Call For Media and Government Investigation

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

Posts Tagged ‘Belief’

Sai Baba of Shirdi: Sathya Sai Baba’s Tall Claims (Part 1)

Posted by Barry Pittard on October 5, 2011

A few days back, Robert Priddy posted about Sathya Sai Baba’s claims to have incarnated the major Indian saint Shirdi Sai Baba. See:

Shirdi Sai stated “I am not God”, while Sathya misrepresented him

For those interested in looking at a few of the issues involved in such spectacular claims, I shall, in the next few days, further give some comments and links.

On his way to becoming his own notion of Avatar of all Avatars, did Sathya Sai Baba truly believe that he had incarnated in the 19th century in the north-west Indian state of Maharashtra? Or was he shrewdly aware of practising a deception? My own guess is that, like others who have extraordinary inner experiences, he may have been in the grip of very powerful aspects of mind – especially the right brain – of which we understand far too little.

In certain unusual states of mind, an individual believes that extraordinary, real-seeming experiences are actually God’s voice speaking out of a burning bush to Moses. Actually, Allah speaking to Mohammad. Or actually one’s ‘spirit guides’ speaking from within, and so on. One part of the mind is tricked by other parts of the mind. The intangible seems to solidify. The fictive appears as real.

But how can we know what Sai Baba thought about Shirdi Sai Baba? And why he said that he was part of a series of three avatars – Shirdi Sai Baba, Sathya Sai Baba, and, one yet to come, Prema Sai Baba?

What we do know, however, is that, of all countries, India is the place where (other than in lunatic asylums of which all our countries have their types) a great many take claims of ‘divine’ realization very seriously. India is the place of instinctive veneration. Including of cricket, film, political and other stars. Visit many Hindu Indian homes, as I have done in my years in that country, and you will find countless instances where historic, human saints and masters, have their place on the household shrine – and depicted elsewhere around the house – alongside deities like Rama, Krishna, Siva, Durga, Kali, Saraswati, Mahalaxmi, and so on.

Shirdi Sai Baba is one of the pan Indian saints, like Adi Shankaracharya, Tulsidas, Mira Bai, Ramakrishna, Ramanana Maharshi, Sri Aurobindo, and so many others. Some worship them as aspects, specifically, of ‘avatars’ like Rama, Krishna, Siva, the divine Mother, and so on. Some simply as great lights. Many Hindus regard Lord Buddha as an aspect of Lord Vishnu (Krishna). There is no end to the gradations, subtleties, emphases – and, therefore, sects.

More thoughtful Hindus fully appreciate the allegorical nature of these gods and goddesses. They see the stories associated with them such as an educated westerner might understand Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad, or the characters in Dante, Shakespeare or Goethe or Tolkien – representations of primal forces at work in the human psyche. However, we need to consider the reality in the lives of millions of Indians of a heightened state of mythopoeic conditioning. Of mythopoeic imagination. And of associated rituals, festivals, allowances and proscriptions. All of this along with the ubiquitous supports of temple worship, pilgrimage, funeral and marriage ceremonies, yoga, and so forth. All of this from the very cradle. All of this, as it were, in the air, and everywhere. In the home. In the veneration for the cow. In the astrology. In the priestcraft. In vegetarianism. These norms – daily, and not at a church on Sunday or a synagogue on Saturday – are, perhaps, as alive today as they always were. Flick your television remote and radio dial and it is easy to intercept a pundit or priest or yogi wordily discoursing. Religion is part of the diet – like chapatis, sambar, malai kofta, or sweetmeats, etc. ….. Religious figures attract huge crowds – again the incredible wordiness. Again, eager faces looking up for someone great who speaks to someone small. Some religious figures do not even have to speak; they are, simply, to be seen. In whatever the form, somehow, mysteriously, Grace happens, Merit accrues. The varieties of choice are vast. In anquish, many thoughtful Indians despair of India’s immemorial running after supposed gods, demigods and demagogues.

Sathya Sai Baba appeared to have godlike powers, such as knowing other minds, foreknowledge of the future, the ability to do miracles, to heal terrible illnesses, to forgive sins, to bless with his touch or sight or word, and so on. These seeming divine powers were magnets to the denizens of, arguably, the most hyper-religious and superstitious country in the world. But, interestingly enough, a short walk even for an educated Hindu Indian – so long as there is some sort of appeal to both intellect and emotion. He created his own mythos, relying on an ancient mythos readily available to him, and to his whole milieu.

Sathya Sai Baba was charismatic, but would not have been nearly so had he not appeared to do miracles, see into souls, and answer prayers.

In fact, he was wrong about a lot of things. A recent and dramatic example was the timing of his death in April 2011. See: Sathya Sai Baba death date in serious doubt. Many devotees know perfectly well of his prophecy that he would die (or take ‘mahasamadhi’) ca 2022. Their frequent, addled rationalizations are in full view on official and non-official Sai Baba websites. Their procrustean explanations reveal something of the dreadful confusion he left behind. More than ever before, institutions like UNESCO, governments and civic and religious organizations with whom the Sathya Sai Organization attempts to associate itself reject it. The devotees who now try to reform the organization from within really need to confront their secretive leaders and demand to hear from them the circumstances since 2000 in which many respected organizations have rebuffed Sai Baba leader’s overtures.

But of course unusual phenomena would, of necessity, occur! How can it fail? For, in the annals of medical science, innumerable are the instances of unpredicted remission in the case of many apparently incurable illnesses. Intense belief taps into mental and physical transformation that science is only beginning to understand. And if rational understanding is absent, traditional belief systems, or cosmologies, arise in the form of explanations. Hindu explanations, Jewish ones, Christian ones, Buddhist ones, Muslim ones, and so on.

To these explanations, powerful emotions and dogmas attach themselves. Orthodoxies arise. Dissenting sects arise. We have mainstreams and sects and cults in abundance.

See also:

Sathya Sai Baba Claimed He Will Resurrect After 40 Days

BBC Footage Exposes Fake Sathya Sai Baba Miracle

Sathya Sai Baba Is Dead. Said He Would Rule the World and Die Aged 96

Sathya Sai Baba’s Amazing Predictions

“I intend to undertake a world tour, shortly.”

Wealthy Americans Prepare Mansions For “God’s” Visit

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

Predictions/Promises

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Select Barry Pittard poems/lyrics expressive of themes about crimes/sexual and other abuses/ spiritual betrayals by Sathya Sai Baba and his international Sathya Sai Organization.

‘Little Fly’. A Ballad of ‘Rock Spiders’ and Sexual Abuse of the Young

Beth Rude. Ballad of a Child Protectrice. By Barry Pittard

Sathya Sai Baba – The Man Who Would Be ‘King of Kings’

No Friend In Sight Song

They’ve Banned the Bulls At Barcelona. By Barry Pittard

Note: Barry Pittard’s songs are copyright protected by The Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA). Contact: barpittard@gmail.com

Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

The Public PetitionInformation 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 go straight to the Petition): Public Petition For Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization

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Barry Pittard – On Institutional Cover Ups and Psychological Denial

Posted by Barry Pittard on September 5, 2011

In many universities, there is reluctance to study the testimony of contemporary apostates. But I would commend – perhaps to a younger and less blinkered generation of academics – that perceived problems about validity of testimony can be overcome from the more or less oblique angle of comparative studies. There is no shortage of dissent from major and powerful institutions. One can obtain a large and valuable witness base.

Indeed, I suggest that one perspective for examining this phenomenon is the positive one of health – and not of pathology. That is to say, many people leave institutions in response to conscience, commonsense and rationality.

In the context of cross-cultural studies, witnesses, pro and contra, concerning organizations oriented to strong belief systems commonly do not know each other, and this fact yields an immense and rich base of non-colusional evidence. Any academic department which resiles from the study of cults per se backs away from taking seriously one of the prime threats to civil well-being. Nor should intellectually impoverished notions of so-called ‘religious freedom’ and ‘political correctness’ be heeded. For authoritarian cults thrive on lack of examination, and misplaced notions of liberalism. They cry freedom even as they deny freedom.

There is a train of thought which keeps coming home to me when I look at the testimony of dissenters from various authoritarian organizations ….

When one is deeply involved in any matter, it can be hard to imagine that there are other necks of similar ‘woods’. So caught up in our own reality do we get. But when we embark on comparative studies, we find countless marked patterns all round.

Variations, from locale to locale, obscure facts such as the very few human feelings and drives – although we commonly speak as though there are a great many. If we could get at the feelings, the essential driving forces, and deal with these in a truthful, mutually respectful way, we might make progress.

However, the human ego thrives by flattering itself on its own uniqueness and sheer variation. Human beings – whether the good, the bad or the indifferent – tend to react the same. It just looks different. What make us appear so different are usually two things. First, the variables of culture, class, age, gender, race, and so on. Second, observed from within our own ‘pond’, it hardly seems possible that other ‘ponds’ are beyond our range of vision. Or, even when we meet them, we tend to see the differentiations, and not the underlying drivers.

Let us look beyond our own ‘pond’. Comparing different types of institution and looking at the nature of institutional cover up and denial can illuminate the area, and expose almost primitive, patterned and (given ever improving data bases), predictable behavioral responses. The local ‘color’ and nomenclature are different, but the essential, and very few, driving forces are the same.

Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

There has been, as in the case of the Sathya Sai Organization leaders, the persistent and scandalous cover-up at all levels in the Roman Catholic Church up to and including Popes. Those Roman Catholics who for decades have been speaking out have been subjected to attacks very much like what other whistleblowers (including many former devotees of Sathya Sai Baba) have had to endure. It is terrible and wrong. The Irish case is full of stark parallels. Sathya Sai Baba is protected at the very highest levels in India. In regard to him, we learn at first hand from very senior diplomatic sources that diplomats are instructed not to “rock the boat with India”. The fallacy that most thinking Indians would be bound to detect is the absurd conflation of Sathya Sai Baba with India! Those who have traveled extensively in India know how huge is the repudiation of him in that great but tragic country.

When one speaks to dissenters from other areas, the same presentations of cultic believers are the case – cover up, character assassination, libel and defamation, vile vituperation on the one hand and cold shunning on the other, threats to sue and other bullying tactics, working to get people fired from their jobs, families broken up, inability to discuss without poor argument and distortion of what has actually been stated, and so on.

Standing forth for truthfulness is not an easy job.

I think that it is advisable for survivors to reflect carefully before deciding whether to disclose their identities in their testimonies in a public forum, such as the internet. Some prefer to provide sworn testimony, and await opportunities to come forward in the media or in a court action where there is proper jurisdiction. Others, however, are prepared to stand forth and feel that they are making a contribution to saving others from a similar fate, and, in general, they wish to create a much better pubic awareness of the evils of sexual and other types of abuse. We know of those who have had no qualms about speaking up, even after we have carefully gone through the issues with them.

In the exposure of Sathya Sai Baba and his cult, international coordinators such as Glen Meloy (deceased), Robert Priddy, Hari Sampath (in the earlier stages) and I have had a work which we never would have wished upon ourselves …..

….. Below, Sebastian Engelbarts of The Netherlands relates his account of abuse experiences at the hands of Sathya Sai Baba. My close colleague Robert Priddy made all due effort to apprise Sebastian of what going public can invoke – as indeed is our strict practice with others in touch with us with their accounts – and the latter decided that he had the resolve necessary to withstand come-what-may.

I need hardly point out that, over several years, many testimonies have been shared with us with the request that they be kept confidential, and Robert Priddy and I (in our role of coordinators) – or others along a supportive network, often professional in background – have respected this. Other Sathya Sai Baba abuse survivors have stated that they would wish only to make public their experiences in the context of investigation by, for example, a respected organization such as the BBC, Times of London, Telegraph, The Guardian, UNESCO, Interpol, etc.’ and/or by a court of law in a democratic country.

In India, a particularly lamentable fact that speaks against religious institutions is that their scandals have often had to exposed by such courageous rationalists as the late Basava Premanand. See: Basava Premanand Long Challenged Indian Governments To Come Clean On Sathya Sai Baba and Basava Premanand. Vale. A fighter for truth who lived what others preach

But, as so commonly, Sai Baba, in word and action falsifies what he superabundantly preaches.

“Desire to which you are too fondly attached breeds anger and its nefarious brood. Discard it and you can have perpetual youth! The Aanandha that the Aathman can manifest will keep age and ageing away!” Discourse of Sathya Sai Baba, Prashanthi Nilayam, 22 Feb 1971. Published by Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust.

“The attributes of the Avatars are beyond human comprehension…. Rama and Krishna were ever youthful. Have you ever seen a picture of Rama or Krishna with grey hair?….. Usually old people have wrinkles on their faces … I do not have any signs of old age. (loud applause). There is not a single wrinkle on My face”. Sanathana Sarathi, October, 2002.

Why are Indian authorities and the Indian media so selective in exposing errant religious figures in that country? Anyone who knows a wide cross-section of Indians is well aware of the great shame they feel for the corrupt institutions in their country?

Non-resident Indians (NRI’s) are freely able to read exposing investigations about Sathya Sai Baba in major western media such as the BBC, Times of London, Daily Telegraph, Guardian, and newspapers in Europe, Canada, Australia, etc., but are prohibited from doing so in their own country.

Like Sathya Sai Baba, he has presided over social work and so forth. Some of Sathya Sai Baba’s followers who do not deny his sexual and other activities say: but look at all the good social work that he does. (Actually, one might have thought that it is his devotees that do it!). The laws of many countries, though there may be elements of mitigation, do not take any such absurd position.

I have yet to examine the issues, but fully expect, as has been the response of Sai Baba’s apologists to the mountain of evidence against him, no end of the same types of spurious, head-in-the-sand justification from devotees of the exposed gurus and malicious attacks on those who have stood forth to speak the truth, and who call – all the while at great readiness themselves to be accountable – for independent and proper third-party investigation of allegations. See my update: Why Nithyananda Sex Scandal Investigations and Not A Sathya Sai Baba Probe?

RC Abuse Priests Collared. Clergy sex revelation storms threaten worldwide After years of vast ecclesiastical cover up, many Roman Catholic sexually abusive priests have been collared, worldwide.

Some international commentators opine that there is a net of terrible revelation closing in on Pope Benedict XVI. One revelation after another indicates that he has for many years known about the endemic sexual abuses, both of children and adults, happening within the Roman Catholic Church. And that he has, all along, failed with any probity (unless it accorded with antiquated, incredibly out-of-touch notions of an ancien régime) to act. To the contrary, he has called, all along, for secrecy. A key issue is whether any ecclesiastical authority has the right to deal with crimes within its own entity. Countless sexual abuses have not been reported to the police, and strong sections within the Catholic hierarchy have triumphed in a division between Church and State that appalls most who live in a western democracy.

See companion article to this post:

Roman Catholics’ Deep Concern At Pope’s Apology. But He Is Way Ahead Of Indian ‘Pope’ Sathya Sai Baba.

The same high-handed rebuff to legal sovereignty of the secular state was, in effect, asserted by the longtime, now retired world coordinator of the Sathya Sai Organizer, Indulal Shah. See: Indian Newspaper Reports of Killings In Sai Baba’s Bedroom . One of the most responsible papers in India stated:

“When press persons met Mr. Indulal Shah, chief functionary of the Sri Satya Sai World Trust, after the murders of six young Sai followers in Sathya Sai Baba’s bedroom in 1993, Indulal Shah is reported as having said: ‘the matter is purely internal and we do not wish to have any law enforcement agency investigating into it.” (from The Hindu, 10-6-1993).

It forever echoes in my mind how a then editor of The Times of India told me privately that Sathya Sai Baba is too powerful to take on. One irony was that one of the most powerful figures on the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust – the former Chief Justice of India, P.N. Bhagawati, was at the same time on the Board of Directors of The Times of India. In fact, our group had to work extremely hard to get UNESCO senior management to cause the Press Trust of India (PTI) to make amends for publishing a gravely watered-down version of the UNESCO Media Advisory concerning Sathya Sai Baba and certain of his key officals. See:

Perhaps the day of great account will eventually come for the international Sathya Sai Organization.

At the moment, the Boy Scouts of America is under close scrutiny for its practices in dealing – and not dealing – with the sexual abuse issue. Will parents be able to trust the Boy Scouts of America organization?

Boy Scouts of America Sorely TestedIn recent articles at ‘Call For Media and Government Investigation of Sathya Sai Baba’, I have been pointing to cases in other areas which have often taken years of persistent activism by those who have exposed appalling levels of cover up by powerful institutions.

Typically found throughout all these institutions are the themes of psychological denial by the generality of followers and deliberate denial by those authorities who know the facts and go to great lengths to hide them. The amount of denigration, name-calling, distortion of what is being said, shunning, libel and defamation of those who have stood forth to reveal the facts, are also typical. They fly completely in the face of the professed ethical and spiritual teachings of those institutions, which in many cases are unexceptionable.

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

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

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