Call For Media and Government Investigation

of Sathya Sai Baba And his worldwide cult, the Sathya Sai Organization

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Democratic Societies Need To Face Issues On Cults

Posted by Barry Pittard on January 9, 2010

In my colleagues’ and my extensive experience in exposing the global Sathya Sai Baba cult and its leader, India’s most famous guru, whom successive Indian governments and institutions have long and corruptly protected, we have found a striking fact: governments, and indeed whole societies, fail to face the problem of cults. 

The ‘answers’ of totalitarian regimes are of course to be repudiated at the outset. Indeed, in their authoritarianism, these closely resemble a great many cults, in any case!  In some sense, they can indeed be deemed cults. Charismatic, autocratic leadership, enforcement of group-think, devious propaganda, and punitive styles exercised against those who question are some characteristics that loom large.

In facing the problems posed by cults, our democratic institutions fail abysmally. Typically, our governments and societies fail because of certain mistaken and exaggerated notions about religious and other freedoms concerning beliefs. The channels of wide discussion, debate and action need to be opened up. Problems posed by muteness – or sometimes by smarmy and false appearances that all is sweetness and light – in the face of ‘political correctness’ need to be faced as a co-operative, rather than divisive, endeavour. We have found that many academic communities seriously offend, for they do not regard apostates as useful subjects for research. Still further, academies need to do a great deal of soul-seaching in facing problems of orthodoxy, in which academics care far more for their emoluments than for speaking out fearlessly.

For too long, it has been overlooked that many cults violate those very notions of freedom which we need, of course, to cherish and uphold.

Certainly, care needs to be exercised in defining what is and what is not a cult, and this level of information is best, in my view, arrived via deliberations across whole communities in consultation with each other. It will not help very much if we see cultism as offending against the canons of this or that mainstream religion. It is the mentality itself that needs to be understood and addressed.

What would hold communities back from engagement? Surely, it is fear. Often unconscious or unacknowledged. There needs to be serious thought about how whole communities can be brought to see that, by avoiding such threats to freedom, very broadly defined, they expose themselves to far greater problems. One cannot but think of examples such as the social paralysis, and the terrible failure to act in democratic interests, that existed in Germany at the time of the Weimar Republic, prior to the triumph of Nazism.

Further Reading

The Sathya Sai Organisation’s Deception and Propaganda Expose by Robert Priddy and Barry Pittard

“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”


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

There is a Spanish version available:



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Posted in New Age, Opinion, Philosophy, Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychotherapy, Religion, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Robert Priddy’s Views on Key Human Values in Relation To Sathya Sai Baba

Posted by Barry Pittard on December 6, 2009

In the brief article – Human Values – Sai Baba’s truncated ideas Robert Priddy, an academic philosopher at the University of Oslo for many years, and a former head of the Sathya Sai Organization in Norway, states his view of what human values are, in contradistinction to “divinely-instated values for humans” as proclaimed by Sathya Sai Baba. 

In the mind of any serious educator, especially when versed in the history of educational theory and practice, very concerning questions are raised. One of the key concerns is that, in the Sathya Sai educational undertaking, critical thinking is distinctly missing. When an English teacher at the Sathya Sai College in Whitefield, via Bangalore, South India, then Sai Baba’s premier education institution, I was alarmed at the extraordinary amount of rote learning to be seen. Swatting and regurgitation were on all sides. It was as though the great educational innovators, whether East or West, had never lived. Where were the exiting staff room discussions? Where was the meeting of minds? Where were the in-service professional development programs?  Where was there a working towards new paradigms? Rather, things were stuck in a time warp. Here or there was a teacher in love with his subject who deeply cherished the students (I think fondly of my former colleague P.K. Mohanti), but each lecturer slaved away in his own ‘burrow’. Lacking was a sense of the organic, of a meaningful community of learning. Marks and gold medals were the thing, and a wider unreformed education system in India reenforced this defecit of true learning. True, there were movements of reform in India, but the Sathya Sai setup, despite all the trumpet-blowing by those of narrow, uncritical mindsets on education, was decidedly not one of them.

In the way of innovation, I was fortunate in having the protection of the Principal (which actually meant Sai Baba), who handed over his own third year degree course to me as well as my teaching the other two years of the English course and the encouragement of the scientist and Sai Baba’s chief interpreter into English Dr S. Bhagavantham and the Board and two of my immediate colleagues, and many marvelous boys (both those devoted and not devoted to Sathya Sai Baba). But the flaws were great.

As the Sathya Sai Education in Human Values spread throughout Sai centers around the world, one could, yet again, see serious flaws. One saving grace was that contributors to the formation of the courses were international, which meant that some very antiquated teaching theory and practice got knocked aside. Since Robert Priddy and Serguei Badaev (the latter of whom was closely involved in SSEHV), both of them longtime educators, have incisively raised key questions, I shall point my readers to some of their critical work on Sathya Sai education programs. See my article: Sathya Sai Baba Critic Serguei Badaev: An Incisive Voice of Conscience From Russia

Priddy writes:

“The values according to [or against which] we act are unavoidable and essential links that tie together personal perceptions and judgements, motives and actions into the sphere of common cultural values.  They are central to grasping the motivations of our social and political life. Sai Baba promotes his own brand of ‘five human values’, which is a simple and often all too vague recipe. His biographer Kasturi writes that Sai Baba scribbled the 5 values down on the back of an envelope when Kasturi asked him to define them.  Grabbed as if out of thin air without any deeper thought, it is quite evident how shallow, rigid and incomplete they are when examined carefully and critically. They can only function at a most elementary level of teaching children, at best, for the doctrine is flawed and is badly out of step with modern thought and educational standards (outside developing nations)” .

Some Robert Priddy links on these issues

1) The Common Acceptance of Human Values
2) In what may human values consist?
3) Distinguishing and defining values
4) Human values defined in practice
5) Values and Anti-values
6) Values, character development and psychic health 
7) Inherent failings in Sai’s human values
8 ) Sai Baba’s teaching’s shortage of universal educational concepts and contents
9) Simplicity and vagueness in the service of moralism
10) The taint of intellectual and moral rigidity
11) Human justice as distinct from divine command
12) Sai Educare’s fundamentalist, doctrinaire teachings?

For still more detailed analysis of the above issues click here – SSEHV Exposed and:

Cardinal Failings in Sai Baba’s Human Values. Where the Teachings and the Teacher Go Wrong

Links for the study of Sathya Sai Education in Human Values and ‘Educare’ -and their shortcomings or failings – are found here:-

Why the Sathya Sai organization is a cult

See also -:

Serguei Badaev

The Story of My Disqualification
by Serguei Badaev
(ex-President of Sathya Sai Organization, Moscow Centre, ex-deputy National Coordinator and National SSEHV Coordinator, Russia)

Badaev has written:   “Critical thinking, as one of a basic skills of character building, is absolutely opposed to the EHV and Sai Educare approaches. I think it is a threat to the Sathya Sai mini-empire. The situation is in a sense very similar to what occurred during the Soviet regime. Communist leaders needed people with good character to work hard and with enthusiasm. But the regime tried to restrict firmly (or to control) the area of application of their intellect and research skills to keep themselves safe from their analysis. The same with Sathya Sai. There is a sort of invisible circle around him where you should abandon your critical skills and submit completely to his uncertainty and mystery. Another interesting aspect of Sai education is an idea of separate education of boys and girls which is taken for granted without any serious justification”.

Barry Pittard On Serguei Badaev

Sathya Sai Baba Critic Serguei Badaev: An Incisive Voice of Conscience From Russia


Barry Pittard’s comments in regard to the Public Petition) -:

Petition For Official Investigation Into Sathya Sai Baba Cult


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

There is a Spanish version available:


Posted in Morality, Opinion, Philosophy, Religion, South Asia, Theology, Theosophy, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Basava Premanand Long Challenged Indian Governments To Come Clean On Sathya Sai Baba

Posted by Barry Pittard on November 18, 2009

Among many attempts to awaken India to the great danger posed by chronic addiction to swamis, gurus and the like, India’s foremost rationalist the late B.Premanand tried to arouse government, media, legal  and public accountability. The odds he faced were utterly formidable. See my in memoriam tribute to Premanand, with whom I kept in touch over the years:

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

One might have thought that key Indian religious organizations, were they to have had guts, decency and nothing to hide, would, in effect, have said something like this:  Yes, we agree that horrible oppressions in the name of religion exist. We disagree with you Premanand in regard to deism and disbelief.  However, we are at one with you in wishing to stop exploitation, and we too will speak out very clearly, and do our best to ensure that you are not a voice crying in the wilderness.

And why not? – for indeed, in India, among the well-informed, there is a very long precedent where respect is held for reasoned belief and non-belief. India has evinced strong traditions of a ‘live and let live’ standard. But the case is vexed – as witness casteism and communalism. Nonetheless, non-deistic systems have long survived in India and recognized in a broad ‘hinduism’ – Charvaka, Jainism and Buddhism and the philosophical system known as Mimamsa. One might have wished there were enough forces for fertile and practical cooperation on at least common grounds between the deistic and non-deistic forces in India. But, at this pragmatic level, wherever one travelled, there was a sense that the forces of corruption, reinforced by nepotism, were in far too powerful control for any form of genuine democracy to flourish. It is difficult to imagine any greater reinforcement for the old attitudes of fatalism.

Nor has Sathya Sai Baba kept his promise to “clean (his) own back yard (India), before going to other countries, as I, among others, have chronicled:

Sathya Sai Baba Continues To Ail

When Disasters Overtake S. Sai Baba’s Promises

‘World Avatar’ Sathya Sai Baba’s Troubled Trail

With regard to the unwillingness of Hindu temple organizations to come forth regarding Sathya Sai Baba, see my article:

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

I here quoted from an email from a very notable Hindu leader (with an important government remit) with whom, at various times, I have privately corresponded.  Beneath the Premanand quote below, I quote the Hindu leader’s note.

It is well-known that Mahatma Gandhi would in no uncertain terms berate those of his fellow Indians who showed signs of cowardice and its stinky bedmate hypocrisy. One of my well-wishers along my pilgrim way, an Indian swami close to the late Sri Anandamayi Ma, told me that he had witnessed Gandhi delivering himself of a tremendous rebuke when those around him failed to live up to the high standards to which they gave lip service.

As anyone can see, across the years of issues of, for example, his newsletter ‘The Indian Skeptic‘, it was one Premanand’s methods to press governments for accountability. He would carefully register his letters so that a signature was required by any official addressed. His frequent experience was the officials’ very serious obscurantism and inaction, and their replies unwittingly revealed these abysmal qualities to any half alert reader of Premanand’s various publications.

Of course, one of the difficulties was that they regarded him as a ‘nastika’ (an unbeliever). But the problem lay deeper than this. It was that the corruption and its cover up were so endemic, and many terribly courageous Indians have fought against it. In our networked group, there have been, too,  cries of upset that anyone of us should deal with Premanand. Glen Meloy and I, and subsequently Robert Priddy too, had a mutually respectful interface with Premanand, which included matters of internationally coordinating credible witnesses for the BBC in the making of ”The Secret Swami’.  See:

Glen Meloy (“Standing up for truth and goodness”) – In Memoriam

Of Glen, Premanand wrote to me:

“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.”

Fortunately, given the breadth of educated viewpoints among networked former devotees of Sathya Sai Baba, this antipathy towards any contact with Premanand, though strenuously put, was in a minority. As I see it, two of the real questions are:

  • does one believe in speaking forthrightly when facts are being profoundly covered up – facts  that no ethical system of any major faith or rationalist or humanist standpoint would in the least espouse? And
  • does one believe that labelling others is often a great harm, and one of the greatest obstacles to mutual respect of persons as persons?

Undemocratic Non-Response: A Typical Case of Indian Government Cover Up of Sathya Sai Baba and His Cult

See, the article:

Basava Premanana challenges Ex-PM Vajpayee to come clean

Text below taken from the Indian Skeptic, November 2006:

To, The Director and CPIO,
Prime Minister Office,
South Block New Delhi 110 001 Under the Right to Information Act – 2005.

Dear Sir, 24.8.2006

Ref: Statement of Mr. A.B.Vajpayee the Ex. Prime Minister of India along with the two retired Chief Justices Of India Mr.P.N.Bhagwathi and Mr.Ranganath Mishra, published on internet

At last, thank you for your letter No.RTI/26/2006-PMA, dated 17.8’2006 received by me on 22.8.2006 regarding my letter to The Hon Prime Minister Of India dated 13.3.2006 which was received on 16.3.2006 after a long merry- go-round for five months from one ministry to another.

The question was a very simple one “As the Indian Prime Minister and the two retired Chief Justices of India would not give such statements without proper investigation.

To provide me with the certified copy ot the investigation on the sexual abuse of youth by Sathya Sai Baba.

Though you have confirmed that no papers related to such investigation are available in the Prime Minister Office, you have not been courageous enough to seek explanation from Mr. Vajpayee as the statement mentioned in the reference was made by him when he was the. Prime Minister of India.

You have also not acknowledged the memo dated 9.8.2006 from the Ministry of Home Affairs No. MHA ID No.24013/11/2006 – CSR III with the copy of my letter dated 17.7,2006 asking to get information from Mr.Vajpayee whether the statement signed by him and the two .retired Chief Justices Of India was after ascertaining the true facts.

I would be thankful to you if you will kindly write to Mr.Vajpayee and provide me with the information sought for.

I have the greatest regard for one present Prime Minister who has after Mrs. lndira Gandhi added the duties of Indian Citizens in the constitution which even her father dared not, now Mr. Manmohan Singh by promulgation the Rights of information Act 2005 making his Government a transparent one. This needs a lot of courage as the majority of the politicians and bureaucrats would hate this law.

Though not necessary, I am enclosing herewith a Postal Order No.43 E 787592 for Rs. 107- made in your name and I hope to get the information within 30 days of receipt of this letter under section 7 (i) of the RTI Act
Thanking you

Yours Sincerely
(B. Premanand)

The posting by the Indian PM and colleagues was posted here earlier – SEE here


From an email to me from a notable Hindu leader

“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”.


Premanand Responds to Infamy

V.P.B. Nair. B.Premanand. R.Priddy: Sai Baba Bedroom Killings

Massive sabotage try by Sai. Org person foiled

Gurubusting Sathya Sai Baba

“Murders in Sai Baba’s Bedroom” by B. Premanand. Price India Rs. 400/-, Overseas US $40/- (free postage). Publ. by B. Premanand. 11/7 Chettipalayam Road, Podnadur. 641 023 Tamil Nadu, India


Barry Pittard’s comments in regard to the Public Petition) -:

Petition For Official Investigation Into Sathya Sai Baba Cult


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

There is a Spanish version available:


Posted in Philosophy, Rationalism, Religion, Skeptics, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Dr G. Venkataraman, Sathya Sai Baba’s Nuclear Boon Companion

Posted by Barry Pittard on September 29, 2009

Robert Priddy is the former long-time head of the Sathya Sai Organization in Norway and a retired philosopher in the Social Sciences, University of Oslo. He has written insightfully on the extraordinary, often procrustean efforts of Dr G. Venkataraman to rationalise his beliefs in Sathya Sai Baba. The latter is Sathya Sai Baba’s head of Sai Global Radio and deputy chairman of the international Sathya Sai Organization  Though not a physical (actually, nuclear) scientist like Venkataraman, he has an abiding interest in the sciences, and how a certain variety of scientists, in a great minority but with unfortunate influence far beyond their importance, falsely use science to buttress up their religious claims.

The following information may be of particular value for journalistic and scholarly investigators, and also those institutions and agencies which the Sathya Sai cult in many countries attempts to influence – but without portraying their real agendas. For those who may like to hunt and peck among Priddy’s writings on G. Venkataraman, I have excerpted from articles that appear at:


Robert C. Priddy On Dr G. Venkataraman, Sathya Sai Baba’s Chief Propagandist

Dr. G. Venkataraman, propagandist in the limelight

Dr. G. Venkataraman, a physicist, formerly employed in India’s nuclear bomb programme community, became a devotee of Sathya Sai Baba when he suffered major depression after the loss of his son. Being one of the few somewhat notable scientists in the following, he was duly made Vice-Chancellor of Sai Baba’s university at Puttaparthi. He is now on the central body ruling Sai matter, the Prashanthi Council, and is 2nd-in-command of the International Sathya Sai Organization. As head of Sai Global Harmony which broadcasts Sai propaganda en masse via WorldSpace International Satellite Radio Service, 24/7 to a number of countries. The agenda of this multi-billion dollar mini-empire involves penetration of the world and infiltrations of all official bodies, governments, UN organizations and so on. The entire set-up has virtually all of the distinguishing features of a clandestinely-managed religious cult. They exploit the liberal world’s tolerance under freedom of religion legislation, though they operate in a completely top-down, no feedback, autocratic and censoring cult.

Slander by Dr. G. Venkataraman & Joe Moreno

Among the many intentional untruths that has been spun and spread about Barry Pittard and myself is the claim that we somehow are behind the entire exposè of Sathya Sai Baba ….

Dr. G. Venkarataman – head of Radio Sai and member of Sai Baba’s ruling Prashanthi Council – has lied about me on his misnamed “heart-to-heart” website, where he wrote “Robert Priddy who was one of those who started much of this slander claimed that two Vice Chancellors of Universities in Australia supported the allegations.” This is so far the only claim published against my name by any central Sai official. The distinct activity in the exposure of Sathya Sai Baba’s sexual abuses began already from about April 1999  with many testimonies and documented facts about Sathya Sai Baba’s alleged sex abuses, fraud, deceptions – I did not start any of that. The two Vice-Chancellors were contacted before my time by Glen Meloy and Barry Pittard, I have only referred their contacts with them. Since then I have spoken out on many issues known to me (not least through Sai Baba’s close servitor, V.K. Narasimhan – also my close friend and confidante).

Donations to Sathya Sai Central Trust misused by/for directors etc.

The only top Sai official who has ever even mentioned the many allegations against Sai Baba – and then only after a period of six years or more had gone by – is Dr. G. Venkataraman. He has shown his true colours, however, in having written a document full of cover-up and false statements aiming to refute the countless allegations against Sai Baba, which has been refuted in its entirety point by point with full documentation (see here).

Sathya Sai Baba, dictator Idi Amin and G. Venkataraman

In a discourse held on Christmas Day (2007) – of all days – Sathya Sai Baba chose to talk most affirmatively about the spirituality of his meetings with the despot and Dictator Idi Amin. His servile propagandist G. Venkataraman – who ought to have known better – blithely overlooked Idi Amin was a known and self-confessed murderer who had at least five wives and 23 children (plus hundreds of ‘lady friends’), who fed enemies to crocodiles, reportedly kept some of his victims in his deep freezer, and – according to persistent reports of his staff who escaped – even tasted human flesh!

Apologist for Sathya Sai Baba

The only top Sai official who has ever even mentioned the many allegations against Sai Baba – and then only after a period of six years or more had gone by – is Dr. G. Venkataraman. He has shown his true colours, however, in having written a document full of cover-up and false statements aiming to refute the countless allegations against Sai Baba, which has been refuted in its entirety point by point with full documentation (see here).


To accept Sathya Sai Baba as a universal teacher also means accepting ‘Creationism’

(see, That is a totally discredited quasi-theory, banned from education by a 1987 Supreme Court ruling.Venkataraman’s attempt to misuse science to support his belief in God does not befit anyone who truly bends to the scientific spirit.

Dr.G. Venkataraman – physicist ‘explains’ Sathya Sai Baba.

Dr. G. Venkataraman rambles on denigrating scientists and science and promoting Sathya Sai Baba – as God descended to earth – and his most spurious speculations (’teachings’) about an invisible beyond

G. Venkataraman’s out-dated and fallacious ideas – part two. Propagating Sai Baba’s anti-scientific views, Dr. G. Venkataraman – former physicist – attacks science and scientists in general for the usual sins that religionists hold them to be committing. These I refute at some length, as called for.

Atomic physics Puttaparthi style. Deeply intriguing

Some few quotations from many similarly anti-empirical statements and false ideas by Sathya Sai Baba show how he tried to impose on a simplified picture of the atom and the universe a meaning and purpose which is pure speculation… even though it has ancient roots in obscure and often confused scriptures written when humankind was in a very primitive state of speculation and ignorance of the workings of the physical universe. Interestingly, his chief propagandist is a relatively informed physicist (relative to Sathya Sai baba) yet this poor superstition-beleaguered Dr. G. Venkataraman – in his blind faith – naturally fails to challenge any of the Tommy rot his Lord and Master preaches.

Venkataraman – the most gullible physicist alive?

Dr. G. Venkataraman reviews at length developments in our scientific knowledge of the cosmos… though nothing scientific that is not found in hundreds of books and other media. Venkataraman was a physicist working for the Indian government’s nuclear programme. However, he has copied his information on astronomy from other scientific authorities. Yet he does not once attribute anything he reports to its originators or to other scientific sources! He has even plagiarised text from the Dennis Dutton website, without any mention.

Outright plagiarism: Both text and an image ‘lifted’ from by Prof. G. Venkataraman, who also took the following images, all  without acknowledgement:-

The Big Bang’ image from

An Expanding Universe’ from
‘The Periodic Table of Elements’ is from (on which he has even imposed the logo of Radio.Sai!

The Chandra Telescope’ images come from

and from

The images of white dwarfs are falsely sub-titled “ sai” but they are taken  from

He uses copyright images from the Anglo-Australian Observatory at

This failure to cite any references in articles on science or academic subjects is regarded as dilettantism by scientists and scholars. The innocent and uneducated may well believe that Venkataraman  discovered such things himself, when he is simply promoting himself as if he were an authoritative researcher. This marks him out as bogus. In addition to this absence of basic scholarly standards, he has a pretentious main agenda. He presumes to inform us of 1) The Cosmic origin of man.  2) Man’s Cosmic connections. 3) Man’s Cosmic responsibilities, and 4) Man’s Cosmic Destiny, no less!
These (contra-feminist) titles alone reveal that he is setting himself up as some kind of ‘spiritual mouthpiece’, misusing science as a mere tool in an attempt to inculcate religious belief – preferably  faith in his Lord and Master, Sathya Sai Baba, as the Incarnation of God Almighty in this Age.

Venkataraman, a victim of emotional blackmail?

One of the many former devotees with whom I correspond privately has commented to me that “Dr.G. Venkataraman lost all his scruples.” Also that he “had a harrowing experience when he lost his son and that is the main reason he is with Sathya Sai Baba who kind of gave him emotional support during the hard times.” Sathya Sai Baba is known to inquire of his servitors about persons coming to him, and so he is able to pretend he knows their problems and gives assurances he will take care of them etc.. But he does not even do this when he gets a massive payback in support, funds or other services… as was seen in the case of the long sufferings and inability to cure some of his staunchest supporters.

Money, Morality and Sai-worshipper Dr. Venkataraman

Venkataraman has lost all his scruples about sexual abuse allegations and murder cover-up by Sai Baba, he is comfortable with all of it! (See here!) So morality is certainly ignored in his scheme of things, at any rate. He also tells what everyone knows anyhow, how scientists made the atomic bomb and states, Overnight, scientists lost their innocence and became putty in the hands of those who had money to throw.” Well, G. Venkataraman is one of those very persons, for – like his more accomplished former colleague Dr. Bhagavantam – he worked for the Indian government on developing atomics which backed up India’s nuclear capacity! Now he is preaching against this… and he is one of the guilty!


Other Articles referring to Dr G. Venkataraman

Barry Pittard, at ‘Call For Media and Government Investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba’s ‘Minister of Propaganda’ – Dr G. Venkataraman

Indian Nuclear Scientist Now Sathya Sai Baba’s Global Radio Chief

The Case of UNESCO’s Missing Media Advisory


Posted in Miracles, Morality, Opinion, Philosophy, Rationalism, Religion, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Will the Real Professor Alvin Drucker Be Upstanding?

Posted by Barry Pittard on September 9, 2009

For many years, Professor Alvin Drucker, an ex-NASA scientist, was one of those ‘star turns’ well in demand as a keynote speaker within the international Sathya Sai Organization. In the seventies, he taught at the Sathya Sai College in Whitefield during part of the same time that I taught there, and he lived within the compound that housed Sai Baba’s residence.

A common assumption was that Sai Baba had cast Drucker out because he had disobeyed his guru in marrying (or wanting to) Yaani. She is his wife to this day.

Will the Real Professor Alvin Drucker Be Upstanding?

However, we learn from reliable sources of the reason for Professor Alvin Drucker’s departing the side of Sathya Sai Baba:

Very distressed parents of young boys came to him desperate for some kind of explanation for actions bearing all the indications of Sathya Sai Baba’s sexual molestation of their sons. Al Drucker left for this reason, and got married.


(The witnesses’ details and proof of their excellent standing in their professions and communities, and of their longtime devotion, high-standing and service to Sathya Sai Baba will be shared on request with reputed media, lawfirms, scholarly investigators, etc. Barry Pittard)

One thinks of the case of a still more prominent former Sathya Sai Baba lecturer, David Bailey, and the manner in which many anguished parent came to him (and his wife, Faye). See: The Findings by David and Faye Bailey, UK. Eye-witness reports (see that of Robert Priddy below) indicate that, after a passage of years, Drucker returned to Puttaparthi. Those who argue badly, ignoring psychological complexities such as the in-denial state of mind, like simple-mindedly to state that Drucker has come “back to Swami” so what are critics of Sathya Sai Baba on about. Let him speak for himself. But will he? Do those grief-stricken parents who came to him mean nothing to him any more?

There is no doubting the excellent standing of a number informants with whom Drucker has shared this information, and who have written to us over time. They would make excellent witnesses in a court of law or if interviewed by media or scholarly investigators.

Naturally, it would be of benefit were Drucker himself to make a clear statement. Or is he content to stand by while those who have done their best, against many and formidable obstacles, to bring out the truth are execrated as liars, spreading stories for money (Sathya Sai Baba has said), hallucinating (Dr John Hislop) , disgruntled, hateful apostates, and so forth.

One may add that Drucker has often written and spoken on the Vedas. Where, then, is his fearlessness? It is a notion that resounds through the Vedas.


See former head of the Norwegian Sathya Sai Organization Robert Priddy’s journal entry of which he refers as:

“Directly recorded notes from my long Brindavan stay 1994 – about V.K. Narasimhan and Al Drucker (scanned from 1994 notebook)”
V.K. Narasimhan on Sai colleges etc. Transcript:

SUNDAY 27/3/94 (Bhajan all day)
Afternoon darshan: Sat in chair at back. He came down to the last block and looked in my direction – but did not fixate gaze on me. [Same way?]
I had back problems again.

Comment: Once I had thought that Sai Baba had helped cure my spinal misalignment problems – caused by several falls from childhood onwards – especially though a dream. I later realised, when the problems returned and got worse, that it had just been some temporary placebo effect.

After darshan I was hi-jacked to the Warden’s room at the college by Narasimhan. He did not want to use my last chapter for Sanathana – he considered my view of the Organisation to be too positive.

Comment: Narasimhan had already occasionally expresses scepticism about the claims by leaders in the Sai Organization and he had suffered problems from Sai Baba because he had published things in the journal Sanathana Sarathi by a Central Coordinator which were intended to mislead him (about copyright), resulting in him being suspended as editor for a long period. VKN was particularly cynical about Antonio Craxi (brother of the then Italian PM B. Craxi – later convicted of embezzlements) because of his Mafia connections and his vile attacks on other leaders in Italy, like Marena who eventually replaced Craxi.

But he did not say why – just went on in his usual way, recounting life experiences at kibbutzim, in Massachusetts and so on and soon the Warden gave us Sai prasadam – and another (lecturer in English lit.) gave us a second lot – so I had for both Reidun and I. It was Mysore pak.

It turned out I had deserted Reidun – should have met her after darshan to visit Robert and Rita!! But I thought it was after dinner!
Heard about Al Drucker: he is literally excommunicated – can’t enter any of the ashrams or go to Sai centres in the US. It is because he married a young girl against Swami’s expressed wish. The girl was refused at the ashram when her identity was found out. But she later got Baba to take a letter (presumably by staying incognito somehow to the ashram staff). She is not allowed in, ever!! Swami once said to Drucker that he could not have realisation because he would first have to lose everything. Drucker said he wanted it anyhow. Who knows? Or perhaps he broke faith with Sai

Comment: Alvin Drucker was a long-term (US) resident at the ashrams and very active promoter of Sathya Sai Baba. I had seen briefly one day previously, and the news came via Reidun after a long talk she had with an American lady devotee who had recently come from the interview where Sai Baba had seen both Drucker and his new wife at the interview (possibly they had not yet actually married). Sai Baba He had warned Al that he would cut him off and had told Yaani that Al was dying of stomach cancer and he was far too old for her etc. (Yaani was later brutally raped on Shivartri night before a shrine to Sai Baba and who wrote and lectured about it, demonstrating her state of total psychological denial – see here,and here)

Transcript (black text) and comments (violet text):-

6/10/98 Changed room from B2 to B4, which Anne-Irene vacated before darsan. Missed darsan again therefore. New room cooler and various advantages. (Comment: However, this North block for Organization donors was daily enveloped for hours in a vomit-ghastly putrid smell of rotting faeces from an open sewage pit nearby which should have been replaced by an ecological system – but the officials stole the money given for the purpose! See the facts about this scam here)
Saw Narasimhan briefly – I wouldn’t stay. He was writing the preface for ‘From Bapu to Baba’ 3rd ed. His eye is very poor – but he may get a lease of new eyesight from glasses designed by an English specialist soon. (Comment: Battling on as editor of Sai’s journal at his command, VKN had taken an eye operation on Sai Baba’s advice and lost the eye as a result, despite vibuti applied by Baba after the op. See here.)
We saw a bearded Al Drucker when we came from darsan. He seemed not to have been to it. (Comment: Since Alvin Drucker was banned from th ashram by Sai baba personally in 1992 see here, he had not been seen at any Organization conferences either. He attended the ‘paduka’ (sandal) ceremonies but hid away from everyone the rest of the time. The beard seemed to be a disguise)
Saw Henk and exchanged a greeting. Wrote rest of letter to Ragnhild …. etc…

7/10/89 At benches by 6.19 Shenai and drum music. Still a few places. We were awoken at 5.30 by Oms and Suprabhatam just outside our window at full force. Then music, chanting, more trumpet and drum music etc. Also a dose of unstoppable feedback from the microphones, despite repeated late night “Testing, testing, one, two”‘s
Went with Narasimhan in car, driven by his relative (brother’s son-in-law) who organised the entire Rayalaseema Water Project (he had come from the USA). (He had secured a copy of my book from the US too). N. and I had a chat about Sai Books and my book. He has told Devendra that my book would be a runaway success, so no problem with an edition there. The index he feels best in data form. (see about Suri’s misappropriations here)
Suri was removed on a good “pretext” by Swami – a book he published caused Swami’s ire … some Ma who claimed that she embraces Sai as a mother etc. N. said Suri is a rogue who still pretends he is in grace, sitting on the verandah. His wife, however, is a devoted server – as are her parents.
Damodar Rao is in B’lore & very ill. Hans is with him. Srinivas Rajendra is going strong and lecturing.

(Comment:Damodar Rao was an old follower of Sai Baba – a retired circuit judge – who visited the US once and told me his story at great length. He told me that he thought sexual abusers of children “should all be boiled alive in oil”!! A very extremist viewpoint for a judge? But perhaps not in India? This subject came up without reference to Sai Baba, who neither of us suspected (then). Hans was Hans Baerholm, a Danish follower i knew well too, who was living in Rao’s house in Bangalore.)


Further Reading

Nothing Is Real, Strawberry Fields Forever
or ‘Yaani Drucker on how nothing was turned into nothing, by nobody’
by Reidun Priddy

Yanni Drucker and Sathya Sai Baba’s Advaitic Doctrine
A recipe for confusion and personality disorder?
by Robert Priddy

Ex-NASA Scientist and Wife Test Sathya Sai Baba’s ‘Grace’

Note: Yaani and Al Drucker have publicly subscribed to the notion that Yaani – in her brutal rape in a Sai center – was never raped. It was only her body that was raped. The lack of careful distinction between a philosophical of spiritual vantage-point is evident here, and the case is suggestive of the dangers of extrapolating a concept and servicing a psychological denial of events that need formal professional counseling. It is a view that too well lends itself to false notions of forgiveness, and to actually aiding criminals.It must, however, be said that the rapist in this event was convicted on Jaani Drucker’s evidence. What I refer to is the importance in ensuring that auditors to accounts like this do not go away harbouring – in an air of unreality – interpretations that endanger psychological health and social responsibility.

See the entire Christmas 2000 Discourse as translated verbatim by his students


Excerpt From Public Petition (With Barry Pittard‘s comments)

(Note: 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:


Posted in Opinion, Philosophy, Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychotherapy, Religion, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

Revealing Materials On Sai Baba Of India

Posted by Barry Pittard on December 21, 2008

In a surprise visit to Puttaparthi and other official Sathya Sai Baba locales in late 2008, Brian Steel acquired a series of books and audio materials.
There are several notable scholarly and other strengths observable in Brian Steel’s vast opus on the Sathya Sai phenomenon.
Yet again, these qualities come into play in his most recent offering: Recent books about Sathya Sai Baba. Part 2. Different Types of Hagiography Brian Steel, December 2008

By Their Documents We Shall Know Them

One of these strengths is his persistent use of, and great familiarity with, the large load (and, from a critical point of view, lode) of official and other public devotee documents. Through his emphasis on these sources – as distinct from other sources of information – Steel has been able to expose Sai Baba’s astounding array of self-generated myths, failed predictions, incorrect scientific and historical references, and, all in all, a seemingly endless series of contradictions and anomalies, as well as a great deal of highly flawed hagiography. See my article:

Cult Exposure. By Their Documents Ye Shall Know Them

in which I noted:

It is by reference to the conflicted words and actions of Sathya Sai Baba’s leaders that the profound failure of intellectual and moral integrity of his operation at large is made manifest to honest enquirers. Indeed Robert Priddy’s main website is entitled: Sathya Sai Baba In Word And Action

Steel’s Emphasis On SS Org Documents Complements Other Forms Of Analysis

An example of the ‘other sources of information’ to which I just referred are those accounts from many parts of the world where subjects have reported their direct experiences of sexual abuse of boys and young men, of the cover up by the ashram and local, state and central government organs in India of circumstances surrounding the killings in Sai Baba’s bedroom on April 6, 1993, various ashram scams – e.g., those relating to the sale of apartments at the Prashanthi Nilayam, Puttaparthi, and Brindavan, Kadugodi – and so forth.

It is not that Brian Steel gainsays the significance of these other accounts, although I have long thought that he likes to be on the more solid empirical ground, where the often self-exposing, officially recorded words of the so-called God, and of his apostles, can hardly be swallowed back.  Steel has, in fact, continued – although without the fetters of a blind belief which he, like others of us were once weighed down by – in a line of expertise which was his, as an important published writer within the Sai literary canon especially in the Sai bibliographical area, when he was a follower for twelve years of Sathya Sai Baba.

Recently, Brian Steel returned from a surprise visit to Puttaparthi bearing a swag of documents and audiovisual material that, under his critical scrutiny, reveal far more mischief than their devotion-blinded authors surely ever dreamed would be perceptible to commonsense and reason. Their works taken uncritically by devotees will, of course, only reinforce persistent Sai mythmaking, but, if exposed to the world at large, will not be likely to win friends and influence people.

Official Sai Audiovisuals Show Steadily Ageing Sai Baba (Who Said He Would Not Age After His 60th Birthday!)

In his fascinating article looking at some of the material he brought back with him, under the subheading ‘Official Promotion of Sathya Sai Baba – Audiovisual’

Brian Steel says:

I have viewed four of these 60-minute $2 DVDs (purchased at a SSO Centre in India). Three of them, in a series called Spiritual Blossoms (possibly produced for the guru’s 80 th Birthday in 2005), offer DVD versions of short archival clips from many old videos from the 1960s to the 1990s (with an added background bhajan accompaniment – in Part 2 of Volume 3, SSB sings bhajans himself).

The fourth DVD which I purchased in India was With the LORD in the Mountains (, April 2006) This is the official record of SSB’s 2006 visit to his summer centre, Sai Sruti, in Kodaikanal, with his entourage, his students and some devotees (including some foreigners). The footage gives graphic evidence of the steady physical decline of Sathya Sai Baba in the past four or five years. This has brought about major changes in his former flamboyant darshan style, which now consists mainly of wheelchair-bound appearances, with several students constantly hovering in attendance, particularly to support him if he attempts to stand up or move about. His conversation and personal contact with devotees is much more limited and less spontaneous than in his heyday but the DVD shows that in 2006 he was still able to accept many letters and to exchange some words from his custom-built wheelchair. Recent 2008 official website footage (especially from shows how his physical condition has continued to decline in the past two years and how painful it seems for him to make discourses. His face now remains expressionless for most of the time or seems to display something akin to disorientation.

Related Reading

Select writings of Brian Steel

Sathya Sai Baba can be documented by any conscientious reader as having made contradictory statements and egregious historical and scientific blunders. These include his remarks on Jesus Christ and Martin Luther . For Steel’s detailed and sharply contextualized discussion, see: Sai Baba and Christianity. Some Observations (2002). Steel remarks here the alarming “extent of Sai Baba’s inventiveness”. This can be instructively read in concert with his Basic Notes On Sai Baba’s Credibility Problem (2004)

Brian Steel Indexes

Barry Pittard On Brian Steel

Brian Steel’s Surprise Visit To Sathya Sai Baba’s Ashram
William Aitken’s Book Fails to Answer Sai Baba Critics
For Brian Steel’s detailed exposure of severe inadequacies of a formost Sai Baba hagiographer mentioned in this article refer to Steel’s:
Bill Aitken and Sathya Sai Baba. A Writer’s Dilemma,
on William Aitken’s book, ‘Sri Sathya Sai Baba. A Life (New Delhi, Penguin Books, India, 2004. Paperback edition, 2006)

Robert Priddy. Similar themes

William Bill Aitken’s base attacks on serious critics
William McKay (Bill) Aitken’s academic shortcomings
Bill Aitken, bogus ‘religious expert’ on Sai Baba

Posted in New Age, News and Politics, Philosophy, Prophecy, Rationalism, Religion, Sai Baba, Scams, Skeptics, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

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

Posted by Barry Pittard on August 5, 2007

Within Hinduism, the Shiva lingam can represent the wonder and majesty of creation-dissolution, a symbol of limitlessness. See Wikipedia, underLingam‘:

‘The term lingam is sometimes used synonymously for shivalingam or sivalingam a specific type of icon or altar representing the god Shiva’

View Revealing video Clips From The BBC’s The Secret Swami. See Below

Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

In Sanskrit, this object is often called a lingodhbhava. In India, especially in the south, down the millennia, via literature, drama, temple worship and so on, the sacredness of its associations have become immense.  egg of gold shivalinga.jpg

Sathya Sai Baba had, over a number of years, ostensibly brought from his stomach a pure gold egg-shaped Shiva lingam (Sivalingam, Shivalingam). This event he performed at the festival to the Hindu god Siva, or Mahashivarathri. For two decades, Sai Baba ceased what had been a yearly (so-called miraculous) production of the lingam. Why would he resume it in February 1999? And be caught out by the BBC in 2004?

A Lordly Miracle Might Revive Emperor’s Crumbling Empire

I have elsewhere characterized Sai Baba as, in certain respects but not in all, a master showman, see The Decline and Fall of the Showman Empire. Around Sai Baba, all is panoply, pomp and circumstance – and dazzling architecture costing millions.

hillview-stadium3.jpgSai Baba’s pet elephant, Sai Gita appearing at Sai Baba’s showpiece Hillview Stadium

barnum-and-bailey-the-greatest-show-on-earth.jpgA Hindu dissenter of Sai Baba, chance-met, who was at Puttaparthi on suffrance, once said to me, “This is a national circus”.

sai-baba-dwelling.jpgSai Baba’s humble living quarters

But empire or circus, the show is a voracious money ‘beast’ that has continually to be fed. Gold may or may not come out of Sai Baba’s stomach but it certainly has to keep on going into his coffers.

sai-baba-on-pure-gold-chariot-sept-1997.jpgSai Baba showcased in pure gold

What then the case of a series of calamitous exposures in major media around the world? What of all the leave-takings from his worldwide Sathya Sai Organization – far more numerous than formal resignations? What of the threatened recruitment bases?

Big Money Replenishment – A Desperation to Recruit in Luxurious Venues

In tightly controlled circumstances, the Sathya Sai Organization now recruits in highly costly, luxurious venues. For example, Cooper’s Union, New York; La Mirada Theatre; Los Angeles County, Hilton Ballroom and Sheraton Hotel and Towers, both Chicago; Copley International Conference Center, San Diego; Town Hall, Melbourne; Super Dome, Sydney, etc. See article by Robert Priddy and Barry Pittard, Sai Organization’s Spending Spree In Super Dome, Sydney.

sydney-superdome.jpgSydney Superdome, Australia one of world’s top stadiums, built for the Olympic Games 2000

A Positive BBC Documentary Would Help Recuperate from Intense International Criticism

The BBC was on the scene, and the ashram officials had given a rare permission to shoot inside the Puttaparthi ashram. It was not until the BBC producer of what was to become the television documentary The Secret Swami (2004) Eamon Hardy asked about the worldwide sex abuse allegations that matters drastically altered. The Sathya Sai Central Trust Secretary, K. Chakravarthy, summarily evicted the BBC team. The Indian television company Sanskaar TV also televised this Mahashivarathi event.

There had been, especially from 2000, tremendous international pressure for Sai Baba and his worldwide Sathya Sai Organization. (See, towards the end of the article – Sathya Sai Baba’s Deputy Head, Dr G. Venkataraman, Speaks of “Mr Idi Amin” – a number of heavy stressors that were being applied by globally networked former devotees known as ‘the exposé). One outcome was the display of an anger Sai Baba has long kept behind-the-scenes. Bad cracks began to appear in the Sai monolith, and the world began to peep through. In a Christmas 2000 discourse, in which peace and goodwill to all men were remarkable for their absence, Sai Baba repeatedly pounded his lectern, denouncing his accuses as demons and Judases, and vaunting his accomplisments (even though, contrary to his assertions, far from unique), prompting The Times of India, December 26, 2000, to headline: Sai Baba Lashes Out At His Detractors. He cried,

“Is there any government that is giving free medical care? People don’t even think about the sanctity behind it. Most of the educated have become so low and mean minded. Is there anyone who is doing even one thousandth of this work ? No, no. It is only Sathya Sai Baba, who is doing this selflessly, always for the welfare of others.”

He has at various times said he is anger-free. For example:

“When I am defamed, I never get incensed, for it is only the tree full of edible fruits that is attached by sticks and stones.” (Sathya Sai Speaks Vol. 4 p. 184).

“There is no trace of anger or hatred in Me and hence everyone loves Me” (Sanathana Sarathi September 2002, page 257f)

Sathya Sai Speaks of his alleged lingam creations

“Ah! This is the Brahmaanda Linga! Symbol of the Universe. Inside it, the nine planets (Navagrahas) revolve; the entire Universe is represented herein … You are indeed blessed, the merit of many births as brought you here to see the Great Phenomenon, this rare Creation.” (Sathya Sai Speaks, IV, 4:26).

He has also said:

“This is Amruthtatwam (symbol of immortality). It is changeless. You cannot see such a manifestation anywhere in the world. It is possible only with Divinity.” (Sanathana Sarathi – March 1999, p. 73)

In 2004, as caught by BBC and Indian television cameras, Sai Baba not only produced one lingam, but, if we take his officials’ word for it, two more offstage. The public ‘miracle’ he performed, to the suprise of many, in terribly fumbling and absent-minded fashion. One would think that this to declining faculties that many have noticed but which his minders have tried to mask as best they can under the all too tell-tale circumstances, and which Sai devotees keep a numbed silence about). However, according to Sai Baba’s chief translator and also a world-travelling emissary Professor Anil Kumar in his words to the crowds, Sai Baba privately manifested two more ‘atma lingams’ off-stage.

Datta, Tanya In the BBC’s The Secret Swami, the interviewer Tanya Datta comments:

“To the alarm of the crowd suddenly Sai Baba collapsed. His huge coterie of staff swung into action. There was panic. An organisation used to tight control seemed to have lost its grip. Sai Baba was hastily wheeled off stage.” Later, he is carried hobbling back, with officials claiming that he manifested two more lingams offstage”. Transcript is HERE. See the whole documentary. Broadband users click HERE (80 MB). There is a small version for modem users Here (23,3 MB)
Or you can download it packed in zip file (22 MB) Here.

Returning to the Kulwant Hall stage within the next hour, to the immensely relieved audience of many thousands, a pale and shaken Sai Baba makes the unfathomable claim:

“Out of the stomach emanated Shiva Lingas of the weight of three tonnes. That’s the reason why some strain on the face and the body”

But Centuries of Magicians Have Produced Objects By Regurgitation

Magicians have long produced objects – both precious and trivial – from out of their stomachs. A contemporary example is the British regurgitator Stevie Starr. The website: informs us that:

“He swallows live goldfish, pool balls, numbered coins, even dry sugar, and manages to bring them back up in order, on command (and in the case of the sugar, completely dry!)”

If you feel that you can control your own stomach, you can see a video clip (4.4mb) of Stevie Star at work HERE

There is a German documentary that shows ‘sadhus’ or Hindu ‘holy men’ performing tricks, including regurgitation:  Das Mysterium Der Shiva – Heilige Männer (Ein film von Eberhart Thiem, Helga Lippert, Arno Peik) from a German series called Terra X – Rätsel alter Weltkulturen). Swallowing of nails and regurgitating them one at a time is shown.

For a fascinating byway in film history, see HADJI ALI, Scenes from POLITIQUERIAS, the Spanish-language version of Laurel and Hardy’s Chickens Come Home. Hadji Ali is of that group of performers known as ‘regurgitators’ or ‘water spouters’. A vaudeville star in the first decades of the last century, this Egyptian-born performer was billed as ‘The Great Regurgitator’. In the webpage just cited, there are stark black and white shots of Hadji Ali performing the regurgitation trick in a 1931 Stanley Laurel and Oliver Hardy movie.

The Indian ‘holyman’ Swami Premananda also used to produce lingams.  He now sits in the bowls of a gaol with a double life sentence for rape  and murder, and not likely to be regurgitated therefrom.

basava-premanand-bbc-news-pic.jpgThe celebrated Indian Rationalist and ‘guru buster’ Basava Premanand appeared in the BBC’s The Secret Swami. Originally a Sai Baba devotee, he reported investigating Sathya Sai Baba since 1968, first “as a hobby” then going public in 1976. In this one-hour television documentary, B. Premanand is seen demonstrating the trick behind Sai Baba’s so-called ‘miraculous’ production of the golden lingam or Shiva lingam.  See my tribute:  Basava Premanand. Vale. A fighter for truth who lived what others preach

Powerful Psycho-religious Role of the Lingam Among Many Hindus

Sai Baba knows well how to tap into aeons-old Indian piety. He says he is all the gods and goddesses. Many Vaishnavites worship him as Lord Vishnu, many Shaivites, as Lord Shiva, and so on. But this phenomenon is not untypical – in the remarkable form of a live-and-let-live philosophy – and is seen in much guru worship throughout India, where an individual is free to worship the guru according to her or his own traditional or temperamental iconography or ishta devata (personalized or favourite form of godhead). To his devotees of Christian background, Sai Baba says that he is the Father who sent Lord Jesus Christ. Because of these deep Indian traditions of religious plurality and acceptance (which goes far deeper than mere tolerance), his devotees are happy, for example, to sing his praises in bhajans (antiphonal, commonly congregational hymn-singing) using the names of all the gods and goddesses.

Crowd Pulling Psychology Far Exceeding Barnum and Bailey

sai-babas-symbol-of-world-faiths.jpgSai Baba’s sarva dharma chakra (all-major Faiths symbol)

In one thing at least Sai Baba is supreme. He has the supreme ability to play the all-religions-are-essentially-one card with brilliance. He virtually adopts the role, at the level of self-proclaimed absolute Divinity, of being all-things-to-all religious men. One of the psychological factors he draws on goes emotionally deep for those worshipping him. Sathya Sai speaks, for example, of how his devotees plead with him not to produce the lingam, particularly now that he is becoming older and has been through a number of hip operations (he is 81, and may be older if we are to regard British colonial records). In The Deccan Herald report of the February 2004 Mahashivrathri, Srikanth Srinivasa wrote,

“Sai Baba’s devotees have been imploring him not to suffer the ordeal of bringing out the Linga every year at the cost of the god man’s health”

Sai Baba’s Promise: Who Witnesses His Production Of the Lingam is Liberated from Sin and Rebirth

Down the years, Sai Baba has made references like this:

“Those who are fortunate to witness Lingodbhava are freed from all sins”. Sanathana Sarathi, 3/99, p. 66

In short, he mines for all it is worth mass anxiety about the karmic future. Will one be damnably consigned to birth after birth? Or will a trip to Puttaparthi mend things, forever? In short, what this great religious showman offers – no, promises, absolutely – is absolution and forgiveness of sins. It is a consideration that motivates millions of religionists the world over.

A similar psychology – the spectacle of God’s pain, as it were – attends Christian attitudes to the ‘Passion’ or crucifixion story, and Christian evangelists have long played deeply on this.

Shiva Rules But Sai Baba Was No Tiger

Majestic symbol of undeniable cosmic forces, Lord Shiva sits forever serenely on his tigers skin. Sathya Sai Baba’s tiger skin is but that – a skin held dazzlingly aloft to make him appear be the real Shiva.

egg of goldPlaying cricket or playing Shiva?

sai-babas-mask-like-face-parkinsons.jpgSai Baba’s mask-like face. A degenerative disease like Parkinson’s?


Further Reading

Faked lingam production. Frame-by-frame analysis of the BBC and other footage is revealing indeed. Former leader of the Sathya Sai Organization, Norway, and retired academic of the University of Oslo, Robert Priddy, analyses and provides background notes, See, Mahahshivarathri 2004.  Quote: “Sai Baba allowed an unprecedented live broadcast in the Indian subcontinent of his so-called ‘lingodbhava’ (bringing the egg-like ellipsoidal object out of his mouth after what looks like a painful process of ‘regurgitation’). However, one can most clearly see that NO lingam ‘actually emerged at all this year. Instead there was a small spurt of yellowish vomit, which was later claimed to be the lingam in liquid golden form!”

Devotees’ Expectations and SSB’s Lingam Production (Background Notes on the 2004 Mahasivaratri Spectacle). In this article, the Australian scholar and former devotee Brian Steel writes:

“It is not unreasonable to hypothesise that in 1999 and 2000, this popular event may even have been deliberately revived for precisely the same promotional reasons, at a time when the Organisation was acutely aware that very strong criticism and denunciation of SSB was about to be made public overseas by two very high-profile close ex-devotees (David Bailey and Naresh Bhatia) who had recently “defected” and whose spectacular revelations were nervously awaited. If this hypothesis is not correct, and if the Lingodbhava performance was discontinued because of fears of unruly crowds in 1977, why revive it when the crowds are much larger today?”


“Bhagavan Baba kept manifesting His divinity in the form of Lingodbhava year after year on every Shivaratri till 1977 when He announced that he had decided to discontinue Lingodbhava in public. Those who witnessed this Divine phenomenon again on 15 February, 1999 were really fortunate as it happened after a long gap of more than 20 years.” Editor, Sanathana Sarathi, 3/99, p. 81

Barry Pittard at Call For Media and Government Investigation of Sathya Sai Baba:

The Decline and Fall of the Showman Empire

The BBC’s The Secret Swami – A Revision

The Genesis of the BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ (Sai Baba)

View Revealing video Clips From The BBC’s The Secret Swami

For Viewing

The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ – as well as exposing other fraudulence – had the camera well trained on Sathya Sai Baba. Although the Puttaparthi officials thought that the BBC was going to make their day, the crew were well-briefed by former devotees, and had their eyes open – and indeed the lens of their camera! – in a way that blinded devotees and a public that is mostly unaware of how magicians perform their tricks rarely do. Within the quietness of your computer room, however, you can train your eyes simply by seeing, really seeing, what there is to see.


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

There is a Spanish version available: 



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

There is a Spanish version available: 



Subscribe in   NewsGator Online Subscribe   in Bloglines Add to My AOLAdd to Excite   MIX Add to   netvibes Add to The   Free Dictionary Add to netomat Hub Add to Webwag Subscribe in a reader 

Posted in Neglected/sidelined News, New Age, Philosophy, Propaganda, Rationalism, Religion, Spirituality, Theology, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Criticism of Sai Baba No Reflection On Hinduism

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 25, 2007

Many Sathya Sai Baba devotees assume that any questioning of him equates to a denunciation of Hinduism. However, Hindus at large do not make this assumption in the least.

A major national Hindu leader has emailed me (December 5, 2006) in the terms I quote below. (Except to those in the responsible media who may wish to obtain a statement from him, I will not disclose his identity). However, Hindus who wish to make enquiry in their own associations as to current views of Sai Baba will be able to establish the factuality of the strong trend inimical to Sai Baba to which my correspondent points): 

“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 the SSB”.

Travel widely across India and you will know the exceptionally widespread disdain for Sai Baba – whatever may be the praise for the undoubtedly good social uplift work his devotees perfom in his name. This is especially due to his:

–  emphasis on miracles
–  his claim to be the prime manifestation of God in all history. Quote: “The whole world will be transformed into Sathya Sai Organisation and Sathya Sai will be installed in the hearts of one and all.” (Sanathana Sarathi, January, 1999. page 16). For many more examples, documented in his own official publications, of Sai Baba’s self-deification, see HERE
– the vast pomp and circumstance that surround him, his fleet of luxury foreign cars. See commentary and incredibly revealing pics, Sai Baba, Kubla Khan, Citizen Kane, Bill Gates et alia
– his cultivation of the rich, his giving special seating positions at darshans to the rich, his flattery of the rich and famous … See, Dare Songstress Nora Jones Touch Sai Baba

His flattery of various visiting Indian Prime Ministers is – embarrassingly for his cause – unwittingly, documented across issues of Sanathana Sarathi (the official Sai Baba organ distributed worldwide), including the case of Narasimha Rao, who was sentenced to years in jail, convicted on a slew of corruption charges relating to kickbacks from secret arms deals with the Swedish firm Bofors. It was the Narasimha Rao government which inititiated the profound Indian government cover-up of the circumstances surrounding the police killings in Sai Baba’s bedroom on June 6, 1993, a suppression that has been strictly maintained by each succeeding Indian government to this day. See, Robert Priddy’s The Unresolved, Covered-up 1993 Murders In Sathya Sai Baba’s Bedroom Revisited

Further Reading

The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ – A Revision
The Genesis of the BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ (Sai Baba)
Serial Sex Molestation and Bedroom Killings. But Much More

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Posted in Neglected/sidelined News, New Age, Opinion, Philosophy, Prophecy, Rationalism, Religion, Sai Baba, Skeptics, Society, Spirituality, Theosophy, Trends, Uncategorized, World Religions | 3 Comments »

Cost Of Cover Ups Can Far Exceed Hoped-for Benefits

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 23, 2007

A great irony of cover-ups is this – that once they have been exposed, the initiators of the abuses sustain a cost far greater than would have attended the prompt admission of the initial misdeeds – and genuine, exhaustive measures to address the abuses. Tragically, “cost” may be multiply defined – and in far from money terms alone.


And is there any Faith, major or minor, that is not sorely complicit in profound cover up of systemic sexual abuse?


The present repercussions of the Los Angeles Catholic Diocese afford us a ready example. Questions are being raised about whether there is enough – after insurance and money from other Orders have been paid – for even a rich Diocese’s coffers to afford such a vast pay-out. This is but one diocese, and yet many others face, or have already faced, a similar predicament. Is there even a single one (as a BBC television news report would indicate) in which such allegations have not been raised?

The Editorialist in The Boston Globe, July 17, 2007, writes:

“The Los Angeles and Boston money could have been spent on other important projects if Mahony and Law had adopted a zero-tolerance policy against abuse when it first became a national issue for the church in the mid-1980s.

Catholic dioceses across the nation, including Los Angeles, have initiated thorough policies to prevent future abuse, and Mahony apologized to the victims on Sunday. Yet new policies and regrets aren’t enough. In the eyes of victims, the scandal will never be fully resolved as long as bishops who put the interests of their fellow priests over the protection of children remain in positions of leadership”.

‘Or who shall ‘scape whipping’?

But is there any organization – anywhere – which has not covered up serious allegations? Can it be a good thing that when exposure of sexual abuse is discussed the Roman Catholic Church is so often the tarnished exemplar?

Another irony is that first whistleblowers are scapegoated but then public scapegoating can too easily turn on discretely ‘easy’ targets. And what more ‘easy’ than arguably the biggest religious monolith on the planet?

Does convergence of attention on a big institution help to prevent a much wider focus?

Naturally, of course, there is, at least, a chance for other organizations – before it is too late (if it is not already far too late!) for them to act without the courts forcing them to act – to learn from the fate of those churches or other organizations already strongly exposed?

Today, most societies are multicultural. Would it not make sense to take the broad approach, with not a single organization acting as though it, too, is unaffected? Or a wider public permitted to think that it has not its own accountability?

Further Major News Media Readings on the LA scandal and pay0uts are HERE, HERE and HERE.  Website of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) is HERE

See, Robert Priddy’s article ‘Spiritual’ Abuse. Quote:

“One US lady who has been raped by a priest broke down in tears on worldwide TV News (22/7/2007) while telling how she was not believed by her very own church community, which ostracised her. This ‘turning a blind eye’ has been very common, also in the Sathya Sai Organization”.

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Posted in Morality, New Age, News and Politics, Opinion, Philosophy, Politics, Protest, Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychotherapy, Rationalism, Religion, Sai Baba, Scandal, Sex, Skeptics, Social and Politics, Society, Spirituality, Theology, Theosophy, Trends, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions | 3 Comments »

Sai Baba’s ‘Miracles’ Panned In Newsweek

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 19, 2007

From his observations of YouTube footage, in a Newsweek debate, Sam Harris opines that Sai Baba’s so-called miracles reveal him to be “a stage magician”. This view accords with that of many former Sai Baba devotees – who speak out about it – and of many devotees – who shut up about it.

You can see Sai Baba cheating HERE

Satya Purcell and Sam Harris Agree has recently run in series an article by Satya Purcell, who, having been a member of the International Magician’s Society, exposes Sai Baba as a “bad magician”. Satya (given his name by Sai Baba) along with his mother and father, Sharon and Gary Purcell, were early Western figures at the commencement of the global spread of Sathya Sai Baba’s cult. He is the godson of famed early Sai Baba supporters, the multimillionaire husband and wife, the late Elsie and Walter Cowan. Sai Baba was alleged by the first major leader of the Western organization Dr Jack Hislop and others to have raised Walter Cowan from the dead in 1972. The details, including the medical documents, are hotly disputed. See, for example, Sai Baba’s miracles, an overview, Dr Dale Beyerstein, This book, by a rationalist and an academic from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada, can be downloaded as a 100k zip file in .html format. Scroll down the Index to Section 3. for the material referring to Walter Cowan, which as an analysis, as is the case of the whole book, although dating from circa 1994, is still sharp and relevant.

Sam Harris-Rick Warren Debate Extract

Source: Newsweek.  The God Debate, April 9, 2007, page 3. LINK.

  • Author Sam HARRIS: Let’s go back to the Bible. The reason you believe that Jesus is the son of God is because you believe that the Gospel is a valid account of the miracles of Jesus.

  • Pastor Rick WARREN: It’s one of the reasons.

  • Sam HARRIS: Yeah. It’s one of the reasons. Now, there are many testimonials about miracles, every bit as amazing as the miracles of Jesus, in other literature of the world’s religions. Even contemporary miracles. There are millions of people who believe that Sathya Sai Baba, the south Indian guru, was born of a virgin, has raised the dead and materializes objects. I mean, you can watch some of his miracles on YouTube. Prepare to be underwhelmed. He’s a stage magician. As a Christian, you can say Sathya Sai Baba’s miracle stories are not interesting, let’s not pay attention to them, but if you set them within the prescientific religious milieu of the first-century Roman Empire, suddenly miracle stories become especially compelling.

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Posted in Medicine, Morality, Neglected/sidelined News, New Age, Opinion, Philosophy, Rationalism, Religion, Sai Baba, Skeptics, Spirituality, Theology, Theosophy, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions | Leave a Comment »

When ‘Divine’ Magnetism Becomes A Dead Weight

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 6, 2007

emperors-new-clothes.jpgSai Baba’s alarmingly many scientist and other (supposedly) intellectual followers must have to block ears and eyes when he opines on matters scientific. Heavily rose-tinted glasses can be particularly helpful.

He speaks, for example, of the nature of magnetism. Here, Sai Baba’s educated devotees provide a modern example of the Hans Christian Anderson story of the Emperor New Clothes (see story below) – where the emperor’s subjects saw naked discrepancy but, mystery of mysteries, didn’t see it! 

dr-ks-sunny-anand.jpgProfessor Dr K.S. ‘Sunny’ Anand, birth scientist, a top President Bush medical advisor who worships Sai Baba as God fully incarnate. Only rose-tinted glasses can ignore Sai Baba’s extremely inept statements on birth science.

In his March 13, 2002 Mahashivarathri discourse, Sai Baba said,

“So when I put My foot down,

the whole foot stuck to the ground. It is a little hard to lift a foot that is stuck. Wherever I walk, it sticks there. Whatever is held, it sticks to My hand. This magnet is not in everyone like this. This magnet is so powerful only in Divinity.”

Philosopher and social scientist Robert Priddy comments aptly on Sai Baba’s unscientific statements about magnetism and the nature of the atom HERE. In a recent blog, Priddy says HERE,

“despite all the billions of dollars in hand – (Sai Baba) has not made one inch of progress in getting international recognition from any serious institutions”.

Many Sai Baba followers are at the top of their professions in the armed and police services, government, the judiciary, the sciences, arts, finance, industry, sports, and so on. Of course, healthy-minded individuals see clothes as clothes and nakedness as itself. It is a worry when key world power brokers and their functionaries think that their guru wears clothes.

When Does Life Enter The Fetus?

Also primitive, and very exposing of Sai Baba, but seen and, every so mystically, not seen by his followers is his view about what time life enters the human foetus. You may view HERE scans of two brief extracts, run side by side, of Sai Baba’s entirely conflicting statements on the topic. They are extracted from two editions of the guru’s official magazine (distributed worldwide), Sanathana Sarathi – of a) September 1996 and b) April 1997. This from a guru whose devotees number many thousands of medical doctors. I take but one example –

George W. Bush Medical Advisor Joins The Emperor’s Subjects

Kanwaljeet ‘Sunny’ Anand (read in here strings of the most prestigious medical degrees and other qualifications) is one of countless Sai Baba scientists caught in the emperor-with-no-clothes syndrome. The media might like to interview him. But remember that Sai Baba’s followers typically avoid any challenge to their (non) thinking. They, like cult members the world over, race into hiding. Another thing they chronically do, as does their founder, is to hold up high examples of prestigious figures who go to Sai Baba. They are highlighted among his keynote speakers, and given VIP treatment – sometimes obvious to the public, sometimes only to those in-the-know. They are carefully cultivated.

Dr Anand’s mental gymnastics are considerable, for he has somehow to  shine in his scientific field (accomplishments none can deny) and yet ignore his guru Sai Baba’s risable absurdities – even in Anand’s own branch of birth sciences. Professor Anand rose become a George W. Bush medical advisor – and yet hails Sai Baba as God fully incarnate, even stating, preposterously and unascertainbly, that Sai Baba has one hundred million followers. Like his guru, Anand exposes himself. For this and other palpable nonsense that Dr Anand falls for, see my article Sai Baba Is God Says Top George Bush Doctor, HERE

In the Anderson story, it is a child who sees the actual nakedness as opposed to the ostensible clothing. Perhaps devotees could do worse than ask for the reactions of a few kids to Sai Baba. As long as forces jesuitical have not trapped them.

The Emperor’s New Clothes
Hans Christian Anderson. Denmark
Many years ago there lived an emperor who loved beautiful new clothes so much that he spent all his money on being finely dressed. His only interest was in going to the theater or in riding about in his carriage where he could show off his new clothes. He had a different costume for every hour of the day. Indeed, where it was said of other kings that they were at court, it could only be said of him that he was in his dressing room!

One day two swindlers came to the emperor’s city. They said that they were weavers, claiming that they knew how to make the finest cloth imaginable. Not only were the colors and the patterns extraordinarily beautiful, but in addition, this material had the amazing property that it was to be invisible to anyone who was incompetent or stupid.

“It would be wonderful to have clothes made from that cloth,” thought the emperor. “Then I would know which of my men are unfit for their positions, and I’d also be able to tell clever people from stupid ones.” So he immediately gave the two swindlers a great sum of money to weave their cloth for him.

They set up their looms and pretended to go to work, although there was nothing at all on the looms. They asked for the finest silk and the purest gold, all of which they hid away, continuing to work on the empty looms, often late into the night.

“I would really like to know how they are coming with the cloth!” thought the emperor, but he was a bit uneasy when he recalled that anyone who was unfit for his position or stupid would not be able to see the material. Of course, he himself had nothing to fear, but still he decided to send someone else to see how the work was progressing.

“I’ll send my honest old minister to the weavers,” thought the emperor. He’s the best one to see how the material is coming. He is very sensible, and no one is more worthy of his position than he.

So the good old minister went into the hall where the two swindlers sat working at their empty looms. “Goodness!” thought the old minister, opening his eyes wide. “I cannot see a thing!” But he did not say so.

The two swindlers invited him to step closer, asking him if it wasn’t a beautiful design and if the colors weren’t magnificent. They pointed to the empty loom, and the poor old minister opened his eyes wider and wider. He still could see nothing, for nothing was there. “Gracious” he thought. “Is it possible that I am stupid? I have never thought so. Am I unfit for my position? No one must know this. No, it will never do for me to say that I was unable to see the material.”

“You aren’t saying anything!” said one of the weavers.

“Oh, it is magnificent! The very best!” said the old minister, peering through his glasses. “This pattern and these colors! Yes, I’ll tell the emperor that I am very satisfied with it!”

“That makes us happy!” said the two weavers, and they called the colors and the unusual pattern by name. The old minister listened closely so that he would be able say the same things when he reported back to the emperor, and that is exactly what he did.

The swindlers now asked for more money, more silk, and more gold, all of which they hid away. Then they continued to weave away as before on the empty looms.

The emperor sent other officials as well to observe the weavers’ progress. They too were startled when they saw nothing, and they too reported back to him how wonderful the material was, advising him to have it made into clothes that he could wear in a grand procession. The entire city was alive in praise of the cloth. “Magnifique! Nysseligt! Excellent!” they said, in all languages. The emperor awarded the swindlers with medals of honor, bestowing on each of them the title Lord Weaver.

The swindlers stayed up the entire night before the procession was to take place, burning more than sixteen candles. Everyone could see that they were in a great rush to finish the emperor’s new clothes. They pretended to take the material from the looms. They cut in the air with large scissors. They sewed with needles but without any thread. Finally they announced, “Behold! The clothes are finished!”

The emperor came to them with his most distinguished cavaliers. The two swindlers raised their arms as though they were holding something and said, “Just look at these trousers! Here is the jacket! This is the cloak!” and so forth. “They are as light as spider webs! You might think that you didn’t have a thing on, but that is the good thing about them.”

“Yes,” said the cavaliers, but they couldn’t see a thing, for nothing was there.

“Would his imperial majesty, if it please his grace, kindly remove his clothes.” said the swindlers. “Then we will fit you with the new ones, here in front of the large mirror.”

The emperor took off all his clothes, and the swindlers pretended to dress him, piece by piece, with the new ones that were to be fitted. They took hold of his waist and pretended to tie something about him. It was the train. Then the emperor turned and looked into the mirror.

“Goodness, they suit you well! What a wonderful fit!” they all said. “What a pattern! What colors! Such luxurious clothes!”

“The canopy to be carried above your majesty awaits outside,” said the grandmaster of ceremonies.

“Yes, I am ready!” said the emperor. “Don’t they fit well?” He turned once again toward the mirror, because it had to appear as though he were admiring himself in all his glory.

The chamberlains who were to carry the train held their hands just above the floor as if they were picking up the train. As they walked they pretended to hold the train high, for they could not let anyone notice that they could see nothing.

The emperor walked beneath the beautiful canopy in the procession, and all the people in the street and in their windows said, “Goodness, the emperor’s new clothes are incomparable! What a beautiful train on his jacket. What a perfect fit!” No one wanted it to be noticed that he could see nothing, for then it would be said that he was unfit for his position or that he was stupid. None of the emperor’s clothes had ever before received such praise.

“But he doesn’t have anything on!” said a small child.

“Good Lord, let us hear the voice of an innocent child!” said the father, and whispered to another what the child had said.

“A small child said that he doesn’t have anything on!”

Finally everyone was saying, “He doesn’t have anything on!”

The emperor shuddered, for he knew that they were right, but he thought, “The procession must go on!” He carried himself even more proudly, and the chamberlains walked along behind carrying the train that wasn’t there.
————————————————————–Source: Hans Christian Andersen, Keiserens nye klæder (1837). Andersen’s source was a Spanish story recorded by Don Juan Manuel (1282-1348).

Translated by D. L. Ashliman.

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Posted in Medicine, Morality, Neglected/sidelined News, New Age, Opinion, Pediatrics, People, Philosophy, Propaganda, Protest, Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychotherapy, Rationalism, Religion, Sai Baba, Scandal, Sex, Skeptics, Spirituality, Successful People, Theosophy, Uncategorized, World Religions | 3 Comments »

‘Marriage Mart’ – Are Known Sex Abusees Disadvantaged?

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 30, 2007

Witnesses Speaking Out On Sex abuse. Opportunities? Obstacles?

Getting those of Sai Baba’s ex college boys and staff, with whom we have had contact over time, to speak out publicly has proven difficult.

Indeed, in our own movement of exposure, except around 2000, encouraging Sai Baba’s abuse survivors, no matter what their country or culture, has been hard. At  this time, there was unusually intense effort to bring allegations against Sai Baba and his organization to world attention. There were also high hopes – terribly idealistic, in retrospect – that simply getting the major media to investigate, and informing governments, law enforcement agencies, the general public and as many remaining devotees as possible would effect transformation.

Caution In the Primary Witness Process Essential

Of key significance in obtaining cooperation of those making primary allegations circa 2000 was that one of the former devotees was an Indian, with many contacts within Sai Baba circles in India – but added to this fact were his own distinctive qualities. For he was an enormously energetic campaigner, matched outside India by another extraordinary activist, now deceased, who was non-Indian.

The issue of charismatic ability of some activists to inspire abuse survivors to come forth – has been been re-raised by recent developments. These will not be made public yet – but of which more, trustfully, in the next year or so. However, with the utmost emphasis, I wish to suggest a caution. As in the example given above, a highly energetic, articulate, personable individual may indeed have unusual success in obtaining cooperation with abused individuals – e.g., getting sworn testimony, undertakings to travel as court witnesses, sharing of abuse experiences with leading media, law enforcement agencies, governments, UNESCO, academic researchers, etc.

However, my view is that, under a regimen of caution and great sensitivity, it is essential to have well-qualified, experienced abuse professionals involved – as well as those with other professional skills, such as lawyers, social workers, financial advisors, etc. With such constraints, there will, I should think, be some falling away in the numbers ready to testify. When all is said and done, those who are inwardly crumbling may not make the best witnesses, anyway. However, the issue is an ethical one, and should not be up for grabs! Although activists may have the very best intentions, and be far from exercising any coercion, there are nonetheless serious dangers to be avoided. Badly traumatized human beings can be like ticking bombs, where the approach must be made with a great care and skill not possessed by most of us.

Is There A ‘Damaged Goods’ Problem Within India Marriage ‘Markets’?

Indian boys with sexual molestation accounts have shared with networked former Sai Baba devotees a number of difficulties facing them. These relate to the conduct of Sai Baba and some of his personnel such as certain of his teaching staff and students. Suppose Indian abuse survivors were to go public. Are we able to imagine the ramifications within that extraordinarily complex institution – the joint family?

Ex-students and staff of Sai Baba’s institutions who are cooperating with us are acutely aware, for example, that members of their own families are strong devotees of Sai Baba. Some of these live in his ashrams, and are vitally dependent on his largesse, and anxious lest his officials find any fault, real or imagined, which could lead to their casting out. If ex-students and other young male devotees who have come to grief with Sai Baba, or are friends of those who have, were to speak out, what would be their fate, and that of those they love?

Joint Family A Great Institution. Like Any, It Has Its Stresses, Strains 

A great many marriages in India are still arranged, where a boy or girl does not, in certain respects, so much marry an individual but rather a complex set of family alliances.

To spend considerable time – as I have had the great fortune to have done in the case of India – in any other culture is often a humbling experience. Customs which vastly differ from one’s own can, on closer inspection, enshrine a great deal of commonsense, adaptive capacity and profundity – all too easily missed by superficial judgement. Therefore, it is not the topic in general of arranged marriages that I allude to in this piece, but a facet of the tradition which can pose – unless those in the culture itself  find creative ways around it – a difficulty for many Indian sexual abuse survivors.

Creative Indian Solutions Needed

All round the world, there are those who wish, of course, that ex students and ex staff of Sai Baba’s institutions would go public with what they know to be true, tragic as it is. (I do not say that they will not do so, eventually). However, such an event needs a uniquely Indo-centric approach – with Indian legal, spiritual, emotional and other support systems well in place. Where well-wishers in other countries may be able to assist is in contact with governments to smoothe the path for those Indian individuals or families who, for their own safety and well-being may wish to relocate.

Many who have been abused have real issues of reintegration, of  “moving on” (which is a phrase they themselves often use), and living with a sense of betrayal – especially acute in the face of their experience of a guru they supremely loved and trusted.

Legal Situation Can Be Problem-fraught

Any abuse survivors looking for legal remedies need to ensure that they obtain the most competent and sensitive advocacy. To win a monetary settlement and yet lose peace of mind is not worth it – unless an individual is very strong and believes that his sufferings will obtain tangible reforms for other abuse survivors, including the eduction of the wider public, and the breaking down of taboos against speaking out.

Related Reading at:

Indian Government Study of Child Abuse Is Groundbreaking

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

Child Abuse in India. Will Minister Renuka Chowdhury Act?

Child Abuse. Landmark Indian Government Study

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Posted in Morality, Neglected/sidelined News, Nepal, New Age, News and Politics, Opinion, Philosophy, Protest, Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychotherapy, Rationalism, Religion, Sai Baba, Scandal, Sex, Skeptics, Social and Politics, Society, Spirituality, Sri Lanka, Theology, Theosophy, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions | Leave a Comment »

Dalai Lama visits Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 14, 2007


Dalai Lama visits Irwin’s Australia Zoo
Brisbane June 13, 2007

Extract from: (Click for full article)

 Cuddly: the Dalai Lama with, from left, Terry, Bob and Bindi Irwin and a koala. Photo: AP

About 5000 people have gathered at the late Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast to hear the Dalai Lama talk about kindness to animals and the environment.

Monks at the 71-year-old exiled Tibetan spiritual leader’s Dharamsala monastery are friends with the Irwin family.

Terri Irwin and daughter Bindi today joined with the Dalai Lama at the talk, being held in the zoo’s ‘Crocoseum’.

The Dalai Lama will also use the visit to launch Kindness Week, a community project initiated by Queensland-based palliative care service Karuna Hospice Services.

This afternoon about 15,000 people are expected to fill the Brisbane Entertainment Centre to hear the Dalai Lama speak on the issues of compassion and kindness.

The Chinese government has expressed “strong dissatisfaction” with the Australian government for holding meetings with the Dalai Lama during his 11-day tour of Australia.


Last night, Wednesday June 14, 2007, this blogger got unexpectedly taken to see the Dalai Lama at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre. This venue holds 15,000 and almost all seats were taken, with a crowd outside which one newspaper estimated at about 3000, watching on a large screen. Next blog, extract will be from my notes of this enrichening experience, with some references to how this leader of such great naturalness, simplicity and courage has – against incredible adversity – for so long walked his talk. And, indeed this theme’s relatedness to the wider concerns of That the Dalai Lama would have visited Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo, in Beerwah, north of Brisbane, will have a special resonance, not only Australians, who as a nation have terribly lamented his loss, but for millions around the world who loved and revered the beautiful and exemplary life of the late environmentalist Steve Irwin, so tragically struck down by a stingray September 4, 2006, and his remarkable family.

The office of the Dalai Lama’s website is:

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Posted in Morality, New Age, People, Philosophy, Religion, Society, Spirituality, Successful People, Theology, Trends, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions | Leave a Comment »

Sai Baba: I Will Save India Then World. But he’s Failed

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 13, 2007

Unfortunately, a great many valuable statements in the exposé of Sai Baba and his powerful worldwide cult, the Sathya Sai Organization, are somewhat buried among long, detailed articles. Every now and then, this blogsite – – will uncover some of these.

Below, is a quotation from a piece by Robert Priddy, Sathya Sai Baba Is Influenced Also By Blame – So He Had To React! (See source Url at end).

sai-babas-private-jet-2005.jpgSai Baba’s hired private jet for a quick hop to his retreat in kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, South India, 2005.

Robert Priddy was head of the Sathya Sai Organization in Norway, 1986-2000. He investigated the ashram and  state and central Indian government cover-up of the police excecutions in Sai Baba’s bedroom on June 6, 1993, and many allegations of sexual abuse of young males by Sai Baba. As a result, he resigned, as did his wife Reidun, an active devotee from 1983-2000. He is a retired lecturer in Philosophy and Social Science, University of Oslo, and author of two books on Sai Baba: Source of the Dream: My Way to Sathya Sai Baba (Paperback) Details HERE at Hardback publisher, Samuel Weiser, 1998 (301 pages), ISBN 1578630282, and End of the Dream: The Sathya Sai Baba Enigma (600 pages), Podanur, India, 2004, published, Basava Premanand. His professional entry is at Wikipedia HERE, and further bio info HERE.

Sathya Sai Condones India’s Greatest Evils by Ignoring them

Sathya Sai Baba lauds and blesses any politician who visits him and never speaks out against the many inhumane policies, their signal failure to take care of the most basic needs of most Indians, the massive Swiss bank accounts most of them hold, or riding the gravy train while the privileged get richer and richer. Claiming omniscience and omnipotence – Sai Baba never had the guts to speak out against their many powerful and brutal oppressors and utterly vile criminals throughout India. He has never defended in any substantial way whatever the tortured, raped, murdered and utterly desolate people of India, the tribals, the dispossessed, the vast army of beggars. Against Mahatma Gandhi’s revered principle, Sathya Sai welcomes ‘blood money’ and even in a public announcement of donors giving at least one crore (a ‘crore’ equates to 10 million) at his 70th Birthday celebrations (such as Bhangarappa, a known corrupt Karnataka politician, who gave ten million rupees, and two famous Indian ‘liquor barons’, one of whom, Mr. Reddy, was murdered in Madras in 1996 only a week or so after a personal visit by Sai Baba accompanied by V.K. Narasimhan.

(Ed. The latter was former top editor of several India newspapers, and recipient of the prestigious Ramnath (R.N.) Goenka Award  For Excellence in Journalism (Economics), bestowed by the Freedom of Information Foundation. ‘V.K.N’., as he was known and loved throughout India, was a warm and trusted friend of Robert Priddy for many years).

Self-Proclaimed Avatar Can’t Save His Own Back Yard, India, Much Less The World, As He Has Promised

Despite his many earlier ‘avataric predictions’ that he claims cannot fail, India’s gigantic injustices and problems are getting no better – still no social security whatever (all the poor get to live on is sunlight), no reduction of corruption, more infanticide, still bonded labour and life servitude as debtors to criminal moneylenders, child prostitution, a massive and growing AIDS epidemic, unimaginable numbers of child labourers, vast peasant penury, wife killings, ghastly begging mafias which deform babies into ‘rat children’ and ‘spidermen’ for profit, not to mention all manner of sexual abuse of children (sic!)… and so now Sai Baba states he is “minded to take a world tour”. So has he given up on solving India’s problems before he ever would go abroad, as he has repeatedly pledged?

The man is a hotbed of contradictions, false predictions and outright lies. It is well recorded how Sathya Sai Baba has told leading devotees on several occasions that he would visit them in their countries – for example USA, Italy, U.K., Southern California and other places – but then he has changed his supposedly all-knowing mind, saying that India must be cured first!

Further Resources

Source of the quote above is Robert Priddy’s article – Sathya Sai Baba Is Influenced Also By Blame – So He Had To React! – is HERE:

Robert Priddy’s Blog is at: and an extensive, highly-organized website is HERE.

His appreciation of his friend, ‘V.K.N’, Requeim To A Kindly Spirit – Celebrated Indian journalist V.K. Narasimhan is HERE.

An updated version of Robert Priddy’s End of The Dream. My Credo and Rejection of Sathya Sai Baba is HERE.

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Posted in Morality, Neglected/sidelined News, New Age, Opinion, Philosophy, Propaganda, Protest, Rationalism, Religion, Sai Baba, Scandal, Sex, Skeptics, Spirituality, Successful People, Theosophy, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions | 1 Comment »

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.


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.


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)

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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 »