010. Implicit is the hope that the articulate enquirer who first wrote to this site is not – although separate data indicates that he is Sathya Sai Baba devotee – an apparatchik working hand-in-glove with the Sathya Sai Organization. After all, many who have approached us were once in the role of enquirer. Some took a year or more before they were able to transit from the position of troubled devotees to one in which they, having seriously investigated, saw the substance of various kinds of allegations against Sathya Sai Baba and his key servitors. My reader will, I think, quickly get a gist of the correspondence. 

As can be seen from the post cited above, I first requested that the writer of the email sent to this blogsite confirm the email status. I then wrote some points, along with links I thought may help elucidate the writer’s query. The reply was remarkably brief, and I have written the following, in the wish to test the person’s sincerity, and see whether any further correspondence may prove all too one-sided to my own disfavor. The person wrote: 

Dear Mr. Pittard:
 

I am a seeker of truth; not a candidate for persuasion. My focus is narrow and singular. I would like to see a summary  (with citations and references) of the difficulties you are encountering in having this matter heard in any court. I will then do my own research checking the cited and referenced works and arriving at my own conclusions. This is my path to truth discovery. 

I have today emailed:

You note that you are a seeker of truth. I may mention that many of those who have left Sathya Sai Baba – on the basis of a variety of issues – have also been, for many decades, distinguished by this very characteristic.   

This status is a fact that many Sathya Sai Baba devotees know only too well. However, in relationship to it, they have taken the recourse of the fabled ostrich. In short, stood aside and, since circa 2000, allowed their long-time, once much-beloved brothers and sisters to be shockingly defamed, libeled and unconscionably attacked, sometimes on a daily basis.

You have come to me. I welcomed you to continue to do so, provided a civility. You stated “What has aroused my interest is the fact that you have assembled such an abundance of allegations against Sathya Sai Baba, yet you seem unable to proceed to have these tested in a court of law. My question is: “Why?””    

Ever in hope that principled enquirers of real acuity will appear, I then went to some effort to provide you with a number of readings. These I hoped would go some way to provide a perspective that might furnish a proper answer to your query. The matter is not simple and requires concentrated reading. It is one suggestive that the legal issue is not the sole crucial one, and, taken on its own, can be systemically misleading.  

In addition to those links I provided for you, I may now add the excellently organized Index page of former long-serving head of the Norwegian Sathya Sai Organization: Robert Priddy http://www.saibaba-x.org.uk/index.html. There is also his very well laid-out resource: ‘Sex Abuse Testimony’ – http://www.saibaba-x.org.uk/6/index.html.    

Mind you, the evidence goes, sadly, far beyond these references, a great deal of it carefully kept away from the ‘wild west’ that, all too often, is the internet.    

Perhaps politeness is not entirely out of fashion, but you have yet to acknowledge my provision of the resources I have sent you, although perhaps you first wish to go through them. Should you do that job, I may feel persuaded that you are ready to research objectively as possible, and treat us in amicable fashion. You may even begin to see that we are not, and never were, the “Judases”, “demons”, “liars”, “disgruntled”, and so forth – which are but some of the many derisive epithets with which we have been so constantly and sorely labeled.    

In past cases, those competent enquirers who have shown integrity and courtesy are then trusted to have contact with articulate, and professional former devotees. For example, those along our extensive network who are distinguished in the health professions, and who are well apprised of a number of illustrative cases. Sometimes, this process resolves itself on a local, state or national basis. Sometimes, long time friends, colleagues, etc., are reunited, and misunderstandings cleared out of the way.    

I should quickly point out that our dealings with lawyers would not, at this early stage of our contact, if ever, lend to your wish to “see a summary  (with citations and references) of the difficulties you are encountering in having this matter heard in any court”. Would not the Sathya Sai Organization be delighted to obtain an order of battle too loosely slipped from our hands?    

I mention also that, in the majority of cases, contact with individuals and families whose lives have been shattered is now not accessible, even though some in the past have attempted to share their accounts. The attacks to which they have been subjected is appalling. Nevertheless, there is a great wealth of writings on this internet by competent writers I have mentioned to you in my previous email, and many others who have the heart but not always quite the command of words.    

Sir, I posed a question to you, to which you have not responded. I asked:  “Is it, by the way, possible that you, or those whose perceptions you cite, have a notion that prosecuting or litigating in regard of many kinds of grave injustice have a clear trajectory, even in advanced democracies?”    

In regard to the answering of questions, it may go well if this were to be a two-way correspondence.    

The establishment of good faith would, I think, entail that you, with a Sathya Sai Baba affiliation, are not just trying to lead me on, gleaning our hard-won information via your notably brief emails – whilst in effect, not really listening to anything. I pray it is not so. 

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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 Opinion, Religion, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »