Call For Media and Government Investigation

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

Posts Tagged ‘Professor Narendra Nayak’

Sathya Sai Baba Breaks Down and Sobs at 85th Birthday

Posted by Barry Pittard on December 11, 2010

Confirming many reports of Sathya Sai Baba breaking down and weeping in more recent times, there is now brilliantly clear and revealing video footage for all to see.

To see this video, CLICK HERE

It is not that crying is out of order, per se. It is, however, the case that Sai Baba has had many words to say about stoicism. Or, to be exact:  samatva, equal mindedness. Countless times his devotees have heard him utter, e.g.,:

“Let anyone say anything; remain calm”. 

Here but another two of countless references he has made to his (assumed) equanimity:

“Sai is unaffected by praise and blame”.  Sathya Sai Speaks Vol. 14.

“I am not happy about such praises. I have no desire that people should extol Me. I am neither elated nor depressed by such acts. I am beyond praise or ridicule, respect or disrespect, anger or happiness. I have only one attribute throughout – My love. I love even those who hate Me. I love even those who indulge in bad propaganda against Me. I do not consider anyone as enemy”.  Sathya Sai Baba 83rd Birthday Celebrations Discourse 2008

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

He has also said:

“When I am defamed, I never get incensed, for it is only the tree full of edible fruits that is attached by sticks and stones.” Sathya Sai Speaks Vol. 4 p. 184.

But here is his so-called equanimity, when he loudly and repeatedly banged with his fist on his lectern (to loud and prolonged applause by the crowds) in his Christmas discourse of 2000, which had scarcely anything to say about Christ – see quote from Sanathana Sarathi, on right hand side:

 
 
 

Sathya Sai Baba Calls His Critics Demons

 

Robert Priddy has some instructive historical notes on reports of Sathya Sai Baba crying. He comments:

“That Sathya Sai Baba sits and cries so much illustrates the absurd dishonesty of his years of boastful claims to be unmoved by any pain or pleasure!  His tears are clearly not those of ecstatic joy as entire demeanour reeks of depression and decline. In the birthday evening video (excerpt 8 mins)  one can see how he is more like a wooden idol than a living Divinity. How come that this supposed self-proclaimed infallible and ever youthful Avatar is in such a state? There will as usual surely be no answers from his staff or followers… all they can do is to try to pretend that it is some kind of miracle of showing his humanity (well, it is not showing divinity)!”

See:  Sathya Sai Baba crying (video). Posted by robertpriddy on December 10, 2010

In recent years, there has been a marked increase of reports that depict  Sai Baba acting in many ways not previously typical of him. However, there is now 85th birthday celebrations video footage  of him breaking down and crying. Or, to be exact – as the viewer can, with the greatest clarity see – breaking into uncontrollable sobbing.

As in a great deal of footage, viewers can also see the Sai Baba’s mask-like face and other signs of a deterioration. These afford yet another instance, taken from myriad examples, of how Sai Baba’s predictions have so dramatically and demonstrably failed to materialize.  Many statements that are to be seen scattered through official Sathya Sai publications can today be viewed, with sharp and sometimes gross informativeness, in juxtaposition with the reality that is the physically and mentally ailing Sathya Sai Baba. His devotees are blind to the glaring anomalies. He has said, for example:

“Rama and Krishna were ever youthful. Have you ever seen a picture of Rama or Krishna with grey hair?….. Usually old people have wrinkles on their faces … I do not have any signs of old age. (loud applause). There is not a single wrinkle on My face”. Sanathana Sarathi, October, 2002.

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

We have BBC footage to thank for showing both the faking of a so-called miracle and also documentation of the sort of inane statements that, in recent years, have been reported. On stage in front of February 2004’s Mahasivaratri crowd, the BBC cameras (in footage that would later become part of ‘The Secret Swami’, which has been seen in over 120 countries around the world, see resources below) show Sai Baba looking increasingly sick. He produces the lingam, and the materialization trick demonstrated by Professor Narendra Nayak is easy for the viewer to spot, the lingam being concealed in Sai Baba’s handkerchief. In the ensuing documentary, the BBC journalist 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 a preposterous 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” http://home.hetnet.nl/~ex-baba/engels/movies.html

See further examples of Sai Baba’s increasing decrepitude:


Sathya Sai Baba’s Slurred Speech Due To Old Age. ‘Eenadu’ News Report 
“I intend to undertake a world tour, shortly.”  

But the reality is very different from the perspective of his devotees, who relegate all contrary evidence to a nether region of what is left of their logical minds. As further witness: …  

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

Has Sathya Sai Baba Moved An Inch To Clean Up His Yard? 

Sathya Sai Baba’s Amazing Predictions 

When Disasters Overtake S. Sai Baba’s Promises  

India’s prophesied future world leadership?  

Major World Catastrophe Predictions Attributed to Sathya Sai Baba 

Sathya Sai Baba’s Tips To Keep Ageing Away

Sathya Sai Baba On Magnetism. Science or Sai-ence?

Avatar of Deception: Sathya Sai Baba. 85, But Says He Will Rule World

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

Sai Baba predictions, promises and prophecies – index

Sai Baba To Be Seen In Moon? But Where Was Moon?
 
Sai Baba Fails To Appear In Moon, IANS Reports

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

Hasty Cover Up Of Sai Baba ‘No bombs in India’ Blunder

MAJOR WORLD CATASTROPHE PREDICTIONS ATTRIBUTED TO SATHYA SAI BABA.

Robert Priddy –  ‘Sathya Sai Baba Deceptions Exposed’ at http://robertpriddy.wordpress.com

Sathya Sai Baba Birthday Celebrations
Sai Baba’s Mission to Save India
Sai Baba’s health – miracle or self-sacrifice?
82nd Birthday of Sathya Sai Baba
Ageing and collapse in Sai Baba’s health. 

Sites Critical of Sathya Sai Baba

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“The Secret Swami” – BBC Film Footage and Transcript

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Introductory articles by the scholar Brian Steel:-

Sathya Sai Baba: The Guru Who Claimed to be God on Earth

Basic Myths and Pertinent Questions about the Guru Sathya Sai Baba (Updated)

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

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On the BBC exposure, at this blogsite – ‘Call For Media and Government Investigation’ – https://barrypittard.wordpress.com see the articles:

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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

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

Posted by Barry Pittard on October 6, 2009

The foremost Indian rationalist, Basava Premanand has died, aged 79, of cancer at Podannur, Tamil Nadu (17 February 1930 – 4 October 2009).

 

Basava Premanand (17 Feb. 1930-4 October 2009). India's most famous Rationalist

Premanand’s close colleague Professor Narendra Nayak has just informed me of his death, and I am deeply saddened. Premanand and I had an extensive correspondence over the years, joined eventually by my trusted colleague, Robert Priddy.

Premanand, the late Glen Meloy of the USA, and I maintained contact during the making of  BBC television’s “The Secret Swami”. See: In Memoriam – Glen Meloy (“Standing up for truth and goodness”). This contact strengthened in the difficulties of international co-ordination, which were considerable.

Amid sadness on receipt of the news of Premanand’s passing, I briefly smiled, as memories began to course back, at how some, but happily by no means all, of the members of the international former Sathya Sai Baba network, got upset by my contacting Premanand – but what a priviledge they missed out on!  This was a man who vividly lived the principles about which some but speak and genuflect, their eyes upraised.

The word “warmth” is one of the words that I cherish when think of Premanand, and this quality shows in the words of a glowing tribute at Glen Meloy’s death, when he said: “Glen’s death was a great shock. I wanted him to live till Sai Baba was arrested … I am missing a great loving friend whom I came to know from the BBC film production.”

basava-premanand

With Premanand, Robert Priddy and I worked on some research, analysis and written work. Together, we were able to expose  –  including with  some Interpol and Indian police follow-up  –  an extensive attempt at penetration of the networked exposure of Sathya Sai Baba and core colleagues by one of his former college/university teachers.

Had it not been for the economies of telephony, I feel sure we would have spoken more between India and Australia, but were restricted to emailing. In recent months, I was tempted to try, with the assistance of his aides, to set up a Skype link, but, realising that his cancer had struck back again, thought the better of it. About three years ago, Premanand and I spoke on the phone for about an hour, when he was staying with his sister in Bangalore. His warmth of greeting when he answered the phone was touching and palpable. Throughout the conversation, I was aware of his wide grasp of issues, graciousness, and of a sense of stern purpose  lightened by a gentle humour.

A fire-eating, gurubusting Basava Premanand, who traveled widely in India exposing the corrupt gurus' tricks

I don’t know that Sathya Sai Baba will be arrested. He ails considerably, despite his declaration that he would not age after his 60th birthday.  Premanand was his great and unrelenting foe in India. Alas, the forces of corruption in India, which Premanand so courageously faced for so many years, are almost unimaginable. Of course, to let any notion of mountainous difficulties seep into consciousness would be to ensure that any light in the world snuffs out fast. Premanand had those rare blessings – innocence without naivity, and the warrior spirit that fights for goodness and gentleness. Premanand was one of those voices that cry out in a wilderness of superstition, fear and apathy. However, I learn that there is a feisty younger generation who support his work. So he will not die.

Perhaps attempt to educate and warn, rather than the jail scenario for Sathya Sai Baba, will be the one that triumphs.

I have wondered whether Premanand would have achieved some of his ends if it were not for the terrible dereliction by those calling themselves religious.  A foremost Hindu leader wrote to me:

“There is considerable concern among the Hindu Community, especially among the educated. It is very hard to get any action from the temples as they do not wish to cause difficulties with the Sathya Sai Baba groups. People are starting to distance themselves from Sathya Sai Baba. It’s going to be gradual process of education. The biggest impact it appears was the ‘The Secret Swami’ … it seems it has had a tremendous negative effect on Sathya Sai Baba”.

Perhaps if there were to be a Heaven after all, and Premanand, of course, find himself in its halls, one rather thinks that he would find the company, although illustrious, rather too few.

Goodbye, good man …..

Barry Pittard, Australia

See Wikipedia entry for Basava Premanand

See tributes to B. Premanand by Professor Nayak, Premanand’s successor and president of the Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations, and others:

Basva Premanand (17 February 1930 – 04 October 2009)- The Passing of a Great Man

Posted in Morality, News, News and Politics, Opinion, Protest, Rationalism, Religion, Skeptics, Social and Politics, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Issues, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

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

Posted by Barry Pittard on March 10, 2009

Quite often, among our friends or acquaintances, there is someone who has astonished – or appalled! – us with a few magic tricks.

The Ease of Learning and Performing Basic Magic Tricks

Most children and adult libraries have a selection of books on the how-to of a wide range of magic tricks. These show that, without much ingenuity or skill, most people can pick up a few, with a fundament being, of course, sleight-of-hand, not to mention the use of confederates (But can you always trust them?)

For the clear use of a confederate, you can see Doordarshan’s – Indian national radio and television broadcaster –  video footage showing Sathya Sai Baba’s palming of a necklace from beneath a trophy handed to him by his flunky. This film the then Indian Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao, a Sathya Sai Baba devotee, quickly moved to censor:

Censored Indian National Television Film of Sai Baba Cheating

Simple Man-about-town’s Magic Impromptu

A few months ago, I was sitting in a cafe and a local character of little education wandered in. He began entertaining the rest of us with a charming and adept suite of parlour tricks. I chatted with him afterwards. Clearly, he had never heard of Sathya Sai Baba. After my briefly describing Sai Baba’s so-called miraculous manifestation of objects, he immediately sprang into action, and indeed the quickness of the hand deceived the eye – until he slowed things down and also stopped diverting the observer’s attention from e.g., palming and transference of objects. Although he felt honor-bound not to reveal a number of the other tricks that he (the young man) had earlier performed, he showed exactly how Sai Baba produces necklances, pendents and sacred ash, etc.

His displays were akin to those of Nils Krøjgaard, the professional Danish conjuror, who is seen in ‘Seduced’, a television documentary (2002) by Denmark’s national broadcaster DR, which exposes Sai Baba. You can see the 53-minute documentary, for Broadband (80 megabytes) HERE. For Dialup (21 mb) HERE. and the transcript HERE.

Goldie Hawn, the famous Hollywood film star is seen sitting, right hand side of the film clip, near to Sai Baba as he performs his trick.

Famous Indian Skeptics Educate Masses About Fraudsters’ Tricks

Courageous Indian rationalists, such as B. Premanand and Professor Narendra Nayak attempt to educate India-wide audiences in demonstrations – ‘Miracle-exposures’ – of the conjuring techniques by which so-called ‘holy men’ like Sai Baba deceive the masses.

Fortunately these days, one is now able to see slowed-down images of Sai Baba as he produces sacred ash (vibhuthi) or other objects. See my blogs of the last few days of March, 2009, which contain relevant links:

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

Censored Indian National Television Film of Sai Baba Cheating

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

Master Magicians or Illusionists

On the other hand, there are master magicians or illusionists who are disciplined in the sense that, for example, a ballet dancer or virtuoso instrumentalist, becomes a consummate practitioner, requiring hours of daily practice. Some magicians risk their lives in pursuit of their craft. A number of them gain, such as the fabled Harry Houdini (see footage at end of this article), almost superhuman personal psycho-physical control. For a contemporary example, see: David Blaine breaks world record on Oprah Winfrey Show for holding his breath

The magic tricks Sathya Sai Baba employs are a pale shadow of these. But they are comparable to what a adroit enough amateur can learn and perform. Do take care, though, as a kid, I once accidently swallowed a coin while trying to master a trick – ah, will the days of half pennies never return?!.

Behold Their Holinesses – the Company of Great Magicians

Imagine how successfully any of the outstanding magicians I refer to below could have set themselves up as ‘holy’ men in India!  Or imagine how, in a socio-economically developing country like India, where there is still a great deal of mystification especially of non-educated and semi-educated, how easy it is for an arch-deceiver such as Sathya Sai Baba – and a great many frauds without his more greatly famed and curious talents – to mislead the public.

Many Indians Disdain So-Called ‘Godmen’ Who Detract From India Greatness

Many Indians of my acquaintance (and I lived in that great country for several years), whether religious, humanist or atheist feel terribly badly about the superstition and corruption to which the socio-economic condition gives rise.

Below, here are a few master magicians. Some of them are teachers by nature and ready to show how some of the tricks are done. The English magician Derren Brown, like the immortal Houdini, is committed to exposing fraudulence.

Note: a) Alphabetical order of surnames is followed. b) Clicking on the name of the magician/illusionist brings up their website

Note: In a forthcoming article:  Formost female magicians! Including:

Dorothy Dietrich
Angela Funovits
Kate Medvedeva
Tina Lenert
Sue-Anne
(My own country Australia’s magic star, named (2007) in the book ‘Historias de Magas Antiguas y Modernas’ which surveys the greatest female magicians in history). And, rivalling her for her place –

Cath Jamison, also of Australia

But – for now  –

David Blaine

The New York Times wrote, “He’s taken a craft that’s been around for hundreds of years and done something unique and fresh with it”.

Wikipedia article

Videos

David BlaineVideo

David Blaine teaches the simple fan
David Blaine Videos – Many Metacafe clips

………..

Lance Burton

“Burton is a magic purist whose show is a loving homage to his craft”.

Kathleen Foley. Los Angeles Times. December 3, 2001.

Wikipedia article

Videos

Lance Burton Sleight Of Hand Magic

Lance Burton and The Dove

Magic Secrets Revealed: Lance Burton unveils some mysteries of magic. New secrets featured each month

………..

Derren Brown

“… a stage act that stretches back 100 years and a future that might be as lengthy”

January 14, 2009.

YouTube – Derren Brown shows how mediums work

Mind Control with Derren Brown

Several videos, both shorter and longer, are at Britain’s Channel 4 website:

http://www.channel4.com/entertainment/tv/microsites/D/derrenbrown/index.html

………..

David Copperfield

YouTube – David CopperfieldThirteen

Doug Henning (The late)

For the magician:

“The hard must become habit
The habit must become easy
The easy must become
Beautiful”

“I consider Jim the most brilliant mind in magic.” Jim Steinmeyer, whom, in turn, the New York Times described as the “celebrated invisible man—inventor, designer and creative brain behind many of the great stage magicians of the last quarter-century.”

Doug Henning’s The Magic Show review, Vimeo.

Posted in Miracles, Movie Stars, Rationalism, Religion, Scams, Skeptics, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

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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