Call For Media and Government Investigation

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

Posts Tagged ‘ethics’

Customer Disservice – Where Greed Is All Good

Posted by Barry Pittard on February 3, 2012

Sathya Sai Baba, no different to many other teachers in many traditions, inveighed against greed, anger, selfishness, and so on. This he did via constant harping in his discourses and interviews.

There lacked imaginative, challenging and effective ways to transform society, which he had long said he would revolutionize within his own lifetime. He is dead. But then, mere preaching is dead which fails to galvanise and transform.

When I taught for two years in Sathya Sai Baba’s Whitefield college (via Bangalore, South India), there was almost utter dependence on rote learning. Nonetheless, I have always deeply appreciated that Sai Baba ensured that I was able to innovate, and that he and a small number of his senior staff protected what I was doing from certain  ‘education’ neanderthals in that college. Not that the  unregenerate staff members failed to produce results acceptable in Indian terms, which were much the legacy of Lord Macaulay, no matter how much Sai Baba, from the safe cordon of his interminable and preachy discourses, harked back to the ancient Indian education system known as the gurukul. There were plenty of gold medals and cages for the parrots.

Mind you, Sai Baba’s followers do in fact go out and serve the poor, but he, all along, failed to tackle the corruption in India (and everywhere else) which creates that very poverty. No end of elites – political, industrial, scientific, medical, legal, armed services, etc. – visited him, and yet he profoundly failed to do what he said he would do:  clean up (his) own backyard.

The global financial crisis – or, rather, ongoing series of crises – has spurred a great many to think about questions such as:  Can local, national and international political and social leaders, bankers, brokers, corporations, governments etc., be trusted?

Notions about who and what caused the global financial crisis often throw most of the blame on leaders or governments or institutions or, more complexly, these combined. Often missing from discussion are our own personal psychological states of being. These need challenging and transforming.

It is this capricious, sometimes chaotic mental fundament of greed in human beings everywhere which countless economists – with all their tidy, supposedly rational mathematical models – failed to take into account. I think it is why the financial crash of 2008 so shocked and surprised them. Way back in 1936, in his classic The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money,  the famed British macroeconomist John Maynard Keynes wrote of what he called “animal spirits”:

“Even apart from the instability due to speculation, there is the instability due to the characteristic of human nature that a large proportion of our positive activities depend on spontaneous optimism rather than mathematical expectations, whether moral or hedonistic or economic. Most, probably, of our decisions to do something positive, the full consequences of which will be drawn out over many days to come, can only be taken as the result of animal spirits – a spontaneous urge to action rather than inaction, and not as the outcome of a weighted average of quantitative benefits multiplied by quantitative probabilities”.

Many ethical systems, religious and non-religious, point to the fundamental and ubiquitous cause of human greed as crucial to any understanding of social predicament. Is it just a bank or a stock broking firm or a corporation that is greedy?

Well may we ask ourselves such questions as: 

–  What are my own desires that made me so ready to believe in the easy availability of credit?

–  What was my lack of information which led me to believe that financial institutions would not disservice me?

–  Or that my government would make sure that all the reforms, checks and balances, and protections against exploitation were a) in place and b) being observed?

–  Or that I should, in effect, allow my house to become a casino?

–  Or that I should ignore my own feelings that ‘something’ seems a bit ‘off’ here? Too good to be true?….

–  Or do I see mortgage hikes forcing young marrieds/partners forced to go and live with parents or, conversely, parents forced to go and live with their kids?

–  Or do I see social engineering narrowing children’s education, instead of stimulating deep curiosity and wonder and humanity and a questioning attitude?

–  Or do I see trillions being spent on war, which becomes an inseparable part of national and international economies, rather than addressing the very roots of human discord?

 ….. Or too serious and forever without genuine solutions – such as shrinkage of purchasing power, mortgage and interest rates rises, bank foreclosures, questionable bank fee policies, unemployment and underemployment, contracting of superannuation entitlements, the pressure to work longer hours – with drastic effects on family life – and non-commensurate wages,  issues of home ownership or rental …. and much else.

If I were still teaching, I think I’d be taking students out on still more observational excursions than was my custom. Supermarkets would be a good target. They are symptomatic of much else that is part of an inhuman economic system. A related task would be to do some polling of local customer experience of shopping. They could  compare various local, national and international consumer reports, and a range of responses from Satisfaction to Dissatisfaction. Responses of various age groups could also be factored into the task.

Without my having to preach, the students might, at the right moment, be persuaded to have a look at some of their own material desires, and consider some of the more and less obvious likely outcomes. And thus begin to see how open we all are to exploitation by the cynical and self-serving.

Below are a few lines of a piece I’ve been working on.

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Customer Disservice. By Barry Pittard. 25 January 2012

Before shopping was a nightmare, I first met Joe

He had a chain of small stores where shoppers loved to go

Joe was big on value and his food was morning fresh

And the customer was right, because the customer paid the cash

To his customers and his workers, Joe would nod and smile

He was helpful, and humble, and didn’t want you to ‘seig heil’

He never hired bludgers or sourpuss faces

Or pimple-spotted dimwits with untied laces

Or narcissistic rude bastards who make you wait for ages

All of whom expect to be paid bigger wages

Yes, Joe was a gentleman, from his head to his toes

And his worker’s ‘hullos’ to you were just like Joe’s

Well, I’ll tell you what happened to the shopper’s friend Joe

Some superstore Big Wigs reckoned he would have to go!

There was this hungry-giant store – Big Wigs’ll do for a name

(This giant, that giant – their footprints look the same)

Big Wig lackeys front of Joe’s stores they’d strut

They’d copy down his prices and by Tuesday undercut

The big-city giant’s cut-throat men

Hounded Joe from the plazas then upped their price again

Microscopic-small is the heart of a Mr Big

And a bullet-proof balloon his giant Ego is

His big arses bounce in stretch limousines

Off to Charity Galas to flounce with Kings and Queens

He’s the greedy giant that helps money systems fail

But the bigness of a Mr Big is far too big for jail

Which is why I say –

The bigger and bigger the less better the store

The less you get service like Joe’s anymore

Although you may get – Have a nice day!

Though you walk about as far as Sydney to Bankok

The staff stand like sentries around the stockade store

You keep wondering what work the boss paid for

You scan the far horizon for staff who look human

Was it a shop dummy you saw? Or was it a slight movement?

Customers come forth in every size and shape

But no-one in the store has a measuring tape

The lipstick lady’s filing her nails

Her assistant’s on the phone swapping boyfriend tales

Does anyone know their stock? Is there anyone who cares?

It’s like the window of a fish-shop with the dead fish stares

Now the Big Wig’s cry out: We hurt, don’t you see!

So they spend millions campaigning against the GST

Not seeing that they’d be better if they gave an ounce

Of real old-fashioned service instead of fake discounts

Instead of – Have a nice day! Have a nice day!

Which is why I say –

The bigger and bigger the less better the store

The less you get service like Joe’s anymore

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Does ‘Forgiveness’ Mean Letting Offenders Ride Rough Shod Over Us?

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 8, 2010

In a list of systemically misleading topics, ‘forgiveness’ would have to rank near the top. Wooly notions about it all too readily allow perpetrators to go free and without challenge. They can remain perpetrators, and their victims left in abject circumstance. Those who advocate passive types of forgiveness too often invite themselves to be trodden upon. Still more, their modeling of a behaviour creates contexts which allow others around them to be trodden upon, as well.

I view foregiveness as the cultivation of an inner attitude, where – while still attending to what one conceives to be civil and ethical duties – one takes daily steps towards achieving an inner peace, and moves away from first reactions, such as thirsting for and implementing revenge. This inner attitude is far removed from notions such as peace at all costs, or the fool’s ‘paradise’ of avoidance of issues, of being in denial, of being lovey-dovey and wishy-washy, and of retreating to euphoric states.

I heard the Dalai Lama speak well on the subject of forgiveness, and made notes. See:  

Dalai Lama: Forgiveness does not mean forgetfulness

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 15, 2007

……………………………………….

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, Psychology, Religion, South Asia, Spirituality, Theology, Theosophy, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Swami Nityananda Sex Scandal News Round Up

Posted by Barry Pittard on May 25, 2010

The following is a quite brief but useful selection of Indian press articles. They suffice to give a sense of the unfolding of the Swami Nityananda sex scandal. It does India’s government and justice systems no credit, nationally or internationally, that she occasionally nets in a few minnows and not the tiger sharks. 

It is a great pity that Sathya Sai Baba and his core servitors are not being held to public accountability. He is vastly more powerful and influential than Nityananda. It is an irony not missed by many Non Resident Indians (NRI’s) that, with the exception of India Today in 2000, it took foreign media such as the BBC, CBC, ABC, SBS, the Times of London, Daily Telegraph, Guardian, and newspapers in Europe, Canada, Australia, etc., to investigate and expose Sathya Sai Baba and his cult.

Moreover, these media handled the Sathya Sai Baba issue infinitely better than most of the Indian media has been handling the Nityananda issue. The violence that has broken out in this matter, as well as in many other issues, can in considerable measure be linked to the preference of many of the Indian media for the sensation-sales equations, and their lack of calm leadership. Following attacks by hoons on Indian students studying in Australia, my own country – although not without its, at the time, unaddressed police and socio-cultural responsibilities in the matter – was subject to enormous Indian media sensationalising and oversimplifying of complex issues, where significan sections of the Indian press grossly ignored a wide cross-section of Indian voices in Australia – such as Federation of Indian Associations of Victoria. This mass-circulation Indian media hysteria whip-up (like our own miserable shock-jocks on the radio) badly damaged relations between India and Australia, which responsible sectors in both countries have had to work extremely hard to repair. See my articles:

Attacks Against Indian Students in Melbourne, Australia

Attacks By Hooligans Against Foreign Students In Australia

Indian Students Attacked In Melbourne Australia: Cricket Star Brett Lee Voices Concerns

Sex Scandal: What Is Swami Nityananda Really Teaching?
 The enormous public reaction to the Nityananda case furnishes a picture that makes two issues extremely clear. The first is that blind faith in gurus down the milennia has been made a matter of wide public debate. The other is that new and better educated generations are beginning to throw off the shackles of the past.
The question that remains is whether Indian shall ever become the great democracy that she could be. The South Indian lawyer K.V. Dhananjay brings out such in a lengthy interview.  See my note, and the video links, at:
Lawyer K.V.Dhananjay on Swami Nityananda Furore In India
Posted by Barry Pittard on May 24, 2010
See Robert Priddy's recent posts on the Nityananda scandal:
Nithyananda exposed by Ranjitha – CBI say no faked film

Posted by robertpriddy on June 20, 2010

Swami Nithyananda: purification, tribulation and trial

Posted by robertpriddy on June 19, 2010

Swami Nityananda tries to defuse the sex scandal

Posted by robertpriddy on June 10, 2010

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From:  http://interceder.net/news/Swami-Nityananda

 Sudeep to anchor village-based reality show - New Kerala Sudeep to anchor village-based reality show Bangalore, May 7: Southern star Sudeep is set to make his small screen debut as the host of the Suvarna Channel's new reality show and says he is curious to see how 10 city girls will adjust to a village life.07 May 2010

	
  • Sudeep to anchor village-based reality show - Calcutta News Sudeep to anchor village-based reality show Southern star Sudeep is set to make his small screen debut as the host of the Suvarna Channel's new reality show and says he is curious to see how 10 city girls will adjust to a village life.07 May 2010
  • No respite for Swami Nityananda, bail rejected - The Times of India No respite for Swami Nityananda, bail rejected The Ramanagaram district sessions court on Thursday dismissed the bail petition filed by controversial godman Swami Nityananda.06 May 2010
  • Sex tainted godman's bail plea rejected - New Kerala Tainted godman's bail plea rejected Bangalore, May 6 : A Karnataka court Thursday rejected a bail plea of self-styled godman Swami Nityananda, in jail since April 30 for his alleged sex romp.06 May 2010
  • Sex tainted godman's bail plea rejected - Calcutta News Sex tainted godman's bail plea rejected A Karnataka court Thursday rejected a bail plea of self-styled godman Swami Nityananda, in jail since April 30 for his alleged sex romp.06 May 2010
  • The adventures of a Swami, and his friends - Express India The adventures of a Swami, and his friends His Bidadi ashram may have lost residents but there is no decline in faith for his ardent devotees. Nor have the police found enough evidence to wipe the smile off Swami Nityananda's face....06 May 2010
  • The adventures of a Swami, and his friends - Express India The adventures of a Swami, and his friends His Bidadi ashram may have lost residents but there is no decline in faith for his ardent devotees. Nor have the police found enough evidence to wipe the smile off Swami Nityanandas face....06 May 2010
  • Nityananda case: CID seeks statement from victim - Express India Nityananda case: CID seeks statement from victim One of the victims of the sex scandal case involving Swami Nityananda was in touch with police.05 May 2010
  • Verdict on bail plea of 'Nityananda' on May 6 - New KeralaVerdict on bail plea of 'Nityananda' on May 6 Ramanagaram, Karnataka, May 3 : The Sessions Court here today posted the verdict on bail application moved by tainted 'swami' Nityananda to May 6.04 May 2010
  • Tamil actress Ranjeetha takes premature retirment after Swami sex-scandal - New KeralaTamil actress Ranjeetha takes premature retirment after Swami sex-scandal Chennai, Mat 3 : South Indian actress Ranjitha, known for a sex-scandal linking her with tainted guru Swami Nityananda, has decided to quit to lead a quiet life with family in Kerala.03 May 2010
  • 13. MIC Youth wants funds for upkeep of cemeteries - The Star13. MIC Youth wants funds for upkeep of cemeteries MIC Youth has asked the Government for financial grants to help maintain Indian cemeteries.02 May 2010
  • Sex scandal in temple rocks city - The Times of India Sex scandal in temple rocks city Swami Nityananda's sex scandal may have rocked the country. Now Nagpur will wake up on Saturday to sleaze at a religious place in the city.01 May 2010
  • Nityananda sent to jail till May 12 - New Kerala Nityananda sent to jail till May 12 Bangalore, April 30: Tainted Swami Nityananda was Friday sent to jail till May 12, after being in police custody for eight days answering questions on his alleged sex-romp and other activities.30 Apr 2010
  • Nityananda sent to jail till May 12 - Calcutta News Nityananda sent to jail till May 12 Tainted Swami Nityananda was Friday sent to jail till May 12, after being in police custody for eight days answering questions on his alleged sex-romp and other activities.30 Apr 2010
  • I'm not a man, Nityananda told CID sleuths - The Times of India I'm not a man, Nityananda told CID sleuths "I'm not a man. There's no way I could have indulged in sexual activities with women. Do a potency test on me". That's the sum of Swami Nityananda's startling statements to CID sleuths.The swami's passport clearly mentions his gender as male, not transgender.29 Apr 2010
  • Tainted godman's CID custody extended again - New Kerala Tainted godman's CID custody extended again Ramanagaram, Karnataka, Apr 28 : A court in Ramanagaram today extended by two more days the CID custody of tainted Godman Swami Nityananda, who was caught in a sleaze act with a Tamil actress and also faces other charges.29 Apr 2010
  • Swami Nityananda gets to keep rudrakashamala - The Times of India Swami Nityananda gets to keep rudrakashamala The district court at Ramanagaram extended the police custody for Swami Nityananda for two more days, till Friday evening. At the same time, the court refrained from interfering with the CID sleuths' decision to take away the Rudrakshamala away from Nityananda.28 Apr 2010
  • Bangalore Sex Swami violated 'rules of tantra'? - NDTV Bangalore Sex Swami violated 'rules of tantra'? Art of Living Foundation head Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in a statement has said that Bangalore's disgraced self-styled godman Swami Nithyananda violated rules of tantra.28 Apr 2010
  • Damage control? JMM says voting in cut motions 'a mistake' - Express India Damage control? JMM says voting in cut motions 'a mistake' JMM made it clear there was no move to form a government in Jharkhand with Congress backing.28 Apr 2010
  • Swami Nityananda released from hospital - New Kerala Swami Nityananda released from hospital Bangalore, April 27 : Tainted godman Swami Nityananda, who was arrested from Himachal Pradesh, was on Tuesday released from a government hospital where he was admitted with 'severe chest pain'.27 Apr 2010
  • Tainted godman's CID custody extended - New Kerala Tainted godman's CID custody extended Ramanagaram, Karnataka, Apr 26 : A court here today extended to two more days the CID custody of tainted godman Swami Nityananda, who was caught in a sleaze act with a Tamil cinema actress and faces other charges.27 Apr 2010
  • Two more days police custody for Nityananda - New Kerala Two more days police custody for Nityananda Bangalore, April 26 : Sex-scam tainted Swami Nityananda will spend two more days in Karnataka Police custody, a court ruled Monday.27 Apr 2010
  • Nityananda should have had only one partner: Ravi Shankar - New Kerala Nityananda should have had only one partner: Ravi Shankar New York, April 26 : Disgraced self-styled godman Swami Nityananda violated the rules of tantra by "using so many people for one's pleasure", Art of Living Foundation head Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said Monday.27 Apr 2010
  • Nityananda’s police custody extended - Gulf Times Nityananda’s police custody extended Self-styled godman Swami Nityananda, accused of being involved in a sex scandal, will spend two more days in the custody of the Karnataka police, a court ruled yesterday.26 Apr 2010 
  • Older than 1 month …………………………………… Further Resources   By Robert Priddy Sex scandal in Indian media – Nityananda and forerunners   Swami ‘Paramahamsa’ Nityananda scandal – latest HC dismisses plea for CBI probe against Nityananda   Nityananda sex scandal compounded by his lies and deceits   Basava Premanand Tribute: Indian Exposer of Sathya Sai Baba Dies   Nityananda sex scandal compounded by his lies and deceits Nityananda video, lies and ’sex allegations’ …………………………………… By Barry Pittard  Nityananda, Sathya Sai Baba et al… Do Hindus Really Approve Sexual Immorality?  Nityananda Sex Scandal Erupts in India. Sathya Sai Baba Lessons? Nityananda Scandal. Police Seize Indicting Material. Why No Raids On Sathya Sai Baba?  Is Heat Too Much For Swami Nityananda, Under Fire By Sex Abuse Allegations? Why Nithyananda Sex Scandal Investigations and Not A Sathya Sai Baba Probe? Boy Scouts of America – Sex Abuse Revelations. Who Next? Priest Abuse. Long-denied Justice Catching Up In Australia Sexual Abuse Priests. What?! The Pope Never Knew? Roman Catholics’ Deep Concern At Pope’s Apology. But He Is Way Ahead Of Indian ‘Pope’ Sathya  Sai Baba   …………………………… 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       There is a Spanish version available:       PETICIÓN PÚBLICA PARA INVESTIGACIONES OFICIALES DE SATHYA SAI BABA Y SU ORGANIZACIÓN A NIVEL MUNDIAL)     ——————————————     Subscribe in  NewsGator Online Subscribe  in Bloglines Add to My AOLAdd to Excite  MIX Add Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba  to Newsburst from CNET News.com Add to  netvibes     Add to The  Free Dictionary Add to netomat Hub Add to Webwag   Subscribe in a reader     Subscribe to Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

    Posted in New Age, Opinion, Rationalism, Religion, Skeptics, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

    Michelle Goldberg, US Author-Journalist, on Sathya Sai Baba (1)

    Posted by Barry Pittard on October 8, 2009

    It is one of the gambits of pro Sathya Sai Baba activists like Indulal Shah (when he was active), Dr G.Venkataraman and his virtual counterpart Gerald Moreno, to portray highly reputed media journalists as sensationalist, and so on. In their offensive and denunciatory style, they fail to credit world leading media journalists, and the researchers as well, with a sharp eye and habits of careful checking into the credentials of the former devotees and other critics who have shared their accounts. The journalists work, for example, for the BBC, CBC, CNN, SBS, ABC, India Today, Times of London, Telegraph, Guardian, The Age, and newspapers in Europe and Canada.

    It is a version of the Orwellian “Four legs good, two legs bad!” In George Orwell’s classic novella ‘Animal Farm’, Rule #1. (for the animals contra the human beings) is:  “Whatever goes upon two feet is an enemy”. In the Venkatarman-Moreno nomenclature:  All former devotees and other critics who dissent from Sathya Sai Baba are wrong. Likewise all highly reputed media who investigate and report critically.

    Both these individuals can be shown conclusively to have borne false witness against former devotees, notwithstanding that the latter have, many of them for decades, been in good standing as deeply committed workers among Sathya Sai Baba’s faithful. Suddenly:  All legs who have not walked away, good. All who have walked away, in dissenting, bad.

    David and Faye Bailey

    In short, individuals like David Bailey and his wife Faye are deemed to be bad. This is a man to whom Sathya Sai Baba gave extraordinarily such grave responsibilities, not only in care, as a lecturer in Music at his university, of students whom Sai Baba holds to be the ‘apple of his eye’, but also in David Bailey’s rare status of  being a travelling emissary at Sai Baba’s behest to various parts of the world. Indeed, it was as he travelled that individuals in good standing would come up and privately share their terrible accounts. But Bailey dissented from Sathya Sai Baba and those core leaders who were found to have been covering up for him for many decades.

    Therefore, Bailey bad. Bailey to be denounced. Bailey to be defamed.

    Faye Bailey, who Sathya Sai Baba chose as bride for David Bailey and himself presided over their wedding, was a widely known and respected figure in the Sathya Sai Organization in Australia. Like David, Faye Bailey was privy to ever-increasing direct, personal accounts of those – or, in other cases, the parents or closely related others – with harrowing accounts of Sathya Sai Baba’s sexual abuse of boys and young men over many years, and various other most shocking types of abuses more widely. Again, in the Orwellian schemata referred to above, Faye Bailey bad. Faye Bailey to be denounced and defamed.

    For years, people = good, when close to Sathya Sai Baba;  suddenly, as if they have become devils overnight, those same people = bad!

    It has been the discovery of each independent third party like the media mentioned above, and like those independent scholars who have tried to research it, that the Sathya Sai Organization leaders are engaged in a powerful suppression of information about itself, and about the many worldwide allegations.

    For the long, well-researched Salon.com article (25 July, 2001) the noted US journalist Michelle Goldberg travelled to India, and also interviewed witnesses in various countries.  Ms Goldberg wrote of David and Faye Bailey’s ‘The Findings’:

    “Part of the nearly 20,000-word piece is given over to evidence that Sai Baba fakes his materializations and doesn’t magically heal the sick — revelations that seem self-evident to nonbelievers but provoke fierce debate in devotee circles and blazing headlines in the Indian press. Most of “The Findings” consists of testimony of sexual harassment and sexual abuse. “Whilst still at the ashram, the worst thing for me — as a mother of sons — occurred when a young man, a college student, came to our room, to plead with David, ‘Please Sir, do something to stop him sexually abusing us,'” Faye writes. “These sons of devotees, unable to bear their untenable position of being unwilling participants in a pedophile situation any longer, yet unable to share this with their parents because they would be disbelieved, placed their trust in David; a trust which had built over his five years as a visiting professor of music to the Sai college.” These pleas eroded the Baileys’ faith and finally made them go public”.

    Notes, drawn from Wikipedia, on Michelle Goldberg:

    Michelle goldberg.jpg

    Born 1975

    Buffalo, New York

    Education Masters Degree in journalism from UC Berkeley

    Occupation Journalist, Author

    Michelle Goldberg (born 1975) is a liberal Brooklyn-based journalist and the author of the books Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, and The Means of Reproduction: Sex, Power, and the Future of the World. She is formerly a contributing writer at Salon.com[1] and currently a blogger at The Huffington Post. Her work has been published in the magazines Rolling Stone and In These Times, and in The New York Observer, The Guardian, Newsday, and other newspapers.[2] She also writes an online column for The American Prospect.

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    This article on the Baileys is to be continued

    —————————————————————

    Further Resources

    Posted in Morality, Opinion, Protest, Rationalism, Religion, Sex, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

    Most Former Sathya Sai Devotees Respond Without Hatred

    Posted by Barry Pittard on September 26, 2009

    Former followers of Sathya Sai Baba have noticed recurring features in the notes of Sai Baba defenders who write to us. The most common, by far, is reference to his purported miracles. This tendency is evident in writers whether more sophisticated or uneducated. This despite the advice of a great many spiritual teachers (including Sathya Sai Baba) of various traditions who say not to get hung up by phenomena such as miracles.

    Another common trait revealed is extreme attachment for Sathya Sai Baba’s form, which he himself has often also referred to as an obstacle to spiritual development.

    As pointed out in the article  Reply To Sathya Sai Baba Defender, most former devotees – leaving aside those few who have much-to-be regretted bad manners – do not respond nastily.

    Two writings that would invite the description: grace and self-restraint whilst under fire are by Timothy Conway Ph.D. and Al Rahm (both former prominent leaders in the Sathya Sai Baba movement). See:

    The crucial John Hislop letters, Sathya Sai Baba, & Sathya’s defender Joe Moreno

    Al Rahm’s Explanatory Letter

    When those who are now former devotee were engaged in their transitional discovery process – for example, speaking to individuals and famililies with shocking accounts of abuse by Sathya Sai Baba and/or some of his core servitors – they came up with the same questions that some devotees would now aim at them. And, at an earlier stage, when unquestioning devotees, they used the same defences of Sathya Sai Baba when questions were raised by others.

    Here is a quite typical note from a defender of Sathya Sai Baba, and the reply from one who is no longer partial to him. The writer had written a number of emails to the recipient, who did not retaliate to any of the points. Some of the language of the other emails was couched more unkindly than anything in the following. The former devotee responded because of the basic decency and sincerity, nontheless, of the person who wrote:

    “All your articles written on your websites ( Anti-Sai Baba) seem to be an old type of fairy tales similar to what we have been seeing as a kid in our kindergarten days. The difference in presentation lies in its depth, of hate and malice. The idea of molest is a great hoax to discredit Swami, that’s for sure. When you compare Baba’s materialization of vibuthi and other manifestation as a stage show similar to what magician can do, is very puzzling. Swami’s divine manifestation of vibuthis and other religious artifacts etc;  in various part of the world is a fact. How do you answer to that? There is no need for anyone to cheat on this. It’s a world wide phenomena going on for decades. It’s not a simple paranormal activity. What about prayers? How do you answer to those prayers which Swami has responded to his devotees? How could this be possible, if not for His divine grace? Do not make sweeping allegations. Swami teaches love, not hate. Do take care”

    Response (by former longtime devotee of Sathya Sai Baba, who had considerable responsibilities in his service)

    “I think that I understand your harsh judgements on us and the driving of very important questions. For many former devotees have had to raise, amid great anguish, the same issues that you raise. Many of them spent years of great devotion for Sathya Sai Baba and dedicated service in the various wings of his organization. How there can be such an incredible anomaly between the uplifting experiences which you have mentioned – which many former devotees have also experienced – and the stark opposites is a very great mystery.

    However, what may appear as hatred in the eyes of one devoted is not hatred. It is speaking out the facts as we have best been able to determine them.No doubt,reading such claims can be very upsetting for devotees. That is most understandable. Some have viewed it as a challenge to their own sadhana of calmness and steadfastness.

    One of Sathya Sai Baba’s key teachings – and that of many spiritual teachers down the millennia, as you will be aware from your 34 years of sadhana – is to learn to distinguish the form from the formless. When we human beings become defensive about the form, does it not mean that we are very attached to it?

    I notice in your prior emails that you have made much of the miracles, and yet Sathya Sai Baba, in his spoken words, has placed a very small value on them. Do not we human beings also become very attached to such manifestations, which are rupa (embodiment), as well.

    Do you not think that many former devotees pray? And have lovely spiritual experiences? If we were to be motivated by hatred, do you think that I would write to you (just as other former devotees write to devotees who have written to us) with patience and respectfulness?

    Many sweeping allegations, including your own, have been made about large numbers of former devotees, including, I may repeat, some who were important and much-respected leaders in the Sathya Sai Organization, who continue to be loved and respected in their various walks of life”.

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    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 »