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Archive for the ‘Psychotherapy’ Category

Hazards For Abuse Survivors Both Timid and Bold

Posted by Barry Pittard on November 6, 2007

Many abuse survivors are afraid to speak out.

Sai Baba’s proxy defenders on the Internet and elsewhere make the most of this difficulty. They say there have been no prosecutions of Sai Baba. Yet it often takes years or decades before survivors can come to terms with what happened to them.  

Hazards Of Brave Abuse Survivors

 

Even those few ready to face the public with the facts can often be in no position to litigate. This is because of lack of funds, time, energy, or family or close friends to support them in an intelligent and genuine manner.

In one case (See 1. under Further Resources) which should never have failed, a pro bono lawyer let his client down badly and was not proactive enough to field excellent witnesses who stood ready – indeed at various kinds of personal sacrifice – to testify.

Problems of Litigation Acute

In any case, litigation is always an uncertain, costly and often extremely drawn-out process, especially in sex abuse cases where the success rate is still far lower than in most other common crimes.

Sai Baba Heavily Protected In India.

Added to these huge obstacles, Sathya Sai Baba enjoys (as he has done for many decades) powerful protection from the Indian Government, judiciary and other power echelons from any prosecution, as attempts to bring him to book in the Supreme Court of India and High Court of Andhra Pradesh have amply demonstrated. (See 2. 3. and 4. below)

Further Resources

1. Alaya Rahm’s Lawsuit vs Sathya Sai Society of America – Joint Statement by the International JuST Group and the Rahm family

2. Sai Baba Protected By The Supreme Court Of India

The archive at this link contains a document with court proof – contrary to assertions of Sai Baba’s proxy defenders on the Internet – that a case was in fact brought. One of India’s top advocates, Kamini Jaiswal, took the case on behalf of Hari Sampath, and she and her assisting Counsel Prashant Kumar and Gaurav Agarwal and their client had to suffer the ignominy of a kangaroo court presided over by the profoundly compromised  judges: S.P. Barucha, A.S. Anand, G.B. Patnaik (or G.B. Pattnaik), and R.C. Lahoti. Each one of these went on to become Chief Justice of India. Their CJ at the time was P.N. Bhagwati, a very active member of the Sathya Sai Central Trust, well known for keeping a damper on Sai Baba scandals over many years. As a number of us know personally, when the legal notes for this case are shown in eminent legal quarters where mature democratic principles much more cohere, the lawyers are disgusted! We shall share the as yet unpublished details of this case with responsible media, legal authorities or academic researchers.

3. See my Corrupt Indian Judges Stonewall Case Vs Sai Baba. In 1986, a case B. Premanand brought in the Andhra Pradesh High Court shows a judge’s clear violation of India’s secular legal system. Judge Y.V.Anjaneyulu (who just happened to be a Sai Baba devotee!) pronounced,

“An article or ornament materialized from air in a split second by the use of spiritual powers or otherwise cannot be said to be made, manufactured, prepared or processed within the meaning of section 11 of the Gold Control Act”

See also, Satya Sai Baba and the Gold Control Act, by B. Premanand, 1986

4. My reader may be curious (or could simply guess) as to the outcome of the following. The news article is from the Deccan Herald, May 11, 1999:

“Hyderabad Nov 4: Justice G Raghu Ram of the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Thursday admitted a writ petition seeking initiation of criminal prosecution against the doctors of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Puttaparthi in Anantapur district alleging malpractices regarding the transplantation of kidney”

For the kidney donation scandal, See material HERE 

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Posted in Neglected/sidelined News, News and Politics, Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychotherapy, Religion, Sai Baba, Scandal, Sex, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Pamela Stephenson Protects Celeb ‘Shrink Rap’ Interviewees

Posted by Barry Pittard on November 3, 2007

In the experience of networked former followers of Sathya Sai Baba, there needs to be a new regimen of sensitivity and responsibity in the media. Overall, we have fared well, but see the need for a better grasp of deeper human issues, and greater standards of accuracy.

This is not to say, necessarily, censorship of either journalists or of content presented by those they write about. (Although it is a sad comment that the very advocates of an open society have, all too often submitted themselves, to self-censorship against philistine triumph). Rather, it is about creating an altogether different climate in which genuine feelings of interview or other subjects can be discussed more openly and commented on sensitively and intelligently, and cynical exploitation. As in e.g., pop music, principled, genuinely critical and sensitive media would raise standards and help to create richer canons of satisfaction, rather than sinking to the lowest (assumed!) common denominator.

I recently saw Pamela Stephenson interviewed by Andrew Denton in Enough Rope on ABC television (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). She is the former celebrated actress and comedian, and star of such television shows Not The Nine O’Clock News. She is now a clinical psychologist in Hollywood and a professor of psychology at the California Graduate Institute.pamelastephenson.jpg

Vile Public Critics

In her recently-made television series Shrink Rap, her famous interview subjects were willing to bare their more vulnerable feelings and lesions, and in a serious way beyond what usually passes for celebrity (so-called) ‘revelations’. Her subjects thus far have been Sharon Osbourne, Stephen Fry, David Blunkett, Sarah Ferguson, and Robin Williams.

pamela-stephenson-and-robin-williams.jpgIn a note for the show, Stephenson says:

“Shrink Rap is an attempt to allow people not to be under pressure of performing, not to feel that they have to present the ideal self, the one that is always adorable and perfect and funny and together. This allows people to bring forward the true self, to not always tell the official story”.

Holding Barbarians at Bay

But, prior to its release, she found herself editing things out far more than she had earlier thought she would need to. It was not the celebrities themselves who called for this degree of censorship but Stephenson’s own deepening awareness of state-of-the-art maliciousness among media commentators and other unconscienable attackers.

Stephenson had her own experience of having earlier been one of Great Britain’s best-known television celebrities (and is, moreover, the wife of one of the world’s most famous comedians Billy Connelly). Therefore, the need occurred her to go to still greater editorial lengths to protect her famous interview subjects. She was acutely aware of the extreme readiness of unscrupulous critics to make insensitive and distorted use of what her subjects revealed about themselves. In an interview for The Independent, she observed:

“I can control what we have in the programme, and take out things that might be misunderstood, but there’s no guarantee of how it’s going to be received. I will feel terrible on people’s behalf if anyone is publicly punished for saying how they feel.”

Slack Journalism Needs Extinctifying

Rupert Murdoch thinks he can influence an eco friendly ‘greening’ of his newspapers. So then, let him and other prime movers and shakers support those developmental programmes which create greater awareness in journalists (and especially the emerging trainee ones) that might approach that sensitivity and deep ethics being role-modeled by Pamela Stephenson.

Further Resources

Pamela Stephenson – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

PamelaStephenson.com



Posted in Neglected/sidelined News, Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychotherapy, Religion, Spirituality, Successful People, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Contra Cult Crusaders Need to Communicate and Coordinate

Posted by Barry Pittard on September 30, 2007

In the exposure of morally or criminally aberrant gurus and their cults, it is important to keep focus on one’s own exposure campaigns. This alone takes enormous time and energy. 

However, there is often no communication between contra cult activists across the board, each group of whom is exposing the specific cult which it has left.

One would wish to advocate that, to some degree, activists across the board, engage in organized, civil exchange exchange of views, experiences, and, at times, resources.

One of the difficulties in the way of purposeful cross-exchange of views and resources is that the cultic mindset that brought individuals into a belief system can remain, even when exit from a cult has been made. Rigid, illiberal, locked in, and still fear-fraught. On the other hand, experience of a cult can be the very trigger that was needed for rigorous and productive self-introspection and questioning of belief systems.

Another constraint is, at the same time, one of the great strengths of dissenters from a teacher or an organization accused. This is that the organized ex-followers have, often enough, known or known about each other for years. There has already been formed both a trust basis and an intimate knowledge base of the nature, structure and personnel of the specific fold. Naturally, this distinctive advantage needs to be preserved – yet we need to raise our sights, and not get buried in smaller holes. These confines do not reflect the great latitude of what is a society-wide problem, where a society tends to be very shy of recognizing the harms, even though it is cripplingly hurt by them – both directly and indirectly.

There are, of course, some fora for this exchange of perspectives, such as those provided by conferences conducted by ICSA (International Cult Studies Association, formerly AFF), FAIR (Family Action Information and Resource, UK), and so on. At least face-to-face contact at the personal and professional or academic, levels can help sort out what emails and other readings never will. Here, one is heartened by cyberconferencing (both video and voice) developments such as Skype. 

Some cooperation is essential, given especially that there exist dangerous charismatic leaders who have come under widespread accusation of gravely immoral or criminal conduct.  

Just a few of the topics for discussion are:

  • Internet defamation and stalking (and sometimes real-time stalking) of those who have spoken out
  • Misuse of Wikipedia, and the exploitation of its present weaknesses
  • Prevention of unsrupulous and malicious methods of manipulating search engine results. For example, fanatical proponents of the guru accused multiplying – dubious – blog references by adding country prefixes to items. Using country prefixes as smokescreens. ‘Stacking’ Google ratings with multiple negative – and unfounded – references from a labyrinth of websites and blogs
  • Getting onto the political agenda the dangers posed to public well-being of cultic mindsets
  • Encouraging education systems to find effective means of teaching critical thinking
  • Accessing far greater film documentary, DVD, CD and other information resources that can incorporate the testimony of a range of dissenters but satisfy best independent, professional criteria for objective frameworks of presentation. The passion should not dissappear but certainly discountenanced altogether needs to be the vitriol, the libel, the character assassination, the internet flaming, computer hacking, etc., – although these can be portrayed within the ambit of proper and objective rapportage
  • Breaking down academic resistance to the study of cults
  •  Legal reform and better access to existing resources to ensure that human rights and other abuses by cults and institutions are successfully countered
  • Ways need to be found to ensure that those making allegations against gurus, etc., know about rights and processes, such as the careful making of an affidavit, pursuing remedies via media, governments and police agencies whether local federal or Interpol, and lawfirms. Far greater clarity needs to emerge about lawfirm access to de bono representations, class action provisions, and so forth.
  • Access to professional case-taking where individuals are ready to share their experiences of abuse
  • Greater access to trained, qualified counseling professionals. (Although here there are questions  about whether cult-specific professionals are those best-suited to dealing with cult exist presentations. However could there be enough e.g., Sai Baba-specific, Scientology-specific, SYDA-specific mental health professions to go around?)
  • Ensuring effective interactions between government, civic authorities, media etc., and those reporting serious infractions of law and ethics within institutions, and safeguarding the human rights of whistleblowers
  • Protection or relocation of those in danger because of their testifying against abuses
  • Portraying the widespread, non-specific, nature of teacher or institutional abuse within followings. There need to be comparative studies, and enough of these need to be in language accessible to the reasonably competent layperson

Posted in Neglected/sidelined News, New Age, Opinion, Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychotherapy, Rationalism, Religion, Skeptics, Social and Politics, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Secrecy Needs In Exposing A Top Global Cult

Posted by Barry Pittard on August 19, 2007

Our security needs are pragmatic, and are not in the nature of the secrecy and cover-up of scandals so endemic to an authoritarian cult that has so much to hide. The BBC’s own experience in investigating his cult and the testimonies of those who have left it led to its calling Sai Baba ‘The Secret Swami’, and the somewhat Soviet-style secrecy and authoritarianism of Sai Baba’s religious cult have been repeatedly observed by media, institutions and academics who have attempted to examine this founder and his organization.

Regrettable Secrecies

The need for sensitive non-disclosure of the accounts that came to us of sexual abuse by Sai Baba and some around him in his education wing, and other alarming information, was rapidly apparent to some of us, but – rather disturbingly! – to others came only slowly and, astoundingly, to yet others scarcely at all.

If there was an extenuating circumstance for bewilderment at all it may be this:  suddenly, to our great surprise, we found ourselves cast in the role of activists and crusaders. What does the layperson know of sexual abuse? The exceptions in our midst were those such as Shirley Pike and (the late) Elena Hartgering, Dave Brandt and others who were mental health professionals of various kinds. We were entering a world of anguish and complexity. What we learnt was that the first requirement is to listen with compassion. It is the opposite of what cultic defenders show, who race to judgement, leap to the worst imaginable conclusions, and condemn  any who should dare to attempt to communicate their account of abuse.

Males from various countries – in some instances many years later (as in the case of Mark Roche in appearance in the BBC television documentary The Secret Swami) – have attempted to give their accounts of sexual abuse at the hands of Sai Baba. Those devotee apologists for Sai Baba and his Sathya Sai Organization (or rather, cult) who make ready and cruel assumptions about the abuse survivors might well contemplate on a saying of the English philosopher, scientist, statesman and essayist Sir Francis Bacon  (1561-1626) adding the word ‘hear’ and, ‘view’ in the case of television footage from The Secret Swami, and Danish national broadcaster DR’s Seduced (in Australia, Seduced by Sai Baba, SBS) to Bacon’s  ‘read’:

“Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted… but to weigh and consider”.

sir-francis-bacon.jpg

For Viewing

Video clip of Mark Roche interview from  The Secret Swami, BBC 2, This World

The Secret Swami. 1. Broadband. 2. Modem (Both .wmv)

Seduced (version in English over-dub)  1. Broadband. 2. Modem (Both .wmv)

Ullrich Zimmerman Interview, Part 2., Broadband.

Further Reading

Posted in Morality, Neglected/sidelined News, Protest, Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychotherapy, Religion, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Some Key Cultic Responses To Critics

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 24, 2007

I think that the following list – which is suggestive rather than exhaustive – will contain pointers to behaviours repeatedly found by any who expose a powerful cult.

* Legal manipulations, so that a leader or his organization cannot be further proceeded against

* Use of a cult’s considerable financial resources and political, religious or civic clout to suppress testimony, rather than to address the issues honorably, compassionately and responsibly

* Production of false witnesses and a connived avoidance of legal accountability

* Ignoring the sheer weight of the evidence, and strong, psychological denial

* The claim that criticism is coming from only a mere handful of malcontents

*  The attribution of mental illness to those who criticise

* Misconstruing what is being alleged, distorting it; ignoring it; laying a worst-case interpretation on virtually every word of critics, bending words in a procrustean way to suit the purposes of the cult’s protagonists and to belittle those who speak out

* Missing the points being urged and instead highlighting peripheral issues

* Derision, defaming and shunning of former followers, no matter how well their character and integrity were regarded when they were members, and still is so regarded in their professions, trades, wider communities, etc

* Use of guilt-by-association, ad hominem arguments, infraction of the ‘Aristotlean’ law of the undistributed middle, argument from a low poll, misinterpretation of facts that have another explanation altogether, tu quoque retorts, and other impoverished forms of argument …

 * Terrible and relentless vilification of primary witnesses and of those former followers who attempt to bring the allegations to light

* Threats of litigation – that can prove to be sheer bluff

*  Stalking and harassment. Attempting to blacken the characters of critics in their workplaces, families, friendships, universities, and so on

* In some cases, threats against life or limb

* Muckracking. Keeping of dossiers against critics, with the intention of harming them

*  Interference in the private, personal lives of those who have spoken out. Intrusions are sometimes pursued against others who know the former members but who are only most peripherally and tenously involved

* Depictions of hell (whether psychological, real or both), shockingly bad “karma” for those who have made revelations of improper conduct within a cult

* Cult members can ignore those who criticise the cult but this means that the abuses being reported ever more seriously unadressed

 * Spurious justification of the teacher’s misdeeds. E.g., claiming that he is raising the kundalini; balancing the devotee’s sexual energy; ‘ironing out sexual kinks’; rapidly expunging the devotee’s bad karmas; stating that, as we are not our bodies, the guru has not violated anybody; disporting in the divine role as Shiva the destroyer

* Blaming of the Media or any institution in every instance where it writes critically of the cult

… And so, woefully, on ….

Further Readings

International Cultic Studies Association

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

Guru Sex Abuse Testimony to BBC – After Years of Silence

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Posted in Morality, New Age, Opinion, Protest, Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychotherapy, Rationalism, Religion, Sai Baba, Skeptics, Society, Spirituality, Trends, World Issues, World Religions | 7 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.

                              sai-babas-symbol-of-world-faiths.jpg

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

                              host.jpg

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 »

Judge warned: Crippling disease won‘t stop pervert

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 21, 2007

Some devotees of Sathya Sai Baba – the ‘God’ worshipped by so many of India’s top power brokers (and others beyond) who faces worldwide accusations of large-scale, serial sexual molestation of boys and young men – claim that he could not possibly offend, if he ever did, because of his age and physical incapacity, and that therefore his current accusers are caught in a palpable deceit. 

ageing-rapist-wayne-chapman-still-dangerous.jpgsai-baba-in-wheelchair-2006.jpg

L. Ageing multiple rapist Wayne Chapman still Dangerous. (Boston Herald Photo Pool). R. An Ironside Sai Baba – not one to easily push around.

They offer no evidence concerning the nature of sexual capacity and ageing. Yet there is a mass of readings on the topic ‘ageing and sex’ in the popular press, let alone a wealth of information from Gerontology and Geriatrics. As ever, the Internet is an abundant source.  But why go looking for facts when there is a guru to defend at all costs? And the word ‘costs’ is more than appropriate, since Sai Baba’s worldwide cult has to defend many billions of dollars of investment in its notion that Sai Baba is about to rule the earth. Any dear reader who happens to be a billionaire, watch your money – Sai Baba is a consumate master in extracting it from you – without seeming to want it. See my article: Sai Baba, Kubla Khan, Citizen Kane, Bill Gates et alia

Of course, making Champion of the World may require Sai Baba to take a little more than Viagra or Cialis. 

Extract from: Judge warned: Crippling disease won‘t stop pervert
By Laurel J. Sweet
Boston Herald. Friday, March 23, 2007

Aging and Sick Sex Offender to Be Civilly Committed?

Whatever the wisdom of civil commitment laws it would seem that this fellow might qualify.  Increasingly, though, the states are going to have to contend with the high cost of health care in keeping aging and sick convicts behind bars.

Even though his aging, bloated body is confined to a wheelchair, a judge was warned yesterday a 59-year-old convicted sexual predator remains dangerous to children. A forensic psychologist assured Lawrence Superior Court Judge Howard J. Whitehead that convicted child rapist Wayne Chapman, who bragged he had sexually molested between 50 and 100 boys and even fantasized about killing some of them, “presents a high and unacceptable risk to re-offend.” “It just doesn’t go away,” Christine Schnyder Pierce testified. Chapman, an interstate predator, has been incarcerated for 31 years. Having served his time, he is hoping to retire in Massachusetts, but the Essex District Attorney’s Office is fighting to have Whitehead civilly commit him for life as a “sexually dangerous” person’.

Further Resources

Wikipedia, Sexuality in older age

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Posted in Medicine, Morality, Neglected/sidelined News, New Age, News and Politics, Opinion, Pediatrics, Philanthropy, Protest, Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychotherapy, Rationalism, Religion, Sai Baba, Scandal, Sex, Skeptics, Social and Politics, Society, Spirituality, Successful People, 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 »

If Not For Whistleblowers

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 4, 2007

tal-brooke.giftal-brooke.jpg(Tal Brooke front left)

In 1970, in the U.K., Tal Brooke published Lord of the Air, which, evidently because Sai Baba’s people have such political clout, was banned in India. It was re-written and published as Avatar of Night. Paperback: 400 pages. End Run Publishing; December 15, 1999. ISBN: 193004500X.

During the fourteen months that Brooke lived close to him, Sathya Sai Baba conferred on him, as he was later to do with David Bailey, a rare closeness – rather too close for comfort, as matters turned out.

Amazing Grace? Or Incredible Disgrace?

Tal Brooke is author of nine books (at my last count) and is listed in Marquis Who’s Who in the World (Volumes 12 & 13), Contemporary Authors (Vol. 93-96), and The International Who’s Who of Authors. The famous English intellectual and broadcaster Malcolm Muggeridge highly praised his work. Glen Meloy  identified Tal Brooke as the ‘original whistle-blower’ against Sai Baba. Brooke had began to compose a work in praise of Sai Baba which he called The Amazing Advent. However, what he had thought of as such amazing Grace, became incredible disgrace.

Name-calling

It was too easy for some Western, Hindu and other Sai Baba devotees to allude to Brooke’s adoption of a born-again Christian faith, and to pass off his accounts of Sathya Sai Baba’s sexual escapades. Those with accounts of Sai Baba sexually abusing them come from many different backgrounds. Such accounts simply keep on coming, and core leaders of the powerful and mega-rich worldwide Sathya Sai Organization have refused to tell the truth about the abundance – and indeed cultural variety – of serious reports that Sai Baba, and some of those around him, have long engaged in sexual abuse (not to mention other abuses). In short, it is far out of line with many contemporary organizations, both civic and religious, which have clear and strong guidelines concerning accountability and transparency.

Adherents Alone Without Fault. Dissentors Must be Wrong

There is a severe and oft-repeated syndrome to be noted where supporters of a guru, with their whole belief structure at stake, immediately – and with utter emotional and intellectual dishonesty – attribute maleficence to those reporting abuse, who are assailed with the easiest slurs that come to hand. Brooke turned to evangelical Christianity – therefore, he must have a deplorable motive. What then, suppose an evangelical or any other type of Christian or Hindu or Muslim or Buddhist (or whatever!) believes a crime has been committed? Should he or she not report it? What suppose an author makes money out of a book that reports abuse or some other shocking fact? We should ban it? Ridicule it? Refuse to read it? Tacitly assume that what is alleged cannot possibly have been true? Suppose a doctor makes a lot of money out of treating cancer or writing a book about it? Should we thus assume that he or she does not know what they are talking about?

When, in early 1982, I glanced at a few pages of Tal Brooke’s Lord of the air, I thought (as so many Sai devotees before and since have thought) that he had totally missed the point of my spiritual teacher, for whom I thought there were good reasons for regarding as unique in history.  I still think Sai Baba is rare, if not unique in history – but now for reasons far from inspirational but which, rather, give great concern – not only to those who feel they have been catastrophically betrayed by him but to those individuals and institutions throughout the world whom his cult would seek to influence and transform.

Is Cultic Thinking Only Found In Cults?

What if cultic thinking is one of the great threats to a mature humanity? Is there no cultic thinking among terrorists? If there is, should it not be in our interests to understand it better? But, far more than that, what if some at least of its elements are present – all unquestioned – in our own belief systems, whatever they may be? What if the quest for charismatic leaders figures more widely than in those movements we so easily deem to be cultic?

Bizarre Content May Not Preclude Truthfulness Of Abuse Accounts

I now think that we have to take seriously certain reports (such as in the Brooke reportage) like Sai Baba morphing from one gender into another – NOT because they may be literally true but because the mind of a person in an abuse situation – especially with someone they believe is, for example, God incarnate, Christ-like, Buddha-like or whatever it may be – may well be undergoing some kind of pyschopathology. But one which, however, does not mean that they have not been sexually abused. They may indeed hallucinate in one respect – BUT not about the fact of abuse itself. They too have a right to be heard. Whether they have been abused or simply have imagined that they were abused, attacks upon them are reprehensible – and are clearly about defending a guru, and not about humane sensitivity and compassion for our fellow human beings.

Need For Independent Third Party Investigation

What, then, the case of someone who realises that they have had an experience of a kind bound to be disbelieved by most of their fellow human beings. Should they, too, fail to report their belief that they have been abused? Of course, most will take the ‘easy’ way out and shut up. However, there have always been examples of human beings propelled by conscience who will speak out for what they believe is true, even in the face of direst opposition?

Attackers Of Whistleblowers Have A Lot To Answer For

But suppose some human beings speak up because of conscience – for example, because those they have most loved, such as parents, or the founder of their faith or other inspirational role model have instilled in them the importance of telling the truth, even against the odds.

The fact that devotees of a guru under siege so vehemently attack those who dissent should not go unexamined. Their own assertions should be as rigorously examined as the views of dissentors. Indeed, the central contention all along of organized former devotees and other critics of Sai Baba is that independent, third party investigation of such serious allegations is of the utmost importance.

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

‘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: https://barrypittard.wordpress.com

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 »

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

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 28, 2007

Sai Baba has created a multi-billion dollar opulence and spendour around him – from vast donations, be it said, often from your and my countries.

Highly Motivated Sai Cult Members Infiltrate Major Social Organs

He is a showy emperor of his own domain, commanding many Indian power brokers, irrespective of which party rules, and some beyond. He says he will, shortly, be God to the whole world. When a fool without enormous power thus proclaims we can either laugh or feel sorry for him.

But Sai Baba has millions of followers. See pic of Dr Michael Goldstein, Covina, California, U.S.A. caught fulminating by BBC hidden camera. He is world chairman of the Sathya Sai Organization, which Sai Baba says is THE divine organization through which he will change the entire world in his own lifetime, Islam being the last to accept him.

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

See BBC’s The Secret Swami HERE.

Sai Baba Cult Recruits In Costly Venues

In their thousands, in your and my countries, at virtually any point of the compass, one can encounter highly motivated Sai Baba devotees. They do not tap on your door like the Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, Jehova’s Witnesses, etc. They inhabit the highest echelons of power in various countries, and especially win involvement by contact at the top, whether it is with the various world faiths, politicians, governments, municiple authorities, education institutions, etc. In tightly controlled circumstances, they recruit in highly costly, luxurious venues. For example, Cooper’s Union, New York; La Mirada Theatre; Los Angeles County, Hilton Ballroom; Sheraton Hotel & 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.

Sathya Sai Cult Members Face Trails of Broken Promises

It does not seem to occur to Sai Baba’s devotees that the rest of humanity simply will not let him be God. Alas, it can take all of our communities all too long to wake up to Sai Baba devotee infiltrations into many civic, religious and political systems. Sadly, in the long run, it will be the great life crisis of these devotees, so many of them sincere and decent people, that their cherished beliefs, for which they work so tirelessly hard at practically all levels of the society, are doomed. They already have to watch him severely ageing, when he said he would not age after he turned 60 years. They now witness whole trails of his broken promises.

Members’ Air of Unreality Does Not Lessen Cult Danger

Would the rest of us – wearing blank looks on our faces – permit this admittedly charismatic and powerful, mega wealthy, influential would-be World Teacher to have his way – or either in the role of God fully incarnate or at least as a Christ, a Muhammad, a Moses, a Buddha, a Zoroaster, etc., – or even all of these, in some strange manner, rolled up in one? This is what Dr Michael Goldstein, head of the world Sathya Sai Organization and physician of Covina, California, U.S.A, told the BBC cameras in London during the making of The Secret Swami (2004):

“We believe that Sri Sathya Sai Baba is Jesus Christ.  Sri Sathya Sai Baba is Buddha.  Sri Sathya Sai Baba is the founder of all of the world’s religions.  Sri Sathya Sai Baba has always been God”

It is interesting that Goldstein chants this statement, instead of speaking naturally. I am reminded of a remark to me of one of our very qualified, experienced support psychotherapists, who mentioned how she and her medical doctor husband spoke to a close organizational colleague of Goldstein, Dr Samuel Sandweiss, of San Diego, California, a psychiatrist who has led large medical groups to visit Sai Baba. They spoke to him of the sex abuse allegations against Sai Baba, and observed a highly incantatory response, a certain air of unreality, and a marked deflection away from being to the point.

When Shall We Learn The Weimar Republic Lesson?

Humanity has a not un-noted failure to refute obscurantism with reason, and to put a stop to rot. Do we think a figure with a genius for self-promotion like Sai Baba could not succeed in getting the centuries to accept his version of himself? In admittedly the extreme case, what untold ghastliness arose because the Weimar Republic curled up foetal-style in its wretched bed?  Thomas Jefferson had the matter right – “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance”.

Cults endanger The Open Society

Cults, with secrecy and authoritarian structures enshrined in them, are dangerous for the open society. We ignore them at peril. We need to find ways that both protect religious and other freedoms, of course. But this should not preclude, as it all too often does, clear and strong action by communities to expose and deal with the cultic mentality. We also need to look within our own communities, and perhaps within our own selves, to see that distorted thinking of cultic thinking, in greater or lesser degree, exists in our own milieu, and not alone in forces without, such as terrorism.

Rigorous education in clear thinking would be a start, as would, necessarily entailed with the latter, addressing social ills which are only too bound to attract it.

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Posted in Morality, Neglected/sidelined News, New Age, Opinion, People, Protest, Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychotherapy, Rationalism, Religion, Sai Baba, Skeptics, Society, Spirituality, Theosophy, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Genital Oiling. Do Hindu Religious Leaders Approve?

Posted by Barry Pittard on May 8, 2007

My private enquiries disclose that Hindu and other Indian religious leaders do not approve such practices as the oiling of genitals. Ludicrously, Sai Baba’s foremost leaders attempt to exhonerate him by stating that his genital touching and oiling are part of a time-honoured Hindu tradition.

In an e-mail, February 2002, to Robert Priddy, retired academic of the University of Oslo and former head of the Sathya Sai Organization in Norway and devotee of 18 years, Thorbjørn Meyer, the organization’s Central Coordinator for Denmark, and a major world Sai Baba leader, has documented that he considers genital oiling to be “the age old Indian oil ceremony.” Link.

Thorbjørn Meyer’s close colleague Steen Piculell, Co-coordinator for Russia, interviewed on BBC Radio 4, Sunday, November 19, 2000, says:

“Gurus have always, as part of their job, put some oil on the er … upper er . part of their … right hand and g… and gone down in the chakra be … be … behind the testicles to er adjust the chakra there. This is a normal thing. And this I suppose Baba has also done because this is part of his job. That’s all.” (But Steen Piculell does not normally stutter like this!)

Moreover, on Danish radio and TV news, Sathya Sai Baba’s officials admitted that he genitally oils young males. Their responses infuriated a wide Danish public.

Commonsense Deserts Sai Baba Cult Members

Sai Baba’s many devotees who can do no other than admit that he commonly does this ‘genital oiling’ (as many have described it) fail to ask:

  • Why would Sai Baba be so selective as to confine this activity to boys and young men?
  • Why would he not correspondingly touch the genitals of girls and young women? Or older people of either sex?
  • Why would he transgress the laws and ethics that obtain worldwide concerning such practices?
  • Why, when he is not a medical practitioner licensed only under the strictest exceptions to touch the genitals of another person, would he engage in these genital touching or ‘oiling’ actions?
  • Why his secrecy when he grasps or oils the penises of young males?
  • Why do so many reports indicate that the young males receiving this attention from Sai Baba are “pretty”, “good looking”, etc.?
  • In the face of such serious allegations, why are there no accountability and transparency mechanisms in the Sathya Sai Organization, especially when the accusations persist decade after decade?

Indian Constitution Safeguards Unsafe?

Hindu and other Indian religious leaders I have consulted refute that any such practice is sanctioned in their religions or by the laws or Constitution of India.  (One wishes they would all come out and make unequivocal statements on such issues, though!). In fact, Article 32 of the Indian Constitution protects both Indian citizens and foreigners who visit India.  In most countries, legal codes forbid (other than for diagnostic or treatment purposes by a medical doctor) touching a minor’s genitals. Often, it is mandatory for professionals to report any allegations of sexual molestation, and those who fail to report commit a crime.

Sai Baba’s Leaders Fail To Warn Parents

For many years, in many countries, the leaders of the Sathya Sai Organization have failed to warn parents of devotees that profound concerns have been expressed by both members and resignees about allegations of sexual molestation by Sai Baba of boys and young men.

Accusations Exceed Genital Oiling and Touching

Disturbing as the practice is, the oiling of genitals is but the mildest form of molestation of which Sathya Sai Baba is accused.  Far more severe forms of sexual abuse, sometimes extending over months and years, have been often reported.  Sathya Sai Baba is accused, in relation to young males, of:

  • employing and requesting masturbation
  • engaging in oral and anal intercourse with his victims
  • asking for ejaculation of semen into his mouth
  • ejaculating into the young devotees’ mouths.

Sathya Sai Baba is reported to have issued dire threats when his advances have been refused, and to have given bribes of jewelry and large sums of money to enforce the silence of his victims.

The statement common in Sai Baba circles that he is raising the ‘kundalini’ (a mystic power) is absurd, since these acts are for the perpetrator’s own perverse enjoyment.

Wide International Efforts 
 
As well as action which achieved a UNESCO media advisory adverse to Sai Baba and some of his organizers, affidavits and other reports have been availed to the FBI (Chicago), CBI (New Delhi), German Chief Prosecutor’s Office, London Metropolitan Police, Australian Federal Police, Royal Canadian Mounted Police and copied to governments, legal counsel and sexual abuse counsellors. Although officers in various national police forces have been helpful and indeed often commendably sensitive, we record our repeated experience that most senior police and judiciary in India are the opposite. We privately know of cases where Indian police who attempted to investigate Sai Baba properly have been sidelined, posted elsewhere, and who live in fear. Journalists have been prevented from owners and publishers from printing adversely on Sai Baba. Foreign governments and law enforcement agencies are thwarted by the Indian government’s refusal to act, although our sources in foreign services make it plain that governments also do not wish to ‘rock the boat’ with India.

Irrespective of which political party is in government, the Indian power échelons powerfully protect Sathya Sai Baba and his multi-billion dollar empire that has been reported as the biggest single Indian recipient of charitable foreign donations. Link. See also: ‘Sai Baba Exchequer Worth Billions. Many Countries Donate’

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Posted in Morality, Neglected/sidelined News, New Age, News and Politics, Opinion, Pediatrics, People, Propaganda, Protest, Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychotherapy, Rationalism, Religion, Sai Baba, Scandal, Sex, Skeptics, Social and Politics, Spirituality, Trends, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions | 2 Comments »

Idi Amin Video Clip. Amin Claimed Direct Line To God

Posted by Barry Pittard on April 27, 2007

sai-baba-on-pure-gold-chariot-sept-1997.jpgidi_amin_dada.jpgUganda’s late, more than grotesque dictator Idi Amin tells a television camera about his virtual omniscience:

“Is it true that you said Hitler didn’t kill enough Jews during the war”, asks the interviewer. Despite the genocidal Nazi slaughter of millions of Jews and others, Amin laughs uproariously and says “Why do you ask me about Hitler”?

Idi Amin and Many Sai Baba Devotees Claim God Instructs Them

Idi Amin then declares that, because of God’s instructions, he knows exactly how he is going to die, what will happen in the country in the next few hours and days, and the exact intentions of his enemies. Many Sathya Sai Baba devotees speak of having a direct connection with him, whom they deem to be God, saying that he instructs them, warns them of difficulties and obstacles, tells them what to eat and not to eat, who to speak to and who not, etc.

Idi Amin And Retinue Awash With Tears of Devotion For Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba has reminisced on how Idi Amin wept tears of devotion for him, when he visited Uganda in 1968. Actually, Sai Baba goes a step further than Amin, proclaiming that he is the Divine Incarnation surpassing all Incarnations. His devotee propagandists are now fervently downplaying his actual claims by telling the wider public that Sai Baba simply says that “all are God”. Their intellectual dishonesty is patent, for they know full well that he has long and often claimed to have incarnated to save the whole world in his own lifetime, saying that he came as Sri Ram, Sri Krishna, Shirdi Sai Baba, and will return soon after he dies (not that he uses this word!) as Prema Sai Baba.

Sathya Sai Baba Officials Want Devotees to Shut Up About Their Inner Revelations

With a vast Sathya Sai Baba following from many cultures, is it any wonder, then, that the immensely wealthy and powerful worldwide cult, the Sathya Sai Organization, has clamped down harshly on many devotees who have spoken about their dreams and visions? In these, they report that Sai Baba has spoken to them, instructing them, do this, do that, etc. Countless devotees also know cases where he has told them in the interview room that he will heal others through them but where his officials have repudiated accounts of those same devotees – long known for their truthfulness – not to mention that of those very credible witnesses in the interviews when Sai Baba made the statements in the first place. He typically has even ‘materialized’ objects like pendants, ornaments of various deities, etc., that would, he said, assist in this type of healing healing work.

Happy Christmas Reminiscences of Idi Amin

In his (so-called!) ‘Christmas Discourse, 2006’ – which is, typical of his many other supposedly Christmas utterances, devoid of any genuine or sustained references to the Christmas theme – Sathya Sai Baba has, seen and heard by vast multitudes, reminisced warmly about his meeting with Idi Amin. Sai Baba’s close servitor, Dr G. Venkaraman, writes just as warmly about this, actually referring to the Ugandan monster as Mr Idi Amin”.

Sai Baba’s ‘Minister’ of Propaganda

G. Venkataraman, retired Indian atomic bomb specialist, was the Vice Chancellor of Sai Baba’s university at Puttaparthi, in Andhra Pradesh, South India, and is now Sai Baba’s chief propagandist. He directs a satellite radio station, broadcasting 24 hours 7 days, Sai Global harmony in affiliation with World Space International Radio Service, that is part of a vast Sai Baba propaganda project backed by millions, in an organization that commands billions. As indicated on the official website, it aims to broadcast to every corner of the globe. For example, we have evidence that Sai Baba’s officials like Ashok Bhagani have been closely cultivating British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s powerful Minister Tony McNulty, Member of Parliament for Harrow East and Minister of State, Home Office, and other movers and shakers on both sides of British politics to ensure broadcasting rights in Great Britain. See:  Sai Baba’s ‘Minister of Propaganda’ – Dr G. Venkataraman.

Of Love Fests For a Despot, and Tall Self-Proclamations

With such Sai Baba-Venkataraman “Mr” Idi Amin love-festing going on in Puttaparthi, as so manifestly here displayed by the self-proclaimed “Lord of Lords”, “the Father of Jesus Christ”, “the One to whom Muslims, Buddhists, etc., pray”, one can imagine that Idi Amin can even raise a laugh for himself in hell, recollecting that, even though he was not quite God, at least he gained sufficient self-respect to confer on himself the titles: His Excellency President for Life Field Marshal Al Hadji Dr. Idi Amin, VC, DSO, MC, King of Scotland, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Sea, and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular.

For Further Information, click on the article titles:

Sathya Sai Baba’s Deputy Head, Dr G. Venkataraman, Speaks of “Mr Idi Amin”
The Last King of Scotland – GOD’S ORDERS and Sai Baba

————————————————–

Further Reading

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

BBC Hidden Camera in ‘Secret Swami’. Ethical?

Guru Sex Abuse Testimony To BBC – After Years of Silence

Indian Minister Shields Sai Baba on BBC television

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

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

Exposure of Sathya Sai Baba. Media Source List

Video Resources

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sathya Sai Baba Chief, Dr Goldstein, Explodes. “I am the consummate professional” (See Film Clips)

Raising ever more serious questions about how spiritual is the head of what Sathya Sai Baba has called THE divine organization in the world,

Michael Goldstein explodes with anger (710kbs)

at the BBC’s perfectly reasonable questions about accountability

Dr. Goldstein again reveals his higher self (1.500Kb)

Michael Goldstein and the sexual allegations (2,10 Mbs)

Michael Goldstein admits his view is merely a belief (456kbs)

Sathya Sai Baba Cult Exposure By Major TV Channel In Australia « Call For Media and Government Investigation

……………………………………………………

General
Excerpt From Public Petition

(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:

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

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Posted in Morality, Neglected/sidelined News, New Age, News and Politics, Opinion, People, Politics, Propaganda, Prophecy, Protest, Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychotherapy, Rationalism, Religion, Scandal, Skeptics, Social and Politics, Society, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Indian Government Study of Child Abuse Is Groundbreaking

Posted by Barry Pittard on April 24, 2007

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

Indian Study On Child Abuse. Robert Priddy Comments’,

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

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

Child Abuse in India. Will Minister Renuka Chowdhury Act?

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

The International Save The Children Alliance states:

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

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

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

Major findings of the Study:

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

Let Us Not Unduly Target India 

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

Sexual Abuse And Cover-up

Posted by Barry Pittard on April 24, 2007

In 1982, an Australian woman had come up to me in much distress. She had heard around Puttaparthi that Sai Baba was not celibate as he claimed to the world but practising homosexuality. Concerned that such stories should be spreading about – and, of course, at that time thinking them outrageous – I spoke to two of Sathya Sai Baba’s foremost followers.

These were Howard Murphet (died 2004, Australia), whose books on Sai Baba have a market well beyond Sai Baba devotees and Richard Bayer then one of the top-ranking leaders of the Sathya Sai Organization in the U.S.A. Howard Murphet responded graciously, speaking of how we both knew of Baba’s ‘glory’ ‘wonders’, etc. But, Bayer to whom I spoke separately, left me standing flabbergasted by his incredibly rude reaction to what had been a query prompted by concern for the woman’s anguish and the feeling that others would be similarly hurt. I had hardly even spoken the first words, when Richard Bayer angrily turned on his heel and stormed away. (I have since learned that he had known of the allegations all along, and also, like so many Sai Baba choses as his core leaders, well known for his high-handedness). Almost immediately, I was called up to the office by Kutumb Rao (sometimes spelt Kutumbarao), the Puttaparthi ashram manager and a former judge of the High Court of Andhra Pradesh. In almost no time, he told me that Sai Baba had instructed me to leave at once. This was a very great shock. It was about 8 p.m. and he refused to allow me even to stay the night. Interestingly, when I returned to Puttaparthi in November 1997 and stayed for 8 months, Sai Baba was repeatedly gracious, sometimes going out of his way to greet me in various ways, and granting an interview.

A Whisper Can Invoke Catastrophic Consequences

Similarly, Hans de Kraker, an Australian who Sai Baba appointed Western Canteen Director 1989-1997, reports being cast out on Sai Baba’s orders, along with a number of others with whom he shared his experiences of Sai Baba doing what in many countries would have to be described as inapropriate touching. These were devotees typically known for their great and selfless service to Sai Baba’s work. Hans de Kraker, now has a graphic arts business in Australia, with major corporate clients. He has spoken out boldly. I find him, by the way, to have more respect for dates and other concrete details than many people tend to, and indeed more articlulate than many who witness to Sai Baba’s sexual abuse of them. The mix-ups of e.g., dates and surrounding circumstances that can occur in accounts of survivors of traumatic episodes unfortunately play right into the hands of those who are insensitive or adversarial and unscrupulous, like defenders of their religious teachers, and not least many lawyers at whose hands many abuse victims describe themselves as being abused twice over.

Being In-denial? Or In Cover-Up Mode? Or Both?

Hans de Kraker told me that he took his concerns to the then head of the Australian Sathya Sai Organization, T. Sri Ramanathan (a former commercial judge in Sri Lanka) and another one of the Australian Sai organization’s most prominent leaders, Dr Sara Pavan (who has spent lengthy times living at Puttaparthi, serving as a doctor in Sai Baba’s Superspeciality Hospital). Hans de Kraker said that Ramanathan, who more recently has worked with senior law students at the Sydney University and the University of New South Wales, immediately went into a recital of how Sai Baba had done such wonders. One example was how (not in person but somehow mystically) Sai Baba had miraculously recovered a diary with his, Ramanathan’s law students’ examination details that he, Ramanathan had lost in Malaysia in transit to visit Sai Baba. Another was how Sai Baba had, again in some mystic sense, had made his non-functioning tape recorder work. Hans de Kraker said that Dr Pavan’s response is that one does not talk of these matters.

I think I understand the in-denial reaction from the inside. It cuts one off from commonsense, natural justice and a compassion unmixed by one’s own defense mechanisms. Click here, where in the article ‘Sai Baba and Sexual Grooming’ I have recounted my own reactions when in December 1997 Maria Quoos (now head of the Sathya Sai Organization in Poland) brought a young man to me who was troubled by his experience, in recent hours during an interview, where Sai Baba had covertly grasped his penis.

Was This ‘Grooming’ by A Sexual Predator? Voyeurism? Both?

Hans de Kraker’s report is typical and can suggest a classic pattern observed by sexual molesters, which abuse professionals term ‘grooming’. This is where the predator, often unsure of who will succumb, or how successful each overture will be, tests and proceeds gradually, until, spider-like, the perpetrator has the victim in his or her web. Hans de Kraker writes:

“During this period (1992-94), I had many (35) private audiences with Sai Baba. During these four years of travels to India, Sai Baba would perform a certain ritual each time he would call me in for a private audience or interview. He would ask me to take down my pants. He would then ‘oint’ my umbilical area, testicles and penis with oil which he ‘materialised’. I had heard of this ritual and it seemed to be ‘common knowledge’ that this was done to balance the sexual energy or kundalini. I had never thought anything of it.”

Appalled Head of Sai Baba’s Australian Organization Quits
 
The same sinister pattern of cover-up and denial is to be noted in Terry Gallagher’s findings. He was the head of the Sathya Sai Organization in Australia but, like a number of other leaders and rank-and-file Sai Baba followers around the world, he left after making careful enquiry into the sexual abuse allegations. In fact, Terry Gallagher’s enquiries were most extensive. Among other sources, he had spoken privately with a number of Sai Baba’s students, and comments: 

“Sai Baba made no comment on our accusations and was only anxious to know who had told us these details, requesting us to tell him several times! … Sai Baba was tense and agitated, and his body language told us all that what we had found out about him was the truth!”

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Posted in Morality, Neglected/sidelined News, New Age, Opinion, Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychotherapy, Rationalism, Religion, Scandal, Sex, Skeptics, Spirituality, World Issues, World Religions | 4 Comments »