In his blog Mind your Mind, Chris Doktor, a Dutch psychotherapist, writes instructively of certain similarities between the renowned cult leader, the late, self-proclaimed Korean ‘Messiah’ and multibillionaire tycoon Reverend Sun Myung Moon and the late Sathya Sai Baba. See: Grand Send-off to Moon: Strikingly Similar to Sathya Sai Baba in Life and Death.
That charismatic and authoritarian cultic figures like Moon and Sai Baba, can gain such a grip on the masses suggests the need for a serious social thinking. Although it is important to look at the dangers they present, it is also crucial that we consider what rational and emotional deficits exist in society. And, dare we say, in ourselves.
In his last few years Sathya Sai Baba succumbed to dementia and a raft of other ailments. These troubles falsified his own repeated prophecies – species of his megalamania – that he would look forever young, travel to various parts of the world, die in his 90’s effectively ruling the world by that time, and reincarnate shortly after as ‘Prema Sai Baba’. Here is but a sample of his well-documented, terribly failed statements, which his followers blindly ignore:
In a February 1 16, 2007 ‘divine discourse’, Sai baba said:
“I intend to undertake a world tour, shortly”.
“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
“In the days ahead, the whole world will be obliged to come to Prashanthi Nilayam” (p. 320, Sanathana Sarathi December 1991)
“The whole world will be transformed into Sathya Sai Organisation and Sathya Sai will be installed in the hearts of one and all”. p. 16 Sanathana Sarathi January 1999)
“Swami’s mission has made this turn to face the runway. The 70th birthday was the signal from the tower to accelerate. In the 75th birthday, the airplane will leave the ground”. Sri Sathya Sai Newsletter, USA, 31, Winter 1996-1997, 29.)
“Bhagavan told the group of his students, that His mission can be compared with an aeroplane that is going to take off. Up to 70th birthday his mission would be like an aeroplane going along the take-off track and gaining speed. These days the aeroplane is rushing and speeding up and will take off at the 75th birthday”. Sai Reflections: The UK Sai Organisation. Quarterly Magazine: February, 1997, p.15)
See my articles:
The Danger We Invite In Ignoring Cults and Cultists
If we focus solely on the cult phenomenon – or the other great fault, ignore it – we invite failure to look at the human conditions of which we are a part, which create the hunger for the irrational, and, as too often, the appeal of the authoritarian figure who has all the ‘answers’.
The threats to the open society of cults increase according to how we tend to ignore them. My writings on society’s powerful turning of blind eyes to insidious problems like pedophilia make, essentially the same point: it is the social failure to face difficult issues. It is the failure to come clean, and to speak out, and to support those who are speaking out.
Allowing a few whistleblowers and advocates for social chance to shoulder the brunt of the work is, simply, cowardice. It is also unreality, because, sooner or later our own families and communities are stricken.
Crowds at Sathya Sai Baba’s birthday celebrations at Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh, South India, 2008
Chris Doktor notes:
“Like Sai Baba, Moon was a deeply narcissistic man, who reveled in mass adoration and was in dire need of constant and singular attention, claiming to be a special spiritual entity who, if accepted as a personal master, protected you from harm and opened up the gates of Heaven to his true followers”.
By JILL REILLY
PUBLISHED: 08:50 GMT, 15 September 2012 | UPDATED: 10:36 GMT, 15 September 2012
Ten of thousands of followers gathered today at the funeral of Sun Myung Moon, a self-proclaimed messiah who founded the Unification Church.
He was buried at a church-owned mansion modelled on the White House after a two-week mourning period.
His followers gathered at Gapyeong, an hour outside the capital Seoul, to say a final goodbye to Moon, a man who dubbed himself the ‘True Parent’ of those he married in mass ceremonies and who once proposed himself as ‘supreme chairman” of a reunited Korea.
Family affair: Hyung-Jin Moon (front second right), International President of the Unification Church and youngest son of Evangelist Reverend Sun-Myung Moon, leads the honor guards in carrying the body of his father.
The church claimed that about 35,000 followers and mourners with some 15,000 from abroad attended the funeral service at the Cheongshim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, about 60 km east of Seoul.
The ceremony was officially titled ‘Sun Myung Moon, the True Parent of Heaven and Earth, Memorial and Ascension Ceremony.’
Men dressed in black suits with white ties and women in white or ivory dresses for the ceremony.
Many sobbed quietly as the cortege carried Moon’s red-and-gold casket to the altar inside a vast hall in the church complex.
Grieving: Han Hak Ja, wife of late Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon, weeps during his funeral ceremony. His wife remains the symbolic head of the mission that oversees the entire Tongil, Korean for Unification group
Many mourners watched on live broadcasts around the campus.
Some offered roses and lilies, Moon’s favourite flowers, and bowed before the portrait ringed with roses.
Church officials did not give details about why he was not there.
‘His will is a divine will, different from normal people,’ said 69-year-old office worker Jeong Hye-ok.
‘I believe he will establish a foundation to build a heavenly world that unifies peace on earth.’
‘He will be in our minds permanently,’ said Lee Ok-su, a church choir member, her face flushed with emotion. ‘He is our benevolent yet strict father.’
Mourning: A family member carries a portrait of late Rev. Sun Myung Moon – he built a multibillion-dollar business empire stretching from the Korean Peninsula to the United States
Remembrance: More than 30,000 mourners, many weeping openly, attended the elaborate, flower-strewn funeral in South Korea
The funeral, which lasted more than two hours, began when men wearing military honor guard-style uniforms carried Moon’s coffin into a multipurpose gymnasium.
They slowly carried it up red-carpeted steps decked with flowers and placed it in front of a large portrait of Moon.
Many mourners wept as a top church official said in a speech that Moon was moving into a spiritual world after completing the messianic role that God had asked of him.
Crowds: A funeral car loaded with a portrait of the late Sun Myung Moon drives past followers after his funeral ceremony
Weeping: Men dressed in black suits with white ties and women in white or ivory dresses for the ceremony. Many sobbed quietly as the cortege carried Moon’s red-and-gold casket to the altar inside a vast hall in the church complex
Flower-covered transport: A funeral car containing the body of late Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon drives past followers. He was buried at a church-owned mansion modelled on the White House today after a two-week mourning period
Han Hak Ja (front), wife of late Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon, mourns her late husband while his the youngest son of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, sings a hymn
Legacy: Rev. Sun Myung Moon died aged 92 on Sept. 3 of complications due to pneumonia. The church he founded is now run by his youngest son, while the business entities are run by another son
Popular: Those who could not get into the service watched on live broadcasts around the campus
Moon started the church after claiming Jesus appeared to him while he was praying as teenager
‘God, why … why did you call back our True Father so hurriedly?’ Bo Hi Pak, chairman of the Unification Church-supported Korean Cultural Foundation, told the crowd.
‘I’m so sad, and I just want to listen to his voice again,’ said Jeon Myung-hu, a 43-year-old man who said he fasted for four days after hearing the news of Moon’s death. ‘His teachings about peace will remain forever.’
About 180,000 people visited Gapyeong during the mourning period before the funeral, according to church officials.
An estimated 7 million people paid homage at mourning sites around the world, they said.
The Unification Church claims to have 3 million followers around the world, though critics say the figure is no more than 100,000.
Moon, a staunch anti-communist who ran a business empire as well as a church and spent 30 years living in the United States, was born in what is now North Korea in 1920 and escaped to the South in 1950 after being sentenced to hard labour.
He died aged 92 on September 3 of complications due to pneumonia.
The church he founded is now run by his youngest son, while the business entities are run by another son.
Blessing: Moon and his wife bless the brides and the grooms in a mass wedding ceremony at Chamsil Olympic Stadium in Seoul in 2000
His wife remains the symbolic head of the mission that oversees the entire Tongil, Korean for ‘Unification’ group.
Previously thousands of mourners had gathered for the ten-day as the founder lay in a glass-covered coffin at the headquarters of his Unification Church in South Korea.
Only senior church members and specially invited mourners were allowed to view the body. But that didn’t stop the general public turning up in droves to pay their respects.
Critics for years have vilified the church as a heretical and dangerous cult and questioned its murky finances and how it indoctrinates followers, described in derogatory terms as ‘Moonies.’
Moon is survived by his wife and 10 of their 13 children.
But his eldest son Hyun Jin, the chairman of UCI, which owns the UPI news agency, did not attend the funeral.
Church officials did not give details about why he was not there.
There is a Spanish version available: