Not far short of a decade ago, it had been announced in Sathya Sai Baba centers round the world that Sathya Sai Baba was a candidate for a Nobel Peace Prize. On behalf of our networked group of former followers of Sathya Sai Baba, I wrote to Dr Geir Lundestad, then Director of the Nobel Institute. An exchange of emails ensued, and I provided him with in-depth documentation concerning Sathya Sai Baba and his sect.
(Photo: But no Nobel Prize for Sathya Sai Baba. Dr Lundestad is on the Left of H.H. the Dalai Lama, recipient of that Prize in 1989).
Dr Lundestad emphasized that the policy of the Institute is never to issue any list of candidates, either before or after the winners of the Peace Prize are announced, and that the names of Nobel Prize recipients are announced, while the names of failed candidates are not revealed.
Dr Lundestad’s statements are a far cry from the announcement of Sathya Sai center leaders worldwide. Great had been the rejoicings of devotees, despite the fact that a Nobel Peace Prize – in an odd come-down from the dizzy heights of Heaven – would sit oddly encircling the neck of God.
The fact of the matter is that this was a time when there was great and organized dissent by former devotees. Increasing numbers – including very prominent and respected leaders – were leaving the Sathya Sai Organization. The Sathya Sai Organization had a problem of huge dimensions on its hands. See:
Any straw to clutch onto was welcome, or even the hope of a plum from the Nobel Insitute ‘tree’.
To the Nobel Institute, we offered, among other compelling evidence, material that referred to UNESCO, Interpol, FBI, Australian Federal Police, and so on. We had witnesses with credentials of outstanding service and repute in their own communities. These came from many professions, trades and cultures. We had decent families who have invested years of dedication and sacrificial service to Sathya Sai Baba. Sathya Sai Baba’s serial sexual molestation of their children, and other grievous abuses, had shattered their lives. The names of most we have not allowed to be publicized, though they have long stood ready to cooperate with well-reputed media, institutes, etc.
Moving into Scandavavian waters, we also cited ‘Seduced’ by DR, Denmark’s national television and radio broadcaster, subsequently shown by SBS in Australia, retitled: ‘Seduced By Sai Baba’, which, as it had done with DR, the Sathya Sai Organization threatened to sue. In a phone conversation with me, when I mentioned the (then) Australian head of the Sathya Sai Organization T.Sri Ramanathan’s threat to sue, a senior Producer with SBS laughed, and said: “Let them!”. As always, when Sathya Sai Baba’s officials have threatened instrumentalities like the BBC and other leading media, they failed to carry out their threats. It is a behaviour seen in many groups widely deemed to be cults that reveal a strong autocracy, perhaps most famously Scientology.
Among other documentation available to the Nobel Institute was that from former devotees from several countries, including sworn testimony, earlier provided for UNESCO, resulting in a stern Media Advisory. Furthermore, UNESCO successfully intervened with a complaint to the Press Trust of India when The Times of India (with a leading member of the Sathya Sai Central Trust on its Board of Directors, ex-Chief Justice of India P.N. Bhagwati) tried to water down the Advisory. See:
Posted by Barry Pittard on June 14, 2009
‘One of Sathya Sai Baba’s many hugely expensive and major Sai propaganda efforts has been the setting up of Sai Global Harmony via WorldSpace International Satellite Radio Service. It broadcasts 24/7 to many countries. A director of WorldSpace is Dr Michael Nobel.”
Note: Sai Baba publicly mistakenly stated that “The man who gives the Nobel Prize (Chairman of the Nobel Prize Committee) is coming here on the 22nd November. The ones who will show this to the whole world, TV people, are all coming here on the 22nd”.
‘In fact, Michael Nobel has been repudiated by the Swedish Nobel Committee and exposed in the New York Times.
There are many instances that show how Sathya Sai Baba, far from his being, as he claims, all-knowing and all-seeing, has behind him a trail of egregious blunders and unfulfilled predictions, promises of cures, and much else. In this article, I quote the mess he made in the (would-be) Nobel Peace Prize incident. Repeatedly, he hangs his claims on their own petard. His apologists are too blinded to see, not the ‘Glory of Puttaparthi’ but the absurdity of Puttaparthi’.
UNESCO Media Advisory
UNESCO WITHDRAWS FROM CONFERENCE
Paris, September 15 – UNESCO has decided it will no longer sponsor nor take part in a conference it had been due to co-organize with the Institute of Sathya Sai Education (ISSE, Thailand) and The Flinders University Institute of International Education (Australia), in Puttaparthi, India, from September 25 to 29. The decision means UNESCO is no longer associated in any way through sponsorship, organization or participation of any kind with the conference on Strengthening Values Education: Innovative Approaches to Teacher Education for Peace and International Understanding.
UNESCO’s withdrawal was prompted by several factors. Certain decisions were taken by the ISSE without consultation, such as plans to hold some of the sessions at the Ashram of the Sathya Sai movement in Puttaparthi, and the inclusion of some speakers in the conference programme without their previous consent. Furthermore, the Organization is deeply concerned about widely-reported allegations of sexual abuse involving youths and children that have been levelled at the leader of the movement in question, Sathya Sai Baba. Whilst it is not for UNESCO to pronounce itself in this regard, the Organization restates its firm moral and practical commitment to combating the sexual exploitation of children, in application of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which requires States to protect children from all forms of sexual exploitation and violence.