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.
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.
“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
There is a Spanish version available: