Call For Media and Government Investigation

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

Posts Tagged ‘Advaita Vedanta’

Reply To Claimer of Spiritual Enlightenment (Yaani Drucker Correspondence) Part 1

Posted by Barry Pittard on February 20, 2010

Below, I respond to Yaani Drucker – who initially wrote to me. For many years, she and her husband Professor Al Drucker (formerly with NASA) have been hero-worshipped by many Sathya Sai devotees worldwide. Although not now formal members of the Sathya Sai Organization, their impact continues to hold a spell for many Sai devotees who have access to media containing their talks and writings. Ms Drucker has a website:  Not Guilty: Undoing The Illusion of Separate Existence. In the Services, Products and Related Links section,  she states:

“Connect any time to ask questions, participate in dynamic discussions or debates on the teachings of Sai Baba, ACIM and the Torah/Bible”.

The reader who follows this correspondence may soon be able to guage whether this claim is genuine.

Previous recent articles on this topic at Call For Media and Government Investigation of Sathya Sai Baba are: Dangerous to Rationalize Rape. A major Sathya Sai Baba Follower’s Example and Barry Pittard Replies To Sathya Sai Center Rape Survivor’s Note To Him

Ms Drucker claims to be enlightened, and says on her website: “Have truth, will travel”

She has made some facts very clear, although readers may decide whether I am correct in saying that she veers (I think not with deliberate dishonesty) away from key points that I have made. Certainly, she and I have a very different view when she says:

“Is it necessary for a rape victim to receive professional counseling? This assumes that psychology/ psychotherapy has answers that ABSOLUTE TRUTH does not”.

One the other hand, she makes clear that she is not one of those who claim:  God is in all, therefore a perpetrator is really God in disguise. She says:

“The perpetrator is one’s brother for we are all brothers and sisters, thus one is responsibility to help him come into alignment with who he is. I saw that putting my rapist in jail was better than letting him stay free to hurt others. If I had not acted and he had raped another woman, I would have been complicit as I see it”.

No matter how badly Sathya Sai Baba has treated the Druckers, many Sai devotees around the world regard the couple as recipients of his infinite, mysterious, subtle and untold ‘Grace’, nonetheless.

Note: Ms Drucker writes that  “I am happy to discuss and debate issues. I have responded to every issue you raised”. But is she happy to discuss and debate? And has she responded to every issue that I have raised?


From: jaani drucker

Dear Barry,

Just look at your heading “Dangerous to Rationalize Rape. A major Sathya Sai Baba Follower’s Example.”

(Barry Pittard in reply):  This title refers to my view about the psychological state of being in self-protective denial. It exactly states my topic. Singularly inappropriate would have been to use euphemisms. ‘Dangerous’ refers to my view that, in the face of severe physical and psychological trauma, there is a danger implicit in modeling faith alone as the answer, without resort to well-qualified professional counseling.

A friend of mine, a psychotherapist with long experience in abuse matters, has just noted:

“My personal feeling is that no amount of rational persuasion can alter something as strong as one’s faith-based explanation.  Faith, usually supersedes the thinking mind in people who have been conditioned over time to rely on it. My additional reaction to Yaani Drucker’s account of the rape is that if she can use her faith and spiritual references to overcome the trauma, then she is fortunate.  Such coping behavior is successful for her. (- not to imply that it would be successful for others). There is a psychoanalytic term, “Narcissistic Defense” which can explain how people turn  negative feelings into positive ones)”.

In my email to you, I pointed out that, contrary to what you wrote, it is entirely clear that I never portrayed you as a “dangerous liar”. These were your words and assumption. It is a matter of substance, but you have not addressed this point – which any reader can verify simply by reading the words that were really on the page. See:  Dangerous to Rationalize Rape. A major Sathya Sai Baba Follower’s Example and Barry Pittard Replies To Sathya Sai Center Rape Survivor’s Note To Him . It is useful to address a point, rather than to quicksilver across to something other. In your emails, I sense a veering-away, a side-stepping of more than one point that I have raised. I may add that such a tendency is often observed in those in deep denial. There is a reactiveness, and it commonly does not relate to conscious dishonesty, but rather to ‘stuffs’ that are hard to face square-on.


To Be Continued soon ……


Select Further Reading

Will the Real Professor Alvin Drucker Be Upstanding?



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Posted in Opinion, Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychotherapy, Religion, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

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 »