Rank-and-file Sathya Sai Organization Members Are Also Culpable
Posted by Barry Pittard on August 22, 2011
Each of us is responsible for his or her own actions. Irrespective of any mitigating circumstances.
If ever there were a time for the introspection Sai Baba himself advocated that his devotees should do, it is now. He, moreover, taught that they should not become attached to his form. Or his miracles. And yet here, precisely, is the devotees’ great stumbling blog. They do not do what he asked them to do. And, of course, he did not do what he asked THEM to do.
From many countries worldwide, those who left Sathya Sai Baba and his charismatic cult have had to face at least three major torments: The first was shock. For some, the shock was particularly acute. Namely, for the survivors of his – and in some cases, his trusted aides’ – sexual and other abuses. Certain of his college and university teachers were among the perpetrators of these abuses. Because of the tenacity – and financial means – of a family in which two boys were the sexual abuse survivors, one of these (so-called ‘teachers’) has been stopped in his tracks.
Then came the grieving. One of the tormenting dilemmas was that of parents who, having investigated the accounts of their own or of others devotee families stricken by the abuses, were left with the situation of having young children and other family or friends who still worshipped and adored Sathya Sai Baba.
A group of us, including very qualified sexual abuse therapists, addressed a number of tasks. One of the first needs was to attempt to alert and warn. Commencing in 1999, this we did via former devotee networks, hoping (naively, as it appears to me in retrospect) that devotees would heed those who had long been respected workers (some of them, very high-profile leaders) in the international Sathya Sai Baba organization. We made extensive, high level representations to the foreign services in various countries, to UNESCO, Interpol, various institutions which the Sathya Sai Baba Organization had begun to forge links, and to the international media.
Some former devotees were fortunate to have supportive friends and colleagues. There was, inevitably, the struggle to maintain efficiency in one’s family, professional and social life. Those who were retired had, in some ways, an advantage, for they were able to do the inner processing of grief. This group had also faced many of life’s other struggles, and from it emerged those who were able to bring insight and maturity to others who were younger and often without the deeper perspective or, indeed, being hamstrung by studies or a young family to raise etc., the time in which to process the grieving.
In recent months many devotees themselves now question the behavior of officials on the Sathya Sai Central Trust. Not only have they had to face the death of their ‘God’ – years before the time he foretold. They have had to acknowledge that he had secretly hoarded in his sealed-off living quarters, vast billions in various currency, along with huge caches of precious gold, stones and other luxury items. This has received enormous coverage in the major media in India, and some internationally. Among devotees, there is now deep concern about officials on the Sathya Sai Central Trust. Some are believed to have acted well, and others badly, and even criminally.
Many Sai Baba Devotees Now Know About The Untrustworthy Sathya Sai Central Trust.
For over a decade, we have said that there was a sore need for accountability, transparency and duty of care. Devotees ignored and reviled us, showing nothing of the truth, right conduct, peace and love that they forever speak about. They abandoned, as did he, their teacher’s admonition to ‘help ever, hurt never’. They continued to worship and support one who allowed to be erected all around him the symbols of imperial splendour. They knew there were countless anomalies, failed prophecies, failed promises of healing, failed undertakings to give their children a place in his college ….
They knew that many of his leaders were nasty, autocratic, ego-tripping bullies. Some knew of apartments’ scandals, and that officials in his front office were deaf to the pleas of those who had been duped out of money they had paid for the apartments. Many knew (and would only whisper among themselves about) that there have been cover ups of accidental deaths, suspicious deaths, suicides, and the killings in Sathya Sai Baba’s private quarters in 1993. Some relate cases of brutality, including those exercised against college students.
The chances are that many of these culpable devotees will forever succeed in hiding their shame. But it is the duty of others to remind them of their responsibilities as citizens and as human beings with any claim to having a heart.
One does not even hear the word “Sorry” from them – for all their so-called righteousness.
This entry was posted on August 22, 2011 at 12:06 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. Tagged: Accountability, Conscience, Duty-of-Care, Saying 'Sorry', Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.