Call For Media and Government Investigation

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

Posts Tagged ‘Compassion’

A Sathya Sai Saga. Barry Pittard Recollects. Part 4

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 27, 2010

The series continues from:  A Sathya Sai Saga. Barry Pittard Recollects. Part 3.  Posted by Barry Pittard on July 25, 2010.  A Sathya Sai Saga. Barry Pittard Recollects. Part 2. Posted by Barry Pittard on July 23, 2010.  A Sathya Sai Saga. Barry Pittard Recollects. Part 1. Posted by Barry Pittard on July 20, 2010

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In the article: Sathya Sai Baba Organization’s Betrayal of Love and Compassion, I wrote (referring to Terry Gallagher, the first head of the Australian Sathya Sai Organization, who at first hand probed allegations about Sathya Sai Baba’s serial sexual abuse of boys and young men, and consequently resigned):

At length by telephone, he told me that, against extraordinary unwillingness of devotees to look at the allegations,  he had done what he could to investigate and surface the terrible facts about Sai Baba’s serial sexual abuse of young males. He told me that he had extensively shown documentation to Valmai Worthington, a Brisbane leader of the Sathya Sai Organization, who has led many groups to from Australia to see Sai Baba, but this had not led to meaningful action. Other leaders were likewise impervious and went into the utmost psychological denial. Groups, including those with young males in them, continued to go to the ashram.

From October 1999, I made extensive investigations globally, finding much corroboration from families and individual survivors themselves – many of whom did not know each other. Others too, many former followers independently of each other, were making their own investigations. There was no doubting their excellent standing in their professions, trades and wider communities. From about April 1999, an Indian, Hari Sampath, who was at that time working, via a ‘green card’ in the USA, was coordinating a ‘pepper group’ of former devotees. This group was remarkably effective in arousing major media and UNESCO, and other major organs. An individual of great significance from that time and up to the end of 2004 was the late Glen Meloy of the USA. See: Glen Meloy (“Standing up for truth and goodness”) – In Memoriam.

More troubling than anything was the sense of terrible betrayal and heartache in so many individuals and families. This fact of the alienation of many respected, now former, Sai Baba followers is all too well-known to many leaders and increasing numbers within the rank and file of the international Sathya Sai Organization. But, in Orwellian fashion, it has acted virtually as if those many who have left it never existed. And as if those long honored as good were now, almost overnight, bad. See:

The Sathya Sai Organization: Almost overnight, dissenters treated as demons! 

On Leaving the Sathya Sai Baba Cult – Ex Leaders and Rank-and-File

Story of My Disqualification, and other articles by Serguei Badaev

New Zealand Lawyer Exposes Official Cover Up of Killings In Sathya Sai Baba Bedroom

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

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

Stephen Carthew, A Voice of Testimony From Australia, On The Dangers of Cults

Letter from Stephen Carthew

The Late Leo Boogaard: A Dutch Voice of Conscience On Sathya Sai Baba

In short, members of the Sathya Sai Organization have typically, grossly and repeatedly:

  • ignored the afflicted individuals and families, and:
  • deliberately hidden vital facts from many rank-and-file devotees

The list of leaders sycophantic to Sathya Sai Baba is long. Briefly suggestive of top leaders who have severely abrogated norms regarding duty of care and transparency a list includes:

Many within the Sathya Sai Organization have frequently wondered why Sathya Sai Baba has appointed certain key leaders in his organization. A common, in-denial, euphuistic cry is:  never mind, Swami has done it to teach us patience and forgiveness and as a test for our sadhana (spiritual discipline). Here are but a few names of those involved in longtime, shameless cover up. Clicking on the links will bring up articles which, in their own turn, contain further recondite links:

John (Jack) Hislop, Michael GoldsteinIndulal Shah, G. Venkataraman, William Harvey, Bob Bozzani, Hal Honig, Jagadeesan, Ashok Bhagani, Thorbjørn Meyer, Steen Piculell, Leonardo Gutter,  T.Sri Ramanathan, Pal Dhall, Bernard Gruber, Pietro Marena,  Jörgen Möllgård, Richard Friedrich, John Behner, Phyllis Kristal

Terry Gallagher wrote:

The purpose of this visit was to find the reason why former students of Sai Baba’s college would want to kill him, particularly when they had been given a free education! The eye witness accounts were horrific! After bursting into the Mandir, four students found themselves trapped upstairs where Sai Baba was staying. Each was interrogated by police, then one at a time they were executed! The stench of death was everywhere. I made further inquiries about Sai Baba having sexual relations with college boys and male students – some of these as young as seven years of age – and whether this was the reason for former students wanting to kill him. I was told, to my horror, that this was an acceptable Indian practice! I felt sick, and just wanted to take my family and leave the ashram and India as quickly as possible. Before we did, we were all called for interview with Sai Baba and we told him what we had experienced and been told. Sai Baba made no comment on our accusations and was only anxious to know who had told us these details, requesting us to tell him several times! Having had dozens of interviews over the years, this was the most stressful and uncomfortable interview our family had ever experienced. Sai Baba was tense and agitated and his body language told us all, that what we had found out about him was the truth! We left the interview and returned to Australia.

Of the mounting allegations of Sathya Sai Baba’s serial sexual abuse of boys and young men, Terry Gallagher wrote:

I made further inquiries about Sai Baba having sexual relations with college boys and male students- some of these as young as seven years of age – and whether this was the reason for former students wanting to kill him. I was told, to my horror, that this was an acceptable Indian practice! I felt sick, and just wanted to take my family and leave the ashram and India as soon as possible. Before we did, we were called for an interview with Sai Baba, and we told him what we had experienced and been told. Sai Baba made no comment on our accusations and was only anxious to know who had told us these details, requesting us to tell him several times! Having had dozens of interviews over the years, this was the most stressful and uncomfortable interview our family had ever experienced.

Sai Baba was tense and agitated, and his body language told us all that what we had found out him was the truth! We left the interview and returned to Australia. The following years were very difficult spiritually; we concentrated on all the positive aspects we had experienced over the past ten years and found this comforting. When we attempted to tell others about our experiences and the truth about Sai Baba, no one would believe us, except those who had also had similar experiences- and mostly fear prevents them from telling others. It has only been in the past twelve months that former students and devotees of Sai Baba have begun communicating with each other, confirming experiences to be true and supporting each other spiritually and emotionally when necessary.

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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, Religion, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Dalai Lama: Forgiveness does not mean forgetfulness

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 15, 2007

dalai-lama-in-australia-june-2007.jpgAt the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Australia, July 14, 2007, the 14th Dalai Lama spoke to a capacity, 15000 audience. Several large screens throughout the auditorium meant that people were able to see him close up. I had the privilege to be there.

Someone remarked that the Dalai Lama was “radically informal”. It was true – he had a great naturalness, straightforwardness and simplicity. There were also  large crowds outside watching on a large television screen outside the Brisbane Entertainment Center.

Forgiveness does not entail forgetfulness

First, I shall single out one of the points he made, because it can throw light on the motivations of many former devotees of Sathya Sai Baba around the world. Most are not motivated by hatred against Sai Baba or leaders of his Sathya Sai Organization but believe it important to state their case as best they can, if in very difficult circumstances.

This point of the Dalai Lama’s – about forgiveness – is made, like all of his points, in many wisdom traditions, yet it seems to forever need to be raised and clarified, simple a point although it is.

Anyone who knows those individuals around the world who have dissented from Sai Baba – many of them having been deeply committed to his work for decades until they resigned or simply walked out – knows that most of those individuals speak out decidedly not because of hatred and revenge. It is a simplistic notion that speaking out about crimes and other wrong-doings has to to equate to hatred and revenge. Even if, since none of us is perfect, we err, it is important for us all to look for some better resolution of the issues. Some of the insights gained in the ‘Truth Commission’ processes may afford a guide for groups who are ready to reform themselves and seek compassionate solutions. See e.g., http://www.truthcommission.org

A society in which serious allegations are not brought out will remain a terribly crippled one. It will be one of secrecy, and lack compassion. It will not address the difficulties that so sorely need to be raised. China is far from alone in this, and we each need to address our own country’s failures to be a genuinely just society. However, China, as many cults do, has a long record of severe suppression, secrecy and violation of human rights. It has strongly protested to the Australian government, attempting to get it to stop the Dalai Lama’s visit. It would like us to forget him, and forget its atrocities, including enforced colonization and genocide. It can no more say sorry for these and make amends – to name but one of many Chinese government human outrages, for its violent mass killings in Tienanmen Square in 1989 (see Wikipedia reference HERE) than my own country’s government of John Howard can say sorry to our own wonderful, but tragically decimated indigenous people. Howard and the federal Opposition Leader, a former diplomat, Kevin Rudd, who speaks fluent mandarin Chinese, have both vacilated severely about whether they would meet the Dalai Lama. Most suddenly and curiously, neither appeared to know what their diary was doing but in fact, according to various media reports, they were both locked in consulting their realpolitik options – namely the trade issue, since China is Australia’s biggest trading partner. (I have dealt with this issue, from the perspective of our own interfaces with a number of governments in relation to Sai Baba HERE.  Many so-called ‘democratic’ governments prefer narrow pragmatism over humanitarian conscience). 

What the Dalai Lama has succeeded in doing, and what a few others like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Mary Robinson and so on have so powerfully sought to do is to rise above hatred and vengeful, violent retaliation. (It may be good if we all start making a list and add still many more role model names, such as the Myhero project has sought to do at this page HERE). They have struggled on the great scale just as the rest of us have to struggle on the smaller scale. Not one of these leaders failed to speak out against the evils that had been perpetrated – such as those of war, empire, colonialism – and the disgraceful and terrible means used to realize them. Remembering evils can be graceful, especially when we have community support, and personal methods of self-discipline and induction of genuine calmness – such that we do not visit them on others as doctrine.

Forgiveness: Not losing compassion for the other person

Answering a question from the audience, the Dalai Lama distinguished between forgiveness and forgetfulness. He said that forgiveness is logically not possible with the absence of forgetting. To forgive, you need to remember what it is that you are forgiving. Forgiveness means not losing compassion for the other person. Sooner or later that individual, if they have have committed an offence, has to face the consequencies. Forgiveness does not mean taking no action. The important thing is that you do not let hatred overtake you.

‘Secular Ethics’

The Dalai Lama said he had nothing to offer but common sense. His own religion was his own private matter. His thoughts expressed publically may be termed ‘secular ethics’. He had not much to offer, except commonsense.

He was now nearly 72 and since 16 years of age has had lots of difficulties, like the loss of his country. As he tours the world there is always sad news. But it is important to find a way, although recognizing the sadness for what it is, not to detain oneself with it but instead to establish a calm mind. To some, this attitude seems like being careless. But it is not, because a conflicted mind will bring still more troubles. Take problems seriously by all means, of course, but on the objective intellectual level rather than on the emotionally conflictful level. One needs to  look at things objectively, and handle things more realistically, being neither over joyful nor over sad.

Happiness is the very purpose of life

Feelings of compassion and kindness need to be implemented through action. People need to feel a part of society, and self-confident.  We are social ‘animals’. Survival depends on a sense of community. Positive emotions are very good for us, and negative emotions very bad and destructive. The more compassion the better is society’s functioning. This recognition does not belong peculiarly to any religion.

Religious answers often divide

Compassion is very commonly shared by people everywhere since we received it from our time in the mother’s womb and from her as we developed as we developed from our earliest stages as human beings. If morality and ethics were based on adhering to this or that religion, serious questions arise. For example – what religion? Many answers to this are very divisive of humankind. What? Six hundred million human beings should all follow a just one religion and no other. It is not possible. The secular teaching of values is the commonsense solution.

Force has been the typical answer

Compassion cannot be a weapon. If you try to eliminate people’s viewpoints by force the hatred will pass down the generations. Today, one Bin Laden, in ten years 10 Bin Ladens. The Dalai Lama told this in a letter of condolence to President George W. Bush on the day after 9/11. He got a strong laugh from the audience when he said that he has met George Bush and is scheduled to meet him again soon, and finds him individually a very nice man but that “his philosophy and mine are – different”.

Destroying another person is destroying yourself

External disarmament is important but the real need is for internal disarmanant. We need to make these notions familiar to children in school, so that they can confidently say to their parents – this trouble needs to be solved through dialog, not through conflict. Consider the other person as a part of yourself. Destroying another person is destroying yourself.

A questioner asked the Dalai Lama what have been the his greatest joy and and greatest sadness. He replied that there have been so many such moments that it is hard to pick but that two of those that stand out that taken together were very important revelations to him came close together. When he was sixteen he was overjoyed to have obtained his Ph.D. Even as this happened, the Chinese occupation of Tibet was proving very difficult for his people. There was terrible fear of the Chinese soldiers. Over half a million people died, many of starvation, many killed. In March 1958, many Tibetans, including himself, escaped. The experience felt very “Up. Down” but it enforced a sense of reality.

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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 Morality, New Age, Opinion, Protest, Rationalism, Religion, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »