Call For Media and Government Investigation

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

Posts Tagged ‘P.N. Bhagawati’

Roman Catholics’ Deep Concern At Pope’s Apology. But He Is Way Ahead Of Indian ‘Pope’ Sathya Sai Baba

Posted by Barry Pittard on March 23, 2010

It is enormously instructive to watch the unfolding saga of papal apology for clergy sexual abuse. Large numbers of both Roman Catholics and others round the world have expressed deep dissatisfaction with the Pope’s apology. They say that it goes nowhere far enough, and does not address acute issues of crime and punishment. The Roman Catholic Church, like the international Sathya Sai Organization, has every reason to be afraid of sore depletions  of membership and finance, as well as moral standing in the world community.

RC Abuse Priests Collared. Clergy sex revelation storms threaten worldwide

RC Abuse Priests Collared. Clergy sex revelation storms threaten worldwide

There have been many critical commentaries from within and far beyond the Roman Catholic Church. They make it clear that there are central issues of institutional power and control that prevent far-reaching and genuine reforms from taking place. Even when the methods of statecraft far exceed the spirit or even letter of an institution’s spiritual, ethical and moral aims, it is the long history of powerful institutions to use the apparatus of legalistic and other forms of self-protection. In other words, cover up. And, at best, cosmetic reform. For a glimpse at an ancien régime swinging into action, see The Times report: Vatican moves to distance Pope from abuse scandal. Richard Owen. Rome.

 

Sorry Pope Indeed

Sorry Pope

 

What many Roman Catholics, including one of the greatest and outspoken theologians in Church history, Professor Hans Kung, and others are, in effect, asking is: why is this man so publically sorry now and not years ago, when he was cognizant of sexual abuses within his church?

The Dark Pages That Have To Be Faced

A secular example. The immediate past US President George  W. Bush’s name will stand forever darkened by his secret policy of “extraordinary rendition”, where prisoners deemed to be a threat to US security were spirited away to countries friendly to the US which routinely practise torture, so that the hands of US citizens would not personally be bloodied by the heinous acts then committed without the knowledge and consent of the American people at large.

Again, cover up. Again, acknowledgement only when the forces of exposure have reached tipping point.

Typically, among the lower orders of institutional membership, there are many who rationalize and justify an autocratic leadership’s  actions and instructions that appear to enhance or protect an institution. The rank-and-file do not act with the full knowledge, cynicism and realpolitik of those right at the nub of power. That this relative kind of ignorance, naivety, piety (or whatever form it takes) cannot, and should not, be used to plead excuse was made very clear in the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials that ran from 1945 to 1949.

What of India’s shame?

As we can see in recent weeks, there has been a public upsurge of concern at sex scandal revelations about high-powered religious figures in India. See: Nityananda Sex Scandal Erupts in India. Sathya Sai Baba Lessons? .

 
 

 

Puttaparthi Sai Baba. Will soon rule world, he says

Sathya Sai Baba will soon rule world, he says

Note: The glitter of pure gold, and immense pomp and circumstance are the order of the day at Sai Baba’s ashram at Puttaparthi. See:

It forever echoes in my mind how a then editor of The Times of India told me privately that Sathya Sai Baba is too powerful to take on. One irony was that one of the most powerful figures on the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust – the former Chief Justice of India, P.N. Bhagawati, was at the same time on the Board of Directors of The Times of India. In fact, our group had to work extremely hard to get UNESCO senior management to cause the Press Trust of India (PTI) to make amends for publishing a gravely watered-down version of the UNESCO Media Advisory concerning Sathya Sai Baba and certain of his key officals. See:

The Case of UNESCO’s Missing Media Advisory and BBC Caught UNESCO Head Bowing To Indian Government

In India, a particularly lamentable fact that speaks  against religious institutions is that their scandals have often had to exposed by such courageous rationalists as the late Basava Premanand.  See:  Basava Premanand Long Challenged Indian Governments To Come Clean On Sathya Sai Baba and Basava Premanand. Vale. A fighter for truth who lived what others preach .

Or, as anywhere in the world, by whistleblowers from’inside’ who undergo the most shameful attacks by those who proclaim to live by ‘Life, Love and Spirituality‘.

See also:

Religion and the Catholic Church Sex Abuses

Posted by robertpriddy on March 21, 2010

Ireland Acts On Clergy Sexual Abuse. India Does Not Act On Sathya Sai Baba

Posted by Barrypittard on November 27, 2009

Reputed Media and Other Agencies Decried By Sathya Sai Baba’s Defenders

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(Up-and-coming article at Call For Media and Government Investigation of Sathya Sai Baba:  Australia’s Shame …)

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Excerpt from New York Times, Agencies Report

Pope’s words of remorse fall flat for abuse victims

JOHN BURNS, DUBLIN

March 23, 2010

“POPE Benedict XVI’s weekend apology to sufferers of sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic clergy in Ireland has drawn a deeply sceptical and angry response from many Catholics.

In the apology – a pastoral letter read aloud at all weekend Masses across Ireland’s 26 Catholic dioceses and handed out in printed form to thousands of churchgoers – Benedict ex-pressed ”shame and remorse” to victims and their families for what he called ”sinful and criminal” acts by members of the clergy. But in the apology, the Pope did not require that Cardinal Sean Brady, the head of the Irish church, or any other church leaders be disciplined for their mistakes, as some victims had hoped

Nor did he clarify what critics in Ireland and elsewhere have said are contradictory Vatican rules about the procedures for investigating abuse cases and church leaders’ responsibility to inform civil authorities about offences they uncover, a duty the Pope reiterated strongly in his letter.

By remaining silent on the issue of punishment for top church figures implicated in what critics in Ireland have described as decades of cover-up, the pastoral letter appears to have done little to assuage the dismay and anger of many in Ireland at years of revelations about paedophile priests and child carers”.  NEW YORK TIMES, AGENCIES

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Click here to view list of brief video clips available from the BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ documentary

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

There is a Spanish version available:

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

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Posted in New Age, Opinion, Rationalism, Religion, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments »

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

Posted by Barry Pittard on November 28, 2009

 

The Express News Service, India, has noted an extreme fewness of numbers attending the 84th birthday occasion at Puttaparthi. It reports:

“There were less number of foreign devotees this year for the birthday celebrations may be due to economic recession and the recent floods … The district SP made elaborate police bandobast in Puttaparthi. In fact, the police have outnumbered the devotees”.
However, it is difficult to imagine that the economic recession factor, much less the floods, would have turned sizeable portions of the usual very large numbers away, who have long poured to Puttaparthi, no matter the obstacles. (Sai Baba’s and his officials’ figures about crowd numbers are vastly exaggerated. See below).
 
What is more – as always hitherto – representatives of the major world faiths, sai-babas-symbol-of-world-faiths.jpgwhom Sai Baba has long said he is bringing together in amity, are, yet again conspicuously missing from those visiting the ashram in 2009. Here is the so-called “All Faiths” obelisk, the “Sarva Dharma Stupa”. Mostly vacuous in terms of Puttaparthi’s reality, it has long stood at his main ashram, a waste of money in a wasteland of shame. 
sarva-dharma-stupa-and-poorna-chandra-hall-puttaparthi
 
 
Former co-founder and head of the Norwegian Sathya Sai Organization and retired academic Robert Priddy has written of the highly exaggerated crowd numbers attending Puttaparthi occasions, such as Sathya Sai Baba’s birthday celebrations. Of his and my dear friend, the late celebrated Indian newspaper Editor, V.K. Narasimhan and some others, Priddy, former co-founder and leader of the Norwegian Sathya Sai Organization, writes:
“The estimated numbers of persons during each of these celebrations was doubtless much in excess of the actual numbers. Figures of from 1 to 3 million have been suggested for the various birthdays! Sathya Sai Baba stated to several persons (Robert and Rita Bruce, V.K. Narasimhan and others) that 3 million were present, which was a total impossibility. VKN told me several times that Sathya Sai Baba regularly multiplied numbers of actual visitors by 10!
CLICK TO ENLARGE
 
See the photos of almost unimaginable pomp, ceremony and opulence in article on some other occasions -:
 
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First Published : 24 Nov 2009 03:48:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 24 Nov 2009 11:08:59 AM IST
             Baba’s birthday a low-key affair
PUTTAPARTHI: The 84th birthday celebrations of Sri Satya Saibaba were held at Sai Kulwant Hall in Prashanti Nilayam in Puttaparthi. Saibaba has formally cut the cake to mark his birthday in the presence of several dignitaries and thousands of devotees who thronged to witness the celebrations.

The Ageless 'Avatar'

The omniscient, ageless Avatar anounced at his 60th birthday that henceforward he would show no physical signs of ageing. See articles:
Click to find the video link that shows shows Sathya Sai Baba in 2007 just as unable to cut his own birthday cake as in the 2009 report of the Express News Service. 

minister-assists-ailing-sathya-sai-babaSathya Sai Baba. 84th Birthday. Aide helps him to cut cake

Photo left. High-powered Minister of State, Renuka Chowdhuri, has to cut the ribbon in 2007 for badly ailing Satya Sai Baba. Right, Express News Service photo of a needed assistant in 2009 in the cutting of the cake.

 Sai Baba’s Extreme Exaggeration of Crowd Numbers At the Puttaparthi Ashram

This time around, Satya Saibaba did not speak nor give any message.

The entire celebrations were a low-key affair. Malgudi brothers entertained the audience with their bhajans.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan attended the function with his family members.

Tourism Minister J Geeta Reddy, Puttaparthi MLA Palle Raghunatha Reddy, former Supreme Court Justice PN Bhagawati, TTD chairman DK Audikesavulu Naidu. Additional DGP Sivanarayana, former DGP HJ Dora, former cricketer EAS Prasanna, TVS Group head Srinivasan, Mallika Srinivasan, noted Sitar player Pandit Ravishankar, District Collector B Janardhan Reddy, Anantapur Range DIG BL Sujatha Rao, SP MK Singh, actresses Anjali Devi, Krishnakumari, Janaki, Jamuna, playback singer Suseela and a host of other celebrities participated.

There were less number of foreign devotees this year for the birthday celebrations may be due to economic recession and the recent floods. NT Chowdary and Dr Damoder arranged for free food for the devotees.

The district SP made elaborate police bandobast in Puttaparthi.

In fact, the police have outnumbered the devotees.

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Sai Baba recently claimed he always smiles - but nowadays only this!  

Barry Pittard’s comments in regard to the Public Petition) -:

Petition For Official Investigation Into Sathya Sai Baba Cult

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

There is a Spanish version available:

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

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Posted in Opinion, Religion, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

‘Spiritual’ Politicking Sathya Sai Baba Style. An India-UK Nexus

Posted by Barry Pittard on November 5, 2009

After our urgent, coordinated actions, the British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie were – indeed within minutes – prevented from visiting Sai Baba  at Whitefield near Bangalore. They were about ten minute’s drive away from his ashram when, heeding our representations, British High Commission officials were able to dissuade Blair and his wife from visiting Sathya Sai Baba.

Tony Blair and Sathya Sai Baba: The Meeting That Was Averted With Minutes To Spare

A photo call, with results expected to be flashed round the world, was thus averted. The Blair visit to Bangalore occurred at an historic watershed period for the Sathya Sai Baba movement.  He and his global sect was under tremendous scrutiny – very difficult for a group whose top officials act with considerable secrecy and suppression.

In the British House of Commons, questions about Sathya Sai Baba were raised  (November 2000).  This was maintained in early 2002:

‘Sai Baba and sexual abuse of children’ no. 886
That this House, mindful of the many accounts and witness statements of the sexual abuse of the male children of devotees by the Indian guru, Sai Baba, calls upon the Foreign Secretary to use the Travel Advice for India page of the Foreign Office Website to issue guidance to British families intending to visit the Ashram of Sai Baba about the possible danger to their male children of individual audiences with the guru.
Source: UK Parliament, 26.02.02 House of Commons

Major, researched stories appeared in India Today (October 2000), Daily Telegraph (December 2000), and Times of London (August 2001).

Internal crises erupted within the Sathya Sai Organization. In Sathya Sai centers in various parts of the world, members discovered among their own local memberships terrible evidence from respected, longtime members that all was far from well. Some centers disbanded altogether. Increasing attention focused on many accounts of Sai Baba’s sexual abuses of boys and young men, implication in the ashram, local, state and central government cover up of killings in his bedroom, and other monumental spiritual betrayals. Many of its members left the Sathya Sai Organisation, including some of its most respected leaders. See:

Truth In Action: David and Faye Bailey Vs Sathya Sai Baba

‘BILD’ Story. “Guru Wants Sex” (Sathya Sai Baba)

Sathya Sai Baba Organization’s Betrayal of Love and Compassion (Terry Gallagher case – Gallagher investigated extensively, and resigned as leader of the Sathya Sai Organization, Australia)

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

David Bailey and Thomas Wiehe. Transcript Of Phone Link: Sathya Sai Abuses

Letter from Stephen Carthew (the case of Stephen Carthew, a South Australian leader, who likewise advocated democratic norms of discussion), and was axed by the now retired head of the Australian Sathya Sai Organization, Sri T.Ramananathan)

Alaya Rahm’s Lawsuit vs Sathya Sai Society of AmericaJoint Statement by the International JuST Group and the Rahm family (Al Rahm was one of the foremost of top leaders in the SS Org.) and:

Al Rahm’s explanatory letter and:

Alaya Rahm’s Lawsuit vs Sathya Sai Society of America

Story of My Disqualification (Serguei Badaev case. Badaev, Russia’s most outstanding SS Org. leader was insufferably shoved by Sathya Sai Baba’s top axemen. Why? He wanted open and properly convened canons of enquiry)

Searing true testimony about Sathya Sai Baba abuse (the case of Hans de Kraker, Australia, who was for a number of years in charge of the Western Canteen at Puttaparthi)

Dr Naresh Bhatia. Silenced Now In Indian Child Abuse Scourge

Some prominent ex-devotees of Sathya Sai Baba

Smear Campaign against critics of Sathya Sai Baba

‘Spiritual’ Politicking Sathya Sai Style

There was a concerted plan to bring Sathya Sai Baba to the attention of the world. From various sources we were able to piece together information about some of the survival strategies of Sathya Sai Baba and his core, high-level servitors. for example, we learnt that his top leaders in India and the UK, along with the Indian and British governments (most notably the Foreign and Commonwealth Office), planned as follows:

  • To ensure a meeting between Hon. Tony Blair MP and Sathya Sai Baba during the British Prime Minister’s Bangalore visit in the first week of January 2002
  • To ensure that a bevy of Indian and UK journalists asked him and his wife questions about his experiences of Sathya Sai Baba
  • To get the then Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, a publicly professed devotee of Sai Baba, to speak to Blair personally about Sai Baba, which he did at Chequers on November 12, 2001 when he visited the UK.
  • To obtain Vajpayee’s signature to a pre-written letter vociferously defending Sai Baba, co-signed by then Chief Justice of India, P.N. Bhagawati, former Chief Justice Ranganath Mishra, at that time Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission of India, and Dr Najma Heptulla, former President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union Council, former Speaker Lok Sabha, and Union Minister. See:

Open Letter to Prime Minister of India, Hon. A.B. Vajpayee. By Barry Pittard, Australia, former Lecturer, Sri Sathya Sai College of the Arts, Science and Commerce, Whitefield, via Banglalore, Karnataka

  • To publicise this letter, for example on the UK Sathya Sai Organisation’s website (it was later taken off)
  • To get Tony Blair, via direct personal pressure from former Indian Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee, to curb British parliamentary efforts critical of Sathya Sai Baba.

Further Resources

Dissent From Guru Cults Draws Slander and Harassment
Demonization of Dissenters
:
Evidence of an Internet Activist in Action
See On Disinformation and Internet Vandalism
Bias against Sai critics – article by author Kevin R.D. Shepherd

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General

Barry Pittard’s comments in regard to the Public Petition) -:

Petition For Official Investigation Into Sathya Sai Baba Cult

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 10, 2009

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, Religion, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

CNN-IBN Reports Action On Corrupt Indian Gurus

Posted by Barry Pittard on August 2, 2008

The influential media outlet CNN-IBN has just come out with a series of articles on the increasing exposure of ‘godmen’ in India.

What will not be so obvious is the courage of those in journalism, the judiciary, police forces and so on who are putting themselves in danger when they attempt to confront the forces of corruption.

The links to the CNN-IBN reports are immediately below, and beneath these are links (with quotes) to a number of articles in Call for Media and Government Investigation of Sathya Sai Baba. These span many months, and hold out the hope that the forces of anti-corruption and of those who uphold the justifiable Indian pride in her great and varied culture will be able to triumph.

Even as I write there are reports that India has the best human rights record in Asia. This will not have been achieved without the cost of tremendous courage and sacrifice – much of it never recordable.

With India on her way to becoming a superpower, a great contribution she can make – one that can indeed shame those countries which flaunt their democratic traditions – is to clean up her ‘house’ and set an example of flourishing democratic achievements. For decades, the profoundly failed guru, Sathya Sai Baba, has been saying that he will first clean up his ‘own backyard’. He has made all too little dent but India does not need him. She has, down millennia, furnished the worthy aims that he uncontroversially preaches. She has long abounded in great exemplars. It is goods delivery well in excess of all the preaching by her sometimes shady and failed gurus that is needed.

In her rich and marvelous multiculture, these qualities can be asserted by any irrespective of culture, class or creed .

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CNN-IBN Reports just released

Self-styled godmen under increasing scrutiny

Fri, Aug 01, 2008 at 21:34, Updated at Fri, Aug 01, 2008 in Nation India section

Framed or foul play? Asaram followers left wondering

Fri, Aug 01, 2008 at 21:16, Updated at Fri, Aug 01, 2008 in Nation sectio. Tags: Asaram Bapu, Ashram , New Delhi

Journalists protest against media attack in Gujarat.

CNN-IBN, Sat, Jul 19, 2008 at 18:53 in Nation section

Spiritual guru’s followers brutally attack journos

Fri, Jul 18, 2008 at 23:17 in Nation section

…………….

Further related articles at Call for Media and Government Investigation of Sathya Sai Baba at: https://barrypittard.wordpress.com

These articles tyically refer to the poor, but apparently slowly improving, India media showing with regard to running news inimical to the most powerful Indian gurus, of whom Sathya Sai Baba has long been the most powerful of all, worshipped by millions as God.

Supercool Indian Gurus Under Fire

The following readings indicate two-way pulls occurring in India – towards gurus and the extraordinary power many of them have, down millennia, wielded, and away from them

V.P.B. Nair. B.Premanand. R.Priddy: Sai Baba Bedroom Killings

Many Indian journalists and editors and others know of the profound extent of the cover up by the then powerful Home Minister S.B. Chavan, and central, Andhra Pradesh State and local governments. It is a pity that very few have had the courage to speak out publicly on the issue, as has former Andhra Pradesh Home Secretary V.P.B. Nair, who was in office at the time of the killings. It is a sad commentary that very few had the courage in speaking out displayed by those such as Nair and B. Premanand. See the BBC Film Clip of V.P.B. Nair making his statement

The Guru Trap. Will India Be Forever Trapped?

Tehelka is regarded by many observers as one of few newspapers in India which can show some investigate clout and courage. It has sustained tremendous pressure by Indian governments and other power brokerage forces in India. Below is an excerpt from Tehelka, which points the need for India to come clean and act decisively about her frequent cultivation and protection of nefarious gurus. Sathya Sai Baba gets a reference.

‘Moon Mission of Sathya Sai Baba’. Re Merinews Article

Noting that the Indian news service Merinews.com contained an article by Natteri Adigal which gave me a brief mention, I responded.

This was, Moon mission of Sathya Sai Baba: Only for the faithful! by Natteri Adigal, Thursday, 29 November 2007

Is Sai Baba’s Governmental Influence ‘Miraculous’?

Yesterday’s blog, HERE, noted the Indian magazine Business Standard news current report that the Sathya Sai Central Trust is putting Sai Baba’s Puttaparthi airport up for sale. It was revealing to find an old 1998 Indian Express report that saw corrupt links between Sai Baba’s chief representatives and a then Civil Aviation boss. Most Indian publications have long suffered their publisher’s censorship against reports adverse to Sathya Sai Baba. As the Editor of one of India’s leading newspapers told me: Sai Baba is too powerful, with so many devotees all over India. Likely to have been all too little noticed, then, was a report filed in the Indian Express in February 1998 by reporter Swati Chaturvedi. It points to corrupt origins in the sanctioning of the Sathya Sai airport. What the Swati Chaturvedi article does not mention is that the then Civil Aviation Secretary, M.K. Kaw, is a Sathya Sai Baba devotee.

Sai Baba’s Airport Up For Sale, Reports Business Standard

business-standard.jpg

Sai Baba`s airport up for sale

S Kalyana Ramanathan / Chennai October 31, 2007

“Trust puts floor price at Rs 600 crore

The airport’s owner, the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, which manages the religious and philanthropic assets and work of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, has invited bids for it and put the floor price at Rs 600 crore”

Indian Nuclear Scientist Now Sai Baba’s Global Radio Chief

These days Sai Baba’s chief international propagandist (via Sai Global Harmony and WorldSpace International Satellite Radio Service) and deputy head of the immensely wealthy and influential world Sathya Sai Organization, Dr G. Venkataraman, was a top Indian nuclear scientist
Top Vajpayee Minister Thinks BBC Was Plotting

For a glimpse at the clearly morally bankrupt showing of the Vajpayee government on many allegations facing Sathya Sai Baba, see the video clip from the BBC’s The Secret Swami (2004), HERE

Is Indian ‘Godman’ Sai Baba’s Moon Waning Still Further?

The report below, I have excerpted from the DNAINDIA news service. It indicates that Sathya Sai Baba’s chief translator and personal India and international emissary, Professor Anil Kumar, has acknowledged the extraordinary traffic and crowd snarls occasioned by Sai Baba’s trip to his private airport at Puttaparthi.

It is reported that India’s most famous and controversial guru was at the airport in his car on the evening of Thursday October 4, 2007, which got badly detained by unruly crowds. He would be present, it was believed, to preside over a profound mass vision that he, as God, would perform. An Indo Asian News Service (IANS) staff writer reported …

P.N. Bhagwati, India’s Ex-Chief Justice: Wild, Reckless Claims

P.N. Bhagawati, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India, a key figure on the Sathya Sai Central Trust (India) has also long been on the Board of Directors of The Times of India

Indian Gurus Stifle India’s Chance To Excel

“Watershed year for Indian law” reports BBC’s Sanjoy Majumder
“For many, 2006 has been a watershed in Indian legal history”, states Sanjoy Majumder, Friday, 5 January 2007, BBC News, Delhi:
For the first time, a serving cabinet minister (Shibu Soren), was given life imprisonment for murder. Under a fortnight later, a cricket star and MP (Navjot Singh Sidhu) was jailed for manslaughter. Majumder reports “A recent study suggests that nearly a quarter of the country’s MPs are facing criminal charges ranging from murder to extortion and even rape”, and that “India’s courts are estimated to have a backlog of some two million cases”. See useful BBC News links about corruption in India
here.

Gurubusting Sathya Sai Baba

Breaking decades of virtual Indian media silence on comment critical of Sathya Sai Baba, a number of major Indian news organizations have run (mostly November 22, 2006) the Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) report on Paul Lewis’s article in The Guardian,The Indian living god, the paedophilia claims and the Duke of Edinburgh awards’“…
Sai Baba’s “Back Yard” Still A Mess

India A Mature Democracy? BBC Probes

Would many Indian politicians, notorious for their extreme corruption, dare expose the foreign goose that lays the (cosmic!) golden egg? Driving this question would have reinforced the producer Eamon Hardy’s original query about whether India is a mature democracy.

View The Secret Swami HERE. Available in broadband and modem. Read:

The BBC’s The Secret Swami – A Revision.

The Genesis of the BBC’s The Secret Swami (Sai Baba)

Who In India Will Stand out Against Abuses?

According to reports by Sanjoy Majumdar, BBC New Delhi and Tim Sullivan of Associated Press, there have been some recent populist stirrings in India against corruption and its cover-up.  Not that there have not long been those Indians who have stood up valiantly against these. One may hope that the groundswell will come to include corrupt gurus

Will India’s New Backlash Against Corruption Lash Sathya Sai Baba?

“Watershed year for Indian law” reports BBC’s Sanjoy Majumder
“For many, 2006 has been a watershed in Indian legal history”, states Sanjoy Majumder, Friday, 5 January 2007, BBC News, Delhi:
For the first time, a serving cabinet minister (Shibu Soren), was given life imprisonment for murder. Under a fortnight later, a cricket star and MP (Navjot Singh Sidhu) was jailed for manslaughter. Majumder reports “A recent study suggests that nearly a quarter of the country’s MPs are facing criminal charges ranging from murder to extortion and even rape”, and that “India’s courts are estimated to have a backlog of some two million cases”. See useful BBC News links about corruption in India
here.

Exposure of Sathya Sai Baba. Media Source List

Posted in Religion, Social and Politics, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Indian Minister Shields Sai Baba on BBC television

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 31, 2007

ab-vajpayee-and-mm-joshi.jpgIn the BBC’s 2004 television documentary The Secret Swami, confronted by the BBC interviewer Tanya Datta, Murali Manohar Joshi (see photo, right), one of the most powerful ministers in the since-defeated A.B. Vajpayee (pictured to left) right-wing government, soon lost his temper, jabbing away with pointed finger at Ms Datta, manjoshiaccusing the BBC and people in England of plotting against Sai Baba, A.B. Vajpayee and P.N. Bhagawati (a key Sathya Sai Central Trust member and former Chief Justice of India). He arrogantly shouts at her,

“No, no, no… You don’t know the meaning of interviewing a minister in my capacity, as a minister of my stature.”

Allegations against Sai are worldwide

Ms Datta’s vulnerability in the face of an arch bully was  touching to see, and she showed some courage but tougher interviewers would not have put up with an evasiveness like Joshi’s. It might have been better had Ms Datta not tried to defend the BBC and herself (although her reaction is transparently natural) but, rather, firmly stated the worldwide nature of the serious evidence that keeps on coming.

At least, Murali Manohar Joshi’s arrogant evasion of the BBC’s totally fair question about Indian Government accountability was unmasked for the world to see. Joshi exposed himself. See him doing it in video footage from the BBC’s The Secret Swami HERE

Successive Indian Governments Have Covered Up Sai Baba Scandals

It may be noted that the present Indian government of Manmohan Singh, who himself sings Sai Baba’s praises and visits him, maintains the chilling silence of successive Indian governments in regard to worldwide allegations against Sathya Sai Baba of large-scale, serial sexual abuse of boys and young men, complicity in police killings in his bedroom on June 6, 1993, and massive unaccountability of billions that flow to the Sathya Sai Central Trust from scores of countries around the world.

Further Viewing and Reading

See one-hour BBC television documentary The Secret Swami HERE

At https://barrypittard.wordpress.com the articles:

The Genesis of the BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ (Sai Baba)

The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ – A Revision

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

There is a Spanish version available:

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

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The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ – A Revision

Posted by Barry Pittard on April 4, 2007

Note: For enquiries, enter contact details in the Comment section. These will be treated with the same confidentiality and professionalism we have long observed in our dealing with e.g., UNESCO, governments, Interpol, media and religious and secular institutions, and other such serious inquirers. 

The BBC’s cameras at Sathya Sai Baba’s ashram at Puttaparthi in South India catch the pomp, circumstance, opulence and the highly stage-managed atmosphere of the crowded Mahasivaratri festival, February 2004. India’s most famous (and controversial) ‘Godman’ has promised a great miracle, the materialization from within his stomach via his mouth of a pure gold lingam (a Hindu cosmic symbol of creation) the size of a generous egg, in full public view. Viewers hoping to see this spectacle will not be disappointed – but they will see the sham in full close-up.

linghodhbhavam2004_0001.jpgSai Baba pretends to vomit up pure gold Siva Lingam. A few minutes later, he tells his vast audience, “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”. See: BBC Cameras Catch Sai Baba Cheating With Gold Sivalingam. (Film Clip)

nullJust one of Sai Baba grandiose show pieces, the Super Speciality Hospital at Puttaparthi, South India

The Secret Swami reveals much, but viewers may wish also to investigate much of what, for constraints of time, it omits.

police-shootings-sai-babas-bedroom.jpgV.P.B. Nair, former Home Secretary in Sai Baba’s State of Andhra Pradesh at the time of the killings, is seen in the BBC television documentary on Sai Baba, The Secret Swami, (2004), where he says that the police killings were “cold-blooded murder”.  Nair seeks to reopen the case of the June 6, 1993 four police killings in Sai Baba’s bedroom. Many Indian police, politicians, journalists and other investigators know that the profound cover-up involved Sai Baba, his officials and Local, State and Central Indian governments. See my article:

V.P.B. Nair. B.Premanand. R.Priddy: Sai Baba Bedroom Killings

See below,the BBC’s The Secret Swami transcript excerpt containing V.P.B. Nair’s testimony.

The Secret Swami confines itself to four areas:

  • Accusations down many years of Sai Baba’s sexual molestation of young males.
  • His implication in police executions in his private quarters on June 6, 1993.
  • Cover-up by him and the leadership of his worldwide organization, and as well as by successive Indian governments, of major criminal allegations.
  • His faking of miracles.

BBC producer Eamon Hardy and his team’s view is that serious questions are raised about India’s political maturity.

Focus on One Family Obscures Vast Extent of Allegations

Ashram scenes cut to northern Arkansas in America’s Midwest. Former devotees, Al and Marisa Rahm and their 20-year-old son Alaya show the BBC interviewer Tanya Datta around sturdy commune buildings that the Rahms established in the 1980’s as a model Sai Baba commune, with school, resident teachers, study groups, congregational singing… Much of the documentary’s credibility will stand or fall on how viewers evaluate this family. Certainly, the device of interweaving a family’s story with wider events touches the emotions. Although I think viewers will have a strong sense of the Rahm family’s integrity, the technique has a downside. It obscures the fact that allegations against Sathya Sai Baba come from many individuals and grieving families around the world. In fact, the BBC, as has been the case with national governments and police forces, was granted access to many testimonies.

It is, by the way, indicative of the desperation and dishonesty of pro Sathya Sai Baba protagonists who edit the Wikipedia article on him attempt to keep the BBC references out of it. Brian Steel and Robert Priddy state their names, but these individuals hide behind pseudonyms.

Focusing on one family meant no examination of anything like the full extent of the allegations. It also meant no examination of the multiple billions (that’s a ‘b’ not an ‘m’) that pour into the Sathya Sai Central Trust coffers from all over the world, or of financial scams by his administration (e.g., the selling of apartments which are sometimes later taken away from the paid up owners), which devotees blindly accept, as “tests of faith”. It meant no examination of Tony Blair’s suppression by over fifty British parliamentarians to raise Sai Baba-related issues in the House of Commons.  This was at a time when Blair wanted to placate the then Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee so as to win a contract for 66 jet fighters for India. The urgency to win the deal was bi-partisan. For further information, see my article, ‘Flag Follows Trade. Abetting Indian Government Corruption’:

Governments Placate India

Further, it meant no examination of the failure of governments – particularly of Britain, Canada, Australia and Germany – to match the US State Department’s naming of Sai Baba as the subject of a Travel Advisory – weakly citing that there are no court convictions of Sathya Sai Baba in India. If the State Department can name Sai Baba why cannot they? (As of May 25, 2004, the State Department D has dedicated an American Citizen’s Services Unit special line in Washington – 202 647-6179 – via which they will confirm that Sathya Sai Baba is the individual referred to in their Consular Information Sheet, November 23, 2001. There was no examination of former Indian Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee’s leaning on Tony Blair about Sai Baba when Blair vied for a highly lucrative sale to India of Hawke class fighter planes. The programme mentions the Vajpayee letter which states that allegations against Sai Baba are “wild, reckless and concocted” but not that it was published at the time of Vajpayee’s visit to Tony Blair.

Other documentaries will need to look at the supposedly miraculously materialized jewelry which independent international assayers like the Queen of Denmark’s crown jeweler attest are faked:

There are allegations of Sai Baba’s failed promises to cure people of cancers and other terrible diseases; the tragedy of sick people of many countries desperately visiting him in hope of a cure; the targeting of the weak and vulnerable for their money by an organisation that, while saying that it does not ask for money, uses indirect approaches to raise it.

Supposedly God, Sai Baba Woos Heads of State and other Big Players

Head of Sai Baba’s world organization, Dr Michael Goldstein, of Covina California, tells the BBC interviewer,

“We believe that Sri Sathya Sai Baba is Jesus Christ. Sri Sathya Sai Baba is Buddha. Sri Sathya Sai Baba is the founder of all of the world’s religions. Sri Sathya Sai Baba has always been God.”

Dr Goldstein here reveals the true beliefs and agenda which his worldwide organization has long studiously kept hidden from the wider public, especially when it tries to enlist religious, political, educational and business leaders in its social projects. (The organization succeeded in getting the British Queen to visit a Sai School at Harrow but the programme omits this telling detail!) However, the work of former devotee and other exposé activists will now be much easier, for they will be able to send DVDs and CDs to those governments, leaders and institutions which the Sathya Sai Organization reportedly tries to woo, including the Palace and the White House.

BBC Evicted From Puttaparthi For Asking About Allegations

This organization’s reputation has been badly damaged by quarter of a decade of intense campaigns of exposure by globally organized former devotees, and even longer by Rationalists and Humanists. BBC producers say that Sai Baba’s top leaders at first thought the documentary would present a ‘positive image’ of their guru and the works of his organization to the world. Hence the rare permission for the BBC to shoot at Sai Baba’s ashram. The Puttaparthi authorities extended guided tours to the BBC by Central Trust Secretary K. Chakravarthy and other leading officials, including Dr Goldstein, never before granted to a television corporation. However, a few days later, when the BBC asked for a comment on the worldwide allegations, the ashram authorities ordered them to leave, and Dr Goldstein sent a prompt global instruction to all Sai Baba centres that no-one must cooperate with the BBC. No doubt the exposure by Denmark’s national broadcaster in its 2003 documentary Seduced (renamed Seduced By Sai Baba in the English language version by Australia’s national multicultural broadcaster SBS), seen by millions in Denmark, Norway and Australia – when the top Sai leaders in Denmark and Australia made unavailing threats of legal action – must still have haunted their minds.

Sai Baba’s Power Isn’t Flower Power

Establishing footage from the 1960s shows the hunger in the West for Hindu Indian gurus by hippies and such cultural icons as the Beatles at that time. This true but superficial view is one of a few blemishes in The Secret Swami. There were many other kinds of spiritual seekers, and Sai Baba’s middle class devotees infinitely outnumber those of alternative lifestyle. The view may be correct for Marisa Rahm, once caught up in the 60’s alternative scene, but wrong for her husband Al Rahm. He considered himself a yogi, who engaged in serious spiritual practices such as meditation. There is a tradition of western aspirant yogis long before the 60’s.

Showing three zealous western devotees eccentrically rhapsodizing about Sai Baba fails to indicate his appeal to people of many cultures and socio-economic backgrounds. Filming eccentrics detracts from the serious purpose seen elsewhere in the documentary. It obscures the interest he has evoked in figures of great power (e.g., Bill and Hillary Clinton (more particularly Hillary), Al Gore, Mikhail and the late Raisa Gorbachev (a reliable friend of mine told me that Mrs Gorbachev told her that Gorbachev had a book of discourses by Sai Baba as his bedside reading). The sheer penetration of Sai Baba’s influence is of real concern. For Isaac Tigrett, multi-millionaire American backer of Sathya Sai Baba, the hippy origin is correct. All glassy-eyed, perhaps still a hippy at heart, a Peter Pan-like Tigrett tells Tanya Datta,

“India’s so unique, it’s so incredible. If there’s a spiritual train then India is the engine. All this mysticism, all the strangeness that surrounds Sai Baba and all that stuff, this is the perfect home for it.”

We glimpse one of Sathya Sai Baba’s water projects. The BBC got led to the showpiece village near Puttaparthi. But it would have needed to investigate harder, for the various water and other projects are the subject of many allegations of fraud on a grand scale, including incredible wastage of resources and inefficiency. This same water system supplies the ashram, which depends on big overseas donors. But there are claims that the overall project failed to deliver due to an unexpected fall in the water table, and that this was covered up by the Sai Baba’s Central Trust.  See article by Robert Priddy and Barry Pittard, ‘Sathya Sai Organization Untruths, Disinformation and Subterfuge’:

One learns that The U.S. minerals magnate James Sinclair got upset when Sathya Sai Baba officials announced sums of money that he had donated, so it is likely that his continuing donations are now not being disclosed. However, we know that he twice donated U.S. 600 million dollars. I shall have to see whether I can check the figure but I think Sinclair further donated $100 million for Sai Baba’s first water project, a sum announced by Indulal Shah (then head of the Sathya Sai Organization) at Sathya Sai Baba’s 70th birthday celebrations, when Shah listed every donor to the Water Project who had given at least one crore. U.S. devotee friends who knew Sinclair and his wife said that Sinclair was very shocked that his name would brought out. On Indulal Shah, see: Indulal Shah and Indian Government Cover Up and,‘God’s’ Ex-Shah, Indulal Shah

Foreign Goose Lays Multi-billion Dollar Eggs For Sai Baba

Showing his worthy causes might allow the BBC to appear balanced, but it ignores considerable allegations of fraud, and complaints by village elders that the Sathya Sai water project authorities have left a trail of broken promises. Sai Baba’s state of Andhra Pradesh has long been one of India’s poorest. The Secret Swami reports that Sai Baba “cuts through the red tape” to provide water to poor villages via a costly pipeline. But the documentary misses a perfect opportunity to suggest a major reason why successive Indian governments and opposition parties have covered for him. Yes, he (or rather his organization) accomplishes what they fail to provide, but with billions of overseas dollars! Would many Indian politicians, notorious for their extreme corruption, dare expose the foreign goose that lays the (cosmic!) golden egg? Driving this question would have reinforced the documentary’s fundamental query about whether India is a mature democracy.

We see the hospital by English architect Keith Critchlow for Sai Baba (a long-time conduit to Prince Charles). Largely funded by Isaac Tigrett and inaugurated in 1991, this hi-tech heart and kidney hospital even out-dazzles the many-splendoured architecture of the ashram. BBC cameras miss the names of other big donors, overseas and Indian, which are on a Roll of Honour in the hospital portico. Indeed, The Secret Swami fails to mention the billions that pour into the Sai coffers from various countries such as Australia, Canada, Hong Kong (indeed, the Chinese diaspora), Germany, Indonesia, Japan, UK, USA … Like the American James Sinclair (who often works from Canada), the precious metals speculator, alone has donated several hundreds of millions of dollars).

BBC’s Tanya Datta asks: ‘Is Sai Baba Above The Law?’

Lovely architecture. But the moral interior? Similar to others from around the world, Alaya Rahm speaks of Sai Baba genitally oiling him, kissing him heavily on the mouth, giving and receiving oral sex, trying to penetrate him anally, mixing lavish gifts of money and jewelry with dire threats – e.g., to cut his penis off, and forbid interviews to his family – to ensure his silence. That these patterns recur in so many other victim reports is crucial, but the BBC fails to highlight this fact.

Alaya says he was afraid to tell his parents of his sexual molestation in almost all of his many private interviews. At one point his father asked him whether he had received the oiling experience. Yes, the son replied, but how did his father know? He answers that he himself received this treatment when he first visited Sathya Sai Baba at 18 years old, who told him it was “a ritual healing process.” Why did not the BBC challenge leaders about the oiling experiences? The moment Eamon Hardy raised questions about allegations, that was it – the BBC was promptly told to leave the ashram. Other journalists have found the same cover-up. Some Sai Baba leaders at least do admit the ‘oiling’ allegations – but only under strictest professional guidelines are doctors (and Sai Baba is not one!) permitted to touch the genitals of minors or adults. Tanya Datta’s question to Dr Goldstein in another regard obtains here, too: Is Sai Baba above the law?

Oiling Penises Not A Hindu Ritual. (Nor Of Other World Faiths – And Non Faiths)

Could oral sex by a guru be a secret Tantric ritual? Khushwant Singh (strangely the BBC describes this most famous of Indian social commentators merely as a ‘Writer’) says,

“There’s no Indian tradition to support the fact that, you know, worship of the Lingam includes also doing the blow job, if that is what you are referring to. I don’t think there’s any basis for that whatsoever”.

A noted Hindu scholar’s response would have carried more weight here. Or even a BBC text or voiceover citing response by Hindu authorities. Any religious leaders would be most remiss if they shirk issues like this. Clarity about allegations of Sai Baba’s ejaculation into victims’ mouths would have questioned the absurdity voiced by many Sai Baba devotees (such as long-time devotee Ram Das Awle in his Internet writings) that Sai Baba touches young males sexually only to assist their mental health or raise the Kundalini energy.

Basava Premanand, the celebrated Rationalist and ‘guru buster,’ – see my appreciation of him at the time of his death: Basava Premanand. Vale. A fighter for truth who lived what others preach.  Posted by Barry Pittard on October 6, 2009 reports investigating Sathya Sai Baba since 1968, first “as a hobby” then going public in 1976. He is seen showing the trick behind Sai Baba’s so-called ‘miraculous’ production of the golden lingam (of which more below). Professor Narendra Nayak, his fellow Rationalist, demonstrates how, by sleight-of-hand, magicians perform the same ‘miracles’ as Sai Baba – e.g. materializing ash, rings, pendants, etc. To convince the most critical, the BBC needed demonstrations as sophisticated as those in the Danish documentary Seduced (a copy of which the BBC possessed) where the Danish magician Nils Krøjgaard exposes the deceptions involved. Narendra Nayak shows Tanya Datta, who realizes that it takes practice, how to secrete a vibhuti (sacred ash) pellet between the thumb and base of the forefinger. Nayak says that Sai Baba’s rotations of the hand when producing the ash is the method used by all ‘godmen’ who ‘materialize’ this ash, and obscures the act of crumbling the pellet. (Various people, such as the former leader of the Australian Sai Organization, Terry Gallagher, a scientist and businessman, have reported seeing Sai Baba inadvertently drop these pellets. See Terry Gallagher’s testimony and my article ‘Police Killings in Sai Baba’s Bedroom at Puttaparthi’).

On stage before February 2004’s Mahasivaratri crowd, the BBC cameras show Sai Baba looking increasingly sick. He produces the lingam, and the materialization trick demonstrated by Nayak is easy for the viewer to spot, the lingam being concealed in Sai Baba’s handkerchief. Tanya Datta comments:

“To the alarm of the crowd suddenly Sai Baba collapsed. His huge coterie of staff swung into action. There was panic. An organisation used to tight control seemed to have lost its grip. Sai Baba was hastily wheeled off stage.” Later, he is carried hobbling back, with officials claiming that he manifested two more lingams offstage. To the audience a shaken Sai Baba makes an inane 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.”

Top Indian Minister Shows Ugly Face of Indian Government Sai Baba Patronage

Confronted by Tanya Datta, Murali Manohar Joshi, one of the most powerful ministers in the since-defeated Vajpayee government, soon loses his temper, jabbing away with pointed finger at Ms Datta, accusing the BBC and people in England of plotting against Sai Baba, A.B. Vajpayee and P.N. Bhagawati (a key Central Trust member and former Chief Justice of India). He arrogantly shouts at her,

“No, no, no… You don’t know the meaning of interviewing a minister in my capacity, as a minister of my stature.”

Her vulnerability in the face of an arch bully is touching, and she shows some courage but tough interviewers would not have put up with his evasiveness. Surely, it would have been better had Ms Datta not tried to defend the BBC and herself but rather firmly stated the worldwide nature of the serious evidence that keeps on coming. At least, Joshi’s arrogant evasion of the BBC’s totally fair question about Indian Government accountability was unmasked for the world to see.

Sai Baba “Wanted My Son”

There is historic footage of the Rahms’ popular song and story telling appearances on the major US Sai circuit and of Sai Baba’s special attention to them. Marisa Rahm says, “it was just like the trip to Disneyland with God. I mean we were just really ecstatic with joy at getting this attention and this limelight.” However, concerned about their son’s troubled behaviour, Alaya’s parents confront him, and he reveals countless occasions of sexual abuse, saying that he was afraid that if he had told them he would be left “alone in the world.” Marisa weeps, saying “he (Sai Baba) didn’t care about me; he wanted my son.”

When the Rahms took their story to Dr Goldstein, in September 1999, they say that he was shocked and shaken, saying, “Faith has got to be restored and words will not be enough.” Goldstein promised to speak to Sai Baba and pledged the Rahms to secrecy until he did. He reported back that Sai Baba replied, “Swami is pure” and “If you want to fight with people in the gutter, you also have to go into the gutter. Don’t.” But are the Rahms gutter people?! Were they fighting? For years, they were dear favourites of Sai Baba and he showered presents on them. We see a box full of them, including fake jewelry, and Al Rahm calls it a “box of bribes.”

Dr Goldstein Tells BBC “I am what I am – a consummate professional”

So repeatedly evasive was Michael Goldstein that the BBC team gained permission from BBC heads and legals to film him with hidden cameras. The BBC cleverly gets him to admit the correctness of the Rahms’ report of his words. Unlike his archangelic namesake and just like Joshi, his finger repeatedly jabs at Tanya Datta as he snarls, blusters and fulminates. Seemingly in need of a child’s first dictionary, Dr Goldstein hurls the questions, “Transparency in what sense?” and “What do you mean by thorough investigation”? He says that his “heart and his conscience” know that the allegations of sexual molestation could not be true. But what about the heart and conscience of families and individuals around the world who give accounts of Sathya Sai Baba’s tragic harming of their boy children? Goldstein says that he would be able to tell at sight whether young men had been sexually molested or not. Doctor Goldstein is a medical doctor, and does not rate alongside sexual abuse experts who work full-time in the area. Sexual abuse experts are in touch with Sai Baba’s young accusers (and also abuse accounts going back many years) and are satisfied they are telling the truth. He shouts “I would know it in my heart because I am what I am – a consummate professional. Can you understand that?” This is the world head of Sai Baba’s supposedly divine organization that claims Sai Baba, as full embodiment of God, will save the world within his lifetime!

The Secret Swami shows footage, taken by Sai Baba’s official videographer, James Redmond, which shows that, directly after he had asked Sai Baba about the Rahm allegations, Goldstein is made Chief Guest and before a vast audience is praised by Sai Baba as a “great man,” “Goldstein has all good qualities in him,” etc. We see Goldstein being strongly moved by Sai Baba’s flattery. Al Rahm says, “Michael came up to James and said; ‘I want a copy of that video, it’s the peak of my life.’ And I remember thinking; he’s being played.”

The documentary could have raised the question: Why is it that the Rahms and many others, for so long highly regarded in the Sai Baba community, as soon as they try to tell their experiences, are reviled by both guru and many devotees as ‘demons,’ ‘Judases’, ‘slanderers’, ….? Typically, cults do this to those who question or dissent.

“He Could Go Out And Murder” Says Billionaire backer, Isaac Tigrett

Having failed with Goldstein, Al Rahm turns to Isaac Tigrett. Unlike other Sai leaders, the latter comes across as compassionate but his unusual and repeated laughter suggests his ultimate denial of feeling that needs to translate to humane action. Tanya Datta says,

“But even if it was proven to you that Sai Baba was a paedophile and a serial sex abuser, you’re saying it wouldn’t change the fact that he is your guru.”

Isaac Tigrett says,

“He could go out and murder someone tomorrow.”

Tanya Datta probes,

“Does that mean that some part of you believes there could be some truth to the rumours?” Tigrett replies,

“Oh, absolutely I believe there is truth to the rumours.”

But the practical effect – which is that he does nothing to advocate a hearing for Sai Baba’s accusers – is the same as if he did not believe in their truth! This immensely wealthy man, who walks with some of the most powerful leaders in the world, like Al Gore, blocks the chance of marginalized victims to effectively tell their stories. Clearly, his self-perceived spiritual development is all that matters. He may provide palatial buildings for Sai Baba but what about rebuilding broken people, and perhaps saving still others from coming to grief in the secret chamber of the ‘secret swami?

“Absolutely Cold-blooded Murder”

Former Home Secretary of Sai Baba’s state Andhra Pradesh, V.P.B. Nair, tells the BBC cameras that the police killings in Sai Baba’s private quarters in June 1993 were “absolutely cold-blooded murder,” and that CID investigations, which were suppressed, showed many lies and cover-ups. He is seeking to re-open the case. Here is what Nair had to tell the BBC:

Tanya Datta
Sex abuse is not the only controversy tainting the God man’s reputation. On a June night back in nineteen ninety-three, four devotees broke into Sai Baba’s quarters. They were armed with knives.
Their motives are unclear. All four were close to Sai Baba. Some say they wanted to warn him about corruption in the Ashram. Others claim their intention was to kidnap or even kill Sai Baba. As they approached they were stopped by four of Sai Baba’s attendants. In the struggle that followed two of his attendants were killed and the other two badly injured. Hearing the commotion Sai Baba escaped through a back stairway and raised the alarm. Heavily armed police
arrived on the scene.
VPB Nair

So these boys, they ran and locked themselves up in a room. And then in the whole, all around a lot of pandemonium and people gathered so the boys were shivering like rats in that small hole.
Tanya Datta
The four men barricaded themselves into Sai Baba’s bedroom. There was a stand-off with the police. Then the order was given to go in.
Tanya Datta
What happened next is hotly disputed. The official
version seemed clear.
VPB Nair
These four boys charged towards the police with the knives and started stabbing the inspector and other personnel. Because they were attacked they opened fire.
Tanya Datta
In self-defence?
VPB Nair
In self-defence. They opened fire and killed all the four boys. This the police story.
Tanya Datta
Velayudhan Nair rejects the police version of events. He should know. Until two thousand and two he was Home Secretary of Andhra Pradesh and in charge of the state police. On coming to office he examined the files and found that the original police report was riddled with lies and inconsistencies. This was later exposed by a CID investigation.
VPB Nair
Two or three daggers cannot be a match to roaring guns. So this story of the police being attacked and the police shooting in self-defence is totally baseless.
Tanya Datta
So are you suggesting that the police executed the boys
that night?
VPB Nair
In absolute, this is absolute cold-blooded murder.
Tanya Datta
Some police officers were arrested but never charged. The case was eventually dropped. Sai Baba has always had a close relationship with the police. Even today, senior officers are special guests at the Ashram. With friends in such high places Sai Baba seems to be untouchable. Any attempt to investigate the goings-on at his Ashram even, murder, appear doomed to failure.  Critics say police connections ensured that Sai Baba wasn’t even interviewed, despite being one of the witnesses to the events of that night.

We see the President of India Dr A. P. J. Abdul Kalam and Manmohan Singh (now India’s Prime Minister) visiting Sai Baba on his birthday. The ‘secret swami’ does not have to go to Indian Presidents, Prime Ministers and other power brokers on all sides of politics. They go to him!

Room For Many More Documentaries

In exposing a dangerous and influential cult, The Secret Swami is plucky and perceptive. Canada’s national broadcaster CBC was waylaid by hundreds of phone calls and emails by Sai Baba devotees, both before and after the screenings of the documentary in Canada. The program host said on air “We stand by the professionalism of our BBC colleagues”. History will expose the devotees but the BBC team needed an intellectually more penetrating analysis, and to raise sharper, more focused questions. The documentary brilliantly suggests that the leaders are into heavy cover-up and denial, but strangely didn’t say how widespread and long-standing the paedophile allegations are. The sham ‘miracles were’ somewhat exposed but there do exist more difficult-to-explain Sai Baba-related phenomena than this (e.g., the apparent appearance of many miracles in devotee homes and centres in many countries), which would require rigorous investigation, because the recipients cannot sensibly be accused of shamming. Of course, not everything packs into an hour-long documentary. Let us trust that the BBC will use its more than 80 hours of footage to expose some of many other issues.

Rating: three and a half out of five.

Further Resources

The Secret Swami (BBC Television):
(154 MB Broadband)

Right Hand. Sleight Hand. Watch Sai Baba Cheat With Sacred Ash (Film clip)

Sleight Of Hand. The Sleightness of Sathya Sai Baba (Exposing film clips)

BBC and Other Film Footage Shows India’s Top Guru Sathya Sai Baba Faking Miracles

BBC Footage Exposes Fake Sathya Sai Baba Miracle « Call For Media and Government Investigation

Sathya Sai Baba Chief, Dr Goldstein, Explodes. “I am the consummate professional” (See Film Clips)

Raising ever more serious questions about how spiritual is the head of what Sathya Sai Baba has called THE divine organization in the world,

Michael Goldstein explodes with anger (710kbs)

at the BBC’s perfectly reasonable questions about accountability

Dr. Goldstein again reveals his higher self (1.500Kb)

Michael Goldstein and the sexual allegations (2,10 Mbs)

Michael Goldstein admits his view is merely a belief (456kbs)

Sathya Sai Baba Cult Exposure By Major TV Channel In Australia « Call For Media and Government Investigation

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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