Call For Media and Government Investigation

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

Posts Tagged ‘Dr Samuel Sandweiss’

Brian Steel Demythologizes Early Foreign-led Sathya Sai Baba Myths

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 23, 2009

My previous blog was: Brian Steel On John Hislop’s 27 Years as Sathya Sai Baba’s SpokesmanIt refers to the article: Sathya Sai Baba’s credibility gap: Contributions by John Hislop. (Brian Steel. January 2009).

This latter article, as one expects of Brian Steel, is scholarly and readable. Considerable length and attention to minute detail distinguish his work.  Recognizing that many of my readers have heavy demands on their time, I shall, in a series of blogs, select what I think are some of the key lines of his investigations. The reader may like to pick and chose among these – or else, of course, aim to read deeply into Steel.

At the moment, I am drawing attention to some more recent work of Steel, whose books while yet a follower of Sathya Sai Baba were highly-regarded, as they are now by ex-devotees and other critics of the Sathya Sai cult. Those who have time – perhaps for exhaustive academic, media investigative or book preparation purposes – will find Steel’s work indispensable. It is vast and rigorous. Some who wish to recapture some of the steps in the saga that led them to accept or reject one or more than one aspect of the Sathya Sai Baba phenomenon will also find a considerable historic overview and many sources that have taken Steel an immense effort to assemble. I should think that readers whether pro or contra Sai Baba’s perception of his role, inasmuch as they are level-headed, will greatly appreciate the balance, calm and seriousness of Brian Steel’s writing.

Given the vastness of Steel’s endeavour, and the fact that he blogs only occasionally on these topics at his blogsite  – – it is important that his work does not languish for due attention. (For further links to his work, see resources at the foot of this note)

In my previous blog (see abover link), I quoted from Brian Steel where he refers to one of the key areas of contest in regard to the credibility of Sathya Sai Baba’s own and his devotees claims as to his divinity. Here he mentions the scans available at:  ‘Professor Erlendur Haraldsson contests Sai Baba’s claim of resurrection as bogus’. At the foot of this material, the editor (Robert Priddy) has placed an ‘anchor’ which leads to the precisely relevant paragraphs in a longer article:  Misleading Evangelism (Updated) , Brian Steel  November 2002.

For those wishing to consider Dr John Hislop’s reportages, and those of others, in regard to the alleged resurrection of the early devotee, the wealthy American Walter Cowan, there is a Steel companion piece: 

Sathya Sai Baba, Elsie and Walter Cowan, and John Hislop.
A Discredited 1971 Resurrection Claim
(Brian Steel. February 2009)

This details a good deal further the onset of American interest in Sathya Sai Baba circa 1965-1970. Steel lists key American followers of this period who had already emarked in actively publicising him in the USA.

“By 1971, the following Americans had already been attracted to Sathya Sai Baba and were already publicising his name back in USA: Indra Devi and Hilda Charlton (major independent early proselytisers, 1965- ), Arnold Schulman, Charles Penn, Hilda Charlton, Bob Rayman (or Reiman), Elsie and Walter Cowan, Dr John Hislop, Tal Brooke and Howard Levin. (All, except Schulman, became devotees and proselytisers, and Tal Brooke had already become the first ‘defector’ and critic.) 1971 saw the publication of the first books about SSB by foreigners Schulman and (Australian) Howard Murphet. Phyllis Krystal and Dr Samuel Sandweiss would be drawn to meet SSB in 1972, the businessman Isaac Tigrett in 1973 and Robert A. Bozzani in 1974. The 1970s would see a strong general growth in foreign devotee numbers and Sathya Sai Organisation Centres but it was the Americans who were the original driving force behind international recognition and worship of Sathya Sai Baba.

By 1965, with the formation of the first Sathya Sai Samithis (Centres), and later the Sathya Sai Seva Organisation under the capable leadership of Indulal Shah, an effective corporate structure had begun to take shape, to be followed by a rapid expansion in India of SSO Centres and in quick succession, All-India Conferences of members and (a few years later) International Conferences. By 1974, with the inauguration of the Sathya Sai Baba Association of the Americas and Canada, the Sathya Sai Organisation would be launched on a significantly wider international expansion of its activities”.


Select writings from Brian Steel’s Extensive Opus

Sathya Sai Baba can be documented by any conscientious reader as having made contradictory statements and egregious historical and scientific blunders. These include his remarks on Jesus Christ and Martin Luther . For Steel’s detailed and sharply contextualized discussion, see: Sai Baba and Christianity. Some Observations (2002). Steel remarks here the alarming “extent of Sai Baba’s inventiveness”. This can be instructively read in concert with his Basic Notes On Sai Baba’s Credibility Problem (2004)

Brian Steel Indexes

Barry Pittard On Brian Steel

Revealing Materials On Sai Baba Of India

Brian Steel’s Surprise Visit To Sathya Sai Baba’s Ashram

William Aitken’s Book Fails to Answer Sai Baba Critics

For Brian Steel’s detailed exposure of severe inadequacies of a foremost Sai Baba hagiographer mentioned in this article refer to Steel’s:

Bill Aitken and Sathya Sai Baba. A Writer’s Dilemma,

on William Aitken’s book, ‘Sri Sathya Sai Baba. A Life (New Delhi, Penguin Books, India, 2004. Paperback edition, 2006) 



Excerpt From Public Petition

(Note: You may prefer to proceed straight to the Petition):

Public Petition For Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization

There is a Spanish version available:


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

Will World Accept Sathya Sai Baba? He Says Yes. Very Soon

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 28, 2007

Sai Baba has created a multi-billion dollar opulence and spendour around him – from vast donations, be it said, often from your and my countries.

Highly Motivated Sai Cult Members Infiltrate Major Social Organs

He is a showy emperor of his own domain, commanding many Indian power brokers, irrespective of which party rules, and some beyond. He says he will, shortly, be God to the whole world. When a fool without enormous power thus proclaims we can either laugh or feel sorry for him.

But Sai Baba has millions of followers. See pic of Dr Michael Goldstein, Covina, California, U.S.A. caught fulminating by BBC hidden camera. He is world chairman of the Sathya Sai Organization, which Sai Baba says is THE divine organization through which he will change the entire world in his own lifetime, Islam being the last to accept him.


See BBC’s The Secret Swami HERE.

Sai Baba Cult Recruits In Costly Venues

In their thousands, in your and my countries, at virtually any point of the compass, one can encounter highly motivated Sai Baba devotees. They do not tap on your door like the Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, Jehova’s Witnesses, etc. They inhabit the highest echelons of power in various countries, and especially win involvement by contact at the top, whether it is with the various world faiths, politicians, governments, municiple authorities, education institutions, etc. In tightly controlled circumstances, they recruit in highly costly, luxurious venues. For example, Cooper’s Union, New York; La Mirada Theatre; Los Angeles County, Hilton Ballroom; Sheraton Hotel & Towers, both Chicago; Copley International Conference Center, San Diego; Town Hall, Melbourne; Super Dome, Sydney, etc. See article by Robert Priddy and Barry Pittard: Sai Organization’s Spending Spree In Super Dome, Sydney.

Sathya Sai Cult Members Face Trails of Broken Promises

It does not seem to occur to Sai Baba’s devotees that the rest of humanity simply will not let him be God. Alas, it can take all of our communities all too long to wake up to Sai Baba devotee infiltrations into many civic, religious and political systems. Sadly, in the long run, it will be the great life crisis of these devotees, so many of them sincere and decent people, that their cherished beliefs, for which they work so tirelessly hard at practically all levels of the society, are doomed. They already have to watch him severely ageing, when he said he would not age after he turned 60 years. They now witness whole trails of his broken promises.

Members’ Air of Unreality Does Not Lessen Cult Danger

Would the rest of us – wearing blank looks on our faces – permit this admittedly charismatic and powerful, mega wealthy, influential would-be World Teacher to have his way – or either in the role of God fully incarnate or at least as a Christ, a Muhammad, a Moses, a Buddha, a Zoroaster, etc., – or even all of these, in some strange manner, rolled up in one? This is what Dr Michael Goldstein, head of the world Sathya Sai Organization and physician of Covina, California, U.S.A, told the BBC cameras in London during the making of The Secret Swami (2004):

“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”

It is interesting that Goldstein chants this statement, instead of speaking naturally. I am reminded of a remark to me of one of our very qualified, experienced support psychotherapists, who mentioned how she and her medical doctor husband spoke to a close organizational colleague of Goldstein, Dr Samuel Sandweiss, of San Diego, California, a psychiatrist who has led large medical groups to visit Sai Baba. They spoke to him of the sex abuse allegations against Sai Baba, and observed a highly incantatory response, a certain air of unreality, and a marked deflection away from being to the point.

When Shall We Learn The Weimar Republic Lesson?

Humanity has a not un-noted failure to refute obscurantism with reason, and to put a stop to rot. Do we think a figure with a genius for self-promotion like Sai Baba could not succeed in getting the centuries to accept his version of himself? In admittedly the extreme case, what untold ghastliness arose because the Weimar Republic curled up foetal-style in its wretched bed?  Thomas Jefferson had the matter right – “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance”.

Cults endanger The Open Society

Cults, with secrecy and authoritarian structures enshrined in them, are dangerous for the open society. We ignore them at peril. We need to find ways that both protect religious and other freedoms, of course. But this should not preclude, as it all too often does, clear and strong action by communities to expose and deal with the cultic mentality. We also need to look within our own communities, and perhaps within our own selves, to see that distorted thinking of cultic thinking, in greater or lesser degree, exists in our own milieu, and not alone in forces without, such as terrorism.

Rigorous education in clear thinking would be a start, as would, necessarily entailed with the latter, addressing social ills which are only too bound to attract it.

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Posted in Morality, Neglected/sidelined News, New Age, Opinion, People, Protest, Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychotherapy, Rationalism, Religion, Sai Baba, Skeptics, Society, Spirituality, Theosophy, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , | 8 Comments »