Call For Media and Government Investigation

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

Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Carthew’

Why Have Ex-Devotees Not Landed Sathya Sai Baba In Jail?

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 31, 2010

Today’s topic relates to an email just received at this site. My reader will readily pick up the issues by reading on:

I first responded:

 Please confirm that this email address is valid, and that you sent to my blogsite at: . Unfortunately, some of us who have spoken out about Sathya Sai Baba get all too many emails which, when responded to, turn out to be invalid.

 There are perfectly good reasons why it is difficult to proceed against Sathya Sai Baba on a legal front. Trustfully, you are not assuming malfeasance of the part of many who have left the Sathya Sai Organization. Or indeed that there there is not compelling evidence of a sort that cannot, and ought not, be consigned to the internet. Or still further that there are not compelling arguments of a nature not at all legal, as well.

Quite commonly, those who write, who are partial to Sathya Sai Baba, give invalid email addresses. But the reply came:

This confirms the validity of my E-mail address. What has aroused my interest is the fact that you have assembled such an abundance of allegations against Sathya Sai Baba, yet you seem unable to proceed to have these tested in a court of law. My question is: “Why?”

The perception is that these allegations are unfounded and, in fact,  really represent the animosity of disgruntled ex-devotees of Sathya Sai Baba allied with representives of organized religion whose membership has suffered sharp reduction as their adherents migrated to the fold of the Sai organization.

Perceptions, I admit, can be misleading. I would, however, be glad to hear your explanation as to why, in the face of your abundant body of charges against Sathya Sai Baba and the Sai Organization, you are encountering difficulties in proceeding with this matter in any court of law. Herein lies my curiosity.

I replied:

From admittedly cursory searches on the internet, I find that you seem to have one degree or another of affiliation with Sathya Sai Baba. I smiled at affectionate old times as I read your note about my dear old ‘friend’, Sai Gita. (ed. Sai Baba’s late elephant)

It may not be far amiss for me to think that, if you remain a deeply convicted follower of Sathya Sai Baba, and yet familiar (if you are so) with writings such as mine, then it is highly likely that you will not be persuadable by any amount of evidence. If this were so, I would be wasting my time and energy.

On the other hand, many have left the Sathya Sai fold only after they first, and for a long time, thought the worst of former devotees who have spoken out. Thus, it may be that you will come to resemble those of us who entertained the greatest doubts about the allegations, and who then made extensive investigation before they saw that these concerns are made with the integrity and, after the most careful investigation, in regard of individuals and/or their families and friends around the world.

If are a person known in your profession, trade or wider community as an individual of outstanding probity (as is the case of so many former devotees, and, I hasten to add of remaining devotees known to me whom I nonetheless respect across the great divide), then I would consider corresponding with you.

You speak of “the perception”, and, as you say, perceptions can be misleading. To name but one perception extant among many Sathya Sai devotees (the one you choose to mention), the notion about “disgruntled ex-devotees” etc.,  embodies an assumption that does acute injustice to many of those who have left Sathya Sai Baba. There is a strikingly pluralistic character to the ranks of those who have left. The apostates come from many socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. To posit homogeneity would be to show a readiness to jump to a conclusion. Such a lack of rigour does many who so aver little credit. Anything that distorts the real fact is simple-minded, one-sided and profoundly unfair. What is more, there are high-ranking servitors around Sathya Sai Baba who know from long acquaintance that many who have left have done so for principled reasons. History will not judge these leaders well, it often strikes me. That is to say, we have not, often after decades of deep, committed and sustained devotion, and considerable amounts of service and close collegiality, become “demons”, “Judases”, “disgruntled”, and so forth, in some perverse, overnight “miracle”.

I note that, in your writings on the web, you speak of some matters related to India. I suggest that if you know India really well, you will already have some grounds on which to contemplate why it might be difficult to proceed legally against Sathya Sai Baba in that country. Is it, by the way, possible that you, or those whose perceptions you cite, have a notion that prosecuting or litigating in regard of many kinds of grave injustice have a clear trajectory even in advanced democracies?

Have you seen ‘The Secret Swami’? The link is here: The BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ – A Revision

I may also suggest that you read carefully the writings of those such as Robert Priddy – (former long-time head of the Sathya Sai Organization in Norway, and retired academic of the University of Oslo), the Australian linguistic scholar Brian Steel, Seiguei Badaev (a former SS Org. Russian leader) – Sathya Sai Baba Critic Serguei Badaev: An Incisive Voice of Conscience From Russia, Terry Gallagher (former head of the Australian Sathya Sai Organization – see, A Sathya Sai Saga. Barry Pittard Recollects. Part 2, Timothy Conway Ph.D., (a former US SSorg leader) – Timothy Conway Ph.D – On ‘The Hislop Letters’ , Stephen Carthew (former SSorg spiritual co-ordinator in South Australia) –, the former Dutch leader Leo Boogaard The Late Leo Boogaard: A Dutch Voice of Conscience On Sathya Sai Baba, David and Faye Bailey (former prominent leaders and plenipotentiaries of Sathya Sai Baba) – Truth In Action: David and Faye Bailey Vs Sathya Sai Baba and David Bailey and Thomas Wiehe. Transcript Of Phone Link: Sathya Sai Abuses, and many writings available at:,

Should I feel that you show a robust readiness to read these and other basic readings, some of which should begin to answer, in a variety of ways, the query that you have put to me, and a truthful sincerity to engage (as thus far) in a civil correspondence, where it is not your intention to abuse or libel many wonderful people who have left Sathya Sai Baba, I shall be glad to correspond with you.


Further Reading



The Public Petition

Information on the Public Petition for Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization

About the Petition For Official Investigation Into Sathya Sai Baba Cult

(Note: You may prefer to proceed straight to the Petition): Public Petition For Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization

Posted in New Age, Opinion, Religion, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Dr Naresh Bhatia’s Testimony: Sathya Sai Baba Serial Sexual Abuser of Boys and Young Men

Posted by Barry Pittard on January 16, 2010

An Indian citizen, Dr Naresh K. Bhatia, publicly announced to a leading British newspaper, The Telegraph, that he had been a homosexual lover of Sai Baba.

For many years Dr Bhatia was prominent doctor in Sathya Sai Baba’s service – head of the Blood Bank at Puttaparthi and for six years head of the blood bank of the Sathya Sai Super Speciality hospital in Sathya Sai Baba’s vast medical establishment. He has since worked in a hospital in New Delhi.  A very popular Sai Baba-appointed speaker to both Indian and foreign groups, he wrote the widely read ‘Dreams and Realities’, published by Leela Press, the US publisher of many books on Sai Baba. After Dr Bhatia had spoken out, the organization stopped the book’s further sale. A note of proscription appeared in the official Sai newsletter, distributed worldwide.

Dr Bhatia told author and Daily Telegraph journalist Mick Brown that he had sexual relations with Sai Baba for 15 or 16 years. He revealed that Sai Baba had, over the years, sexual relations with “many, many” of his students, and had brutally raped a minor whom Dr. Bhatia examined afterwards and referred to a physician in Bangalore. He says he confronted Sathya Sai Baba, which led to his banishment. It is standard Sai handling for those who speak up.  

In early 2004, BBC assistant producer David Saville, with whom for about seven months I was in contact during the making of ‘The Secret Swami’, told me that producer Eamon Hardy, who was then in India with the BBC investigative and camera crew, had just spent some time with Dr Bhatia. I may mention in passing that the sort of desperate comment typically emanating from Sai Baba apologist commentary is that there is no guarantee that the person contacted by a reporter was in fact THE Dr Bhatia.

He is not the only prominent figure around Sai Baba who has come out publicly and spoken frankly about his having sexual relationships with India’s most famous and powerful religious teacher. Another is Conny Larsson, former head of the Sathya Sai Organization in Sweden, who was a film star and more recently has worked in alcohol and drug rehabilitation in the Swedish prison system. For Swedish psychologist and ex-devotee Åsa Samsioe’s review of Larsson’s book ‘Behind the Mask of the Clown’, see HERESee ex-head of the Norwegian Sathya Sai Organization Robert Priddy’s review HERE.

Dr Bhatia’s case is one of many in which, from the moment an individual speaks out, a process of Sai demonization commences. They have given decades of service and won respect for the quality and dedication of their service. Lo, overnight, Sai Baba and his servitors, quickly followed by members at large, pronounced dissenters to be devils, Judases, etc.! In the Sathya Sai Organization, there is no process of accountability for those who stand accused. Indeed, this stark fact is one of its greatest vulnerabilities, in those parts of the world which cherish proper justice processes, of this global organization. 

As is commonly seen in accounts of apostates from many other cults, former devotees have not been spared that hatred, anger and denunciation which turn upon those who have stood forth, at tremendous cost to themselves and in the interests of truth. Thousands have heard Sai Baba say that the Sathya Sai Organization is divine, and the instrument via which he will transform the planet before he leaves in circa AD 2022. Its behaviour in denouncing leave-takers, and covering up many scandals including killings in Sai Baba’s bedroom bares it to stark exposure. It resoundingly falsifies such claims at the outset.

Former devotees have already had to handle, after years of intensely loving devotion and service, the immense sense of spiritual betrayal. Their lot is untold execration, harassment, distortion of their words and motivations, defamation and libel.

In correspondence, Dr Bhatia told me that he still cannot shake off his belief that Sai Baba is Divine. Clearly, in his case, and in that of his devotees at large, spiritual detachment, which Sai Baba forever advocates, is notably missing. The grip is vice-like.

Dr Bhatia told me that Sai Baba has sexually abused very many of his (Sai Baba’s) students. Dr Bhatia wrote further that the threat to life is very real, especially that of a boy whom he professionally believed to have been badly sodomized by Sai Baba. He had the boy sent to a physician in Bangalore, who arrived at the same professional diagnosis  about the presentation, including serious injuries.

I asked whether all that he had testified he could corroborate in a properly conducted court of law. He assured me that this was so. In fact, many former devotees around the world who are closely conversant with the facts in their experiences have been ready to testify. 

Dr Bhatia mentioned that he had reason to fear for the well-being of the young person and modified his earlier public stance. His public statement can be seen in David and Faye Bailey’s seminal document ‘The Findings’ (circa late 2000). This husband and wife were unusually prominent Sai Baba emissaries. See my article:  Reply to a Sathya Sai Devotee’s Note re: David and Faye Bailey. They have recounted that, as they moved around the world representing Sai Baba in his official centers round the world, parents of abused young males, and sometimes those who claimed Sai Baba (and in some cases certain of his servitors) sexually abused them, would come to them with harrowing accounts of sexual abuse. These depicted a very different Sai Baba – one who had long engaged in actions that were criminal and hypocritical in the extreme.

Dr Bhatia also clarified a misunderstanding for me. It had earlier been said that this boy was seven years old when very badly sexually abused by Sai Baba. He confirmed to me that the boy was not seven seven years old but was then in Level 7 at Sai Baba’s school at Puttaparthi. He has also confirmed all the above to my fellow Australian Stephen Carthew, former spiritual coördinator for South Australia in the Sathya Sai Organization, who visited Dr Bhatia in New Delhi 2000. He wrote to me that: “I found Dr Bhatia delightful and most welcoming, notwithstanding the bind he is in. His own ambivalence regarding the spiritual nature of his Guru, and the pressures coming from many sources to keep quiet, makes it difficult for him to do more than tell his story when asked. Certainly, he believed he was threatened and harassed during his rushed departure from Puttapaparthi, after criticizing Sai Baba to his face.” For an update and the link for an Australian Broadcasting Corporation documentary featuring Stephen Carthew, see: Stephen Carthew, A Voice of Testimony From Australia, On The Dangers of Cults

Robert Priddy’s comment on the Bhatia case

Note: At the time referred to in his note, Robert Priddy was head of the Sathya Sai Organization in Norway. “Ours” refers to himself and his wife, Reidun Priddy. Priddy was a careful diarist and he has begun releasing scans of his diaries.

“In 1999/2000 a lady friend of ours – Anne-Irene – had close connections with ‘insiders’ at Prashanthi Nilayam, especially Mr.& Mrs. Ratan Lala and the US lady called Veronica who ran the foreigners’ canteen. Anne-Irene was present when Dr. Naresh Bhatia was discredited and made to leave his post as head of the Blood Donation Unit at Sathya Sai Baba’s big hospital in Puttaparti. She reported how rumours flew in all directions, as is always the case when such events occur at the Sai ashrams, for there is always a rigid clamp-down on anyone who knows facts from telling the truth. As usual, those unsupported rumours were set going and allowed to flourish with ‘no comments’… especially that Dr. Bhatia had been caught having sexual relations with nurses at the hospital, and that this had been going on with other young ladies over whom he was in a position of authority. Dr. Bhatia, who is married with children, wrote a very flowery and adulatory book called “Dreams and realities face to face with God” (which reflects his belief fully). It was immediately taken off sale at the Sathya Sai Baba Book & Publications Trust, and it was withdrawn and all existing copies were remaindered by the publisher (Jack Scher – since deceased – another egocentric millionaire follower of Sai Baba who had so to speak ‘bought into’ a verandah place by setting up a publishing co. for Sai books in the US called ‘Leela Press’).  V.K.Narasimhan was instructed to publish the disclaimer about Dr. Bhatia in Sanathana Sarathi”

Posted in Morality, Opinion, Rationalism, Religion, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Stephen Carthew, A Voice of Testimony From Australia, On The Dangers of Cults

Posted by Barry Pittard on December 10, 2009

There are many decent men and women who, moved by conscience, have spoken out calling for proper investigation of the countless allegations against Sathya Sai Baba. One of these is Stephen Carthew, who, until 2000, was a spiritual coordinator in the Sathya Sai Organization for South Australia. Now entering his 60’s, he has been doing his Ph.D. in Communications, and tutoring, at the University of South Australia’s Division of Communication, Information and New Media. And, as depicted in a recent ABC (Australia) documentary, selling roses.

No doubting – it is good to smell the roses.

The person named Rama  to whom Carthew refers at the beginning of the letter below is Sri T.Ramanathan, for years a very autocratic head of the Sathya Sai Organization of Australia. A Sai Baba follower for 15 years, Stephen Carthew speaks of how he was sacked from his position in 2000. He had suggested that “allegations about our Guru be examined impartially”. He was but one of many others in various countries to be mercilessly suppressed. In opting for profound concealment, the Sathya Sai Organization has delivered to itself still more profound wounds. Many have left it, some formally resigning but very many simply quietly leaving. Recruiting drives have had the quality of desperation. See: Subtle recruitment to Sai Baba’s cult and: ‘Secret Swami’ Cult Recruits At Prime Public Venues (see photos of just a few of the enormously costly venues in which recruiting is staged)

I find it sad and moving that, in regard to spiritual affiliation, Stephen Carthew has had two major let-downs in his life . You can see him in an hour-long documentary “The Brotherhood” (first broadcast 22 February 2009) by the ABC, Australia’s national television and radio broadcaster in its weekly much-respected religious program ‘Compass’. The program (which does not mention Carthew’s later affiliation with the Sathya Sai Baba cult) shows his prior involvement with a then quite strong alternative life-style movement in Australia, ‘The Universal Brotherhood’, of which he was founder. His life in this cult has returned to haunt him. And perhaps, in some measure, within a recent group reconciliation process, to help to heal him. In the days of the cult he helped to establish, he was young, idealistic and full of hopes for glorious spiritual transcendence, but, as issues of power and control increasingly arose, took on himself the role of suppressor. The ABC program notes state:

“As time passed, the Centre Core became more hardline, scrutinising the young followers’ behaviour, and punishing them for minor misdemeanours or perceived weaknesses. Few dared to confess any doubt, anger or distress. The Brotherhood’s utopian dream was only six years old when cracks appeared and by 1978 the New Age dream was all but over”.

Embroilment in cultic life, and the loss of most dearly cherished hopes and dreams, did not stop for Stephen Carthew with the collapse of ‘The Universal Brotherhood’. For he became closely involved as a leader with the Sathya Sai Organization, a global cult of huge, and in certain cases terrible, dimensions.

NOTE: To view the one-hour documentary at the ABC site, click on the image below:  


Stephen Carthew's testimony on cultic danger

Stephen Carthew in the ABC's documentary 'The Brotherhood' (2009)


Stephen Carthew’s Attempt To Raise Allegation Issues Re Sathya Sai Baba In South Australia

22 February 2009

Letter from Stephen Carthew

September 10, 2000

Dear brothers and sisters,

During our last meeting I tabled the letter to Rama our Australian Central Coordinator about the Nexus article with the testimonies from ex devotees.

Firstly, I am interested to know if everyone read my letter? (From what I could ascertain – out of the 10 people present 3 had read the letter to Ramanathan the Central Coordinator).

Who has read the Nexus article? (Only two had read this article that was freely available in newsagents – not a good sign of responsible leadership).

Please could the results be tabled? (They probably were)

How many of you have read ‘The Findings’ by ex devotee David Bailey? (Things were happening pretty quickly but from what I could gather only two members had looked at this).

I went on:

Without having done so, (reading “The Findings” material) I don’t believe it is possible to understand what on earth I am talking about.

I certainly didn’t have a clue, until my eyes were prized open by the heartfelt testimony of these brave ex-devotees who have told the truth about their experiences of sexual abuse in the privacy of the interview room.

As of last month I had not sought out any ex-devotee or read anything on the various web pages devoted to either putting down Swami or upholding his status. I had thought the whole thing to be a ‘media beat up’ and ‘sob story’, designed to suck in the unwary. A process that we had been told by Swami would happen – a “sorting of the wheat from the chaff”.

You can if you like put me in the chaff bag today.

However I will provide good satvic roughage, if you will hear me out fairly, without applying the gag – either physically or mentally. (At this point I made a sarcastic aside referring to the effort made to silence me from even reading the letter – I was not proud of myself for this – it aggravated the life out of the two most unreasonable members and set a more confrontational atmosphere).

My request for an internal inquiry into the allegations seemed reasonable. Something I would have though standard practice in an organization with such a high moral code. Any group that denies the process of investigation of the alleged misconduct of one of it leaders is an organization that falls quickly into the category of ‘irregular’ or even ‘cult like’.

So, “what to do”?

I had no where to go, other than to carry out my own investigation by whatever means available. · I have read the testimonies on the so called “gossip” web sites. · I have spent time on the ‘positive’ internet sites designed to undermine the authenticity of the unfavorable testimonies. · I have spoken on the telephone to ex-devotees who were kissed passionately on the mouth and were asked to perform oral sex on Swami.

I have also spoken to three parents who have sons who have been asked to give gross sexual favours to Swami. These people are quite sane and quite clear that these events have happened to their sons. There are now many reports flooding in. It is understandable that young men have held this information within, in the same way as those who were abused as a child by priests relations and parents have taken half a lifetime to come out and speak about it and eventually be healed. Some of these young people have been through suicidal episodes. One pattern is clear they were all told by Swami not to tell their parents.

It seems there are many of the Sai Organizations leaders who know that this has been going on for years. Some say “the Avatar is God he can do whatever he likes”.

This doesn’t wash with me.

Under the self proclaimed title of “Avatar” it seems that Sai Baba may have impunity to do whatever he likes. It is possible that this behavior has been going on throughout his adult life and continues as we speak together this morning. (I had to raised my voice above the voices of protest. There was a certain drama in the air – with the quiet drone of chanting emanating from one of the members)

Reports from older ex-devotees who were at the Ashram with Howard Murphet in the sixties are apparently now becoming available. These ex-devotees are now ‘coming out’ admitting to the dark side of their relationship with Sai Baba. The stories related to the ‘shadow side’ of this undoubtedly extraordinary person, who we devotees thought to be “of the Light”, is now coming out.

Apparently it is almost common knowledge amongst students at his colleges, that ‘his favorites’ have many such sexually oriented ‘interviews’.

I could go on and on with pages of this stuff.

However it is hard and unpleasant to read and just as awful to listen to. At the least, I am saying is that there are serious allegations that need to be evaluated internally.

The Central Coordinator and the Deputy Central Coordinator seek to put all this to one side saying. “If you have a problem take Swami to court!.” They say. This has and will be tried, however Swami is in India and we all know about Indian corruption and the connections Swami has in high places.

Here we are as office bearers, in insignificant Adelaide, sitting on information that could be having the impact of Jonestown in its own way. For us as office bearers to have any self respect we must I believe make an internal investigation.

It seems our leaders may be either too ‘brainwashed’ to even consider the reports, or too weak and afraid of the awful truth to delve beneath the surface. (this statement really set the cat amongst the pigeons – I had to raise my voice above the outcry)

I believe we, as the South Australian Organization should have the courage to follow truth where ever it takes us. Only by using our discrimination and moral conscience, will we make our way through this saga. It is a lonely road by ones self. Together we may be able to make sense of it.

I have written extensively on my process – it may be helpful to others. I will send my understandings upon request – by email or fax. I believe we have a ‘spiritual crisis’ on our hands and that this issue falls clearly within my portfolio as Spiritual Coordinator of South Australia. For all these reasons and many more that go beyond the time available, I propose that the South Australian Sai Organization set up a “Truth Seeking” committee to examine the allegations and hopefully to disprove the claims against our Founder.

There is nothing more that I would like to see this ‘phase’ of mine over and to become a devotee again. However this can no longer be from the point of ‘blindness’ from which our leaders wish us to operate.

The truth will out eventually, we may as well play our part by engaging in the process of finding it for ourselves, sooner rather than later – however distasteful. Your Faith in God can only be strengthened by truth.

For this purpose I will be continuing as the Spiritual Coordinator for South Australia and continuing to uphold the spiritual principles that have been given by our Founder. Particularly. “Members shall live an exemplary life”. Is Sai Baba an embodiment of his often repeated statement “My Life is My Message”? That is the key question we will address on this committee, if we have the guts to form it.

This couple of paragraphs were a twist. The two key ‘cult controllers’ were using words like “absurd” and “ridiculous” almost exploding with a strange sort of wide eyed rage. They had all expected a resignation! However I had placed a motion on the table for the formation of a committee that then needed to be handled. I admit that for the rest of the meeting I was a bit of a pain. I knew they would sack me. Which they promptly did. However I wanted to make it hard for them – which I also did.

I stayed on at the meeting making comments occasionally about aspects of general business that seemed to be irrelevant, when compared to the issues I had raised. This would have been hard for the reasonable Chairperson. Although I explained to the group that I was being disruptive in the same spirit as the Greenpeace activists, I was, on reflection going to far and as a result I alienated some of the more reasonable members.

This is a pity – I put it down to the adrenaline rush that can come when we create a living drama – I would have been much more effective if I could have simply ‘ held my peace’ at the eye of the storm. The state of mind I was in was that of ‘The Crusader’. I almost wanted to be asked to leave. I would have refused and asked them to carry me out. It never got to that.

The meeting finished with a somewhat healing chat with some of the members. A motion to the effect that I can present my findings to the group was accepted. Whether anyone would read it or not is another matter. However I was able to make my point before being ousted.

Other members will look at this issue in their own time. I believe all those whose ‘moral conscience’ rises above ‘blind faith’ will eventually evaluate the actions of Sai Baba. There is clarity to be found in the multiple testimony of the ex-devotees. None of whom wanted to believe that this was true – until it happened to them or their sons.

Stephen Carthew, Ex- Spiritual Coordinator South Australia


Compass –  The Brotherhood

9:25pm Sunday, 22 Feb 2009  Society and Culture   CC PG 

The Universal Brotherhood was Australia’s most celebrated alternative community attracting hundreds of young idealists who gave up everything to follow their very own New Age guru. Now 30 years later they’re hosting a reunion to confront the sect’s surviving leader about the paradise they created…and lost. 

The Universal Brotherhood was a home-grown spiritual movement that became Australia’s most successful alternative community. Born in the early 1970s it flourished on a 300 acre farm near a small country town south of Perth. The movement attracted hundreds of young idealists who turned their backs on jobs and a safe life in the suburbs. Instead, they cashed in their savings to follow their very own guru, 80-year-old Fred Robinson – a self-styled eco-prophet who wanted to pioneer a model community that could save the planet, and mankind! 

Fred espoused a mixed bag of mystical teachings, New Age philosophies and old-fashioned Christian values. He’d also developed his own cosmic vision of the future involving ‘elder brothers’ from outer space coming in UFOs with Christ to take them away if and when catastrophe destroyed the world. 

From a handful of pioneers, the Universal Brotherhood quickly grew and within a year, it was almost completely self-sufficient. On the farm the Brotherhood took care of everyone’s food, shelter and clothing. Everything was shared, and everyone ate, played and prayed together. Life in the Brotherhood was deemed ‘safe and pure’. The world outside was viewed as dangerously corrupt. Increasingly the control of the group was left to its governing council, a small group of advisers known as the ‘Centre Core’, made up of Fred’s wife Mary and the Brotherhood’s young co-founder, Stephen Carthew. 

As time passed, the Centre Core became more hardline, scrutinising the young followers’ behaviour, and punishing them for minor misdemeanours or perceived weaknesses. Few dared to confess any doubt, anger or distress. The Brotherhood’s utopian dream was only six years old when cracks appeared and by 1978 the New Age dream was all but over.


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

Petition For Official Investigation Into Sathya Sai Baba Cult


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

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

Sathya Sai Baba’s Deputy Head, Dr G. Venkataraman, Speaks of “Mr Idi Amin”

Posted by Barry Pittard on January 30, 2007

Idi Amin A Gentleman?

Reporting on Sathya Sai Baba’s – so-called ‘Christmas discourse’ of December, 2006, Dr G. Venkataraman, second-in-command of his worldwide organisation, refers to one of the world’s most gruesome men, the heartless African dictator, as “Mr Idi Amin”.

At this URL, Dr G. Venkataraman speaks of how thrilling was Sai Baba’s account in this ‘Christmas’ 2006 discourse of his 1968 visit to Uganda! But oh, what an inspiring figure was Idi Amin to refer to in a Christmas message! In case G. Venkataraman or anyone badly informed of Idi Amin’s evil deeds and regime, here and here are BBC reports at the time of his death in August 2003 and a list of resources.

This strange Sai Baba ‘Christmas’! discourse can be found here. In it, Sai Baba speaks as though the meeting with Idi Amin, one of the world’s worst dictators, torturers and murderers, was a moving, warm and delightful event. Sai Baba has said that, in his own lifetime, he will clean up his “own backyard” (India). Unfit and pathetically doddering (though he promised he would never after 60), he has abjectly failed to do that, just as he certainly didn’t clean up Idi Amin or Amin’s Uganda in which this monster – for all his weeping devotion to Sai Baba – slaughtered an estimated 400, 000 people.

Happy to refer to the raping, cannibalistic Idi Amin as ‘Mr’, G. Venkataraman is also happy, elsewhere, to label Sai Baba dissenters as akin to the demon in the Krishna story called Jarasanda. He adds: “it was finally left to the hefty Pandava Bhima, to tear Jarasanda to pieces, literally”. Indeed, should former devotees prefer to be left to a tearing-to-pieces by the likes of Idi Amin, who delighted in feeding enemies to crocodiles, or of G. Venkataraman with his gleeful wish-list for the fate of those who question his ‘God’.

Or Is Dr Venkataraman Stupendously Naive?

We should consider that despite his words about Sai Baba’s visit to Uganda, it may be that G. Venkataraman, when not slavishly “thrilled” by his God’s more ratty – perhaps age-induced – effusions, is incredibly naive rather than that he would approve of a wife-refrigerating, raping, mass-murdering, torturing monster who, though in a far smaller killing field, was in a number of ways akin to Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot and so on. Is Dr G. Venkataraman so ill-informed about world events that he assumes Amin really was a marvellous devotee, as would many readers of Sai Baba’s discourse? Is Venkataraman equally naive as not to know what is common knowledge among VIPs and many ashram residents – that is, the dark truth of the allegations against Sai Baba?

G. Venkataraman was also the Vice-Chancellor of Baba’s University at Puttaparthi and, given his high-profile international role, he certainly has a duty to non-defensively, properly investigate the status of the allegations, as do all leaders of responsible organizations.

Would Sorely Afflicted Students and Ex-Students Trust Ex-VC Venkataraman? He speaks of how no students have reported abuses to him. This looks very like a digression to avoid admitting what he must know about the matter, But why would they dare want to tell him, given his slavish utter loyalty to Sai Baba? Students were murdered in Sai Baba’s bedroom! But what good would it do for Venkataraman to ask his Lord and Master about such circumstances?

However, parents and students-ex students are not so quiet when it comes to sharing with religious and other institutional heads in India their horror stories of abuse at the hands of Sai Baba and others around him. Let readers enquire of senior leaders of noted religious organizations in India which, over the years, have been a compassionate haven for those with accounts of abuse by Sai Baba. Of course, yet again, this information (still protecting the identities of those attesting individuals) we are prepared to share, and have long shared, with bona fide third-party investigators.

In fact, we know that a weighty number of Sai Baba’s servitors know perfectly well of the countless credible evidences that men and women in many countries have tried to get the Sathya Sai Organization to heed. In short, to act responsibly in response to the reports that he has a long history of serial sex with underage males, and other young males, not to mention other crimes and betrayals. Such truth-telling would include admission that, for example, there was a massive cover-up by the Puttaparthi ashram authorities along with local, state and central governments of the police killings in Sai Baba’s bedroom on June 6, 1993. However, such Soviet-style, cultic lack of transparency and accountability, no matter that the allegations keep on coming year after year, have driven former devotees to go to great labors in producing documentation of their shocking revelations to the Internet, governments, Interpol, FBI, various police forces (who have their hands tied, unfortunately because India will not act), UNESCO, and the world media. Most of the Indian media has a terrible record of shame in not investigating Sai Baba and his core leaders. The shame reflects all the more badly in that leading foreign media have faced the task. See my article below: “Will India’s New Backlash Against Corruption Lash Sathya Sai Baba?”

The German Ullrich Zimmermann’s account of Sai Baba’s demands to suck his penis when Zimmerman was called into private interview was released only weeks ago. However, the interviews he gave (of which the report of fellatio is part 2) which he gave to the US television interviewer Alan Steinfeld were made in 2000 but released only weeks ago. His account is but the latest in a long series of compelling accounts that have been given of severe sexual inappropriateness, including felatio, by Sai Baba: (Part 2 of 3 parts). For a highly useful summary with some added links, see Robert Priddy’s page here.
Note: Some have had trouble with accessing the location for the interview. Here is an contingency, alternative cache at

G. Venkataraman’s “Mr Idi Amin” Report
“The moment of moments came when Swami stood up to give His divine discourse. Swami thrilled one and all with memories of His Divine tour to Africa, namely Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya. Swami related how Mr. Idi Amin was very fond of Him and used to have the darshan of Swami both in the morning and evening. During His stay, he arranged a dinner for Swami and meticulously got all instructions from Dr. Patel as to Swami’s menu and how it should be prepared. On the day of the dinner, Idi Amin’s wives stood in rows on either side and greeted Swami with veneration. Idi Amin himself introduced each of them one by one to Swami.

On the day Swami was to leave, which happened to be Guru Purnima day, Idi Amin was suffering from pangs of separation and started shedding tears pleading with Swami not to leave them.

Not only did Amin but the Africans were all in tears and fell at the feet of Swami praying:

“Bhagavan! Please spend this day with us.” Their devotion melted the heart of Swami and made Him spend Guru Purnima with them. An important miracle happened on this day. The Africans had wished to take photos with Swami.Swami told them that they might silently pray in their heart so that their requests may be fulfilled. To their joy, each of them found a photo of Swami lying beside them”.

Is Idi Amin, no doubt from some lower depth, still weeping for Sai Baba’s company?

How to Leave the Christ out of Christmas, 2000
G. Venkataraman’s 2006 report is entitled “Swami’s Divine Christmas Discourse”, yet one notes how Idi Amin manages to push aside the spirit of the Christmas celebrations. This reminds how in his Christmas discourse, December 25, 2000, Sai Baba pushed Christianity’s founder almost entirely out of the way, instead denouncing those who have criticised Sai Baba. The Times of India ran the headline: “Sai Baba Lashes Out At His Detractors”. For the ToI reporter B.S. Rao’s news report, see:

Why Did Sai Baba Keep Thumping The Tub?
Few can surely forget how Sai Baba kept on pounding his lectern. This outburst effectively coincided with a time of concentrated activity by organised former devotees worldwide, in leading venues such as:

India Today – rare section of the Indian media that refused to shut up about Sathya Sai Baba). Its cover story was read by millions, of the same month as the ‘divine’ outburst, December 4, 2000:
The Telegraph (UK), Saturday, October 28, 2000. Leading journalist and acclaimed author Mick Brown flew to the USA to interview the Rahm family and other important witnesses:

The Ottawa Citizen, , Bob Harvey, December 19, 2000:

Trouw, (the Netherlands), Koert van der Velde, September 6, 2000. (See link here).
NEXUS Magazine (Australia), August-September 1999, featured three articles by: Terry Gallagher, Hans de Kraker, also Australia, for a number of years head of the Western Canteen at Puttaparthi, and Jens and Gurprit Sethi, Germany. (See link here)
Note: Jens Sethi and Hans de Kraker,among others in various countries, have provided sworn statements. I have a number of affidavits in safe-keeping at a central location obtainable by our lawyers, ready in the case of a substantive legal turning-of-the-tide. (The producer Øjvind Kyroe, with Denmark’s national broadcaster responsible for ‘Seduced’, has 10 affidavits and the BBC – ‘The Secret Swami’ – can attest to having a plethora of well-validated documentation and 80 plus hours of footage from various countries. Other major media and agencies like UNESCO and the US State Department and UK, German, French, Swedish, Danish and Australian governments and various police agencies, likewise).

Also there were many efforts – the earliest around late 1999 and early 2000 – by Sai devotees most of whom had been devotees for years. Their aim was to get leaders such as Dr John Hislop, Dr Michael Goldstein, Dr John Evans, Dr William Harvey, Robert Bozzani, Richard Bayer, and others, to exercise due diligence, duty-of-care, and proper investigation of the many allegations, particularly concerning those of sexual abuse of male minors by Sai Baba. So that there can be no mistake how long back these efforts go, I note some of these early attempts below. On the other hand, Sai Baba apologists defame and sometimes outrightly libel, one after the other, former devotees who attempt the extremely arduous job of exposing the facts. Venkataraman and other Sai Baba apologists falsely claim that we are but a small handful of those who are “disgruntled”, passed over or ignored by Sai Baba, etc. Indeed, many Sai devotees who were for so long associated with those who have left know the absolute untruth of this sort of statement. This is one reason why former devotees seek third-party investigation.

Sathya Sai Baba’s discourse on Christmas Day 2000 far from celebrated Christmas themes, such as wishing ‘peace and goodwill to all men.’ The Times of India, December 26, 2000 headlined: Sai Baba Lashes Out at His Detractors. He called his dissenters “cawing crows”, “demons”, “grievous sinners”, and thousands of “Judases.” He extensively boasted his social works (actually, they are overwhelmingly those of his devotees, many of whom do wonderful social uplift work in Sai Baba’s name). Jealousy and receipt of money motivated critics, he said. Identifying his own person as God, Sai Baba promised critics a terrible future, saying “Betrayal of God is the worst of all betrayals. It will not be atoned no matter how many births are experienced!”

Throughout the discourse, there was no hint of his practising what he has so often preached: “We should help even those who have harmed us. This is the vow of Sai. No matter if some people criticise or ridicule Me (sic), I will always look at them with kindness.” (Sanathana Sarathi, June 2002). Not that we have harmed him, for he has harmed himself by refusing to face the allegations in a mature, responsible way. Nothing suggested forgiveness, whether Christ-like or in the spirit (in essence the same) of any other tradition of humanity’s great spiritual teachers.

Not All Devotees May Concur with the “Mr Idi Amin” Usage
I am reminded of a medical doctor I fondly knew, a Sai Baba devotee, who told me of his narrow escape from Idi Amin’s executioners. A grateful patient of his was a Secretary in Idi Amin’s secret service. She saw his name on an Amin death list and it was arranged for him to escape through the forest and across the border, with his wife and family being stealthed out separately. No doubt this man and his family are but an example out of a great many Sai devotees who would gain no pleasure from seeing G. Venkataraman refer to Idi Amin as ‘Mr’.

Apologists point to how Sai Baba advised Indian Ugandans to get out of Uganda. Curiously, his Christmas 2006 effusions state nothing of this warning. Nor has this ever been properly documented. What we do know is that, despite Idi Amin’s and his entourage’s copious tears for Sai Baba, Amin later threw every single ethnic Indian out of Uganda on the shortest possible notice, depriving them of all their property and goods, even though many were born there and had lived their whole lives as Ugandans. Perhaps in his dotage – increasing reports of which have been too difficult for his managers to suppress – Sai Baba he has forgotten the dark side.

Who Is Dr G. Venkataraman?
Dr G. Venkataraman is the highest-ranking Sathya Sai Baba official who denounces former devotees who have, particularly since 1999, levelled allegations against Sai Baba. He is head of Radio Sai International (which transmits to many countries) and the Deputy Chairman of Sai Baba’s world governing body, the ‘Prashanthi Council’. In his writings at the Radio Sai website, he has (see here) defamed and denigrated good and decent former devotees, who are in excellent standing in their communities, and who come from a wide variety of ages, educational, professional and cultural backgrounds. From G. Venkataraman and fellow leaders of the Sathya Sai Organization, there is not a word, and certainly not to their congregations either, about the worthy provenance of the many responsibly-made concerns worldwide. G. Venkataraman has also written that media that has investigated Sai Baba and interviewed former devotees – like the India Today, BBC, Times of London, Daily Telegraph, The Guardian,, The Age, and others around the world – have, in reporting critically on Sai Baba, failed to exercise standards proper to professional journalism.

Little Wonder Sai Baba’s Christmas Day 2000 Outburst and Lectern Thumping
What was happening in Sai Baba’s life at this time?

The Oregon Sai Center in 2000 (signed by around 75 members) called for an open discussion about the case of yet another boy with an account of being sexually molested by Sai Baba:

Gypsie Chapotin, of California, but often living in India, spoke out far and loud, and made known to the United States leaders and rank-and-file, speaking of her son Neptune’s extensive sexual abuse by Sai Baba. Neptune’s diaries, written at age of fifteen, describe gross sexual liberties taken on him by Sai Baba. She believed that Bob Bozzani would act with clarity and honesty, just as did Glen Meloy who she asked to write to him, but her hopes were badly dashed. Her son was, is, an exceptionally gifted individual, fluent in a number of European and Indian languages, including Sanskrit, an outstanding artist and tabla player and bhajan singer. This diary is available in .PDF format at:

Shirley Pike, former president of the North Central Region of the Sathya Sai Baba Organization of the United States, a highly-qualified school psychologist who had personal interaction with a number of those alleging sexual, abuse at the hands of Sai Baba, including Neptune and Alaya Rahm, and
Angela Cuneo (a Las Angeles businesswoman) and other respected members of the Sathya Sai Organization mass-mailed hundreds of letters to members of the organization calling for proper resolution of the issues. Mrs Pike’s resignation letter is at:

Diana Scott (formerly known as Diana Payne when married to Terry Payne) wrote to Dr John Hislop with allegations that her son, Terry Jnr, for a time a student at Sai Baba’s college at Whitefield, had been sexually abused by him. See:

Mrs Ella Evers states: “I wrote the following letter to Dr. Michael Goldstein and nine important other officers in the United States”:

The late Glen Meloy, a retired business consultant, was an historic figure, both as a devotee of 26 years and a foundation member of the worldwide former devotee network from about April 1999. Glen, my much-loved and close associate in the attempt to bring the facts to international attention had close ties with Elsie and Walter Cowan and other seminal leaders of what became the Sathya Sai Society of America or the Sathya Sai Organization. He wrote to his long time friend, Bob Bozzani (now at the top of the US organization) which is copied at:

Hari Sampath, who claimed to have worked with Sai Baba’s security and intelligence apparatus between 1992 and 1995, wrote a lengthy, widely-circulated exposé piece about the high command of Sai Baba’s outfit, entitled ‘How It Works’. For a time, he and Glen Meloy mutually coordinated international former devotee activities, including high-level contact with governments and various agencies and the media. He returned to his native India from the USA, where he had held a Green Card work permit to work as a software engineer. ‘How It Works’ is at:

Terry Gallagher, former head of the Sathya Sai Organization in Australia made extensive investigations, and also confronted Sai Baba. Ironically, Terry’s brother-in-law, Neville Fredericks, is now the Australian head, but Terry wishes to keep silence these days, like Stephen Carthew (q.v.) to preserve family harmony. Terry’s account is at:

Stephen Carthew, in the closing months of 1999, then a popular spiritual coordinator in South Australia (now doing a PH.D in Communications attempted to bring the issues of duty-of-care and transparency to the Australian Sathya Sai Organization. For his pains, he was summarily cast out by T.Sri Ramanathan, the then head, widely known by Sai devotees themselves to be a bullying autocrat:

This was against the background of Sai Baba’s world-renowned servitors’ Faye and David Bailey in their major and lengthy statement of exposure, ‘The Findings’ and major revelations within Swedish movement when top officials DID compassionately listen to a young man’s testimonies (and soon those of others):

Conny Larsson, who had been the head of the Swedish Sathya Sai Organization, apparently a longer-term lover of Sathya Sai Baba, and Britt Marie Andén (known and loved by many devotees from around the world as Bi-ma) and other key Swedish members supported their afflicted males youths and disclosed facts that resulted in the demise of the virtual disappearance of the Sathya Sai Organization in Sweden. As well as co-heading the Swedish organization, she developed and ran the important Gimle School. Her moving letter to Shirley Pike is at:

Strong investigative activities and support of those most affected also occurred in Holland, leading large numbers to leave the organization, and exodus that was beginning to happen in a number of countries.

A list of ex-office bearers compiled from a variety of sources by Robert Priddy of those who exited the Sathya Sai Organization, many at the time leading up to Sai Baba’s name-calling, lecturn thumping episode is at:

In short, Sai Baba was receiving a real thumping in the months leading up to his highly un-Christmas-like ‘Christmas’ discourse. So he thumped! – repeatedly striking his lectern.

For Online Viewing and/or Dowloading


The Secret Swami (BBC Television) Broadband 154 MB

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



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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