Call For Media and Government Investigation

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

Archive for the ‘Theology’ Category

Does ‘Forgiveness’ Mean Letting Offenders Ride Rough Shod Over Us?

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 8, 2010

In a list of systemically misleading topics, ‘forgiveness’ would have to rank near the top. Wooly notions about it all too readily allow perpetrators to go free and without challenge. They can remain perpetrators, and their victims left in abject circumstance. Those who advocate passive types of forgiveness too often invite themselves to be trodden upon. Still more, their modeling of a behaviour creates contexts which allow others around them to be trodden upon, as well.

I view foregiveness as the cultivation of an inner attitude, where – while still attending to what one conceives to be civil and ethical duties – one takes daily steps towards achieving an inner peace, and moves away from first reactions, such as thirsting for and implementing revenge. This inner attitude is far removed from notions such as peace at all costs, or the fool’s ‘paradise’ of avoidance of issues, of being in denial, of being lovey-dovey and wishy-washy, and of retreating to euphoric states.

I heard the Dalai Lama speak well on the subject of forgiveness, and made notes. See:  

Dalai Lama: Forgiveness does not mean forgetfulness

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 15, 2007


The Public Petition   

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

About the Petition For Official Investigation Into Sathya Sai Baba Cult

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

Posted in New Age, Opinion, Psychology, Religion, South Asia, Spirituality, Theology, Theosophy, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Hearts Yearning

Posted by Barry Pittard on December 24, 2009

May we rise above the shadows of the divides and see the same Light and the same yearning in the hearts of all, however differently expressed


Note: My preference on reading any of the central, archetypal stories in the sacred or other key literatures of the different cultures is to approach them via the heart. Intellect can do a service; however, once the heart and the imagination are out of the equation, there is the risk of entering the realms of what is doctrinaire, dogmatic and theological. When there is any claim to a superiority of one path over another, there is the instant throwing up of fortresses, watchtowers and crocodile-infested moats. Happily, there are many from faiths and those not given to faith who get along very well in workplaces and wider communities. Perhaps what they embody provides a role model that the world might well value.

Rock-a-bye This Babe. A Christmas Lullaby

Rock-a-bye this babe, this babe in your heart keep
Whose love is awake though the babe is asleep
Take him, hold him in your heart till he wakes
He’s new born for us care-worn, O see the difference he makes

This Christmas, this babe, so deep in your heart keep
Whose love is a Feast fit to feed a mean street
Sing him, sing him, with a voice sweet and clear
Fling out the darkness, fling out the fear!

This Christmas, this babe, so deep in your heart keep
Whose love is a Feast fit to feed a mean street
Sing him, sing him, with a voice sweet and clear
Fling out the darkness, fling out the fear!

Oh, rock-a-bye this babe, so deep in your heart keep
Whose love is awake and yet this babe is asleep
You take him, you hold him in your heart till he wakes
He’s new born for us care-worn, O see the difference he makes

Hearts Yearning


Hearts yearning, hearts burning

Three wise men searched for one more wise

Who opens hearts, who purifies

Hearts yearing, hearts burning

In sleep no peace, just this tossing-turning

On earth no peace, just relentless burning


Where the bright star pointed and alighted

Where the beasts in the chill cold seek some bed

Even in some crowded cattle shed

And in all those parts sprang a sacred fire

In the wise men's hearts sang an angel choir

Alleluia. All-ay-ay lu ia

Hearts yearning, feet burning

The donkey rests from the frosted road

The jest of man, though it bears his load

Heart yearning, such yearning!

Its soft eyes glow from the starlit baby

It knows of the load of that gracious lady 

So blessed though exhausted

Where the bright star hovered and alighted

Where the beasts in the chill cold seek some bed

In this simple, little cattle shed

And in all these parts sprang a mystic fire

In that donkey's heart sang the angelic choir

Alleluia. Alleluia


Troops stamping, troops tramping!

This little family took dread flight

From Herod's men in the depths of night

Troops burning, troops, burning!

Deep red stained - the swords would kill that yearning

On the earth for the end to the ceaseless burning 


All blood-red their footsteps

As they went mass-killing all the infant lads

Like beasts in the dead night feast on lambs

So did Rome's puppet, with his bullies and his shams

Wormwood was no cure for Herod and his ire

And his writhing fear there would come a Messiah


Starlight led sore footsteps

Where the bright star pointed and alighted

Where the beasts in the chill cold sought some bed

Even in some crowded cattle shed

Where in all earth's parts sprang a sacred fire

Where we would all sing as an angel choir

In all our hearts – an angel choir

In all our hearts – an angel choir

In all our hearts – this angel choir …. etc., …..
Note:  Both songs protected by The Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA)

Posted in New Age, Religion, Sikhism, South Asia, Spirituality, Theology, Theosophy, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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 »

Sathya Sai Baba Topic On CNN-IBN – on his 81st birthday

Posted by Barry Pittard on November 24, 2009

CNN-IBN ( CNN-India Broadcast News) is an English language Indian TV news channel lauched in 2005. The network is a partnership between Global Broadcast News (GBN) and Turner International (Turner) in India. Rajdeep Sardesai is the Editor-in-Chief of the network.

One may comment:  What debate?!

CNN report on Sai Baba
if unavailable, click here

Source:  CNN-IBN TV interviews: “Debate – Sai Baba a Godsend?”


See Topics posted at ‘Call For Media and Government Investigation’:  Sathya Sai Baba Birthday 2009

Sathya Sai Baba 84th Birthday Celebrations. Will 21st Century India Tolerate The Shame That Is Puttaparthi?

Golden Throne of India’s Sathya Sai Baba. He says he will Rule the world soon

Sathya Sai Baba Birthday. Brian Steel Examines Birthdate Issue

For earlier birthday events at Puttaparthi:

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

Sai Baba’s Imperial 83rd Birthday Celebrations Photo, Puttaparthi, 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 Morality, News and Politics, Opinion, Protest, Rationalism, Skeptics, Theology, Uncategorized, World Issues | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Sai Baba 83. Has Said He Will Rule World

Posted by Barry Pittard on November 22, 2008

For such a golden self-proclaimed Avatar of all Avatars (Divine Incarnations), can there be any better illustration of the old saw: all that glitters is not gold? See the photo evidence in this and my recent posts.

Some further revealing photos of the incredible opulence via which Sathya Sai Baba presents himself are at the links listed below.

The photo below was taken a few days ago, in a public appearance intended as a lead-up to the Sathya Sai Baba’s 83rd birthday, which is 23 November, 2008.

Sathya Sai Speaks. ‘I Do Not Like This Pomp’
Posted by Barry Pittard on November 21, 2008
Indian God’s Birthday. Says Will Rule World. Photo
Posted by Barry Pittard on November 21, 2008
Sai Baba’s Imperial 83rd Birthday Celebrations Photo, Puttaparthi, India
Posted by Barry Pittard on November 21, 2008
Sai Baba’s Birthday. Vast, Costly Pomp and Ceremony
Sai Baba, Kubla Khan, Citizen Kane, Bill Gates et alia
Golden Glitter For Sai Baba's 83rd Birthday

Golden Glitter For Sai Baba

Posted in New Age, News and Politics, Rationalism, Religion, Sai Baba, Skeptics, Spirituality, Theology, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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

Posted by Barry Pittard on November 9, 2008

In 2000, Sathya Sai Baba devotees worldwide wanted desperately to cope with the allegations falling thick and fast of Sai Baba’s serial widespread sexual molestations of boys and young men.

Devotees extensively circulated a photocopy of talks by Yaani and her husband Professor Al Drucker at the ‘United Kingdom Sai Baba Retreat’, April, 2000. These two, especially Al Drucker, have been very influential in the history of the Sai Baba movement. Referring in their talks to Jaani Drucker’s rape in an official Sathya Sai Center, they both held that Jaani is not her body. She is only in a dream. Not being her body, but the eternal Atma, Jaani was never raped. All is the Lord’s Grace.

There is here a procrustean stretching of the Advaita Vedanta philosophy. Some have posited an ultimate state of non-physical being, but to do so can be to merge not into some blissful state of enlightenment but rather partake of an unreality which little equips human beings for deciding on issues of responsibility to their psychological welfare.

The Wishing Away Of Unpleasant Realities

For example, none should entertain the notion: The boys and young men who have had terribly shocking experiences at the hands of Sathya Sai Baba are not their body. Therefore, nothing, in all reality, happened to them. Secondly, even IF the Druckers were to be in some elevated state of spiritual enlightenment, it would be mistaken for anyone to think that all others should be as the Druckers.

Is the Druckers’ expression of a non-dualistic philosophy one to model to those struggling to make sense out of the shocks of the world or of the workaday world of commonsense and responsibility? The advaita philosophy improperly interpreted is full of dangers for the unwary.


Alvin Drucker, Former NASA scientist . (An early photo)

Al Drucker’s wife, Jaani

Belief System Interpretation of ‘Exalted’ Experiences

Jaani Drucker is surely right when she says “Denial gives energy to the darkest fears by attempting to hide them and put them out of the consciousness.  Exposing our fears or negative qualities undoes them and reveals them as the nothing that they have always been”.

However, one may doubt whether she has understood the power of but one of the human mind’s radical coping mechanisms when she relates, “Even while I was being brutally raped, within me all fear and horror of the situation had left. Quite inexplicably I became very calm and to my astonishment discovered an incredible compassion welling up in my heart”. However, those on some ‘spiritual’ paths will immediately interpret the experience according to their belief system. There are many accounts of those in situations of danger who have had similar experiences. But the happy state into which they entered is later belied, for example by their shaking bodies subsequent to the event and, far more, to poste-traumatic aftermaths.

Former Devotee Ends Her Euphoria

Ella Evers, along with her late husband had led a US Sathya Sai Baba center in Oregon, USA. (John had been a banker who had served as a Dutch intelligence officer in the war against Hitler’s Germany). Ella and John were among those many in the United States Sathya Sai Organization who left it after investigated cases within Sai Centers, having – with signal failure – put to the national leaders – such as Dr John Hislop, Dr Michael Goldstein, Bob Bozzani, Dr John C. Evans, Dr William Harvey, Dr Phylis Kristal, and others – the serious allegations that were arising within the organization, particularly about allegations against Sathya Sai Baba of his serial widespread sexual abuse of boys and young men. The following report depicts an experience familiar to very many former devotees who had earlier ignored the evidence of grave malpractice. They, in a state of psychological denial and commonly a euphoric state, preferred to rationalize the conflicted situations as “Swami’s Divine Play”, “Swami’s helping to speed up the evolution of those with bad karma”, and so on.

A Former Devotee Ends Her Euphoria

The Grant’s Pass (Oregon, USA) newspaper reporter wrote:

Evers claims that, during a trip to the India compound in 1989, she glimpsed Sai Baba unzipping the pants of a boy before the holy man jumped up and closed a gap in the interview curtain. “Wanting so desperately to be a good devotee”, she blamed her own impure thoughts and suppressed what she’d seen until she learned of other stories last year, she said. Evers doesn’t want to take away from the good works of Sai Baba followers, but she believes they have been slowly drawn in and discouraged from thinking for themselves.
Source: Controversial holy man’s followers gather near Grants Pass. Patricia Snyder. Grants Pass Daily Courier. August 31, 2001.

Further Resources

The Ways of The Mind. Some reflections on an article by Elena Hartgering. By Åsa Samsioe (psychologist and practicing therapist, Sweden. Åsa is a former devotee of Sathya Sai Baba)

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

Cultic Depersonalization or Demonization of Dissenters

Some Key Cultic Responses To Critics

Being In Denial. A Sai Baba Experience

Exiting A Top International Cult. A Sai Baba Experience

Dr Timothy Conway’s Summary of Ullrich Zimmermann Interview

Legalistic Abuse: Catholic Church And Sathya Sai Organization

Posted in Morality, New Age, Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychotherapy, Religion, Sex, Spirituality, Theology, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

‘World Hindu’ by 2030. VHP’s Singhal Reports Sathya Sai Baba Told Him

Posted by Barry Pittard on September 9, 2008

One of India’s most powerful Hindu nationalist leaders, Ashok Singhal, who has an international profile in the Hindu world, has just told an assembly of political and religious luminaries in Delhi of a prophecy he says Sathya Sai Baba shared with him. The Organiser, September 14, 2008, reports:

“… Shri Singhal also threw light on how to strengthen the Hindu society and unite our great India. The VHP leader, while disclosing his discussion with Satya Sai Baba, said that Sai Baba had informed him that between 2020 and 2030 the whole India would be of Hindus and after 2030 the whole world would be of Hindus”.


Amrut Mahotsav of Dr Suresh Bajpai Leaders laud his dedication, service


The Individual referred to in the quote (right) is the international president of the VHP, which stands for Vishwa Hindu Parishad, founded by the late Swami Chinmayananda. It grew from a number of the factors that birthed  the Hindu nationalist organisation known as RSS or Rashtriya Swamyamsekak Sangh, which is very powerful, militant and highly organized. According to David James Smith, Hinduism and Modernity P189, Blackwell Publishing ISBN 0-631-20862-3 VHP general secretary, S.S. Apte, formerly a member of the RSS, stated:

“The world   has been divided to Christian, Islam and Communist. All of them view Hindu society as very fine rich food on which to feast and fatten themselves. it is necessary in this age of conflict to think of and organize the Hindu world to save it from the evils of all the three”. (see

See Wikipedia articles:

Vishva Hindu Parishad

Rashtriya Swamyamsekak Sangh

Further Reading

When Disasters Overtake S. Sai Baba’s Promises

‘World Avatar’ Sathya Sai Baba’s Troubled Trail

Quote: “There are Sathya Sai Baba devotees in some of the highest echelons of power in various countries. Their faith in him may be touching but not likely to be fulfilled. Despite various statements such as that that he would not age or get sick, he looks fragile and decrepit, increasingly muttering oddities and making egregious blunders”. See Sathya Sai Baba’s Tips To Keep Ageing Away.

Has ‘World Saviour’ Missed His Plane?

Quote: “In his February 16, 2007 so-called ‘divine discourse’, Sai Baba said, “I intend to undertake a world tour, shortly.” But will he? How can he? The guru, perhaps the most wealthy and politically powerful in India’s long history, claims that he will save the world in his own lifetime. He will, he says, preside over the greatest changes ever to occur in history – the Muslims being the last to accept that he is God”.

Sathya Sai Promise Has Lost Its Bloom

Sathya Sai Promise Has Lost Its Bloom


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Posted in News and Politics, Prophecy, Rationalism, Religion, Sai Baba, Skeptics, Spirituality, Theology, Theosophy, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

Sathya Sai Baba Bans But Permits Foot Touching

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 5, 2008

At the Bal Vikas conference in Prashanti Nilayam in 2001, after sixty years of offering what he deems to be his Holy Feet to be touched, Sathya Sai Baba declared that he was not going to allow padnamaskaar to anyone anymore.

This is reported on an official Sathya Sai Organization web page at As is well known among his followers, the matter was also reported in the official magazine Sanathana Sarathi, which is distributed worldwide. After an extraordinary number of years in permitting the practice, he has discovered that it created a sense of separation between himself and his devotees! He wanted them to see him in one and all. He said that the namaskaar that would be offered to him had better be offered to parents, elders, gurus, etc. He added: “See me in your heart and in the heart of everyone you meet.”

One might well wonder whether those who, with the underhand cooperation of prominent Sathya Sai Baba servitors, and rank-and-file members, have behaved so scurrilously towards former devotees who have spoken out have quite got around to noting such noble teachings. See:

The International Sathya Sai Organization – an accessory to a massive libel and disinformation campaign. Open letter to the Prasanthi Council – c/o Dr. M. Goldstein, Dr. G. Venkataraman and its other members

In short, Sathya Sai Baba has put himself even more at the centre than before – he was to be worshipped in or through everyone else! However, he is still often observed to accept the touching of his feet.

The attached image of 7-year old boy doing padnamaskar is from – before he pronounced that padnamaskaar would stop. However, the photo of his official translator and a key servitor Professor Anil Kumar was captured by the from the BBC film ‘The Secret Swami’ (2004), well after Sathya Sai Baba said he stopped the practice of padnamaskaar of his feet!

Select Reading

Professor Anil Kumar Sathya Sai Baba’s Translator

BBC Hidden Camera in ‘Secret Swami’. Ethical?

The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ – A RevisionProbed On Male Sex Abuse, Sai Baba Evicts BBC TV Team

Posted in New Age, Religion, Sai Baba, Spirituality, Theology, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Pope’s US Visit. Is US to blame for abuse crisis?

Posted by Barry Pittard on April 30, 2008

The headlines are going up: Pope blames US for abuse crisis.

Of course, we shall need to see whether his statements exactly reflect the headlines. (See BBC News reference below, Pope attacks US sex abuse record)

If they are accurate, it may appear as a type of papal and Roman Catholic hierarchy self-absolution? Surely, the responsibility needs to be taken as a whole by the ‘Captain’. There can be no blame shifting, as decent Roman Catholics themselves have attested, when they were ready to buck an incredibly powerful heirarchy in a courageous coming out against sexual abuse within their church.

A Suggestive Historical Counter-factual

Let us alter the scenario. Suppose this: that, decades ago, a Pope had said: We are getting shocking reports of sexual abuse. We shall move against this iniquity with the utmost urgency and thoroughness and compassionate professionalism – compassionate, above all, for the survivors of this great and abominable abuse. It is not to be tolerated. It would be too facile to blame the problem on any wealthy country, because the same abuses are to be found in countries rich and poor, and at every socio-cultural level.


BBC NEWS. Pope attacks US sex abuse record

April 18, 2008

‘Pope Benedict XVI has criticized US bishops for their handling of child sex scandals, saying their response to the crisis had sometimes been very poor.

He laid part of the blame for the crisis, of which he feels “deeply ashamed”, on a breakdown in US values’.

The Australian. Pope spreads pedophilia blame

April 18, 2008
‘WASHINGTON: Feted at the White House on his 81st birthday, the Pope told the US’s bishops that the scourge of clergy sex abuse had sometimes been “very badly handled” – and laid part of the blame for the scandal on the breakdown of values in American society … The US church has been racked by falling attendance at mass and financial and other difficulties in recent years, most notably the sexual-abuse scandal that has resulted in the removal of many clergy from the ministry …. Describing clerics who sexually abused children as “gravely immoral”, the Pope warned that the scourge of pedophilia “is found not only in your dioceses but in every sector of society” … Last year, 689 fresh allegations of abuse were lodged, and the church paid out $US615 million to settle child sex abuse cases involving members of the clergy ‘.

Some related Articles at Call For Media and Government Investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

Cult Exposure. By Their Documents Ye Shall Know Them

Australia Says ‘Sorry’. A Lesson For Sai Baba And Followers

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

Posted in Religion, Spirituality, Theology, Uncategorized, World Religions | 1 Comment »

Is Humanity One Big Cult?

Posted by Barry Pittard on October 13, 2007

There is a fundamental mistake that defenders of those accused of serious abuse keep on making.

Accusations of substantive abuse do not have to be proved. They have to be investigated.

An organization that does not have genuine policies and practices of transparency and accountability is per se condemned.

Many Exposés of Cults Reveal Same Abuses and Rationalizations

Statements such as that an organization’s founder and his or her core leaders have never been brought before a court are crude and dishonest in the extreme. Repeatedly, across the various exposure of leaders, the patterns of denial, obfuscation and outright deceit are to be observed. Meetings between dissenters from various cults, who have left because they found profoundly betrayed the noble aims concerning which they joined, can tend to get off to a flying start, for participants are deeply struck by the many commonalities of experiences. I shall not say more of this aspect at present. For it is good that increasing contacts mature between those who have experienced spiritual betrayal around the world and the monumental cover-up of it can mature and prosper. And, indeed, that the perpetrators are left to wonder what alliances and resource-sharing and joint ventures might effect in educating greater publics of the great and insidious threats posed by cults of various kinds.

Cult defenders persistently employ a number of blunt tools: demeaning, name-calling, demonizing, slandering, stalking both on and off the Internet, intimidation, distortion and misinterpretation of what has been said. They muck-rack like McCarthyites, and attack individuals, quite commonly for faults they have not committed, instead of address issues. The use of ad hominem arguments and tu quoque retorts is very typical, and they confuse the difference between legitimately naming an individual and criticising their statements or role and illegitimate practice of slandering a person, and thus avoiding the central issues being presented. Their smokescreens choke horizons like a bad bushfire on a gusty day. Often, they appeal to popular prejudice. They get caught up in the narrowest interpretations of dissenters’ intentions or actions. Each individual who speaks up, they will assume the worst of, and defame – one after the other. They avoid the substantive questions and arguments, and accuse others of doing so. One is damned if one should respond to them, and damned if one does not. But then why should one bend to respond to those so antagonistic? It’s damned well good at least not to be down in the gutter.

There is no diving equipment adequate to diving into sewers. Those among the dissenters such as the hotheaded and bloody-mindedly quarrelsome who do respond end up in endless dogfights, which are far removed from the very reasons – which can be ideals most would agree to be noble, humane, spiritual and so forth – which led one to be a part of a self-enhancement group in the first instance. Many dissenters have, however, done years of hard self-development and of unstinting service to the poor and needy in their communities and other worthy causes. They may fight, but they will not dogfight.

Euphoria and Topic Avoidance

There is often in guru and cult defenders an appeal to popular prejudices – such as that media inevitably sensationalizes and misreports or that dissenters are people who did not get attention from the group’s guru, etc. The defensive tactics reveal the depth of problems of personality which a leader and cult, despite grand claims, has not, amidst the unreal euphoria and avoidance of topics where hard questions are raised, been able to heal or to solve. It is, of course, a problem that can as easily afflict dissenters, unless they have done some hard work on themselves.

Humanity – One Big Cult?

A far wider problem exists. One can point to cultic tendencies in this or that group. But then if we emphasize qualities of group-think and non-think in groups termed (accurately or not) ‘cults’, we will end up comforted, with our fingers pointed out, rather than considering our own capacities. Is there a grand unquestioning that is the tendency of a cult called Humanity? A cutting across all the ‘isms’ – except one:  bias-ism. So normal that we feel normal. So huge that we don’t recognize it, just as we might tend to assume without thinking that the sun will rise in the east on the morrow or that the sky still coheres above us.

No need to click on ‘Register’ or ‘Join’. No need to pay annual subsriptions. Our forebears have already enrolled us.

If we are all afflicted, we had best find a better way of getting out of the millennially built-up sludge. But no use ‘fessing up unless we can find ways to do it without exploitation, shouting, clubbing, and reversion to division and the manning of battlements.

The Example of The Muslim Leaders

Perhaps the Muslim and Christian clerics, theologians and academics who are busily writing to each other right at this moment will find ways to express commonalities which lead to love and compassion, and still face the differentiations that tests the goodwill, and in a way that works beyond the lovey-dovey. I think there is a tendency, which the leaders will have to address, to assume that religions are what make the world go round, rather the cynical machinations of realpolitik. Never mind, any genuinely caring way might be the way out of the sludge – even if by happy accident, or some millennial crawl to a new paradigm.

We can all be members of the clubless club of the great unwashed, which has but one essential thought. That we are washed, even if others are not. And one essential risk: that we can, all too easily do bad dirt on good people – if there happen to be any around.

Further Reading

The Muslim leaders’ bold document is available in .pdf format, courtesy of the BBC, HERE

Posted in Neglected/sidelined News, New Age, Opinion, Religion, Spirituality, Theology, Theosophy, Uncategorized, World Religions | Leave a Comment »

Sai Baba Fails To Grant Great Moon Vision. Endangers Crowds

Posted by Barry Pittard on October 6, 2007

Once, my life nearly succumbed to an Indian headlong pilgrim rush.

Crowd Delirium at Puttaparthi

What wondrous relief, then, not to have been caught up in the crowd surges of Sathya Sai Baba devotees which, last Thursday evening, plunged towards Sai Baba’s Puttaparthi airport. They hungered after Sai Baba’s reportedly promised divine vision as hunger-maddened human beings might rush for food.

Sai Baba had announced through one of his chief servitors, Professor Anil Kumar, news reports state, that he would grant to his assembled devotees a great vision – no less than “Vishwarupa Darshanam”.


This is the sort of peak divine experience that Lord Krishna is said to have granted to his servitor and boon companion Arjuna. See Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, At a point north east, all the divinely and incredibly fortunate Sai devotees would have to do would be to look up at the moon, and, lo, they would receive a blessing granted usually only to yogis or rishis (sages) who had meditated for thousands of years. (Too bad, of course, for any blind Sai Baba devotees). But the weather turned cloudy, and Puttaparthi officials are reported as saying that their Bhagawan Sai Baba had refused to go ahead with the event because the crowds had become unruly, holding up his car, in which he had been driven to the airport, for an hour.

How anyone could attain redemptive deliverance by trampling to death one’s fellow pilgrims may seem something of a mystery. But it is not a spiritual mystery. How Sai Baba could have set up a situation which any sane Indian knows is bound to cause incredible crowd turmoil is not, I think, a mystery at all. But, rather, is explicable in terms of serious recurring evidence of an encroaching mental condition that his core assistants work overtime in trying to keep from devotees and the general public. See my article: Sai Baba’s Tip to Keep Ageing Away.

In India, ‘Guest is God’. My 15 Minutes of Godhood

To speak of fervent ‘religous’ crowds who can trample you underfoot in the twinkling of a foot. One day at Sai Baba’s Puttaparthi ashram, in the late ’70’s, I was seized by a fit of (would-be) renunciation.

I was a lecturer in Sai Baba’s boys college at Whitefield, via Bangalore, and used to my place on Sai Baba’s temple (mandir) verandah and other ‘privilegious’ vantage points. One of these was a spot among Sai Baba’s male bhajan lead singers who sat right up front in the Puttaparthi auditorium, the Poorna Chandra, at that time said to be the second-largest auditorium in South-East Asia.


With no prizes available for grand naivity, I thought:  let me get out of this unseemly easefulness and sit as far up towards the back as possible, among the seething humanity, in this way working towards combatting egoic attachment to Sai Baba’s form. Unlike my normal seating position, to which I could go freely without queuing, I now had to wait among great throngs. At length, the roller doors of the Poorna Chandra were thown open, whence followed as fiece a charge as a Kiplingesque ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’ – except that this was the charge of myriad heavy brigades. Pakistan would have been defeated in an instant!

Salvational Desperation

I did not then know what many a surviving pilgrim in India will know – which is:  Do rush. Do plunge pell-mell. Do charge with the charge. Otherwise you’re done for – life or limb. Unless you want to stay at home and risk getting run over by a vehicle. Nothing in India’s scriptures, nor in any, had quite prepared me for this important annexure to sacred Wisdom.

Thou Shalt Not Trample Foreign Visitors, Unless Moksha (Soul Liberation) Needs Forbid

Fortunately, there were a few quick thinkers among that madding crowd. As it surged forward stormily – avid after sitting places – an instinctive protectiveness by alert Indians saved this Australian “innocent abroad”. One had better not, if at all manageable, paste an innocent foreign face on the floor. Of course, my Indian brothers have known millennia before the American humorist Mark Twain wrote “Innocents Abroad” that foreign travellers tend to be … ah, well … Or, to express the matter mildly, that we can magnify Murphy’s Law to the power of ten.

Then, several pairs of hands swept me up until I was carried over the heads of my benignly strong-armed rescuers. Perhaps that was the prize – my life.

My Fifteen Minutes of Sacred (or Scared) Fame

Once we sat down, I found that some knew I was a teacher in Sai Baba’s college and, at odd times, a bhajan leader, and “I” found “myself” – so to speak – duly worshipped – for God’s sake! The chump being worshipped was still alive, if rather shaken. And Andy Warhol was assiduously timing the whole event – pretty well right down to his statutary fifteen minutes.

Further earnest devotees started beckoning me to work my way down, and, with pained concern inscribed in their faces and tender care vibrating in their outreaching hands, swept me up and passed me continually forward to yet myriad other caring hands (which minutes ago might have belonged to individuals who would gingerly have trampled me underfoot), until service volunteers (seva dals), also brimfull of earnest solicitation, conducted me back to my accustomed, privilegious seat.

For, of course, one of the great courtesies of India is, veritably, that ‘guest is God’.

Vintage Quote From Sai Baba

“I will have to forego the car and even the aeroplane when I move from place to place, for the crowds pressing around them will be too huge; I will have to move across the sky; yes, that too will happen, believe Me.” (Sathya Sai Speaks Vol. II, p. 92)

Further Reading news report, updated: October 4, 2007. Hysteric crowds force Sai Baba to differ Viwa Rupa. Below, I have excerpted from this news release:

HYDERABAD : Hysteric crowds and overhanging clouds persuaded Sri Satya Sai Baba to postpone his promised Vishwarupa darshanam on Thursday evening. There was chaos at the Puttaparthi airport after Sai Baba devotees thronged the premises to witness the Vishwarupa darshanam of their master….
They returned disappointed. Sai Baba had earlier given darshan to his devotees at Sai Kulwant hall in Puttaparthi. After the bhajan, he told his assistant Anil Kumar that he would give Vishwarupa darshanam at around 7 pm on the northeastern direction of the airport….
As soon as Mr Anil Kumar announced this, devotees ran towards the airport chanting his name. Television channels also telecast the news and people in Puttaparthi locked up their houses and ran towards the airport. Thousands also rushed to the area from surrounding villages….
All the devotees crowding the area focused their attention on the northeastern direction in the sky. In a fit of devotion, some of them surrounded the car of Sai Baba and he could not come out. Devotees did not relent even after members of Satya Sai Trust urged them to sit down. Instead, they ran after the car….
A small stage was set up before the car for Viswarupa Darshanam but Sai Baba could not reach the stage as devotees prostrated before him. He was forced to remain in the car for about an hour….
A short while later, the office-bearers of the Satya Sai Trust announced that the Viswarupa Darsanam was postponed because of the non-cooperation of devotees and the cloudy weather. Sai Baba then returned to his Ashram. Sai Baba devotees in other countries also called up their friends and relatives in Puttaparthy to find out about the incident….
Because of the rush, traffic on the road from Puttaparthy to the airport was thrown out of gear. At one stage, doors of the airport had to be closed. Police finally cleared the traffic to enable Sai Baba to return to his Ashram. Most devotees expressed disappointment at not being able to see the Viswarupa Darsanam.

Further Reading

Other articles on the Sai Baba moon issue at: are:

Sai Baba Fails To Appear In The Moon, IANS Reports

Is Indian ‘Godman’ Sai Baba’s Moon Waning Still Further


Robert Priddy: Sai Baba postpones moon buggy ride


The Decline and Fall of the Showman Empire

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

Note: Many surfers used the following search terms to get to the articles at on the Sai Baba moon issue:

Sai Baba on moon
baba in moon
sathya sai baba in moon
satya sai baba in moon
saibaba on moon
moon appear satya sai

Posted in Neglected/sidelined News, New Age, Rationalism, Religion, Sai Baba, Skeptics, Spirituality, Theology, Theosophy, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: | 9 Comments »

Why Might There Be Religious and Political Disconnects?

Posted by Barry Pittard on September 25, 2007

These short extracts from Shantanu Dutta’s article, Power of godmen, can provide a stimulus for discussion on the issue – are godmen (and godwomen, one supposes) beneficial or baneful or an intriguing mixture of both? (see extract below)

Of a statement by TRS (Telangana Rashtra Samithi) president K. Chandrasekhara Rao, Dutta says:

 “Apparently (it) indicates that in the political mind there is a big disconnect between the teachings and thoughts shared in discourses and the course of action that naturally follows as a consequence”.

It Can Take Two To Disconnect

And the disconnect no doubt is not just disconnect by politician from spiritual leader, but the reverse as well.

It is surely a situation which is relevant to religious leaders of any country. Are they fortified by ivory towers or dreaming spires – or can they genuinely relate to the day-to-day issues of people in general? If they cannot, then a disconnect is bound to occur. Might, for example, a lay person think the best counselor to go to in quest of a solution to practical marital problems is a lifelong monk or nun?

That is one side of the question. But then, suppose that a spiritual leader – whether worldly-wise or not – has some useful insight into a public matter. I agree with Dutta. Why should Sai Baba, or anyone for that matter, shut up about important issues? In regard to the greater public weal, who is not a stakeholder of one degree or another?

The issue of religious leaders speaking out arises as an explosive one when few speak out. Let only a few do it and they are a novelty – even a shocking one.

What is the case when abstracts or ideals, are preached? What would be needed to bring about a connect?

Ought We Disconnect from Disconnected Gurus?

Here, are but two questions some of my readers might like to run with their spiritual leaders – whether at a mandir or temple, synagogue, mosque, vihara, church, and so forth:

1. what is our Faith’s specific, injunction or declared statement – if there is one – on sexual abuse?

2. What policy guidelines – if any – are there for dealing with offenses, proved or as yet alleged – within the ranks of the authority or amongst the congregation? (Please be so kind as to write to me with the details. I am interested. Email: bpittard (at)

There is bound to be conflict when a preacher does not grapple with the question of how lay persons can, without great stress – and indeed hypocrisy – act out the precepts in practical and meaningful ways.

That is to say – connected.

Shantanu Dutta Article Extract

“The other Godman in the news was Sri Sathya Sai Baba. He didn’t get accolades of course for his remarks on Telengana and his opinion that those who talk in terms of the division of the country are actually committing a sin. His remarks led to a huge agitation and even violence. The TRS president , K Chandrasekhara Rao commenting on the Sai Baba’s remarks suggested that the Baba stick to singing Bhajans and other dharmic activities. Apparently that statement indicates that in the political mind there is a big disconnect between the teachings and thoughts shared in discourses and the course of action that naturally follows as a consequence”. Power of godmen, by Shantanu Dutta. MeriNews. 25 January 2007, Thursday. Link at begining of this blog. Dutta’s  article is also available at – HERE

Further Reading

See my article, Sai Baba Sparks Political Furore. At the foot of it there are plentiful links to articles from major Indian newspaper sources. My point here was not whether Sai Baba was correct or not in speaking out about a hot political issue. It was this: He has, at 81 years of age, deviated from long decades of non-entry into hot political topics. My view is that, from time to time, he speaks without full control because of his increasingly visible and audible loss of mental faculties. This deterioration his close servitors have gone to great lengths to hide. In an extremely rare moment, the BBC was able to film this happening. It is little wonder that the ashram authorities evicted the BBC documentary makers, who began to ask perfectly reasonable questions – truthful answers to which the public has a right to know. See various film clips, including one where Sai Baba collapses and afterwards, by way of explanation, utters almost certifiable inanities before a vast crowd, HERE. Or for the whole of the BBC’s one-hour documentary (2004), go HERE for broadband and HERE for dialup modem. My detailed review-article The BBC’s The Secret Swami – A Revision is Here

Posted in Neglected/sidelined News, Opinion, Politics, Religion, Spirituality, Theology, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Truth Commission Model May Assist Sai Baba Devotees

Posted by Barry Pittard on August 19, 2007

Other group leaders from various countries who we know to have been informed that Sai Baba sexually abuses boys and young men still take groups of all ages to see him. There is repeated evidence that they still do not inform parents of global allegations concerning Sai Baba, nor that highly respected individuals, once loved and esteemed  leaders and members of the Sathya Sai Organization, make them.

Sai Baba’s leaders tell rank-and-file members that those making the allegations are a small disgruntled handful. Blind to commonsense, deaf to basic reasoning processes, rapid to leap to worst case speculations about the motivations of Sai Baba dissenters, Sai Baba’s devotees typically believe that former devotees have become, in an instant, transformed into demons. Racing into deep denial, vacating all commonsense, these devotees chronically deny the good standing of those they have long loved and respected, and worked and worshipped beside. History is bound to ‘out’ those who do this. They cannot possibly defend themselves on the grounds of truth and compassion. They will need, above all, to express profound sorrow, and admit profound failure in duty-of-care, towards those Sai Baba has so criminally, and for so many decades, abused.

Perhaps some of the Truth Commission experiences and insights may assist Sai Baba devotees to pull themselves out of their dilemma. It would be a great pity if the good social uplift works done by many good and decent Sai Baba devotees were to be damaged by the revelations already so extensively available, with many more on their way.

Starting points are:

Posted in Neglected/sidelined News, Opinion, Religion, Social and Politics, Society, Theology, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions | 1 Comment »

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: 



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