Call For Media and Government Investigation

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

Posts Tagged ‘David Savill’

Sathya Sai Baba World Cult At Odds With Itself

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 28, 2008

One of the distinctive phenomena that independently confirm voices critical of Sathya Sai Baba and his cult is that his movement is eroding from within.

Sathya Sai Cult At Odds With Itself

Some of his followers have made progress in thinking their way out of this particular variety of ‘the guru trap’. They do not have to ask whether those who have spoken out (often after many decades as deeply dedicated service workers in his movement) are a tiny handful of disgruntled or money-oriented individuals or “demons” and “Judases” that Sathya Sai Baba and certain of his devotees have branded us as being. Rather, in waking up to the seriousness of the revelations, they discover rude awakenings enough in their own saddened localities.

Shocked Local Revelations Need No Consultation With Internet Ones

Both from those traveling to India and reports from communities in various countries, it is clear that although people have responded to articles by those such as Robert Priddy, Brian Steel or myself, there are many others who independently do their own ‘homework’ and investigate in their own circles. The questioning followers (called “waverers” within the cult) – just as critics first themselves had to undergo – are:

  • experiencing revelations from within their own families and/or other close and trusted circles

As this phenomenon continues, they:

  • are in able then to consider how individuals they have known closely and deeply respected down the years have been shunned (sometimes by themselves directly) and, in effect, declared as non-persons by core national and international leaders of the Sathya Sai Organization.

Ecstasy Becomes Agony. Prelude To A Triumph of Self Respect and Conscience

The process is usually a slow and painful one, as it relates to self-exhumation of conscience, sensitivity and, not least, common sense. There is a terrible squinting at the light of common day, as successive sets of almost visceral, ingrown blinkers begin to drop away.

It is then that many consult our websites and blogsites. In this phase – one of an awakening question-asking and research – some come to us. When this happens, activists among us are able to see ever and again:

  • the repeated patterns, the same heart-aching accounts, which confirm the tragically flawed behaviour of both Sathya Sai Baba and certain of his core servitors.
  • the damage to wider communities of cultic (non) thinking. Since we are all social beings, connected to larger communal domains such as work, friendship, study, professional, sporting and other fraternities, and so on, sexual and other form of abuse strike more widely than within an immediate family or sect.

Evidence Processes

Major media and and scholars (whom, in the latter case, it is better not to name until, presumably, their work surfaces in academic journals or books or in the media) look for this type of broad-based evidence. Certainly, they come to us but they also have their own, carefully guarded, alternative sources. (Media, scholars and movie and documentary makers can be well-funded, and Sathya Sai Baba’s hideous untruth that we expose him for the sake of money is known, so long as they consult their consciences, by our former brothers and sisters who have known for many years how untrue any such statement is). They also look for the striking anomalies contained in official cult publications or video materials, where some of the information has not been able to have been weeded by the editorial censors. See the tiniest selection of Brian Steel’s ground-breaking scholarly articles at foot of this article).

Referring to The Secret Swami (see references below), in their intensive, multi country investigation, Assistant Producer David Savill told me that the BBC were able independently to unearth compelling accounts of young male sexual abuse by Sathya Sai Baba, including among Indian families who evidently had no contact with our organized network.

In the accounts of those who speak to us on a strictly confidential basis, we can see a distinct:

  • lack of evidence that Sathya Sai Baba and the Sathya Sai Organization have done anything to counsel those devotees – including prominent ones – to stop vilifying, slandering and libeling, on and off the Internet, those who have called for properly constituted investigations into the many and serious accusations of criminal misconduct. See:

Sathya Sai Baba World Cult Leaders Fail To Meet Concerns on Libel

Sathya Sai Baba Organization and Libel and Disinformation

Select References

The Packaging of SB’s Discourses – An Update (March 2002)

Dossier 3: The Packaging of Sathya Sai Baba’s Telugu Discourses. A Stronger Case (May


Sathya Sai Baba: Man of Many Stories

Sathya Sai Baba’s Claims of Divinity: Avatar and Triple Avatar

Devotees and Their Contributions to the Purna Avatar Myth Surrounding SSB (part of Ch. 4)

Appreciations of Steel’s work at Call For Media and Government Investigation

Sai Baba Researchers’ Huge Debt To Scholar Brian D. Steel

William Aitken’s Sai Baba Book. Major Flaws Says Scholar
A Host of Sai Baba Hagiographers

Robert Priddy

The ‘Guru Papers and Authoritarian Power THE ‘GURU PAPERS’ AND AUTHORITARIAN POWER with Sathya Sai Baba and his movement as an example .

Priddy notes:


“What I have outlined in my paper on ‘The Fundamentalist Guru Trap Exploitation’ is a very common pattern of behaviour among gurus, which can be seen from studying a fair sample of them. The nature of such authoritarianism has been shown and analysed par excellence by Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad, who have published their findings in a major work, which is also becoming recognised as a key study in authoritarian power and human manipulation both within guru circles and in other organisations throughout society”


Video Footage

Guru Busters (Eagle and Eagle Films):
(80 MB)

The Secret Swami (BBC Television):
(80 MB)

Seduced (DR, Danish Broadcasting, Denmark’s national television and radio broadcaster): (80 MB)

Posted in New Age, Religion, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Will India’s New Backlash Against Corruption Lash Sathya Sai Baba?

Posted by Barry Pittard on January 24, 2007

In India and many other countries, critics of Sathya Sai Baba and his core leaders wish to see proper government, police and judicial actions. Those who defend him in public like Dr. G. Venkataraman, head of Radio Sai International and deputy chairman of the world Sathya Sai Organisation, badly represent this aim. They conceal the fact that many well-reputed and competent men and women, including top leaders (some resigned, some summarily cast out) once esteemed throughout Sai Baba’s worldwide organisation, have investigated the allegations, been horrified, and called for proper duty-of-car and accountability. However, given the extremity of the spiritual, moral and ethical betrayals, one may trust that truth and conscience will eventually force the issue. Organised former devotees worldwide are, and have long been, willing to face the most rigorous third party questioning by any competent authority. The Sathya Sai Organisation is, Soviet-style, impervious to outside questioning. Documentaries viewed by millions such as UK Channel 4′ ‘The Guru Busters’, The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’, DR (Denmark)’s ‘Seduced’, AZUL TV’s ‘The Sinful God’ and other exposures by leading media in the world have convinced all but blinded apologists and the ill-informed of this fact.

“Watershed year for Indian law” reports BBC’s Sanjoy Majumder
“For many, 2006 has been a watershed in Indian legal history”, states Sanjoy Majumder, Friday, 5 January 2007, BBC News, Delhi:
For the first time, a serving cabinet minister (Shibu Soren), was given life imprisonment for murder. Under a fortnight later, a cricket star and MP (Navjot Singh Sidhu) was jailed for manslaughter. Majumder reports “A recent study suggests that nearly a quarter of the country’s MPs are facing criminal charges ranging from murder to extortion and even rape”, and that “India’s courts are estimated to have a backlog of some two million cases”. See useful BBC News links about corruption in India here.

A welcome Indian “Backlash Was Born” reports Tim Sullivan, Associated Press
Recently, another Indian example of how backlashes against corruption can erupt occurred. Because of corruption in India’s judicial system, the 24-year old son of a powerful and wealthy politician in India, who shot a young woman, was released. Key witnesses who withdrew their testimony suddenly got rich. But that other side of India gives hope. Tim Sullivan (Thur., Mar/09/2006) Associated Press reported, “What surprised India was its own reaction: Protesters took to the streets, holding candlelight vigils and waving signs calling for justice; newspapers have kept the story on the front page day after day; officials from the president to the capital’s police chief have called for a review of the investigation. In a country that had all but resigned itself to its barely functioning legal system, a backlash was born”.

To be sure, Sathya Sai Baba, profoundly protected by India’s power brokers irrespective of what party is in power, has not faced court to answer many allegations. These include serial sexual molestation of boys and young men and other crimes such as complicity in the police killings that occurred in his bedroom, June 6, 1993. The latter incident was described to the BBC by V.P.B. Nair, former Home Secretary of Andhra Pradesh, as “absolute cold-blooded murder”. Brief video clips at this link here.  The BBC transcript of ‘The Secret Swami’ is available here.  Police corruption is also widespread in India, as the recent horrendous case of serial pedophilia and murders in Noida, Delhi, exemplifies – see link here.

Widespread corruption of the police and judiciary in India
If a corrupt elite in India can protect one young man and nine co-accused, how much more so does political-judicial patronage favor one to whom countless Indian power brokers, and millions of others around the world, bow as God fully incarnate? Sai Baba is also patronised simply because of vote-catching and other political expediencies, huge trade and financial deals with his many mega rich devotees, and cronyism. For trade advantages, it served corrupt regimes when senior officials in the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office told Tony Colman (when he was Labor MP for Putney, UK) that the government does not wish to rock the boat with India. Interests sans conscience were likewise fulfilled when the US State Department, after many highly credible US citizens have made extensive submissions to it, issued a travel warning in November 23, 2001 that pointed to Sai Baba’s ashram but did not name him, until the might of the BBC extracted a confirmation in May 2004. To see how Sai Baba and his managers have so successfully identified his own interests with India’s interests, see: ‘Does UNESCO Really Protect the Young’ at this link.

High echelon judges flout Law to support Sai Baba
For an inkling of how justice can be thwarted by two Indian Supreme Court judges, G.B. Pattanaik and R.C. Lahoti, partial to Sai Baba, see HERE:

A high profile Sai Baba devotee judge in the Andhra Pradesh High Court,Y. V. Anjaneyulu can, just as flagrantly, put down a lawsuit by B. Premanand, India’s famous ‘guru buster’, about gold taxes. Judge Anjaneyulu held that the gold Sai Baba produces is manifested from a divine source, and cannot therefore be taxed. Of course, this judgement defies Indian law, which is secular, and founded on the British Westminster system.

Another miscarriage of justice occurred in Orange County Court in California, USA. A courageous young man, Alaya Rahm, gives an account of extensive sexual abuse of himself when a teenager by Sai Baba. For the last few years, he has been strongly supported in speaking out by his parents. His father is Al Rahm, formerly one of the highest profile leaders in the US Sathya Sai Baba Organisation. Yet Alaya Rahm’s lawsuit against the directors of the Sathya Sai Baba Society in the USA came badly unstuck. According to his lawyer, William Brelsford, the organisation was structured legalistically so as to avoid lawsuits against itself. See the lawyer’s statements and those of the family and supportive international former Sai Baba devotees here.

Note: My advice, in considering the Rahm case, is to avoid pro bono lawyers unless they are real hotshots who do their homework well beforehand. I do not think that Alaya Rahm was served at all well, nor do lawyers from the USA and other countries who are aquainted with the case.

Ullrich Zimmermann’s testimony of Sai Baba perpetrating oral sex on him
Like Alaya Rahm, over the years, a number of young men, from a number of countries, have come forward with accounts of sexual molestation by Sai Baba. Most of them do not wish to go public. Former devotees (not always working in co-ordination) have collected affidavits, the number of which legal counsel have advised not to discuss publicly. David Savill, assistant producer of ‘The Secret Swami’, told me that the BBC unearthed a number of other compelling cases which were not of that hefty number that we had on our files. There has just been (January 2007) – entirely without our group’s knowledge that it had been made seven years ago and was now going to air – a US television interview of a young German man, Ullrich Zimmermann, who very articulately recounts sexual abuse by Sathya Sai Baba including (as in so many other accounts from around the world) oral sex performed on him by his – then! – spiritual master:   pt 1. pt 2.  In this part, Ullrich Zimmerman relates specific details alleged to have been perpetrated on him by Sai Baba   pt 3.

Indian media and adverse News about Sai Baba
Last November, the Indo-Asian News Service broke through to sections of the Indian news media. It reported on Paul Lewis’s article in The Guardian, Nov.3 – “The Indian living god, the paedophilia claims and the Duke of Edinburgh awards”

Hitherto, for many years, almost all the Indian media refused to publish adverse news or serious questioning about Sai Baba and his organisation’s leaders. Almost exclusively, it was Non-Indian Residents (NRI’s) who came to hear of the seriousness of the allegations. They saw television documentaries such as ‘Guru Busters’, (UK Channel 4, 1995), ‘Seduced’ (DR, Denmark, 2001, repackaged as ‘Seduced by Sai Baba’ by SBS, Australia, 2004), ‘The Sinful God’ (AZUL TV, Argentina, 2002), ‘The Secret Swami’ (BBC, 2004) or articles in leading newspapers of the UK, Canada, Australia, Scandinavian countries, Holland, Germany, etc. Have Indian Editors suddenly developed a conscience? More likely, they now realise that news of the many allegations facing Sai Baba’s is too difficult to suppress, and that the foreign media has done what it has so lamentably failed to do, with an honorable exception being India in its cover story, Dec. 4, 2000:

Is Sathya Sai Baba beyond exposure?
Not that blighted Justice afflicts India alone. Charles Dickens called the law “an ass”. In Western countries, there are T-shirts which, symptomatically, suggest the timelessness of the sentiment in Shakespeare’s line: “the first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers”. Grand scale political patronage always existed. But vision and transformation have, too – including an occasional lawyer and politician. We would be far worse off were it not so. It may indeed be children who, because we held out against the madness, grow up to wield a better sort power fuelled by a better sort of wisdom.

There were those, including within our own ranks, who insisted that Sai Baba was beyond exposure. Had we espoused that self-defeating attitude, the more than six years of persistent work by former devotees and other critics would not have led to the present position. This is that Sai Baba and his servitors now stand exposed to millions, with other projects in preparation. There is the ‘court’ of conscience and of better informed world opinion. There is also time for the facts of what former devotees attest to penetrate to devotees, who can then see the truth of what we state on the Internet and elsewhere (but not always spell out because of sensitivity and security issues). This is of necessity slow because a whole world-view and a psychological dependency come crashing down.

Will the conscience-side of India, reported by Sanjoy Majumder and Tim Sullivan, emerge and expose Sathya Sai Baba and those gurus like him who bring India into such terrible disrepute throughout the world? That would be a good test of whether she deserves to be a super power, or is yet another materialistic State crassly bent on material gain, for all its leaders’ common boasts about her spiritual glory and destiny.

Some Further Resources:
The most extensive individual website is that of Robert Priddy, retired lecturer in philosophy and social science, University of Oslo, Norway, and former head of the Norwegian Sathya Sai Organisation.
Also extensive site of Brian Steel, retired lecturer in Linguistics, University of Monash, Australia.
A general former devotee website, operated from Holland, where, from quite early on, hundreds of Sai devotees quit the Sathya Sai Organisation.
A general site in 9 languages. Operated from Mexico by Lionel Fernanandez.
Website of Conny Larsson, former Sathya Sai Organisation head in Sweden

A four-part article by Robert Priddy and Barry Pittard responding to written points made by the deputy world chairman of the Sathya Sai Organisation and head of Radio Sai International, Dr G. Venkataraman.

Click here for In Memoriam – Glen Meloy (2005). Glen, of southern California, was an outstanding, much beloved former devotee leader who had been devoted to Sai Baba for 26 years. From early 1999, he was foremost among those, including scores of well-known (sometimes still then) devotees who called for independent, third party investigation of Sathya Sai Baba, and of those servitors who profoundly cover up for him. The series of campaigns that emerged are sometimes known as ‘the exposé’.

A reflection on the BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ which had far more indicting documentation against Sathya Sai Baba (80+ hours of footage!) but chose largely follow the story of just one family, no doubt for focus.
A letter addressed to the consciences of my dear former students at the Sathya Sai College at Whitefield, via Bangalore.
Letter to Dr Geir Lundestad, Director, Norwegian Nobel Institute.
The present writer was one of the drafters of this international Internet petition, and, since October 1999 with the publication of three articles in NEXUS, part of organised efforts by former Sai Baba devotees from various backgrounds and countries to bring the allegations against Sai Baba to international attention.
Letter to Dr Geir Lundestad, then Director, Norwegian Nobel Institute, after reports that Sai Baba centres were rejoicing because Sai Baba was being nominated for a Nobel Prize.

For Online Viewing and/or Dowloading


The Secret Swami (BBC Television) Broadband 154 MB

Seduced (DR, Danish Broadcasting, Denmark’s national television and radio broadcaster):   (80 MB, Broadband)

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Posted in Neglected/sidelined News, Rationalism, Religion, Sai Baba, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »