Posted by Barry Pittard on January 9, 2012
I wish a Happy New Year to all. I am thankful that, since early 2007, many hundreds of thousands of readers have visited this blog.
Each of us plants seeds that grow, hoping they will turn out well, no matter what the terrain – parents, their children; teachers, their charges; visionaries, their creations, and so on. We can all grow a tree that will become a bone-sore weary traveller’s aid.
Possibly more than at any other time, the world – whose population late last year exceeded seven billion people – needs each of us who can do it to plant physical trees, and other wholesome, much-needed plants which will aid a profoundly compromised planet. So that we can breathe. And many other measures that protect the planet.
The other ‘seeds’ that need planting are those which relate to the practical implementation of ethics key to many belief systems, religious and secular. It is no use merely to write and mouth facts, like the endless Sathya Sai Speaks series, but to discover or rediscover those facts which need no establishing, and, often, facts we ignore all along – such as the scientific warnings of the last thirty or forty years about our planet’s spoliation. Our rampant consumerism. Our materialistic, competition-oriented ‘education’. The unimaginable cover ups and lies daily fed us by governments, corporations and other instrumentalities ….
The first great impetus for many who left Sathya Sai Baba was care for the safety of children. That was all good, so far as it went. But those who have worked hardest to draw world attention to great wrongs soon discovered a signal lesson. This is that, eventually, those who speak out, and who work hard do most of, and sometimes all of, the work.
Most former devotees, like most people everywhere, offer a great many excuses, and a few partly decent reasons, for not standing forth. I have long been in touch with former devotees and other critics in many parts of the world. Likewise, I have yet to hear of a single instance where any member of the Sathya Sai Organization has accorded a loving response to any of our representations – no matter how loving and caring those representations have been. The organization stood silent when its members and their supporters attacked former devotees with a hatred very different to the decades of esteem they once accorded our members.
It is hard, then, for the heart of activists with a conscience not to call it cowardice. It looks and it acts just like cowardice does. However one may view the problem, the result is the same: that is to say, when human beings do not question, challenge and engage, sooner or later, the evils which they deplore, and from which they avert their eyes, will grip civil society, like pernicious and unstoppable vines. Power brokers, criminals and other profiteers depend upon our fear. How can we be heroes to our children when we are cowards to ourselves? How can we establish for them a future that is essentially as nasty as so much of the past has been.
I pay great tribute to my close colleague Robert Priddy, retired academic in philosophy and the social sciences. With the death of my earlier colleague, the utterly remarkable, late Glen Meloy, the work supporting survivors and continuing to expose the Sathya Sai Organization publicly was rather rough and sweaty work. It was at this time that Robert entered with his formidable intellectual and humane resources. In any difficulty or danger, those like Robert and Glen, and a few others in the background, are the only sort of persons you would want to travel at your side.
A few days ago, I wrote this song:
Travellers’ Aid. By Barry Pittard (3 January 2012)
Some gone dug deeper, and before they went
A green cool shade over the future spread
And I will bet that they knew sweat
Needs a shade as fresh as lemonade
A treeful of shade
To be a shade
For some bone-worn, weary traveller’s aid …..
So I’ll take some seeds and a spade before I go
And plant a tree for those I’ll never know
And I will bet like me they’ll sweat
Their bones will ache, from the marrow ache
But here is a shade
To be a shade
For some bone-worn, weary traveller’s aid