Call For Media and Government Investigation

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

Posts Tagged ‘Professor Al Drucker’

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

Posted by Barry Pittard on February 16, 2010

We know that  Jaani Drucker and her husband Professor Al Drucker have long known, and indeed been the guests of, persons who carefully investigated accounts of Sathya Sai Baba’ sexual abuses of boys and young men, and other serious abuses.

yaani-drucker

In an email to me (see link just below), Jaani Drucker, who was brutally raped in a New York Sai center in February 1985 wrote:  “what happens to the body is indeed not real, and has no effect whatsoever on who we are as immortal beings inhabiting a body for a moment”.

The fact is that many boys and young men (and others who have grown older) do not share, Ms Drucker’s notion. Neither will their families and many others.

My reply to Ms Drucker is here: 

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

Posted by Barry Pittard on February 8, 2010

I wrote back to her, with no reply, so I posted the above article. Having now seen the latter, she emailed just yesterday to say: “I did not see your e-mail to me, so it must have gotten into my spam folder”. Her reply is scarcely a reply at all. Although her website states that she “has truth, will travel” and that she is happy to discuss and debate issues, she avoids responding to the issues I raised. 

Why will she not properly discuss or debate?

I would still like to know whether she sees no reason to defend the integrity of many former Sathya Sai Baba devotees for whom, over years, she and her husband had much respect for. They have long been extremely assailed – including with the assistance of prominent Sathya Sai Baba figures. Must they, too, be expected to live in the (perhaps rather Manichean) state of non-dualism which Ms Drucker in public discourse and on her website claims to be living in?

In her first email, Ms Drucker said, “As to Sai Baba – He needs no defense”. Whatever may be the case about that, it is clear from evidence from many parts of the world that boys and young men DO have, and have long had, need of defense against him. But there are those, including a number who were once in top positions in the international Sathya Sai Organization, who attest that Jaani and Al Drucker DID hear at first hand compelling testimony from families of (then) young males who have given accounts of his sexual molestation of them.

The issue is serious for most. Indeed, very keenly so for families who wish to protect their children against both harm and the bad advice that can lead to harm. In her second email to me, she writes:

“Is it necessary for a rape victim to receive professional counseling? This assumes that psychology has answers that TRUTH does not. I would disagree. In fact I would go as far as to say the only way to come into right relationship with any and all past traumas is to understand truly who we are. Then we see that nothing real can be threatened. We are all unaffectably whole and complete. When you know this at a deep level you are free of any past whether you were the victim or the victimizer. Then you have shifted out of the victim/victimizer paradigm into the God-consciousness where you know you cannot be a victim. This heals the past and assures you that you will not attract just experiences to yourself in the future”.

This is not what responsible parents will want their young to hear. It is not what mental health professionals think, aware as they are of how belief systems can be hazardously used to put survivors of abuse into states of denial.

Moreover, it strikes me that Jaani Drucker herself makes a very big assumption. Namely, that she has reached that high plateau of non-dualistic self-realization (in ancient Indian reckoning, that of advaita). Classic Eastern spiritual texts say that very few beings achieve this goal of yogic striving – (e.g., the Bhagavad Gita). 

Jaani Drucker extends such a notion in public discourse and across her website. It appears plain that Jaani Drucker is deliberately side-stepping points I put to her. Like so many well-informed Sai devotes, she entirely skirts issues but does not deny that he has long engaged in the actions that the rest of the world calls sexual abuse. In her second (just received) email, she says:

“Sai Baba has demonstrated powers of omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence. I am convinced of His divinity and that everything He does is in the service of the uplift of all. He knows the past, present and future of each of us, and He knows how to transform the world into a world of peace, love and joy for all. In order to understand Baba’s actions we have to hold the big picture… And when we know who we are, we will know a little better who Sai Baba is. So the task at hand is to know yourself, rather than spending your time trying to pin a crime on Sai Baba. However if you wish to pursue that course, Sai Baba does say Inimical Bhakti is the fastest path to truth, so I am sure it is serving the highest good.”

At a cost of great individual and family sacrifice, former Sai Baba devotees from many countries have assisted in submissions to UNESCO, the FBI, Interpol etc), and spoken out in other ways. For example, the Rahm family (formerly among the most prominent devotees in Sai Baba’s worldwide movement), went to tremendous effort in standing forth to protect young males from Sathya Sai Baba, as in their extensive testimony to the BBC and DR, submissions to the FBI, and much more. See independent British author Kevin Shepherd’s:

The Alaya Rahm Lawsuit in California (at 23.6) and

Alaya Rahm’s Lawsuit vs Sathya Sai Society of America – Joint Statement by the International JuST Group and the Rahm family 

Has Jaani Drucker nothing to say about whether in Sai Baba’s international organization there should be proper processes in place for dealing with such serious allegations made by perfectly bona fide members of the organization? Have they no rights to be protected against such dereliction of duty that has been amply demonstrated in the Hislop letters. See:

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

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

The crucial John Hislop letters, Sathya Sai Baba, & Sathya’s defender Joe Moreno by Timothy Conway, Ph.D

In her earlier email, Jaani Drucker said,

“Is not the fact that He stays out in the open and has not gone into hiding, and charges have never been charged, evidence enough of His Divinity? Again, for pearls one cannot stay on the surface”.

Surely, Ms Drucker is being terribly naive. Countless offenders do not go into hiding. They prefer to tough things out. The retention of a public profile not closed to Sathya Sai Baba. He wields incredible political and religious power. There is a bleak scenario difficult to imagine for many outside India. The extent of corruption is immense. They need to count themselves fortunate that their democratic institutions tend to work more effectively. I have written of protections that the Indian power echelons afford him. See:

Why Has Sathya Sai Baba Not Faced The Indian Justice System?

Quote from this article:

“In 2001, the celebrated Indian advocate Kamini Jaiswal (who was a lawyer for the famous ‘Bandit Queen’ Phoolan Devi) attempted to mount, pro bono, a case against Sai Baba on behalf of a former Sai Baba devotee, Hari Sampath. apparently a former member of Sathya Sai Baba’s intelligence and security wing. They were thwarted in what lawyers, including eminent ones from different countries (their identities are available to bona fide investigators by writing me), have described by such terms as “a kangaroo court”. One used 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, and further comments on this case scuppered by Judges G.B. Patnaik and R.C. Lahoti with the concurrence of then Chief Justice Dr A.S. Anand”.

Sathya Sai Baba Disposed Judges Sathya Sai Baba Disposed Judges

Another example of the appallingness that can pass for Indian justice (often an oxymoron) is illustrated by the conduct of a Sai Baba devotee Judge,  Y. V. Anjaneyulu, in Sai Baba’s state of Andhra Pradesh. It is a judgement that contradicts India’s secular justice system and confounds those of our lawyer members who live in far more democratic countries than India who have seen the document. For this undeniable perversion of justice, see HERE.

In the face of all this (and so much other) testimony, where is Jaani Drucker’s compassion? Where is her sense of duty as a citizen, with responsibility towards transparency and accountability? Where does her “have truth will travel” philosophy lead to when she has so long been complicit in the workings of one of the most authoritarian cults in the world, the Sathya Sai Baba Organization?

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Select Further Reading

Will the Real Professor Alvin Drucker Be Upstanding?

Inequality before the law in India

Liberhan Commission Report, India: Names Some Long-time Close Associates of Sathya Sai Baba

Prominent Indians Berate India’s Rife Political Corruption

Will A Newer India Throw Off Old Oppressions?

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

India’s Painful Experience of Corrupt Leadership

Hazards For Abuse Survivors Both Timid and Bold

Video Resources

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

Seduced (DR, Danish Broadcasting, Denmark’s national television and radio broadcaster):
(80 MB, Broadband)

http://home.hetnet.nl/~seduced/seduced.wmv
(21 MB, Modem)

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Petition

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

There is a Spanish version available:

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

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

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

Posted by Barry Pittard on February 8, 2010

It is hard to convey to the general reader the extraordinary extent of appeal and significance of Sathya Sai Baba’s greater and lesser ‘apostles’. Prominent among these are Professor Alvin Drucker and his wife Jaani, who have long loomed large in the minds of the Sathya Sai Baba sect around the world. Central to this impact is a devotee psychology that goes as follows:
  
It is impossible for most to get an interview with Sai Baba or a glance or touch from him when he gives darshan (appears in public). However, by his infinite Grace, he has drawn special beings around him. As in the case of the disciples of spiritual luminaries down the ages, we at least – alleluia! – have them, the ripest apples of His eye … In their accessibility to us lies our mystical accessibility to Him.
 
Those who have seen these ‘apostles’ have, in a sense, seen the Father.
 
For some of those seen in this role, see the following articles (which contain further key links) :
 
 
For some background to this story, see:
 
 
 
At her website, under ‘Services, Products and Related Links’, yaani-druckerMs Drucker states: 
 
“Connect any time to ask questions, participate in dynamic discussions or debates on the teachings of Sai Baba, ACIM and the Torah/Bible. Our purpose will be to join in truth by sharing in the spirit of wanting only Truth and being willing to be wrong about everything we’ve taught ourselves thus far toward that end”.
Unless my reply to her contact with me (sent weeks ago) has e.g., accidentally ended up in her Spam section, I may mention that she has not responded to my (surely) courteous response (see below) to her recent email to me via my blogsite.  (After-note:  Ms Drucker has since emailed me, saying that she had missed seeing my email in her folder. I can respect this explanation, knowing that this mistake can happen. One day there may be a general solution for this problem).
 
A number of highly qualified mental health professionals have looked at Jaani Drucker’s account of her rape in a New York Sai center in February 1985. Their view is very different to Jaani’s understanding – which she puts in terms of spiritual “realization”.
 

Although Ms Drucker has at least written of her experiences in an area where most recoil from discussing their shocking experiences, there is clear professional opinion that the account she gives has strong and questionable assumptions, and which do not go near the advice professionals in psychiatry, psychology, psychotherapy etc., almost universally give to those dealing with abuse. Her article ‘Are You Ready To Stop Making The Unreal Real’ is HERE. My readers, who come from a wide array of sociocultural backgrounds, may well query whether this is the sort of reading which they would wish to see as embodying a role model, especially for the young and impressionable.  

Jnaani Drucker bears, surely, great responsibility.  She has portrayed her rape as a step to realization and advertised her wares on-line stating “Have truth, will travel”!!  Her reasoning is dangerous and close to pathological

 
Rationalization according to belief systems often leads to the driving of symptoms deeply and perilously underground. Indeed, even if a given person has somehow negotiated many of the dangers, their accounts of treating of such hold considerable risks to others who wish to follow the exceptionally unorthodox model evinced by Ms Drucker.
 
As I have suggested in my reply to Ms Drucker, there are some uncleared-up situations about information that shows that both Jaani Drucker and her husband Professor Alvin Drucker al-drucker-when-young-former-nasa-specialisthave known perfectly well – and directly so – of responsible, compelling accounts by those terribly stricken by Sathya Sai Baba’s sexual molestation of young males. Do they think that the large numbers round the world who make gut-wrenching report of his sexual abuses should resort to the Drucker approach? Indeed, as they have publicly outlined e.g., at Kingdom Hall at the ‘United Kingdom Sai Baba Retreat’, in April, 2000 …
 
Ex-head of the Sathya Sai Organization in Norway Robert Priddy comments on but one example that the Druckers should have no difficulty in recalling. See:  Top UK Sathya Sai Organization leaders left Sathya Sai Baba. He refers to a past head of the Sathya Sai Organization in the UK, Aime Levy and his wife Sandra:
“Aime later informed me that Alvin Drucker had – when pressed on the issue – confided to him and his wife while in Glastonbury. UK, years ago that one of the reasons he left Prashanthi Nilayam was because of the many American parents who used to come to his room and complain that their son or sons had been sexually abused by Sathya Sai Baba (I do have full proof of this if events should require it – responsible journalists and investigators can contact me for release of this proof material in confidence)”.
 Jaani Drucker’s note
 
The details of my rape experience can be found in Chapter 5,  Are you Ready to stop making the Unreal real? available free on my website. Perhaps it will help the reader to understand why what happens to the body is indeed not real, and has no effect whatsoever on who we are as immortal beings inhabiting a body for a moment. 

As to the rumor that Al Drucker was banished, again my take on that story can be found in the last chapter of the same book, at the same website. Things are not always as they appear on the surface. For pearls we must dive deep.

As to Sai Baba  – He needs no defense. Is not the fact that He stays out in the open and has not gone into hiding, and charges have never been charged, evidence enough of His Divinity? Again, for pearls one cannot stay on the surface.

May all beings find peace love and joy. May all the world be happy and blessed.

Barry Pittard’s Reply to Ms Drucker

Dear Jaani,
 
Thank you for your comment, and for the link to your website.
 
Your note is a breath of fresh air compared to the streams of almost unimaginable abuse, and various kinds of distortion Sathya Sai Baba’s devotees so often hurl against those former devotees who have stood forth at tremendous personal sacrifice, and indeed the serious misrepresentation by prominent leaders of the Sathya Sai Organization, including Dr G. Venkataraman, the deputy world chairman. 
 
I shall be glad to look carefully at what you have written.
 
There has long been a matter in my mind. There are those of indisputable reliability, who have known you and Al well, who have told me that you both know of the truth of the reports of young men and of various parents with compelling accounts of various forms of sexual abuse, as the law and the public would most certainly view it, by Sathya Sai Baba. Various parents have come with heart-rending abuse accounts, just as they have to others in the Sathya Sai Organization. If my informants are somehow mistaken, please kindly tell me so.
 
You mention the real/unreal topic. Perhaps you will know that, in vedantic terms, classic discussions about what is real and not real make very careful distinctions between paramarthika satyam and the “relatively real” level of truth (vyavaharika satyam). My former devotee colleague Timothy Conway Ph.D. writes clearly of this distinction in his piece that I cite below, where he discusses you. Many spiritual aspirants overlook important elements of the second understanding. Mind you, I have observed somewhere that, very correctly, the police were informed of your rape in the Sai center. In short, that those involved acted as responsible citizens in reporting the crime. There are those into forms of ‘spirituality’ who will not do this, saying, for example, that the rapist is the Lord in another form and that everything is alright. Another difficulty is that a great many survivors of rape and other forms of serious abuse do not reach out for professional counseling. My view is that no matter how far one may have advanced in any vedantic understanding, this process is a very important one – given, of course, the quality of the professional service. Would you agree?
 
In my article that you cite, I shall also be happy to point to your link, and to ensure that my article portrays the essence of your account. I can also check out what I have written in:  Ex-NASA Scientist and Wife Test Sathya Sai Baba’s ‘Grace’
 
Should you wish, I can send you my draft, before posting. Do please be assured of respectful discourse from this end.
 
Should you have time or wish to at all, please let me know whether there are any substantive misunderstandings in the following pieces that deal with your understanding of your rape, other than what you have mentioned in your Chapter 5. I can do my best to ensure that your viewpoints are properly represented. This may indeed be of help to many readers.  See, Reidun Priddy, Robert Priddy – “Two Articles In Response To Yaani Drucker’s Posting”, http://www.saibaba-x.org.uk/17/drucker.htm and Timothy Conway Ph.D. “My Concerns about Sathya Sai Baba”, http://www.enlightened-spirituality.org/Sathya_Sai_Baba_my_concerns.html and the psychologist Åsa Samsioe (who deals in her psychology practice with sexual and other forms of abuse) “The Ways of The Mind. On the rape victim Yaani Drucker’s denial and rationalization”, http://www.saibaba-x.org.uk/18/drucker.htm . Åsa in turn comments on words of a dear friend of mine, a psychotherapist, the late Elena Hartgering, whom you may remember from Puttaparthi days.
 
Jaani, I wish you Love across the great ‘divide’, and to Al likewise, whom, of course, I remember when we were both teaching within the Sathya Sai education wing – in ancient days,
 
Barry Pittard
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Further Reading
 

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

 

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

Being In Denial. A Sai Baba Experience

Posted by Barry Pittard on March 5, 2007

There are many cases where followers of various gurus rationalize, justify and keep quiet about their teacher’s sexual behaviour.

Ironing Out The Kinks? Or Abuse Impure and Simple?

Spending some time with a ‘yogi’ with a small ashram on Chamundy in Mysore district in South India, I asked him about repeated accounts of the famous Swami Muktananda (who in 1972 had assisted me along my pilgrim way) being, although presenting himself to the world as a celibate monk, secretly sexually active among his female devotees. He replied, “You see, certain masters iron out the kinks in their devotees”.

I first heard stories relating Sathya Sai Baba to sexual misconduct in 1978. I had just started teaching at the Sathya Sai College, Whitefield, via Bangalore, South India, where I taught English in all three years of the degree Course. I was friendly with an Anglo-Indian gentleman and his wife in their sixties or early seventies who had lived for years near Sai Baba’s ashram and college campus in Whitefield. After I had known them for some time, the man said to me – with what I felt was his genuine concern for my spiritual welfare – that there were various reports that Sai Baba “had his way” with boys at his college in Whitefield. I then regaled him with a few Sai Baba-favourable personal stories (tending to the miraculous in nature), some of them of a type that I still think most scientists would have difficulty in grappling with. I felt that he was quite amazed but not convinced that his own information about sexual molestation of boys was incorrect.

Thieves and Fundamentalists Too Can Be Crime Victims

Around this same time, I spent many hours with Robert Lowenberg, a retired South African Clerk-at-law, assisting with the editing of his first book ‘At the Feet of Sai’. (For the titles of his four books on Sai Baba, see below). Bob Lowenberg had just investigated a story involving a young Anglo-Indian named Patrick, who alleged Sai Baba had acted sexually with him. Bob and his wife Naomi lived in Whitefield, within a few minute’s walk to Sai Baba’s ashram. He told me that his investigations around Whitefield, where he lived for several years, revealed that Patrick, who was I think then not much more than eighteen years, was known to be unreliable, and was a convicted thief. It did not occur to me then, as it does now with considerable force, that of course thieves and other miscreants can – vulnerable just like the rest of us – have crimes committed against them. It does not fit any quest for genuine justice to forget this fact. Indeed society – arguably now more than at any other time – is going to have to reckon with the terrible cost of denying equable, natural justice and human rights – promptly and effectively. The soaring growth of terrorism and of crime rates among the dispossessed or alienated are obvious examples.

The American author Tal Brooke reported Patrick’s story in his book ‘Lord of the Air’ (for details of which consult Brooke’s website at:
http://www.scp-inc.org/president/index.php

I looked at this book in a New Dehhi bookshop but casually a few years later, quickly tossing it aside with disdain and rejection. These reactions are most familiar ones experienced when information unfavourable to their spiritual teacher confronts adherents. Defense mechanisms trigger off with a speed akin to that of light. Indeed, if anyone is in a position to understand the refusal of devotees to come to terms with the allegations against their teacher, it is former followers, who themselves have, most shockingly, struggled with the issues! We went through it all ourselves – with heart and soul, mind and gut. My late dear friend Glen Meloy, who had been devoted to Sai Baba for twenty-six years, has called Brooke “the first whistleblower.” Because Brooke became a fundamentalist Christian, intellectually dishonest pro Sai Baba apologists have claimed that our Exposé is driven by evangelical Christians. Fundamentalists can get molested, too! These defenders of Sai Baba ignore the fact, which any truthful enquirer could quickly establish, that – overwhelmingly – former Sai Baba devotees have long been involved with Eastern spirituality.

The Dangers of Being Not Earthed

Above all, I will not deny myself to my many fellow human beings who have entrusted me with their painful stories of sexual and other forms of abuse by Sai Baba. Nor be silent in the face of the shameful dereliction of duty-of-care displayed by many leaders in the Sathya Sai Baba Organization. First, let us be sensible citizens and attend to the civic norms and duties which go with being that. Let us ‘name the parts’ correctly and unflinchingly – crimes are crimes, and we should not imagine ourselves as disembodied spirits, bobbing about in some sort of infinite dance, no matter what is happening right now.

Good Citizens are Good Angels in Disguise

One could not even get from one’s house to the airport to visit a spiritual teacher without all sorts of dependencies on the good will and rule-like behaviour of our fellow citizens. On our way, motorists abide by the road laws. Somebody planted traffic lights, even though they may not be as inspiring as trees. In the air, the pilot and crew are all very sensible – and rule-like. An issue to be taken for granted? No, it is a matter of life and death. Even when least conscious of it, we are profoundly entailed with our fellow citizens. No guru should be exempt from facing serious, responsibly-made allegations of committing crimes. If one person fails to report serious allegations against his or her guru, why should not others, who have other gurus, fail to report allegations about theirs? Do our laws exempt anyone? They do not. Do Sai Baba’s devotees who know of the genuineness of the allegations against him stand up and speak the truth? They do not. They speculate e.g., that he is assisting the passage of the Kundalini Shakti – even though there are no reports of him helping young girls in the same way. Do his leaders face the inevitable moral and ethical questions? They do not. Do they work for acceptance by mainstream respected religious and civic institutions, and invite Prime Ministers and Presidents and other public luminaries to their functions? They do. But do they inform the public of Sai Baba’s agenda to rule the earth? Or of his myriad of failed prophecies? Or of the financial and other types of fundamental unaccountability at the centre of his activities? Or of the allegations of decades of large-scale serial sexual abuse? Or implication in police killings in his bedroom in on June 6, 1993, and the ashram and local, state and central governments’ cover-up that went with these? They do not.

Rather, the Sathya Sai Organization promptly evicts those who ask the serious questions. For two articulate accounts where this occurred to much-loved and respected devotees in high positions in this organization, see the writings of Serguei Badaev (Russia) and Stephen Carthew (Australia):
http://home.hetnet.nl/~ex-baba/engels/letters/carthew.html
http://home.hetnet.nl/~ex-baba/engels/witnesses/serguei.html

Books by Robert Lowenberg:

1983: The Heart of Sai, Bombay, India Book House.
1985: The Grace of Sai, Bombay, India Book House.
1985: At the Feet of Sai, Bombay, India Book House.
1997: The Omnipresence of Sai, Prasanthi Nilayam, Sai Towers

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Posted in Morality, Neglected/sidelined News, New Age, Religion, Spirituality, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »