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

Posts Tagged ‘Howard Murphet’

Sathya Sai Baba Made Huge Science and History Mistakes

Posted by Barry Pittard on September 21, 2011

“India is the only place where people are not worried about any attacks.  In America , Germany and other countries, they can’t eat well or sleep well. There is fear of bombs always in those countries. But in India, there is no fear of bombs. India will never have any such attacks.” Sathya Sai Baba 22-10-2008.

Sathya Sai Baba’s ‘educated’ devotees have a great deal to answer for. Many of his pronouncements directly contradict basic, long-established, irrefutable facts that their own children learn at school. It is little wonder that many Sai devotees’ children so seriously question their parents’ beliefs, and that unbridgeable gaps of discourse subsist between, on the one hand, the nonsense their parents subscribe to and, on the other, the perfectly legitimate attempts of the children’s teachers to teach them facts of history and science that are not in any dispute.

This regrettable situation does not relate to expected intergenerational differences of perception. It is fundamental to the breakdown that occurs in the case of one cult after another. A young person’s spirit AND intelligence – unless these qualities have, themselves, been damaged by the absurd belief systems – will both rebel. And for the best of reasons.

The late Howard Murphet, Australian journalist and author of best-selling books on Sai Baba, with whom he was close for years, wrote:

“Swami once, a good many years ago told me that He would not travel abroad until His own house was in order, by that He means India, of course”. Source: Online version, “The Lights of Home”

His ability to mangle historical fact – repeatedly, and within a few sentences – will cause groans to even the slightly well-informed:

“Three hundred and fifty years B.C., before Christ, Jews lived. However, among Jews, there were religions such as Islam and Christianity. People of that land, they are all Jews. That land is the birthplace of both the religions, Islam and Christianity. The Hebrew language was very prominent. This Hebrew language is more or less equal to our Sanskrit. …”

“Christianity is not just 2,000 years in its origin. It was there even before Christ, 350 years. There the divinity is explained very clearly.”

“The name and the fame of Jesus Christ have spread far and wide. Here, at this moment, there are two schools of thought. The first group of thought – Roman Catholics. There is another group that fought with this group. This group is called Protestants. As they protested, they are Protestants. So among Jews there are these two groups: Catholics and Protestants. The difference of opinion has increased day by day. This led to Jesus, whose life was in danger. Jews there in Jerusalem did not permit Jesus to go there. Like this, religious conflict and fighting was ever on the rise. There were 250 schools of thought, divisions there. They also monopolized certain countries.”

“Because of so many groups there, they all attempted even to harm Jesus. Romans on one side. Catholics on the other side. Luther on another side. There were so many groups that went on changing. All these differences are based on violence, and that led to madness. Because of this attachment to group affiliations, naturally there was conflict and fighting.”

“Religious affiliation leads to ego. This led to confusion among them as to what Jesus said right or wrong.”

See:  Brian Steel, Basic Notes on Sathya Sai Baba’s Credibility Problem

His devotees indulge in Procrustean and fallacious methods to explain falsification of his prophecy about the time of his death. The fact they do not want to face is that dates given in countless Sai Trust publications accord with the standard international system – and NOT one or another of the Indian calendars.

Many of these fanciful commentators show no inkling that he also made several conflicting prophecies about his death date (not that they use the word ‘death’).

                                                 Documentary proof of Sai Baba foretelling his death at 96 years
                    Sathya Sai Baba in his gold-plated glass coffin. His 40-day’s-later resurrection prophecy has also failed

For just a few examples Sathya Sai Baba’s absurdities, see:

Sathya Sai Baba Foretold He Would ‘Die’ Circa 2022. Further Archival Evidence

Official Sai Baba Documents Show His Death Date Prophecies Failed

Sathya Sai Baba Claimed He Will Resurrect After 40 Days

Sathya Sai Baba’s Death Falsifies His Vivekananda ‘Reincarnation’ Claim (Part 1)

Sathya Sai Baba’s Death Falsifies Vivekananda ‘Reincarnation’ Story (Part 2)

Sathya Sai Baba’s Death Falsifies Vivekananda ‘Reincarnation’ Story (Part 3)

Sick and Ailing Sathya Sai Baba 85. His Promises to Look Young Have Failed

Sathya Sai Baba On Magnetism. Science or Sai-ence?

Sai Baba Is God Says Top George Bush Doctor

India’s Chronic Addiction To Anacronistic Gurus. Any Sea-change?

Venkataraman – the most gullible physicist alive?

Sathya Sai Baba followers in education and science

Dr.G. Venkataraman – physicist ‘explains’ Sathya Sai Baba

Jorge Reyesvera – Posted Writings On Sathya Sai Baba Claims, Especially On Science

 A New Celebrity Endorsement of SSB’s Alleged Divinity?

Sai Baba To Be Seen In Moon? But Where Was Moon?

Sathya Sai Baba’s Amazing Predictions

Sai Baba Sparks Political Furore

When ‘Divine’ Magnetism Becomes A Dead Weight

Sathya Sai Baba failed prophesy as the ‘great saviour of mankind’

a major analysis of  Sathya Sai Baba prophecies

Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

The Public PetitionInformation 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


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Sathya Sai Baba’s Death Falsifies Vivekananda ‘Reincarnation’ Story (Part 3)

Posted by Barry Pittard on May 31, 2011

Concluding the three-part series. This follows:   Sathya Sai Baba’s Death Falsifies Vivekananda ‘Reincarnation’ Story (Part 2)

To refresh on our theme.  Here are quotations for two of the most respected of all Sai devotee writers on Sathya Sai Baba.

Professor N. Kasturi, Sathya Sai Baba’s official biographer, wrote:

“Vivekananda has come again; he is growing up in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). He will come to Me and join in My task.” Sathyam, Shivam, Sundaram, by Professor P.N. Kasturi. Part II, p. 130. 1960-61.

And Howard Murphet, the Australian journalist and theosophist, who also interviewed various witnesses, including a young Sri Lankan Nalin Sedera, stated that in an interview in the late 60′s, Sai Baba told him and his wife, Iris:

“Vivekananda has been reborn in Sri Lanka. When his education and training are complete, he will help me with my mission. “  ‘Sai Inner Views and Insight’, Chapter 10: The Rebirth of Vivekananda by Howard Murphet, Faber, VA, Leela Press, 1996, pp. 60-66

On Sunday April 19th, 1998, I had planned for a quiet evening in my room at the Ramakrishna Mission in Columbo, the capital of Sri Lanka.  I had arranged with Nalin Sedera’s brother, Ajitha, to go to their home on the Monday.  He told me that Nalin had been spending a few days meditating in a temple at the southern tip of his country – at Karthirkamagiri, long a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists and Hindus.

At 6.15 p.m., as I made my way up Ramakrishna Road for a quiet cup of Horlicks, a fairly tall, slender, striking young Singhalese man around thirty years called across to me, “Are you the Australian gentleman staying at the Ramakrishna Mission?” 

(Photo:  Swami Vivekananda)

It was Nalin accompanied by his brother, Ajitha.  He explained that they thought they would find me more easily than I them.  A few minutes later, as we sat ourselves down at the table of the crowded vegetarian restaurant, I sat facing a lithe, well-built young man, clean-shaven, dressed very neatly, wearing denim, his dark red shirt smart. He blended in with middle class Sri Lankans. His face had a fine-boned, sculptured look, and a bright, golden brown that had an inner lustre. His voice was rich and resonant, as though coming from a cavern. Among my stray thoughts, I wondered – quaintly enough:  Was there anything about his physical appearance which resembled Vivekananda? Yes, I thought, in a way  –  the lips:  delicate, fine-etched, contoured. I  sensed strong character. His gaze had an honest directness, and he displayed spontaneous, sincere good manners. There appeared to me to be a controlled but passionate intensity about the issues, as our discussion unfolded, that clearly mattered to him.  Even before we sat down, I had asked him whether the attention he had received had affected his life. That is to say, the wide-spread belief that Sai Baba had said that Nalin was the great Swami Vivekananda reborn, who would eventually take over the running of Puttaparthi when Sai Baba died.

They are trying to take my life”

That was sudden. Was there a paranoia? Or was this part of his spontaneity, a cutting-to-the-chase, that I had already begun to notice. There struck me a warmth, a humanity about him. When he referred to the way in which people mobbed him, I saw his palpable distaste for such excesses. 

I asked Nalin, “do you mean that your life is actually in danger from anyone?” As if looking inward at some quarry he had in mind and with burning intensity, and a mix of smile and leer that reminded me of Humphrey Bogart, he replied, “They would be writing their last will and testament if they tried!”

I did not sense a Vivekananda-like commitment to ahimsa (non-violence). Nalin’s occasional intense flashes remain one of my abiding impressions of him.

As we took our seats, he referred to crowds that gathered round him after word travelled bushfire-like that Sathya Sai Baba had said that Nalin, in his previous life, was Swami Vivekananda. He said:

 “My mind didn’t go. But I lost a lot  –  my liberty, my freedom.”

I checked with him, just to be sure I understood his exact meaning. By “my life”, he meant:  a broad leeway to be himself. 

I asked  Nalin if he related to books? Again, the intensity.

I want to have experience. It is all that matters. Not read about anyone else’s. Books are a waste of time.”

I mentioned the book by the Australian writer Howard Murphet’s book. Nalin said that he felt very let down by the people who had informed the author of his story (he referred to them as Tamilians  –  i.e., belonging to or originating from the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu).

 “I had asked them to allow nothing to be published without my permission. They went ahead without consulting me”.

As he began to unfold his experiences, he said:

 “I’ve had a lot of troubles. I am a normal person, whatever people may think.  Whatever may have been the case in my last life, I am living in this  life!  I have no idea what happened in my last life.  When Swami made the revelation  –  or call it a pronouncement  –  I had no idea of who Swami Vivekananda was.  This is this life.  It’s all I’m interested in.  Now, as a result of all the attention, I’ve lost what is most precious to me  –  my liberty, my freedom.  At the ashram after Swami had spoken, there were hundreds of people milling all round me. And hundreds of people here in Sri Lanka.”

What did the mobs ask? 

They asked funny questions.  Do I remember my previous birth?  They regard me as some kind of alien.  Some of them say I should be wearing a robe like a sadhu (ed., spiritual renunciate).  Why should I do that?  I want to wear my denims.  Some have even said that, at a certain time, I’ll get up in darshan and take over Puttaparthi.”

Typically, here, after reflection, usually following a question of mine, he would return with a perfectly crystallised reply, like a pearl slipping out of the oyster shell when, after inner effort, it opens at last.  His voice struck flint; a small spark lit his eye. “I don’t like that!”  The tone was very emphatic.  Again the spurt of intensity.  I sensed a deep indignity, a smouldering anguish from which he had only somewhat distanced himself. Embers still glowed hot.

He spoke of his anger at the time of Sai Baba’s ‘revelation’ or ‘pronouncement.’  The interview in which this was made occurred, he said, at Puttaparthi, March 23, 1987.  Two more interviews followed – on the 24th and 26th.  He was then nineteen years. He said that the Sri Lankan group of which Nalin was a member was led by Mrs Ganhewa. He was baffled to know how the news got out.  “Swami took me into a private room next to the interview room. I cannot see how others in the interview could have heard what Swami said.  I certainly didn’t say anything about it.”

I have since asked a number of others their opinion as to the audibility or otherwise of what is said, from the standpoint of someone in the outer room.  Some say speech inside is too muffled to be understood.  Others say that sometimes one can hear what is being said. In an interview on July 24,1998, I noted this: a curtain separates the two rooms, as it has long done. I was in a group of seven Australians. However, a Canadian husband and wife briefly preceded us into the inner room. Later, Sai Baba also saw the three ladies in our group separately to the men. In both cases, a few drifting words of speech could be understood; but much could not be, because he and the Canadians and, separately, he and the Australian women spoke quite quietly.

Nalin told me that he returned to Puttaparthi in August 1987.  Sai Baba called him and his group for interview.  He said that Sai Baba asked the group leader, referring to Nalin’s parents, “Are his parents happy?”  Nalin relates that she replied yes, they were very happy when they heard the news, but

Swami replied, ‘No, no, no, they are not happy but they are worried about that boy. Look at him, he’s just a boy.  Just leave him alone and don’t disturb him, because if anything happens, you must be responsible for that”‘. 

Nalin said:

Swami turned to me and said, ‘A lot of people are angry with you and jealous of you, here and there.  Don’t go to any bhajan places. You just stay at your home, and do your work’” 

I asked Nalin what work did he do? 

Not ordinary work. A friend of my age and I have been working among the poorer classes. At one time, we got involved in an eye camp.”

(These were organised clinics designed to bring medical aid to the poor. For example, combating eye diseases such as glaucoma).

Nalin continued,

Swami then said, ‘You are angry with me.  Why are you angry with me?’  I said, ‘You know why I am angry with you.’  Baba said, ‘Yes, I know.’” 

Nalin related that it was only on his return home that he discovered from his parents that they had been in fact worried at the extraordinary revelation about their son. Not wanting to trouble their family, they had kept their concern to themselves.

He said that, in two or three months, he would like to visit Sai Baba wherever he was stationed at the time. A lot would depend on how Nalin’s father managed with a shortly upcoming by-pass operation in Chennai. He wondered whether it would be possible to get Sri Lankan Sai devotees to leave him alone – perhaps via a note printed in Sanathana Sarathi, the official magazine of the Sathya Sai Central Trust. Considering the essential purpose of the publication (to publish Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s Discourses, a small few articles by contributors, Sathya Sai Organization news), I rather doubted his chances, but suggested he call on the Editor, V.K. Narasimhan, whom I regarded as a good, decent man and a warm friend. With distinction and courage, V.K.N. had formerly edited major Indian newspapers – the Indian Express, Hindustan Times and Deccan Herald– and he and I had a warm friendship and were in fairly regular contact. From V.K.N. I soon after found that Nalin had, while I was absent, called on him, a visit I had already told V.K.N that Nalin may make. When we later spoke, V.K.N smiled wryly and admitted defeat in observing any similarities to Swami Vivekananda.

Since so many of Sathya Sai Baba’s predictions large and small have proved false, one may fail to see how the one about Nalin could come true. Trustfully, given the fickleness of the madding crowd, Nalin’s botherers will have long given up their bothering of him.

This concludes the 3-part series: 

Sathya Sai Baba’s Death Falsifies His Vivekananda ‘Reincarnation’ Claim (Part 1)

Sathya Sai Baba’s Death Falsifies Vivekananda ‘Reincarnation’ Story (Part 2)

Sathya Sai Baba’s Death Falsifies Vivekananda ‘Reincarnation’ Story (Part 3)

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Sathya Sai Baba’s Death Falsifies Vivekananda ‘Reincarnation’ Story (Part 2)

Posted by Barry Pittard on May 26, 2011

Continuing the three-part series.  This follows:  Sathya Sai Baba’s Death Falsifies His Vivekananda ‘Reincarnation’ Claim (Part 1)

It was early 1998. An idea struck me. I was then editing books by Sathya Sai Baba devotees and ‘Spiritual Impressions’, an internationally distributed magazine on Sai Baba published by Sai Towers in Puttaparthi. Since I had to go to Sri Lanka on another matter, why not see whether it was possible to meet the young man, Nalin Sedera? Were reports correct? Had Sai Baba’s really said that Sedera was the great Hindu monk Vivekananda reborn, and that he would run Puttaparthi after Sai Baba had died?

Or was this just one of countless stories that, from the moment of inception, race brushfire-like through the Sai community? Indeed, often distorted by the phenomenon often known as the ‘chinese whispers’ effect – the often unwitting embellishment of an account as it goes on being retold.

Were there important witnesses? Well, yes, I thought. There was Kasturi, who wrote:

“Vivekananda has come again; he is growing up in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). He will come to Me and join in My task.” Sathyam, Shivam, Sundaram, by Professor N. Kasturi. Part II, p. 130. 1960-61.

And then there was Murphet. He reported that in an interview in the late 60’s, Sai Baba told him and his wife, Iris:

“Vivekananda has been reborn in Sri Lanka. When his education and training are complete, he will help me with my mission. “  ‘Sai Inner Views and Insight’, Chapter 10: The Rebirth of Vivekananda by Howard Murphet, Faber, VA, Leela Press, 1996, pp. 60-66

Murphet met Nalin Sedera in 1989, and wrote that Sai Baba told the latter:

“I have been waiting for you for eighty-five years”

… and that Nalin will come to live at the Puttaparthi ashram in AD 2021.

Was there, I wondered, around Puttaparthi, where I now stayed (on an eight months trip 1997-1998), anyone I could speak to who had been close to the original story? I chatted with the author Bob Lowenberg, whom I knew well from the ‘old days’, whose first book, ‘At the Feet of Sai’, I had assisted with some editing.  He had no pointers, although lighted up with interest.

Any others?  Not that I could see. Kasturi, with whom I had ( in the 1970’s when I taught at the Sathya Sai College outside Bangalore, South India) much enjoyed sitting and chatting, was now dead. I went to his successor as Editor of ‘Sanathana Sarathi, V.K.Narasimhan, with whom I had formed a warm friendship, and whose book on the great French philosopher Teilhard de Chardin I was later to start editing. He knew some details of the Sedera story, but only at second hand, and I obtained the contact details of the head of the Sathya Sai Organisation in Sri Lanka, who was soon to ask me to address a gathering. I told V.K.N., as he was known with immense affection, that I may try to locate the young man on my upcoming trip to Sri Lanka, and perhaps get his permission to share his account in the magazine ‘Spiritual Impressions‘.  He gave me some leads.

In a very long queue, I was speaking quietly with Bob Lowenberg about searching for Nalin Sedera when I was in Sri Lanka. A gentleman standing next to us overheard, and said he knew the family. He straightway wrote down their address. Ah, neat little divine leela, thought I …..

I did indeed locate Nalin Sedera and a brother of his. In fact, they came looking for me before I got round to contacting them. Nalin confirmed the factuality of the Kasturi and Murphet accounts.

Why, then, all the bitterness and infighting between two contenders for the leadership succession? 

The Hindustan Times wrote:

“The death of spiritual leader Sathya Sai Baba has left a question mark on the future of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust (SSSCT), estimated to have assets worth Rs 40,000 crore ($9 billion). As Baba, who was chairperson of the trust, left no successor to the massive empire, his death might trigger a succession among the trust members which include his nephew R.J. Ratnakar. While some eminent devotees of Baba believe that with personalities like former chief justice of India P.N. Bhagvati on the board, the trust will carry on in a smooth manner various charitable work in India and abroad

Now Sathya Sai Baba died April 24, 2011. well before a date official Sai literature mentions that he had clearly foretold – AD 2022. The befuddled attempts of Sai devotees to rationalise this date are well exposed. (See Robert Priddy readings below).

Major Indian newspapers which have, down the decades, censored news inimical to Sathya Sai Baba, have published accounts of the unseemly infighting in regard to settling who runs Puttparthi after Sai Baba demise. According to the Kasturi and Murphet accounts above, and this is a date (or 2022, allowing for some latitude about how a year is expressed) that devotees commonly accept as the time when Sai Baba foretold that he will die (they don’t say die, of course). Many recent news reports also cite this date. (Although it is but one of at least three, seriously conflicting dates that Sai Baba predicted).

Of course, no amount of procrustean explanation, and jumping from calendar to calendar, which runs rife among many devotees right now, can rationally obscure the fact that Sai Baba has died long before this date.

On Wednesday April 13,1998, I flew from South India to Sri Lanka. In part 3., I shall detail my meeting with Nalin Sedera.

See next in article in this series: 

Sathya Sai Baba’s Death Falsifies Vivekananda ‘Reincarnation’ Story (Part 3)

Further Reading

By Robert Priddy, former head of the Sathya Sai Organization, Norway, and retired academic, University of Oslo

Controversy on Sathya Sai Baba’s suspicious death

Sathya Sai Baba prophecies on his own death date(s)

Sathya Sai Baba succession problem

Sathya Sai Baba news sensation – may have died earlier

Sathya Sai Baba death date in serious doubt

Sathya Sai Baba’s death – no miracles

Ex-Chief Justice of India: Sathya Sai Baba “dictated my every single judgement”

Sai Baba’s Bhagwati shows total disrespect for justiceSathya Sai Central Trust untrustworthy!

By Barry Pittard, former lecturer Sathya Sai College, Whitefield, via Bangalore, South India

Ex-Chief Justice of India: Sathya Sai Baba “dictated my every single judgement”

On Sathya Sai Baba: Times of India, Ex-Chief Justice Interview. What Judge Would So Opine?

Indian Ex-Chief Justice: “Wild, Reckless Claims” about Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba’s Chief Broadcaster Dr G. Venkataraman: Select Critical Articles by Barry Pittard

Slander by Dr. G. Venkataraman & Joe Moreno

The Case of UNESCO’s Missing Media Advisory

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Sathya Sai Baba’s Death Falsifies His Vivekananda ‘Reincarnation’ Claim (Part 1)

Posted by Barry Pittard on May 17, 2011

Reportedly, Sathya Sai Baba told a young Sri Lankan man that he was the reincarnation of the great Hindu monk, Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902).  The latter had traveled, briefly, to the West and made a large impression on both scholars and liberal laity alike.

Will Swami Vivekananda's Soul Fix Puttaparthi Succession Woes?

Much before the date he predicted – circa AD 2022, – Sathya Sai is dead.  Yet another of his self-progagated myths is exploded. Accounts of his Vivekananda-reborn myth appear in two writers close to Sai Baba, Kasturi and Murphet.  Devotees treat their writings as sacrosanct.

Significantly, both official and unofficial Sai Baba devotees strive at present to rationalize the date of Sathya Sai Baba’s death with his prophecy. The premises on which they base their calculations are empirically faulty. They still further expose their ignorance of at least two other death date predictions that he made, and which are in the officially-published Sathya Sai discourses. These statements the officials would be hard-put to weed out. Although in other crucial instances they have done so. See:  The Quiet Weeding Out Of Sathya Sai Baba’s Embarrassing StatementsIn this article, I reference some Brian Steel links. Steel’s detailed scholarly work deserves the closest attention by those prepared to do some rigorous thinking about the many, extremely revealing, Sathya Sai Baba contradictions, and his capacity for generating potent myths about himself.

But more of this in Part 2.  In the next days, I shall relate my search for the Sri Lankan man, and my meeting him.

If he is to be in charge of Puttaparthi, in Sai Baba’s aftermath, he had better do a nifty hop, skip and a jump from Sri Lanka to Puttaparthi, and thus end forever the intense infighting over succession that has been going on following Sathya Sai Baba’s death.

Sathya Sai Baba’s longtime associate and his official biographer, the late Professor P.N. Kasturi, wrote that Sai Baba said: 

“Vivekananda has come again; he is growing up in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). He will come to Me and join in My task.” Sathyam, Shivam, Sundaram, Part II, p. 130. 1960-61.

Another close Sathya Sai Baba associate, the late Howard Murphet, author of best-selling books on Sathya Sai Baba, reported that in an interview in the late 60’s, Sai Baba told him and his wife, Iris:

“Vivekananda has been reborn in Sri Lanka. When his education and training are complete, he will help me with my mission”.

Murphet met the individual concerned, Nalin Sedera, in 1989, and relates that Sai Baba told Sedera:

“I have been waiting for you for eighty-five years”

and that Sedera would come to live at the Puttaparthi ashram in (CE) 2021.

See:  Sai Inner Views and Insight, Chapter 10: The Rebirth of Vivekananda, by Howard Murphet, Faber, VA, Leela Press, 1996, pp. 60- 66.

Vivekananda’s appearance in the West was a remote beginning of a wider Western interest in Eastern spirituality and philosophy which did not combust until the descent upon India of thousands of spiritual seekers, most of them young. Central to its impetus was a broad and strong reaction to the gross materialism in the socio-economically developed countries. Superficial views link this convergence on India as being a ‘Hippie’ phenomenon, but those who lived in India or traveled there or else well-acquainted with the serious literature know plainly that this is a vast oversimplification.

Neither India nor the West was ready for this decamping. India was beginning to recover from British imperial domination (in my view, it has never really recovered, and in many cases, where the old oppressions have been overcome, home-grown ones keep springing up in their place). The very notion of ‘seeking’ can imply either a degree of lack of fulfilment or loss outright – real hungering and thirsting. When there is neediness, especially when individuals travel in unfamiliar terrain, two mutally opposed forces, either to aid or to thwart them, arise. One is compassion expressed through decency. The other is exploitation.

Of course, human nature being what it is, such dichotomies as compassion for, as opposed to exploitation of, the seeker are simplistic. There are any number of gurus – no less than human beings in general – who have done many acts of which we may all approve, yet, along with the kindly actions, have done ill.

Leaving aside the many other forms of exploitation, the list of Indian gurus who have been exposed as shams is considerable, as has been the exposure of many religious and other authority figures in countries around the world.

Whatever may be said of the strengths and the integrity of figures such as Vivekananda, Yogananda and other Indian teachers who visited the West, the adulation which they received – and still receive though they are long dead – needs to be looked at critically. I think the greatest benefit that can spring when one looks at these historical developments is to spend serious time in self-examination. That is to say, each one of us can keep posing the question:  how did I, and how do I, react to influential role models? Not what is somebody else’s adulation, reverence, attachment. But what constitutes my own tendencies.

If we can find a way to challenge the adulation, and the clinging attachment to external figures, perhaps we will have begun to find instead of to seek. That is, forever, to seek external buttresses for our being.

But, emphatically, this was not my state when attached to the figure of Sathya Sai Baba.

Continued at:    Sathya Sai Baba’s Death Falsifies Vivekananda ‘Reincarnation’ Story (Part 2)

Further Reading

Sathya Sai Baba’s lunar age 96

Sathya Sai Baba’s death and ‘mahasamadhi’

Indian Gurus Stifle India’s Chance To Excel

Indian Media’s Reticence on Top Guru, Sathya Sai Baba, Weakens

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Sathya Sai Baba’s Pacemaker Implant – His Promised Health and Longevity In Doubt

Posted by Barry Pittard on April 1, 2011

Sai Baba recently claimed he always smiles - but nowadays only this! Increasingly sick and ailing over recent years, Sathya Sai Baba has said: “Purity, patience and perseverance. With these three you are bound to acquire good health and bliss. You may believe it or not. But the truth is that these three are responsible for my health (Arogya) and bliss (Ananda)” (Sanathana Sarathi July 1995, p. 173)

But, sadly for himself and his devotees, he is not all-powerful, as he proclaims himself to be. But all-senile.

This decline into senescence, was of course gradual but not exactly, even when it became glaringly evident, a topic for public discussion among his devotees.  Several years back, when our laymen’s eyes spotted the physical changes, senior cardiologists and other doctors among our number confirmed our own naive-level, but realistic, observations.

Even brief extracts from articles over time at this blogsite give unmistakable evidence of what devotees cannot truthfully rationalize or wish away. Namely that their supposedly all-powerful guru has not miraculously materialized the pacemaker implanted in him last Monday. Nor can they explain how their master sits – shoulders humped, face immobile and eyes staring vacantly. They may think that he is going to do an all-three-world-beating great miracle and cure himself, but they cannot falsify the fact of his many failed prophecies and promises. They cannot reconcile many serious and repeated contradictions in his statements with the reality that has grown so glaringly apparent. Such as comments decades ago, and repeated recently, that he will physically visit various countries. The late Howard Murphet, Australian journalist and author of best-selling books on Sathya Sai Baba, with whom he was close for years, wrote:

“Swami once, a good many years ago told me that He would not travel abroad until His own house was in order, by that He means India, of course”. Source: Online version, “The Lights of Home”

Some Recondite Readings At This Blogsite, ‘Call For Media and Government Investigation of Sathya Sai Baba’

See blog of two days ago:

Sathya Sai Baba Hospitalized, Despite Hailing His Extraordinary ‘Health’

Stop Press! News of Sathya Sai Baba’s hospitalization is breaking in these last hours.

Reports, cited from medical authorities attending him, state that he has “pneumonia and water has entered his lungs”, and that there are “breathing problems because of severe infection”. A “cardiac problem” exists, and a “permanent pacemaker has been implanted”.

This may be read in against an archival background

Sai Baba-A Degenerative Disease?

Posted by Barry Pittard on February 16, 2007

and somewhat shockingly updated to his public breakdown into heaving sobs in November last year.  The footage appears among long stretches of video, but we were alerted and able to extract the graphic and incontrovertible evidence of his senile decline, in footage that was, after all, part of his own normally tightly controlled publicity machine:

Sathya Sai Baba In Fits of Sobbing: Video Footage Confirms Earlier Accounts

Posted by Barry Pittard on March 5, 2011

Sathya Sai Baba is the would-be ‘God’ that failed. Well may he cry. His is a crying shame …….

Now 85 years old and both mentally and physically unstable, with many of his predictions abysmally failed, along with countless promises (such as of healing people), it is little wonder that Sathya Sai Baba, from our reliable information, has been seen to weep for hours of a day. Last November, his sobbing has even been captured on video and can be seen by clicking HERE.   See my article: Sai Baba Breaks Down and Sobs At 85th Birthday Celebration (Video Footage), Posted by Barry Pittard on December 31, 2010.


At 85th Birthday, Sathya Sai Baba’s Sobbing Fit

Sick and Ailing Sathya Sai Baba 85. His Promises to Look Young Have Failed

Posted by Barry Pittard on November 24, 2010

Sai Baba’s Deceptive Hair Management


I made a note:  “the Australian scholar Brian Steel’s remark of February 2002 seems almost prescient”:

‘Since the ‘discrepancies’ appear to be increasing nowadays, is there any possibility that Sai Baba is suffering from a degenerative ageing disease which might have an effect on his thinking and speaking?’

Likewise, in October 2002, a Swedish psychologist and former devotee, Åsa Samsioe, noting physical signs of Sai Baba’s ageing like his development of a ’turkey throat’ and also the “low intellectual level” of his discourses, remarked:

‘He must have one heck of a job, Sathya Sai Baba… it can’t be easy to age in his situation, besides being under so much criticism as he has recently been… not surprising that it leaves its marks. Occasionally I think ‘poor man’… feel some pity for him. A whole life built on lies… captured by the myth about himself… to be the object of the projections of millions… and to be forced , at least outwardly, to live up to all the expectations put to him… to always have to have all those people around him’.

Sathya Sai Baba and Absurdity – Revealed in His Officials’ Documents

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 2, 2010

Sai editors have done an extensive job of weeding out many such statements, which give, we are well-informed, great concern to his better-informed servitors. See: The Quiet Weeding Out Of Sathya Sai Baba’s Embarrassing Statements.

Here is a sample – from ‘Sai Baba Talks To Russian Ladies’. Excerpts Prashanthi Nilayam 25.06.02, seen at a major Sathya Sai Baba website:  -:

“Now in Russia husband and wife often live separately. They fight with each other. Husband doesn’t want to take care of the family.

Ladies have two stomachs. One is for food, another is for baby. In that other stomach often there are some diseases. One man comes and gives his blood. Another man comes and gives his blood, and so on. This blood mixes inside and causes problems. Ladies also take pills to prevent being pregnant. This is another reason for a disease. This is not good. Control your senses and you will not fall sick”

Sathya Sai Baba’s Tips To Keep Ageing Away

Posted by Barry Pittard on April 29, 2010

On stage before February 2004’s Mahasivaratri crowd, the BBC cameras (in footage that would later become part of ‘The Secret Swami’, which has been seen in over 120 countries around the world) show Sai Baba looking increasingly sick. He produces the lingam, and the materialization trick demonstrated by Professor Narendra Nayak is easy for the viewer to spot, the lingam being concealed in Sai Baba’s handkerchief. In the ensuing documentary, the BBC journalist Tanya Datta comments:

“To the alarm of the crowd suddenly Sai Baba collapsed. His huge coterie of staff swung into action. There was panic. An organisation used to tight control seemed to have lost its grip. Sai Baba was hastily wheeled off stage.”

Later, he is carried hobbling back, with officials claiming that he manifested two more lingams offstage. To the audience, a shaken Sai Baba makes a preposterous claim:

“Out of the stomach emanated Shiva Lingas of the weight of three tonnes. That’s the reason why some strain on the face and the body”:

But, as so commonly, Sai Baba, in word and action falsifies what he superabundantly preaches.

“Desire to which you are too fondly attached breeds anger and its nefarious brood. Discard it and you can have perpetual youth! The Aanandha that the Aathman can manifest will keep age and ageing away!” Discourse of Sathya Sai Baba, Prashanthi Nilayam, 22 Feb 1971. Published by Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust.

“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.

But …!

On his 60th birthday, he promised to look like this, forever young, as it were:

Now he looks like this: Sathya Sai Baba said would not age. But …!

Sathya Sai Baba’s Slurred Speech Due To Old Age. ‘Eenadu’ News Report

Posted by Barry Pittard on August 2, 2009.
Eenadu, a leading Indian mass circulation newspaper,  reported:
“Lacking in Clarity: There was a lack of clarity in Sathya Sai’s speech because of his old age. The interpreter struggled much to translate his speech into English. Satya Sai was seated in a special wheel chair which was brought very close to the car, so he could very slowly get into it. At the time of the speech, he stood up with great difficulty with the help of his assistants.”

Sathya Sai Baba Is Fast-ailing

Posted by Barry Pittard on August 4, 2009

What will the fast-ailing Sathya Sai Baba do? Rub oil or vibhuti on the surface of his multiple infirmities, and do all that he has for so long promised? That is to say:

  • Bring the world to him, even before he dies
  • Harmonize the world’s major religions
  • Save the world from enormous catastrophes
  • Lift a whole mountain range
  • Travel the world
  • Fly through the air
  • Put humanity on what he calls ‘the royal road’ to righteousness
  • And so much more ….

To listen to his carefully hand-picked and carefully groomed speakers, his fame has spread to virtually every clime. This claim is patently untrue. Ask people on crowded streets in many countries do they know the name Nelson Mandela, or the late Princess Diana. Or whether they can immediately visualize those such as the Pope, Barach Obama, the late Michael Jackson, and so on, and they will instantly affirm that they do.

Do leaders in the interfaith movement feature him or his emissaries as notable in their publications and websites? And yet the following edifice, sited amid the great opulence of his Puttaparthi ashram, displays his symbol (the so-called ‘Sarva Dharma Chakra’ or All Faiths motif):




Excerpt From Public Petition (and introduction)

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

Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Cultic Behaviour and Lack of Accountability (Sathya Sai Organization Example)

Posted by Barry Pittard on December 22, 2009

In mid 1982, at Puttaparthi, I spoke to two prominent devotees about concerns being raised sub voce that Sathya Sai Baba had been engaged in sexual activities with young males. One of the reports was that he been involved in such activities since he was young, and that this was quite common knowledge within Puttaparthi and district. 

The two were Richard Bayer, then a high official in the Sathya Sai Organization, organization, and (the late) Howard Murphet, Australian journalist and renowned author of several books on Sai Baba. Murphet was typically gracious but Bayer was shockingly rude, chastising me for daring to breathe such a topic, then turning angrily on his heel and striding away. Bayer’s deplorable behaviour implied that one may not, with any trust, raise issues with Sathya Sai Baba’s handpicked leaders. 

I have since heard from  a series of reliable sources that Richard Bayer has been high-handed with many other followers of Sai Baba in general. Indeed, many Sai devotees realize and quietly lament the highly egotistical nature of some of the leaders Sai Baba appoints, passing it off as “Baba’s Leela,” and a test of the tolerance of the devotees, and the like. It is also said that he has left the Sathya Sai Organization.

Like many other top-level leaders of the Sathya Sai Organization, Richard Bayer has much to answer for in general. For example, we have clear documentation that Bayer was one of the officials present at times when reports alleging sexual molestation of males were presented to Dr Hislop and others. We have written evidence that, as far back as 1980-1, when regional director, Richard Bayer told the mother of one abused male youth that the boy was lying. What was this – no pause to consider that a mother may know her son well?

In the face of serious accusations, responsible organizations have proper processes. As though to waste my breath, I raised this point with T. Sri Ramananthan, for many years head of the Australian Sathya Sai Organization, yet another individual known for his ruthless, autocratic treatment of devotees. He too would hear none of what is, after all, uncontentious proposition. His draconian treatment of a loved spiritual coordinator in South Australia, Stephen Carthew, I have recently written of:  Stephen Carthew, A Voice of Testimony From Australia, On The Dangers of Cults.

My colleague Robert Priddy, former head of the Sathya Sai Organization, Norway, and retired academic from the University of Oslo, has recently again been looking at what we have come to refer to as the Hislop letters. These are essential documents for any serious investigator to analyse with the greatest of care. In its investigation, the BBC – which traveled to the USA and India in the research phases that led to ‘The Secret Swami’ – treated these letters very seriously, although there have been scurrilous attempts to try to distort the facts about them:

Sathya Sai Organization’s abuse cover-up & unaccountability

Letter by John Hislop to Sathya Sai Organization leaders

Revealing letters on sexual abuse claims by Dr. John Hislop

The Hislop letters – part one [Timothy Conway on Gerald Moreno]

Timothy Conway, Ph.D

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

(c) Copyright 2007, by Timothy Conway, PhD

Barry Pittard

Timothy Conway Ph.D – On ‘The Hislop Letters’


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

There is a Spanish version available:



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Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba


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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 »