Call For Media and Government Investigation

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

Posts Tagged ‘psychological denial’

Sathya Sai Baba Abuse Survivors: When ‘Moving On’ Can Be Staying Stuck

Posted by Barry Pittard on December 6, 2010

Some former devotees of Sathya Sai Baba get upset that many survivors of his sexual and other forms of abuse do not go public. They make the same kind of mistaken assumptions that Sai Baba’s defenders make who ask e.g., where is all the proof? Both these reactions are ill-informed, inappropriate and insensitive.  

People who are badly traumatized – very typically – feel acute difficulty in being able to talk about their traumatic experience. One human reaction to trauma is lack of awareness of the extent to which upheaval has occurred.  Psychological denial, and wanting to ‘move on’ are common.  See: 

On Leaving the Sathya Sai Baba Cult (Part 1.)- Ex Leaders and Rank-and-File 

On Leaving A Powerful Global Cult. Sathya Sai Baba Example (Part 2)

On Leaving A Powerful Global Cult. Sathya Sai Baba Example (Part 3)

Refutation of smear allegations against ex-followers of Sathya Sai Baba (Many links)

It is widely found in a great deal of professional literature that a great many survivors endure years in silence and shame at what has happened to them. The case of those who have suffered at the hands of Sathya Sai Baba and some of his servitors is no different. Common experiences are:

  • Fear at being called a liar
  • Depression
  • Loneliness and isolation, e.g., after being shunned by those one has come to love and trust
  • Anger or suppressed anger
  • Self-blame and feelings of worthlessness
  • Flash-backs and other forms of disturbance at recollection of the abusive events
  • Feelings of torn-ness and confusion between positive and negative aspects of the relationship between spiritual teacher and the aspirant
  • Uncertainty about the exact order or nature of events – e.g., this lays an honest individual open to charges of fabricating, and many abuse victims who have faced adversarial lawyers have spoken about the  experience of being ‘raped twice over’.

See below, a list excerpted from:  Post-Cult Problems:  An Exit Counselor’s Perspectiveby Carol Giambalvo.

 A few who allege that Sai Baba has sexually abused them have attempted for a while to expose him and leaders of the Sathya Sai Organization. From many countries, the evidence emerges that the Sathya Sai Organization has repeatedly and profoundly failed in its duty-of-care and its responsibility to act professionally – what to speak of truthfully, honestly and compassionately. Dispirited, many survivors have wanted to ‘move on’. Others have said they are willing to testify so long as there are proper jurisprudential processes and a decent chance of success. Some will speak, and have spoken, with the media but only after the former devotee network, which includes very highly qualified abuse professionals, have carefully gone through the issues involved. An occasional individual like Conny Larsson, the former leader of the Sathya Sai Organization in Sweden – no matter the hatred and ridicule hurled at him by pro Sai Baba antagonists – will write a book. He has be willing to travel at his own expense to various countries, speak at conferences, appear on national radio and television, agitate among government and other movers and shakers, and so on. By far the most prominent author of a book critical of Sathya Sai Baba is Robert Priddy, who taught philosophy and sociology at the University of Oslo, 1968–1985. Of this book (publ. Indian Skeptic/B. Premanand. Podanur, Tamil Nadu, 2004), he has written:

“In 2000 I resigned as National Contact person of the Sathya Sai Organization in Norway after 18 years fulfilling that role. This was no easy decision, since I did not believe that the allegations of sexual abuse could be true, even though I knew that Sathya Sai Baba was deeply involved in the massive cover-up of murders in his own bedroom, and hence an accomplice to the fact.

Having refused to read David Bailey’s account or any of the flood of allegations thereafter for months, I finally felt I must read the sexual allegation testimony.  It took me about another six months of intensive investigation – contacting all the sources I could – before I was forced to arrive at a complete conviction that most of the allegations were both true and accurate. Subsequently I began to look carefully into all aspects of Sathya Sai Baba from the viewpoint of critical questioning and found, to my dismay, deceit after deceit and evidence of a major campaign of deception by him and all those close around him. This resulted in many web pages, which the award-winning rationalist, Basava Premanand, asked permission to publish”.

See also, Priddy on his earlier pro-Sathya Sai Baba book ‘Source of The Dream – My Way to Sathya Sai Baba’ (New revised ed. 1997 Samuel Weiser, Inc. P.O. Box 612. York Beach, ME 03910-0612. U.S.A. ISBN 1-57863-028-2), and the transition to his critical work.

Some survivors of sexual and other abuses by Sathya Sai Baba and some of his close servitors have, despite the great upheaval in their lives, joined our representations to governments, media and many civic institutions. Those who have dared to speak of their experiences on the Internet have been attacked in the extreme by some pro Sai Baba activists.

Many young males from countries around the world have come to our network with compelling accounts of being sexually abused by Sathya Sai Baba. Some much older men  like Mark Roche who shared his ordeals – when very young – in the BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ when much older) also speak to us of being seduced by Sai Baba, sometimes when they were in their teens, at others, when still very young men. Repeatedly, we find that survivors have not availed themselves of highly qualified professional counseling – even when it has been offered to them free of any charge.

In short, not debriefing, with proper professional counseling, their experience puts at grave risk an abuse survivor’s chances of health and well-being.


Excerpted from: 

Post-Cult Problems:  An Exit Counselor’s Perspective

Carol Giambalvo.  (International Cultic Studies Association)

Common Issues in Post-Cult Recovery

Some of the recovery issues that keep recurring in my work with ex-cult members are:

  • Sense of purposelessness, of being disconnected.  They left a group that had a powerful purpose and intense drive; they miss the peak experiences produced from the intensity and the group dynamics.
  • Depression.
  • Grieving for other group members, for a sense of loss in their life.
  •  Guilt.  Former members will feel guilt for having gotten involved in the first place, for the people they recruited into the group, and for the things they did while in the group.
  • Anger.  This will be felt toward the group and/or the leaders.  At times this anger is misdirected toward themselves.
  • Alienation.  They will feel alienation from the group, often from old friends (that is, those who were friends prior to their cult involvement), and sometimes from family.
  • Isolation.  To ex-cult members, no one “out there” seems to understand what they’re going through, especially their families.
  • Distrust.  This extends to group situations, and often to organized religion (if they were in a religious cult) or organizations in general (depending on the type of cult they were in).  There is also a general distrust of their own ability to discern when or if they are being manipulated again.  This dissipates after they learn more about mind control and begin to listen to their own inner voice again.
  • Fear of going crazy.  This is especially common after “floating” experiences (see point 18 below for explanation of floating).
  • Fear that what the cult said would happen to them if they left actually might happen.
  • Tendency to think in terms of black and white, as conditioned by the cult.  They need to practice looking for the gray areas.
  • Spiritualizing everything.  This residual sometimes lasts for quite a while.  Former members need to be encouraged to look for logical reasons why things happen and to deal with reality, to let go of their magical thinking.
  • Inability to make decisions.  This characteristic reflects the dependency that was fostered by the cult.
  • Low self-esteem.  This generally comes from those experiences common to most cults, where time and again members are told that they are worthless.
  • Embarrassment.  This is an expression of the inability to talk about their experience, to explain how or why they got involved or what they had done during that time.  It is often manifested by an intense feeling of being ill at ease in both social and work situations.  Also, often there is a feeling of being out of sync with everyone else, of going through culture shock, from having lived in a closed environment and having been deprived of participating in everyday culture.
  • Employment and/or career problems.  Former members face the dilemma of what to put on a resume to cover the blank years of cult membership.
  • Dissociation.  This also has been fostered by the cult.  Either active or passive, it is a period of not being in touch with reality or those around them, an inability to communicate.
  • Floating.  These are flashbacks into the cult mindset.  It can also take on the effect of an intense emotional reaction that is inappropriate to the particular stimuli.
  • Nightmares.  Some people also experience hallucinations or hearing voices.  A small percentage of former members need hospitalization due to this type of residual.
  • Family issues.
  • Dependency issues.
  • Sexuality issues.
  • Spiritual (or philosophical) issues.  Former members often face difficult questions:  Where can I go to have my spiritual (or belief) needs met?  What do I believe in now?  What is there to believe in, trust in?
  •  Inability to concentrate, short-term memory loss.
  • Re-emergence of pre-cult emotional or psychological issues.
  • Impatience with the recovery process.

Carol Giambalvo is an ex-cult member who has been a Thought Reform Consultant since 1984 and a cofounder of reFOCUS, a national support network for former cult members. She is on ICSA’s Board of Directors, Director of ICSA’s Recovery Programs, and is responsible for its Project Outreach. Author of Exit Counseling: A Family Intervention, co-editor of The Boston Movement: Critical Perspectives on the International Churches of Christ, and co-author of “Ethical Standards for Thought Reform Consultants,” Ms. Giambalvo has written and lectured extensively on cult-related topics. In 2008 Ms. Giambalvo received ICSA’s Margaret T. Singer Award. 

Carol   Giambalvo     ICSA Board

POB 2180   Flagler Beach   FL32136-2180  USA

(386) 439-7541


Excerpt From Public Petition

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

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

There is a Spanish version available:


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

Posted by Barry Pittard on March 2, 2010

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

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

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

She further states:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Note: Ms Drucker wrote that:

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yaani Drucker

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

Barry Pittard


Select Further Reading

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

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

Will the Real Professor Alvin Drucker Be Upstanding?


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

There is a Spanish version available:


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

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Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

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

Posted in Miracles, Opinion, Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychotherapy, Religion, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Inner Ignoring of ‘Warning Flags’ Prior To Dissent From A Sect

Posted by Barry Pittard on October 29, 2009

There is an ignoring, while one is still a member of a questionable group, of what apostates, looking back on their process, have called ‘warning flags’. The rationalising and psychological denial factors loom, but not so large as to cause deeper questioning and leave-taking. These are phenomena widely encountered in the reports of dissenters from sects. I have written of this aspect in an article, where I wrote:

“Since leaving Sathya Sai Baba in October 1999, I have counted around 10 major ‘flags’ that I myself ignored. The realization of most of these resistances only occurred over time. Coming out of the spell’s grip is a painful, arduous process”.  See:

A Cult’s Powerful Grip. (Sathya Sai Baba Sect Example)

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 29, 2009

I also noted:

“Nowhere has the Sathya Sai Organization been able to answer the many facts and arguments advanced by writers such as Robert Priddy, Brian Steel, Serguei Badaev (go to Brian Steel’s home page and insert:  Serguei Badaev), Timothy Conway Ph.D., Barry Pittard, and those many former Sathya Sai Baba devotees who have attempted to raise the matters with top leaders of the Sathya Sai Organization. I include, too, the writings of the independent British scholar Kevin Shepherd, who has never had affiliation with Sathya Sai Baba, but likewise (along, even more miserably, with his mother) who, typically, has been attacked as soon as he raised serious issues”.

Further Reading

The International Sathya Sai Organization – an accessory to a massive libel and disinformation campaign

Open letter to the Prasanthi Council – c/o Dr. M. Goldstein, Dr. G. Venkataraman and its other members.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Signed by the following former Sathya Sai Organization leaders and members:

Serguei Badaev, Russia 1995-2001 Ex-President of Sai Org. Moscow Centre and Deputy National Chairman for Russia.
Timothy Conway, USA. Follower for 22 years; President of the Sathya Sai Baba Center of San Francisco from 1982-4.
Dennis J. Hanisch, USA. Follower for 27 years. Founder member and Vice-President, Seattle Center.
David. J. Lyons, USA. Follower from 1981 to 2000. Ex-President of the Center of Greater New Orleans.
Barry Pittard, Australia. 1976-1999. Former English Lecturer, Sathya Sai College, Whitefield.
Robert Priddy, Norway. 1983-2002. Founder member/Ex-Chairman of Oslo Center & Coordinator for Norway 1986-1996.
Reidun Priddy, Norway. 1983-2000. Founder member and Seva Wing Coordinator 1986-1998
Al Rahm,  Office-bearing member of the SSO for decades. Regional Devotional Coordinator and founder of first Education in Human Values school in the U.S.
Barbara Shocket, USA Follower: 1980-1990.
Dhyani Jo Sinclair, Canada Member and Sai Centre Secretary, 1995-2000.

See Also

Towards Public Accountability and Due Investigation: A Formal Open Appeal To ‘The Prashanthi Council’

This peak body did not acknowledge this letter either, which was sent two years before the above. The closed nature of the Sathya Sai sect was yet again evident, since it ignores many who for decades were honoured and respected leaders and rank-and-file members. This reveals further the Sathya Sai Organization’s extraordinary public lack of accountability and transparency. Many officials of various organs around the world have encountered the closed nature of the Sai sect, for example, UNESCO. The same is true of reputed media sources such as the BBC, Times of London, Daily Telegraph, The  Guardian, and major media in many countries.



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

There is a Spanish version available:


Posted in Opinion, Religion, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Will the Real Professor Alvin Drucker Be Upstanding?

Posted by Barry Pittard on September 9, 2009

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

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

Will the Real Professor Alvin Drucker Be Upstanding?

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Further Reading

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

There is a Spanish version available:


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

After Leaving A Cult. Or ‘Moving On’

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 2, 2008

It is a very great untruth put out by Sathya Sai Baba’s key leaders and by his proxy supporters on the Internet that former devotees are now something other than what they, for many decades, were always known for by Sai Baba devotees – decent, compassionate, hardworking members of their professions and trades in their wider communities. See Sathya Sai Baba Cult. Blind Eye To Massive Slander

Age Power is a Factor That Bewilders Ageists

A network of former devotees is there to assist in the case of any major media or institutional investigations. It is mostly retirees who tend the websites and blogsites. Indeed, one is refreshed, rather than re-tired!

Many ex-cult followers speak of wanting to “move on”, and the experience of the Sathya Sai Baba exposé is no different to that of activists around the world in other areas with whom we are in touch.

Notion of ‘Moving On’ Can Beg The Question

A “moving on” can be commendable but not, I think, if it involves a craven avoidance of social and ethical responsibility, akin to the ostrich-like psychological denial of so many who remain in a cult. And why would one want to ‘move on’ if there is great satisfaction in serving those who have be abused and betrayed?

A few Westerners appear to have gone back to their Judaeo-Christian moorings but the multiplicity of destinations is striking: e.g., other spiritual teachers in the Indian tradition and the Western self-improvement gurus, Humanists, Rationalists, etc.

The slur by the Sai cult’s proxies on the Internet that former devotees are of the type of person who would want to league e.g., with Christian fundamentalists or any other contractive group is a classic piece of ‘guilt-by-association’, and relies on either the deliberate mangling or helpless misperception of the facts. The leaders and many in the rank and file know that former devotees are typically far removed from being this type of individual. When one vexatious – although very sincere – Christian fundamentalist vanished from the former devotees the sigh of relief was almost audible down the network.

Service to Family, Work And To The Less Fortunate Are Still To The Fore

Many who have left the Puttaparthi guru continue to embrace community service, such as working in soup kitchens, mentoring, teaching various skills and subjects among the less fortunate, assisting personally and financially with their charities, and so on. One of a number of very well-qualified mental health professionals in our former devotee network, the late and sorely missed Elena Hartgering of Florida, USA, was one of the first professional workers to attend Ground Zero, right after the tragic events of 9/11.

Naturally, many are limited in the amount of service-oriented work they do, for they are (and what greater cause!) committed to their families and workplaces.

Balance Where One Stands

Fortunately, those most active have a lifetime in the cultivation of speedy work skills, such as in the areas of researching and writing, and are thus left with plenty of time to devote to other happily balancing pursuits.

In any case, the notion of ‘moving on’ can be quite misleading. Unless one has faced the inner issues, it is one’s bodily appearance that moves on and not a tangle of unresolved issues. If joy, a sense of purpose, and a challenge to one’s skills and conscience sufficiently attend one’s work in – which can hardly be the case if one does not have other worthwhile life pursuits – then one can indeed have inwardly and most positively ‘moved on’ whilst being still engaged with exposing social injustices.

Select Articles on this topic at:

Dissent From Guru Cults Draws Slander and Harassment

Cult Exposure. By Their Documents Ye Shall Know Them

Challenging Historic Deification

Abuse Reportage. A Case for Caution, Not Inaction

Abuse. Some Reach Out. Many Suffer in Silence

Cultic Depersonalization or Demonization of Dissenters

Posted in Religion, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »