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

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India, Land of Vast Tolerated Rape and Other Sex Abuses: a Letter From A Western Lover of India

Posted by Barry Pittard on January 30, 2013

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The writer of the email below is a woman in her fifties, a westerner and for some years a tour guide in India, who is highly regarded for her rare integrity and decency. She used to aid me in sourcing CD’s when I was a community broadcaster dealing with world music and social justice issues.

Her email is worth reading with the heart, more than with the eyes and mind. Increasingly India – having profoundly alienated herself from her good self – is fast alienating herself from the rest of the world.

I never knew of a country more prone to sermons than India. Daily, in endless venues, from small temples to vast arenas, and on radio and television and in the newspapers, pundits rattle on about ‘the dharma’. About being truthful and righteous and compassionate and peaceful and non-violent. But one example of duplicity on a giant scale has been the Sathya Sai cult core leaders’ decades of cover up of murders and sexual and other abuses. Again – vast amounts of preaching, and of a robed but tumid underbelly of vile and hypocritical evil.

A constant Hindu Indian theme is fearlessness. Excellent! – when practised. But – in the so-called ‘eternal Bharat’ – the only thing that is eternal about all this  is the hypocrisy. Those without brain or conscience denounce as “India bashers” writers about India who mention the endless institutional corruption and vast organs of State suppression and crass inaction, and so on .

In fact, many times, this blogsite pays great tribute to those few Indian people and groups who, most courageously and at great cost of danger and suffering to themselves, speak out and do their best to stop the incredible social inequalities in that land.

It is significant that the recent Delhi rape case prompted public protests – an increasing phenomena in an India where the people at large, like those in the Occupy movement in the West, become ever more informed and ever more angry at government and corporate corruption – angry enough to begin to do something about it.

Here is the email:

Dear Barry,

I am in India until tomorrow, and over the last 8 weeks of my trip I have felt sickened by all the hideous reports of the Delhi rape case. There is now – what has been so often suppressed in India – an incredible daily tally of reports of rape, murder, incest with girls as young as 3 years old.  A large majority of the reports cite victims’ ages between 7 – 11 in age – like what we hear reported in the West.- similar to reports in the West. I myself was molested from 7 to 12 years old by a family friend.
 
I am sure this has been going on forever here, but the Delhi case has somehow got out to the world and brought a damning spotlight on India. The Indian media is now reporting countless incidents.

You know how much I love my beloved India and have spent 2-5 months every year there for 10 years. But this year I have become quite frightened of this potential for rape and violence and have changed a lot of my habits of movement around India. I am inside by dark, never alone, dress VERY modestly, not trusting anyone new. I am so unlike my usual courageous, fearless self!

I had already decided to make this my last year for taking a tour and retiring as a tour guide. I am so sickened by these horrible events that it has tainted my feelings about India, and now I feel that I will not return for several years until I can travel in trusted company.

The corruption at all levels of Indian society is the other thing I hate, and I agree with your excellent blog that the buck stops with politicians and powerful institutions. You also mention India’s often incredibly inept and chauvinistic police force.

I am feeling so sad to be feeling like this, and I understand how sickened you would have been to find out the awful truth of Sathya Sai Baba’s perverse inclinations. But Barry, we are light bearers of the truth, and with God’s grace we can use our abilities to work against such evils and to make accountable the perpetrators and those who hide them or stand by and do nothing.

Keep up the good work, Barry.

Lots of love

……….

Further Reading

Sexual Abuse Rampant In Extreme Male Chauvinist India

Posted by Barry Pittard on January 7, 2013

Tehelka.com and the Delhi rapes – new India’s media conscience. 

Posted by robertpriddy on January 5, 2013

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Huffington Post Needs To Update Views On Sathya Sai Baba and His Authoritarian Cult

Posted by Barry Pittard on January 20, 2013

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I note a series of pro Sathya Sai Baba articles, over time, on Huffington Post, USA. Limited space allows for comment beneath these – not always a bad thing, it must be said. I shall later post my reply to the latest article, by Vamsee Juluri, a professor in communications, and author of earlier extolling articles on Sai Baba, which will perhaps be this:

Scriptures are of their own time. Taken literally they can s0metimes assault reason, humanity and commonsense. Sai Baba believed literally in gods and demons. His statements e.g., about Jesus and Martin Luther, are historically inaccurate. He made serious scientific mistakes and unfulfilled prophecies. Many former leaders investigated with the utmost integrity. Pointing out anomalies should not invite abusive comment. Points pro Sai Baba commentators raise on HP are more than dealt with by the more capable former devotee writers on the internet. It is about responsibility, not about hate.

Since exposure via major world media e.g., the BBC’s documentary ‘The Secret Swami’, viewed by millions in many countries, many foremost leaders and followers quit the Sathya Sai Baba cult. Still more, after the Indian media and Andhra Pradesh state government (June, 2011) revealed Sai Baba’s vast secret hoard of money and valuables. Exposed too was the Sathya Sai Central Trust.

He claimed he would live till circa 2022 and rule the world, yet died suspiciously, legalities side-stepped. World-wide data attest e.g., Sai Baba’s serial sexual molestation of boys and young men, the apartments scams, and, chillingly, the hushed-up killings in Sai Baba’s bedroom.

Barry Pittard, Australia, former lecturer in English at the Sathya Sai Baba College, Whitefield, South India. https://barrypittard.wordpress.com

I copy the Vamsee Juluri article 16 January below, because it exposes how blinded very educated Sathya Sai Baba devotees are. They in no wise fearlessly look at the compelling data from a great many sources. They are a standing affront to many with credentials, just as outstanding, in various professions and trades, who have raised voices of conscience and profoundly evidence-based dissent. These dissenters are not contested as to integrity – except by those who fail to use investigative and ethical criteria, which they would in their professions otherwise, presumably, use and applaud. Thus is the mind-spell that grips those under the sway of charismatic gurus and narrow belief systems.

It will be interesting to see whether Vamsee Juluri thinks he can meet, with the slightest amount of evidence contrary to the contentions of two recent responders to his Huffington Post article (see below) – or the vast  Sathya Sai Baba exposure data on the web: e.g.:

———————————————

open 2

9 hours ago (11:22 AM)

I can understand that dear myths you cherish can be very sweet. But let’s remember mere facts:
(1) In 1993 six people were killed in Sathya Sai Baba’s rooms and the investigation was stopped with no court verdict. That is a serious violation of law and Sathya Sai Baba was a part of it.
(2) In September 2000 UNESCO withdrew from an educational conference which was going to be held in Prashanthi Nilayam, one of the ashrams of Sathya Sai Baba. As it was explained by UNESCO in the press-release, it was because of a deep concern about the allegations of sexual abuse involving youths and children that had been leveled at Sathya Sai Baba by his critics.
(3) In 2002 the Parliament of the United Kingdom discussed the possible danger to male children of British families intending to visit the ashram of Sathya Sai Baba in case of individual audiences with the guru.
(4) After Sathya Sai Baba death in 2011 in his rooms they discovered 98 kg of gold ornaments, approximate value Rs 21 crore (US$4.7m), 307 kg of silver ornaments, approximate value Rs 1.6 crore (US$0.36m), and Rs 11.6 crore (US$2.6m) in cash.
You can find more information just checking Wikipedia article about SSB.
10 hours ago (11:01 AM)
I was once a leader in the Sathya Sai Baba movement for nearly two decades, but left in 2000 after I investigated deeply into the massive exposures of Sai Baba’s infamous ‘divine downfall’ . After the many revelations of Sai Baba’s private hoarding of valuables on a huge scale, the cynical manipulations and continued cover-ups of the Sai Central Trust, news of bogus miracles (exposed by devotees themselves!) People still write letters to Sai Baba in a box but he died under the most suspect and unpropitious circumstances and the cause of his illness and death was carefully concealed. What of the world-wide testimonies of sexual molestation, known to be true by many long-term residents in his ashram and even office-bearers, as well as scandalous cover-up to the highest level by compromised long-term devotees (who were Prime Ministers etc.) of his direct involvement in the cold-blooded execution by police of four devotees. That is the ugly dark side which devotees have struggled their utmost to bury and forget.
Sai Baba preached much unrealistic, vague and impracticable advice, a Hindu nationalistic throwback to the past, questioning the validity of human rights, supporting caste ideas, taking Indian scriptural myth as fact plus many superficial, ambiguous ‘teachings’. The laughable distortions of fact in his teaching on Christianity and other religions, and his promotion of many absurdly wrong medical, scientific, historical and educational ideas in conflict with all modern knowledge is all documented – search on Google.
Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba
Posted: 01/16/2013 11:51 am

On a bright sunny January morning, as people in India celebrated the festival of Sankranthi, I returned to Prasanthi Nilayam, the home of my family’s revered Guru, Sri Sathya Sai Baba. It was my first visit there in nearly five years, and more importantly, it was my first visit there since his passing, in April 2011.

It was therefore the first time that I had to face up to the ideal so many spiritual paths teach us: that it is not the form that matters, but what it contains.

Sitting once again in the vast expansive halls of Prashanthi Nilayam where we once used to wait, seemingly endlessly, for a few minutes of darshan, I felt strangely empty of expectation. There was no anticipation, or the sometimes charged tension, one felt in the long and silent wait for Baba’s arrival into the hall. The protocols though — and of course, the people — were very much the same as before. There were lots of people, as always, and they sat in more rows than one could hope to count without getting up. Short programs featuring students from Baba’s schools and colleges were conducted. The ever-popular bhajans were sung, and the sacred arathi offered. At the end, though, everyone lined up for what is now called Samadhi-darshan, a few seconds of silent prayer at the edge of the marble monument which marks as close as we will ever get again to our beloved Swami, as we called him. As we left, we were given a rose-petal as a sign of blessing. I noted the presence of small baskets on the floor, where devotees could leave letters addressed to him, as they did when he was alive.

Nothing has changed in Prashanthi Nilayam. The ceremonies, the celebrations, the students’ earnest and sometimes enchanting plays and performances, the bhajans that made this movement so simple and easy to belong to, and most of all the people, the vast and reasonably well self-regulated throngs of devotees, seekers, and the curious who came, they were all there. It seemed to me that at any moment, the black and orange spot of flame that Baba looked like amidst the great crowds would appear from somewhere. I recall the effect his entrance used to have on the massive crowds, how bodies stiffened and turned as one to face him, even if he was so distant as to appear like a tiny speck of color. Despite that wistful feeling, the only difference now, it seemed to me, was that instead of craning for a sight of a flash of orange in the sea of heads that surrounded us, now we sought only for a line of sight toward the white marble surface of his Samadhi, not unlike the way we try to steal a sight of the deity in the great (and crowded) ancient temples of India like Tirupati. The feeling, and the belief, obviously has not changed, for me, and for the thousands of people who still come.

And yet, everything has changed too. How could it not?

I belonged to a generation, and a moment in time, when the Sai movement, its members and its service activities, were beginning to expand momentously. In my early visits to Puttaparthi in the 1980s, I could still see a bit of the ease and familiarity earlier devotees used to say they had with Baba. The crowds were smaller, and the time one had with him, a little bit longer, and the space more intimate. By the 1990s, the place was a giant spectacle, with thousands, and sometimes tens of thousands, of people visiting the ashram almost every day. The once tiny, desolate and poor village of Puttaparthi now even had an airport. The giant hospital, university and various other philanthropic projects undertaken by Baba dominated the landscape, and the attention of the devotee-volunteers. Heads of state came to visit, frequently, and share in some of the spirit of service and accomplishment that the movement saw at this time, such as the massive projects that delivered drinking water to hundreds of poor villages in the region.

And yet, at the center of all this was the diminutive figure of Baba, a small, maternal, kind and often witty person who many of us simply could not perceive as anything other than an avatar, a human incarnation of divinity itself. At first, that feeling was a strange and unexpected change for me. Until I met Baba, I only thought of God in the abstract, or as mystically embodied in stone and metal in our temples. For nearly 25 years after that, I thought of God in very human terms, as a person, a very specific person, who I thought was so much like my own father and mother in many ways, in his ideals, practice and even his persona. Now, all that seems like it was a wonderful time, but it has passed. Baba is and will continue to be venerated, among the faithful, no different from the other forms and names by which the divine is venerated. In the future, some of us will think of him as we think of Krishna and Rama now. We will, inevitably, move into a realm where our gods will not talk back to us or encourage us or lovingly reprimand us, as the case may once have been. We will make our gods our gods, and forget, inevitably, that they were gurus too, that they so taught us, and not by words alone.

In my brief stay at the ashram this week, I could see that there were many new, younger devotees and visitors present as well. By the afternoon, the sprawling grounds of the ashram started to look the way it used to in the past, with hundreds of families camping out under trees and bits of shade here and there. I remember those days, when tens and sometimes even hundreds of thousands of people descended on Puttaparthi for a mere sight of the man they believed was God incarnate. Even in the anonymity of the mass, there was so much of a connection between the people and their guru, because he was there, and he connected as a human being, an elder and benefactor, with more people and families, and more profoundly and meaningfully, than we can even fathom. His teachings, and the simple bhakti practices he advocated such as service and singing, were perhaps secondary to the mad adoration and faith that marked their relationship with him. Now, only his teachings, and the world he built, remain.

As I left Prashanthi Nilayam at night, and a smiling moon rose over the horizon, I thought briefly about what that world will mean in the future, and mean something it surely will, because the people are there, and they are coming. The question though is what exactly people are coming for. One can be certain that for many, the journey will be about the expectation of a miracle; an illness cured, an examination passed, a promotion secured, the mundane things God gets called on for every moment and every day. Like Shirdi, Puttaparthi will remain a place where faith lives and resonates for the faithful. But there is also the other miracle that took place in this speck of a hamlet in a dry and desolate corner of south India no one would have heard of but for one simple peasant son. That miracle, I think, is still unfolding. We may see its visible manifestations in the form of gigantic hospitals that offer free treatment to all and water pipelines and tankers that quench the thirst of thousands of villagers in India’s most arid regions, but there is more to come too. All those who knew Baba, and who are coming to know him now, after his passing, will find that the real arena for the miraculous is not in some mystical plane, but really in our own lives. I think we will find, somehow, still, that kindness and love are the only way to live. There may be alternatives to our religions, our paths and chosen deities. But there is no alternative to love. Sometimes, I feel that because I believe Baba’s presence is always here and shows me that. At other times, I feel nothing more than this world and the people in it that make the world for me, and still, all this shows me that too.

Baba did not quite say it in those words, but George Harrison did. Prashanthi Nilayam, the Abode of Peace, seems to me is now Within You and Without You.

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Sexual Abuse Rampant In Extreme Male Chauvinist India

Posted by Barry Pittard on January 7, 2013

In addressing sexual abuse, no society, and no community, has a good record. In India, great evils such as patriarchy, the caste system, endemic corruption at all levels but especially among the ruling elites, gerontocracy, nepotism, dowry, infanticide, obscene contrasts between opulence and poverty and squalor, and so forth, make issues particularly acute.

The question arises:  How can India – which hotly competes with China for superpower status – expect, with any self-respect, to join other countries which make signal efforts in providing strong legislation and provision of effective and humane services to deal with sexual abuse? Of the Indian media, hardly any were of use to us in our exhaustive effort to expose Sathya Sai Baba and his worldwide cult. This failure – not of our own making – was in marked contradistinction to our dealings with world media. As the editor of one of India’s top newspapers admitted in private:  Sai Baba and his people are too powerful. The rare exceptions whom we could respect were India Today, whose proprietor knew, all too directly and painfully, from his own family of Sathya Sai Baba’s pedophilia, and Tehelka, which has put up a huge struggle over decades to prevent itself from being wiped out. In Indian Media and Governments Heedless of Decade of Foreign Media and Sai Baba Critics’ Revelations, I wrote: 

To the profound shame of the Indian media, leading newspaper and television organizations heeded our representations:

For example, BBC, CBC (Canada), DR (Denmark), Salon.com (USA), SBS (all television), ABC (Radio Australia). In newspaper media – Times of London, Daily Telegraph, Guardian (UK), Marie Claire Magazine, Salon.com, BT, Bild, Focus, Trouw, Speegelbield, Noordhollands Dagblad, Sokaren, Gatopardo, Ottawa Citizen, Toronto Star, Vancouver Sun, Age, Australian Financial Review, West Australian (a major front page article by an award-winning journalist (Torrance Mendez) was pulled at the 11th hour!), Adelaide Advertiser, etc., ….. It was not until a close friend of ours, at the top of a notable profession, was able to dine with an official of the Indo Asian News Service that our Duke of Edinburgh story concerning Sai Baba’s propaganda people that we were able, after many futile attempts, to make some inroads on a small section of the Indian media.

Extraordinarily, in the last days, wide sections of the Indian media are surfacing evidence that powerfully tells against Sathya Sai Baba and many of his core servitors. It is, of course, to the historic shame of the Indian media (with the honorable exception of India Today) and successive, typically corrupt Indian governments, national and state, that we long remained voices crying out in the wilderness. For my appreciation of India Today’s publisher Aroon Purie and his team, see:  Sai Baba Treasure Scandals: His Big Political Protectors Now Run For Cover.  Posted by Barry Pittard on June 27, 2011.

See also:  Sai Baba Treasure Scandals: His Big Political Protectors Now Run For Cover Posted by Barry Pittard on June 22, 2011

http://robertpriddy.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/rapes-police.jpg

In 2007, the Government of India released its landmark survey on sexual abuse in that country. (See:  Over 53% children face sexual abuse: Survey. TNN Apr 10, 2007, 12.00am IST:

NEW DELHI: In a shocking revelation, a government commissioned survey has found that more than 53% of children in India are subjected to sexual abuse, but most don’t report the assaults to anyone.

The survey, released on Monday and which covered different forms of child abuse — physical, sexual and emotional — as well as female child neglect, found that two out of every three children have been physically abused.

See also:

Sai Baba Promised to Transform India. But Child Abuse Rampant. Posted by Barry Pittard on April 11, 2007, and Child Abuse in India. Will Minister Renuka Chowdhury Act? Posted by Barry Pittard on April 11, 2007). I have written of our vast, uphill climb – including of our Indian colleagues – to make meaningful headway with India’s foremost political, government and religious authorities, and most of the media, even though, in some quarters, we had high-level backdoor access. See:  Indian Media and Governments Heedless of Decade of Foreign Media and Sai Baba Critics’ Revelations. Posted by Barry Pittard on June 27, 2011.

Whether in our contacts with Vajpayee’s or Sonja Gandhi’s or Manmohan Singh’s officials, we found the taboos against raising sexual abuse issue extreme. In our networking, we saw how extraordinarily courageous Indian activists daily fight for social justice in India. They face death, grave injury, gaol, persecution, defamation, and profound denial of their civil liberties ostensibly guaranteed under Indian law. See:  Open Letter to Prime Minister of India, Hon. A.B. Vajpayee, By Barry Pittard, Australia, former Lecturer, Sri Sathya Sai College of the Arts, Science and Commerce, Whitefield, Karnataka.

Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh at Sathya Sai Baba's Funeral

Sonia Gandhi and current PM Manmohan Singh at Sathya Sai Baba’s funeral. Both leaders assisted, as had Vajpayee earlier, in the cover up of Sai Baba’s serial sexual abuse of countless boys and young men from around the world.

Vajpayee and Sathya Sai BabaFormer PM Vajpayee, photo below left, like Manmohan Singh, a longtime Sai Baba devotee

If my reader is very busy, at least you may find time to view a concise and hard-hitting IBNLIVE.com (India) report (2 minutes, 10 seconds): India: world’s most sexually abused children!

Worldwide, statistics show that sexual abuse, far more than being a ‘stranger danger’ issue, secretes itself among our own families, friends and acquaintances. We need to squirm – without running away. We need to face our own consciences – without thinking there is nothing we can do. We need to speak – without retreating into a numb, corroding silence. We need to love and protect children – properly.

The furore at the moment over the Delhi rape case elicits some action.  See Robert Priddy’s article: Tehelka.com and the Delhi rapes – new India’s media conscience.  Posted by robertpriddy on January 5, 2013

Again, ordinary Indian people stir and protest – making life more difficult for the Indian power elites who have tried heavily and constantly to throttle such issues, as they did with decades of scandal after scandal about Sathya Sai Baba and his cult.

At least the Delhi case has penetrated the Indian and international media. And yet rape and other forms of abuse are endemic throughout India, almost sanctioned by large sections of her police forces whose officers frequently hold extremely chauvinist attitudes toward women.

But essentially, Indian authorities do not even heed and act on this 2 minutes and 10 seconds of information.

In marked contrast to the decade in which my colleagues and I have worked to expose Sathya Sai Baba and his international cult, more articles in leading Indian media begin to surface, such as yesterday’s  Hindustan Times, with its hard-nosed practical recommendations. The Guardian article, which has many useful links, is a strongly researched piece, again giving indications of a groundswell of public anger in India, which we have also seen in the recent and pan India demonstrations against political and corporate corruption.

Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

Patriarchy exposed

Hindustan TimesBy Hindustan Times | Hindustan Times – Sun 6 Jan, 2013

Mumbai, Jan. 6 — The sustained national outcry over an unspeakable sexual assault has put the spotlight not only on crimes against women, but also exposed the underlying patriarchy that is holding India back. The crisis of femininity and masculinity has never been more apparent. How do we heal?

Why is India so bad for women?

Of all the rich G20 nations, India has been labelled the worst place to be a woman. But how is this possible in a country that prides itself on being the world’s largest democracy?

The Guardian, Monday 23 July 2012 21.00 BST

Video of a woman being molested in Guwahati, India

Video of a woman being attacked in Guwahati, Assam, has sparked outrage in India.

In an ashram perched high on a hill above the noisy city of Guwahati in north-east India is a small exhibit commemorating the life of India’s most famous son. Alongside an uncomfortable-looking divan where Mahatma Gandhi once slept is a display reminding visitors of something the man himself said in 1921: “Of all the evils for which man has made himself responsible, none is so degrading, so shocking or so brutal as his abuse of the better half of humanity; the female sex (not the weaker sex).”

One evening two weeks ago, just a few miles downhill, a young student left a bar and was set upon by a gang of at least 18 men. They dragged her into the road by her hair, tried to rip off her clothes and smiled at the cameras that filmed it all. It was around 9.30pm on one of Guwahati’s busiest streets – a chaotic three-lane thoroughfare soundtracked by constantly beeping horns and chugging tuk-tuks. But for at least 20 minutes, no one called the police. They easily could have. Many of those present had phones: they were using them to film the scene as the men yanked up the girl’s vest and tugged at her bra and groped her breasts as she begged for help from passing cars. We know this because a cameraman from the local TV channel was there too, capturing the attack for his viewers’ enjoyment. The woman was abused for 45 minutes before the police arrived.

Within half an hour, clips were broadcast on Assam’s NewsLive channel. Watching across town, Sheetal Sharma and Bitopi Dutta were horrified. “I was fuming like anything. There was this horrible, brutal assault being shown on screen – and the most disturbing thing was, the blame was being put on the woman, who, the report emphasised, was drunk,” says Sharma, a 29-year-old feminist activist from the North-East Network, a women’s rights organisation in Guwahati. “The way it was filmed, the camera was panning up and down her body, focusing on her breasts, her thighs,” says Dutta, her 22-year-old colleague.

When the police eventually turned up, they took away the woman, who is 20 or 21 (oddly, Guwahati police claimed not to know exactly). While NewsLive re-played pixellated footage of her attack throughout the night, she was questioned and given a medical examination. No attempt was made to arrest the men whose faces could clearly be seen laughing and jeering on camera. Soon afterwards, the editor-in-chief of NewsLive (who has since resigned) remarked on Twitter that “prostitutes form a major chunk of girls who visit bars and night clubs”.

It was only a few days later, when the clip had gone viral and had been picked up by the national channels in Delhi, that the police were shamed into action. By then, Guwahati residents had taken matters into their own hands, producing an enormous banner that they strung up alongside one of the city’s arterial roads featuring screen grabs of the main suspects. Six days after the attack, the chief minister of Assam, the state where Guwahati is located, ordered the police to arrest a dozen key suspects. He met the victim and promised her 50,000 rupees (£580) compensation.

The damage was already irreversible. Most Indians know full well how tough life as a woman can be in the world’s biggest democracy, even 46 years after Indira Gandhi made history as the country’s first female prime minister in 1966. But here, caught on camera, was proof. And in Assam – a state long romanticised as the most female-friendly corner of the country, largely thanks to the matrilineal Khasi tribe in Meghalaya. The nation was outraged.

“We have a woman president, we’ve had a woman prime minister. Yet in 2012, one of the greatest tragedies in our country is that women are on their own when it comes to their own safety,” said a female newsreader on NDTV. She went on to outline another incident in India last week: a group of village elders in Baghpat, Uttar Pradesh, central India, who banned women from carrying mobile phones, choosing their own husbands or leaving the house unaccompanied or with their heads uncovered. “The story is the same,” said the news anchor. “No respect for women. No respect for our culture. And as far as the law is concerned: who cares?”

There is currently no special law in India against sexual assault or harassment, and only vaginal penetration by a penis counts as rape. Those who molested the woman in Guwahati would be booked for “insulting or outraging the modesty of a woman” or “intruding upon her privacy”. The maximum punishment is a year’s imprisonment, or a fine, or both.

As a columnist in the national Hindustan Times said of the attack: “This is a story of a dangerous decline in Indians and India itself, of not just failing morality but disintegrating public governance when it comes to women.” Samar Halarnkar added: “Men abuse women in every society, but few males do it with as much impunity, violence and regularity as the Indian male.”

Halarnkar then offered as proof a survey that caused indignation in India last month: a poll of 370 gender specialists around the world that voted India the worst place to be a woman out of all the G20 countries. It stung – especially as Saudi Arabia was at the second-worst. But the experts were resolute in their choice. “In India, women and girls continue to be sold as chattels, married off as young as 10, burned alive as a result of dowry-related disputes and young girls exploited and abused as domestic slave labour,” said Gulshun Rehman, health programme development adviser at Save the Children UK, who was one of those polled.

Women on a bus in Chennai, India Women travelling on a bus in Chennai, southern India. Photograph: Gustafsson/Rex FeaturesLook at some statistics and suddenly the survey isn’t so surprising. Sure, India might not be the worst place to be a woman on the planet – its rape record isn’t nearly as bad as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for instance, where more than 400,000 women are raped each year, and female genital mutilation is not widespread, as it is in Somalia. But 45% of Indian girls are married before the age of 18, according to the International Centre for Research on Women (2010); 56,000 maternal deaths were recorded in 2010 (UN Population Fund) and research from Unicef in 2012 found that 52% of adolescent girls (and 57% of adolescent boys) think it is justifiable for a man to beat his wife. Plus crimes against women are on the increase: according to the National Crime Records Bureau in India, there was a 7.1% hike in recorded crimes against women between 2010 and 2011 (when there were 228,650 in total). The biggest leap was in cases under the “dowry prohibition act” (up 27.7%), of kidnapping and abduction (up 19.4% year on year) and rape (up 9.2%).

A preference for sons and fear of having to pay a dowry has resulted in 12 million girls being aborted over the past three decades, according to a 2011 study by the Lancet.

A glance at the Indian media reveals the range of abuse suffered by the nation’s women on a daily basis. Today it was reported that a woman had been stripped and had her head shaved by villagers near Udaipur as punishment for an extramarital affair. Villagers stoned the police when they came to the rescue. In Uttar Pradesh, a woman alleged she was gang raped at a police station – she claimed she was set on by officers after being lured to the Kushinagar station with the promise of a job.

Last Wednesday, a man in Indore was arrested for keeping his wife’s genitals locked. Sohanlal Chouhan, 38, “drilled holes” on her body and, before he went to work each day, would insert a small lock, tucking the keys under his socks. Earlier this month, children were discovered near Bhopal playing with a female foetus they had mistaken for a doll in a bin. In the southern state of Karnataka, a dentist was arrested after his wife accused him of forcing her to drink his urine because she refused to meet dowry demands.

In June, a father beheaded his 20-year-old daughter with a sword in a village in Rajasthan, western India, parading her bleeding head around as a warning to other young women who might fall in love with a lower-caste boy.

This July, the state government in Delhi was summoned to the national high court after failing to amend an outdated law that exempts women (and turban-wearing Sikh men) from wearing helmets on motorcycles – an exemption campaigners argue is indicative of the lack of respect for female life.

But the story that outraged most women in India last week was an interview given to the Indian Express by Mamta Sharma, chairwoman of the National Commission of Women (NCW), a government body tasked with protecting and promoting the interests of Indian women. Asked by the reporter if there should be a dress code for women “to ensure their safety”, Sharma allegedly replied: “After 64 years of freedom, it is not right to give blanket directions … and say don’t wear this or don’t wear that. Be comfortable, but at the same time, be careful about how you dress … Aping the west blindly is eroding our culture and causing such crimes to happen.”

She added: “Westernisation has afflicted our cities the worst. There are no values left. In places like Delhi there is no culture of giving up seats for women. It is unfortunate that while the west is learning from our culture, we are giving ourselves up completely to western ways.”

Her remarks caused a storm. As Sagarika Ghose put it in the online magazine First Post: “It’s not just about blindly aping the west, Ms Sharma. It’s also about the vacuum in the law, lack of security at leisure spots, lack of gender justice, lack of fear of the law, police and judicial apathy and the complete lack of awareness that men and women have the right to enjoy exactly the same kind of leisure activities.”

The Guardian asked Sharma for an interview to clarify her remarks but our requests were ignored.

Maini Mahanta, the editor of the Assamese women’s magazine Nandini (“Daughter”), believes the NCW chair’s remarks are indicative of what she calls the “Taliban-plus” mentality that is creeping into Indian society. “In this part of the world, it’s worse than the Taliban,” she insists in her Guwahati office. “At least the Taliban are open about what they like and dislike. Here, society is so hypocritical. We worship female goddesses and yet fail to protect women from these crimes and then blame them too.”

Women in Bawana, Delhi Indian women, such as these three in Bawana, on the outskirts of Delhi, frequently come under pressure to abort female foetuses. Photograph: Gethin ChamberlainMahanta explains how traditions still cast women as helpless victims rather than free-thinking individuals in control of their own destiny. Girls still tie Raksha bandhan or “safety ties” around their brothers’ wrists as a symbol of their duty to protect them, she says. She complains, too, about the Manu Sanghita, an ancient Indian book that she claims preaches: “When a girl is young, she is guided by her father; when she is older, she is guided by her husband; when she is very old, she is guided by her son.” She despairs of the cult of the “good girl, who is taught to walk slowly ‘like an elephant’ and not laugh too loud”.

Even in Mumbai, India’s most cosmopolitan city, women have been arrested and accused of being prostitutes when drinking in the city’s bars.

Sheetal Sharma and Bitopi Dutta, the young feminists from the North East Network, complain that modern women are divided into “bad” and “good” according to what they wear, whether they go out after dark and whether they drink alcohol. “We are seeing a rise of moral policing, which blames those women who are not seen as being ‘good’,” says Sharma. “So if they are abused in a pub, for example, it’s OK – they have to learn their lesson,” adds Dutta, 22, who grumbles that young women such as herself cannot now hold hands with a boyfriend in a Guwahati park, let alone kiss, without getting into trouble with the moral police, if not the real police.

Many women agree the response from the Guwahati authorities shows they are blind to the root cause: a society that does not truly respect women. Instead, a knee-jerk reaction was taken to force all bars and off-licences to shut by 9.30pm. Club Mint, the bar outside which the young woman was molested, had its licence revoked. Parents were urged to keep a close eye on their daughters.

Zabeen Ahmed, the 50-year-old librarian at Cotton College in Guwahati, tells how she was out for an evening walk not long ago when she was stopped by the police. “They asked me what I was doing out at that at that time – it was 10.30pm or so – and they asked me where my husband was.”

The fact that India has a female president – Pratibha Patil – and Sonia Gandhi in control of the ruling Congress party means very little, insists Monisha Behal, “chairperson” of the North East Network. “In the UK, you have had Margaret Thatcher – if you are being harassed by a hoodlum in the street there, do ask: ‘How can this be when we have had a woman prime minister?'” she says.

Every Indian woman the Guardian spoke to for this article agreed that harassment was part of their everyday lives. Mahanta revealed that she always carries chilli powder in her handbag if she ever has to take public transport and needed to throw it in the face of anyone with wandering hands. Deepika Patar, 24, a journalist at the Seven Sisters newspaper in Assam, says city buses were notorious for gropers. “If women are standing up because there are no seats, men often press up against them, or touch their breasts or bottom,” she explains.

In June, an anonymous Delhi woman wrote a powerful blog post detailing what happened when she dared not to travel in the “ladies carriage” of Delhi’s modern metro. After asking a man not to stand too close to her, things turned nasty. Another man intervened and told the first to back off, but soon the two were having a bloody fight in the train carriage. Rather than break up the brawl, the other passengers turned on the woman, shouting: “This is all your fault. You started this fight. This is all because you came into this coach!” and “You women always do this. You started this fight!” and “Why are you even here? Go to the women’s coach.”

Speaking under condition of anonymity, the 35-year-old blogger says she had experienced sexual harassment “tonnes of times”. “I hate to use the word, but I’m afraid it has become ‘normal’,” she says. “Like if you’re in a lift, men will press up against you or grab you or make a comment about your appearance. It’s because of this that I stopped travelling by buses and started travelling by auto rickshaws, and eventually got a car myself – to avoid this ordeal. When the metro was launched I loved it – it’s an improvement in public transport, very well maintained, you feel safe. Then this happened and I was blamed.”

By Thursday last week, the Guwahati molestation case had become even murkier. Police had arrested and charged 12 men with “outraging the public decency of a woman”, and on Friday they charged journalist Gaurav Jyoti Neog of NewsLive with instigating the attack he filmed. Neog denies orchestrating the attack or taking any part in it, apart from filming it “so that the perpetrators can be nabbed”. But police have forced him to give a voice sample, which has been sent to a forensic laboratory for analysis, to compare with the footage. The verdict is out on that case, but one thing is clear: 91 years after Gandhi urged Indian men to treat their women with respect, the lesson has yet to be learned.

• This article was amended on 24 July 2012. The original said brothers tied Raksha Bandhan threads around their sisters’ wrists, when it is the sisters who put the threads on the wrists of their brothers.

Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

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Staff Sex and Bullying Allegations At Sathya Sai School Leicester (UK)

Posted by Barry Pittard on September 4, 2012

As I have mentioned, we learn that several parents of children at the  Sathya Sai School in Leicester, England, are deeply troubled.  

See my article: Will Authorities Find Sex Abuse and Staff Bullying At ‘Sathya Sai School’, Leicester, UK? Posted by Barry Pittard on September 1, 2012.

(Note:  I may be contacted with assured confidentiality at:  bpittard (at) westnet.com.au)

Allegedly, a Physical Education teacher, Cheng Ho Lim, sexually harassed a female teacher.  

Allegedly, too, his wife (the school Principal), Usha Lim, has bullied and physically punished children at the school. This in a manner that genuinely democratic countries no longer tolerate. Properly qualified teachers and education researchers know that there are humane and enlightened methods. If any such allegations are correct, British authorities need to investigate, which they are trained to do, keeping in mind the safety and well-being of children.

At its website, the Sathya Sai School states:

“… the school aims to use positive techniques to enhance behaviour, encouraging early intervention, re-direction of children and a positive reinforcement of good behaviour … The School is committed to learning and self-improvement. It has all its efforts and energies focussed on the child’s spiritual, moral, physical, cultural and academic development. We ensure that the physical environment is pleasant, safe, secure and well-resourced …”

It is important that parents be informed of their civil rights, responsibilities, and of such issues as the duty of care of those in charge of children. No one must be allowed to browbeat, sweet-talk or in any way side-track them. For example, officials of the Sathya Sai Organization, such as  Dr. Michael Goldstein, world head of the Sai organization, Dr Madhavi Majmudar, the chair of school directors, and others involved in handling issues, such as Kalyan Ray. 

Not even the most respected media and scholarly researchers can obtain straight answers from those at the top of the highly cultic international Sathya Sai Organization. For decades, Sathya Sai Organization leaders have profoundly and shamefully failed to show duty of care, worldwide, to parents of Sai Baba’s sexual and other types of abuse. In some cases, men much older – like Mark Roche, now a psychotherapist, and Al Rahm, a building contractor and formerly one of the foremost leaders in the Sathya Sai Organization – have spoken to the BBC about Sai Baba sexually abusing them when they were young. I was privy to the great anguish and courage which led up to their decision to go public.

At the highest level, the Sathya Sai cult have a long track record of rather Soviet-style intervention and cover up of scandals.

If there is cover up of crimes and unprofessional behavior, citizens must act. In democratic jurisdictions throughout the world, there are strict laws about mandatory reporting in professions of suspected child abuse.

The BBC and other world leading investigative media have trenchantly shown that the international Sathya Sai Organization has, all along, shown an extraordinary lack of accountability and transparency.  As those who study them come to expect, such authoritarian sects often act as a law unto themselves. Especially is this so in the case of those sects which, like the Sai Baba cult, posit that the divine guides them and that civil sanctions can, where escapable, be ignored.

Millions in many countries saw Dr Michael Goldstein, of Covena, California, USA, Sathya Sai Organization world head, caught by hidden camera in ‘The Secret Swami’, angrily bullying the perfectly proper young female BBC interviewer Tanya Datta. In polite fashion, she asked questions any investigative journalist is mandated to ask. The sanction to use hidden camera – a tool  the BBC uses most sparingly, and in cases where there is gross evasion from fair and reasonable public scrutiny – came from the top BBC management, including the legal department.

 

 

Correspondents who are well-placed to observe, report the Leicester Sathya Sai School Principal’s involvement, along with national and world Sathya Sai Organization officials, in a cover up.  In my 1 September post, I wrote:

…. A most recent example are the troubles afflicting the cult’s ‘Sai School’ at Leicester, England. Worried parents have called in British social workers to investigate. My colleague Robert Priddy wrote of alleged troubles and scandals at the school in 2009. His August 2012 update – given developments that may prove much harder for the Sathya Sai cult to suppress – he posted recently. See:  Sathya Sai Schools: Leicester, Puttaparthi, Gothenburg etc. up-dated.  Posted by robertpriddy on July 20, 2012.

Among the difficulties the Leicester community faces (where many people of Indian birth or extraction live) is that discussion about child abuse is profoundly taboo among a great many Indians. Nonetheless, they live in a far more democratic society than India, and need, like anyone else in the community at large, to become conscious of, and to obey, British laws. Unless we protect children, how can any of us say that we truly love and responsibly care for them?

Any observer of international trends in the last decade or more in the exposure of child abuse will note one feature above all: That in the most developed democratic countries, it has taken the most enormous struggle, first:

–  to expose endemic physical and sexual child abuse; second:

–  to enable effective community-wide education; and third:

–  to enshrine strong state and national legislation that integrate social worker, police, and court action at all levels, such as home, school, workplace, institutions …..

Vast efforts have brought much action (though seldom near enough) to protect people of all ages and social backgrounds from physical and sexual abuse. India and other countries lag far behind. Yet India now strives, along with China, for superpower status. Rather like an emotionally immature person inside a big, lumbering body. Her atomic projects, armed services, finance and industry, etc., forge ahead, while her voices of conscience, like those engaged in the current peaceful mass movement against India’s government and corporate corruption, go largely unheeded. The reference to child protection in the Indian Constitution is, tragically, ignored. For an overview and further sources across time in India (before circa 2008), see the UNESCO document:  The History of Child Rights in India, By Jyoti Rao

I have written of some courageous counter-trends within India. See:

Child Abuse Rife In India. But Who Would Speak Out?

Child Abuse. Landmark Indian Government Study. Abuse of Indian children ‘common’’

Child Abuse in India. Will Minister Renuka Chowdhury Act?

In a couple of days or so, I wish to comment on an email which I have just received from someone who has had deep involvement in the Sathya Sai Organization in the UK.

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Brief Notes and Links on the Origins of the Exposure of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Cult

David and Faye Bailey. Authors of 'The Findings'. An historic and lengthy indictment of Sathya Sai Baba, by two former and very close disciplesDavid Bailey (UK), at one time Sai Baba’s leading western follower and envoy, and his wife Faye Bailey, as they traveled to Sai centers round the world at Sai Baba’s command, increasingly had deeply distressed parents and others coming up with appalling accounts of Sai Baba sexually abusing boys and young men.  David, like myself, was a lecturer in Sathya Sai Baba’s education wing. Faye had been a prominent leader in the Sathya Sai Organization in Australia, after which Sai Baba unexpectedly chose them as husband and wife.  Smitten with terrible pains of conscience, they resigned and wrote a seminal document in the history of our former devotee movement of exposure – The Findings. Eventually, worn down by all their intense and prolonged efforts to inform the world, they told like Hari Sampath, Glen Meloy and myself that they now wished to live in peace and quiet.  See: David Bailey’s ‘The Findings’ its consequences. Posted by robertpriddy on September 19, 2008.  David Bailey and Thomas Wiehe. Transcript Of Phone Link: Sathya Sai Abuses.  Truth In Action: David and Faye Bailey Vs Sathya Sai Baba

See the link below for my tribute to my magnificent closest collaborator in the Exposure, the late Glen Meloy. In his 24 years of dedicated service alongside legendary figures in the Sathya Sai movement, Sai devotees dearly loved Glen.  Like others who stood forth for truth and goodness (a phrase very deep and dear to Glen), he suffered the utmost lack of love and honor from the moment he attempted to get the leaders of the Sathya Sai Organization to show duty of care for the many families round the world whose children had been abused.  See:  Glen Meloy (“Standing up for truth and goodness”) – In Memoriam.

Hari Sampath was formerly a member of Sathya Sai Baba’s security and intelligence wing and Glen Meloy (q.v) showed from circ early 1999 strong leadership in international coordination efforts. Hari Sampath was at that time on a Green Card in the USA, working in software engineering for a major corporation. After a couple of years of intensive involvement, he returned to India, and embarked on other work. Glen  Meloy and I increasingly developed our own worldwide network and were involved in many activities, such as supporting survivors and their families and friends, documenting accounts, cooperating with those who were setting up websites (blogsites were a development quite far-off), dealing with the media, government and police instrumentalities, and civic and religious institutions. 

Until he died of cancer on January 1, 2005, Glen Meloy and I continued to coordinate worldwide exposure activities.  By this time, Robert Priddy, the former long-time head of the Sathya Sai Organization in Sweden, and retired academic of the University of Oslo, co-founder had done much investigative and documentary work, often independently.

V.K. Narasimhan and Robert Priddy. The former was the Editor of ‘Sanathana Sarathi’, following Professor N. Kasturi, and one of the few people around Sai Baba who did not toady to him. Both Priddy and I (he for much longer than I) had a trusted friendship with ‘VKN’, essentially a very private man, and one of India’s foremost and most courageous newspaper editors.

After Glen Meloy’s deathRobert Priddy and I became likewise close and trusted collaborators, and have remained so.  See:  A Sathya Sai Saga. Barry Pittard Recollects. Part 6.

After speaking out, including to Sathya Sai Baba, and spending a great deal of time in researching abuse accounts at first hand, including those he gathered in private from Sai Baba’s students, Terry Gallagher gave up. His brother-in-law, Neville Fredericks, is the present head of the Sathya Sai Organization in Australia.

Neville Fredericks (right), head of the Australian Sathya Sai Organization. Nationally and internationally, its top leaders assiduously cultivate power elites in politics, mainstream religion and civic groups, but many of these, as a result of our own former devotee and allied network activity, will have nothing to do with the cult. As the Sai leaders – to their great chagrin – know only too well. Fredericks is a brother-in-law of first Australian SS Org. Head, Terry Gallagher, who resigned after carefully investigating at first hand sexual and other abuse claims against Sathya Sai Baba. Gallagher showed what other leaders have grossly failed to show – conscience and preparedness to heed some of the great many accounts of sexual and other forms of abuse.

On the phone, Terry told me that he felt that he had done what he could to investigate the coverup surrounding the murders in Sathya Sai Baba’s bedroom on 6 April 1993 and many cases of Sathya Sai Baba’s sexual abuse of boys and young men. He said that his  stance in resigning headship of the Sathya Sai Organization in Australia brought strain on his relationship with his wife and brother-in-law, and that he was at last getting back on a better footing with them.

I see things differently. To me, crimes are crimes, and they need proper reporting and prosecution – and whatever recompense we can obtain for survivors – such as expert counseling.  See:  Sathya Sai Organization, Australia, Ex-Head Terry Gallagher’s Testimony Against Sathya Sai Baba

Selection of Articulate Voices Who Have Dissented – At Great Cost, But Great Reward Of Conscience

A Letter From Shirley Pike, Ex-President , North Central Region – Iowa, U.S.A.

Elena Hartgering – My Story

Experiences of a woman – Åsa Samsioe from Sweden 

Sathya Sai Baba Critic Serguei Badaev: An Incisive Voice of Conscience From Russia

The Late Leo Boogaard: A Dutch Voice of Conscience On Sathya Sai Baba

New Zealand Lawyer Exposes Official Cover Up of Killings In Sathya Sai Baba Bedroom

Stephen Carthew, A Voice of Testimony From Australia, On The Dangers of Cults

Letter from Stephen Carthew 

(Late) Ron and Peggy Laing: Deeply Alienated From Sathya Sai Organization

The Sathya Sai Organization: Almost overnight, dissenters treated as demons!

Sathya Sai Baba Organization’s Betrayal of Love and Compassion

Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba
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Will Authorities Find Sex Abuse and Staff Bullying At ‘Sathya Sai School’, Leicester, UK?

Posted by Barry Pittard on September 1, 2012

A great many responsible schools, businesses and other organizations know – and follow – the well-tested and proper processes necessary to deal with report of crimes such as sexual and physical abuse. Not so, however, the highly secretive, cultic International Sathya Sai Organization.  See:  Barry Pittard – On Institutional Cover Ups and Psychological Denial. September 5, 2011.

(Note:  I may be contacted with assured confidentiality at:  bpittard (at) westnet.com.au)

A most recent example are the troubles afflicting the cult’s ‘Sai School’ at Leicester, England. Worried parents have called in British social workers to investigate. My colleague Robert Priddy wrote of alleged troubles and scandals at the school in 2009. His August 2012 update – given developments that may prove much harder for the Sathya Sai cult to suppress – he posted recently. See:  Sathya Sai Schools: Leicester, Puttaparthi, Gothenburg etc. up-dated.  Posted by robertpriddy on July 20, 2012

‘Sai School’, Leicester,UK. Yet another Sathya Sai cult institution facing sexual and physical abuse allegations

We have very trustworthy, on-the-ground informants in the UK.

A first-hand informant states:  

“Parents who had the courage to complain (about) the headteacher to the social services are now in a vulnerable position to face the bullying headteacher Usha Lim.”

Touchingly – including struggles with English expression – one correspondent writes:

“The headteacher Usha Lim has reported couple of parents to the police, so things are getting a bit touchy here …. The drama unfolds  even after all the complaints against headteacher Usha Lim and reporting her to the social services by the parents.  She is still there, thanks to Dr. Michael Goldstein who is the ‘godfather’ supported by Kalyan Ray, while the chair of school directors Dr Madhavi Majmudar and her stooges just obeys their masters”.  

A source reports that:  

“The headteacher is accused of bullying, emotional abuse, physical punishment of children. Parents complained to the social services who conducted an inquiry which proved true. Even sexual abuse is heard of. The top officials at Puttaparthy etc. are busy protecting their names and the headteacher’s”. 

And further:  

“Dr Michael Goldstein and Kalyan Ray along with Dr Madhavi Majmudar (chair of school directors) are doing their best to hide this news from the rest of the world”.  

World head of Sathya Sai cult, Dr Michael Goldstein, of California, USA. Caught by hidden camera in rage at the young female BBC interviewer, Tanya Datta, in ‘The Secret Swami’, 2004, seen by millions in many countries.

For information-dense articles about Goldstein, which have valuable recondite links, see Robert Priddy’s article:  Dr. Michael Goldstein; self-important fantasist, deceiver of self and others. For but one of many examples of Goldstein’s blinkered views – of the sort highly disagreeable to clear-thinking members of any society – see my:  Sai Baba Saved Devotees From 9/11 Says Dr Michael Goldstein

Allegations At A Glance

Headteacher:  Usha Lim. Wife of another accused Cheng Ho Lim.

Accusations:  That she emotionally abuses and physically punishes students.  Also faces questions from parents and social service investigators on the issue of covering up sexual and other abuses.

Usha Lim, principal of the Sathya Sai School in Leicester, UK. Faces allegations that she has bullied, emotionally abused and physically punished children at school.

Cheng Ho Lim:  Husband of Usha Lim, above. He is a Physical Education teacher at the same school.

Accusation:  A female staff member alleges that Lim has sexually harassed her.

Cheng Ho Lim. Physical Education teacher at the Leicester Sathya Sai School, UK. Husband of the school principal, Usha Lim. Faces allegations of sexual harassment of a female teacher at the school.

Parent Allegations Against Top Sathya Sai Organisation Leaders In Attempts At Cover Up In The Leicester Case

Note on Dr Michael Goldstein:

Parents at the Leicester Sai School are deeply concerned that Goldstein and the Puttaparthi authorities now, in an urgent attempt to cover up the allegations, intimidate people and, in other cases, mollify and co-opt.

Irrespective of the exceptionally qualified and experienced sexual abuse professionals around the world (and many, many! others from a great array of professions, trades and study areas) who have first-hand experience of survivors of Sathya Sai Baba’s sexual abuse of boys and young men, Goldstein told the BBC that he is a  “consummate professional” and would recognize sexual abuse among boys and young men if it had occurred. Goldstein most audaciously trespasses on the professional preserve of others. He is NOT a sexual abuse professional!  See:  The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ – A Revision.

In fact, the BBC, which spent months of exhaustive investigation, unearthed yet more compelling cases even than the many which we had painstakingly, and from many countries, documented from 1999. (See here for transcript and short BBC video clip).

The Sai Cult’s Decades of Soviet Style Lack of Accountability and Transparency

Despite great changes worldwide in institutional accountability, transparency and compliance with the law, the International Sathya Sai Organization plunges on in its crass attempts at covering up each new outbreak of sexual and other abuses in its institutions. This profound irresponsibility is but one of many evidences that it is an authoritarian cult, impervious to reform. It has learnt nothing from our many years of unrelenting exposure of the cult. Our good standing in our professions, trades has been well-established with many great media, the United Nations, and in our own communities. Our efforts have sparked investigations in leading responsible media in many countries. We have made proper representations to many national governments and institutions throughout the world.

More than a decade of exposure effort has taken untold sacrifices in health and in activities which our workers would far rather have been doing. It has also attracted almost unimaginable libel and defamation and, in some cases, threats to life against our people. Our key workers have never given in, and are not likely to. We can all attest, as can many leading journalists and others worldwide that, although many Sathya devotees are kind and decent people, Sai Baba’s key servitors are most certainly  bullies and cover up merchants of the first order.

For example, the top-level UNESCO investigation and its September 2000 Media Advisory. See:  BBC Exposed Sai Baba Top Aide’s And Indian Foreign Minister’s Ploy With UNESCOPosted by Barry Pittard on April 28, 2011

With the personal assistance of the then Indian foreign minister, the Deputy world chairman of the international Sathya Sai Organization, Dr G. Venkataraman, who is the director of the Sathya Sai international satellite radio station, made a concerted attempt to undo the successful representation to UNESCO of former devotees around the world.  For a further glimpse at Venkataraman, see: Sathya Sai Baba’s ‘Minister of Propaganda’ – Dr G. Venkataraman.

The BBC assistant producer of ‘The Secret Swami’, David Saville, was able to expose the Puttaparthi-Indian Foreign Minister-UNESCO Director and Assistant Director nexus to undermine the opportunity for a venue for former Sai Baba devotees from many countries.

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  UNESCO MEDIA ADVISORY

“UNESCO’s withdrawal was prompted by several factors. Certain decisions were taken by the ISSE without consultation, such as plans to hold some of the sessions at the Ashram of the Sathya Sai movement in Puttaparthi, and the inclusion of some speakers in the conference programme without their previous consent. Furthermore, the Organization is deeply concerned about widely-reported allegations of sexual abuse involving youths and children that have been levelled at the leader of the movement in question, Sathya Sai Baba. Whilst it is not for UNESCO to pronounce itself in this regard, the Organization restates its firm moral and practical commitment to combating the sexual exploitation of children, in application of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which requires States to protect children from all forms of sexual exploitation and violence”.

UNESCO WITHDRAWS FROM CONFERENCE

Paris, September 15 – UNESCO has decided it will no longer sponsor nor take part in a conference it had been due to co-organize with the Institute of Sathya Sai Education (ISSE, Thailand) and The Flinders University Institute of International Education (Australia), in Puttaparthi, India, from September 25 to 29. The decision means UNESCO is no longer associated in any way – through sponsorship, organization or participation of any kind – with the conference on Strengthening Values Education: Innovative Approaches to Teacher Education for Peace and International Understanding.

UNESCO’s withdrawal was prompted by several factors. Certain decisions were taken by the ISSE without consultation, such as plans to hold some of the sessions at the Ashram of the Sathya Sai movement in Puttaparthi, and the inclusion of some speakers in the conference programme without their previous consent. Furthermore, the Organization is deeply concerned about widely-reported allegations of sexual abuse involving youths and children that have been levelled at the leader of the movement in question, Sathya Sai Baba. Whilst it is not for UNESCO to pronounce itself in this regard, the Organization restates its firm moral and practical commitment to combating the sexual exploitation of children, in application of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which requires States to protect children from all forms of sexual exploitation and violence.

(See: http://www.saibaba-x.org.uk/10/UNESCO.htm and the advisory on the wayback archive machine at: http://web.archive.org/web/20031003020809/http://www.unesco.org/education/highlights/media_advisory.htm).

Wide Danish Public Outcry Against Sathya Sai  Cult’s Projected Multi Million Dollar ‘Sai International School’

Denmark’s national broadcaster DR made the carefully researched, one-hour documentary Seduced.  It was very critical of Sai Baba. It was first screened January 30, 2002.  Danish municipal authorities acted against the Sathya Sai Organisation, ensuring that the sale to it of the famous Arresødal castle in Copenhagen did not eventuate. Bob Bozzani, one of the top officials in the Sathya Sai Organization of the U.S.A., had donated several millions of dollars to the venture. The venue was to have been used as a ‘Sai International School’. Top Sai Baba leaders Thorbjörn Meyer and Jørgen Trygved initiated several litigations against DR, all of which failed – even though they had retained the top litigation lawyers in Denmark.

The DR producer told me that Thorbjörn Meyer was so rude to the distinguished head of Denmark’s top national television and radio Director, Christian Nissen, that he had to be removed from the office. 

Seduced has had several repeats in Denmark and Norway. In an English version and retitled Seduced By Sai Baba, it screened in Australia, February 14, 2004. Litigation threats against the highly-respected multicultural national broadcaster SBS, by Sai Baba’s then Australian leader, T. Ramanathan failed. He also threatened both to sue me and to have me criminally prosecuted. See HERE and HERE. He, unlike his close associates Meyer and Trygved, never went near a court. Sai Baba devotees who know Ramanathan and a number of other leaders well know that, where the can, they bluff and bully. As indeed would befit those at the helm of a formidable cult. Here – in his threatening letter to SBS (Australia’s highly-esteemed multicultural television and radio broadcaster) – see LINK . This sorry display, by any democratic society’s reckoning – is a example of the Ramanathan’s (and a number of close Sai Baba men’s) muckracking style.

See Update to this article:  Staff Sex and Bullying Allegations At Sathya Sai School Leicester (UK)

Posted by Barry Pittard on September 4, 2012

Some Useful Video Footage

1) Three robes from Sai (Filesize 654Kb)

2) Numerous ‘materialisations (Filesize 1.12 Mb

3) Alaya Rahm tells of Sai Baba threats and oral sex abuse of him when still a minor 1.05Mb)

4) Testimony – Sai Baba tried anal sex etc. (Filesize 1.0 Mb)

5) Al Rahm tells of his learning of the sex abuse of his son

6) Alaya’s mother tells of her reaction

7) Indian student sex abuse victims cannot speak out (Filesize 340Kb)

8) The Rahm’s son’s fears if he told the truth about Sai sex abuse (Filesize 515 Kb)

9) Alaya Rahm was told not to tell and threatened by Sai Baba (Filesize 840 Kb)

Note:  The US State Department were contacted by the BBC (filesize 1.26 Mb) and confirmed their Travel Advisory warning as being directed specifically against Sathya Sai Baba. In the Danish film ‘Seduced’, There is also video testimony that many students were abused 

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Cults and Corruption In India: Young, Articulate Voices Speak Out – Ignoring the Risks

Posted by Barry Pittard on August 25, 2012

In my article Exposing Cultic, Political and Other Corruptions: India Stirs  (Barry Pittard, August 6, 2012), I referred to the continuing groundswell of popular cross-party agitation in India against massive government and corporate corruption. For those who can afford an hour of concentrated viewing, I recommended viewing the excellent academic and activist Vivek Srinivasan’s Designing Technology to Combat Corruption    PGJ, Program on Liberation Technology Seminar Series20 January 2011

Leaders of this widespread public movement (slightly analogous to ‘Occupy Movement’ in western countries), show the courage so lacking – I deeply regret to say – in almost all of my former students and teaching colleagues in Sathya Sai college education, who for decades knew of the sexual, financial and other terrible abuses that Sathya Sai Baba and certain of his core leaders perpetrated. In the above article, I wrote

It may well be that – as the older members of the Sathya Sai Baba cult get old and die – the Sathya Sai Baba cult will take new turnings. It hard to predict at the moment. In any case, especially younger generations will need to be alert. So to speak, creatures thought dead at last can arise, yet again – if not in quite the same form – from the old slime of their dark lagoons. As far as recent Indian polls go, Sathya Sai Baba is dead to India at large.  See:  The Greatest Indians since Gandhi nominated – & Sathya Sai Baba? But our vigilance should never die.  See also:  ‘Face the Nation’ Audience Poll, India – 87% Hostile to Gurus Like Sathya Sai Baba

In marked contrast to those of my former students and colleagues – who forever made noble speeches about fearless practice of truth, right conduct, peace, love and non-violence – a young Indian citizen in IT, the capable and articulate Srikanth Uppuluri has taken his personal safety in his own hands, and is regularly speaking out, from a significant degree of first hand experience, in his blog:  Sai Baba Deceptions and Fraud

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Exposing Cultic, Political and Other Corruptions: India Stirs

Posted by Barry Pittard on August 6, 2012

It may well be that – as the older members of the Sathya Sai Baba cult get old and die – the Sathya Sai Baba cult will take new turnings. It hard to predict at the moment. In any case, especially younger generations will need to be alert. So to speak, creatures thought dead at last can arise, yet again – if not in quite the same form – from the old slime of their dark lagoons. As far as recent Indian polls go, Sathya Sai Baba is dead to India at large.  See:  The Greatest Indians since Gandhi nominated – & Sathya Sai Baba? But our vigilance should never die.  See also:  ‘Face the Nation’ Audience Poll, India – 87% Hostile to Gurus Like Sathya Sai Baba

Young people faced with gurus and other feet-of-clay mentors who seem so full of light will need to see via the light of their own rational questioning. All of us need to question our values such as any misplaced ‘political correctness’ and nebulous notions of ‘freedom of religion’. We need to challenge essentially corrupt, autocratic, backward-looking cults like international Sathya Sai Organization. These threaten genuine freedom and the health of society at large.  The foes of the ‘open society’ (in Sir Karl Popper’s term) are those who use its very openness to achieve their closed and devious ends. See Robert Priddy’s and my extensive four-part article:  The Sathya Sai Organization’s Deception and Propaganda Exposed

In India, challenge to corruption widely stirs. One of the great complicitors in protecting Sathya Sai Baba and his cult, the present Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, was further tarnished by the violent manner in which he responded to widely peaceful and articulate anti-corruption protests. See my articles: Anna Hazare’s Arrest. Dark Days For Indian Democracy, August 17, 2011, and: UK In Flames. But Not India. Anna Hazare Sets Example Of Peaceful ProtestAugust 17, 2011.

NEW DELHI: Civil society’s battle against corruption acquired its sharpest edge ever on Tuesday as veteran social activist Anna Hazare began a fast unto death at the capital’s landmark Jantar Mantar demanding greater public role in the Anti-Corruption Bill (Lokpal Bill), which has now been considered and put aside by successive regimes for the last 42 years.
Anna Hazare ignored several pleas of the government to defer his fast as he stood firm on his demand for a joint committee comprising government and civil society leaders to rework the current draft Lokpal Bill. He maintained that the current Bill covering only politicians was inadequate as politicians often colluded with officials to indulge in corruption. , 22 August, 2011.

India is still in many ways profoundly gerontocratic. In a deeply traditionalist country, (mainly) old (mainly) men, preponderantly, have consummate skills in retaining  power. This deadly hand of state is not first mediated via external exercise of political power, but unreflectively rooted in practically every home, and in every caste and class, and, in turn, in thousands of years of history.  The internet generation of India’s young is, of course, extraordinarily IT savvy. Superficially, it may all seem like a grand silicon break from the iron grip of hidebound past. But these young people (often bright, charming and delightful when I meet them to this day) are, effectively, the all-too-unwitting toys of rulers who are old, and who can use all the old tricks of control.  Or rather – one should say – of mind and soul binding. Especially is this so in the use of religion, the caste system, nepotism, arranged marriages, etc., to keep things much the way the corrupt and canny old players of statecraft want. If one wants to understand them better, read the  ‘Arthaśāstra’ of Chanakya, who pre-dated his kindred spirit in renaissance Italy Machiavelli by 1800 years.

Anti-corruption campaigners protest in India as Anna Hazare continues to attract crowds in New Delhi even though he announced on Thursday evening that he will end his ‘Fast Unto Death’ on Friday.
People gathered at the site of the Anna Hazare agitation in New Delhi despite the anti-graft campaigner’s announcement that he will end the stir on Friday. Hazare has been on a fast-unto-death till the government ratifies an anti-graft law that provides for prosecuting senior politicians, including the Prime Minister, and bureaucrats for corruption. http://www.demotix.com/news

Too often in India, both the heroes (slender in number, as always and everywhere) and the villains are old, and – at other times – a damn sight older.  An ageing anti-corruption crusader like Anna Hazare is like – in a certain sense – a re-visitation from Mahatma Gandhi. A much younger crusader, who uses analogous methods, is Swami Ramdev, who has had, to date, not nearly the same clout as Hazare. The operant factors are complex, although the remarks of Sushant Kumar, a young, perceptive Indian commentator, are worth reading, as are his other blogs.  He suggests that a major reason for the larger celebrity line-up behind Hazare may be that the latter, unlike Ramdev, poses no sexy superstardom sort of challenge to them.  See:  Baba Ramdev, Anna Hazare & Social Media – Difference of opinion, by 

Difference in the sentiment of twitter users towards Anna Hazare & Baba Ramdev
January 20, 2011 – Program on Liberation Technology News.
***
It is also good to see contributions of educated, young Indians like Vivek Srinivasan (see below) expertly and pragmatically discussing the potentials of IT (and other systems) in combatting corruption.  It is for a long, sad while that I have sought any of my former students at the Sri Sathya Sai College of the Arts, Science and Commerce, via Bangalore, Karnataka who would fit among the research-based and courageous activists of whom Vivek Srinivasan speaks.
Some of the researchers into social inequality and corruption are no strangers to being beaten up. One of them is quoted as saying:  “I would rather give up my life than give up my papers”! By no means are technical means of corruption exposure at all expensive. Many methods are essentially simple and within the grasp of many or of most. They can be very imaginative and resourceful. (Some examples of the success of a handful of us in exposing worldwide, give evidence of this – especially, of course, the internet – in bringing down Sathya Sai Baba and his cult. The younger generation now have far more tools, great and small, than our activists have had available to us).
A lengthy, lively, at times interactive discussion excellently led by Vivek Srinivasan is here:  

In a few days, I’ll refer to Vivek Srinivasan’s article on the role of technology in combatting corruption:  

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Sathya Sai Baba: Symbol Of A Vastly Corrupt India Resistant To Reform

Posted by Barry Pittard on May 16, 2012

For over a decade, many of Robert Priddy‘s and my articles have insisted that the changes Sathya Sai Baba promised for India (much less – and more megalomaniacally still – the world) have, in extreme degree, failed to materialize.   See:  India will lead the world – Sathya Sai Baba and:  Official Sai Baba Documents Show His Death Date Prophecies Failed and:  Sai Baba’s failed predictions, doubtful birth date, doubtful age, doubtful death and:  Most predictions by and about Sai Baba failed

He was appalling off-target in regard to the future, but blundered quite as egregiously  in matters relating to the past.  See:  Sathya Sai Baba Made Huge Science and History Mistakes.  He himself is now of the past, so his prophecy, below, is now part of the huge junk pile of his glaring errors:

A huge array of India’s power elites – including many successive Indian Prime Ministers and Presidents – who so often visited him – profoundly failed to go within light years of following his teachings about truth, right conduct, peace, love and non-violence.  He himself failed to live up to them.

Social injustice, corruption, casteism, nepotism, military and police violence and other extreme malfunctions always were, and are, as rife in India.  See:  Ex-Chief Justice of India: Sathya Sai Baba “dictated my every single judgement” and:  Will India clean up its Augean police and political stables? and:  Police, Security and Sathya Sai Baba

Former devotees and others who have worked to expose the crimes, misdemeanors and spiritual betrayals of Sai Baba and many of his core leaders have faced enormous obstacles. One of these has been the failure of almost the entire Indian media. The  honorable exception was India Today.  In a professional way, it dealt with our witnesses (individuals of outstanding professional and other credentials) both from other countries and well as from India.  To often, there there was the often skillfully disguised hatred of westerners only too familiar to experts on India  –  a trait interpretable as stemming from India’s long experience with British imperialism and, before that, the crashing waves of Mughal invasion. In dealing with her power brokers, no one should fall for the infinite charm.

It is to the Indian media’s undying shame that foreign media in various countries had to take the lead in surfacing facts about the 1993 police killings in Sai Baba’s bedroom, the serial and wide scale sexual abuse of boys and young men, etc.

Establishing the bona fides of former devotees from many countries around the world took coordinators a vast amount of time and hard work.  

However, with demonstrable intellectual dishonesty, individuals like the deputy chairman of the world Sathya Sai Organization, Dr G. Venkatarman, residing at Sai Baba’s Puttaparthi headquarters, tried to impute ill motives to many former devotees many of whom had outstanding records of service and devotion when members of the international Sathya Sai Organization, and attribute gross incompetence to the BBC, The London Times, The Telegraph, The Guardian, among others.  

Venkataraman’s poverty of intellectual discourse can be seen in various other directions, too.  With telling use of documents, Robert Priddy, retired philosopher and social scientist of the university of Oslo, Norway,  exposed Venkataraman for serious science plagiarism of a sort which, were the deeds not perpetrated in an India rank with corruption of every sort, would probably have seen him in great trouble in the academic world elsewhere.  See:  Indian Scientist Dr G. Venkataraman Accused of Plagiarism and:   Sathya Sai Baba’s ‘Minister of Propaganda’ – Dr G. Venkataraman.

It took many decades before Indian news reports adverse to Sathya Sai Baba and his cult could be seen.  There is the irony that non-resident Indians around the world saw the BBC (see:  Barry Pittard’s Guide To His Articles On The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ (Exposing Sai Baba), and many other media, expose Sathya Sai Baba and his worldwide cult – which the Indian media almost exclusively denied to their readers and viewers.  See:  Exposure of Sathya Sai Baba. Media Source List.  Sathya Sai Devotees Suspect Foul Play In Guru’s Health Crisis. Seek Court Order

Our private contact with leading Indian journalists, including with editors of major media, has long underlined the power of the Sathya Sai Organization to keep stories out of the press, no matter how great the scandal. It was many decades too late that the Indian media ran the sort of stories now impossible to suppress.  See:

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

‘Face the Nation’ Audience Poll, India – 87% Hostile to Gurus Like Sathya Sai Baba

This was not until the last stages Sathya Sai Baba’s illness, his death (about which leading devotees themselves questioned Sathya Central Trust’s highly irregular handling of matters), and the vast millions worth of currency, gold, silver and other valuable items which Sai Baba secreted in his private quarters.  

In a note to a senior Indian investigative journalist on a top Indian television channel, I wrote (in part):

 (How could) “a Trust – charged with due diligence! – first, dismiss all suggestions that a unaccounted treasure could lie hidden, and issue emphatic statements that all-is-above board – with only cheques from, and receipts issued to, donors – and, YET, later, only after repeated contradicting detection, come up with another explanation altogether?

If they were let loose on the Sai Baba and Sai Trust saga, Indian newspaper cartoonists would have a field day,  ….! You potentially have a great story. But will you and your Team dare to go for it, X? Where are all the editorials? The serious Ed.Op pieces? Where is there a persistent raising of vital questions – e.g., about the circumstances leading up to Sai Baba’s death/ the death certificate circumstances/ the ordering of his golden casket from a source in Bangalore well before his death / his body weight at the time of his hospital admission / the reported concern of Sai Baba’s team of highly senior doctors about lack of information on any medications being given to him before his emergency admission to their care / or about the lack of statements from doctors and nurses and, above all, Dr Safaya at the Sathya Sai hospital who resigned en masse / or about Satyajit (about whom there is so much silence, and yet so much noise – indeed bluster!  –  from V. Srinivasan and R.J. Ratnakar)?What of the on-again, off-again resignations of Ex-Chief Justice Bhagwati? And of the former world Sathya Sai Organization head, Indulal Shah? And so on ……..”.  

See:  Sathya Sai Baba Saga: Is There Too Little Indian Media Critical Analysis?

Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

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Excerpt From Public Petition (and introduction)

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

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Will Court Action Outside India Expose Hired Killers In The Sathya Sai Cult?

Posted by Barry Pittard on January 21, 2012

There is a matter about which I should shortly be able to write. I understand that arrests have been made, money trails unearthed, dangerous and bloody forces exposed through hard evidence and testimony, and that court actions are about to unfold.

I am told that a major media force is now preparing a documentary. It will be interesting to see how the International Sathya Sai Organization reacts.

Many death threats are, of course, bluffs. Some come from idle nutters who rant or bunglers who don’t get very far. But it is important, nonetheless, to keep whatever tracks may have been left by all who threaten.

In regard to some types of information, with the assistance of our relevant professional members, we deal with Interpol or other government agencies. In Australia, I have dealt with the (then) head of Interpol in Australia, Paul Weller, and senior officials in DFAT (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade). Our USA members have dealt with the FBI and State Department, UK members, their officials, and so on. In India, there are certain means by which to raise issues that circumvent at least some of the endemic corruption in that country. On occasions, we have been successful there, too, despite huge odds.

Since 1999, when the internationally coordinated former devotee exposure of Sathya Sai Baba and his cult began, there have been times when, for the personal safety of our most active members, we have had to curtail any thought of going public. This has been especially so in relation to India, where one of our brilliantly effective members has reported, and taken to a high government authority in India, attempts either to kill or maim him. Although he had earlier taken strong actions, he heeded family members and other acquaintances deeply concerned for his safety.

In background terms, with the permission of another key person, I earlier began to write of great progress made in India in exposing at least a part of the teacher sexual betrayal of Sathya Sai Baba college boys. I abruptly stopped writing. In the wake of these court actions, an acquaintance of mine, some of whose family elders I have long known, a former Sathya Sai Baba college boy, twice narrowly escaped with his life, in two separate countries. It will be most interesting if the three police forces investigating the second attack on him show in court evidence where those now accused as hired assassins got their training. India is one of the countries that will need to be looked at very closely.

Of course, too, the victim’s immense wealth and effectiveness in exposing at law elements of the Sathya Sai cult will need to be considered as motives for the alleged hiring of hitmen. The alleged hirer will need, among his other associations, to be looked at for any connection with the Sathya Sai Organization, including in his own country, which is outside India, although he is of Indian origin.

In this latter case, various professional security advice is at hand. I understand that close body protection is now provided for the man and his family, and he tells me that he is utterly resolute in continuing to expose some of the more evil-minded of the Sathya Sai fraternity, as are a goodly number of his colleagues who are knowledgeable about Sathya Sai Baba, and India and other countries, who have now risen to positions of outstanding influence and power.

This world would never be such a dangerous place if it were far more common to stand up against the vile miscreants who corrupt it. We should not wait for times of war to show a bit of determination to overcome the evils that, sooner or later, trouble all of us.

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Sathya Sai Baba Birthday Celebrations – Barry Pittard articles: 2007 to 2011

Posted by Barry Pittard on November 22, 2011

Below, I have excerpted from my articles posted on or close to each Sathya Sai Baba birthday celebration. These go back to 2007, the year in which I began ‘Call For Media and Government Investigation of Sathya Sai Baba.

One of the key reasons why Robert Priddy and I continue to expose the Sathya Sai Baba cult is that his worldwide Sathya Sai Organization, though it is in vast public discredit and struggling to remain intact, continues to draw unwitting people into its thrall. Now and then, members of major international media continue to consult us, and find us unflaggingly truthful, carefully analytic and responsible, as do other organizations and persons who stand against cultic dangers to human well-being.

Repeatedly, it is the many Sathya Sai Baba devotees who – abjectly forgetful of  Sai Baba’s constantly harped-upon preachments about love, peace and sweet-spokenness – break the teachings common to many religions and philosophical systems . Their commonsense and decency paralysed, they cannot look at critical facts, rationally and truthfully presented. Cruelly, they libel those who have stood forth – persons they had long respected and served alongside, year after year, when we shared devotion for Sai Baba.

From the moment we raised our voiced in question, devotees shunned and reviled us. In untold ways, they twisted our words and intentions. They attacked our worthy standing in our professions, trades and wider communities. Ever more sadly, there were attacks against our families, including our children.

Prominent leaders in the Sathya Sai Organization – including those who were close to Sai Baba and part of the Saibabaofindia.com party – have long supported the most vicious and dishonest attacker of former devotees and other critics, Gerald ‘Joe’ Moreno, of Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA. So intensive were his attempts to sabotage the Wikipedia article on Sathya Sai Baba that he was permanently banned, along with an associate. Ironically, many Sai devotees refused to associate with him, and voices for reason, such as Adrian Hoogenbosch, urged that speaking offensively to Sai Baba’s critics was not spiritually or ethically tenable.

Puttaparthi Sai Baba Birthday 2011 – Where Have All The Golden Pomp and Circumstance Gone?

Posted by November 20, 2011

The late Sathya Sai Baba’s birthday celebrations occur on 23 November. As usual, around this time, there is an upsurge of visitors to this blogsite and that of Robert Priddy. However, in comparison to other years, the numbers are much down, very much as Sai Baba himself is forever down in the earth, and his devotees infinitely down in the dumps.

After his death in on 24 April 2011, we have seen something of the terrible in-fighting over managerial succession at Puttaparthi, and then of the discovery – not of spiritual treasure but – untold hoarded treasure in Sai Baba’s private quarters. The international Sathya Sai Organization, despite or perhaps in part because of its soviet-style, top-down management style, is in vast disarray. See:

‘Secret Swami’ (Late) Sai Baba: Vast Millions In Hoard Found Hidden In His Palace-Temple and:

Sai Baba: hoarding, secrecy, mistrust, powerlessness, deceit

Sathya Sai 85th Birthday. Has Said He Will Soon Rule World, And Not Age

Posted November 25, 2010

 Sathya Sai Baba has said:

“In the days ahead, the whole world will be obliged to come to Prashanthi Nilayam” (p. 320 Sanathana Sarathi December 1991)

“The whole world will be transformed into Sathya Sai Organisation and Sathya Sai will be installed in the hearts of one and all”.  p. 16 Sanathana Sarathi January 1999)

“In Argentina (Sathya Sai Baba) bhajans are being held in every home [cheers].”  Sathya Sai Speaks, XXIII, 29:255 – 20-10-1990, on the alleged 50th anniversary of Sathya Sai Baba’s so-called ‘Declaration’ of his so-called ‘Reality’ as Avatar of all Avatars.)

Here is a simple test:  Ask any Argentinian whether this statement is true. If it is not, ergo – this Sathya is not telling the truth or is credulous and badly misinformed! But, then, how can this be so?  For he has long said that he is All-knowing and All-seeing ….

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Sai Baba Breaks Down and Sobs At 85th Birthday Celebration (Video Footage)

Posted December 31, 2010

Over the years, we have received various reports of Sathya Sai Baba increasingly losing a composure that has been oft-noted in him for decades. But only recently has this type of behaviour been clear for all to see, and in video footage emanating from his own camp. During his November birthday, Sathya Sai Baba – in the midst of being praised for all the good he has done – broke down and sobbed deeply and for some time. To see this video (download 3.9 Mbs), CLICK HERE

Sathya Sai Baba on his 85th birthday - not happy “Be happy!” “I have no enemies.. I love all. I am always smiling. Many people think how can I keep smiling? I don’t like castoroil faces.. When you all are happy, I will be happy.” Sathya Sai Baba in his lectern-thumping tirade, Christmas Discourse 2000
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Is Puttaparthi Glitter the ‘Shining India’?

Posted December 16, 2010

Often, there is the tacit assumption that to criticize Sathya Sai Baba is itself a slight against India. This is offensive to a great many Indians from all walks of life who do not think that Sai Baba is a reflection of all that is good in their country.

Anyone who has lived in India lengthily, as I have, comes to know how profoundly Indians across classes and divides deplore the corruptions and abuses of human rights and democratic freedoms which they see perpetrated by the power elites in their country.

Yet this is the India that Sai Baba has said he will transform. He has spoken of first “cleaning up his own backyard”, before saving the entire world before he dies. He is now very old and sick.

Sathya Sai Baba Breaks Down and Sobs at 85th Birthday

Posted December 11, 2010

Sathya Sai Baba’s many reported weeping episodes have taken – as from circa the year 2000 – a marked upsweep after the advent of worldwide exposure of widespread serial sexual abuse of boys and young men (See also HERE and HERE);  his implication in the massive local, state and central governments’ cover up of police killings in his bedroom at Puttaparthi (See HERE and HERE and HERE); vast misappropriation of billions in funds collected worldwide (See HERE and HERE and HERE); his vast opulence in a land of great poverty, squalor, ignorance and superstition; his failed predictions (See HERE and HERE); and much else that reveals him to be one of history’s great imposters, whatever may be the good deeds that he has sparked off in many of his devotees.

Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba 84th Birthday Celebrations. Will 21st Century India Tolerate The Shame That Is Puttaparthi?

Posted November 22, 2009

In marked contrast, a great many Indians do not in substantive ways – even though they acknowledge that his devotees often do good social works – respect Sathya Sai Baba and his extremely undemocratic and unaccountable cult. By way of confirmation, let any traveller to India keep his or her ears open or even politely pose the question to many of her citizens. That simple test is almost enough in itself. Many well-informed Indians do not appreciate that, at a time when vast efforts  try, on many fronts, to bring India into the best of 21st century practice, that, buffoon-like, Sathya Sai Baba flourishes unbounded aspirations to create a Ram-Rajarate, as it were, in their country – far more opulent the ‘Glory that was Rome’ or the ‘Splendour that was Greece’.Golden Glitter For Sai Baba's 83rd Birthday Mind you, it is more than India he has said that he will rule – it is the world. In regard to India, see, for example, the south Indian scholar-Sai Baba devotee Ra. Ganapati  in his semi-official biography, “Baba: Sathya Sai” (Vol II – page 85):

“His college students had the privilege to see another unique creation in the Ootacamund Summer Course in June 1976. Svami, who declared that He would live to see ninety six years in this body, mentioned that eighteen important institutions would be established by Him all over India in the remaining forty six years, and circled His hand.
Immediately there appeared in His hand a big medal with the map of India engraved. There were inscribed therein the eighteen institutions that are to appear in the next near-half-century. Not only that, the medal also carried the important ‘achievements-to-be’ of Svami in the future, in microscopic Devanagiri characters in the Samskrit language.”

Many have heard and read where he says that the whole world will be under his rulership, and that he will return in the name of Prema Sai Baba to complete this work. In a 1961 Discourse, he said: “I shall be in this body for 58 years more; I have assured you of this already.” (Sathya Sai Speaks, II, 18:92.) A year previously, he said: “I will be in this mortal human form for 59 years more and I shall certainly meet the purpose of this avathaar, do not doubt it. I will take My own time and carry out My Plan as far as you are concerned.” (I, 31:198; Prashanthi Nilayam 29-9-1960 – second discourse) Both these statements indicate a death date 2019 (although he would not use the ‘word’ death) of 2019. Other statements in official publications confuse the issue by stating 2022. 

He had best get a wriggle on, for he is now terribly ailing. See:   Sai Baba – A Degenerative Disease? and Sai Baba’s Tip To Keep Ageing Away and Sathya Sai Baba Is Fast-ailing and Sathya Sai Baba’s Slurred Speech Due To Old Age. ‘Eenadu’ News Report

Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba Birthday, 2009. Where have all the “millions” Gone?

Posted November 28, 2009

Indian media reported considerably diminished numbers coming to Puttaparthi. For example:

First Published : 24 Nov 2009 03:48:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 24 Nov 2009 11:08:59 AM IST
             Baba’s birthday a low-key affair
PUTTAPARTHI: The 84th birthday celebrations of Sri Satya Saibaba were held at Sai Kulwant Hall in Prashanti Nilayam in Puttaparthi. Saibaba has formally cut the cake to mark his birthday in the presence of several dignitaries and thousands of devotees who thronged to witness the celebrations.
 The Ageless 'Avatar'The omniscient, ageless Avatar anounced at his 60th birthday that henceforward he would show no physical signs of ageing. See articles:
Click to  find the video link that shows Sathya Sai Baba in 2007 just as unable to cut his own birthday cake as exposed in the 2009 report of the Express News Service.

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Sathya Sai Baba Video. Too Weak To Cut Birthday Cake

Posted November 25, 2008

See video which reveals Sathya Sai Baba, in November 2007, as unable to cut his birthday cakes any longer

minister-assists-ailing-sathya-sai-baba

High-powered Minister of State, Renuka Chowdhuri, has to cut 2007 for badly ailing Satya Sai Baba

For some time, he has had a mask-like face, suggestive of a degenerative disease.

sai-baba-looking-terrible-telegu-eenadu-picture.jpgOne Of Many Examples of Sathya Sai Baba’s Falsified Statements

“Many people wonder that I look so young even at the age of 73. The reason is that I have the three P’s in Me. One is Purity, the second is Patiene and the third is Perseverance. It is because of these three that I shall remain like this for any number of years to come. (cheers)”  p. 302 Sanathana 11-1998

Further Reading At ‘Call For Media and Government Investigation of Sathya Sai Baba’

Sathya Sai Baba’s Amazing Predictions

There is no end to his failed predictions. In his February 1 16, 2007 (so-called ‘divine discourse’, Sai baba said:

“I intend to undertake a world tour, shortly.”

Wealthy Americans Prepare Mansions For “God’s” Visit

The guru, perhaps the most wealthy and politically powerful in India’s long history, claims that he will save the world in his own lifetime. He will, he says, preside over the greatest changes ever to occur in history

‘World Hindu’ by 2030. VHP’s Singhal Reports Sathya Sai Baba Told Him

One of India’s most powerful Hindu nationalist leaders, Ashok Singhal, who has an international profile in the Hindu world, has just told an assembly of political and religious luminaries in Delhi of a prophecy he says Sathya Sai Baba shared with him. The Organiser, September 14, 2008, reports …

Robert Priddy – former head of Sathya Sai Organization, Norway – at his blogsite

Sathya Sai Baba Deceptions Exposed

Ageing and collapse in Sai Baba’s health

Sai Baba’s health – miracle or self-sacrifice?

Sai Baba says his close servants live for 100 years

Sathya Sai miracle of transformation of India?

Sai Baba’s failing health

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Sai Baba’s Birthday. Vast, Costly Pomp and Ceremony

Posted November 20, 2007

Sathya Sai Baba’s Imperial Decay

Pride is said to come before a fall. In the case of Sathya Sai Baba, the absurd and obscene pomp now come during a fall, since we are now in a better place to see the imperial decay suggested in my article The Decline and Fall of The Showman Empire. (For the busy reader, there is a condensed version, Sai Baba’s Undivine Downfall).

Pictures of Sathya Sai Baba’s Opulence and Self-glorification

For a photographic glimpse of the incredible lavish material ‘spendour of Puttaparthi’, see Sai Baba, Kubla Khan, Citizen Kane, Bill Gates et alia. Or my reader may like to view some Sathya Sai Baba Chariots.

In the selfsame India, there is, with what deepest irony, a profoundly genuine splendour, down thousands of years, of saints and sages living in the utmost simplicity.

Where Do Sathya Sai Baba’s Riches Come From?

Where do the – no, not millions – billions of dollars (and many another currency) come from that support Sathya Sai Baba’s overweening self-glorification? The answer is, often – from your country and mine.  See, Sai Baba Exchequer Worth Billions. Many Countries Donate

Fortunately, a television documentary such as the BBC’s The Secret Swami was one of the means by which networked former Sai Baba devotees from several countries have found to communicate our testimony worldwide. A piece from the BBC’s publicity department gives a small idea of the sheer impact caused by coverage of dissenting views of Sai Baba and his cult, the Sathya Sai Organization. More millions have viewed DR’s Seduced, Azul TV’s Divine Sin, and read articles in major news media in India, UK, Europe, Canada, Australia, and so on. See, Exposure of Sathya Sai Baba. Media Source List.

Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

General

Excerpt From Public Petition

(Note: You may prefer to go 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)

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Puttaparthi Sai Baba Birthday 2011 – Where Have All The Golden Pomp and Circumstance Gone?

Posted by Barry Pittard on November 20, 2011

The late Sathya Sai Baba’s birthday celebrations occur on 23 November. As usual, around this time, there is an upsurge of visitors to this blogsite and that of Robert Priddy. However, in comparison to other years, the numbers are much down, very much as Sai Baba himself is forever down in the earth, and his devotees infinitely down in the dumps.

After his death in on 24 April 2011, we have seen something of the terrible in-fighting over managerial succession at Puttaparthi, and then of the discovery – not of spiritual treasure but – untold hoarded treasure in Sai Baba’s private quarters. The international Sathya Sai Organization, despite or perhaps in part because of its soviet-style, top-down management style, is in vast disarray. See:

‘Secret Swami’ (Late) Sai Baba: Vast Millions In Hoard Found Hidden In His Palace-Temple and:

Sai Baba: hoarding, secrecy, mistrust, powerlessness, deceit

Since our work of international exposure via world leading media began in 1999, the cult has suffered regular resignation upheavals, including of foremost leaders. Indeed, many people leave informally. With a vast amount of work, we used our professional credit to tell many mainstream, reputable religious and civic institutions. They were the target of the Sai cult, avid for wider community acceptance. Our work severely hit the cult’s extensive, and often high-level, fundraising and recruiting efforts around the world. 

Below are a few quotes from my articles, over time, which may help to cut the search times of those looking for an overview.  In a day or so, I shall include a similar page of articles about a number of Sai Baba’s past birthday celebrations.

In the last few years, evidence mounted of decline of his physical and mental health. He had several falls, one of which I saw in when I lived at Puttaparthi for several months – November 1997 – August 1998. Reports came of e.g., his walking round in circles, uttering gibberish. At other times, he flew into temper tantrums. In During his 85th birthday celebrations he broke into extensive sobbing during a keynote speaker’s praise for his work. See:

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

Posted by Barry Pittard on March 5, 2011

These and other perverse behaviors reached an appalling point – which his minders worked overtime to mask where possible, and, where not possible, to modify. Their damage control efforts were considerable. Looked at in retrospect, his last crumbling – long years before he had foretold – the ghastly mess in which he left things comes as no surprise. See:

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

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 14, 2011

Official Sai Baba Documents Show His Death Date Prophecies Failed

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 12, 2011

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Note:  Here, we see, among a whole plethora of other contradictions up and down his discourses and comments e.g., in interviews, yet more messy dates. His death was a huge mess, but it was long preceded by countless medium to smaller messes. To the anomalies, contradictions and outright lies, devotees forever blind themselves by looking at him like one might look too long into the sun. For insight into devotees’ Procrustean efforts over lunar vs solar dating, see:

Sathya Sai Baba reckoned in calendar (solar) years, not ‘lunar years’

Sathya Sai Baba’s (un)Birthday (not born on 23 November 1926)

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

Posted October 26, 2007

Quote

Form vs Essence

It is interesting that so many devotees have assumed that the vision apparently promised by Sai Baba via his chief translator and close servitor Professor Anil Kumar to many thousands of devotees gathered at his Puttaparthi ashram would entail seeing the form of Sai Baba on the moon. If they had consulted their timeless sacred classic, Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11, they might have recalled that the vision granted by Sri Krishna to Lord Arjuna (vishwarupa or vishvarupa darshana) was of a very different character. It was not the form of Sri Krishna – who was right beside him! – but a cosmic vision of enormous range and depth. But what fools who rush, with faces agog, to Sai Baba’s local airport would ever want something both so fierce as that?

  • Was it not enough for them to have seen it where they had daily darshan (sight) of him within his Puttaparthi ashram?

  • Why all the sensationalism, and indeed threat to life or injury, of thousands of devotees rushing headlong to his nearby private airport?

  • Is an unruly crowd, which police had great difficulty in controlling, likely in a fit state to receive a divine and blissful vision?

Certainly, if it was the form of Sathya Sai Baba that was so eagerly sought after by the crowds of devotees, they have entirely missed one of his most insistent teachings: that the form is not what is important – but learning that attachment to the form is deleterious to spiritual growth.

Young Male Sex Abuse: Legal ‘Locomotive’ Hurtles Towards Sai Baba’s Accomplices

Posted July 19, 2011

Quote

‘By Their Fruits Shall Ye Know Them’

Sai Baba devotees have an appalling record for their maltreatment of former devotees. They have repeatedly vilified, shunned, made apostates out to be liars and fools, cruelly libelled them on the internet, and threatened with law suits and criminal proceedings.

T. Sri Ramanathan, Kulwant Rai, et alia

One of these attempts to cower us was the unconscionable bluff by top Sathya Sai Organization leader T. Sri Ramanathan. As well-informed Sai Baba devotees in Australia know too well, he is – more particularly behind hands and doors in whispers – an authoritarian bully within the Australian Sathya Sai Organization itself, which he led for several years. The devotees, all too lamb-like, would say e.g., “Rama is simply Baba’s test for our sadhana; Swami knows all our karmas”.  See: Ramanathan Threatens Barry Pittard With The Law 

Likewise appearing to think that we were panicky lambs, the Sathya Sai Baba supporter Kulwant Rai, one of India’s wealthiest moguls, and scion of the Rai family, various of whom are Sathya Sai Baba devotees, threatened us via his lawyers.

With scarcely a penny in our pockets – at that time! – our forces welcomed them to go ahead. We wanted the facts to come out. Our course was, and is, entirely just. We had nothing to hide, but they did, so they threatened like bovver boys.

They – having too much to hide – went away. More’s the pity. Bullies often turn out to be cowards. Which is one of a number of compelling reasons why one must stand up to them. Give them a field day, and one, inevitably, will sink into the slush, having become a coward oneself.

Sai Baba, Kubla Khan, Citizen Kane, Bill Gates et alia

Posted June 7, 2007

Quote

Efforts to Globalize Sathya Sai Baba with World Radio Station

Sai Baba controls with an iron hand the international Sathya Sai Organization.  Senior investigators from the world’s top media like the BBC, Times of London, Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, and in other countries, as well as UNESCO, the U.S. State Department and other institutions deemed the cult extremely hard to investigate or act against. His second most senior aide is its deputy chairman, who, as head of Sai Global Harmony, is his ‘minister of propaganda’, Dr G. Venkataraman, one of the progenitors of India’s atomic bomb, as was Sai Baba’s previous close aide, the late Dr S. Bhagavantam – sometimes called ‘the father of the Indian atomic bomb’ – as was his present staunch devotee, the President of India, Dr A.J. P. Kalam, who writes flowery  panegyrics to Sai Baba, as did the last Indian Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Sai Global Harmony affiliates with WorldSpace International Satellite Radio Service, 24/7 and broadcasts to many countries. With a behind-the-scenes corporate-style, assisted by the billions of funds that pour from many countries into the Sathya Sai Central Trust, the declared aim is to penetrate to every corner of the globe.

Dr John Hislop. Vaunted ‘Perfect Disciple’ of Sathya Sai Baba

Posted November 6, 2011

Quote

The ‘Select Readings’ cited below show how Hislop, and the top leadership in the U.S. Sai Baba hierarchy (and the incredibly docile lower-echelon leadership worldwide), covered up the seriousness of allegations of Sai Baba’s serial sexual abuse of boys and young men. No doubt, they seriously and sincerely thought they were doing the right thing. At the same time, they were guilty of the most extraordinary lack of duty of care towards those they had until now, for years, honored and respected.

John Hislop’s Successor, Dr Michael Goldstein of Covena, southern California, USA, is now world leader of the international Sathya Sai Organization, which Sai Baba said is THE divine organization on earth.   But it is a multi-billion dollar organization with iron-clad, cultic rules. Goldstein exploded with unprovoked anger, not realizing that the BBC had a hidden camera trained on him.

                                BBC hidden camera reveals Sai Baba’s world leader in fit of anger. Goldstein’s bullying, coldness and general nastiness – and such qualities in a number of  other high echelon Sai Baba hand-picked leaders – cannot be denied. Likewise, often out-of-sight were Sai Baba’s angry discharges.

Sathya Sai Baba Cult Now Distraught and Broken, Like Its Founder In Last Years

Posted November 1, 2011

Quote

As the participants compared their experiences, evidence – sometimes gut-sickening – fast mounted, other crimes and ethical betrayals came to our notice, as did the many contradictions and anomalies in Sai Baba’s published discourses. These amounted to a glaringly flawed corpus. They were officially published, but poorly monitored. (I have discussed the later editorial weeding of the many embarrassing contradictions, etc.,:

The Quiet Weeding Out Of Sathya Sai Baba’s Embarrassing Statements)

No truthful explanation would resolve the many contradictions in Sai Baba’s published discourses.  Academics such as Robert Priddy and Brian Steel have scrutinized much of this literature. Those who retaliated – chiefly Gerald ‘Joe’ Moreno – are poorly educated. They use fallacious arguments such as argumentum ad hominem. They viciously name-call. They use spurious interpretations of what we have written. They deliver us the distinct, though unintended advantage among serious, thoughtful readers. Indeed, in the case of Moreno and an assistant, Wikipedia banned them.

To those coordinating activities, such as Glen Meloy, Hari Sampath, myself and, as time passed, Robert Priddy, the sheer volume and richness of evidence strikingly and repeatedly verified accounts.

In some instances, parents of boys and young men and other abuse survivors went to foremost heads of the Sathya Sai Organization, including Dr John Hislop, Dr Michael Goldstein, Phyllis Kristal, Sri T. Ramananthan, Dr Sarah Pavan and others.  These supposed pillars of righteousness shamefully ignored the complainants. The leaders exhibited text-book examples of that psychological denial so commonly found in autocratic, cultic arenas

Is Isaac Tigrett Sai Baba’s ‘Walking Will’? Guru Purnima Revelation Or A Fall?

Posted on July 14, 2011

Quote

But questions arise – What, in these days of immense disruption and confusion within the Sai movement, in exactly what might this entity consist? And what might be its supreme command center? Is it the Sathya Sai Central Trust? Or the international Sathya Sai Organization? Will Tigrett, long known to have something of a mind of his own, be quite happy to bypass the likes of Rathnakar and Srinivasan and deal with the wider organized fold of Sai devotees? Not least those great many donors who are deeply suspicious about the trustworthiness of the Sai Central trust – or some members of it. They worry about what happened to their donations. We are talking billions, and not in rupees, either!

In various Sai devotee magazines, Isaak Tigrett – who has long maintained a relative degree of frankness that markedly contrasts with Sai Baba officials around the world – has spoken of how, the Indian Sai Trust officials constantly thwarted him. This was even though Sai Baba had put him in charge of arrangements to equip the Superspeciality Hospital at Puttaparthi, the multi-million dollar project  which Tigrett in fact funded for (according to figures we have heard) some 49 million US dollars, and not sums such as the 108 million so often spoken of in Sai Baba circles round the world.  My reader might find it instructive to hear a telephone recording of David Bailey, formerly Sai Baba’s closest western devotee who knew Tigrett and many other key Sai Organization players from India and abroad. See below.  See also:  Truth In Action: David and Faye Bailey Vs Sathya Sai Baba and: David Bailey and Thomas Wiehe. Transcript Of Phone Link: Sathya Sai Abuses

Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

General

Excerpt From Public Petition

(Note: You may prefer to go 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)

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Sai Baba of Shirdi: Sathya Sai Baba’s Tall Claims (Part 1)

Posted by Barry Pittard on October 5, 2011

A few days back, Robert Priddy posted about Sathya Sai Baba’s claims to have incarnated the major Indian saint Shirdi Sai Baba. See:

Shirdi Sai stated “I am not God”, while Sathya misrepresented him

For those interested in looking at a few of the issues involved in such spectacular claims, I shall, in the next few days, further give some comments and links.

On his way to becoming his own notion of Avatar of all Avatars, did Sathya Sai Baba truly believe that he had incarnated in the 19th century in the north-west Indian state of Maharashtra? Or was he shrewdly aware of practising a deception? My own guess is that, like others who have extraordinary inner experiences, he may have been in the grip of very powerful aspects of mind – especially the right brain – of which we understand far too little.

In certain unusual states of mind, an individual believes that extraordinary, real-seeming experiences are actually God’s voice speaking out of a burning bush to Moses. Actually, Allah speaking to Mohammad. Or actually one’s ‘spirit guides’ speaking from within, and so on. One part of the mind is tricked by other parts of the mind. The intangible seems to solidify. The fictive appears as real.

But how can we know what Sai Baba thought about Shirdi Sai Baba? And why he said that he was part of a series of three avatars – Shirdi Sai Baba, Sathya Sai Baba, and, one yet to come, Prema Sai Baba?

What we do know, however, is that, of all countries, India is the place where (other than in lunatic asylums of which all our countries have their types) a great many take claims of ‘divine’ realization very seriously. India is the place of instinctive veneration. Including of cricket, film, political and other stars. Visit many Hindu Indian homes, as I have done in my years in that country, and you will find countless instances where historic, human saints and masters, have their place on the household shrine – and depicted elsewhere around the house – alongside deities like Rama, Krishna, Siva, Durga, Kali, Saraswati, Mahalaxmi, and so on.

Shirdi Sai Baba is one of the pan Indian saints, like Adi Shankaracharya, Tulsidas, Mira Bai, Ramakrishna, Ramanana Maharshi, Sri Aurobindo, and so many others. Some worship them as aspects, specifically, of ‘avatars’ like Rama, Krishna, Siva, the divine Mother, and so on. Some simply as great lights. Many Hindus regard Lord Buddha as an aspect of Lord Vishnu (Krishna). There is no end to the gradations, subtleties, emphases – and, therefore, sects.

More thoughtful Hindus fully appreciate the allegorical nature of these gods and goddesses. They see the stories associated with them such as an educated westerner might understand Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad, or the characters in Dante, Shakespeare or Goethe or Tolkien – representations of primal forces at work in the human psyche. However, we need to consider the reality in the lives of millions of Indians of a heightened state of mythopoeic conditioning. Of mythopoeic imagination. And of associated rituals, festivals, allowances and proscriptions. All of this along with the ubiquitous supports of temple worship, pilgrimage, funeral and marriage ceremonies, yoga, and so forth. All of this from the very cradle. All of this, as it were, in the air, and everywhere. In the home. In the veneration for the cow. In the astrology. In the priestcraft. In vegetarianism. These norms – daily, and not at a church on Sunday or a synagogue on Saturday – are, perhaps, as alive today as they always were. Flick your television remote and radio dial and it is easy to intercept a pundit or priest or yogi wordily discoursing. Religion is part of the diet – like chapatis, sambar, malai kofta, or sweetmeats, etc. ….. Religious figures attract huge crowds – again the incredible wordiness. Again, eager faces looking up for someone great who speaks to someone small. Some religious figures do not even have to speak; they are, simply, to be seen. In whatever the form, somehow, mysteriously, Grace happens, Merit accrues. The varieties of choice are vast. In anquish, many thoughtful Indians despair of India’s immemorial running after supposed gods, demigods and demagogues.

Sathya Sai Baba appeared to have godlike powers, such as knowing other minds, foreknowledge of the future, the ability to do miracles, to heal terrible illnesses, to forgive sins, to bless with his touch or sight or word, and so on. These seeming divine powers were magnets to the denizens of, arguably, the most hyper-religious and superstitious country in the world. But, interestingly enough, a short walk even for an educated Hindu Indian – so long as there is some sort of appeal to both intellect and emotion. He created his own mythos, relying on an ancient mythos readily available to him, and to his whole milieu.

Sathya Sai Baba was charismatic, but would not have been nearly so had he not appeared to do miracles, see into souls, and answer prayers.

In fact, he was wrong about a lot of things. A recent and dramatic example was the timing of his death in April 2011. See: Sathya Sai Baba death date in serious doubt. Many devotees know perfectly well of his prophecy that he would die (or take ‘mahasamadhi’) ca 2022. Their frequent, addled rationalizations are in full view on official and non-official Sai Baba websites. Their procrustean explanations reveal something of the dreadful confusion he left behind. More than ever before, institutions like UNESCO, governments and civic and religious organizations with whom the Sathya Sai Organization attempts to associate itself reject it. The devotees who now try to reform the organization from within really need to confront their secretive leaders and demand to hear from them the circumstances since 2000 in which many respected organizations have rebuffed Sai Baba leader’s overtures.

But of course unusual phenomena would, of necessity, occur! How can it fail? For, in the annals of medical science, innumerable are the instances of unpredicted remission in the case of many apparently incurable illnesses. Intense belief taps into mental and physical transformation that science is only beginning to understand. And if rational understanding is absent, traditional belief systems, or cosmologies, arise in the form of explanations. Hindu explanations, Jewish ones, Christian ones, Buddhist ones, Muslim ones, and so on.

To these explanations, powerful emotions and dogmas attach themselves. Orthodoxies arise. Dissenting sects arise. We have mainstreams and sects and cults in abundance.

See also:

Sathya Sai Baba Claimed He Will Resurrect After 40 Days

BBC Footage Exposes Fake Sathya Sai Baba Miracle

Sathya Sai Baba Is Dead. Said He Would Rule the World and Die Aged 96

Sathya Sai Baba’s Amazing Predictions

“I intend to undertake a world tour, shortly.”

Wealthy Americans Prepare Mansions For “God’s” Visit

‘World Hindu’ by 2030. VHP’s Singhal Reports Sathya Sai Baba Told Him

Predictions/Promises

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Select Barry Pittard poems/lyrics expressive of themes about crimes/sexual and other abuses/ spiritual betrayals by Sathya Sai Baba and his international Sathya Sai Organization.

‘Little Fly’. A Ballad of ‘Rock Spiders’ and Sexual Abuse of the Young

Beth Rude. Ballad of a Child Protectrice. By Barry Pittard

Sathya Sai Baba – The Man Who Would Be ‘King of Kings’

No Friend In Sight Song

They’ve Banned the Bulls At Barcelona. By Barry Pittard

Note: Barry Pittard’s songs are copyright protected by The Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA). Contact: barpittard@gmail.com

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 go straight to the Petition): Public Petition For Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization

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UK In Flames. But Not India. Anna Hazare Sets Example Of Peaceful Protest

Posted by Barry Pittard on August 17, 2011

It is known that many parts India can be a political tinderbox waiting for a spark. And yet vast numbers of Indian people, irrespective of caste, education, age, political or religious affiliation are pouring onto the streets in peaceful protest against the jailing of Anna Hazare, the 74-year old anti-corruption crusader. Students and teachers are vacating their classrooms, lawyers, their courts, shopkeepers, their shops, and so on. The phenomenon is monumental.

A curious reader can search beyond the main Indian city dailies, and will find that the mass protests are spreading far, wide and deep in India.

In Europe, the surging triumphs of the 1848 ‘revolutions’ were effectively suppressed within a year. If Indians persist, if they can manage to calm down the hotheads, perhaps great change can be effected in that tragic country, where incredibly greedy elites have for so long entrenched themselves in power. Behind all the smiles and ostensible courtesy, there are the demagoguery, violence, religion, secret government, nepotism, bribery and blackmail, etc., which are just some of the tools by which they maintain control.

The present anti-corruption protests may, however, may be India’s last chance for peaceful change. Nothing succeeds like failure.

Anna Hazare. Man of peace in Gandhian tradition

The Manmohan Singh government, amidst many corruption scandals (to be measured in almost unimaginable billions of dollars), has been bent on watering down an anti-corruption Bill proposed by Anna Hazare and his team. It is as though Singh and his advisors fail to see that the writing is on the wall for them. He and they are now clearly running scared, willfully oblivious to the vastness of pan Indian frustration and anger at the decades of endemic corruption. Yesterday,V. Kalyanam, personal secretary to Mahatma Gandhi, addressing a group of young people, said:

“India will get a sure gold medal if corruption is entered as an item in the Olympic Games,” Kalyanam told the audience. “We may not be a force in football or athletics or hockey. But India is the undisputed global leader in corruption …. These ministers and politicians forget the fact that it is we who elect them and they are our servants”.

V. Kalyanam. Mahatma Gandhi's Secretary Speaks Out, 16 Aug. 2011, Against India's Endemic Corruption

The DNA report states:

“Referring to Anna Hazare’s arrest in New Delhi, Kalyanam said it was easier to fight foreign tyranny than the tyranny of our own people. He ridiculed the contention of Union ministers like Kapil Sibal and Chidambaram that Parliament was supreme and civil society has no voice”.

Our own Expose Team knows to its cost how soundly and with what contempt Manmohan Singh and his aides have thwarted both Indian and foreign requests for investigation into Sathya Sai Baba and his cult. Among other examples of riding roughshod over many petitioners’ responsible representations, the British High Commissioner was rebuffed.

More recently, we learn for example that Manmohan Singh’s Home Minister P.Chidambaram and his son have been involved in behind-the-scenes machinations in regard to the leadership succession – on the side of the exposed Sathya Sai Central Trust head R.J.Ratnakar – about whom there is great concern among many Sathya Sai Baba devotees at large. See:  Sathya Sai Trust’s R.J.Ratnakar – Long Police Interrogation. Intensive Investigations Continue. Posted by Barry Pittard on June 26, 2011. It was the same Chidambaram who made the incredibly crass statement, condemned around the world, that the terrorist attack on Mumbai on 26 November, 2008 was “not an intelligence failure”.

P.Chidambaram, with Manmohan Singh - Sathya Sai Baba Men

My reader may also recall that Chidambaram followed yet another power backer of Sathya Sai Baba, Shivraj Patil. The latter presided over an extreme failure in his intelligence agencies to be alert to the terrorist threat. Patil’s disastrous mishandling of the whole affair forced Manmohan Singh, out of sheer political embarrasment, to sack him. But it was one Sathya Sai Baba man out and another Sathya Sai Baba man in.

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See yesterday’s blog:  Anna Hazare’s Arrest. Dark Days For Indian Democracy

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Back Story –to Shivraj Patil who, along with Chidambaram, has long been a powerful force for suppression of many ugly facts about Sathya Sai Baba and some of his key servitors.

Shivraj Patil. Fallen Indian Home Minister, Sathya Sai Baba Man

Shivraj Patil Falls From Home Ministry

Shivraj Patil – Sai Baba worshipper – resigns

“No fear of bombs” in India, Said Sai Baba a Week Before Mumbai Terrorist Attack

Terrorist Smoke Casts Pall Over India and the WorldTerrorist smoke casts Pall Over India and the World, despite Sathya Sai Baba’s assurances that all is well with India in regard to terrorist attacks.

Shivraj V. Patil  was a signatory to a letter condemning those who have stood forth (at great personal sacrifice in many cases, be it said!).  In a joint public letter (December 2001), Bhagwati along with the former Prime Minister of India of the right-wing BJP, A.B. Vajpayee, and another former Chief Justice of India, Ranganath Mishra, and three others including Patil wrote a public letter stating that contentions of Sai Baba’s dissenters represent a:

“wild, reckless and concocted allegations made by certain vested interests and people against Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba”.                                                      Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

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

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Anna Hazare’s Arrest. Dark Days For Indian Democracy

Posted by Barry Pittard on August 16, 2011

Indian democracy? It would be a good idea!

A longtime Indian acquaintance has just emailed, recording his deep concern at the arrest by the Manmohan Singh government of Anna Hazare, an immensely courageous and peaceful activist calling for an end to rampant government corruption.

India’s gerontocratic leaders have learnt little about genuine processes of democracy. They learn nothing from the ‘Arab spring’. Nor even for her own reasons, last century, for risking all in opposing British Rule. Nor do they learn from the 1848 revolutions in Europe, and what, for the lack of learning lessons, was to culminate in two mammoth conflagrations in the twentieth century. Their dangerous power game is like dice thrown in hell, where everyone loses.

Like Sathya Sai Baba, his follower Manmohan Singh, and many other Indian leaders across the political spectrum, are yesteryear’s men – autocratic, and pretendedly democratic. Indian parliaments are, now and then, in terrible uproar that shocks a more urbane world. Some Indian government security forces make large departures from the conduct of an army which was, in many ways, loved and trusted by the Indian people – unlike many of her cruel police, who have for so long been despised. Manmohan Singh will need to go. But to what purpose if those who replace him are, also, yesteryear’s men (and occasional women)?

This  correspondent writes:

“Blackest day in India for democracy and civil rights. Gandhian
activist Anna Hazare leading a peaceful “India against corruption”
movement, has been arrested along with hundreds of anti corruption
activists. On its 64th anniversary of Independence. With millions of
Indians expressing support for Anna Hazare’s proposed fast unto death
movement against corruption, a panicked Manmohan Singh/Sonia Gandhi
govt, enforced prohibitory orders against all Indian laws and
constitution, and arrested Hazare at 7AM this morning.

This is a shameful and disgraceful day for democracy and honesty, in
India. Most Indians cringed in shame and shock when Sai Baba was given
a state funeral , complete with a gun salute by buglers, and the
NATIONAL flag draped around his body….can there be a greater shame,
disgrace and insult to freedom fighters, soldiers who had sacrificed
their lives and to the Indian flag ??? NO. But India watched
helplessly as a corrupt PM Manmohan Singh ordered it…..and today the
same corrupt govt that was supporting Sai baba, and was supported by
him for years…..and having looted , raped, and plundered the nation
to the tune of more than $ 60 billions in just 4 years, has brutally
clamped down on a peaceful anti corruption movement.

India is taking to the streets….as I type this….tens of thousands
of common folks across 25 cities are out on the streets , marching and
courting arrest, in support of Anna Hazare….the whole nation is
galvanized …..and the Govt under seize….lets hope Indian people
take back their country from this corrupt dacoit group who is running
the country now…”

Although criticized for thinking it possible that the protests led by a number of Indian leaders – somewhat cast in the Gandhian mode – opened the possibility, sooner or later, for Watergate-style revelations of high level government corruption – in the article, Could Sathya Sai Treasury Scandals Lead to India’s Watergate? Posted by Barry Pittard on June 23, 2011, I earlier wrote:

“Frighteningly, what Manmohan Singh so gravely risks is that, because he has shown his teeth to peaceful anti-corruption protesters – or to be more accurate – got his security forces and police to do the tooth-showing and bovvyer boy musclework, his piddling weakness in the face of immense corruption could plunge the Indian nation into the most terrible bloodshed. By which I mean – he should fix cankerous corruption in his own house, and not ‘fix’ honest and decent protesters.

However, I am encouraged by a number of tidal changes that I now see.

Quite apart from his deep prostrating, longtime association with Sathya Sai Baba, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh now looks to be a spent force. His government is mired in many scandals. Given the evidence so long in front of international former devotee coordinators like Robert Priddy and myself, one can really raise a question:  Will the revelations now exploding in the Indian media about Sai Baba and key players on his Sai Central Trust broaden out to include some of the figures in local, state and central government spheres?

India’s PM Manmohan Singh. At the Feet of the Late Sathya Sai Baba

Might Manmohan Singh and others be about to face their Watergate? 

It will be a test of what the producer of the BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami”, Eamon Hardy, threw into question, to use his words, of “India’s maturity as a democracy”.

Manmohan Singh and other members of his government, and a succession of past Prime Ministers and Presidents, and countless other high-ranking individuals in Indian politics, the armed services, police, government, and so on, have protected Sathya Sai Baba. Will, now, the wealth, the family connections, the underhand political wheeler-dealing and other antidemocratic tendencies in India thwart attempts at genuine reform? Will the big Sai Baba-prostrating money-bags like the Tatas, the Rais (the scion of the latter family threatened to sue us and got told firmly where to go!) at last, after too many decades, find that there is something in India that money won’t buy?

Or will the legions of corrupt misleaders continue to overpower democracy? Here is our chance to see.

Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi by Sathya Sai Baba’s golden casket

Large numbers of Indian citizens are rising up. Are they rent-a-crowds fomented by his immediate political rivals to power? Or by the Pakistan government’s Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)? It would not surprise if any or all of these should want to have a hand. But good Indian citizens inform me that many of these marches against government corruption are deeply genuine, no matter under whose banner the crowds protest.

Some masses rally to the call of solid, old-fashioned anti-corruption crusaders such as Anna Hazare. Others to Swami Ram Dev, whom a range of serious commentators depict as somewhat a religious fundamentalist, politically naive, and a bit of a hot-head, but well-meaning and brave nonetheless. Certainly, both have daily put their lives on the line. Both have also embarked on fasts-unto-death, in the way the better-informed still remember of Mahatma Gandhi”.

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New Delhi, August 16, 2011

Anna Hazare’s arrest sparks off angry protests, both Houses adjourned

Gargi Parsai

Anna Hazare's supporters block traffic after the social activist was detained in New Delhi on Tuesday. Photo: S. Subramanium

The Hindu Anna Hazare’s supporters block traffic after the social activist was detained in New Delhi on Tuesday. Photo: S. Subramanium

In an early morning swoop, the Delhi Police picked up social activist Anna Hazare from his residence here just as he was preparing to leave for Gandhi Samadhi at Rajghat ahead of his fast at JP park to press for a strong anti-corruption Lokpal Bill.

“Second freedom struggle”

“This is the second fight for freedom and this movement will not halt now,’’ said Mr. Hazare as he was whisked away with several supporters trying to stop the vehicle that carried him to the officers’ mess at civil lines. He was later sent to Tihar jail after he reportedly refused to offer surety for his bail before a magistrate.

“We have orders from higher up,” said the detaining officer when Mr. Hazare asked him what his crime was. Team Hazare was denied permission to stage his indefinite fast and prohibitory orders were imposed at the venue after they refused to comply with all the riders imposed by the police.

The arrest sparked off angry, widespread protests with reports of people courting arrests from different parts of the country and opposition parties slamming the move as an attack on democratic and civil rights of citizens.

Both the houses of Parliament were adjourned over the issue.

Along with Mr. Hazare, other key members of the India Against Corruption movement including Arvind Kejriwal, Shanti Bhushan, Kiran Bedi and Manish Sisodia were also detained from different venues. About 1,300 supporters were detained in Delhi alone.

In a terse statement made to the press, Home Secretary R.K. Singh said Mr. Hazare was detained because he said he was going to defy prohibitory orders.

With opposition parties and activists likening the government action to the emergency imposed in the country in 1975, Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee came before the media to say that while everyone had the right to protest, were the police to perceive a law and order situation, it could impose conditions. Union Ministers P. Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal and Ambika Soni also addressed the media to express similar views.

Attack on democratic rights: Brinda

Blasting the government, CPI (M) leader Brinda Karat said the detentions were an attack on democratic rights of the people which the government should re-consider. “We totally reject the argument that because the Lokpal Bill was in Parliament, there can be no protests on it. If it is so, then even the Women’s Reservation Bill is before Parliament and there are so many protests over it. Did the government accuse them even once as it has Anna Hazare?”

Terming it as a “sad day” for Indian democracy, BJP leader Arun Jaitley said the move shows that the UPA is a government in panic and has over-reacted. “Do a group of citizens who disagree with the government have the right to protest and dissent or not or have we abandoned civil rights and the right to protest in this country?’’

“Rehearsal of emergency”

In Patna, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar described Mr. Hazare’s detention as “murder of democracy’’ and said it was a “rehearsal of emergency” which the people will never tolerate.

Addressing a joint press conference, lawyer Prashant Bhushan said he was going to move the Supreme Court against the action, while Swami Agnivesh called upon the government to withdraw the “repressive measures’’ and hold a dialogue with the civil society group.

Activist Medha Patkar said while there were several movements as theirs under the banner of the National Alliance of People’s Movements, but Anna Hazare had come to be a representative of all anti-corruption struggles. She said to say that the Bill was before Parliament and therefore there should be no protests on this was wrong. “After all, it was Parliament that passed the Bill on setting up Special Economic Zones.’’

Baba Ramdev, whose demonstration against corruption was lathi-charged by the Delhi Police in June, said this government was “dictatorial, cruel and manipulative’’.

Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

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

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Nancy Wake, WW2 Australian Heroine – A Timeless Role Model

Posted by Barry Pittard on August 11, 2011

In my own country, Australia, but in other countries too, there is mourning for one of the most magnificent and most highly-decorated war heroines that any country has produced – Nancy Wake. An Australian in the French Resistance, a courier, spy, and fighter against Nazi Germany, she fought behind the lines in France.

Nancy Wake, Great Australian Heroine of The French Resistance, World War II.

The Gestapo code-named her ‘the White Mouse’, referring to her extreme elusiveness in the field. Before the outbreak of war, she saw Jews bound to massive wheels in Vienna, on which they were whipped. She vowed that she would do something to expose such vicious inhumanity.

To those whom I have been addressing in my last blogs, for example the Sathya Sai college boys (now long adult), I commend that they read even the briefest of the abundant news articles in the world news since last Sunday, when she died aged 98. Perhaps they might be challenged to consider that it is by honest, decisive, strong action, rather than by cover up behind flowery words and sweet smiles, that society can be changed for the better.

Since I was sixteen, I loved reading of India’s great freedom fighters, and a delight of my life would be to find that my former students among the many boys I taught at the Sri Sathya Sai College in Whitefield (Kadugodi or Belatur to be more precise), via Bangalore, South India, had, at last, turned out even the slightest bit like these heroic figures. Frankly – apart from some exceptions – I have my grave doubts.

From where I stand, I see that, after all these years of their glacial silence about the sexual and other crimes that they know have been perpetrated against either themselves or others who were around them, they have not honoured the words that they were so fond uttering – such as the telling of the truth, fearlessly. Or conjoining word and deed in right conduct. Or showing compassion for those who suffer. Or suporting those who have raised, and continue to raise, their voices.

True enough, different people come out of trauma at different rates of recovery. But I think that this fact, although true, can also be made one of the worst excuses for inaction, which allows perpetuation of the injustices.

I would like to see those ‘old boys’ get a bit of a wriggle on, and realize that they are immature boys no longer, but grown men who need, by now, to have developed a sense of social and moral responsibility. I would like to see them come good and make a courageous attempt to redress some of the great wrong that they were so profoundly enmeshed in.

Such an example of the ‘right action’ that Sai Baba so often preached about, but did not practise, would justify my old and great hope in my teaching period at the college (1978-79) that these fellows would one day become men of spirit, strength and integrity.

Some of their peers are responding to the sort of conscience call that Robert Priddy and I have put out (and, from the very beginning of the Sai cult exposure, Glen Meloy and Hari Sampath and other former devotees from various professions, trades and cultural backgrounds).

This is to say – for these ex-students to be plucky enough to make a clean breast concerning the gross and evil culture of sexual abuse, the hiding, the secrecy, the bullying, the bribery, and the bad faith that have existed in the deeply corrupted Sathya Sai system of education. Many of these former students know that things were not right. They are still not right. They know that both the Indian and international leadership of the Sathya Sai Organization have profoundly covered up the many scandals. Even though Sai Baba is dead, his co-abusers are still very much alive, many of them in positions of great power. Some of them were intimate participants in the ammoral sty that Sathya Sai Baba built and operated, aided by certain of his teachers and others, in the spurious name of some sort of divine experience.

One may hope that intelligence, if not conscience, comes to the fore before subpoenas start having to be slapped. We are on the way. (See my recent blogs).

They know perfectly well that many boys (among them the so-called ‘form boys’, or homosexual pets) were often and repeatedly sexually abused. And that there were other cruel and unusual practices. Boys who were well-informed knew of various cover ups. Some knew of the faking of materializations, and of the way in which Sai Baba and his servitors would set up wealthy individuals from various countries so as, stealthily, to extract large donations and favours of various kinds. They knew that boys, and now and then a teacher, had been cruelly cast aside like rag dolls when their use as sexual playthings was over. Some know, more recently of Sathya Sai Baba’s fits of sobbing. They knew of towering fits of rage – which boys and well-informed parents and others in more inner circles round Sai Baba passed off as, for example, “Swami in his Shiva aspect”, etc., etc. Some knew that terribly concerned parents from various countries withdrew their boys from the college.

In my mind’s eye and ear, I still see and hear those boys whom Sathya Sai Baba hand-picked to give talks endlessly, like he himself, extolling fearlessness in speaking the truth. However, from where I stand, there are plenty of those with their heads still – after all these years – ducking for cover. Still enjoying the wealth and status that having been at a prestigious Sathya Sai Baba education institute has conferred (often not by merit alone but by influence). Still failing to acknowledge that sexual abuse has devastating and long-lasting effects. Still selfishly thinking of their own skin, and not of their many peers who were stricken. Still in psychological denial of their own warped sexuality. Or of their witnessing the effects of this in their peers.

….. Still refusing to act from the knowledge that IF they would cooperate in tearing down the iron curtains of cover up in regard to sexual abuse they would be doing a huge service to society …….

As I mentioned, I used to rejoice in reading of the exploits of India’s great freedom fighters. All who seek for gutsy role models might consider contemplating of just a few of the many:  Rani Lakshmi Bai, Sarojini Naidu, Sucheta Kripalani, Mahatma Gandhi, Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari, Sardar Vallabhai Patel, Subhas Chandra Bose ……

Anyway, many of my ‘old boys’ used to listen to my recommendations for good reading. I now suggest they read for fifteen minutes or preferably longer about Nancy Wake. It strikes me that they may be more ready, after all their years of frigid inaction, and witnessing the vast pomp and disgusting glitter and falsity of Puttaparthi, to decide that it is time to do something strong and decent which will challenge India and the world to face and address the great pestilence of sexual abuse.

If anyone knows the hypocrisy and spiritual betrayal it involves, they would have to be in a prime position to acknowledge, share and begin to heal their experiences. For any such contingency, outstanding, properly chartered sexual abuse authorities in various countries stand ready to be of assistance, and former leader of the Norwegian Sathya Sai Organization, Robert Priddy (rero@getmail.no) I (barpittard@gmail.com) can confidentially inform of these resources.

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Nancy Wake, ‘The White Mouse’. By Barry Pittard

It is always those like Nancy Wake

Who take the lead to save the day

From the bullies and the thieves who march to take

Peace from the world all away

It is always those, the bold, the awake

Dare halt the robotic dumb cannonade

True grit a pearl makes in the Nancy Wakes

You might think they come Heaven-made

Proud Nancy saw Nazi scapegoats paraded

Like in some cattle-show whipped and degraded

As the giant, loud torture wheel rotated

She swore to fight such hatred

When sore whipping-wheels with people bound

Stops for a while, you might think Peace is found

But there’s always some runts, some dummkopf hounds

To snarl and shove people around

The Gestapo priced Nancy at five million francs

Against her few paltry pounds to silence their tanks

But a White Mouse only costs a free people’s thanks

Against the toxic prattlings of cranks

Some lands gave Nancy their highest awards

But the Canberra runts had hearts made of board

And proud Nancy, she of the flaming sword

Explained where to “shove their award”

She told them: “Be thankful it’s not a pineapple”!

And: “To stick their medals where the monkey stuck its nuts”!

Proud Nancy was proud of her love of life

And death was not death when she conquered dark fright

Though a vintage heart sinks or else a bullet or a knife

The White Mouse still lives in starlight

To proud Nancy, Adieu! But not Adieu to her pride

Of white mice that are still behind the lines

Always, there’ll be bullies and thieves to be defied

And wheels to be halted, and swines

. The White Mouse has gone behind the lines

Scurrying into starlight

With high heart singing:

“Freedom is the only thing worth living for”

Barry Pittard, Australia

(Copyright protected, Australasian Performing Rights Association, APRA)

Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

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