The following excerpts are from my recent article series, the main burthen of which to say that alumni of Sathya Sai education institutions now have a unique opportunity. I was a lecturer, (1978-1979), at the Sathya Sai College, outside Bangalore, South India. By showing fearlessness, truthfulness and compassion for those who suffer – virtues endlessly preached in Sai institutions – they can tear aside the veil of taboo against addressing sexual abuse.
What members of the international Sathya Sai Organization have to face is that Sathya Sai Baba’s very accomplices in sexual and other abuses are still in positions of power. Therefore, it should not be thought that the death of Sathya Sai Baba has, in some way, made the problem go away.
It is a suppression extremely prevalent in India. But, then, extreme conditions are those in which courage in straight speaking and clear moral action are called for. Since, like many teachers everywhere, my fond hopes for my former students to turn out well, have never died, I would dearly wish to see them vividly live those vivid speeches that Sai Baba’s handpicked students would give. Perhaps forever doomed to disappointment will be those many listeners who have fondly thought that the rousing speeches of these students predicted waves of Vivekananda-like sages.
Rationally, it appears that these alumni will never thus aspire. But then, if the fond heart were not stronger than the domains of rational discourse, humankind would never had its few glorious breakthroughs. Let us see what the next year or so will bring, now that one of Sathya Sai Baba’s former and most highly senior teachers has been exposed as a sexual abuser of those tender lives which their parents put into Sai Baba’s and his teachers’ keeping.
Up and Coming: An Article – offered for my use at ‘Call For Media and Government Investigation of Sathya Sai Baba – by a psychotherapist well familiar with the issue of sexual abuse perpetrated by Sathya Sai Baba and his accomplices.
…. I now suggest they read for fifteen minutes or preferably longer about Nancy Wake. It strikes me that they may be more ready, after all their years of frigid inaction, and witnessing the vast pomp and disgusting glitter and falsity of Puttaparthi, to decide that it is time to do something strong and decent which will challenge India and the world to face and address the great pestilence of sexual abuse ….. and also start to honor, in their own commitment to courage in social change, the example given to them by the great Indian role models so often exalted in that country in flowery speeches but not emulated – e.g., Rani Lakshmi Bai, Sarojini Naidu, Sucheta Kripalani, Mahatma Gandhi, Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari, Sardar Vallabhai Patel, Subhas Chandra Bose ……
Reconciliation is all about taking an unhappy set of circumstances, and making a ‘clean breast’ of matters. To my old students of the Sathya Sai College at Whitefield, via Bangalore, South India, I say (remembering the love so many of you held for the great holy rivers of India) that this does not simply mean dipping in the Yamuna, Ganges, Brahmaputra, Godavari, Narmada, Kaveri and so on. You may splash all you like, but it does not mean that you can so blithely throw off your feet-on-the ground citizenship, in which all citizens need to be earthed and interconnected, if civil society is going to work for the common good, and if heaven, here or beyond here, is worth reaching for.
Nothing succeeds like success. Nothing succeeds like failure, either, if you are not strong. Will you be strong these days? You may be surprised how our ranks are re-forming. You may yet get your chance to make some light-filled and enduring contributions to civil society. Robert Priddy and I are simply faces to be seen. (It is more effective this way, for the while – NOT YET to put any Indian face to these developments). Enough to say, there are many other former devotees across many trades and professions and areas of study who wish to see good come out of the evil that has been done.
In short, you now have a chance to assist former Sai devotee parents, ex-students and various well-wishers, who are determined to shake off what is bad in the Sathya Sai legacy, and to assert what is positive and good in all times and places.
And years later, I heard that your beloved English lecturer PK (Mohanty), my dear and esteemed colleague, got cast out. Why? Because, it is my understanding, his was one small voice strong in defence of your innocence. Think back to others, whom you happen to know were not ‘bad eggs’ who got cast out. Think back, too, to the boys whose parents withdrew their boys from college. Think of all the hush-hush that went on about it. This form of thinking back that has triggered off the questioning process in others. Boys whom you held dear were lambs to the slaughter. I can tell you, if you do not already know it – they suffer terribly now. There is a terrible legacy of sexual confusion, relationship difficulty, and great spiritual and moral betrayal.
Well, boys, or men – if that is what you are! – I trust that all your children are safe and well, and stricken by no predator. Would that I could visit, but security advice informs me that India – a country I love so well, and where I am welcome in places forbidden to foreigners – is too dangerous a place for me to travel. I would still come, but have children in my charge, who would miss me if I went missing. Perhaps I shall visit you in disguise.
Especially to my former students at the Sathya Sai College, Whitefield, via Bangalore, South India, I would commend as worthy of some contemplation a few thoughts. In essence, they accord wth what we read in Chapter 2 of the Bhagavad Gita:
“Yield not to unmanliness, O son of Partha! Ill doth it become thee; cast off this mean faint heartedness and arise, O scorcher of thine enemies”.Among primary witnesses to the sexual and many other abuses of Sathya Sai Baba and many others around him, we have members from within India and other parts of the world who show determination to testify when the time is advantageous. They are pledged. They come from the very ranks of Sai Baba’s education system. Having suffered misery over the years, they now begin to summon up their strength and to see that dread dark secrets do two things: they erode one’s chances of healthy selfhood, and they allow villainy to thrive. Those who will not supported them maintain the great betrayal set in motion by Sathya Sai Baba himself.
Some are ready to speak forth. Most keep their heads down.
Many parents trusted Sai Baba and his teachers to deliver an education meant vastly to be different. To be something transformative in terms of character, with unselfishness at its core. And anything but materialistic and utilitarian. Or subject to corruption and scandal. Or for its founder to be exposed on BBC television in a documentary that has been seen by tens or scores or millions of people, and named ‘the Secret Swami’ …..
And – via the hardworking efforts of networked former devotees from around the world, who presented excellent credentials – our movement of exposure was able to be covered at various times by many leading media. This ability to prove our good standing, was, be it said, most contrary to the libels of Dr G. Venkataraman – see: Robert Priddy and Barry Pittard On Dr G. Venkataraman – Sathya Sai Baba Global Propagandist. And indeed, with a vitriol and cruelty hard to match, of Sai Baba’s virtual proxy on the web, Gerald Moreno, a web fanatic urged on by those close to Sai Baba who daily broke his teachings in his years of almost daily web-stalking, bitter name-calling attacks on former devotees and others who stood forth.
For some indication of former devotee activity in exposing Sathya Sai Baba internationally, see: BBC, CBC (Canada), DR (Denmark), Salon.com (USA), SBS (all television), ABC (Radio Australia). In paper media – India Today, Times of London, Daily Telegraph, Guardian (UK), Marie Claire Magazine, Salon.com, BT, Bild, Focus, Trouw, Speegelbield, Noordhollands Dagblad, Sokaren, Gatopardo, Ottawa Citizen, Toronto Star, Vancouver Sun, Age, Australian Financial Review, West Australian (a major front page article by an award-winning journalist (Torrance Mendez) was pulled at the 11th hour!), Adelaide Advertiser, etc., …..