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

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Reply To Claimer of Spiritual Enlightenment (Yaani Drucker Correspondence) Part 6

Posted by Barry Pittard on March 2, 2010

This piece continues from:  Reply To Claimer of Spiritual Enlightenment (Yaani Drucker Correspondence) Part 5 – my response to Yaani Drucker, who wrote to me in the first instance. Many Sathya Sai devotees worldwide have hero-worshipped her and her husband Professor Al Drucker (formerly with NASA). To some devotees, it has not mattered that Sai Baba has treated them both very harshly – for they regard such harsh treatment as the guru’s ineffable tough love. I have not noted that she anywhere accepts responsibility for (the very influential) talks she and Al Drucker gave at Kingdom Hall in the UK in April 2000.  She seems incapable of seeing how easy it is for impressionable individuals to see her notion of how to deal with rape (or other grave trauma) as the way they should go. See:  Reply To Claimer of Spiritual Enlightenment (Yaani Drucker Correspondence) Part 4 . Or that in her writings on her website it is important that she makes clear that psychologists have a genuine role to play in the case of trauma, just as medics are important to consult in physical injury. Instead, she now writes saying:

“You told your audience that I have a hatred for psychology”.

The interested reader will see that this is an entire distortion, for I have said nothing of the sort. The context is this, as I have, in various ways said:   “… it is important for survivors of severe trauma to seek qualified professional counseling, and also – bearing in mind that she is a public  figure – she has the responsibility correctly to model this kind of service to those who read her writings”.

She further states:

You lose nothing, except ego, which was never real. which psychology does not get, therefore psychology is not absolute truth. You lean heavily on psychology, as though it has answers. It does not. Sure it can help people overcome trauma, but so can truth. That is all I have ever suggested.

I have said not a word about psychology being absolute truth. I have talked about what psychology (across many schools, a few of which I have named), does indeed “get”. Which is precisely what Ms Drucker does not “get”.

Again, as the rational reader can see at every turning, I have not said that psychology has all the answers. I have said, for example, “There is much impressive evidence that the body, mind and personality are one, not a dualism (ref. science of consciousness, neurology and philosophical neurology). Therefore, I want to say to you that notions which deny the interaction that goes on in the psycho-soma are very flawed, inept. And, yes, present their real dangers to human health and well-being. I do not resile from the notions of rationalization (in context) and danger”. See: HERE.

Can it be that she has lost track of the position she stated in earlier correspondence?  See: Reply To Claimer of Spiritual Enlightenment (Yaani Drucker Correspondence) Part 3 . 

“Is it necessary for a rape victim to receive professional counseling? This assumes that psychology/ psychotherapy has answers that ABSOLUTE TRUTH does not”.

She also asserted that I have said that I am a psychologist. Yet again, I have said nothing of the sort. Ms Drucker does not seem to have much of her mind concentrated on simple matters within the mundane world. Himalayas of cloudiness seem more to her liking.

Note: Ms Drucker wrote that:

“I am happy to discuss and debate issues. I have responded to every issue you raised”.

But has she been as good as her word? The reader can examine her own words throughout this series. In subsequent emails from her that I have not cited, she constantly claims to be answering questions but resorts to large abstractions, and avoids the issues that I have raised. These are unrooted in reference to the practical world of those men and women who inhabit the normal world. That she tells us she enlighted and that she tell us that she has had independent confirmations should be enough for us. She says that the latter have come to in various ways and a major one came when she traveled to the Himalayas. Today (3 March, 2010), she wrote:

Earlier articles on this topic at Call For Media and Government Investigation of Sathya Sai Baba are: Dangerous to Rationalize Rape. A major Sathya Sai Baba Follower’s Example and Barry Pittard Replies To Sathya Sai Center Rape Survivor’s Note To Him

“You pointed out that so many claim on their web to be enlightened, so what makes me authentic – a fair question. I would say that what makes me authentic is that I had an experience in darshan, as described to you previously. This experience was more than an epiphany or light experience, it was a moment wherein all the pieces of the puzzle to the human condition came together perfectly and I understood in the very essence of my being and the search was over. I knew that I knew. This does not mean I knew that I was enlightened. I simply had no way to measure that. However a year later I was directed to the Himalayas where enlightenment was confirmed.
 
 
What part did Sai Baba play in the confirmation of my enlightenment? NONE directly. Of course I see that He did direct me, but He used instruments who were not Sai devotees, so it was not Baba directly. Because Baba is omnipresent, He directed me both toward my enlightenment and its confirmation. Because you have no faith in Baba, it would make no sense for me to suggest that because Baba confirmed is evidence of my legitimacy. He did not confirm directly. Baba works in subtle ways, ways that communicate perfectly, to those who choose to hear… and see…
 
Bottom line Barry is that you have not the power to stop God’s work through this instrument”.

 

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Al and I were black listed after we married. That means we have had nothing to do with the Sai organization since 1990 or rather the Sai organization has had nothing to do with us.

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Sai Baba knows He is not his body. Once a young man from Sweden requested Baba’s permission to give Baba a hug. When Baba obliged and the young man wrapped his arms around Baba’s torso, his arms wrapped around an empty robe  – there was no body to make contact with. I met this man personally.

These are a few of many examples where Baba demonstrates that He clearly manipulates the laws of physical reality, because He can.  If He has these powers, He is certainly not driven by personality disorders, but rather does all that he does for the highest good for all, in the most efficacious manner possible. No pedophile that I have ever heard or read about has had the powers that Sai Baba has.

I have heard rumors, but I have had no direct contact with any of the young men to claim abuse at Baba’s hand, nor have I personally met any of their family members. You want me to put Sai Baba on the level of a common criminal – it is a joke surely???

Do you think that years and thousands of hours (and ‘thousands’ is no exaggeration) of former devotees’ time and efforts are to be reduced to some poor joke? We put heart and soul and care and love – and vast amounts of time and labor into these matters. Your suggestion of joking is not a worthy one. Let me quote to you a snippet from a note. It comes from old friends of yours.  It may act as an aide-memoire for Al and you:

“(Al) told us of his disillusionment with Baba – that time after time, parents of young boys would come to his room in great distress after interviews, seeking an explanation… Al said this is why he left the ashram and got married. (It was) with the great shock (heard) this from Al and also his wife Yaani (and later from other close contacts , people we trusted , who had no motivation for telling lies about Baba” …

It is these sort of situations that I think are good to clear up, once and for all. Indulal Shah, John Hislop, Michael Goldstein, William Harvey, G.Venkataraman, Samuel Sandweiss,  Phyllis Kristal, J. Jagadeesan, Thorbjorn Meyer, Ashok Bhagani, T.Sri RamanathanSara Pavan, and many others have profoundly failed in their duty of care for the devotees who have come to them with terrible accounts. I speak of devotees, now former devotees, whose goodness and integrity were NOT assailed in all their long years around Sathya Sai Baba and in his organization. But – virtually overnight! – they were declared demons. Jaani, please tell me straight – is that how Sathya Sai Baba, who forever says we should speak sweetly, and his core leaders and many rank-and-file devotees should be speaking?

That the leaders of the Sathya Sai Organization have failed in this regard will, without any reasonable doubt, remain as a very dark blot in the pages of history. And, though much has been withheld from them by core Sai Baba servitors, the rank-and-file devotees have their own kind of culpability – for they have closed their hearts and blinded their eyes to the plight of those whom they have long known to be good.

Jaani, can you understand why there is a difficulty about perception? Though you say above “we have had nothing to do with the Sai organization since 1990 or rather the Sai organization has had nothing to do with us” and your current status in regard to association with the Sathya Sai Organization, there are many who saw Al Drucker subscribe to the Paduka ceremony in Puttaparthi 1998, and saw him around the ashram. Yes – we have those who saw and spoke with him. You will surely understand, therefore, why many have continued to see a link between Al and you and Sathya Sai Baba. In the eyes of some, Al was the most prominent VIP there over a number of years. Has he renounced his faith in Sathya Sai baba then?

There are those who went to Al (and indeed to other very prominent leaders around Sathya Sai Baba) and have deeply grieved, first, over their afflicted children and second, that they feel profoundly let down by those to whom they thought they could bring their harrowing accounts. The Drucker name figures among these. It is very sad – although you may be above it all. Given that you say that you remember only “rumours”, I am wondering whether the accounts of the individuals concerned would have proved too difficult for you to embrace, and that, if the recollections of various informants are correct, you have filtered the reported presentations from your awareness. (Yet again, need I really add, that I am not saying that you are deliberately telling untruths). When I learnt of Al’s driving absorption in the advaitin endeavour, I wondered: why does he keep coming back to the form, when he is supposed to be practising to attain the formless apprehension of the divine?

Can you understand how your website appears to promote a ‘solution’ to the rape question, quite strongly – e.g., “Have truth, will travel”?

A number of people, including very qualified mental health professionals with long experience in the sexual abuse area, observed how your website can be too readily interpreted as campaigning for recognition that rape and other terrible occurrences have an answer – if only people will follow what you hold forth to be Truth. It may be that you cannot accept that you have – and I would surely think without meaning to – promoted a very misleading ‘theory’ based entirely on belief. And this belief is one from which you may not be able to free yourself, for, if you were to free yourself without recourse to a psychological in-denial situation, you would have to face the trauma. These conditions hide. Sooner or later, however, the suppressed stuffs will not be denied – and manifest in illnesses and social disruptions of one kind or another. Many former devotees have had courageously, and with great self-honesty, to face their years of psychological denial. You now explain that it was not to justify rape – but it was to say that rape is not really a problem if one will just recognize that one is not the body. This view goes against the fact that we all HAVE a body and serious violations of it have an extremely forceful effect on the psyche.

I wish you the very best in all your endeavors. May all humanity find peace. May all humanity find truth.

Yaani Drucker

I thank you, Yaani. It would seem that you are one of the few who do not shun and revile. Especially given the craven ducking for cover of so many Sathya Sai Baba devotees, I honor you for your readiness to exchange, and wish you and Al love and best wishes, whatever may be the divide,

Barry Pittard

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Select Further Reading

Dangerous to Rationalize Rape. A major Sathya Sai Baba Follower’s Example

Barry Pittard Replies To Sathya Sai Center Rape Survivor’s Note To Him

Will the Real Professor Alvin Drucker Be Upstanding?

Petition

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

There is a Spanish version available:

PETICIÓN PÚBLICA PARA ”INVESTIGACIONES OFICIALES DE SATHYA SAI BABA Y SU ORGANIZACIÓN A NIVEL MUNDIAL

Subscribe to Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

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Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

Typically, as one can see below, too, Yaani is unable to provide any alternative explanations for her inner processes. How can others possible examine her processes?  She does not even examine them herself. She says she “knows”.
Nor has she shown any attempt to get from her own husband, Professor Al Drucker, his account of why he ignored those parents and others who came to him in great distress, and who felt deeply let down by one whom they came to in trust and in grief. While it is true that she is a different person, would she not be in an excellent position to ascertain his response to events so important as these?
Nor has she examined – much less critically examined – the reasons in writings by Robert Priddy, Brian Steel,  Timothy Conway Ph.D.,  Kevin R.D.Shepherd (an independent author on religion and philosophy), Barry Pittard and others who have advanced reasons why Sathya Sai Baba presides over what is a formidable cult, which is highly authoritarian, unaccountable and untransparent.
Nor – even given that for some years she and Al Drucker have had a but tenuous link with the Sathya Sai Baba Organization – does she show any responsibility for her frequent extolling references to Sathya Sai Baba, despite worldwide allegations against him and some of his servitors, which are of a grave nature indeed.
Thus I find Yaani Drucker’s of the terms “discuss” and “debate” all but vacuous.
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Posted in Miracles, Opinion, Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychotherapy, Religion, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Will the Real Professor Alvin Drucker Be Upstanding?

Posted by Barry Pittard on September 9, 2009

For many years, Professor Alvin Drucker, an ex-NASA scientist, was one of those ‘star turns’ well in demand as a keynote speaker within the international Sathya Sai Organization. In the seventies, he taught at the Sathya Sai College in Whitefield during part of the same time that I taught there, and he lived within the compound that housed Sai Baba’s residence.

A common assumption was that Sai Baba had cast Drucker out because he had disobeyed his guru in marrying (or wanting to) Yaani. She is his wife to this day.

Will the Real Professor Alvin Drucker Be Upstanding?

However, we learn from reliable sources of the reason for Professor Alvin Drucker’s departing the side of Sathya Sai Baba:

Very distressed parents of young boys came to him desperate for some kind of explanation for actions bearing all the indications of Sathya Sai Baba’s sexual molestation of their sons. Al Drucker left for this reason, and got married.

Note:

(The witnesses’ details and proof of their excellent standing in their professions and communities, and of their longtime devotion, high-standing and service to Sathya Sai Baba will be shared on request with reputed media, lawfirms, scholarly investigators, etc. Barry Pittard)

One thinks of the case of a still more prominent former Sathya Sai Baba lecturer, David Bailey, and the manner in which many anguished parent came to him (and his wife, Faye). See: The Findings by David and Faye Bailey, UK. Eye-witness reports (see that of Robert Priddy below) indicate that, after a passage of years, Drucker returned to Puttaparthi. Those who argue badly, ignoring psychological complexities such as the in-denial state of mind, like simple-mindedly to state that Drucker has come “back to Swami” so what are critics of Sathya Sai Baba on about. Let him speak for himself. But will he? Do those grief-stricken parents who came to him mean nothing to him any more?

There is no doubting the excellent standing of a number informants with whom Drucker has shared this information, and who have written to us over time. They would make excellent witnesses in a court of law or if interviewed by media or scholarly investigators.

Naturally, it would be of benefit were Drucker himself to make a clear statement. Or is he content to stand by while those who have done their best, against many and formidable obstacles, to bring out the truth are execrated as liars, spreading stories for money (Sathya Sai Baba has said), hallucinating (Dr John Hislop) , disgruntled, hateful apostates, and so forth.

One may add that Drucker has often written and spoken on the Vedas. Where, then, is his fearlessness? It is a notion that resounds through the Vedas.

…………………………………………………………

See former head of the Norwegian Sathya Sai Organization Robert Priddy’s journal entry of which he refers as:

“Directly recorded notes from my long Brindavan stay 1994 – about V.K. Narasimhan and Al Drucker (scanned from 1994 notebook)”
V.K. Narasimhan on Sai colleges etc. Transcript:

SUNDAY 27/3/94 (Bhajan all day)
Afternoon darshan: Sat in chair at back. He came down to the last block and looked in my direction – but did not fixate gaze on me. [Same way?]
I had back problems again.

Comment: Once I had thought that Sai Baba had helped cure my spinal misalignment problems – caused by several falls from childhood onwards – especially though a dream. I later realised, when the problems returned and got worse, that it had just been some temporary placebo effect.

After darshan I was hi-jacked to the Warden’s room at the college by Narasimhan. He did not want to use my last chapter for Sanathana – he considered my view of the Organisation to be too positive.

Comment: Narasimhan had already occasionally expresses scepticism about the claims by leaders in the Sai Organization and he had suffered problems from Sai Baba because he had published things in the journal Sanathana Sarathi by a Central Coordinator which were intended to mislead him (about copyright), resulting in him being suspended as editor for a long period. VKN was particularly cynical about Antonio Craxi (brother of the then Italian PM B. Craxi – later convicted of embezzlements) because of his Mafia connections and his vile attacks on other leaders in Italy, like Marena who eventually replaced Craxi.

But he did not say why – just went on in his usual way, recounting life experiences at kibbutzim, in Massachusetts and so on and soon the Warden gave us Sai prasadam – and another (lecturer in English lit.) gave us a second lot – so I had for both Reidun and I. It was Mysore pak.

It turned out I had deserted Reidun – should have met her after darshan to visit Robert and Rita!! But I thought it was after dinner!
Heard about Al Drucker: he is literally excommunicated – can’t enter any of the ashrams or go to Sai centres in the US. It is because he married a young girl against Swami’s expressed wish. The girl was refused at the ashram when her identity was found out. But she later got Baba to take a letter (presumably by staying incognito somehow to the ashram staff). She is not allowed in, ever!! Swami once said to Drucker that he could not have realisation because he would first have to lose everything. Drucker said he wanted it anyhow. Who knows? Or perhaps he broke faith with Sai

Comment: Alvin Drucker was a long-term (US) resident at the ashrams and very active promoter of Sathya Sai Baba. I had seen briefly one day previously, and the news came via Reidun after a long talk she had with an American lady devotee who had recently come from the interview where Sai Baba had seen both Drucker and his new wife at the interview (possibly they had not yet actually married). Sai Baba He had warned Al that he would cut him off and had told Yaani that Al was dying of stomach cancer and he was far too old for her etc. (Yaani was later brutally raped on Shivartri night before a shrine to Sai Baba and who wrote and lectured about it, demonstrating her state of total psychological denial – see here,and here)

Transcript (black text) and comments (violet text):-

6/10/98 Changed room from B2 to B4, which Anne-Irene vacated before darsan. Missed darsan again therefore. New room cooler and various advantages. (Comment: However, this North block for Organization donors was daily enveloped for hours in a vomit-ghastly putrid smell of rotting faeces from an open sewage pit nearby which should have been replaced by an ecological system – but the officials stole the money given for the purpose! See the facts about this scam here)
Saw Narasimhan briefly – I wouldn’t stay. He was writing the preface for ‘From Bapu to Baba’ 3rd ed. His eye is very poor – but he may get a lease of new eyesight from glasses designed by an English specialist soon. (Comment: Battling on as editor of Sai’s journal at his command, VKN had taken an eye operation on Sai Baba’s advice and lost the eye as a result, despite vibuti applied by Baba after the op. See here.)
We saw a bearded Al Drucker when we came from darsan. He seemed not to have been to it. (Comment: Since Alvin Drucker was banned from th ashram by Sai baba personally in 1992 see here, he had not been seen at any Organization conferences either. He attended the ‘paduka’ (sandal) ceremonies but hid away from everyone the rest of the time. The beard seemed to be a disguise)
Saw Henk and exchanged a greeting. Wrote rest of letter to Ragnhild …. etc…

7/10/89 At benches by 6.19 Shenai and drum music. Still a few places. We were awoken at 5.30 by Oms and Suprabhatam just outside our window at full force. Then music, chanting, more trumpet and drum music etc. Also a dose of unstoppable feedback from the microphones, despite repeated late night “Testing, testing, one, two”‘s
Went with Narasimhan in car, driven by his relative (brother’s son-in-law) who organised the entire Rayalaseema Water Project (he had come from the USA). (He had secured a copy of my book from the US too). N. and I had a chat about Sai Books and my book. He has told Devendra that my book would be a runaway success, so no problem with an edition there. The index he feels best in data form. (see about Suri’s misappropriations here)
Suri was removed on a good “pretext” by Swami – a book he published caused Swami’s ire … some Ma who claimed that she embraces Sai as a mother etc. N. said Suri is a rogue who still pretends he is in grace, sitting on the verandah. His wife, however, is a devoted server – as are her parents.
Damodar Rao is in B’lore & very ill. Hans is with him. Srinivas Rajendra is going strong and lecturing.

(Comment:Damodar Rao was an old follower of Sai Baba – a retired circuit judge – who visited the US once and told me his story at great length. He told me that he thought sexual abusers of children “should all be boiled alive in oil”!! A very extremist viewpoint for a judge? But perhaps not in India? This subject came up without reference to Sai Baba, who neither of us suspected (then). Hans was Hans Baerholm, a Danish follower i knew well too, who was living in Rao’s house in Bangalore.)

…………………………………………………………

Further Reading

Nothing Is Real, Strawberry Fields Forever
or ‘Yaani Drucker on how nothing was turned into nothing, by nobody’
by Reidun Priddy

Yanni Drucker and Sathya Sai Baba’s Advaitic Doctrine
A recipe for confusion and personality disorder?
by Robert Priddy

Ex-NASA Scientist and Wife Test Sathya Sai Baba’s ‘Grace’

Note: Yaani and Al Drucker have publicly subscribed to the notion that Yaani – in her brutal rape in a Sai center – was never raped. It was only her body that was raped. The lack of careful distinction between a philosophical of spiritual vantage-point is evident here, and the case is suggestive of the dangers of extrapolating a concept and servicing a psychological denial of events that need formal professional counseling. It is a view that too well lends itself to false notions of forgiveness, and to actually aiding criminals.It must, however, be said that the rapist in this event was convicted on Jaani Drucker’s evidence. What I refer to is the importance in ensuring that auditors to accounts like this do not go away harbouring – in an air of unreality – interpretations that endanger psychological health and social responsibility.

See the entire Christmas 2000 Discourse as translated verbatim by his students

General

Excerpt From Public Petition (With Barry Pittard‘s comments)

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

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

There is a Spanish version available:

PETICIÓN PÚBLICA PARA INVESTIGACIONES OFICIALES DE SATHYA SAI BABA Y SU ORGANIZACIÓN A NIVEL MUNDIAL)



Posted in Opinion, Philosophy, Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychotherapy, Religion, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »