Barry Pittard On Ashok Singhal and High Profile Sathya Sai Baba Propagandists
Posted by Barry Pittard on February 5, 2013
The Times of India has just published online a letter of mine (see below). ToI was one of many major Indian newspapers which ignored – no matter the excellent credentials – the worldwide testimony of members of our international group of former devotees, which included those from India. See: Indian Media and Governments Heedless of Decade of Foreign Media and Sai Baba Critics’ Revelations. Posted by Barry Pittard on June 27, 2011
Historically, it is to the Indian media’s abiding shame that, with the honorable exception of India Today, we failed to get a hearing. A private contact of mine on the Times of India told me: “Sathya Sai Baba and his people are too powerful”.
It was not until a longtime well-wisher (a former aide to one of the great foreign service players of the 20th century) was able to meet with Indo Asian News Service (IANS) that we were able to break a deadlock and make sure that, although having ignored the UK Guardian’s own feeds, a few Indian newspapers carried our Duke of Edinburgh story. See: UK Guardian On Sathya Sai Baba and Duke’s Awards. Posted by Barry Pittard on October 21, 2008.
By this time – with serious articles by major media around the world – it was getting harder for the India media (especially after the BBC documentary The Secret Swami , 2004) to ignore the seriousness of worldwide allegations against Sathya Sai Baba and core leaders of his cult.
However, as we know not only from our private sources but also from the writings of one of Sai Baba’s closest servitors, Dr G.Venkataraman, top-level, formal and informal Sathya Sai devotee activity intensified in contacting UNESCO, government, institutional, media etc. Attempts to show The Secret Swami in India met with strategic power failures, occurring with too great a frequency and pinpoint accuracy be ordinary power failures. Yet another example to lend weight to my TOE contact’s notion that “Sathya Sai Baba and his people are too powerful”.
Actually, they are NOT. But you have to fight like hell.
Barry Pittard (Australia)
04 Feb, 2013 08:36 AMI taught for two years at the Sathya Sai College at Whitefield, Karnataka, South India (1978-9) and was deeply devoted to him for 25 years. As so many former devotees, including those who were among his most outstanding leaders worldwide, I left his fold after carefully investigating compelling testimony about wide-scale, serial sexual abuse of boys and young men, and other profoundly covered up wrongdoings. In the Indian media, only India Today has researched the claims of former devotees, who are highly respected people in their many communities. Serious students of decades of officially published Sathya Sai Baba discourses know the facts: He typically made prophecies which have not come true, which devotees’ blind faith ignores. For example, he foretold that he would take his mahasamadhi circa 2022, by which time he would effectively rule the world. He made serious mistakes about long known scientific and historic facts. The scholar Brian Steel has written incisively on these. In February 2004, BBC television cameras at Puttaparthi caught him faking production of a Sivalingam, as millions in many countries have seen in the BBC documentary ‘The Secret Swami’. Ashok Singhal and other high-profile devotees of Sathya Sai Baba fail to answer those (including scholars) who point out his many serious inconsistencies. Singhal told an assembly of political and religious luminaries in Delhi of a prophecy he says Sathya Sai Baba shared with him. The Organiser, September 14, 2008, reported: “… Shri Singhal also threw light on how to strengthen the Hindu society and unite our great India. The VHP leader, while disclosing his discussion with Satya Sai Baba, said that Sai Baba had informed him that between 2020 and 2030 the whole India would be of Hindus and after 2030 the whole world would be of Hindus”. When so many Sai Baba prophecies have so egregiously failed in the past, why should Ashok Singhal think that the prophecy to which he refers will be any different? Good works should never be used to hide bad works.
ALLAHABAD: Among the number of exhibitions in the vast Kumbh Mela area of Sangam is one depicting the life and teachings of Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Put up by Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation UP and Uttarakhand, the exhibition was inaugurated by former international president of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and ardent devotee of the godman, Ashok Singhal.
Put up at Sector 1 of the Mela area, next to area given to NCR, the exhibition has numerous articles, photos, etc related to the life and teachings of Baba and the selfless service rendered by him to the world in the field of education, health, drinking water, etc. The exhibition has been installed with the aim of spreading the message that every human being has a duty towards the society and must serve as he did.
Baba’s message of ‘love all, serve all’, ‘help ever, hurt never’ has been depicted and shown in the exhibition with the aim of spreading it among the masses during the pious occasion of Maha Kumbh. Rajiv Chopra, State president of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation UP and Uttarakhand, was present along with other devotees on this occasion in the exhibition which will be open for public till February 20.