Call For Media and Government Investigation

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

Posts Tagged ‘Atal Bihari Vajpayee’

‘Spiritual’ Politicking Sathya Sai Baba Style. An India-UK Nexus

Posted by Barry Pittard on November 5, 2009

After our urgent, coordinated actions, the British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie were – indeed within minutes – prevented from visiting Sai Baba  at Whitefield near Bangalore. They were about ten minute’s drive away from his ashram when, heeding our representations, British High Commission officials were able to dissuade Blair and his wife from visiting Sathya Sai Baba.

Tony Blair and Sathya Sai Baba: The Meeting That Was Averted With Minutes To Spare

A photo call, with results expected to be flashed round the world, was thus averted. The Blair visit to Bangalore occurred at an historic watershed period for the Sathya Sai Baba movement.  He and his global sect was under tremendous scrutiny – very difficult for a group whose top officials act with considerable secrecy and suppression.

In the British House of Commons, questions about Sathya Sai Baba were raised  (November 2000).  This was maintained in early 2002:

‘Sai Baba and sexual abuse of children’ no. 886
That this House, mindful of the many accounts and witness statements of the sexual abuse of the male children of devotees by the Indian guru, Sai Baba, calls upon the Foreign Secretary to use the Travel Advice for India page of the Foreign Office Website to issue guidance to British families intending to visit the Ashram of Sai Baba about the possible danger to their male children of individual audiences with the guru.
Source: UK Parliament, 26.02.02 House of Commons

Major, researched stories appeared in India Today (October 2000), Daily Telegraph (December 2000), and Times of London (August 2001).

Internal crises erupted within the Sathya Sai Organization. In Sathya Sai centers in various parts of the world, members discovered among their own local memberships terrible evidence from respected, longtime members that all was far from well. Some centers disbanded altogether. Increasing attention focused on many accounts of Sai Baba’s sexual abuses of boys and young men, implication in the ashram, local, state and central government cover up of killings in his bedroom, and other monumental spiritual betrayals. Many of its members left the Sathya Sai Organisation, including some of its most respected leaders. See:

Truth In Action: David and Faye Bailey Vs Sathya Sai Baba

‘BILD’ Story. “Guru Wants Sex” (Sathya Sai Baba)

Sathya Sai Baba Organization’s Betrayal of Love and Compassion (Terry Gallagher case – Gallagher investigated extensively, and resigned as leader of the Sathya Sai Organization, Australia)

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

David Bailey and Thomas Wiehe. Transcript Of Phone Link: Sathya Sai Abuses

Letter from Stephen Carthew (the case of Stephen Carthew, a South Australian leader, who likewise advocated democratic norms of discussion), and was axed by the now retired head of the Australian Sathya Sai Organization, Sri T.Ramananathan)

Alaya Rahm’s Lawsuit vs Sathya Sai Society of AmericaJoint Statement by the International JuST Group and the Rahm family (Al Rahm was one of the foremost of top leaders in the SS Org.) and:

Al Rahm’s explanatory letter and:

Alaya Rahm’s Lawsuit vs Sathya Sai Society of America

Story of My Disqualification (Serguei Badaev case. Badaev, Russia’s most outstanding SS Org. leader was insufferably shoved by Sathya Sai Baba’s top axemen. Why? He wanted open and properly convened canons of enquiry)

Searing true testimony about Sathya Sai Baba abuse (the case of Hans de Kraker, Australia, who was for a number of years in charge of the Western Canteen at Puttaparthi)

Dr Naresh Bhatia. Silenced Now In Indian Child Abuse Scourge

Some prominent ex-devotees of Sathya Sai Baba

Smear Campaign against critics of Sathya Sai Baba

‘Spiritual’ Politicking Sathya Sai Style

There was a concerted plan to bring Sathya Sai Baba to the attention of the world. From various sources we were able to piece together information about some of the survival strategies of Sathya Sai Baba and his core, high-level servitors. for example, we learnt that his top leaders in India and the UK, along with the Indian and British governments (most notably the Foreign and Commonwealth Office), planned as follows:

  • To ensure a meeting between Hon. Tony Blair MP and Sathya Sai Baba during the British Prime Minister’s Bangalore visit in the first week of January 2002
  • To ensure that a bevy of Indian and UK journalists asked him and his wife questions about his experiences of Sathya Sai Baba
  • To get the then Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, a publicly professed devotee of Sai Baba, to speak to Blair personally about Sai Baba, which he did at Chequers on November 12, 2001 when he visited the UK.
  • To obtain Vajpayee’s signature to a pre-written letter vociferously defending Sai Baba, co-signed by then Chief Justice of India, P.N. Bhagawati, former Chief Justice Ranganath Mishra, at that time Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission of India, and Dr Najma Heptulla, former President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union Council, former Speaker Lok Sabha, and Union Minister. See:

Open Letter to Prime Minister of India, Hon. A.B. Vajpayee. By Barry Pittard, Australia, former Lecturer, Sri Sathya Sai College of the Arts, Science and Commerce, Whitefield, via Banglalore, Karnataka

  • To publicise this letter, for example on the UK Sathya Sai Organisation’s website (it was later taken off)
  • To get Tony Blair, via direct personal pressure from former Indian Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee, to curb British parliamentary efforts critical of Sathya Sai Baba.

Further Resources

Dissent From Guru Cults Draws Slander and Harassment
Demonization of Dissenters
:
Evidence of an Internet Activist in Action
See On Disinformation and Internet Vandalism
Bias against Sai critics – article by author Kevin R.D. Shepherd

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General

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

Petition For Official Investigation Into Sathya Sai Baba Cult

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 10, 2009

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 Opinion, Religion, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

India’s Chronic Addiction To anachronistic Gurus. Any Sea-change?

Posted by Barry Pittard on February 7, 2009

India has lonf suffered the grip on her life of powerful, corrupt gurus. Since the 196o’s many thousands of foreigners – especially westerners – have gone there in search of their soul. Frequently, they have gone to the ashram of gurus, little realising that the factors in human nature that degrade the ideals of philosophies in their own culture are the same ones, though often in very different dress, are the same factors of degradation that exist in the institutions of their own cultural milieu. Each society has their own depiction of them. Since early Christian times, there have been the list of ‘The Seven Deadly Sins’, which the Catholic Church codified thus: 

  1. luxuria (lechery/lust)
  2. gula (gluttony)
  3. avaritia (avarice/greed)
  4. acedia (acedia/discouragement)
  5. ira (wrath)
  6. invidia (envy)
  7. superbia (pride)

Devotees of gurus in the long Hindu traditions are familiar with the list of six primary ills that that Sathya Sai Baba would frequently reel off in his discourses and in interviews. These are the The Six Passions (or Enemies) of Mind, called the Ari-shadvarga: 

kama : lust; krodha : anger; lobha : greed; moha ; delusion; madamaathsarya : envy;

There is nothing amiss with such codifications, so long as they are not used for striking puritanical fear into human beings. And here lies the problem, many gurus in India, just as in many ‘priestcrafts’ elsewhere use such classifications to enslave. Given that profound superstition in virtually all quarters of Indian life, one wonders whether new generations in India’s ruling elites can rid themselves of the oppressions that are so deeply embedded.

Can India find a solution to the embarrassment that attends the spectacle of a great many foreigners – especially Westerners – drawn to her shores in search of replacement for their own abandoned belief systems, and, often, being profoundly misled?

The extreme grip of the gerontocratic, nepotistic and corrupt political old guard in India (and other power sectors) is now, in a post modern world, rapidly being culled by mortality striking down those who deadly grip on power has lasted for so long.

It does not matter which party or coalition of parties rules. There has long been the obsequious running to highly flawed gurus and astrologers. They are wrong in their predictions, and the leaders so often reliant of a huge network of astrologers.  The same mental befuddlement can be seen in those devotees of Sathya Sai Baba, who blind themselves to his many mistaken predictions and unfulfilled promises. At his ashram, too, we see a long processions of Indian Prime Ministers, Deputy Prime Ministers, Presidents and Vice Presidents and other social elites flocking to his ashram in Puttaparthi. Manmohan Singh, the current Prime Minister, is no exception.  Atal Behari Vajpayee, the previous Prime Minister was a long-declared devotee. 

One wonders where is the pride at being Indian, when there is such reliance on the inpouring of billions of dollars, over time, that Sathya Sai Baba, along, what to speak of other gurus, suction in from foreign sources.

See:

Indian Minister Shields Sai Baba on BBC television and

Flag Follows Trade. Abetting Indian Government Corruption

Fmr Indian PM Vajapayee. Sathya Sai Baba devotee

Fmr Indian PM Vajpayee. Sathya Sai Baba devotee. Our Indian sources who were then at the power hub inform: Then Deputy PM Lal Krishna Advani outlined to Vajpayee the case against Sai Baba in relation to wide-scale serial sexual molestation of boys and young men, but Vajpayee became distressed, and, heedless, wrote flowery 'poetry' in praise of Sathya Sai Baba. Advani himself continued to visit Sathya Sai Baba when he wanted some advantage or other.

                                           Dr Mohan Singh dressed to the nines by Sai Baba for a glittering parade

India’s Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh dressed up by Sathya Sai Baba for a glittering parade, not disimilar to Imperial notions of ‘bread and the games of the circus’ of ancient Rome

                                              Fmr Indian Pres. Shankar Dayal Sharma. Dresses To Please Puttaparthi Baba

Former Indian President Shankar Dayal Sharma. Also dressed to the nines to please Puttaparthi Baba

India's President Pratibha Devisingh Patil, Sathya Sai Baba devoteePresident Pratibha Devisingh Patil

Her mentor was the exceptionally powerful late  S.B. Chavan, the former Home Minister who presided over the profound cover up of attempted police and media investigations of the April 6, 1993 police killings in Sathya Sai Baba’s bedroom.

Only feebleness and death release the claw-like deadly hands of State. Their talented heirs (often the children and relatives of the old guard) and aspirants of a younger generation increasingly make their run to assert a modernity.  See:

Indian Gurus Stifle India’s Chance To Excel and

The Guru Trap. Will India Be Forever Trapped?

But at their backs they always hear the old-timers’ blinking chariots hurrying near (if I may twist to haplessness the English poet Andrew Marvell).

Will a somewhat younger India come to evince an efficient modernity, and be much less corrupt ?  We shall learn soon enough.

Some Resources

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

India’s Painful Experience of Corrupt Leadership

Sathya Sai Baba’s Promise To “Clean Up” His “Own Back Yard (India) Unfulfilled

CNN-IBN Reports Action On Corrupt Indian Gurus

General

Posted in News and Politics, Religion, Sikhism, Spirituality, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Indulal Shah and Indian Government Cover Up

Posted by Barry Pittard on October 27, 2008

Indulal Shah,

International Chairmanof Mumbai, India, was replaced by bbc-clip-dr-micael-goldstein-gets-angry.jpgDr Michael Goldstein, of Covina, California, as world convener of the Sathya Sai Organization. Shah more recently retired from his chairmanship of the Indian organization. There is a mass of documentation indicating that, following the police killings in Sai Baba’s bedroom June 6, 1993, he presided over a massive cover up to prevent police, media and judicial investigation in India. The Hindu, 10-6-1993 reported:

“When press persons met Mr. Indulal Shah, chief functionary of the Sri Sathya Sai World Trust, he said, ‘the matter is purely internal and we do not wish to have any law enforcement agency investigating into it.’”

Robert Priddy has just blogged, referring to Goldstein, quoting my questions addressed to him (Goldstein). See Challenge to the Sathya Sai Organization cannot be met Posted by robertpriddy on October 26, 2008

Key Issues Need To Be Addressed By Indian Members of Sathya Sai Oranization (and the Indian public)


Flag of that India whom Sathya Sai Baba has said will soon lead the world under his rule

But – apart from the social, political and justice avenues in India – the same questions need to be asked by Indian members of the Sathya Sai Organization! – quite apart from those in many countries, who have left it in a variety of states such as grief, anger, hurt, sense of betrayal and concern at the extent of the cover up by those in official capacities whom, over the years, they thought they could trust. They need to be courageous enough to overcome the barrier placed by the natural – and in many cases very worthy – respect for elders. Otherwise, all Sai Baba’s and his organization’s talk about being fearless is vain.

Although there are some encouraging signs of change, unfortunately, sex crime is even more of a tabooed topic in India than in the West, where there has been far more work done in addressing the issues. But there are other major issues that need to be dealt with as well, and, even though Shah is now retired, his legacy continues and no organization – especially a spiritual one – will win trust and respect when it is time and again, year after year,  exposed for extremely serious cover ups, and acts as a law unto itself.

Some Resources

BBC Interview with V.P.B. Nair – Former Home Secretary of Andhra Pradesh State

BBC’s Tanya Datta: Velayudhan Nair rejects the police version of events. He should know. Until two thousand and two he was Home Secretary of Andhra Pradesh and in charge of the state police. On coming to office he examined the files and found that the original police report was riddled with lies and inconsistencies. This was later exposed by a CID investigation.

VPB Nair: Two or three daggers cannot be a match to roaring guns. So this story of the police being attacked and the police shooting in self-defence is totally baseless.
Tanya Datta: So are you suggesting that the police executed the boys that night?
VPB Nair: In absolute… this is absolute cold-blooded murder.

V.P.B. Nair, formerly in charge of Andhra Pradesh State Police, who was interviewed by the BBC for ‘The Secret Swami’

Goldstein in Except from Transcript of the BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ (2004)

Tanya Datta: Why don’t you have thorough investigations, instead of just asking one question to one person?

Michael Goldstein: What do you mean by thorough investigation?

2’nd Interviewer: Objective investigators, not someone asking the perpetrator whether he, he carried out the act. But someone, you know, a proper legal process or a legalistic process should I say.
Tanya Datta: Yes.

Michael Goldstein: Because I don’t believe that’s appropriate with Sai Baba.

2’nd Interviewer: Why not?

Michael Goldstein: Because my heart and my conscience tell me that it’s not possible.

Note: So much for accountability of the top leader. What of the heart and conscience of anguished former devotees worldwide, many of whom gave decades of loving service to Sathya Sai Baba and from within his international organization?!

View BBC Video Clips

Michael Goldstein admits his view is merely a belief (456kbs)
Michael Goldstein gets nasty over the allegations (710kbs)

Select Further articles

Towards Public Accountability and Due Investigation: A Formal Open Appeal To ‘The Prashanthi Council’
V.P.B. Nair. B.Premanand. R.Priddy: Sai Baba Bedroom Killings
Dato J. Jegathesan, a ‘Secret Swami’ cult top leader-roving ambassador
J. Jegathesan. Part of The Secret Swami’s Cover Up
Isaac Tigrett. Wealthy Promoter of Superstition
Michael Goldstein’s Chilling 9/11 Remarks
BBC Hidden Camera in ‘Secret Swami’. Ethical?
Sathya Sai Baba World Cult Leaders Fail To Meet Concerns on Libel
Sathya Sai Baba Organization and Libel and Disinformation

Select Robert Priddy Articles

Sathya Sai Baba – murders and fraud exposed

V.K. Narasiman – confidences to Robert Priddy

Sathya Sai cover-up by J. Jegathesan, Malaysia

Sathya Sai apologist J. Jegathesan and suicide

The fall and fantasies of Sai Baba supporter, Isaac Tigrett

Sai promoter, Malaysian cover-up man, J. Jegathesan

The Death of Sathya Sai Baba’s brother, Janaki Ramiah

Sathya Sai Baba – questions and his silence

Depth of detail ban be Found on his main website in the following articles

……………………………….

Heavily Implicated Faces


Political bedfellows of Sathya Sai Baba


Puttaparthi Police Chief whose report could not be challenged by other police investigators


Close ‘servitors’, key cover-up agents

Posted in Religion, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

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

Posted by Barry Pittard on April 4, 2007

Note: For enquiries, enter contact details in the Comment section. These will be treated with the same confidentiality and professionalism we have long observed in our dealing with e.g., UNESCO, governments, Interpol, media and religious and secular institutions, and other such serious inquirers. 

The BBC’s cameras at Sathya Sai Baba’s ashram at Puttaparthi in South India catch the pomp, circumstance, opulence and the highly stage-managed atmosphere of the crowded Mahasivaratri festival, February 2004. India’s most famous (and controversial) ‘Godman’ has promised a great miracle, the materialization from within his stomach via his mouth of a pure gold lingam (a Hindu cosmic symbol of creation) the size of a generous egg, in full public view. Viewers hoping to see this spectacle will not be disappointed – but they will see the sham in full close-up.

linghodhbhavam2004_0001.jpgSai Baba pretends to vomit up pure gold Siva Lingam. A few minutes later, he tells his vast audience, “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”. See: BBC Cameras Catch Sai Baba Cheating With Gold Sivalingam. (Film Clip)

nullJust one of Sai Baba grandiose show pieces, the Super Speciality Hospital at Puttaparthi, South India

The Secret Swami reveals much, but viewers may wish also to investigate much of what, for constraints of time, it omits.

police-shootings-sai-babas-bedroom.jpgV.P.B. Nair, former Home Secretary in Sai Baba’s State of Andhra Pradesh at the time of the killings, is seen in the BBC television documentary on Sai Baba, The Secret Swami, (2004), where he says that the police killings were “cold-blooded murder”.  Nair seeks to reopen the case of the June 6, 1993 four police killings in Sai Baba’s bedroom. Many Indian police, politicians, journalists and other investigators know that the profound cover-up involved Sai Baba, his officials and Local, State and Central Indian governments. See my article:

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

See below,the BBC’s The Secret Swami transcript excerpt containing V.P.B. Nair’s testimony.

The Secret Swami confines itself to four areas:

  • Accusations down many years of Sai Baba’s sexual molestation of young males.
  • His implication in police executions in his private quarters on June 6, 1993.
  • Cover-up by him and the leadership of his worldwide organization, and as well as by successive Indian governments, of major criminal allegations.
  • His faking of miracles.

BBC producer Eamon Hardy and his team’s view is that serious questions are raised about India’s political maturity.

Focus on One Family Obscures Vast Extent of Allegations

Ashram scenes cut to northern Arkansas in America’s Midwest. Former devotees, Al and Marisa Rahm and their 20-year-old son Alaya show the BBC interviewer Tanya Datta around sturdy commune buildings that the Rahms established in the 1980’s as a model Sai Baba commune, with school, resident teachers, study groups, congregational singing… Much of the documentary’s credibility will stand or fall on how viewers evaluate this family. Certainly, the device of interweaving a family’s story with wider events touches the emotions. Although I think viewers will have a strong sense of the Rahm family’s integrity, the technique has a downside. It obscures the fact that allegations against Sathya Sai Baba come from many individuals and grieving families around the world. In fact, the BBC, as has been the case with national governments and police forces, was granted access to many testimonies.

It is, by the way, indicative of the desperation and dishonesty of pro Sathya Sai Baba protagonists who edit the Wikipedia article on him attempt to keep the BBC references out of it. Brian Steel and Robert Priddy state their names, but these individuals hide behind pseudonyms.

Focusing on one family meant no examination of anything like the full extent of the allegations. It also meant no examination of the multiple billions (that’s a ‘b’ not an ‘m’) that pour into the Sathya Sai Central Trust coffers from all over the world, or of financial scams by his administration (e.g., the selling of apartments which are sometimes later taken away from the paid up owners), which devotees blindly accept, as “tests of faith”. It meant no examination of Tony Blair’s suppression by over fifty British parliamentarians to raise Sai Baba-related issues in the House of Commons.  This was at a time when Blair wanted to placate the then Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee so as to win a contract for 66 jet fighters for India. The urgency to win the deal was bi-partisan. For further information, see my article, ‘Flag Follows Trade. Abetting Indian Government Corruption’:

Governments Placate India

Further, it meant no examination of the failure of governments – particularly of Britain, Canada, Australia and Germany – to match the US State Department’s naming of Sai Baba as the subject of a Travel Advisory – weakly citing that there are no court convictions of Sathya Sai Baba in India. If the State Department can name Sai Baba why cannot they? (As of May 25, 2004, the State Department D has dedicated an American Citizen’s Services Unit special line in Washington – 202 647-6179 – via which they will confirm that Sathya Sai Baba is the individual referred to in their Consular Information Sheet, November 23, 2001. There was no examination of former Indian Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee’s leaning on Tony Blair about Sai Baba when Blair vied for a highly lucrative sale to India of Hawke class fighter planes. The programme mentions the Vajpayee letter which states that allegations against Sai Baba are “wild, reckless and concocted” but not that it was published at the time of Vajpayee’s visit to Tony Blair.

Other documentaries will need to look at the supposedly miraculously materialized jewelry which independent international assayers like the Queen of Denmark’s crown jeweler attest are faked:

There are allegations of Sai Baba’s failed promises to cure people of cancers and other terrible diseases; the tragedy of sick people of many countries desperately visiting him in hope of a cure; the targeting of the weak and vulnerable for their money by an organisation that, while saying that it does not ask for money, uses indirect approaches to raise it.

Supposedly God, Sai Baba Woos Heads of State and other Big Players

Head of Sai Baba’s world organization, Dr Michael Goldstein, of Covina California, tells the BBC interviewer,

“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.”

Dr Goldstein here reveals the true beliefs and agenda which his worldwide organization has long studiously kept hidden from the wider public, especially when it tries to enlist religious, political, educational and business leaders in its social projects. (The organization succeeded in getting the British Queen to visit a Sai School at Harrow but the programme omits this telling detail!) However, the work of former devotee and other exposé activists will now be much easier, for they will be able to send DVDs and CDs to those governments, leaders and institutions which the Sathya Sai Organization reportedly tries to woo, including the Palace and the White House.

BBC Evicted From Puttaparthi For Asking About Allegations

This organization’s reputation has been badly damaged by quarter of a decade of intense campaigns of exposure by globally organized former devotees, and even longer by Rationalists and Humanists. BBC producers say that Sai Baba’s top leaders at first thought the documentary would present a ‘positive image’ of their guru and the works of his organization to the world. Hence the rare permission for the BBC to shoot at Sai Baba’s ashram. The Puttaparthi authorities extended guided tours to the BBC by Central Trust Secretary K. Chakravarthy and other leading officials, including Dr Goldstein, never before granted to a television corporation. However, a few days later, when the BBC asked for a comment on the worldwide allegations, the ashram authorities ordered them to leave, and Dr Goldstein sent a prompt global instruction to all Sai Baba centres that no-one must cooperate with the BBC. No doubt the exposure by Denmark’s national broadcaster in its 2003 documentary Seduced (renamed Seduced By Sai Baba in the English language version by Australia’s national multicultural broadcaster SBS), seen by millions in Denmark, Norway and Australia – when the top Sai leaders in Denmark and Australia made unavailing threats of legal action – must still have haunted their minds.

Sai Baba’s Power Isn’t Flower Power

Establishing footage from the 1960s shows the hunger in the West for Hindu Indian gurus by hippies and such cultural icons as the Beatles at that time. This true but superficial view is one of a few blemishes in The Secret Swami. There were many other kinds of spiritual seekers, and Sai Baba’s middle class devotees infinitely outnumber those of alternative lifestyle. The view may be correct for Marisa Rahm, once caught up in the 60’s alternative scene, but wrong for her husband Al Rahm. He considered himself a yogi, who engaged in serious spiritual practices such as meditation. There is a tradition of western aspirant yogis long before the 60’s.

Showing three zealous western devotees eccentrically rhapsodizing about Sai Baba fails to indicate his appeal to people of many cultures and socio-economic backgrounds. Filming eccentrics detracts from the serious purpose seen elsewhere in the documentary. It obscures the interest he has evoked in figures of great power (e.g., Bill and Hillary Clinton (more particularly Hillary), Al Gore, Mikhail and the late Raisa Gorbachev (a reliable friend of mine told me that Mrs Gorbachev told her that Gorbachev had a book of discourses by Sai Baba as his bedside reading). The sheer penetration of Sai Baba’s influence is of real concern. For Isaac Tigrett, multi-millionaire American backer of Sathya Sai Baba, the hippy origin is correct. All glassy-eyed, perhaps still a hippy at heart, a Peter Pan-like Tigrett tells Tanya Datta,

“India’s so unique, it’s so incredible. If there’s a spiritual train then India is the engine. All this mysticism, all the strangeness that surrounds Sai Baba and all that stuff, this is the perfect home for it.”

We glimpse one of Sathya Sai Baba’s water projects. The BBC got led to the showpiece village near Puttaparthi. But it would have needed to investigate harder, for the various water and other projects are the subject of many allegations of fraud on a grand scale, including incredible wastage of resources and inefficiency. This same water system supplies the ashram, which depends on big overseas donors. But there are claims that the overall project failed to deliver due to an unexpected fall in the water table, and that this was covered up by the Sai Baba’s Central Trust.  See article by Robert Priddy and Barry Pittard, ‘Sathya Sai Organization Untruths, Disinformation and Subterfuge’:

One learns that The U.S. minerals magnate James Sinclair got upset when Sathya Sai Baba officials announced sums of money that he had donated, so it is likely that his continuing donations are now not being disclosed. However, we know that he twice donated U.S. 600 million dollars. I shall have to see whether I can check the figure but I think Sinclair further donated $100 million for Sai Baba’s first water project, a sum announced by Indulal Shah (then head of the Sathya Sai Organization) at Sathya Sai Baba’s 70th birthday celebrations, when Shah listed every donor to the Water Project who had given at least one crore. U.S. devotee friends who knew Sinclair and his wife said that Sinclair was very shocked that his name would brought out. On Indulal Shah, see: Indulal Shah and Indian Government Cover Up and,‘God’s’ Ex-Shah, Indulal Shah

Foreign Goose Lays Multi-billion Dollar Eggs For Sai Baba

Showing his worthy causes might allow the BBC to appear balanced, but it ignores considerable allegations of fraud, and complaints by village elders that the Sathya Sai water project authorities have left a trail of broken promises. Sai Baba’s state of Andhra Pradesh has long been one of India’s poorest. The Secret Swami reports that Sai Baba “cuts through the red tape” to provide water to poor villages via a costly pipeline. But the documentary misses a perfect opportunity to suggest a major reason why successive Indian governments and opposition parties have covered for him. Yes, he (or rather his organization) accomplishes what they fail to provide, but with billions of overseas dollars! Would many Indian politicians, notorious for their extreme corruption, dare expose the foreign goose that lays the (cosmic!) golden egg? Driving this question would have reinforced the documentary’s fundamental query about whether India is a mature democracy.

We see the hospital by English architect Keith Critchlow for Sai Baba (a long-time conduit to Prince Charles). Largely funded by Isaac Tigrett and inaugurated in 1991, this hi-tech heart and kidney hospital even out-dazzles the many-splendoured architecture of the ashram. BBC cameras miss the names of other big donors, overseas and Indian, which are on a Roll of Honour in the hospital portico. Indeed, The Secret Swami fails to mention the billions that pour into the Sai coffers from various countries such as Australia, Canada, Hong Kong (indeed, the Chinese diaspora), Germany, Indonesia, Japan, UK, USA … Like the American James Sinclair (who often works from Canada), the precious metals speculator, alone has donated several hundreds of millions of dollars).

BBC’s Tanya Datta asks: ‘Is Sai Baba Above The Law?’

Lovely architecture. But the moral interior? Similar to others from around the world, Alaya Rahm speaks of Sai Baba genitally oiling him, kissing him heavily on the mouth, giving and receiving oral sex, trying to penetrate him anally, mixing lavish gifts of money and jewelry with dire threats – e.g., to cut his penis off, and forbid interviews to his family – to ensure his silence. That these patterns recur in so many other victim reports is crucial, but the BBC fails to highlight this fact.

Alaya says he was afraid to tell his parents of his sexual molestation in almost all of his many private interviews. At one point his father asked him whether he had received the oiling experience. Yes, the son replied, but how did his father know? He answers that he himself received this treatment when he first visited Sathya Sai Baba at 18 years old, who told him it was “a ritual healing process.” Why did not the BBC challenge leaders about the oiling experiences? The moment Eamon Hardy raised questions about allegations, that was it – the BBC was promptly told to leave the ashram. Other journalists have found the same cover-up. Some Sai Baba leaders at least do admit the ‘oiling’ allegations – but only under strictest professional guidelines are doctors (and Sai Baba is not one!) permitted to touch the genitals of minors or adults. Tanya Datta’s question to Dr Goldstein in another regard obtains here, too: Is Sai Baba above the law?

Oiling Penises Not A Hindu Ritual. (Nor Of Other World Faiths – And Non Faiths)

Could oral sex by a guru be a secret Tantric ritual? Khushwant Singh (strangely the BBC describes this most famous of Indian social commentators merely as a ‘Writer’) says,

“There’s no Indian tradition to support the fact that, you know, worship of the Lingam includes also doing the blow job, if that is what you are referring to. I don’t think there’s any basis for that whatsoever”.

A noted Hindu scholar’s response would have carried more weight here. Or even a BBC text or voiceover citing response by Hindu authorities. Any religious leaders would be most remiss if they shirk issues like this. Clarity about allegations of Sai Baba’s ejaculation into victims’ mouths would have questioned the absurdity voiced by many Sai Baba devotees (such as long-time devotee Ram Das Awle in his Internet writings) that Sai Baba touches young males sexually only to assist their mental health or raise the Kundalini energy.

Basava Premanand, the celebrated Rationalist and ‘guru buster,’ – see my appreciation of him at the time of his death: Basava Premanand. Vale. A fighter for truth who lived what others preach.  Posted by Barry Pittard on October 6, 2009 reports investigating Sathya Sai Baba since 1968, first “as a hobby” then going public in 1976. He is seen showing the trick behind Sai Baba’s so-called ‘miraculous’ production of the golden lingam (of which more below). Professor Narendra Nayak, his fellow Rationalist, demonstrates how, by sleight-of-hand, magicians perform the same ‘miracles’ as Sai Baba – e.g. materializing ash, rings, pendants, etc. To convince the most critical, the BBC needed demonstrations as sophisticated as those in the Danish documentary Seduced (a copy of which the BBC possessed) where the Danish magician Nils Krøjgaard exposes the deceptions involved. Narendra Nayak shows Tanya Datta, who realizes that it takes practice, how to secrete a vibhuti (sacred ash) pellet between the thumb and base of the forefinger. Nayak says that Sai Baba’s rotations of the hand when producing the ash is the method used by all ‘godmen’ who ‘materialize’ this ash, and obscures the act of crumbling the pellet. (Various people, such as the former leader of the Australian Sai Organization, Terry Gallagher, a scientist and businessman, have reported seeing Sai Baba inadvertently drop these pellets. See Terry Gallagher’s testimony and my article ‘Police Killings in Sai Baba’s Bedroom at Puttaparthi’).

On stage before February 2004’s Mahasivaratri crowd, the BBC cameras show Sai Baba looking increasingly sick. He produces the lingam, and the materialization trick demonstrated by Nayak is easy for the viewer to spot, the lingam being concealed in Sai Baba’s handkerchief. 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. To the audience a shaken Sai Baba makes an inane 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.”

Top Indian Minister Shows Ugly Face of Indian Government Sai Baba Patronage

Confronted by Tanya Datta, Murali Manohar Joshi, one of the most powerful ministers in the since-defeated Vajpayee government, soon loses his temper, jabbing away with pointed finger at Ms Datta, accusing the BBC and people in England of plotting against Sai Baba, A.B. Vajpayee and P.N. Bhagawati (a key Central Trust member and former Chief Justice of India). He arrogantly shouts at her,

“No, no, no… You don’t know the meaning of interviewing a minister in my capacity, as a minister of my stature.”

Her vulnerability in the face of an arch bully is touching, and she shows some courage but tough interviewers would not have put up with his evasiveness. Surely, it would have been better had Ms Datta not tried to defend the BBC and herself but rather firmly stated the worldwide nature of the serious evidence that keeps on coming. At least, Joshi’s arrogant evasion of the BBC’s totally fair question about Indian Government accountability was unmasked for the world to see.

Sai Baba “Wanted My Son”

There is historic footage of the Rahms’ popular song and story telling appearances on the major US Sai circuit and of Sai Baba’s special attention to them. Marisa Rahm says, “it was just like the trip to Disneyland with God. I mean we were just really ecstatic with joy at getting this attention and this limelight.” However, concerned about their son’s troubled behaviour, Alaya’s parents confront him, and he reveals countless occasions of sexual abuse, saying that he was afraid that if he had told them he would be left “alone in the world.” Marisa weeps, saying “he (Sai Baba) didn’t care about me; he wanted my son.”

When the Rahms took their story to Dr Goldstein, in September 1999, they say that he was shocked and shaken, saying, “Faith has got to be restored and words will not be enough.” Goldstein promised to speak to Sai Baba and pledged the Rahms to secrecy until he did. He reported back that Sai Baba replied, “Swami is pure” and “If you want to fight with people in the gutter, you also have to go into the gutter. Don’t.” But are the Rahms gutter people?! Were they fighting? For years, they were dear favourites of Sai Baba and he showered presents on them. We see a box full of them, including fake jewelry, and Al Rahm calls it a “box of bribes.”

Dr Goldstein Tells BBC “I am what I am – a consummate professional”

So repeatedly evasive was Michael Goldstein that the BBC team gained permission from BBC heads and legals to film him with hidden cameras. The BBC cleverly gets him to admit the correctness of the Rahms’ report of his words. Unlike his archangelic namesake and just like Joshi, his finger repeatedly jabs at Tanya Datta as he snarls, blusters and fulminates. Seemingly in need of a child’s first dictionary, Dr Goldstein hurls the questions, “Transparency in what sense?” and “What do you mean by thorough investigation”? He says that his “heart and his conscience” know that the allegations of sexual molestation could not be true. But what about the heart and conscience of families and individuals around the world who give accounts of Sathya Sai Baba’s tragic harming of their boy children? Goldstein says that he would be able to tell at sight whether young men had been sexually molested or not. Doctor Goldstein is a medical doctor, and does not rate alongside sexual abuse experts who work full-time in the area. Sexual abuse experts are in touch with Sai Baba’s young accusers (and also abuse accounts going back many years) and are satisfied they are telling the truth. He shouts “I would know it in my heart because I am what I am – a consummate professional. Can you understand that?” This is the world head of Sai Baba’s supposedly divine organization that claims Sai Baba, as full embodiment of God, will save the world within his lifetime!

The Secret Swami shows footage, taken by Sai Baba’s official videographer, James Redmond, which shows that, directly after he had asked Sai Baba about the Rahm allegations, Goldstein is made Chief Guest and before a vast audience is praised by Sai Baba as a “great man,” “Goldstein has all good qualities in him,” etc. We see Goldstein being strongly moved by Sai Baba’s flattery. Al Rahm says, “Michael came up to James and said; ‘I want a copy of that video, it’s the peak of my life.’ And I remember thinking; he’s being played.”

The documentary could have raised the question: Why is it that the Rahms and many others, for so long highly regarded in the Sai Baba community, as soon as they try to tell their experiences, are reviled by both guru and many devotees as ‘demons,’ ‘Judases’, ‘slanderers’, ….? Typically, cults do this to those who question or dissent.

“He Could Go Out And Murder” Says Billionaire backer, Isaac Tigrett

Having failed with Goldstein, Al Rahm turns to Isaac Tigrett. Unlike other Sai leaders, the latter comes across as compassionate but his unusual and repeated laughter suggests his ultimate denial of feeling that needs to translate to humane action. Tanya Datta says,

“But even if it was proven to you that Sai Baba was a paedophile and a serial sex abuser, you’re saying it wouldn’t change the fact that he is your guru.”

Isaac Tigrett says,

“He could go out and murder someone tomorrow.”

Tanya Datta probes,

“Does that mean that some part of you believes there could be some truth to the rumours?” Tigrett replies,

“Oh, absolutely I believe there is truth to the rumours.”

But the practical effect – which is that he does nothing to advocate a hearing for Sai Baba’s accusers – is the same as if he did not believe in their truth! This immensely wealthy man, who walks with some of the most powerful leaders in the world, like Al Gore, blocks the chance of marginalized victims to effectively tell their stories. Clearly, his self-perceived spiritual development is all that matters. He may provide palatial buildings for Sai Baba but what about rebuilding broken people, and perhaps saving still others from coming to grief in the secret chamber of the ‘secret swami?

“Absolutely Cold-blooded Murder”

Former Home Secretary of Sai Baba’s state Andhra Pradesh, V.P.B. Nair, tells the BBC cameras that the police killings in Sai Baba’s private quarters in June 1993 were “absolutely cold-blooded murder,” and that CID investigations, which were suppressed, showed many lies and cover-ups. He is seeking to re-open the case. Here is what Nair had to tell the BBC:

Tanya Datta
Sex abuse is not the only controversy tainting the God man’s reputation. On a June night back in nineteen ninety-three, four devotees broke into Sai Baba’s quarters. They were armed with knives.
Their motives are unclear. All four were close to Sai Baba. Some say they wanted to warn him about corruption in the Ashram. Others claim their intention was to kidnap or even kill Sai Baba. As they approached they were stopped by four of Sai Baba’s attendants. In the struggle that followed two of his attendants were killed and the other two badly injured. Hearing the commotion Sai Baba escaped through a back stairway and raised the alarm. Heavily armed police
arrived on the scene.
VPB Nair

So these boys, they ran and locked themselves up in a room. And then in the whole, all around a lot of pandemonium and people gathered so the boys were shivering like rats in that small hole.
Tanya Datta
The four men barricaded themselves into Sai Baba’s bedroom. There was a stand-off with the police. Then the order was given to go in.
Tanya Datta
What happened next is hotly disputed. The official
version seemed clear.
VPB Nair
These four boys charged towards the police with the knives and started stabbing the inspector and other personnel. Because they were attacked they opened fire.
Tanya Datta
In self-defence?
VPB Nair
In self-defence. They opened fire and killed all the four boys. This the police story.
Tanya Datta
Velayudhan Nair rejects the police version of events. He should know. Until two thousand and two he was Home Secretary of Andhra Pradesh and in charge of the state police. On coming to office he examined the files and found that the original police report was riddled with lies and inconsistencies. This was later exposed by a CID investigation.
VPB Nair
Two or three daggers cannot be a match to roaring guns. So this story of the police being attacked and the police shooting in self-defence is totally baseless.
Tanya Datta
So are you suggesting that the police executed the boys
that night?
VPB Nair
In absolute, this is absolute cold-blooded murder.
Tanya Datta
Some police officers were arrested but never charged. The case was eventually dropped. Sai Baba has always had a close relationship with the police. Even today, senior officers are special guests at the Ashram. With friends in such high places Sai Baba seems to be untouchable. Any attempt to investigate the goings-on at his Ashram even, murder, appear doomed to failure.  Critics say police connections ensured that Sai Baba wasn’t even interviewed, despite being one of the witnesses to the events of that night.

We see the President of India Dr A. P. J. Abdul Kalam and Manmohan Singh (now India’s Prime Minister) visiting Sai Baba on his birthday. The ‘secret swami’ does not have to go to Indian Presidents, Prime Ministers and other power brokers on all sides of politics. They go to him!

Room For Many More Documentaries

In exposing a dangerous and influential cult, The Secret Swami is plucky and perceptive. Canada’s national broadcaster CBC was waylaid by hundreds of phone calls and emails by Sai Baba devotees, both before and after the screenings of the documentary in Canada. The program host said on air “We stand by the professionalism of our BBC colleagues”. History will expose the devotees but the BBC team needed an intellectually more penetrating analysis, and to raise sharper, more focused questions. The documentary brilliantly suggests that the leaders are into heavy cover-up and denial, but strangely didn’t say how widespread and long-standing the paedophile allegations are. The sham ‘miracles were’ somewhat exposed but there do exist more difficult-to-explain Sai Baba-related phenomena than this (e.g., the apparent appearance of many miracles in devotee homes and centres in many countries), which would require rigorous investigation, because the recipients cannot sensibly be accused of shamming. Of course, not everything packs into an hour-long documentary. Let us trust that the BBC will use its more than 80 hours of footage to expose some of many other issues.

Rating: three and a half out of five.

Further Resources

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

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

Sleight Of Hand. The Sleightness of Sathya Sai Baba (Exposing film clips)

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

Further Reading

THE SATHYA SAI ORGANISATION’S DECEPTION AND PROPAGANDA EXPOSED (Part One) – By Robert Priddy and Barry Pittard. And Part Two Three Four.

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