Call For Media and Government Investigation

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

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Will Satha Sai Baba Death Commemorations Get Poor Crowds?

Posted by Barry Pittard on April 24, 2013

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Barry Pittard. May 22, 2013Since Sathya Sai Baba’s death on 24 April 2011, Puttaparthi is a virtual ‘ghost town’, and many businesses have failed.

We continue to learn from reliable sources that the Puttaparthi ashram struggles to keep going. In the next couple of days, we shall be able to see from press and other reports whether any significant VVIP’s or crowds of any size turned up.

The Sathya Sai Central Trust and the international Sathya Sai Organization desperately try to shore up some remnants of a collapsed empire. Of but a recent small but symptomatic part of this effort Robert Priddy reports – Sai Touch Tablet: or “indulging in wrong activities”? Posted April 17, 2013 – noting:

         “The cash-strapped Sathya Sai Trust and Co. have ventured into the computer tablet promotion business – which goes against Sathya Sai Baba’s clearly expressed warning to his followers! 
‘Swami has nothing to do with internet. Not only now, even in the future also you should not indulge in such wrong activities.’ See http://sssbpt.info/ssspeaks/volume32/sss32p2-08.pdf
The tablet is not manufactured by any Sai Baba institution, of course, but an agreement has obviously been made with the makers to sell a version of the tablet (BSNL Tablet Penta T-Pad 701C – a 7-inch Android tablet – selling independently from Rs 3,500). If you fork out another Rs 1,000.- then you also get some already-published materials.”

For a while the pushing of a railhead to Puttaparthi increased visitor numbers within India. The airport, however, is now seen by many as a spent force. See: Robert Priddy’s: Sathya Sai Airport “white elephant” for sale!  See also: Sai Baba’s tennis stadium another white elephant? See: Major Downturn of Foreigners Visiting Sai Baba At Puttaparthi Posted by Barry Pittard on June 26, 2010.

From one very conversant with the Telegu language, checking the Indian press and with reliable informants, and who lived in Puttaparthi for many years, comes this email referring to the last couple of days in a period which commemorates the death of Sathya Sai Baba:

“I did a check of official announcements after the Kerala 2nd Samadhi article came in my Alerts. The PN 2nd Samadhi schedule doesn’t seem to include any VIP speakers, just “World Peace” homas! Whereas in Kerala, they managed to scrape up some minor govt officials. Too bad there are people still out there willing to publicly show their support.

 Meanwhile, the only person speaking for Sri Ram Navami last Thursday, was Anil Kumar! HA! No VIP speakers for Tamil New Year on the 14th, either.

 2nd Samadhi Starts on the 22nd (with carefully chosen pics, trying not to show the sparse crowds and big empty areas – looks like the hall is hardly 1/4 full, most the people being in chairs against the walls)”

There has been a severe diminution of numbers in the international Sathya Sai Organization,  and the huge decline, following our intensive former devotee Expose, for a several years in the number of foreigners visiting Sathya Sai Baba at the Puttaparthi ashram.

After the discovery of a vast trove of riches cached in Sathya Baba’s bedroom and after the Indian media – long almost entirely muzzled in regard to any adverse reports of Sai Baba and his cult – reported the Sathya Sai Central Trust’s disarray and infighting and cover up – the Puttaparthi and world leaders are in dire straits, in many respects far more severe than our two decades of intensive exposure were able to achieve.

Apart from many Sathya Sai Organization former leaders, victims and their families, and others, it is the best reputed western media, such as the BBC, DR, CBC, SBS, Times of London, Telegraph, Guardian, The AGE and European newspapers etc., that have investigated and exposed Sathya Sai Baba and his cult, much to the shame of the Indian media, except India Today, whose proprietor experienced the case of a young person close to him being sexually abused by Sathya Sai Baba. See: Barry Pittard’s Guide To His Articles On The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ (Exposing Sai Baba). And: BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ and British Press Praise.  And:  The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ – A Revision. And:  

All power to those increasing numbers of Indian people who are coming out against government and corporate corruption. But they need to expose many corrupt Indian religious leaders like Sathya Sai Baba, and free themselves from the shackles of superstitious servitude to those who mislead them with polished false piety. This is just as false as those politicians, corporate and social elites who pay convenient lip service to religion, and who pour vast riches into religious coffers to buy a spurious respectability and appearance of social responsibility.

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Barry Pittard On Ashok Singhal and High Profile Sathya Sai Baba Propagandists

Posted by Barry Pittard on February 5, 2013

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The Times of India has just published online a letter of mine (see below). ToI was one of many major Indian newspapers which ignored – no matter the excellent credentials – the worldwide testimony of members of our international group of former devotees, which included those from India. See: Indian Media and Governments Heedless of Decade of Foreign Media and Sai Baba Critics’ Revelations. Posted by Barry Pittard on June 27, 2011

Historically, it is to the Indian media’s abiding shame that, with the honorable exception of India Today, we failed to get a hearing. A private contact of mine on the Times of India told me: “Sathya Sai Baba and his people are too powerful”.

It was not until a longtime well-wisher (a former aide to one of the great foreign service players of the 20th century) was able to meet with Indo Asian News Service (IANS) that we were able to break a deadlock and make sure that, although having ignored the UK Guardian’s own feeds, a few Indian newspapers carried our Duke of Edinburgh story. See: UK Guardian On Sathya Sai Baba and Duke’s Awards. Posted by Barry Pittard on October 21, 2008.

By this time – with serious articles by major media around the world – it was getting harder for the India media (especially after the BBC documentary The Secret Swami , 2004) to ignore the seriousness of worldwide allegations against Sathya Sai Baba and core leaders of his cult.

However, as we know not only from our private sources but also from the writings of one of Sai Baba’s closest servitors, Dr G.Venkataraman, top-level, formal and informal Sathya Sai devotee activity intensified in contacting UNESCO, government, institutional, media etc. Attempts to show The Secret Swami in India met with strategic power failures, occurring with too great a frequency and pinpoint accuracy be ordinary power failures. Yet another example to lend weight to my TOE contact’s notion that “Sathya Sai Baba and his people are too powerful”.

Actually, they are NOT. But you have to fight like hell.

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Readers’ opinions

Barry Pittard (Australia)
04 Feb, 2013 08:36 AM
I taught for two years at the Sathya Sai College at Whitefield, Karnataka, South India (1978-9) and was deeply devoted to him for 25 years. As so many former devotees, including those who were among his most outstanding leaders worldwide, I left his fold after carefully investigating compelling testimony about wide-scale, serial sexual abuse of boys and young men, and other profoundly covered up wrongdoings. In the Indian media, only India Today has researched the claims of former devotees, who are highly respected people in their many communities. Serious students of decades of officially published Sathya Sai Baba discourses know the facts: He typically made prophecies which have not come true, which devotees’ blind faith ignores. For example, he foretold that he would take his mahasamadhi circa 2022, by which time he would effectively rule the world. He made serious mistakes about long known scientific and historic facts. The scholar Brian Steel has written incisively on these. In February 2004, BBC television cameras at Puttaparthi caught him faking production of a Sivalingam, as millions in many countries have seen in the BBC documentary ‘The Secret Swami’. Ashok Singhal and other high-profile devotees of Sathya Sai Baba fail to answer those (including scholars) who point out his many serious inconsistencies. Singhal 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, reported: “… Shri Singhal also threw light on how to strengthen the Hindu society and unite our great India. The VHP leader, while disclosing his discussion with Satya Sai Baba, said that Sai Baba had informed him that between 2020 and 2030 the whole India would be of Hindus and after 2030 the whole world would be of Hindus”. When so many Sai Baba prophecies have so egregiously failed in the past, why should Ashok Singhal think that the prophecy to which he refers will be any different? Good works should never be used to hide bad works.

Niche for Sri Sathya Sai Baba at Mela

TNN Jan 28, 2013, 11.57AM IST

ALLAHABAD: Among the number of exhibitions in the vast Kumbh Mela area of Sangam is one depicting the life and teachings of Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Put up by Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation UP and Uttarakhand, the exhibition was inaugurated by former international president of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and ardent devotee of the godman, Ashok Singhal.

Put up at Sector 1 of the Mela area, next to area given to NCR, the exhibition has numerous articles, photos, etc related to the life and teachings of Baba and the selfless service rendered by him to the world in the field of education, health, drinking water, etc. The exhibition has been installed with the aim of spreading the message that every human being has a duty towards the society and must serve as he did.

Before performing the Maha Mangal aarti, Singhal said, “Although Sathya Sai Baba left his body he resides and will to live in the hearts of his devotees and his teachings would reflect in our lifestyle, as it is our moral duty to act according to him.”

Baba’s message of ‘love all, serve all’, ‘help ever, hurt never’ has been depicted and shown in the exhibition with the aim of spreading it among the masses during the pious occasion of Maha Kumbh. Rajiv Chopra, State president of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation UP and Uttarakhand, was present along with other devotees on this occasion in the exhibition which will be open for public till February 20.

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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?

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

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 9, 2011

Let my reader imagine that the following is a note of mine to an Indian media person seeking me out to assist in the development of a news story. It may take no prizes for diplomacy, but it is not far, I think, from the mood of both our former devotee network members from both India and other countries.

First, Sai Baba and his key servitors on the Sai Central Trust and the international Sathya Sai Organization profoundly deceived and betrayd. From circa 2000, owing to both organized and informal activity of former devotees, a great deal of critical exposure of Sai Baba and his cult occurred. In some parts of the world, Sai Centers emptied, while, in general, many left, including many well-respected leaders.

Next, allied with Sai Baba and his cult’s officials, corrupt local, state and national governments in India consolidated the evils done by their complicity in the cover up of the outrages – wide-scale sexual abuse by Sai Baba and some around him of boys and young men, Police executions in his bedroom on June 6, 1993, unaccountable scams in regard to water projects, apartments in Prashanthi Nilayam, unadressed brutality by Sai Baba’s security detail, and much else. 

It has been one of spiritual history’s sorriest examples of perverted religion and spirituality. Even many who admit his wrongdoings, attempt to pass over the evil deeds by saying how much good he has done. Their highly-flawed logic is that if someone does good they should not be held accountable for the wrongdoings.

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Dear X (a high-profile media exective)

Thank you for our phone conversations and email exchanges, and speaking with one of our Indian members.

I appreciate your undertaking of security provisions for the safety of our personnel who live in India and security arrangements. As you and I know, many Indian media will e.g., unscrupulously record and quote without permission what, ostensibly, were the words of an interviewee. That your organization can deal with us with the same integrity that we received from Aroon Purie and his team at India today would engender our confidence in you. Our former devotee workers have put vast amounts of time and sacrifice, without payment of cash or kind so as to get their accounts out to the world.

Having lived some years in India, I know how keenly many Indian citizens, with whom I have dwelt and worked alongside, despise the disrepute that her corrupt institutions bring. It always struck me that these wonderfully kind and decent people do not in the least deserve the horribly corrupt elites that for so long have managed to cling on in the top roles.

There is agreement that, yes, hard evidence is important. But the BBC and many other investigative teams who took on the Sai Baba issue were no less aware of this than you are. Does not media have a proper role in eliciting peoples’ experiences whether or not individuals are able to back up their experiences with empirical evidence at every turning. 

The fact is that, except for India Today, which did a terrific job, Indian media might were deaf to our worldwide submissions on the Sai cult. Here was a wide cross-section of those who had resigned – in some cases exceptionally important figures in the Sathya Sai Organization. They were treated to the same high-handedness and deceit that the whole of India has now been able to see because of the revelations. 

The Indian media had a chance to expose the massive cover up regarding the police killings in Sai Baba’s bedroom. With almost no exception, it failed. Lawyers, police, politicians, and so on all know this. Failure is the correct word. If you are prepared to be proactive, we will certainly consider assisting you with witnesses, including those who have not previously spoken out, and who may not be so easy to ignore, as a small number who have fought without ceasing for 10 gruelling years.

 But why should many of our witnesses risk their personal and family safety and jobs and so forth if they are not to be listened to by senior journalists who have – with true professionalism – done their homework, just as was the case of journalists outside India.

You say that there have been, over the years, articles critical of Sathya Sai Baba and his cult in the Indian media. We shall have to compare notes – I challenge you to provide a list of any hard-hitting examples. Whatever examples you may be able to cite, they are more than contradicted by the many the rebuffs we got. Virtually day in and day out, I was close to the action, and stand witness to say that Sai Baba former devotees made many attempts to engage wide sections of the Indian media. In marked contrast, UNESCO, Interpol, the FBI, etc., and various non-Indian governments treated our workers’ reports, and sworn testimony from various countries, with the utmost seriousness.

I agree with your point about the pitfalls of hearsay evidence. Your point that Indian media did not have sworn testimony is an entire mistake. Where were you and your journalistic colleagues when we made it very clear that not only did we have a number but were in unique position – far better than journalists! – to bring still other sworn testimony, provided that there was a chance of any section of the Indian media doing a good job. Aroon Purie and his team DID not behave like the rest of you.

You overplay the hearsay issue. The matter is not an either/or situation. Both types of evidence, in their varying stages, are important. I think you err too far in the direction of wanting proof, or close to it. Proof often follows, rather than preceeds, proper investigation of allegations, clues, evidentiary contexts, study of credentials of witnesses, and so forth.The BBC not only followed up on our list but actually ventured out and got (I was assured by assistant producer of ‘The Secret Swami’, David Saville) and found still further apparently strong cases, such that the individuals and the various families DID NOT appear on our lists, he said. Why has not the Indian media, almost without exception, thus ventured out.

The last two months of daily Indian media reports are a great irony for us. At last, in India, there is wide discussion of the contradictions, cover ups, contradictions, lack of proper organizational.

I am glad that, in our phone conversation, you very strongly reacted to the disclosure right at that time of the Rs 35.5 lakhs from twelve devotees (yet another Srinivasan tale now exploded by the police). You, like I, disdained the manner in which prime matters are being overly focused on, and essentials being forgotten. It will be great to see media as a formidable force in educating a national and international public in how laws are, or may be being, broken, and the model qualities of due diligence, accountability and transparency which those laws expect of organizations, including those said to be ‘spiritual’.

As I look across the Indian media’s handling of the Sathya Sai and his Sai Trust scandals, I see failure – not particularly in the basic reporting but in the sheer lack of qualitative analysis. 

I note a lot of Indian media rely on government and police releases, important though these are in their own place. Yes, juicy for certain readers. BUT too often there lacks focus on essentials, and the acute need to keep the trajectory of main developments in the minds of readers/viewers as further news breaks.

I see news-management-by-Release, rather than by proactive, savvy news and analysis writers and editors who can help contextualize historic background, and intellectual and moral/spiritual issues.

Will your group provide regular overviews, so that the serious tendency for salient factors to be badly eclipsed can, in some measure be overcome. Happily, I have seen three leading Indian television broadcaster shooting hard-hitting questions in some depth and breadth. There was intellectual engagement.See: ‘Face the Nation’ Audience Poll, India – 87% Hostile to Gurus Like Sathya Sai Baba

But so often, one sees Sai Trust spokespersons getting away with the same ducking and weaving which we have exposed since circa 2000. Surveying a cross-section of Indian media performances, I scribbled the note: please guys, lay on some really trenchant questioning! Is there anything litigious about asking:  E.g.,:

a) How the treasure hoarding and dispositions could have occurred at all – what? Without a moment’s suspicion by ANY Trust personnel? Or knowledge of any of the male students (‘form boys’) whom, for sexual reasons, Sai Baba has long been known to allow to sleep in his room? He himself has acknowledged that certain boys are permitted to sleep in his room. This is recorded in official Sai literature, as WE have accurately documented, along with so much else. Are any of you in the Indian media asking  considerable Sai Baba experts like Brian Steel, Robert Priddy and Kevin Shepherd etc., to assist with ‘chapter and verse? You and other Indian media show few signs of having done so.

Were Satyajit and Sai Baba the only two who knew of Sai Baba’s vast hoard? Did it somehow materialize? What?  No bearers to transport it? No carriers sworn to dread secrecy on pain of some dire threat and/or some handsome reward? No plan for usage of the currency and valuables? No recipients? No presence of smuggling or money laundering? No gifts to Sai Baba from any major criminal or any Croesus-rich potentate (E.g., the Saudi King, one report has it, showering diamonds). No Swiss bank involvements?

b) How a Trust – charged with due diligence! – could, 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 contraindicating detections, 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 prior to 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 ……..

I have looked almost in vain in the Indian media for sustained critical responses (except now and then in Readers Comments’ sections in some newspapers) to, among a host of issues, the absurd and contradictory of statements by Trust Officials. For example, the explanation of V.Srinivasan regarding the police van and bus seizures of treasure. Indians traveling India, and travelers visiting her, and foreign government’s with their Travel Advisories regarding India testify to the perils of travel. Yet, Srinivasan and other Sai Trust members constantly skip round matters of grave substance, and a passive media may be their best bet of getting away with it. Of this I have blogged, indeed harped, feeling it a great pity that foreigners like Robert Priddy and me should have to lead with so many of the probing questions and issues while the Indian media do  little but report and move on to the next revelation in the Sai Baba and Sai Trust saga, failing to gather up the strands and show continuities and interweaving relationship. I had the image of the Indian media, by and large, vacuuming up police and government reports and reverse blowing them out to a long-suffering Indian public. Why should Indian editors (and I am tired, frankly, of hearing it from them in our private conversations) speaking about their litigation concerns. What is litigious about pointed questioning? About going hard at contradictions and discrepancies in the stories of those such as Srinivasan, Ratnakar, Bhagwani, et al. In regard to the Sai Trust rapidly changing statements about the cash secretly moved out of Puttaparthi, I wrote (and wondered why the Indian media aren’t far more vigilant here):

“Where, too, has gone any semblance of the Sathya Sai Central Trust’s duty of care for the safety of life and limb of its  workers on a money transportation assignment fraught with danger? This, in an area with trained eyes not only of individual criminals, criminal gangs, and private armies of feudal landlords but of ubiquitous, highly organized, armed political struggle groups such as the Naxalites (with countless splinter groups), the so-called Peoples’ War Group or PWG, etc. Many police and security authorities complain of the emasculation by Andhra Pradesh state politicians of state security and police cadres capable of action, and the pipe dream of thinking that negotiation and accommodation are going to work. Why the earlier Trust assertions that donations are dealt with by cheque? Why such vast amounts of loose cash? Where is the accountability and transparency in all this?  Can we trust a Trust that doesn’t know about vast funds being transported in the dead of night, or carted in a passenger bus in gunny sacks of cash as if it were mere chaff or ragi? When proper practice by a Trust is upheld, who will dare to hump huge fortunes around the countryside like this? Such a Trust lacks due diligence, and is incompetent. What suppose wicked chaff or ragi robbers assail the van or bus and snatch the sacks?” See:

Sathya Sai Saga: Points Lost Among Big Sathya Sai Trust Reassurances of Transparency Posted by Barry Pittard on June 30, 2011

Well, X, I am very much concerned that there is – apart from the basic reporting – a  failure by India’s ramshackle Fifth Estate. Rather, one would like to see hard probing, and far better backgrounding.  If the media is so slack, how can India be bulwark of democracy? For decades, most of you guys grievously failed Sai Baba’s countless victims, who live in India and around the world. If you want sworn testimony, kindly do not make guesses as to whether they were offerred to the Indian media. You offend the facts here. If we decide that your network can do a good job, I rather think that we can provide news about the real treasure that Sai Baba tried to hide away, but did not value. The treasury of victims of his various types of abuse.

True, the key perpetrator is dead, and we can’t pursue him. However, those who were complicit and had knowledge of these various types of abuses, and who extensively covered them up, are still very much alive. They are still on the Sai Central Trust and in his Sathya Sai Organization. Sometimes, great moral outrage takes time to reach the tipping point. Let us see.

Barry Pittard (Former lecturer, Sathya Sai College, Whitefield, via Bangalore)

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Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

General

Excerpt From Public Petition (and introduction)

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

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Sathya Sai Trust’s V.Srinivasan: Defending A Religious Empire Fallen. A Torn House Divided

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 6, 2011

Unfortunately for Sathya Sai Trust spokesman V. Srinivasan and his (and Sathya Sai Baba’s) already badly tattered credibility, last Sunday, still more treasure was found in secret places in Sai Baba’s private quarters. This time, the joint District Collector and her team searched for and found it. But, in a case of caught-out-yet-again, this lot of treasure DID NOT appear in the Trust’s inventory, which the government of Andhra Pradesh had put the Trust on its Boy Scout’s honor to make.

Did the District Collector and her team obtain their spectacles or magnifying glasses from a manufacturer much superior to any the poor Trustees  can manage to find?

Srinivasan’s earlier story was that huge amounts of money which police found being secretly removed by van and bus did not belong to the Trust but to twelve devotee donors.The India Daily reported (Tuesday 21 June 2011):

“According to sources, during investigation, it was found that Pradhan, a retired Air Force official, brought Rs 35.5 lakh out of Yajurveda Mandir, Sai Baba’s personal chamber, and handed it over to Sathya Sai Central Trust members RJ Ratnakar and V Srinivasan at the Shanti Bhavan. The cash was in turn given to Chandrasekhar, driver of Srinivasan, and later, was passed on to Sohan Setty and Harish Nanda.

The trio was caught by the police on Saturday night while transporting the cash to Bangalore. Police are likely to serve notices on Ratnakar and Srinivasan in a day or two, the sources said”.

Srinivasan’s story falls down on at least three counts:

1.  The Sai Trust  markedly departed from its policy of donation by cheque with the administration’s issue of receipts.

2. Perhaps all the more strange in a (so-called) spiritual organization which should have a tender care for the safety of its workers  is the considerable security risk to which Srinivasan and any other accomplices (like the Puttaparthi head of Security) were ready to expose Srinivasan’s driver,  Chandrasekhar, and the Shetty brothers.

3. Commonsense and caution, following nation-wide attention on the enormity of the first, and truly vast, treasure cache, should have set in. The risks Srinivasan took can hardly be stated. Who would be so imprudent? What lawyer would ever countenance such folly? Yet Trust spokesmen are often enamoured of stating what depth of experience and talent subsist in its Trustees.

For one passing moment, a statement of Srinivasan sounded faintly like a Puttaparthi spokesman in the ‘good old days’. He told the Indian media:

“I do not see any need for the government to set up a separate mechanism”. 

But clearly succumbing to a changed reality, where Puttaparthi is no longer shielded from public accountability, he added that he saw no problem if the government should wish to set up a mechanism of accountability. IF …..!  Surely, not ‘if’ – but when. A high level business group CEO, Srinivasan cannot be so simple-minded as believe in such and IF. He gives every evidence of temporizing and trying to play to the naive masses.

But Puttaparthi times have change. Markedly unlike Srinivasan, the then world head of the Sathya Sai Organization in and Trustee, Indulal Shah, was able, in a medieval feudal chieftan-like response, though terrible police executions and other killings had just taken place, to make short work of The Hindu, June 10, 1993: 

“When press persons met Mr. Indulal Shah, chief functionary of the Sri Sathya Sai World Trust, he said, ‘the matter is purely internal and we do not wish to have any law enforcement agency investigating into it.’”

Background Note:

The then Indian Prime Minister Narasimha Rao and his Home Minister S.B. Chavan and other powerful forces in Indian politics aided Puttaparthi’s extensive cover up of the police killings in Sathya Sai Baba’s bedroom. We know (via the testimony of V.K.N. Narasimhan, editor of Sanathana Sarathi) that Chavan was in Puttaparthi assisting in the damage control. A former Andhra Pradesh Home Office Secretary, V.P.B. Nair told the BBC of the massive cover up that  prevented police, media and judicial investigation. The Anantapur Journalist’s Union protested the suppression.

Unable to take the haughty approach, Srinivasan keeps making difficulties for himself. For example, it was only days ago, that he maintained, absolutely, the Trust very strictly controls donations. That they must be by cheque. And that receipts must be issued. Next thing, apparently temporizing again, when his own agents were caught spiriting away huge sums of money under great secrecy, he said:

“… most transactions are by cheque but why can’t one be by cash? That money belonged to the trust. We had no other intention than to pay samadhi contractors.’’

He also dismissed any notion that cash, gold and gemstones and other valuables are still concealed in the Yajur Mandir.  Was the Sai Trust’s own inventory just the tip of the iceberg? the media asked. Srinivasan laughed, replying:

“I do not know why such fanciful statements are being made. We took an inventory and took everything into the accounts of the trust. The inventory was taken in the presence of trustees who are respectable bureaucrats, chartered accountants, legal practitioners and businessmen.’’

It is instructive to look at Srinivasan’s statements over recent days.  Two days prior to police questioning him for five hours about the money secretly transported from Puttaparthi by van and by bus (even AFTER all cash and valuable were said by the Trust to have been accounted for), Srinivasan told the Indian Express: 

“The money belongs to the Trust”. 

He said that there could be no more gold, silver and other valuables in the Yajur Mandir. All along Srinivasan has given out accounts as though they are indisputable facts, only to be falsified by the facts. Like his ‘spiritual master’, in fact, as analytical studies of Sai Baba’s discourses  and other documentation clearly show.

In passing, it is interesting that there is no record of Srinivasan saying a thing about any of the many other places in or around Puttaparthi where treasure may, or may not, be hidden – for example, secreted behind walls or in ceilings or in cement tunnels. Such genuine care, accountability, transparency and due diligence are not to be seen in him or this fellow.

Following yesterday’s searches for about a day just yesterday (Sunday), headlines in the Indian media read, for example:

Assets worth Rs77L seized at Sai ashram

See: Yet Another Sai Yajur Mandir Treasure Haul. Stash Not In Recent Enforced Sai Central Trust Inventory.Posted by Barry Pittard on July 3, 2011

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THE HINDU

Front Page, Wednesday, Jun 29, 2011

‘Rs.35 lakh cash does not belong to Trust’

Staff Reporter

Sathya Sai Central Trust clarifies the money belonged to 12 different people

PHOTO: R.V.S. PRASAD

Trustee V. Srinivasan (right) of the Sathya Sai Central Trust speaking to the media at Puttaparthi on Tuesday. Member of the council of management Naganand is also seen.

PUTTAPARTHI: The Sathya Sai Central Trust categorically stated here on Tuesday that the cash of Rs.35 lakh seized at the Kodikonda checkpost by police recently did not belong to the Trust but to 12 different people.

Trustees R. J. Ratnakar and V. Srinivasan, who were in the thick of controversy following seizure of the cash, had only facilitated the money being placed before the regal chair of Sathya Sai Baba in Yajur Mandir.

Mr. Srinivasan explained at a crowded press conference in Prashanthi Nilayam that the Trust did not wish to get involved with the finances of the construction of the Mahasamadhi as it was a public charitable trust and that the law did not permit them to undertake religious activity.

He said the Trust had decided not to directly undertake the construction but facilitate the devotees to do so under its supervision to ensure quality and aesthetics. The Trust took this decision as it was flooded with offers from devotees to pay for the Samadhi work. Shankarnarayana Consultancy Company of Bangalore was appointed as project consultant.

Mr. Naganand — member of the council of management of the Sathya Sai Central Trust — said there were no restrictions on people giving donations in cash to a consultancy to be used for the construction of the Mahasamadhi. He added that the said company was no stranger to Puttaparthi and had in fact even donated work worth crores of rupees, even when not asked for, out of devotion to the late Sathya Sai Baba.

Asked if the Trust would be compliant if the government decided to take on a monitoring role over the Trust, Mr. Srinivasan said, “I do not see any need for the government to set up a separate mechanism”, and that if and when such a decision was taken, the Trust would not have a problem.

He said even without a demand note from the Income-Tax Department, they had paid Rs.9.75 crore as tax on the income attached to the inventory of valuables found in the Yajur Mandir.

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THE EXPRESS

Sai trustee stands by Samadhi story

 Express News Service
Last Updated : 24 Jun 2011 08:23:57 AM IST

HYDERABAD: Breaking his silence for the first time since the seizure of R35 lakh of Sai Baba’s money, Sathya Sai Central Trust member V Srinivasan vehemently denied allegations of wrongdoing and said the amount was meant for a legitimate purpose: building the guru’s samadhi.

In an interview with Express, Srinivasan said, “There is no substance in the allegations being aired. We are not involved in any illegitimate activity. The money came from the devotees. The media is distorting the facts.’’ He laughed off allegations that wealth from the Sai Baba’s estate was being siphoned off. “The truth will come out once I make a statement to the police,’’ he said. Srinivasan is due to give his statement in a couple of days.Pointed out that his driver Chandrasekhar has told the police that it was Srinivasan who had sent him to get the cash from Yajurweda Mandir, the trust member asked, “When the money was meant for a legitimate purpose, where is the problem? Does sending my driver to deliver the money mean that it was being used for illegitimate purposes?’’ Asked if it wasn’t true that all transactions of the trust are normally done by cheques, Srinivasan said, ‘’Yes, most transactions are by cheque but why can’t one be by cash? That money belonged to the trust. We had no other intention than to pay samadhi contractors.’’ Asked if it was true that cash, gold and diamonds are still concealed in the Yajurweda Mandir and that the inventory revealed by the trust was just the tip of the iceberg, Srinivasan laughed and said, “I do not know why such fanciful statements are being made. We took an inventory and took everything into the accounts of the trust.The inventory was taken in the presence of trustees who are respectable bureaucrats, chartered accountants, legal practitioners and businessmen.’’ Asked whether the trustees were preventing government officials from entering the Yajurweda Mandir, Srinivasan said, “What is preventing government officials from entering the mandir now? We have never prevented them and never will.We never said they cannot enter.’’

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Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

General

Excerpt From Public Petition (and introduction)

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

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Sathya Sai Baba Scandal: View RJ Ratnakar’s Body Language In NDTV Interview On Sai Trust ‘Transparency’

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 29, 2011

Although Sai Baba once famously wrote a letter in which he renounced his family – as renunciates in time-honored Indian tradition do (except for those such as tantricists) – his nephew R.J. Ratnakar is at centre stage . 

The Sai Trust’s R.J.Ratnakar, Renunciate Sai Baba's Nephew. Effective Sai Trust Supremo

Sathya Sai Central Trust. Here is the earlier type of presentation that Ratnakar would now clearly like the public to forget all about. It is a statement a prominent spokesman for Trustees and the Council of Management,V.Srinivasan, chairman of WS Industries, Chennai, South India, made on the same day as the Central Trust made its tediously waffling major public statement, couched verbatim, in this portion, in both cases:  

“In the light of baseless, irresponsible and false accusations of defalcation of gold, valuable artefacts and even money, it is emphatically stated that the accusations are wholly untrue and it is believed these have been engineered by certain vested interests”. (Economic Times article:  ‘Baba had no successor in mind: Trustees, election for Sai Trust chairman next week’, Apr 28, 2011, 09.53pm IST).

In one moment, we are told that ex Chief Justice of India P.N. Bhagwati is head of the Sai Central Trust. Next thing, we learn that Ratnakar is at the helm. In fact, many Sai devotees see him as having usurped what many viewed as his most trusted aide, Satyajit. Bhagwati himself had affirmed the value of Satyajit. Word has now come through that Bhagwati and K. Chakravarthi (longtime Trust secretary, and the father of one of my students whom I most respected when teaching at the Sathya Sai College, Whitefield via Bangalore, who later went to Oxford University), are resigning. On the other hand, we can produce evidence that K.Chakravarthi was sacked from the Indian Administrative Service for embezzlement.

K. Chakravathi, longtime Sai Trust Secretary. An Expert with a knife

Others, too, have tended resignations, as have the highly reputed Dr A.N. Safaya, along with a number of doctors and nurses. See:  Head of Sai Baba Mega Dollar Hospital At Puttaparthi Resigns. Others Quitting Jobs Too

                                                 Dr A.N. Safaya. Resigns as head of Sathya Sai Hospital Puttaparthi, AP, South India

In viewing the video of the interview just done with NDTV (Indian) with Ratnakar, my reader may be interested to study his body language. He claims that there is no financial irregularity. That the Sai Central Trust is impeccable. That things are fine. In a fashion usual to his master and to certain other officials in the past, such as Indulal Shah and G. Venkataraman, he inveighs – no matter how well-evidenced are reports – against vested interests and malign campaigning against the Trust. First, former devotees were “demons” and “Judases” who would never achieve salvation in this or any other life. For comparison between then and recently, see:

Indulal Shah and Indian Government Cover Up

‘God’s’ Ex-Shah, Indulal Shah

Robert Priddy and Barry Pittard On Dr G. Venkataraman – Sathya Sai Baba Global Propagandist

V.P.B. Nair Told BBC Sai Baba Bedroom Killings Were “Coldblooded Murder”

Readers who are psychologists, police interrogators and so forth, may especially like to study Ratnakar’s body language – and take careful note of eye movements, gestures, facial expressions such as the smiling, etc. Those scientifically conversant with voice prints may also like to study Ratnakar’s form. Or parents who have a good street sense of when their kids are lying might also like to examine this interview.

At the same time, I do not think that all Sai Baba spokespersons will show up as dishonest. There are some relative innocents among them – but they are, often unwittingly, tools of the dark art players.  But kid me not, you Sai Trust members, I have taught many of your or your associates’ children, and I know from the latters’ and my stimulating conversations that some of my students were sharply familiar with the  ‘Arthaśāstra’ of Chanakya, who pre-dated his kindred spirit in renaissance Italy Machiavelli by 1800 years. It is a legacy Indian ruling class practitioners of the darker political and diplomatic arts pass on to their smarter sons (and daughters, sometimes).

Heavens! – I used to think that Sai Baba was drawing certain of his trustees and other key leaders to him so as to purify his Trust members and other core leaders, hand-picked by Sai Baba as they have long been, who have long raised deep, but often whispered concern among rank-and-file Sai devotees. But …..

There are, by the way, VERY few leaders in this heavily authoritarian cult who are permitted to speak publicly. Indeed, the complex presence of elusive and different levels of official operandi within the Sai Baba hierarchy of leadership was long ago detailed by Hari Sampath, a former member of Sai Baba’s Security and Intelligence Wing. I trust that Mr Sampath is well on the way to purification these days.  See:  How It Works (August 2000). It is most instructive to read this article in conjunction with Sampath’s Public Information Litigation suit which he took to the Supreme Court of India. The high-profile advocate Kamini Jaiswal took his case. Even she failed against the sheer weight of judicial corruption, which is common in India. I have written elsewhere:

“I have shown documents in this case to outstanding legal counsel in various democratic jurisdictions, and the repeated reaction was one of abhorrence for the summary manner in which the judges dealt with the case. An expression used was ‘Kangaroo Court’.  Let anyone read, in part, an Indian lawyer’s notes for the case. See the article:  Sai Baba protected by the Supreme Court of India.

They will get their own sense of the corruption of some judges at the epicenter of (so-called) Indian Justice.

Anyone accustomed to democratic court procedures can hardly believe, as one reads the lawyer’s notes in transcript, that judges could be so blatant. See, Record of Proceedings document of Hari Sampath’s 2001 case against Sai Baba in the Supreme Court of India.  See how the case is scuppered by Judges G.B. Patnaik and R.C. Lahoti with the concurrence of then Chief Justice Dr A.S. Anand. Prompted by concern for her client if he were to proceed in and Andhra Pradesh court – the proposed remedy of the judges, Kamini Jaiswal, a senior advocate in the Indian Supreme Court, strongly contested the three judges’ direction to pursue matters in an Andhra Pradesh court”. 

Sathya Sai Baba Disposed Judges

In brief, my current observations are:  Trust players are turning to the best paid lawyers in India, who can be relied upon for use of technicalities and delay and obfuscation tactics. The Andhra Pradesh government, ostensibly chartered to investigate and report properly to parliament and public, is riddled in practically all quarters by longtime Sai Baba devotees, and still others who wheeled and dealed to their own political or pecuniary advantage. 
Central trust personnel first reacted with shock, and confusion. Their communications were sometimes far too little and at other times verbose and careless in that further suspicions among devotees, the Indian media and wider public were aroused. There were panicked attempts to recover lost ground. But now there is the resumption of few but smooth highly tailored statements and carefully measured silences.
See also: 

Sathya Sai Trust’s R.J.Ratnakar – Long Police Interrogation. Intensive Investigations Continue

Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

Scan of Hari Sampath PIL to Supreme Court of India. Proof of what the Court denied record of when requested by the British Ambassador to India

General

Excerpt From Public Petition (and introduction)

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

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Has Sathya Sai Baba’s Will Been Found? Which Will will Prevail? Divine Will or Earthly Will?

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 19, 2011

In a communication just received, a private source of information relates:

“Bhagwati is pro Satyajit and hence threatened to quit the trust, but was pacified. Day before yesterday in a trust meeting, several trust members walked out in a huff. Some trust members are being spied upon by Ratnakar’s agents. My sources tell me that Trust legal advisor Naganand has actually admitted a will was found”.

I feel that we have reasonably, and at quite some length, exposed ex-Chief Justice P.N. Bhagwati.

                                                                                       Sri Sathya Sai Trust’s P.N. Bhagwati – “No Replacement For Baba”

See my articles:

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

Posted by Barry Pittard on May 4, 2011

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

Posted by Barry Pittard on May 1, 2011

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

Posted by Barry Pittard on April 29, 2011

I regret, however, that I am not able to proceed with information that I have received, separately, from legal and retired diplomatic sources, which wish to remain highly circumspect.

I will say, however, that I trust there will be alert researchers from the media and other investigative areas who are able to get a bead on how Bhagawati went in pursuit of his United Nations and Chief Justice of India jobs. There is salient opinion of him around Lincoln Court Inn and other legal watering places redolent of his London days. If bona fide investigators contact me, I should be able to point in some useful directions. Email address:  barpittard@gmail.com

Such alert investigators may like to see what they can uncover about the jeweller in Bangalore who long made many gold and silver ornaments, subsequently “materialized” by Sathya Sai Baba. Even nearer to Puttaparthi, journalists should not have too much difficulty in tracking down another such jeweler. Further afield, we are informed, are a jeweler in Mumbai and another in Hyderabad. Still another lost his deal, and was, apparently, deeply upset. Again, we have some direction-pointing resources sleuths may like to use, if it would not lose too much face for them to ask a foreigner:  barrypittard@gmail.com, with professional assurances of confidentiality where required.

Among those sleuthing in and around Puttaparthi are:  Daijiworld Media Network—Anantapur, near to Puttaparthi in the State of Andhra Pradesh,  and feeders for The New Indian Express Group.

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Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

———————————————–

General

Excerpt From Public Petition (and introduction)

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

Subscribe in NewsGator OnlineSubscribe in BloglinesAdd to Excite MIXAdd Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba to Newsburst from CNET News.comAdd to netvibesAdd to The Free DictionaryAdd to netomat HubAdd to Webwag Subscribe in a reader

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Sai Trust divided over Sathya Sai’s will

The New Indian Express
Updated Jun 19, 2011 at 09:36am IST
 Anantapur: By opening the doors of the Yajurveda Mandir, the legatees of Sathya Sai Baba may only have prised open a pandora’s box.

Along with large quantities of gold, silver and cash, the Sathya Sai Central Trust reportedly found the Baba’s diary and will, the contentious contents of which are widening the rifts within the trust. One group in the trust says the will mandated that prominence be given to the Sai Baba’s long-standing caregiver Satyajit. Another group is denying that a will had been found at all.

The issue of Satyajit’s role in future was the focus of a two-day meeting of the trust on June 14 and 15. Reliable sources say senior trust member and former Supreme Court judge PN Bhagwati is all for prominence to Satyajit.

Sai Trust divided over Sathya Sai's will

When this was opposed some members, he felt hurt and volunteered to withdraw from the trust.

But he was pacified and persuaded to reconsider his decision.

All the same, some senior members are in a serious sulk. One of them is said to have stomped out of Puttaparthi on Friday night, miffed that Satyajit has not been given prominence.

Source say that one member, a Sai veteran of 35 years, was so put out by alleged spying on his office in Puttaparthi, that he would leave Prashanti Nilayam.

Given such rifts in the trust, chances are the governing body may be dissolved, or its aged members allowed to retire after putting in place a working system. But it is highly unlikely that any one person will be given complete control. “Trust members may each be given a specific activity or Seva programmes to handle. This will prevent power being concentrated in a single individual,” a source said.

Meanwhile, Sai diehards, however, say that “things are slowly settling down” in Puttaparthi.

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Anantapur: Will Satyajit Head Satya Sai Baba Trust?

Daijiworld Media Network—Anantapur Anantapur, Jun 17: From the time the doors of Sai Baba’s personal chamber were opened on Friday June 17 and Ratnakar confirmed that about Rs 12 crore in cash and 98 kg gold were found inside the chamber, the media has been awaiting news of the appointment of a new head of the Trust.Satyajit, who hails from the coastal city of Mangalore, was in the news for taking over the Satya Sai Central Trust after the demise of Satya Sai Baba.However, the trustees denied that there were any plans of appointing Satyajit as the head of the trust though he was regarded as being the closest to Sai Baba. Satyajit was the caretaker and a disciple of Godman.According to reliable sources from Puttparthy, three members of the Trust – former Supreme Court judge Justice Bhagavathi, S V Giri, and L Srinivasan  proposed that a prominent post be given to Satyajit which was opposed by R J Ratnakar, nephew of Satya Sai Baba and a member of the Trust.It is learnt that Ratnakar wanted the Trust to give no importance to Satyajit under any circumstances.Reportedly, Baba had written a will appointing Satyajit as his successor. But Ratnakar denied this, saying no such will was found in Sai Baba’s chamber.

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Sathya Sai Baba Claimed He Will Resurrect After 40 Days

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 4, 2011

Amid the dust and decay of his many unfulfilled prophecies, Sathya Sai Baba died 25 April 2011. Yet he foretold that the most of the world would come kneel at his feet.

But of course, he will remain dead. And, except for small parts of it, the world has never been aware of him. That is to say, despite all his untruthful, propagandistic speeches ( and those of his carefully selected keynote speakers) given from the Puttaparthi stage saying that the whole world is becoming aware of his glory. Most of the world press did not cover his death, and those that did gave it no such column inches as the media in India.

Rather, the world is only too likely to adhere to its own multiplicity of belief systems, some of which profoundly disallow any such evangel as that of Sathya Sai Baba.

Contrary to the beliefs rife among his devotees, both (supposedly) educated and the non-educated, he will resurrect.

Some sections of the Indian press – hitherto loathe to publish inimically on Sathya Sai Baba – now report various claims, each report serving to show how deeply compromised in their blind belief his devotees are, including the current President, Prime Minister, and many central, state and local government officials, across party political lines, not to mention a great many others. The Times of India informs:

Baba said he would return stronger, claims book

TNN, Apr 24, 2011, 03.10am IST

PUTTAPARTHI: Did Sathya Sai Baba have premonition 10 years ago that he would fall seriously ill? Yes, claim his followers. According to them, Sai Baba had predicted in 2000 that he would be indisposed for 40 days but would come back strong to give darshan to his devotees.

This was revealed in a book ‘Tapovanam — Bhagawan Sri Sathya Saibaba Satcharitra Nityaparaya-nam’   in which the author Jandhyala Venkateswara Sastry has written an essay on Baba’s ill-health. Sai Baba had told his students at his Sai Shruti ashram in Kodaikanal in 2000: ”Though most of my disciples fall at my feet, they don’t know my real value. A time would come when I would vanish and take a walk across the skies. During that phase, my body would face serious health problems and devotees would be desperately praying for my recovery.”

A great many Sathya Sai Baba devotees are familiar with his statements that he would forsake aircraft and “move across the sky”.  I doubt whether I shall bother to stick my head out the window to see any such event.  However, if he does appear, his devotees will crow louder than the fowl yard at dawn, and, eyes agleam, let the rest of us know.

At the moment, there does not even appear the chance of a dazzling darshan in the sky of a flying gilded coffin.

Although some devotees are exciting other devotees with accounts of wondrous visions. Interesting – because Sai Baba has on various occasions told devotees to disregard such visions. Contradictorily, he has also told devotees that so long as dreams of him are clear, then they indeed come from him.

His predicted death date in the following quote clashes with at least two other dates for his death (although neither he nor his devotees have used such a bland term as ‘death’). The very commonly referred to death-date is 96, but the one on the left hand side (1963) below indicates an age of 93 years. The text on the right hand (of 2003) makes clear the date that many Sai devotees commonly referred to.

For the madcap attempts to rationalise these dates, and other palpable absurdities, see: 

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

An alert media only has to do a bit of research among decades of official Sathya Sai literature to see that stories such as the one the Times of India now prints have been around for years. It redounds to the Indian media’s great discredit that it has, almost all of it, decade after decade, failed to make even the most perfunctory attempt to hold Sathya Sai Baba and the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust to any sort of account. That a number of leading foreign print and television media have investigated shames not only the Indian media but India herself, for being so corrupt. See: 

Exposure of Sathya Sai Baba. Media Source List

UK Guardian On Sathya Sai Baba and Duke’s Awards

Probed On Male Sex Abuse, Sai Baba Evicts BBC TV Team

BBC Cameras Catch Sai Baba Cheating With Gold Sivalingam. (Film Clip)

Suicide, sex and the guru – The Times of London. The reputation of Sai Baba, a holy man to the rich and famous, has been tarnished by mysterious deaths and allegations of sexual abuse

Fortunately for media, government and institutional researchers, academics such as Robert Priddy and Brian Steel refrained from doing what many other former devotees have done, who destroyed their Sai Baba publications and other acquisitions. Priddy and Steel have subjected various key texts to rational and compelling comparison and analysis. Their vast amount of work will save scholars and other keen investigators huge amounts of time in getting to the relevant and revealing works and sections of works.

Rather than the much vaunted “Glory of Puttaparthi” and endless other such epithets, what we see in the following is the Folly of Puttaparthi:

This official publication verifies Sai Baba's death date prediction of 96 years

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

Posted by Barry Pittard on May 1, 2011

Dame Justice - Impartial. Understood to Be Blind to Status, etc.

P.N. Bhagwati - "No Replacement For Baba"

In his interview just conducted by the Times of India (on which he has long been a director, by the way), Ex- Chief Justice of India, P.N. Bhagwati (see picture), about to head the late Sathya Sai Baba’s Central Trust, makes a number of comments which cannot but alienate him from present and former Commonwealth judges, and, indeed, judges, lawyers and citizens far beyond.

One may hope that no view will succeed which is of the sort that:  here is a very old man – entering his 90’s. Let him have his eccentricities about his God. What harm can Bhagwati do in his dotage? After all, he no longer presides over Indian Justice.

But Bhagwati was not in his dotage down all those years when, as he now tells us, Sathya Sai Baba has been holding the jurisprudential pen.

Let us remember, for one thing, that influence and mentorship of professionals – especially eminent ones – do not stop. Especially in a country like India, in which the elderly are venerated. One becomes aghast at the thought of how many younger judges and advocates in India see Bhagwati as a role model – not just in matters of precise legal craft – which may give no cause for alarm. But, rather, in the matter of interpretation of the legal job when passed through the distorting glass of a faith that says:  Sathya Sai Baba is the Lawyer of Lawyers.  And in a manner which gravely questions the professed secularity, as opposed e.g., to theocratic threats to democratic law, of Indian, Commonwealth, and, indeed, international law.

In this interview, among other points which cannot help but give concern in many quarters, Bhagwati has, without any shadow of a doubt, enunciated a principle so totally alien to a central tenet of justice in any of the democracies:  namely, that because he believes Sathya Sai Baba to be God, there should be no police or judicial investigation into allegations against Sai Baba. Bhagwati shows not a moment’s thought for what this view implies for any other judge – or, indeed, any other citizen – who may think that his or her version of God is the right one, and therefore omit to hold that ‘version’ to be free from any judicial or police procedure. The thought is truly appalling ….. and one almost blinks in astonishment. There is a corruption of justice at the very core of his pronouncement.

What say if the case was of a Chief Justice who thought that Rajneesh, or Muktananda or the (recent) Nityananda – or any other eminence ochre or saffron or of whatever dye was holding his or her pen in the writing of judgements?

At a number of points during the interview, Bhagwati weeps. Is he weeping for the Justice that he has traduced? Perhaps he is weeping for the loss on 24 April 2011, when his guru died. (After saying saying, over the years, that he, Avatar of All Avatars, come to save the world before he left it a the age of 96. And that he would be fit and healthy into his old age. And that he would not leave until the world had fallen at his feet – except for some last tidying-up to be done by his next incarnation, Prema Sai Baba). But then, why weep so much given Bhagwati’s statement that, all down the years, Sathya Sai Baba has been the mystic pen in Bhagwati’s hand, writing the judgements?

Bhagwati’s hand, that has been in the grip of Sathya Sai Baba’s hand all these years, is a very wavering hand now.

He says, for example, that for long, in writing his judgements, he has been receiving guidance from Sathya Sai Baba. The account he gives sounds very like automatic writing. If it was not, he needs to have been clear about what he means. Judges are meant to be clear, are they not?

Bhagwati also shows some disconcerting lapses (???) of memory. Above all, the parents and families of those slain meters away from where Sathya Sai Baba was hiding on the other side of a locked door of his appartment on the blood-filled night of 6 June will surely want a better effort of memory from Bhagwati, once the lychpin of Indian  Justice. A better effort of memory from a man who is now to head the Sathya Sai Central Trust, on which he has so long served as a key member. 

It  is a test of the maturity of Indian democracy and of its jurisprudence whether India continues to allow such forgetfulness.

Note:  The sort of questions that I would like to be asking Ex-Chief Justice Bhagwati (ex-Justice, indeed!) are below, in blue highlight.

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Times of India Interview With Ex-Chief Justice of India, P.N. Bhagwati.

‘Sai Baba, my god, dictated my every single judgment’

TNN | May 1, 2011, 03.22am IST
(Note:  See Interview beneath the extracts on which I have commented)

In relation to his expected installation as head of the Sathya Sai Central Trust, Bhagwati says:

No one will oppose my name. I have cultivated a reputation as the foremost legal luminary across the Commonwealth.

Barry Pittard:  Judges throughout the world famously leave it up to others to assess their standing. Do you believe that any Commonwealth judge, other than yourself, has ever made a public statement in which he or she has asserted their own excellence?

As a professional, each time I would sit down to write a judgment at 5 ‘o’clock in the morning, I was only writing what my god dictated. Bhagwan held my hand as I put pen to paper.

BP’s Question: First, do you know any Commonwealth judges who have made a public statement which only too obviously is open to interpretation that they are engaged in automatic writing? Second, do you cognise that many Indian citizens who refer to many gods and goddesses, and others to none at all are entitled to concern that judgements which affect them are ‘written’, in effect, by your own version of ‘God’ with which they may have serious concerns?

Everything that I have achieved in respect of the law, and people say I have achieved a lot, is owing to the guidance and inspiration of Sathya Sai Baba. There is no doubt on that score.

BP:  Are democratic publics not entitled to expect of their judges – irrespective of their presence or absence of religious faith – the ability, under their own steam, to write excellent judgements?

An attempt was made on his life a few years ago. Some ashram inmates were killed.

I am not aware of this. I live in Delhi, so I have no knowledge.

BP: If you do not remember any salient facts of one of the two or three greatest crises to have faced the Trust on which you were, and have long since been, a prominent member, how can we rely on your memory when you tell us that you later say that you “have never told a lie in (your) entire life?

What is the total worth of the assets of the trust? Is it more than Rs 40,000 crore?

I do not know the present worth.

BP: You are in your 90’s now. Has it never occurred to you, prior to this, to check on such a salient matter?

Did you meet trust officials in Mumbai during this visit?

I cannot remember. Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t. I am not clear in my mind.

BP:  First, is not a pre-eminent, expected quality in judges, the world over, clarity of mind? Second, how could you possibly forget main circumstances relating the 6 June 1993 four police killings in Sathya Sai Baba’s bedroom, and two other slayings outside? Third, do you not diarise?

Inmates of the ashram, particularly young boys, have levied charges of sexual abuse against the godman.

(Agitated) These are all baseless allegations. Bhagwan is a divine person, divinity personified. All these allegations come from interested quarters.

BP:  Please, then, name those many individuals whose sworn testimony has convinced India Today, the BBC, and several other world standard investigative media, that a very serious prima facie case faced Sathya Sai Baba and certain of his leaders. You cannot? Of course you cannot. Learned legal counsel has them. They are often deeply gut-churning. Sometimes, they are, literally, tragic, since suicide has eventuated. At other times, one sees testimony to human courage.What is more, the BBC was able to discover still more testimony, which the assistant producer, David Saville, told me did not appear among our plethora of careful, worldwide documentation.

Major media and institutions such as UNESCO, Interpol, the FBI, and others have the documents. How do you dare to opine, Mr Bhagwati?

In that case, you have committed yourself to a statement that grievously lacks evidence, and, in doing so, you demean and defame the efforts of many aggrieved families around the world who have testified that Sathya Sai Baba engaged in very serious criminal abuses, including wide-scale, serial sexual abuse of boys and young men.

Alarmingly, you do not state the irrefutable fact: that many who have made the allegations about Sathya Sai Baba’s abuses, and about his official organization’s wide-scale dereliction of duty of care, were, for years, dedicated and respected workers in the Sathya Sai Organization. And that these now former devotees are, very typically, respected members of their wider communities, professions, trades, places of learning, and so on.

Interviewer:  Several alleged offences committed by Sai Baba were never investigated.

What is the point of investigation? (Agitated) Bhagwan is divinity personified, he radiates joy; millions worship him. He is a teacher of mankind.

Most people in the world do not even know of him. Even if they did, in democratic societies, there is, as you know, but seem to have forgotten, the principal of Equality Before the Law – no matter a person’s finances, social status, or the political power. Why would you claim exemption for Sathya Sai Baba? Do you not remember the figure of Dame Justice Blindfold that prominently adorns Indian Court buildings.

Each, then, is fully entitled, in his or her own democratic jurisdiction, to make, or allow others to make, any untested assumption as to whether some alleged divinity or other notable figure is to be exempted from facing well-made charges. A judge is not permitted to do that. But you assert that it can be done, when you say: “What is the point of investigation?”

Your longtime close colleague, the past world head of the Sathya Sai Organization made to the Indian media a remark strikingly similar to your own when you said: “What is the point of investigation?” On 10 June 1993 The Hindu, reported:

“When press persons met Mr. Indulal Shah, chief functionary of the Sri Sathya Sai World Trust, he said, ‘the matter is purely internal and we do not wish to have any law enforcement agency investigating into it.’”

Article 7 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.

Do you think, then, that justice systems in the Commonwealth, or countries like the USA, would sanction such statements as these which you and Indulal Shah have made? You will be widely condemned for them within and far beyond your own legal fraternity.

On Sathya Sai Baba: Indian Ex-Chief Justice Gives Eccentric Interview

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Sathya Sai Central Trust Says “millions and millions” of Devotees Worldwide. But Who Counted?

Posted by Barry Pittard on April 25, 2011

Below is the report of The (UK) Guardian’s report on Sathya Sai Baba’s death yesterday morning. I shall excerpt from, and comment on, it.

Sai Baba, spiritual guru to millions, dies at 85

• New-age icon dies of heart and breathing problems
• Reputation marred by sexual abuse allegations

By Jason Burke in Delhi guardian.co.uk, Sunday 24 April 2011 19.46 BST

Sai Baba

Guardian: Sai Baba had an estimated six million followers, but critics said his ‘miracles’ were simple magic tricks. Photograph: AP
But though revered by millions around the world as a living god, he was a controversial figure, criticised by some as a fraud protected by political influence. His later years were dogged by allegations of sexual abuse.
 
Comment:  For backround, see:

UK Guardian On Sathya Sai Baba and Duke’s Awards


The UK Guardian Exposes Indian Guru, Sai Baba

                                                                                                                               Paul Lewis’s article in The Guardian (UK)
                                                                                                                                                   on Duke of Edinburgh Awards

Guardian:   Among Sai Baba’s estimated six million followers are hundreds of top Indian politicians, industrialists, tycoons, Bollywood stars and sportsmen such as cricketer Sachin Tendulkar. Overseas, they include Goldie Hawn and Isaac Tigrett, the founder of Hard Rock café. Sarah Ferguson has visited one of his ashrams.

Comment:  It is refreshing to see a more conservative head count of Sathya Sai Baba followers than e.g., fifty million. But no bona fide researcher has ever, in my or our several avid researchers’ wide Sai-Baba related research experience, been able to come up with the small matter of what ‘head’ counted all the millions of heads. See:  Many Contradictions In Sathya Sai Baba Official Literature and: Sathya Sai Baba’s Gross Exaggerations of Puttaparthi Crowd Numbers.

Is this sort of estimate very much a ‘guesstimate’?  A matter of the ‘gut’ feeling of devotees? A gutstimate!  If so, whose gut? Even the figure of one hundred million has been mentioned. An example of this occurred  in a high-profile talk aimed at  thousands of devotees. If some rank-and-file devotee made such a claim, we might think:  a simple-minded excess of devotion.  But here, making a grossly unsupportable statement was:

Dr. Kanwaljeet S. Anand, of Akansas, USA, MBBS, D.Phil., FAAP, FCCM, FRCPCH, Professor of Pediatrics, Anesthesiology, Pharmacology, Neurobiology & Developmental Sciences UAMS College of Medicine; Board of Directors, Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute.  Anand, for long well-known in official Sathya Sai Baba affairs in the US, was a medical advisor to George Bush when he was US President. See:  Sai Baba Is God Says Top George Bush Doctor. It is the constant, most irresponsible repetition of such figures which leads to the sort of reportage we find in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph (UK), which mentions “up to fifty million devotees”.

Guardian:  Since Sai Baba founded his first permanent meditation centre more than 60 years ago, a vast construction programme funded by donations has converted the remote village where he was born into a thriving small city with dozens of temples, its own 220-bed specialised hospital offering free treatment, a university and an airport where charter planes bringing devotees from around the world arrive every day.

Comment:  The airport detail is very outdated. In the article: Sathya Sai Baba: opulence, show, extravagance and waste, Robert Priddy writes:

The Sathya Sai International Airport, Puttaparthi: Nonetheless, in such a desperately poor State as Andhra Pradesh, it seems very wasteful, as did the airport beside it which stood unused for years and is still used less than ca. 5% of each week. V.K. Narasimhan was present at the interview in 1990 where airport authorities were present. He told how SSB convinced Indian Airport authorities to finance and build the large (allegedly Jumbo jet capacity) airport near Prashanthi Nilayam, telling them that they would earn 10 lakhs of rupees in the first year. No paying passengers even flew in or out during the first year. The frequency of traffic, at best about 2-3 flights of medium jets per week for several years at periods – and when SSB was in residence – ensured that earnings were minimal and well below costs. It was virtually closed often in the 1990s and it hardly justifies its existence at all nowadays. It is truly hard to rationalise such a huge waste of funds in such an impoverished land! The reason can only be Sai Baba’s patently obvious desire for ‘name and fame’. See Sathya Sai Airport “white elephant” for sale!

Guardian:  Volunteers working with Sai Baba’s NGOs have effectively delivered disaster relief and undertaken large-scale developmental works that have brought water or sanitation to hundreds of thousands of people.

Comment:  None should doubt the devotion of a great many Sathya Sai devotees to service activities.  But there is a fallacy – heard repeatedly from many Sai devotees who admit that he routinely had, among what countless communities would regard  as  terrible, ethical and legal abuses of power, sexual relations with boys and young men. Their position is similar to that of close associate of Sai Baba, one-time billionaire Isaac Tigrett who told the BBC that he did not doubt the truth of the sexual allegations but this did not prevent his devotion and fealty to his guru. Devotees and others, mindless of how serious a crime sexual abuse is, say:  But look at all the good works he does!

Guardian: There are thought to be more than 1,200 centres of his Sathya Sai organisation in over a hundred countries around the world.

Comment:  How, then, does the international Sathya Sai Organization, manage to fit the “millions and millions” into all the halls, and temples, and houses where Sathya Sai bhajans are typically held? It seems like herds of elephants pressed into a sardine can.

Guardian:  Sai Baba did not appoint any successor to run his sprawling spiritual and temporal empire, currently run by a trust, after his death. The local Economic Times newspaper estimated its worth at up to £5bn though admitted no accurate valuation was possible.

Comment:  Refreshing to find acknowledgement that “no accurate valuation was possible”. 

Guardian:  “Some people out of their mean-mindedness are trying to tarnish the image of Sai Baba. I am not after name and fame. So, I do not lose anything by their false allegations. My glory will go on increasing day by day,” the guru told followers in 2000.

Comment:  Sai Baba was anything but calm and happy about the upsurge of revelation alleging his abuses. An historic watershed allowed word to get out as never hitherto. Sai Baba’s and his cult’s increasingly top-down, authoritarian style of operation, and the scandals  that the top leadership were previously able to suppress, faced a great dilemma. This owed prfoundly to the exponential uprise of the internet around this time. In a Christmas 2000 discourse, in which peace and goodwill to all men were palpable for their absence, Sai Baba repeatedly pounded his lectern, denouncing his accuses as demons and Judas’s, saying that there could be no salvation for people who speak against him, and vaunting his accomplishments (even though, contrary to his assertions, far from unique when one thinks of the countless great charitable organizations in the world), prompting The Times of India, December 26, 2000, to headline: Sai Baba Lashes Out At His Detractors.

Guardian:  In 1993, six people died violently in the spiritual leader’s private rooms. The incident has never been fully explained. One possibility is a dispute between followers over money.

Comment:  A source of mine, a friend of the boys whom the Puttaparthi police shot down in Sai Baba’s bedroom told me (and, via a particularly eminent elder of his, to the BBC) that the actual wish of the boys, in their confused state, was to plead with Sai Baba to stop using boys for his sexual pleasure. The police action was, said V.P.B. Nair, a former Home Secretary of the state of Andhra Pradesh, a case of “cold-blood murder”, and a profound cover by local, state and central government up of police (CBI) and other evidence. See: Will V.P.B. Nair Keep His Word To BBC On Sathya Sai Baba?  and: V.P.B. Nair Told BBC Sai Baba Bedroom Killings Were “Coldblooded Murder” and: V.P.B. Nair. B.Premanand. R.Priddy: Sai Baba Bedroom Killings and: Indian Ex Top Official Dogs Sai Baba On BBC. ‘Cold-blooded Murder’

Guardian:  His followers claim that, as he has died earlier than foreseen, he could return as early as next year.

Comment:  Heaven knows!  Not nearly so long, according to some reports. Like this one, as reported yesterday in the Times of India:

Baba had said he would come back stronger, claims book

TNN | Apr 24, 2011, 03.38am IST

PUTTAPARTHI: Did Sathya Sai Baba have premonition 10 years ago that he would fall seriously ill? Yes, claim his followers. According to them, Sai Baba had predicted in 2000 that he would be indisposed for 40 days but would come back strong to give darshan to his devotees.  This was revealed in a book ‘Tapovanam — Bhagawan Sri Sathya Saibaba Satcharitra Nityaparaya-nam’ in which the author Jandhyala Venkateswara Sastry has written an essay on Baba’s ill-health. Sai Baba had told his students at his Sai Shruti ashram in Kodaikanal in 2000: ”Though most of my disciples fall at my feet, they don’t know my real value. A time would come when I would vanish and take a walk across the skies. During that phase, my body would face serious health problems and devotees would be desperately praying for my recovery. The Baba also goes on to say, according to the writer, that several gun-toting cops would be guarding the premises where he would be hospitalised. As Saturday marked the 27th day of his stay in the SSSIHMS, many devotees said Baba would soon give darshan. “Time and place cannot hold me captive. I decide when to come back. If I want I can go anywhere and come back any time,” he is said to have told students during the discourse. He had said that he would live for 96 years in his present avatar. After 40 days, he would come back. Just watch out,” a devotee said even as he prayed for the Baba.

Comment:  Since when were gun-toting cops NOT around Sai Baba?!  See: 

Sathya Sai Baba’s Amazing Predictions.   “I intend to undertake a world tour, shortly.” See, too:  Wealthy Americans Prepare Mansions For “God’s” Visit.  Or sample the account of one of India’s most powerful Hindu nationalist leaders, Ashok Singhal, who has an international profile in the Hindu world, told an assembly of political and religious luminaries in Delhi of a prophecy he says Sathya Sai Baba shared with him:  ‘World Hindu’ by 2030. VHP’s Singhal Reports Sathya Sai Baba Told Him 

Below is Tanya Datta’s obituary. She was part of the BBC team which made ‘The Secret Swami’.  See my view as having been closely involved with documentation and international coordination of primary and other witnesses in the making of this 2004, hour-long documentary:  The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ – A Revision  See too Robert Priddy’s Indisputable facts about Sathya Sai Baba by BBC. And for a man upon whom many duties will now focus, see:  Sathya Sai Baba’s Chief Broadcaster Dr G. Venkataraman:  Select Critical Articles by Barry Pittard.

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NOTE:   Responsible, non-sensationalist media and other serious investigators can contact me at: barrypittard@gmail.com. Or email me at this blogsite from the Comments section below, with a guarantee of privacy. Latest major  media story to which my trusted colleague Robert Priddy and I have contributed is:  Marie Claire Australia. The article ‘Holy Man Or Hoax? by the prominent British journalist Gethin Chamberlain is referred to here:

‘Marie Claire’ Magazine: April 2011. Sathya Sai Baba Still Further Exposed

Posted by Barry Pittard on March 14, 2011

Further Reading

THE SATHYA SAI ORGANISATION’S DECEPTION AND PROPAGANDA EXPOSED (Part One) – By Robert Priddy and Barry Pittard. And Part Two Three Four

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

Posted by Barry Pittard on April 24, 2011

SATHYA SAI BABA DEAD THIS MORNING ….

Sathya Sai Baba died today, Sunday morning.  A Puttaparthi hospital official says:

“Sai Baba is no more with us physically. He breathed his last at 7:40am and died due to cardio-respiratory failure.”

The self-described fullest incarnation of God ever to visit the earth has been clearly documented as saying that he would live until circa 2022, aged 96.  But 85 years of age cannot, by any miracle, be said to be 96. There are his well-documented promises that he would rule the world before leaving it. That he would avert the worst calamity mankind has ever faced. That he would usher in a long ‘Golden Age of Sai’. These and other declarations have clearly not even begun to look at all likely. See: my article: Sathya Sai Baba’s Amazing Predictions.

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

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

In a February 1 16, 2007 ‘divine discourse’, Sai baba said: 

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

Godman proposes, God disposes, it would seem.

Sathya Sai Baba was perhaps the most wealthy and politically powerful in India’s long history. As of today, the world shall have just have to battle things out without him.

I was a faith-smitten devotee of 25 years, and a lecturer in his Whitefield College (via Bangalore, South India) – 1978-9), at the ashram where Sai Baba mainly lived in those days. I taught the 3 years of the degree course, a source of greatly happy memories. I have him to thank for that, and for his protection of my innovations in what was a very conservative, rote-dominated learning milieu. He showed me other kindnesses, too, which I shall always treasure as I do my own breath. 

But October 1999 marked the beginning of my intense and far-reaching investigation of profoundly disturbing accounts from around the world. Until then, I thought he would usher in a spiritual and social revolution, the like of which the world had never seen.  See:


It must seem odd to anyone but a faith-smitten devotee, but here were just some of the assurances he gave:

“Usually old people have wrinkles on their faces … I do not have any signs of old age. (loud applause). There is not a single wrinkle on My face”. (The official monthly official journal: Sanathana Sarathi, October, 2002)

 “I do not suffer from any kind of disease because there is no trace of greed in Me. That is why I am always healthy…”  (Sanathana Sarathi September 2001, page 257f) 186)

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

“Millions and Millions” of Devotees!  But Has Anyone Done A Proper Head Count?

His devotees – very inattentively followed by many duty-derelict sections of an unquestioning media – speak, as did a Sathya Sai Central Trust bulletin of only days ago, of “millions and millions” of devotees around the world. See:  Sathya Sai Trust Officials Say Sai Baba Out of Hospital Soon.  Posted by Barry Pittard on April 16, 2011.  This statement appeared in the long and anxiously awaited “Important Press Release by Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust”, Friday, April 15, 2011. This read, in part:

“His residence is being got ready in all aspects to receive Him and provide Him the required level of follow up medical care as also emergency services.

…. The Trustees are gratified to note the spontaneous upsurge of prayers, bhajans, namasmarana, candle light processions of millions and millions of His devotees all over the globe for His very early and total recovery”.

As anyone in any virtually any street around the world knows perfectly well, this talk of “millions and millions” is a nonsense, where faith and imagination far outrun reality. Let Sathya Sai devotees provide some facts, figures, television footage of these alleged remarkable turnouts round the world. Or ask all the candle manufacturers if they ran out of candles owing to extreme demand by these candle-carrying “millions and millions” of Sathya Sai devotees ….

Let anyone in countries round the world stop any passer-by and ask whether they have heard of Sathya Sai Baba, and they will, frequently, get blank looks for answers. On the other hand, ask people if they know of Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela or Prince William and his wife-to-be Kate Middleton, and one will fare a great deal better.

Will One of So Many Failed Prophecies Fare Any Better With His Foretellings Yet To Be Tested?

Times of India’s report hands us the excellent opportunity to do a countdown for the next 40 days – for that is the amount of time to be taken for the fulfilment of his reported prophecy of returning from the dead. 

PUTTAPARTHI: Did Sathya Sai Baba have premonition 10 years ago that he would fall seriously ill? Yes, claim his followers. According to them, Sai Baba had predicted in 2000 that he would be indisposed for 40 days but would come back strong to give darshan to his devotees.  This was revealed in a book ‘Tapovanam — Bhagawan Sri Sathya Saibaba Satcharitra Nityaparaya-nam’ in which the author Jandhyala Venkateswara Sastry has written an essay on Baba’s ill-health. Sai Baba had told his students at his Sai Shruti ashram in Kodaikanal in 2000: ”Though most of my disciples fall at my feet, they don’t know my real value. A time would come when I would vanish and take a walk across the skies. During that phase, my body would face serious health problems and devotees would be desperately praying for my recovery.”

But  can we take his word?  See:  Sathya Sai Baba’s Amazing PredictionsIn fact, many are his failed predictions, and broken promises of miraculous cure. In his February 1 16, 2007 (so-called ‘divine discourse’, Sathya Sai baba said: “I intend to undertake a world tour, shortly.” See, too:  Wealthy Americans Prepare Mansions For “God’s” Visit

Or for further solemn unreality, read and account of what one of India’s most powerful Hindu nationalist leaders, Ashok Singhal, who has an international profile in the Hindu world, told an assembly of political and religious luminaries in Delhi of a prophecy he says Sathya Sai Baba shared with him:  ‘World Hindu’ by 2030. VHP’s Singhal Reports Sathya Sai Baba Told Him 

Below is Tanya Datta’s obituary. She was part of the BBC team which made ‘The Secret Swami’.  See my view as having been closely involved with documentation and international coordination of primary and other witnesses in the making of this 2004, hour-long documentary:  The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ – A Revision .  See too Robert Priddy’s Indisputable facts about Sathya Sai Baba by BBC. And for a man upon whom many duties will now focus, see:  Sathya Sai Baba’s Chief Broadcaster Dr G. Venkataraman:  Select Critical Articles by Barry Pittard.

Further Reading

My obituries for two men of remarkable courage, compassion and determination in standing up to the execrations and, indeed, serious defamations of many Sathya Sai devotees from the most prominent to the rank-and-file:

Glen Meloy (“Standing up for truth and goodness”) – In Memoriam

Posted by Barry Pittard on November 18, 2009

Basava Premanand. Vale. A fighter for truth who lived what others preach

Posted by Barry Pittard on October 6, 2009

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 BBC News South Asia

24 April 2011 Last updated at 05:03 GMT
Obituary:  Indian guru Sai Baba

By Tanya Datta Documentary maker

Sai BabaSri Satya Sai Baba, India’s revered spiritual guru who counted presidents, prime ministers, judges and generals amongst his millions of followers around the world, has died at the age of 84.

Until the last, he was a man who inspired passionately conflicting emotions (as I discovered when I made a BBC investigative documentary about him in 2004 called Secret Swami).

To his devotees, Sai Baba was an avatar, an incarnation of God in human form, who appeared on Earth to preach his inspirational message in one of India’s poorest corners.

To his critics, he was a fraudster dogged for years by controversial allegations of sexual abuse yet protected from prosecution by virtue of his powerful political sway.

Whatever he was, there was no doubt that over time he rose in prominence to become India’s premier “god-man”, eclipsing the likes of Maharishi and Shri Rajneesh who had first drawn Westerners east in the Sixties and Seventies.

A petite, softly spoken man dressed in full length saffron robes and perpetually sporting a trademark afro hairstyle, Sai Baba’s appeal was not limited to Western hippies but cut across Indian society from its lowest to highest echelons as well as spreading to many other countries beyond.

‘Immaculate conception’Satya Sai Baba was born Sathyanarayana Raju on 23 November 1926 in the remote village of Puttaparthi in the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, although like many born at this time, there is no proof of his date of birth.

Stories abound of the early signs of his divinity.

It is said that his mother claimed her son was born out of an immaculate conception just as Jesus Christ had been, another messiah who Sai Baba often identified himself with.

On another occasion, he was alleged to have survived a scorpion bite and on his recovery, was miraculously able to speak Sanskrit, a language he did not know before. Indeed, throughout his childhood, he was said to have been abnormally gifted in artistic pursuits such as music, dance, drama and writing.

Supporters of Sai Baba Sai Baba had a huge following

When he was 13 years old, the young boy announced to his family that he was the incarnation of Shirdi Sai Baba, a 19th century Indian holyman who had been equally venerated by Hindus and Muslims alike. Changing his name was a key spiritual metamorphosis.

The teenage Sai Baba soon began to attract followers and by 1950, had constructed an ashram called Prasanthi Nilayam (Abode of Peace) near his village to accommodate them.

It heralded the start of the transformation of Puttaparthi into a Sai Baba wonderland spread over some 10 square kilometres; the vast complex of hotels, resorts, university buildings, speciality hospital, airport and enormous ashram thronged with devotees that I witnessed while making the documentary.

Non-dogmaticPart of Sai Baba’s huge global popularity may be explained by his non-dogmatic, non-doctrinal approach to spirituality.

In contrast to many sects, followers were not required to give up their previous religious beliefs as the guru stated that he believed in the one God that lay behind all religious paths.

Certainly, Sai Baba inspired love and admiration.

During our time spent filming at the ashram, devotees from around the world would volunteer stories about how Sai Baba had visited them in a dream or had called to them though moments of curious serendipity.

In addition, his mystical ability to manifest vibhuti (holy ash), food as well as jewellery and watches out of thin air was often cited as further proof of his divinity and akin to the ‘miracles’ ascribed to other past prophets.

His opponents, however, refuted this to me.

In the Secret Swami, I was shown how these manifestations could easily be explained by illusionists’ techniques and sleight of hand tricks.

A hospital built by Sai Baba A hospital in Puttaparthi set up by Sai Baba

For decades, various scientists, rationalists and magicians have in turn, attempted to challenge the guru to perform his ‘miracles’ under controlled conditions.

Sai Baba always refused to submit to these tests, once saying: “Science must confine its inquiry only to things belonging to the human senses, while spiritualism transcends the senses. If you want to understand the nature of spiritual power you can do so only through the path of spirituality and not science.”

Sexual Abuse

The most damning allegations against the “god-man”, however, concern the sexual abuse of young boys and male adults during private interviews with him.

Damaging rumours have circulated since the seventies of the guru’s sexual exploits but have always been dismissed out of hand by the tightly controlled Sai Baba organisation.

We interviewed the Rahm family in America who had been Sai Baba devotees for years. Both father and son stated that they had been subjected to Sai Baba rubbing oil on their genitals.

“He took me aside,” said Alaya Rahm, “put the oil on his hands, told me to drop my pants and rubbed my genitals with oil. I was really taken aback.”

Former Indian PM Atal Behari Vajpayee with Sai Baba Sai Baba counted former Indian prime ministers as his followers

Dr Michael Goldstein, chairman of the international Sai Baba organisation, admitted he had heard rumours, but told us that he did not believe them. He said: “My heart and my conscience tell me that it is not possible.”

Sai Baba was never investigated on this issue. All attempts to prosecute him failed.

Nor was there any satisfactory resolution to the gruesome killing of four male devotees in 1993 who allegedly entered Sai Baba’s bedroom, armed with knives.

The police claimed they had been shot in self-defence.

The lack of any legal proceedings against the guru was perhaps not surprising in light of the level of influence that he commanded.

A previous Indian prime minister, Atal Vajpayee, once issued a letter on his official notepaper calling the attacks on Sai Baba “wild, reckless and concocted”.

Since 2005, Sai Baba’s health had been deteriorating. Although he once predicted he would die in his mid-90s, he also claimed he could choose the moment of his death.

In death as in life, he remained an enigma to the last.

Tanya Dutt is a London-based radio and television broadcaster and writer. She made Secret Swami, an investigative documentary on Sai Baba for BBC Two.

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Sathya Sai Baba Teaches: ‘We are not this body’. Why Are His Devotees Such A Police Security Problem?

Posted by Barry Pittard on April 24, 2011

Cited several times in the Indian media’s sudden, unaccustomed, large coverage of Sathya Sai Baba, are accounts of “eminent” Sai devotees stating that he will not die because he has promised to remain in the physical body until he is 96 years.

Outside India, the notion of outstanding professionals giving credence to such way-out beliefs must seem strange. For the facts to sink in to a foreign brain’s grappling hooks, one has to live and work in India. One has to experience at first hand the sheer extent of superstition from top to bottom in that society of such mutual kindness and cruelty, beauty and tragedy. Valiantly, many Indians struggle on behalf of sense and reason, but what they face is formidable in the extreme.

The Times of India reports:

Sai Baba’s devotees believe he will live for 96 years

IANS, Apr 21, 2011, 03.45pm IST

HYDERABAD: Though the condition of spiritual leader Sathya Sai Baba is worsening, some of his devotees are confident he will recover and live for 96 years as he had once predicted.

A group of eminent devotees, including former judges, police officers and physicians, believe that the 85-year-old Sathya Sai Baba’s present condition is because he has taken on himself the sufferings of one of his devotees.

 For decades, Sathya Sai Baba’s constant evangel has been for his followers not, except for a few concessions to practicality, to regard the body – a decaying, temporary encasement. In hundreds of his discourses, he has told them not to become attached to his, or indeed, to anyone’s bodily form. Why, then, the overwhelming scenes of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth?

 And why are so many of his followers now  – in being so disrespectful of life and limb with all their intemperate milling and thronging at Puttaparthi – causing such trouble to the local and state police?  According to official statements, there are some 2000 police engaged in crowd control and other security duties at Puttaparthi, with another 2000 or so on standby. This is in addition to Sathya Sai Baba’s large cadres of well-drilled Seva Dal (service volunteers).

One may ask, too, why such unseemly arguments attend the deliberations among some of his closest servitors?

And how, given such scenes of chaos, his devotees could ever have supposed that, within his own lifetime, as he has on various occasions promised, he could ever transform the entire world, bring it to his feet?  For he, relatively, despite all the social good works of his organized followers, has been hardly able to apply a hoe or a rake to his own backyard.

My colleague Robert Priddy has just received this note from one who is well-connected, and long known to us:

“As of 4 pm ( April 23rd)…the news coming through is the SB trust, the AP govt administration and members of the SB immediate family have been in an important meeting since 11 AM….to “discuss the health status of Sathya Sai , to decide future course of action and matters of the Sai Baba trust etc”…more than 20 members are said to have been in the meeting which had adjourned at 2PM for lunch and yet to reconvene. Significantly, Ratnakar was absent in the meeting, and the official reason is he had a “knee problem”. I am reliably informed that the compromise formula is not working out, and that Ratnakar has been legally advised by his counsel not to attend the meeting and be any party to any resolution passed…in view of the fact he can legally exercise his control over the trust at a later date, and should not be party to anything now either in his capacity of the legal heir of sb or as a SB trust member. I am informed that this is delaying any “announcement”….and a deadlock has been reached. Apparently, Ratnakar wants 2 trusts to be formed,  one dealing with the Ashram itself, the samadhi of Sai Baba and all activities there..and another dealing with the sb educational, medical and all other activities. He wants to be exclusively in charge of the Ashram/shrine/samadhi activities, while he is willing to concede the 2nd to other trust members, provided he still remains on the board. The SB trust is not inclined to accept this formula, and are trying for a compromise solution without dividing anything. Hence the deadlock. the SB trust has issued a message that they would address the media meet later today.”

Reading both the note above, and then the report below, perhaps there is no need to offer any prizes for guessing the identity of the individual whom the Indian newspaper The Economic Times refers to, when it states:  “The presence of one family member of the Baba will complicate matters”.

Sathya Sai Baba’s condition deteriorates as multiple organs stop responding

ET Bureau, Apr 22, 2011, 08.16am IST

The 85-year old spiritual guru, who counted many powerful politicians and bureaucrats among his devotees, was admitted last month to the super-speciality hospital run by his trust. With Baba’s condition not letting up, fears have grown of a battle for control at the mega-rich Sri Satya Sai Baba Trust, which controls a number of hospitals, universities and other institutions. The trust claims to have operations in more than 166 countries.

While there is a suggestion that the government must take over the functioning of the trust, many devotees are opposed to it, saying the activities of the trust will suffer. Former Supreme Court chief justice P.N. Bhagwati, chartered accountant Indulal Shah, former central vigilance commissioner SV Giri, WS Industries chairman V. Srinivasan and Sai Baba’s nephew J Ratnakar are members of the trust.

Reports suggest that Bhagwati had recently met the Prime Minister to brief him of the activities of the trust. But in the absence of a clearly identified successor to Baba as the head of the trust, many fear that infighting will break out. The presence of one family member of the Baba will complicate matters.

Born Satyanarayana Raju in November 1926, the Baba has attracted legions of devotees around the world. He was known for materializing holy ash and small objects such as gold rings, coins and chains—a subject of much myth and controversy. While Baba’s charitable work and his ability to give solace to millions brought fame and following of powerful people, Baba’s career has also been daunted by allegations of sexual abuse—subject of a controversial 2004 BBC documentary titled The Secret Swamy.

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NOTE:   Responsible, non-sensationalist media and other serious investigators can contact me at: barrypittard@gmail.com. Or email me at this blogsite from the Comments section below, with a guarantee of privacy. Latest major  media story to which my trusted colleague Robert Priddy and I have contributed is:  Marie Claire Australia. The article ‘Holy Man Or Hoax? by the prominent British journalist Gethin Chamberlain is referred to here:

‘Marie Claire’ Magazine: April 2011. Sathya Sai Baba Still Further Exposed

Posted by Barry Pittard on March 14, 2011

Further Reading

THE SATHYA SAI ORGANISATION’S DECEPTION AND PROPAGANDA EXPOSED (Part One) – By Robert Priddy and Barry Pittard. And Part Two Three Four

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Sathya Sai Health Condition “Very Critical”, Says Sai Hospital Head (21 April)

Posted by Barry Pittard on April 21, 2011

Indian media are starting to report that some Sathya Sai Baba forces favour his burial while he is still technically alive. (See news reports, below).

Countries not steeped in the utmost superstition may find it hard to credit yesterday’s bizarre news.

Yes, buried alive ….

Given the terrible and multiple failures of his body to respond, it would not seem that they have long to wait. One might not unreasonably expect to hear the news of his decease at any time now.

When, then, exactly, is Sathya Sai Baba going – as he has long promised – to visit London, Malaysia, Rome and Southern California, USA?

And when will he, for all the world to see, hold aloft a whole mountain range?  And save humanity in its time of greatest threat to civilization?  And rule the whole world? All of these events he has foretold.

If Sathya Sai Baba devotees are to be at all truthful, they will need to intelligibly answer these – and many other leading questions.

Because I have lived in India and spent memorable time across a broad socio-economic strata – from the very wealthy to the very poor – this news, macabre though it may appear in the West and elsewhere, comes as no surprise to me. I was often able to see how many so highly educated Indians are able, conceptually, to compartmentalize their thoughts and attitudes. One part of the mind is for practical or professional reasons and the other part for matters of faith.  Of course, no country can boast that the health of real questioning and debate is assured. But my experiences of India were of a nation in enormous thraldom to many such brands of irrationality.

Anything from one ‘compartment’ that might cause conflict within the other ‘compartment’ is held back, and not allowed to trespass. In short, no student of Indian life must assume that superstition is the exclusive domain of the poor and uneducated. Belief in the efficacy of gurus, astrology, numerology, psychic readings, supposedly auspicious times of day or sightings of creatures, dreams, and many other types of quackery are exceedingly rife across class. Sathya Sai Baba has long believed in ghosts and evil spirits.  See: Robert Priddy diary scan (at the time, Priddy was the longtime head of the Norwegian Sathya Sai Organization), ‘Directly recorded notes 10/10/1998 at Prashanthi Nilayam‘, with comments added.

See some select readings of earlier articles at this blogsite, ‘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’, Sathya 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, departing (according to one of two dates he has given) circa 2022 AD. 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, 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 …

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NOTE:   Responsible, non-sensationalist media and other serious investigators can contact me at: barrypittard@gmail.com. Or email me at this blogsite from the Comments section below, with a guarantee of privacy. Latest major  media story to which my trusted colleague Robert Priddy and I have contributed is:  Marie Claire Australia. The article ‘Holy Man Or Hoax? by Gethin Chamberlain is referred to here:

‘Marie Claire’ Magazine: April 2011. Sathya Sai Baba Still Further Exposed

Posted by Barry Pittard on March 14, 2011

Further Reading

Part Two Three Four

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Today

Sathya Sai Baba very critical: Hospital
Puttaparthi (AP), Apr 21, (PTI):
The condition of Sathya Sai Baba is very critical with all his organs showing very poor response to treatment, doctors attending on him said today.
In view of the deteriorating health of Sathya Sai Baba, the Andhra Pradesh Police have deployed additional forces here to maintain law and order.“Non-functioning of the liver and persistent episodes of low blood pressure are causing great worry to the doctors,” Dr A N Safaya, Director, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Sciences, said here.His breathing is still ventilator dependent and the process of slow hemodialysis has been started in the morning to assist the kidneys, he said.The doctors are putting their best efforts to improve his clinical condition, Dr Safaya said.
86-year-old Sathya Sai Baba was hospitalised on March 28 following problems related to heart and respiration.

Yesterday

Puttaparthi security up as Baba is critical again
Puttaparthi (AP), Apr 20, DHNS:
As Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s condition worsened, security at Puttaparthi is being beefed up to handle any eventuality with 4,000 police personnel, including companies from Kurnool and Chittoor districts, expected to land there on Thursday morning.
Doctors treating the 85-year-old spiritual leader are expressing concern over his fluctuating BP for the last couple of days.Sri Sathya Sai Baba Institute of Higher Medical Sciences Director A N Safaya said on Wednesday: “Intermittent low BP is causing anxiety to the doctors treating him.”The Baba’s liver functioning has also deteriorated drastically, causing concern among the doctors. In an official bulletin, Dr Safaya said Dr Yegyaraman, an electrophysiology specialist from the US, had joined the doctors’ panel. Many government-deputed doctors have also been inducted as reinforcement.Speaking to Deccan Herald, Ananthpur District Collector Janardhan Reddy, admitting that the police have been put on an alert, said: “I have been regularly interacting with the doctors and they have expressed concerns over his condition. We are getting ready for any eventuality.Puttaparthi Deputy Superintendent of Police Narasimalu said “all measures are precautionary in nature. There is no need to read anything between the lines.”

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BBC-Named ‘The Secret Swami’, Sathya Sai Baba Hospitalized and Fighting For Life

Posted by Barry Pittard on April 6, 2011

Sathya Sai Baba is now kept alive by, according to his medical specialists, “assisted ventilation through ventilator and CRRT, a slow dialysis process to assists kidneys” .

In having to report the health bulletins emitting from Puttarthi, the Indian media – so remiss in reporting anything inimical to Sathya Sai Baba – are, of course, given that he may die at any moment, going to have to do their best to get the facts right.

Sathya Sai Baba's Puttaparthi Hospital. Main funding US Billionaire Isaac Tigrett

However, with the rare exception like the mass circulation magazine India Today, it has signally failed to look for or tell the facts. There has grown the irony that NRI’s (non-resident-Indians) can read of the revelations about Sai Baba of a sort suppressed in the Indian media. But millions in India cannot. It is the media outside India which has investigated the many and serious allegations against Sathya Sai Baba, such as wide-scale, serial sexual molestation of boys and young men, implication in the cover up of murders in his bedroom in 1993, and other scandals.

Those wishing to investigate the antecedents of Sathya Sai Baba’s physical and mental health problems will need to extend their investigations a number of years back. But one of many examples of the ‘cracks’ appearing is, fortunately for the forces of openness and accountability, caught forever in BBC footage. Two major revelations occurred. The first was that of Sai Baba’s cheating in the supposedly miraculous production of the Siva Lingam. See: Sai Baba No Shiva. Gold From His Gut Is Regurgitator’s Trick. The second was the (strictly speaking) inane statement he made, when indeed many such statements have otherwise been suppressed by Puttaparthi authorities. See my article: The Quiet Weeding Out Of Sathya Sai Baba’s Embarrassing Statements.

01) SATHYA SAI BABA’S ‘PRODUCTION’ OF THE GOLDEN LINGAM02) HIS COLLAPSE AFTER THE STRAIN & HIS EXPLANATION AFTERWARDS

03) DR. MICHAEL GOLDSTEIN DISCUSSES THE SEX ABUSE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST SAI BABA

04) DR. MICHAEL GOLDSTEIN STATES THE SAI ORGANISATION’S FAITH ABOUT SAI BABA

05) ISAAC TIGRETT DISCUSSES THE SEX ALLEGATIONS AGAINST SAI BABA

06) INDIAN EX-MINISTER OF EDUCATION, M.M. JOSHI, ON THE SEX ALLEGATIONS AGAINST SAI BABA

07) INTERVIEW WITH THE EX-HOME SECRETARY OF ANDRHA PRADESH

08) VERY CLOSE DEVOTEES TESTIFY – SAI BABA’S SEX ABUSE AND DIRE THREATS ETC.

09) THE US STATE DEPARTMENT WARNING ON SATHYA SAI BABA CONFIRMED BY THE BBC

9) THE US STATE DEPARTMENT WARNING ON SATHYA SAI BABA CONFIRMED BY THE BBC

10) TRANSCRIPT AND FILM TESTIMONY BY A LONG-TERM FOLLOWER WHO WAS SEXUALLY ABUSED

After returning to the Puttaparthi stage, having earlier fainted, Sai Baba tells the crowds (as noted in The Secret Swami):

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

In the huge efforts of networked former Sathya Sai Baba followers from many countries to get through to world media, UNESCO, governments and institutions, we sought out those known for both high professional repute and strong investigative capability. Earlier approaches – circa 2000 – had been made to the BBC to no avail. Then, in November 2003, BBC producers contacted me (first, via Iris Asic). They said they would also contact various Sathya Sai Baba officials and other followers.

We were successful in attracting extensive response of the BBC, CBC, ABC, SBS, DR, Atul TV, India Today, Times of London, Telegraph, Guardian, Salon.com, the Age, Australian Financial Review, Gatopado, West Australian, (Adelaide) Advertiser, Gatopardo, and newspapers in Europe, Canada and and still others.

For an outstanding and profoundly sacrificial advocate on behalf of Sathya Sai Baba’s many victim of sexual and other types of abuse, see: Glen Meloy (“Standing up for truth and goodness”) – In Memoriam

They did indeed. At the beginning of 2004, as soon as BBC producer Eamon Hardy made it clear to the ashram authorities that BBC would like from Puttaparthi an official reaction to the worldwide allegations of sexual abuse being made against Sathya Sai Baba, the team was at once evicted from the ashram by the Secretary of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, K. Chakravarthi.

(If I may indulge a retired teacher’s memories, in which former students good bad and indifferent float about one’s psyche like figures in heaven and, occasionally, hell, one of the many joys of my teaching at the Sathya Sai College in Whitefield, via Bangalore, South India, in the seventies was to teach Chakravarthi’s son, who subsequently did well at Oxford University. But there is sadness in my heart that families have been torn because the Sai Baba cult has inflicted such ethical compromize in individuals who might otherwise have conducted themselves well.  See: Sathya Sai Baba 85th Birthday No Celebration For Those He Has So Badly Hurt. Posted by Barry Pittard on November 23, 2010).

But, along with the bolting of Puttaparthi gates, there was also the bolting of the ‘horse’. As the BBC team retreated, the cameras already had damning footage in the can. The BBC team had already been accorded a rare, and perhaps unique, permission to televise what, for millions in India, is the their peak festival, Mahasivrathri. The Indian television company Sanskaar TV also was permitted to televise this event. My take is that, at this time of intense adverse international exposure of the Sai cult, the Sai elders sought to wrest back some advantage, and show the – now heavily assailed and supposed – ‘Glory of Puttaparthi’.

In 2004, as caught by BBC and Indian television cameras, Sai Baba not only produced one lingam, but, if we take his officials’ word for it, two more. According to Sai Baba’s chief translator and also a world-travelling emissary Professor Anil Kumar in his words to the crowds, Sai Baba privately manifested two more ‘atma lingams’ off-stage. The public ‘miracle’ he performed, to the surprise of many, in terribly fumbling and absent-minded fashion. There have been many incidents that have revealed Sai Baba’s declining faculties. These mental and physical shortfalls his officials, rather ineptly, try to mask. At large, Sai devotees keep a numbed silence, or attribute it all to ‘Baba’s Leela’.

Datta, Tanya In the BBC’s The Secret Swami, the interviewer Tanya Datta comments:

“To the alarm of the crowd suddenly Sai Baba collapsed. His huge coterie of staff swung into action. There was panic. An organisation used to tight control seemed to have lost its grip. Sai Baba was hastily wheeled off stage.” Later, he is carried hobbling back, with officials claiming that he manifested two more lingams offstage”. Transcript is HERE. See the whole documentary. Broadband users click HERE (80 MB). There is a small version for modem users Here (23,3 MB)
Or you can download it packed in zip file (22 MB) Here.

Returning to the Kulwant Hall stage within the next hour, to the immensely relieved audience of many thousands, a pale and shaken Sai Baba makes the unfathomable claim:

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

Once the gates slammed shut on it, the BBC team used a secret camera trained on highly elusive chairman of a world organization, Dr Michael Goldstein of Covena, Southern California, head of a cult that faces grave accountability and duty of care questions in India and many countries around the world.  Sanctions for the unusual use of hidden camera were obtained by the producers from top echelon BBC management and legals.

The Sathya Sai Organization, despite many claims not to recruit or fund raise should certainly be scrutinized by any public it operates among. In these it cultivates governments, political and institutional organs.

Sathya Sai Anger Mismanagement Course

The one-hour television documentary The Secret Swami resulted.  It first screened on June 17, 2004, and was subsequently shown by cable and satellite in some two hundred or more countries. British television critics from major newspapers unanimously praised the documentary. My own reflection on it is in this article: The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ – A Revision. See also: BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ and British Press Praise.

NOTE:   Responsible, non-sensationalist media and other serious investigators can contact me at: barrypittard@gmail.com. Or email me at this blogsite from the Comments section below, with a guarantee of privacy. Latest major  media story to which my trusted colleague Robert Priddy and I have contributed is:  Marie Claire Australia. The article ‘Holy Man Or Hoax? by Gethin Chamberlain is referred to here:

‘Marie Claire’ Magazine: April 2011. Sathya Sai Baba Still Further Exposed

Posted by Barry Pittard on March 14, 2011

For Pomp and Sai-cumstance Baba (Puttaparthi Sai)

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General

Excerpt From Public Petition (and introduction)

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

Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

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Indian Army and Police Torture: Wikileaks Revelations

Posted by Barry Pittard on January 20, 2011

At Sai Baba’s ashram at Puttaparthi in the south Indian State of Andhra Pradesh, one cannot but notice how –  up to the top echelons – the ranks of the armed forces and police are to be seen represented in the mass pilgrimage there. For decades it has been so.

These same Indian armed forces and police who flock to Sathya Sai Baba number many of those guilty of human rights violations, and the sort of atrocities referred to in the two articles from The Guardian, see below …

Where, then, is his restraining, so-called ‘Divine Hand’ on his countless devotees who are members of those barbaric forces? And on the governments who deploy them?

Indian democracy? Yes, one may think it good idea ….

The very forces of democratic law and order in India are far from reformed. His long-ago made undertakings to transform India are, at every level, refuse stacked on the tall pile of his many broken promises and predictions.

Related Resources

Police and Army Rapists Rarely Punished, Says Kavita Krishnan (Of AIPWA)

Wikileaks and Indian Troops Atrocities Reports. Sai Baba Fails To ‘Clean Up Own Backyard’

Serial Sex Abuse And Broken Promises of Miracle Healing

BBC Cameras Catch Sai Baba Cheating With Gold Sivalingam. (Film Clip)

Predictions and Promises Made by Sathya Sai Baba plus his Persistent Rumours

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Mahatma Gandhi, the ‘father of modern India’,  said:

Apostle of non-violence. Did what he preached

Apostle of non-violence. Did what he preached


You assist an evil system most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees.
An evil system never deserves such allegiance.
Allegiance to it means partaking of the evil.
A good person will resist an evil system with his or her whole soul.

Nonviolence is not a garment to be put on and off at will.
Its seat is in the heart, and it must be an inseparable part of our being.

Violent means will give violent freedom.

WikiLeaks cables: India accused of systematic use of torture in Kashmir

Jason Burke in Delhi.  The Guardian (Guardian.co.uk), Thursday 16 December 2010 21.30 GMT

Beatings and electric shocks inflicted on hundreds of civilians detained in Kashmir, US diplomats in Delhi told by International Red Cross

WikiLeaks cables: India accused of systematic use of torture in Kashmir
Beatings and electric shocks inflicted on hundreds of civilians detained in Kashmir, US diplomats in Delhi told by ICRC

Unrest in Kashmir, where a leaked cable said the Indian government ‘condoned torture’. Photograph: Tauseef Mustafa/AFP/Getty Images

US officials had evidence of widespread torture by Indian police and security forces and were secretly briefed by Red Cross staff about the systematic abuse of detainees in Kashmir, according to leaked diplomatic cables.

The dispatches, obtained by website WikiLeaks, reveal that US diplomats in Delhi were briefed in 2005 by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) about the use of electrocution, beatings and sexual humiliation against hundreds of detainees.

Other cables show that as recently as 2007 American diplomats were concerned about widespread human rights abuses by Indian security forces, who they said relied on torture for confessions.

The revelations will be intensely embarrassing for Delhi, which takes pride in its status as the world’s biggest democracy, and come at a time of heightened sensitivity in Kashmir after renewed protests and violence this year.

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WikiLeaks cables: will the world now intervene over torture in Kashmir?

By Dilnaz Boga. The Guardian (Guardian.co.uk), Tuesday 21 December 2010 12.45 GMT

Will the leaked communiqués mark a shift in western foreign policy, or is it to be business as usual in Kashmir?

WikiLeaks cables: will the world now intervene over torture in Kashmir? A mother of a disappeared son protests on the eve of International Human Rights Day in Srinagar, Kashmir. Photograph: Farooq Khan/EPA

Almost every household in Kashmir has a story to tell of human rights violation by the local police or the Indian security forces. Generations have experienced violence amid a culture of impunity spanning six decades.

Last Friday, leaked US embassy cables disclosed the findings of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on torture in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) between 2002-2004.

ICRC claimed out of 1,296 detainees it had interviewed, 681 had said that they had been tortured. Of those, 498 claimed to have been electrocuted, 381 said they were suspended from the ceiling, and 304 cases were described as sexual. Things haven’t changed much since that period.

Now, Kashmiris who have endured years of abductions, enforced disappearances, custodial killings, rape, torture and detentions want to know if the cables’ release will make a difference. Will there be a change in policy on torture internationally? Will these revelations fortify India’s justice mechanism after civil society’s intervention? Or will it propel the Indian mainstream media to report Kashmir’s human rights issues from the highest militarised zone in the world?

Kashmiris want answers.

Serious impediments to human rights can stall progress in any society. Kashmir is no different. In the Valley, the state feels free to flout its own constitution. Therefore, the people expect intervention from the international community.

The summer of 2010 brought on a significant change in the Kashmiri struggle for independence from India. From being a pan-Islamic militant movement sponsored by Pakistan in 1989, it has now transformed into a non-violent indigenous people’s movement. But the response of the state has not altered since the 1990s.

Kashmiris expressed themselves against what they view as an illegal military occupation by India through peaceful protests, civil strikes, sit-ins, internet and graffiti campaigns, rallies and demonstrations.

Despite the fear of arrest, young people have used the internet to post blogs, photographs of human rights violations and videos of killings, while the government gagged the press for weeks.

Since June, over 100 men, women and children have been killed at demonstrations for protesting against widespread human rights violations. All of this happened as the world watched silently.

The leaked US cables stated that, in 2005, ICRC’s findings were also communicated to the UK, France and Holland. They chose to stay silent. And why shouldn’t they, when there are defence deals to be signed and investments to be made in the soaring Indian markets?

Diplomacy, coupled with the prospects of a burgeoning economy, have shielded India from criticism by the global community. Even the UN only issued a statement, urging India to tone down its response to the protesters.

Responding to ICRC’s allegations, an official spokesperson from the Indian ministry of external affairs said: “India is an open and democratic nation which adheres to the rule of law. If and when an aberration occurs, it is promptly and firmly dealt with under existing legal mechanisms, in an effective and transparent manner.”

Meanwhile, J&K’s chief minister Omar Abdullah said the government doesn’t condone torture. Passing the buck, he added, “I am not getting into it… it pertains to 2005, and you know who was in power that time.” Omar was referring to the coalition of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Congress that ruled the state from November 2002-August 2008.

On Saturday, Indian broadsheet, The Times of India, chose to report on the row over a statement on Hindu terrorism, and comments about Indian Muslims made by former US envoy to New Delhi, David Mulford. In a commentary about India’s 150 million-plus Muslims, Mulford stated: “India’s vibrant democracy, inclusive culture and growing economy have made it easier for Muslim youth to find a place in the mainstream, reduced the pool of potential recruits, and the space in which Islamic extremist organisations can operate.”

There was no mention of torture or of Kashmir in the newspapers.

It is doubtful that India will make changes after these leaks, but hope never dies in places where violence is a way of life. Kashmiris are still hoping, against all odds, for a change.

Courtesy: The Guardian (Guardian.co.uk)

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