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Basava Premanand. Vale. A fighter for truth who lived what others preach

Posted by Barry Pittard on October 6, 2009

The foremost Indian rationalist, Basava Premanand has died, aged 79, of cancer at Podannur, Tamil Nadu (17 February 1930 – 4 October 2009).

 

Basava Premanand (17 Feb. 1930-4 October 2009). India's most famous Rationalist

Premanand’s close colleague Professor Narendra Nayak has just informed me of his death, and I am deeply saddened. Premanand and I had an extensive correspondence over the years, joined eventually by my trusted colleague, Robert Priddy.

Premanand, the late Glen Meloy of the USA, and I maintained contact during the making of  BBC television’s “The Secret Swami”. See: In Memoriam – Glen Meloy (“Standing up for truth and goodness”). This contact strengthened in the difficulties of international co-ordination, which were considerable.

Amid sadness on receipt of the news of Premanand’s passing, I briefly smiled, as memories began to course back, at how some, but happily by no means all, of the members of the international former Sathya Sai Baba network, got upset by my contacting Premanand – but what a priviledge they missed out on!  This was a man who vividly lived the principles about which some but speak and genuflect, their eyes upraised.

The word “warmth” is one of the words that I cherish when think of Premanand, and this quality shows in the words of a glowing tribute at Glen Meloy’s death, when he said: “Glen’s death was a great shock. I wanted him to live till Sai Baba was arrested … I am missing a great loving friend whom I came to know from the BBC film production.”

basava-premanand

With Premanand, Robert Priddy and I worked on some research, analysis and written work. Together, we were able to expose  –  including with  some Interpol and Indian police follow-up  –  an extensive attempt at penetration of the networked exposure of Sathya Sai Baba and core colleagues by one of his former college/university teachers.

Had it not been for the economies of telephony, I feel sure we would have spoken more between India and Australia, but were restricted to emailing. In recent months, I was tempted to try, with the assistance of his aides, to set up a Skype link, but, realising that his cancer had struck back again, thought the better of it. About three years ago, Premanand and I spoke on the phone for about an hour, when he was staying with his sister in Bangalore. His warmth of greeting when he answered the phone was touching and palpable. Throughout the conversation, I was aware of his wide grasp of issues, graciousness, and of a sense of stern purpose  lightened by a gentle humour.

A fire-eating, gurubusting Basava Premanand, who traveled widely in India exposing the corrupt gurus' tricks

I don’t know that Sathya Sai Baba will be arrested. He ails considerably, despite his declaration that he would not age after his 60th birthday.  Premanand was his great and unrelenting foe in India. Alas, the forces of corruption in India, which Premanand so courageously faced for so many years, are almost unimaginable. Of course, to let any notion of mountainous difficulties seep into consciousness would be to ensure that any light in the world snuffs out fast. Premanand had those rare blessings – innocence without naivity, and the warrior spirit that fights for goodness and gentleness. Premanand was one of those voices that cry out in a wilderness of superstition, fear and apathy. However, I learn that there is a feisty younger generation who support his work. So he will not die.

Perhaps attempt to educate and warn, rather than the jail scenario for Sathya Sai Baba, will be the one that triumphs.

I have wondered whether Premanand would have achieved some of his ends if it were not for the terrible dereliction by those calling themselves religious.  A foremost Hindu leader wrote to me:

“There is considerable concern among the Hindu Community, especially among the educated. It is very hard to get any action from the temples as they do not wish to cause difficulties with the Sathya Sai Baba groups. People are starting to distance themselves from Sathya Sai Baba. It’s going to be gradual process of education. The biggest impact it appears was the ‘The Secret Swami’ … it seems it has had a tremendous negative effect on Sathya Sai Baba”.

Perhaps if there were to be a Heaven after all, and Premanand, of course, find himself in its halls, one rather thinks that he would find the company, although illustrious, rather too few.

Goodbye, good man …..

Barry Pittard, Australia

See Wikipedia entry for Basava Premanand

See tributes to B. Premanand by Professor Nayak, Premanand’s successor and president of the Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations, and others:

Basva Premanand (17 February 1930 – 04 October 2009)- The Passing of a Great Man

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Posted in Morality, News, News and Politics, Opinion, Protest, Rationalism, Religion, Skeptics, Social and Politics, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Indian Students Attacked In Melbourne Australia: Cricket Star Brett Lee Voices Concerns

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 4, 2009

Brett Lee is a prominent example of strong ties between India and Australia. It is good that someone with his credibility has stepped forward to bring calm to the situation following recent attacks on Indian students in Melbourne.

Australia is in for a test of another kind than cricket. Our country will be tested for whether democracy and muticulturalism truly flourish, as well as respect for the well-being and physical safety of all citizens of, and guests to, our country. Along with implementing changes to policing, law, education and greater public awareness of the issues, the Federal Government and State Governments in Australia face tests in how truthful and responsive they are when there is review of their performance in approaching urban crime.

Many have left the Sathya Sai Organization because of its pronounced lack of democracy, transparency and accountability. There has been monumental failure to address issues raised (often not publicly, and in many countries and Sai centers, by those quite other than prominent critics) such as sexual abuse of boys and young men from India and other countries by Sathya Sai Baba and certain leading members who work in his service, profound cover up of the circumstances surrounding the killings in his bedroom, massive misappropriation of donations for around the world utilized for lavish displays, property scams, and other scandals. Successive Indian Central, State and Local governments and large sections of the media have been involved in these cover ups. See below for some readings (which contain video footage from the BBC’s hour-long documentary which has been seen by millions worldwide, The Secret Swami)

Aside from sad incidents such as “sledging” (badmouthing on the sporting field), India and Australia share a great love of cricket, and many players on both sides have done their countries proud in the spirit in which they conduct themselves both on and off the field. Many friendships have been forged. It also means that forces from the community, apart from political figures are standing forth. Unless leaders with credibility in both countries make their voices heard, discussions about the relative roles played by racism and sheer, opportunistic street thuggery looking for “soft targets” will not have a proper chance to be heard.

I observed in my previous blog:

‘Racism thrives on ignorance, and on unreal social structures where persons and groups cannot get to interact with and appreciate persons and groups who are different. The locus of Australia’s achievements in multi-culturalism were not the politicians, but were staged in the Australian suburbs. They belong to the people, both older Australians and migrants, and they must not let political elites obsure or attempt top down solutions’.

Quite apart from policing aspects, areas such as student welfare infrastructure in learning institutes where students from India and many other countries study need urgently to be looked at. There are reports that some arrangements fall far short. Not to have excellence in an area such as this amounts to false pretences, given the importance those institutions place on overseas student study. The fees are large and the duties of care enormous. There must not be a single shortfall.

Because of the events in Melbourne, reports now surface that there have been widespread attacks in Sydney. Australia’s re-think will need to be far-reaching, and embrace all aspects of student wholistic welfare, and extend to foreign students from all countries – many of whose parents must at the moment be beside themselves with anxiety.

In the last days, Brett Lee was involved in arrangements to have a street cricket match with Indian students. This had to be called off because of still further violence perpetrated against an Indian student. Indian students who were in favour of the match were, however, uset by the renewed outbreak and naturally in no shape, emotionally, to play.

Unless all the facts are made plain, it will be very difficult to reconcile continuing reports of lack of foreign student safety and general wellbeing  with the statement, widely reported in the Indian media, issued via the Australian High Commission in India:  “We know through surveys of the many thousands of enrolled and graduating students that the overwhelming experience of international students is positive. This should be the outcome for every student”.

A Helpline for Indian students who are victims of crime is available: 1800342800. From 10am to 5pm, and 7pm to 11pm, Monday to Friday.  Hellplines for ALL foreign students need to be provided and made extensively-known through the student fraternity.

……………………………………………..

Excerpt from The Age, Melbourne – For full article, click on story title

Cricket star Brett Lee voices concerns over Indian student attacks

Vance Mikin-Laurie. June 3, 2009 – 3:56PM

Cricket star Brett Lee voices concerns over Indian student attacks Vance Mikin-Laurie

Cricketer Brett Lee has voiced his concerns over the attacks on Indian students in Melbourne. As the Australian team prepares for the Ashes tour of England, Lee – an ambassador for Deakin University – has moved to calm growing anger in India over the violence

…. (Brett Lee said) “The university is doing everything it can to ensure the safety of students. Deakin will be providing advice on how to keep out of harm’s way, and also counselling for anyone who feels unsure at this time” …

…. Both Lee and Deakin University have long-standing ties with India – Deakin was the first foreign university to open an office in India and Lee is is involved in charitable work through the Deakin India Research Institute.

…. The cricketer’s popularity has continued to grow in India recently through the Indian Premier League and he appears heavily in Indian media through his numerous endorsement deals .

…. A popular figure on the subcontinent, he even reached number two on the Indian singles chart in 2006 with the self-penned You’re the One For Me, a duet he performed with Bollywood star Asha Bhosle. ……………………………………………….

See my other articles of the violence against students in Australia:

Attacks By Hooligans Against Foreign Students In Australia

by Barry Pittard on June 5, 2009

Attacks Against Indian Students in Melbourne, Australia

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 2, 2009

Former articles with a cricket theme at: https://barrypittard.wordpress.com

International Cricket And The Secret Swami

Sai Baba Vs Kerry Packer

……………………………………………………..

BBC Exposes Cover Ups By Sathya Sai Baba and his international Sathya Sai Organization

Indian Minister Shields Sai Baba on BBC Telivision

BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ and British Press Praise

Probed On Male Sex Abuse, Sai Baba Evicts BBC TV Team

The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ – A Revision

BBC Footage Exposes Fake Sathya Sai Baba Miracle

BBC Cameras Catch Sai Baba Cheating With Gold Sivalingam. (Film Clip)

Posted in News, News and Politics, Opinion, Sikhism, Social and Politics, South Asia, Uncategorized, World Issues | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Susan Boyle Sings ‘Memory’. Worldwide Audience Not Likely To Forget (See Video)

Posted by Barry Pittard on May 25, 2009

In a few short weeks, this wonderful woman has arisen from the obscurity of her Scottish village, and gained the greatest number of ‘hits’ to YouTube. (This leaves out of account the vast number of accesses to her two songs April and May 2009) at other well-known Websites.  All of us have so much to learn from the Susan Boyle phenomenon – one which goes far beyond her wonderful voice. It is a topic not about how to sing – but rather about not judging people by their appearance, and in taking her example of courage in the face of social forces that frequently cripple our beings both as victims and perpetrators.  That makes the heart sing, with the conscience playing the accompaniment. Therefore, I make an exception in referring to her work in a blog not directly related to the central issues of https://barrypittard.wordpress.com

Nightingale About To Spread Its Wings

Susan Boyle (Or: Nightingale About To Spread Its Wings)

Relating her example to a theme germane to the purpose of this blogsite, I wrote at some length about Susan Boyle in my article:

Susan Boyle. Unexpected Divine Chanteuse. Sweet 47

Will We Change Our Ways?

Of course, one swallow – or, in this case, nightingale – does not make a Spring, and our lesson may not be well enough learnt. Is our judgemental eye-rolling done with? Have we – in relation to what public images of human beings are (allegedly!) ‘acceptable’ – wrestled free from the dictates of Hollywood and Bollywood and the advertizing, fashion and entertainment industries? Supposing Susan Boyle had not been able to sing like an angel. Supposing we all continue judging people on their appearance. Or that we do not – in our families, social, educational, political and religious spheres of influence, workplaces, and so on, work to stop the inhumanity of judgementalness based on a person’s physical appearance, race, creed, culture and so forth. From my previous article on Susan Boyle, I copy at the foot of this article the lovely and most touching reaction of a young boy and girl to Ms Boyle’s first appearance on ‘Britain’s Got talent’.

Ms Boyle’s Performance of Yesterday

In the semi-final of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’, though the Scottish nightingale’s first notes started unsteadily as she sang “Memory” from the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical ‘Cats‘, the massive audience around the world will forget the slight slips and remember the overall performance.

One of the three judges, Amanda Holdern (the others were (Simon Covell and Piers Morgan) was mistaken: Ma Boyle did not ‘nail’ the song. (How come, by the way, Covel is a judge when he has already declared the prime interest in managing Ms Boyle’s career?). There are real questions about her choice of song, and about whether she had thought through the ‘build’ of the song. She needed entire focus and self-possession in the first note of the song, which jumped off-key. What she showed, though, was the personable sweetness, the humanity, the  true grit and the ability to recover from a mistake that all serious performers require.

The fair question is – what great performer has not messed up a song, particularly at the beginning of their career? Ms Boyle is both ‘infant’ and ‘giant’ as a singer and will have to undergo, as she continues in her development, the same struggles with technique, focus, building the song, awareness of both self and song, control of nerves and so on that all artists have to pass through.  A nightingale she most certainly is, as millions of ‘hits’ on Youtube and elsewhere would attest. Only time will tell whether she is a great nightingale. Certainly, she has what countless ‘artists’ lack – being in touch with her authentic and essential self.

She will need to recover the extraordinary freshness, forthrightness and self-belief she showed throughout her first appearance, when she sang “I Dreamed A Dream” from ‘Les Miserables’.

Click  HERE to view and hear Susan Boyle singing ‘Memory’

Scottish Nightingale Alights Again

Scottish Nightingale Alights Again

Here are the responses of two children to whose lovely responses on the Susan Boyle video segment I was privy, and wrote down verbatim straight after:

6-year old girl

Adult: Why did all the people laugh at the lady when she walked on stage?

Girl: Because she is fat they think she can’t sing, and they don’t want her to be on the stage.

Adult: Why did the people change their mind?

Girl: Because she sang so beautifully.

9 year old boy

Adult: What did you reckon about the lady?

Boy: She’s not scared. She didn’t care what the people thought, she walked fastly and stood straight.

The Divine Ms Boyle. Coming World, Ready Or Not The Divine Ms Boyle. Coming World, Ready Or Not.  Source: YouTube. April 2009. To view the video that the world is viewing, click on photo

Posted in News, Opinion, People, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Issues | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Susan Boyle. Unexpected Divine Chanteuse. Sweet 47.

Posted by Barry Pittard on April 17, 2009

‘Full many a gem of purest ray serene’ …

Divine British Singer Susan Boyle. Sweet 47. Never been Kissed

Divine British Nightingale Susan Boyle. Sweet 47. ‘Never been Kissed’ (Though Ms Boyle, given to country humour, said later that this was a joke’)

Judgementalism on the grounds of a person’s body shape, place of origin, social status, and so on, is, course, one of humanity’s most destructive tendencies. Is there a profound lesson to be learnt by every one of us? In a few moments, I shall come to the wondrous Susan Boyle, from a small village in West Lothian, Scotland, U.K., whose triumphant performance on ITV1 in UK in April 2009 would, I should think, make many of you weep freely and give her a standing ovation in your heart. May already have done so, because she has now been heard by tens of millions of people around the world.

Ms Boyle’s story inescapably reminded me of the lines of the English poet, Thomas Gray (1716-1771)

Thomas Gray. A Favourite English Poet

Thomas Gray. A Favourite English Poet

in his poem ‘Elegy written in a Country Churchyard’:

Full many a gem of purest ray serene
The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.”

And I thought, too, of the stark lines in Leonard Cohen’s song ‘Chelsea Hotel’:

Leonard Cohen. Ever Loved Singer-Songwriter

Leonard Cohen. Ever Loved Singer-Songwriter

“for the ones like us
who are oppressed by the figures of beauty,
you fixed yourself, you said, Well never mind,
we are ugly but we have the music”.

Some lines of Ms Boyle’s song – ‘I had a dream’ from Les Miserables – English lyrics by

Herbert Kretzmer, Lyricist

Herbert Kretzmer, Lyricist

– deepen yet futher such a theme and its resonance for us:

“But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hope apart
As they turn your dream to shame”

I shall come to Ms Boyle in few moments. Her moments will last forever …

NOTE:  Those who came to this blog in regard to Susan Boyle may like now simply to go down to the section highlighted in green

Judgementalism and Discrimination

Scarcely hours before I had the beatific priviledge of viewing the Susan Boyle footage, I had been musing on the topic of judgementalism on the grounds of (supposed) physical appearance.

Gerald Moreno – allied with key individuals close to Sathya Sai Baba – e.g., the saibabaofindia.com consortium – and involved in extreme defaming one after another of many around the world who have called for proper third party investigation, and raised terribly serious questions about Sai Baba and core leaders of his worldwide Sathya Sai Organization, has this to say:

“Let us see if Barry Pittard looks any better than Sathya Sai Baba does (according to one email source, his face is heavily and deeply wrinkled, his head is mostly bald and he is physically unattractive). Barry Pittard also collects a disability pension (the details of which are fanatically guarded secrets) and shows all the signs of old age. Despite this fact, Barry Pittard hypocritically points out faults in a much younger-looking Sai Baba! Barry Pittard sounds more intent on revenge & ridicule than he does on “justice”.

This piece of high spiritual felicity appears on Gerald Moreno’s ‘Sathya Sai Baba – Life, Love & Spirituality’  blog, which fairly bursts with content that surely no genuine Sai Baba follower could ever regard as embodying Sai Baba’s teachings on life, love and spirituality whatsoever.

Barry Pittard, of course, does not – as does Sathya Sai Baba – claim that he will not age or that he is, and will forever be, the fullest incarnation of God to appear on the earth. Or that he will save the entire the world before he dies circa 2022.

Strangely, Moreno published a photograph which he most mistakenly claimed to be of me with my son, whom he disgracefully named. This action, he has continued, with his customary spurious logic of a sort that will long continue to mar his work, to justify. The photo was in fact of her model! There is not a wrinkle to be seen, not a luxuriant hair out of place. He carries some other child not known to me.

Moreno set up a series of stratagems to divert business away from the company which she, with great courage, integrity and hard work has built up. He justified his misconduct by arguing from dates that he has entirely misinterpreted. It is his typical practice. Take a fact, or alleged fact, and spin it with hostile intent.

But can Moreno, at all, be referring to the fine creature I see before me in my never-cracking mirror each morning? Might this gentle critic have got me mixed up with the Elephant Man?

Sathya Sai Baba Has Said That He Will Not Age After His Sixtieth Birthday

But of course, pointing to Sai Baba’s present physical condition is entirely proper comment. It is known to many devotees and former devotees alike that he said that, after his 60th birthday, he would not age. It is but one of his many unfulfilled prophecies – impossible for Moreno or anyone to refute. See:

When Disasters Overtake S. Sai Baba’s Promises

Behold Gerald Joe Moreno’s Ageless Idol

…  the “much younger-looking Sai Baba”

“Usually old people have wrinkles on their faces … I do not have any signs of old age. (loud applause). There is not a single wrinkle on My face”. Sanathana Sarathi, October, 2002.

Usually, elderly people don’t have their hair dyed, either, but go along with nature’s inevitable processes.

Sathya Sai Baba Video. Too Weak To Cut Birthday Cake

Sathya Sai Baba Continues To Ail

Sathya Sai Baba’s Tips To Keep Ageing Away.

The Magnificent Susan Boyle

Now to Susan Boyle, the British television video of whom will, I think, give you some wonderful moments of genuine life, love and spirituality. I rather suspect some will want to download the footage and keep it as a treasure. There are some versions on the Internet which do not include the extra minutes. But the off-stage moments, the many revealing shots of the audience and judges AND her singing of  ‘I Dreamed A Dream’ from Les Miserables are all to be savoured in the YouTube version, see below. No doubt many parents and teachers will use it in educating their charges on the issue of judgements and stereotypes. Not too much use doing that unless we educate ourselves, first.

A Cry For Blood Is Not A Far Cry Away From A Cry From The Heart

And then to drive the question, first, to ourselves and then to our societies: What supposing Ms Boyle had not triumphed in her song?! Are we some frenzied mob at the athenaeum-bear pit-meatmarket? Are we forever to cooperate with the forces that only allow ‘glamorous’ figures and faces to appear on stage and in videos and movies?

“I’m going to make that audience rock”.

Did you ever see a standing ovation like this one? Was there anything that did not tell against her?

Unless it was her cheeky and absolutely justified self-confidence. With her radiant naturalness and marvelous self-purpose, seconds before going on stage, the Divine Ms Boyle says, “I’m going to make that audience rock”.  At first, the audience and the judges barely prevented themselves from falling over.

Wave on wave of scorn, disbelief, judgementalism, ageism and cynicism crashed towards her. For no better reason than the profound brainwashing of all of us by the movie, fashion and advertizing industries and other forces of human immaturity and oppression.

There were her age, her bodyshape, her dress sense (or lack of it), her … um … primal hairdo, her el cheapo neck chain, her humble village origins. Her whole self, as she purposely strode onto the stage, stood against the stereotype of success, whether on stage or in (so-called) ‘real life’ at large. Moments before going on-stage she even grabbed a bit of a sandwich – white bread and all!

In the video, note audience’s and judges’ air of barely concealed cynicism, disbelief, patronisation, and judgementalism. And then, from the first moments of her opening her mouth to sing – the powerful wave of change … Or rather, of transformation. Our transformation. She is already transformed, having duteously served her sick mother over the years, and became love in the village which, too, gave her life.

All mockers are confronted by their good angel. Dressed like it is thought that angels don’t dress.

Judging and Self-judging

In the moments after Susan Boyle has sung in her crowning triumph, the judges – Amanda Holden, Simon Cowell, and Piers Morgan – variously make comments such as:

“We were all being very cynical. That was the greatest wake-up call – ever!”

“Without a doubt, this is the biggest surprise I have had in the three years of doing this show”.

“The biggest ‘Yes’ I have given anybody”

Widetrends reports:  Susan Boyle is also being lined up for an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show which would give her the chance of a number one album in the US”.

Here are the responses of two children to whose lovely responses on the Susan Boyles video segment I was privy, and wrote down verbatim straight after:

6-year old girl

Adult: Why did all the people laugh at the lady when she walked on stage?

Girl: Because she is fat they think she can’t sing, and they don’t want her to be on the stage.

Adult: Why did the people change their mind?

Girl: Because she sang so beautifully.

9 year old boy

Adult: What did you reckon about the lady?

Boy: She’s not scared. She didn’t care what the people thought, she walked fastly and stood straight.

The Divine Ms Boyle. Coming World, Ready Or Not

The Divine Ms Boyle. Coming World, Ready Or Not

Source: YouTube. 2009. To view, click on photo

………………………………………………………………

General

Excerpt From Public Petition

(Note: The above articles contextualizes. Or you may prefer to proceed straight to the Petition):

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)

Posted in Morality, Music, News, Religion, Spirituality, Trends, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Does Obama Carry Sathya Sai Baba Photo In Wallet?

Posted by Barry Pittard on March 29, 2009

Whenever an incident such as a contact by Sai Baba personnel with this or that powerful figure (Barack Obama in this instance), there is a rejoicing. For O look ye and be of glad heart!  see how our Swami is influencing the world’s leaders …

From the end of last year, the saibababaofindia conglomerate and followers elsewhere have hailed this sort of situation. Anita Sharma, an organizer on a host committe, Pittsburgh USA, for Barack Obama in November 2008 managed to hand a photo of Sathya Sai Baba to Obama, telling him:

“HE is my spiritual guru and am Giving you for your guidance, good luck and protection”

At the end of her rhapsody, Mrs Sharma, triumpantly proclaims:

“Swami is with Obama and guiding him every step of the way. It augurs well for the whole mankind”

Little doubt many other humble souls have handed Barack Obama and other leaders some photo or other talismanic artifact  reflecting their image of the deity.  Leaders, whether out of politeness and charm – either natural or calculated or a mix of both – will of course, if there is not a security constriction, accept. This woman and her group were, after all, on an Obama committee.

Sai Saint Barack Obama?

Sai Saint Barack Obama?

Obama – charming? Polite? Has one not noticed? But a real McCoy Sai Saint – such as his now Secretary of State Mrs Hilary Clinton is said to have aspired to be? Indeed, at least he is a popular politician who likes to make symbolic gestures of outreach to many cultural groups in the community. It would have taken a hard heart to have resisted the bountiful heart of the enthusiastic Srimati Sharma …

But, in a matter of seconds, amid so many other duties, is he quite likely to fall in love with a photo of Sai Baba? The photo immediately below is from the saibabaofindia group – whose prime movers are very close to the ‘Lord’s Throne’ – so we may take it to be a genuine likeness of their rapidly ageing and increasingly non compos mentis guru. See: 

Sathya Sai Baba Video. Too Weak To Cut Birthday Cake
Sathya Sai Baba Continues To Ail
Sathya Sai Baba’s Tips To Keep Ageing Away
When Disasters Overtake S. Sai Baba’s Promises
Sai Baba Fails To Grant Great Moon Vision. Endangers Crowds
Has ‘World Saviour’ Missed His Plane?
Has Obama Got Sai Baba In His Pocket?

Has Obama Got Sai Baba In His Pocket?

Infantile Fixation On Charismatic Figures

Anita Sharma hands Sathya Sai Baba Photo To Obama

Anita Sharma hands Sathya Sai Baba Photo To Obama

A glance at Anita Sharma’s email (see below) is enough for anyone not a blind follower to get a glimpse of a particular phenomenon. It is one that occurs when the idolized guru figure is believed to have made an impact on this or that celebrated power figure. It is widely seen among worshippers of Sai Baba:  immediately mobiles, landlines and email systems run hot.  Ooo and ahhh – Look at the untold Grace our Guru is bestowing right round the world! Hilary Clinton wants to see Swami! Ohhh and hallelujah! and Jai Sai Ram! Did you know that I sat next to  Raisa Gorbachev in the Puttaparthi darshan and she told me that Michael Gorbachev keeps a book of Swami’s discourses by his bedside! Ooo ooo ahhh ahhh, I was at Puttaparthi when Swami sat Steven Seagal on a sort of throne next to Him. O what a Leela Swami plays! Ohooo, how wonderful it  was to see Goldie Hawn And Fergie (the) Duchess of York looking so adoringly at Swami – what a lovely role model she is! 

See:

Dare Songstress Nora Jones Touch Sai Baba?

Anita Sharma’s Email(as copied to a major Sathya Sai Baba Group)

—– Mensaje reenviado —-
De: saibabanews <saibaba_n@yahoo.com>
Para: saibaban@yahoogroups.com
CC: saibabal@yahoogroups.com
Enviado: jueves, 20 de noviembre, 2008 22:44:29
Asunto: [saibabanews] Sathya Sai Baba’s picture was given to Senator Barak Obama – Sept. 25, 2008
Sai Ram All,
I just want to share the good news that Swami is with Obama. When Obama
Came to Pittsburgh in Sept unannounced for a private meeting with host
Committee in Pittsburgh, we were invited as a part of the host committee
Team. We had an opportunity to speak to him personally for few minutes.
I gave him Sai Baba’s picture, he took it and looked at it intensely and
Asked ‘who is this’? I told him HE is my spiritual guru and am
Giving you for your guidance, good luck and protection. He put the
Picture in the pocket of his coat and told me he will always keep it.
Few hours later, my husband got a call from Obama’s campaign manager
And security people as to what was that picture about because Obama kept
That picture in his wallet. My husband explained to them that the
Picture is our spiritual master and we gave him for his good luck,
Guidance and safety. They were ok with that response.
Few days ago, my husband was invited for Obama Victory celebration and the Same campaign manager said Dr. Sharma your guru’s picture has worked.
Enjoy these four pictures.
Swami is with Obama and guiding him every step of the way. It augurs
Well for the whole mankind.
Anita Sharma
 
Source: http://www.lankanewspapers.com/ news/2008/ 11/35379_ 3_space.html? CH11227154250015 EN1

and:

http://groups.google.com/group/sai_baba_avatar/browse_thread/thread/c71b4250b3704872/5cb07a1644dc6541?show_docid=5cb07a1644dc6541

SEE ALSO

No endorsement of US President by Sathya Sai Baba
Posted by robertpriddy on January 21, 2009

 

Posted in News, News and Politics, Politics, Religion, Social and Politics, South Asia, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Tony McNulty Expenses Outcry. Select List of Major UK News Articles

Posted by Barry Pittard on March 28, 2009

Via the news organization Silobreaker, Friday, March 27, 2009 8:23 PM, below are some links to major British media articles on the Tony McNulty expenses uproar.

McNulty has close ties with the wealthy and powerful Sathya Sai Baba sect, and with its UK leader  Ashok Bhagani and other key members. The aim to set up a powerful transmitter in the UK for Sai Baba’s international radio satellite broadcasts has been a part of this relationship.

The Harrowing of Harrow East MP Tony McNulty

The Harrowing of Harrow East MP Tony McNulty

The Tangled Web

McNulty first said that he would not hand back the more than 60.000 pounds sterling that he had claimed for a house in which his parents live. Under closer scrutiny, he then said that he would. He also first said that he had done no wrong. But subsequently said that the “arrangement is indefensible”.

John Lyon, the parliamentary commissioner for standards, is to launch a formal investigation.

McNulty has been widely tipped to be the next Home Minister and also Lord Mayor of London for 2012.  However, he is now under a cloud of approximately the size of the roof of his parents’ house for which he claimed expenses.

See also my related blogs:

Tony McNulty MP Expenses Furore. His Sathya Sai Baba Sect Ties Also Need To Be Probed

Posted by Barry Pittard on March 26, 2009
Tony McNulty Brit MP. Expenses Scandal Erupts. His Sai Baba Cult Nexus Yet To Be Probed
Posted by Barry Pittard on March 23, 2009

—————————————————-

Silobreaker List To Date

View Video Clips From BBC and Other Sources:  Tony McNulty’s favoured Indian guru is exposed for his magician’s tricks. Also Sai Baba’s world head Dr Michael Goldstein and close colleague of Ashok Bhagani is exposed by BBC hidden camera in a fit of anger and denial of accountability, transparency and duty-of-care.

  • Sleight Of Hand. The Sleightness of Sathya Sai Baba (Exposing film clips)
  • Right Hand. Sleight Hand. Watch Sai Baba Cheat With Sacred Ash  (Film clip)
  • Censored Indian National Television Film of Sai Baba Cheating
  • BBC Cameras Catch Sai Baba Cheating With Gold Sivalingam. (Film Clip)
  • Sathya Sai Baba Chief, Dr Goldstein, Explodes. “I am the consummate professional” (See Film Clips)
  • The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ (Sai Baba). Revealing Footage
  • Further Articles on Ashok Bhagani:

    By Robert Priddy

    (Former longtime head of the Sathya Sai Organization, Norway. Retired academic, University of Oslo).

    (The latter article is valuable because of references and links concerning Ashok Bhagani’s ties with The Eastern Eye).

    BBC Acted “Totally Irresponsibly” Says Ashok Bhagani

    Ashok Bhagani, Sathya Sai Baba cult promoter in UK

    By  Barry Pittard:

    Tony McNulty Sathya Sai Baba Cult Supporter Tipped As UK  Home Minister

    –  Ashok Bhagani – Footsying With Top Blair Minister?

    –  Ashok Bhagani – Blotting Out Conscience and Memory?

    –  Ashok Bhagani and The Secret Swami

    –  Ashok Bhagani Uses Race Card

    –  UK Sai Baba Head, Ashok Bhagani Exposes Himself

    Tool For Media and Other Investigators

    Exposure of Sathya Sai Baba. Media Source List

    Posted in Morality, News, News and Politics, Religion, Scandal, Society, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

    India’s ‘Emperor’ Sai Baba. By His Lavish Spending Ye Shall Know Him

    Posted by Barry Pittard on November 23, 2008

    Sathya Sai Baba has said that the world should come to him with empty hands. On the other hand, he has succeeded in getting many to come to him with their hands full of gold. 

    The Golden Age of The World Sai Kingdom Is At Hand

    That gold is now flashing more than Disneyland-like at Puttaparthi, as thousands swarm around the golden honey-pot that he has created for the occasion of his 83rd birthday. 

    The misspelling in the photo (upper left hand side) of the word ‘sceptre’, do kindly trust, is not that of this blogger, but of a Sathya Sai minion, who will quickly need a spelling tutorial before his master leads the world into the Golden Age. This feat of universal salvation Sathya Sai Baba says he will accomplish before he ‘leaves the planet’.  

    Trustfully, as the gerontocracy that essentially leads India dies out, the young India will turn a back on the crass superstition of many of her older generations.  

    The gaudiness of all the gold in the Sathya Sai Baba birthday celebrations – mounted aloft India’s anguished land of seething poverty and squalor – will not reflect well in the eyes of the world.
     

    The would-be King of Kings, Lord of Lords

    The would-be King of Kings, Lord of Lords and his gold sceptre

    Sathya Sai Baba has said 

    “The success of the task for which I have come will very soon reverberate throughout the world!”
    Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol XIV, p. 278. 1979
     

    “I do not need grand decorations, huge pandals, arches, flags and such paraphernalia … Even a chair is superfluous! … Spend sparing to the minimum needs; do not involve yourselves in expensive luxury. I would like you to spend any extra money that you have for the feeding of the poor or for any similar beneficial object.” Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol VII, p. 100 

    He says he will rule the world

    He says he will rule the world before leaving it, circa AD 2022

    A modest dwellingplace of the would-be Most High

    Puttaparthi Prashanthi Nilayam. Modest dwellingplace of the, ahem, Most High

    Select Reading 

    ‘Secret Swami’ Cult Recruits At Prime Public Venues

    See photos of some of the luxurious venues where the International Sathya Sai Organization – at times hard-pressed for funds in the face of constant public exposure in the media and on the Internet etc., – conducts its recruiting

    Sai Baba No Shiva. Gold From His Gut Is Regurgitator’s Trick

    See how the BBC cameras catch out the Shiva pretendu. 

    BBC Hidden Camera in ‘Secret Swami’. Ethical?

    How the BBC caught Sai Baba’s world chairman in moments of profound 

    Will World Accept Sathya Sai Baba? He Says Yes. Very Soon

    Indulal Shah and Indian Government Cover Up

    Sathya Sai Organisation Misinformation and False Propaganda
    Part Two, Part Three, Part Four

    By Robert Priddy and Barry Pittard

    Public Petition for Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization

    Video Resources 

    The Secret Swami (BBC Television):
    (154 MB, Broadband

    Seduced (DR, Danish Broadcasting, Denmark’s national television and radio broadcaster):
    (80 MB, Broadband) 

    http://home.hetnet.nl/~seduced/seduced.wmv
    (21 MB, Modem) 

    ……………………………..

    For information on the highly revealing photo below, see

    The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ – A Revision

    Michael Goldstein’s Chilling 9/11 Remarks

    Sathya Sai Anger Mismanagement
    Sathya Sai Anger Mismanagement as demonstrated by Sai Baba’s international chairman Dr Michael Goldstein of Corvina, California, USA. Caught by BBC hidden camera in ‘The Secret Swami’ (2004)

     Further Resources   

     Sathya Sai Baba: ‘Considerable Concern’ In Wider Hindu Community    

     Sathya Sai Organization: World Communities Need To Treat This Sect Cautiously    

    Will World Accept Sathya Sai Baba? He Says Yes. Very Soon     

    Has ‘World Saviour’ Missed His Plane?    

    The Decline and Fall of the Showman Empire 

    Sai Baba Exchequer Worth Billions. Many Countries Donate 

    Self-documented Folly of India’s Would-be God 

    The Sathya Sai Organisation’s Deception and Propaganda Exposed.  Article by Robert Priddy (former leader of SS Org., Sweden) and Barry Pittard (former lecturer at Sathya Sai College, Whitefield).  Part One Two Three Four   

    Quote:    

     “The foes of the ‘open society’ (Sir Karl Popper’s term) are those who use its very openness to achieve their closed and devious ends. Sai Baba and his highly authoritarian and cultist organisation have such ends, which critics have tried to make known. Its foremost leaders silence all those who question it- and never face substantive criticisms. For the first time – after six years of pained and guilty silence – since hundreds of long-term devotees left it in disgust – the Sathya Sai Organisation has found it necessary to try to defuse the debate about Sathya Sai Baba’s alleged crimes, deceits and fraudulence. Dr. Venkataraman’s tendentious cover-up article expresses untruths which have long circulated within the cult, giving an opportunity to confront him with facts and truth”   

     ——————————————————

     Some Video Resources     The Secret Swami (BBC Television)

    (154 MB, Broadband)   Seduced (DR, Danish Broadcasting, Denmark’s national television and radio broadcaster):
    (80 MB, Broadband)   

     http://home.hetnet.nl/~seduced/seduced.wmv
    (21 MB, Modem)   

     Right Hand. Sleight Hand. Watch Sai Baba Cheat With Sacred Ash (Film clip)

     BBC and Other Film Footage Shows India’s Top Guru Sathya Sai Baba Faking Miracles

     BBC Footage Exposes Fake Sathya Sai Baba Miracle « Call For Media and Government Investigation

     ‘The Secret Swami’ showcased with selected transcripts and brief
    video clips
       

     The Public Petition   

     Excerpt From Public Petition (and comments)  

     Note: You may prefer to proceed straight to the Petition): Public Petition For Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization   

    PETICIÓN PÚBLICA PARA INVESTIGACIONES OFICIALES DE SATHYA SAI BABA Y SU ORGANIZACIÓN A NIVEL MUNDIAL)   

     ——————————————   

     

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    Posted in New Age, News, News and Politics, Opinion, Prophecy, Rationalism, Religion, Sai Baba, Skeptics, Social and Politics, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

    Sathya Sai Speaks. ‘I Do Not Like This Pomp’

    Posted by Barry Pittard on November 21, 2008

    Sathya Sai Baba, who is on the brink of celebrating his 83rd birthday,

    sathya-sai-baba-says-i-do-not-like-pomp

    has said that he will first rule India (innumerable of whose top leaders bow down to him!) and soon the rest of the world. He also has said, December 14, 1963:

    Let Me tell you this now itself: I do not like this pomp and show. I do not derive any joy out of it. Pomp, such as this, has become a fashion now, even among ascetics and monks who ought to know better. They profess poverty and simplicity and yet, they allow or encourage their disciples to waste much energy and money on pomp and pageantry which serve only to develop the egotism of themselves and their followers. The emphasis on show makes a thing hollow of all meaning.(Sathya Sai Speaks Vol 3., p 228)

    Sathya Sai Baba "dislikes pomp"

    Sathya Sai Baba says he dislikes pomp

    He has said:

    “In the days ahead, the whole world will be obliged to come to Prashanthi Nilayam” (p. 320 Sanathana Sarathi December 1991)

    …………………………….

    Some edifying discourses which will no doubt hasten the golden glory of the coming of the Kingdom of Sai:

    Sai Baba’s Birthday. Vast, Costly Pomp and Ceremony

    Sai Baba, Kubla Khan, Citizen Kane, Bill Gates et alia

    Sai Baba To Be Seen In Moon? But Where Was Moon?

    Robert Priddy

    Sathya Sai Baba worshipped by India’s P.M.s etc

    Sathya Sai Baba upcoming birthday

    Sai Baba’s failing health

    ——————————————————

     Further Resources   

     Sathya Sai Baba: ‘Considerable Concern’ In Wider Hindu Community    

     Sathya Sai Organization: World Communities Need To Treat This Sect Cautiously    

    Will World Accept Sathya Sai Baba? He Says Yes. Very Soon     

    Has ‘World Saviour’ Missed His Plane?    

    The Decline and Fall of the Showman Empire 

    Sai Baba Exchequer Worth Billions. Many Countries Donate 

    Self-documented Folly of India’s Would-be God 

    The Sathya Sai Organisation’s Deception and Propaganda Exposed.  Article by Robert Priddy (former leader of SS Org., Sweden) and Barry Pittard (former lecturer at Sathya Sai College, Whitefield).  Part One Two Three Four   

    Quote:    

     “The foes of the ‘open society’ (Sir Karl Popper’s term) are those who use its very openness to achieve their closed and devious ends. Sai Baba and his highly authoritarian and cultist organisation have such ends, which critics have tried to make known. Its foremost leaders silence all those who question it- and never face substantive criticisms. For the first time – after six years of pained and guilty silence – since hundreds of long-term devotees left it in disgust – the Sathya Sai Organisation has found it necessary to try to defuse the debate about Sathya Sai Baba’s alleged crimes, deceits and fraudulence. Dr. Venkataraman’s tendentious cover-up article expresses untruths which have long circulated within the cult, giving an opportunity to confront him with facts and truth”   

     ——————————————————

     Some Video Resources     

    (154 MB, Broadband)    

    Seduced (DR, Danish Broadcasting, Denmark’s national television and radio broadcaster):
    (80 MB, Broadband)    

    http://home.hetnet.nl/~seduced/seduced.wmv
    (21 MB, Modem)    

    Right Hand. Sleight Hand. Watch Sai Baba Cheat With Sacred Ash (Film clip) 

    BBC and Other Film Footage Shows India’s Top Guru Sathya Sai Baba Faking Miracles 

    BBC Footage Exposes Fake Sathya Sai Baba Miracle « Call For Media and Government Investigation 

    ‘The Secret Swami’ showcased with selected transcripts and brief
    video clips
        

    The Public Petition    

    Excerpt From Public Petition (and comments)   

     

    Posted in New Age, News, Prophecy, Scandal, Society | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

    Robert Priddy: May 31, 2008 Update

    Posted by Barry Pittard on June 1, 2008

    In the News section on his main website Robert Priddy, former head of the Norwegian Sathya Sai Organization, has recorded (May 31, 2008 ) updates:

    Recorded talk with V. K.Narasimhan during 70th birthday of Sai Baba (Notable Indian newspaper editor and editor of ‘Sanathana Sarathi V.K.Narasimhan’s) view on numbers attending (FAR below Sai Baba’s estimates) and on his having to edit out Sai errors from the journal, plus Sai Baba’s private directions to Central Coordinators concerning the organization and the price of rooms for delegates to his conference, who were originally invited for free logding etc.

    Sai Baba’s teachings and education in academic isolation Through political clout, Sathya Sai Baba got his Institute of Higher Learning recognised as an University. However, the whole social and academic environment is based more on fixed values and indoctrination than any kind of educational research or dialogue, being a law unto itself isolated from the world community of open debate.

    The Dalai Lama and Sathya Sai Baba Systematic comparison of the personalities of the 14th Dalai Lama and the Indian supposed God-guru Sathya Sai Baba, examining their circumstances and behaviour, their personal qualities and public relations. Further, the facts are summarised in sixteen brief questions on my blog here.

    Joseph. Early Sathya Sai Baba Whistle blower When devotees of Sathya Sai Baba finally bite the bullet and understand that the sex abuse allegations are true, they begin to recall incidents which shocked them at the time but which their powerful faith enabled them to rationalise or even simply push aside. Such is the case of Joseph, who Barry Pittard knew – a very shocking treatment by Sai Baba’s ‘Seva Dal’ acting as true goondas to suppress a whistleblower.

    Main locations of Robert Priddy’s writings on Sathya Sai Baba and his worldwide cult:

    Posted in News, Religion, Sai Baba, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Leave a Comment »

    Of Anger. BBC’s John Sweeney and the Scientologists.

    Posted by Barry Pittard on May 16, 2007

    bbc-panoramas-john-sweeny-yelling.jpgPhoto: John Sweeney, of BBC Panorama in a fit of anger. Panorama is BBC television’s Current Affairs flagship.

    The film footage on YouTube, the BBC website etc., of the BBC Panorama journalist losing his temper explosively at a scientologist has provoked a huge stir. It may prove that neither side acted well.

    Below are photo clips from the BBC’s The Secret Swami. Video clips are available by clicking Here. Caught by the BBC’s hidden camera in a temper at the BBC team’s asking of perfectly reasonable and proper questions is Dr Michael Goldstein of Covina, southern California, U.S.A. He is the world head of Sathya Sai Baba’s powerful, immensely wealthy worldwide Sathya Sai Organization, which Sai Baba says is THE divine organization on the entire planet and about to come under his sway, as God fully incarnate, before he dies in 2022.

    bbc-clip-dr-micael-goldstein-gets-angry.jpg

    When the BBC was making The Secret Swami (2004), I was intensively involved for seven months in providing documentation and internationally coordinating former Sai Baba follower accounts of sexual molestation of young males and other very serious allegations about him and his Sathya Sai Organization to the BBC.

    Broadcaster Guidelines and Support of Staff

    One of the key issues in the confrontation between BBC Panorama’s John Sweeney and a scientologist concerns broadcaster guidelines. There are areas like recruitment and vetting, and support with stress management (especially prior to difficult assignments) that need to be addressed. On the other hand, it may be that sometimes the very feisty reporter is the very person to stand up to bullies and others in cover-up mode. Do we want mild-mannered, untrepid investigative journalists? The solutions need be creative, rather than either draconian and stifflingly rule-bound, or wimpish.

    Journalistic Standards and Ethics

    There will need to be a discussion about respect and courtesy expected to be shown towards an interview subject. However – while the case for civilized behaviour and the avoidance of shouting at an interviewee does not need to be argued – it is important to clarify strategies that may be practised when an investigative team is faced with, for example, lies, evasions, subterfuges, harassment, etc. In the present furore both sides are alleging improper harassment over a period. Whatever may be the case, a broadcaster must not be remiss, no less than a judge or doctor or teacher etc., must be remiss.

    What Gets Obscured?

    The sad result is that the BBC’s reputation for being the best and most reliable broadcaster in the world has been damaged. The fact that it may be the biggest does, of course, incur the greater risk that, sooner or later, a BBC journalist or production team will err. It would be a pity if any excellence of John Sweeney in the past gets obscured by the incident, just as it would be wrong for any demonstrable good the scientologists may have done in drug rehabilitation to be obscured. However, good works – and the Sathya Sai Organization most assuredly does many – should not obscure proper investigation of any improper conduct by it or its founder.

    At the same time, what if the truth about evasive, authoritarian cults is obscured? Do we want that? Do we want to succumb to the fear of the power of, for example, wealthy cults that are litigious? Or ones that are able to buy favours of politicians, governments, police and so on?

    Who Will Run Risks, If Not Media Like the BBC?

    Ironically enough, risks and boldness are the very essence of excellent investigative journalism – especially in the face of those individuals and organizations that would so powerfully cover up. Are there many media and other institutions big and powerful enough to stand up to extremely powerfully endowed organizations like Scientology and the Sathya Sai Organization? Let us not emasculate the few watchdogs we have. Although, let us encourage them to take necessary steps to monitor, anticipate and reduce e.g., unnecessary stress factors on professionals that would lead to bad messes. 

    In the case of The Secret Swami though I think the BBC team (possibly because most on it were rather young) was in some areas less than competent – that the BBC was right to sanction the use of a hidden camera in the case of Dr Michael Goldstein, who, along with his associates, had been extremely evasive. This, in a area where the public has a right-to-know.

    Excerpt of Transcript of The Secret Swami, in which Dr Michael Goldstein, the world head of the Sathya Sai Organization, becomes angry and evasive.

    Tanya Datta: Why don’t you have thorough investigations, instead of just asking one question to one person?
    Michael Goldstein: What do you mean by thorough investigation?
    2’nd Interviewer: Objective investigators, not someone asking the perpetrator whether he, he carried out the act. But someone, you know, a proper legal process or a legalistic process should I say.
    Tanya Datta: Yes.
    Michael Goldstein: Because I don’t believe that’s appropriate with Sai Baba.
    2’nd Interviewer: Why not?
    Michael Goldstein: Because my heart and my conscience tell me that it’s not possible.

    Further Resources:

    Sai Baba Saved Devotees From 9/11 Says Dr Michael Goldstein
    The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ – A Revision

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    Posted in Morality, Neglected/sidelined News, New Age, News, News and Politics, Opinion, People, Propaganda, Protest, Rationalism, Religion, Sai Baba, Scandal, Sex, Skeptics, Society, Spirituality, World Issues, World Religions | 2 Comments »

    Indian Government Study of Child Abuse Is Groundbreaking

    Posted by Barry Pittard on April 24, 2007

    Recent blogs at: https://barrypittard.wordpress.com have drawn attention to the (for India) groundbreaking study of child abuse (which this link downloads in .pdf format) recently released by the Government of India via its Department of Women and Child Development. See:

    Indian Study On Child Abuse. Robert Priddy Comments’,

    Child Abuse Rife In India. But Who Would Speak Out?

    Child Abuse. Landmark Indian Government Study. Abuse of Indian children ‘common’’

    Child Abuse in India. Will Minister Renuka Chowdhury Act?

    Having spent a number of years in India engaged in social work among the very poor, I do not know why the important Indian Organization PRAYAS (often simply Prayas) is not mentioned in the paragraphs below, because they were a major role-player in the study. For their opening page on the study, which has many and very valuable links, see here. PRAYAS works within charter and spirit of the UN Convention on the Rights Of the Child, 1989.

    The International Save The Children Alliance states:

    “For the first time, data on child abuse and neglect in India. A new report by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in India, (supported by Save the Children and UNICEF) released today, reveals the extent and magnitude of child abuse and neglect in India. This is one of the world’s largest empirical, in-country studies covering nearly 12,500 children and 4800 young adults in 13 States.

    The Study looks at three different forms of child abuse – physical abuse, sexual abuse and emotional abuse and girl child neglect in families, schools, work places, on the street and institutions. The Study complements the UN Secretary General’s Study on Violence against Children, 2006.

    The Study aims to develop a comprehensive understanding of child abuse, which will help formulate appropriate policies and programmes meant to effectively end child abuse in India.

    Major findings of the Study:

    – Boys, as compared to girls, are equally at risk of abuse.
    – Persons in trust and authority are major abusers.
    – 5-12 year old children are in the high risk category: across the forms of abuse, the percentage of abuse among them is the highest.
    – 70% of the children have not reported abuse to anyone.
    – Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar and Delhi almost consistently report high rates of abuse in all forms as compared to other States.
    – 2 out of every 3 children have been physically abused.
    – Two out of every three school going children are victims of corporal punishment. Half of these incidents are in government run schools.
    – More than half of the child respondents reported facing one or more forms of sexual abuse.
    – Every second child reported facing emotional abuse.
    In more than 80% of the cases parents were the abusers”.

    Let Us Not Unduly Target India 

    Note:  Some commentors may find it all too easy to point a finger at India. No country must be let off the ‘hook’. In an shortly upcoming blog, we shall look at the incredible remissness of the Australian Government of John Howard, which grossly fails to support key initiatives by some of Australia’s most notable workers in childcare, including by a woman often regarded as a national treasure, Professor Freda Briggs, who is Foundation Dean of the De Lissa Institute of Early Childhood and Family Studies, and Professor of Childhood Development at the University of South Australia. In 2005, in the Queen’s Birthday Honors, she was awarded the Order of Australia (AO). She was named ‘Australian of the Year, 2007’. See Advocates For Survivors of Child Abuse (ASCA), here. The economic rationalists, however, bestow awards as an easy ‘out’, instead of addressing the real issues.
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    Posted in Medicine, Morality, Neglected/sidelined News, New Age, News, News and Politics, Opinion, Pediatrics, Philanthropy, Protest, Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychotherapy, Rationalism, Religion, Scandal, Sex, Skeptics, Social and Politics, Society, Spirituality, Trends, World Issues, World Religions | 3 Comments »

    Indian Study On Child Abuse. Robert Priddy Comments

    Posted by Barry Pittard on April 22, 2007

    Following the recent landmark Government of India study on child abuse in India (Click here), Robert Priddy contextualizes the findings to the Sai Baba issue. Until he retired, he taught philosophy and social science at the University of Oslo, and was the head of the Sathya Sai Organization in Norway. His article is:
    Sathya Sai Baba still Very Widely Accused of Sexual Abuse.

    The following is a quote from the Priddy article:

    “Extremely revealing facts emerging about child sexual abuse in India: The overall credibility of such claims about Sathya Sai Baba is increased notably on the background of the recent release of official research results concerning child sex abuse in India, which indicate that 53% of India’s 40 million children have been subjected to one form or another of sexual abuse (click here) – and it is worst for boys! Compared with 39% of girls who faced sexual abuse, there was 48% of boys! This indicates that homosexual practices including fellatio and sodomy with minors are very widespread in India.
    Taboos and cover-ups:

    The Indian governmental research report makes clear “The subject of child abuse is still a taboo in India. There is a conspiracy of silence around the subject and a very large percentage of people feel that this is a largely western problem and that child abuse does not happen in India. Part of the reason of course lies in a traditional conservative family and community structure that does not talk about sex and sexuality at all… this silence encourages the abuser and to press his advantage to subject the child to more severe forms of sexual abuse.” This fact alone helps one understand why Sathya Sai Baba and those involved around him have been able to continue this behaviour and extend it vastly, according to reports from defectors and particularly non-Indian victims. Even the devotee parents of most Indian students who allege abuse (mostly in strict confidence to respected investigators) will not listen to the facts from  their sons! These adults hang onto their belief that Sathya Sai Baba is God Incarnate and can do no wrong – even to the point of considering anything sexual he may choose to do to be fore the benefit of the molested! This disgrace will not be tolerated by the world at large, and these allegations will never be silenced but will only increase with the years and greater openness in India over such matters”.

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    The ‘Secret Swami’s’ Hidden Costs

    Posted by Barry Pittard on April 20, 2007

    In his Christmas 2000 discourse, Sai Baba loudly banged his table in the vast Puttaparthi auditorium, and boastfully pitted the extent of his good works against those of others:

    “Have any of them been able to accomplish at least one-thousandth of what Sai Baba is doing? No, no, no!”

    He declared,

    “No other individual, or no government for that matter, has been able to provide free education or free medical care”

    that he has provided.  

    In fact, it is his devoted volunteers who perform practically all the services for which he claims credit. Besides, many who have sought these alleged free services report numerous hidden costs in his colleges and hospitals, and many devotees have made considerable donations to the Central Trust in advance of applying.

    Even though facing the utmost elusiveness by top Sai Baba officials, media and other investigators can question a range of ordinary consumers of these facilities. It is worth noting that not all parents of students attending Sai Baba’s huge educational institutions, or their teachers, are devotees. Nor are all patients and medical, nursing and ancilliary staff in his vast medical medical centres. Investigators will need to use their skills in getting credible witnesses talking. One would look for those teachers, doctors nurses, etc., who may be ready to speak up to bona fide investigators under conditions of anonymity. Courageous whistleblowers are always somewhere to be found too. Investigators should also document, both on camera and in hard copy, the fear that many have in telling what they know of the dark side of the Sai Baba enterprise.

    Further Resources:

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    Police Killings Related to Sai Baba Sex Abuse Says Dr Bhatia

    Posted by Barry Pittard on April 17, 2007

    Mick Brown, British journalist and author of several books, extensively researched some of the scandals that continue to erupt for Sathya Sai Baba and his exceptionally powerful and wealthy worldwide organization. Members of the Sai Baba cult – including a great many otherwise educated members from an astonishing array of professions – believe that they are his workers in bringing about the greatest spiritual revolution in mankind’s history.

    In a long article researched on both sides of the Atlantic, ‘The Divine Downfall’, Mick Brown of The Telegraph (U.K.), November 12, 2000, wrote:

    “For all the allegations laid against him over the years, Sai Baba has never been charged with any crime, sexual or otherwise. And his exalted position in India has until now kept him safely insulated from any kind of public inquiry.

    In June 1993 he was the subject of an apparent assassination attempt when five young men broke into his private residence. Two of his personal attendants were stabbed to death and four of the assailants were shot dead by police ‘in self-defence’. Sai Baba allegedly escaped by rushing out of his room and activating an alarm system. In a subsequent discourse, he said the attack was caused by ‘jealousy’. Dr Bhatia told me he believed the attack was linked to Baba’s sexual activities. The guru was never interrogated by police over the attack. The Indian press raised the obvious question: if Sai Baba is omniscient, why couldn’t he see it coming?”

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    Dr Naresh Bhatia. Silenced Now In Indian Child Abuse Scourge

    Posted by Barry Pittard on April 16, 2007

    For many years, Dr Naresh Bhatia was a prominent doctor (and head of the Blood Bank) in Sai Baba’s vast but from many reports badly under-utilized Super Speciality hospital at Puttaparthi. There are accounts of his having to flee for his own safety from Puttaparthi and then finally being able to retrieve his possessions only after his undertaking with Sai Baba’s top officials to make no further public statements. A secret swami’s secret India, where at last a landmark study of abuse and the extreme hiding of it has just been released by the Manmohan Singh government. See Resources, at the foot of this article.

    dr-naresh-bhatia.jpg

    The Guru Can Do No Wrong


    Dr Bhatia says that he, when younger, was for a long time a homosexual lover of Sai Baba. (The former Swedish film star Conny Larsson, now a drug rehabilitator among prisoners and others, says the same of himself). Dr Bhatia has told me that he still cannot shake off his belief that Sai Baba is Divine even though he knows that Sai Baba has sexually abused very many of his male students and other young males.
    One may note that the guru tradition in India cannot be readily understood by outsiders. One concept is that one does not criticize one’s guru, no matter what he or she says or does. Rooted in almost timeless history, the grip of the guru and other religious authorities is endemic in India.

    On November 12, 2000, in an extensively researched article, author and journalist Mick Brown wrote:

    “Contacted by phone, Bhatia said that he had become a devotee of Sai Baba in 1971, at the age of 20, and that he had sexual relations with Sai Baba for “15 or 16 years”. In that time, he said, he was also aware that Sai Baba had relations with “many, many” students from the college and school, and with devotees from overseas.”

    When making The Secret Swami the BBC television producer Eamon Hardy also spoke with Dr Bhatia, this time in New Delhi but the segment was not included in the documentary, for which 80 plus hours of footage had been shot, containing many compelling testimonies from various countries that, taken together, depict Sai Baba as a serial sexual molester on a most terrible scale.


    Many Indian Gurus Abuse But Followers Shut Up About it

    Among my papers, I have a note by a former national leader of the Sathya Sai Organization (who still has not gone public). He had a huge outreach among both Indian and Western devotees. He wrote the note while still a devotee but already going through angst following the upheavals following fusillades of revelations around 2000 in the organization which he and his wife so much loved:

    “Talking to some Indian devotees (who by the way are not affected at all hardly any of them have left) they tell us that it is common knowledge that “Gurus” generally have some of those tendencies”

    Anecdotally, this scenario would surely suggest the origins of the vast shockwaves right now going through India, following the release by the Manmohan Singh government of a landmark study of child abuse in that country. Where sexual abuse is concerned, Sai Baba the ‘secret Swami’ (as BBC television has called him) is close kindred to countless other Indian secret gurus who but reflect countless millions of ‘secret’ citizens of India. Like those of us in other countries who shut up for the sake of the ‘quiet life’, they are – even when not directly committing child abuse – to an extreme degree, therefore permitting it. For decades, Sai Baba has said India is about to lead the world in spirituality, under his banner. But his own ‘backyard’ (which he has said he will clean up before visiting the world) is in a dire shambles. So is he, as we can see when we examine photos and film footage that emphatically display his decrepitude. He is also increasingly given to unquestionably inane utterances and other odd behaviour. Click here for my articles  Sai Baba’s Tip To Keep Ageing Away and Sai Baba – A Degenerative Disease?

    Dr Naresh Bhatia – Some Clarifications

    Dr Bhatia told me that he felt the threat to his life was very real and that he was concerned that no further harm should come to a young boy who he (and a medical colleague in Bangalore) professionally believed was injuriously sodomized by Sai Baba. For this reason, he says, he has modified his earlier public stance that can be read in David and Faye Bailey’s The Findings (April 2000). Though one child is extremely precious, there can be a great danger to protecting a single individual. Shutting up rather than strong combattive action can threaten the safety and well-being of a great many children.

    There Have Been Threats to Life or Limb

    I asked Dr Bhatia whether he thought his near fatal accident where a truck hit him was likely to be the work of those on the nasty side of Sai Baba’s outreach. He replied that he felt that the distance and speed from which the truck came before hitting him did not seem focused enough to have been an assassination attempt. I also asked him to clarify a point that has raised some confusion.

    The Abuse Patient Was A Level Seven (Primary School) Boy

    It had been repeated – either originating, or worse confounded, in the Bailey’s seminal article that a boy was seven years old when very badly sexually abused by Sathya Sai Baba. Dr Bhatia responded that the boy was not seven but was then in Level 7 at Sai Baba’s school at Puttaparthi. He has also confirmed this to my fellow Australian, Stephen Carthew, long known for his courage and truthfulness not least when trying to reform the Sathya Sai Organisation from within, who visited Dr Bhatia in New Delhi 2000. Stephen, who had made kept this visit to India very secret, wrote to me that:

    “I found Dr Bhatia delightful and most welcoming, notwithstanding the bind he is in. His own ambivalence regarding the spiritual nature of his Guru and the pressures coming from many sources to keep quiet make it difficult for him to do more than tell his story when asked. Certainly, he believed he was threatened and harassed during his rushed departure from Puttaparthi, after criticizing Sai Baba to his face.”

    Abuse Is Too Cruel At Any Age

    I should add that, in essence, abuse of a person is still grievous no matter what the age of a victim. However, amongst Sai Baba apologist documents is the incessant habit of siezing on every mistake or inconsistency or inadvertency in the writings of critics of Sai Baba. Any attempt to point out the actual facts results in, for example, further adversarial displays of nitpicking and obsession with peripherals. There are also cases when responding so as to put the record right would entail releasing information that is sensitive and should be secure. However, to genuine and bona fide investigators, such as leading media and those doing studies with well-accredited tertiary institutions, patently sincere enquirers such as those processing the anguish of leaving Sai Baba, and so on, this constraint is often not present.

    Note on the Baileys

    The Findings reports the Baileys’ discoveries that Sai Baba is guilty of male sexual molestation, huge financial fraud, faked miracles and other criminal and vastly hypocritical deceptions. David Bailey is a well-known British musician who lectured in Music at Sai Baba’s university in Puttaparthi. Travelling around the world as Sai Baba would direct, he was his highest profile roving ‘ambassador’ among devotees. Sai Baba arranged his marriage with Faye, who had previously been a key worker in the Australian Sathya Sai Organization. Unlike so many of the other leaders who know the truth of the accusations, David and Faye were possessed with a conscience. When they spoke out, they had to endure untold scurrility. It went throughout many countries in the Sathya Sai Organization that David languished in jail on charges of paedophilia. Similar outrages occurred when Conny Larrson, former head of the Swedish organization, spoke out. Those of us who were in touch with them on their private telephones were struck by the fact that they were decidedly free – except from the dastardly slanders of many Sai devotees around the world. As has been the case with a number of those of us formerly connected with Sai Baba’s work, Sai Baba’s male students and others who have come under his sway, David and Faye Bailey have been the repository of many accounts of sexual abuse (not to mention other shocking revelations) by Sai Baba. Against almost unimaginable slander and distortion by his defenders, former devotees in various countries continue the attempt to expose these abuses to the world.

    Resources:

    Child Abuse. Landmark Indian Government Study
    Abuse of Indian children ‘common’
    By Geeta Pandey
    BBC News, Delhi

    The Findings
    By David and Faye Bailey (an historic but in various ways a very dated document)

    Child Abuse in India. Will Minister Renuka Chowdhury Act?
    By Barry Pittard.  Email:  bpittard (at) optusnet.com.au

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    Posted in Medicine, Morality, Neglected/sidelined News, New Age, News, News and Politics, Opinion, People, Philanthropy, Philosophy, Politics, Propaganda, Prophecy, Protest, Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychotherapy, Religion, Scandal, Sex, Skeptics, Social and Politics, Society, Spirituality, Sri Lanka, Successful People, Theology, Theosophy, Trends, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions | 6 Comments »