Call For Media and Government Investigation

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

Posts Tagged ‘Swami Nityananda’

Barry Pittard – On Institutional Cover Ups and Psychological Denial

Posted by Barry Pittard on September 5, 2011

In many universities, there is reluctance to study the testimony of contemporary apostates. But I would commend – perhaps to a younger and less blinkered generation of academics – that perceived problems about validity of testimony can be overcome from the more or less oblique angle of comparative studies. There is no shortage of dissent from major and powerful institutions. One can obtain a large and valuable witness base.

Indeed, I suggest that one perspective for examining this phenomenon is the positive one of health – and not of pathology. That is to say, many people leave institutions in response to conscience, commonsense and rationality.

In the context of cross-cultural studies, witnesses, pro and contra, concerning organizations oriented to strong belief systems commonly do not know each other, and this fact yields an immense and rich base of non-colusional evidence. Any academic department which resiles from the study of cults per se backs away from taking seriously one of the prime threats to civil well-being. Nor should intellectually impoverished notions of so-called ‘religious freedom’ and ‘political correctness’ be heeded. For authoritarian cults thrive on lack of examination, and misplaced notions of liberalism. They cry freedom even as they deny freedom.

There is a train of thought which keeps coming home to me when I look at the testimony of dissenters from various authoritarian organizations ….

When one is deeply involved in any matter, it can be hard to imagine that there are other necks of similar ‘woods’. So caught up in our own reality do we get. But when we embark on comparative studies, we find countless marked patterns all round.

Variations, from locale to locale, obscure facts such as the very few human feelings and drives – although we commonly speak as though there are a great many. If we could get at the feelings, the essential driving forces, and deal with these in a truthful, mutually respectful way, we might make progress.

However, the human ego thrives by flattering itself on its own uniqueness and sheer variation. Human beings – whether the good, the bad or the indifferent – tend to react the same. It just looks different. What make us appear so different are usually two things. First, the variables of culture, class, age, gender, race, and so on. Second, observed from within our own ‘pond’, it hardly seems possible that other ‘ponds’ are beyond our range of vision. Or, even when we meet them, we tend to see the differentiations, and not the underlying drivers.

Let us look beyond our own ‘pond’. Comparing different types of institution and looking at the nature of institutional cover up and denial can illuminate the area, and expose almost primitive, patterned and (given ever improving data bases), predictable behavioral responses. The local ‘color’ and nomenclature are different, but the essential, and very few, driving forces are the same.

Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

There has been, as in the case of the Sathya Sai Organization leaders, the persistent and scandalous cover-up at all levels in the Roman Catholic Church up to and including Popes. Those Roman Catholics who for decades have been speaking out have been subjected to attacks very much like what other whistleblowers (including many former devotees of Sathya Sai Baba) have had to endure. It is terrible and wrong. The Irish case is full of stark parallels. Sathya Sai Baba is protected at the very highest levels in India. In regard to him, we learn at first hand from very senior diplomatic sources that diplomats are instructed not to “rock the boat with India”. The fallacy that most thinking Indians would be bound to detect is the absurd conflation of Sathya Sai Baba with India! Those who have traveled extensively in India know how huge is the repudiation of him in that great but tragic country.

When one speaks to dissenters from other areas, the same presentations of cultic believers are the case – cover up, character assassination, libel and defamation, vile vituperation on the one hand and cold shunning on the other, threats to sue and other bullying tactics, working to get people fired from their jobs, families broken up, inability to discuss without poor argument and distortion of what has actually been stated, and so on.

Standing forth for truthfulness is not an easy job.

I think that it is advisable for survivors to reflect carefully before deciding whether to disclose their identities in their testimonies in a public forum, such as the internet. Some prefer to provide sworn testimony, and await opportunities to come forward in the media or in a court action where there is proper jurisdiction. Others, however, are prepared to stand forth and feel that they are making a contribution to saving others from a similar fate, and, in general, they wish to create a much better pubic awareness of the evils of sexual and other types of abuse. We know of those who have had no qualms about speaking up, even after we have carefully gone through the issues with them.

In the exposure of Sathya Sai Baba and his cult, international coordinators such as Glen Meloy (deceased), Robert Priddy, Hari Sampath (in the earlier stages) and I have had a work which we never would have wished upon ourselves …..

….. Below, Sebastian Engelbarts of The Netherlands relates his account of abuse experiences at the hands of Sathya Sai Baba. My close colleague Robert Priddy made all due effort to apprise Sebastian of what going public can invoke – as indeed is our strict practice with others in touch with us with their accounts – and the latter decided that he had the resolve necessary to withstand come-what-may.

I need hardly point out that, over several years, many testimonies have been shared with us with the request that they be kept confidential, and Robert Priddy and I (in our role of coordinators) – or others along a supportive network, often professional in background – have respected this. Other Sathya Sai Baba abuse survivors have stated that they would wish only to make public their experiences in the context of investigation by, for example, a respected organization such as the BBC, Times of London, Telegraph, The Guardian, UNESCO, Interpol, etc.’ and/or by a court of law in a democratic country.

In India, a particularly lamentable fact that speaks against religious institutions is that their scandals have often had to exposed by such courageous rationalists as the late Basava Premanand. See: Basava Premanand Long Challenged Indian Governments To Come Clean On Sathya Sai Baba and Basava Premanand. Vale. A fighter for truth who lived what others preach

But, as so commonly, Sai Baba, in word and action falsifies what he superabundantly preaches.

“Desire to which you are too fondly attached breeds anger and its nefarious brood. Discard it and you can have perpetual youth! The Aanandha that the Aathman can manifest will keep age and ageing away!” Discourse of Sathya Sai Baba, Prashanthi Nilayam, 22 Feb 1971. Published by Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust.

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

Why are Indian authorities and the Indian media so selective in exposing errant religious figures in that country? Anyone who knows a wide cross-section of Indians is well aware of the great shame they feel for the corrupt institutions in their country?

Non-resident Indians (NRI’s) are freely able to read exposing investigations about Sathya Sai Baba in major western media such as the BBC, Times of London, Daily Telegraph, Guardian, and newspapers in Europe, Canada, Australia, etc., but are prohibited from doing so in their own country.

Like Sathya Sai Baba, he has presided over social work and so forth. Some of Sathya Sai Baba’s followers who do not deny his sexual and other activities say: but look at all the good social work that he does. (Actually, one might have thought that it is his devotees that do it!). The laws of many countries, though there may be elements of mitigation, do not take any such absurd position.

I have yet to examine the issues, but fully expect, as has been the response of Sai Baba’s apologists to the mountain of evidence against him, no end of the same types of spurious, head-in-the-sand justification from devotees of the exposed gurus and malicious attacks on those who have stood forth to speak the truth, and who call – all the while at great readiness themselves to be accountable – for independent and proper third-party investigation of allegations. See my update: Why Nithyananda Sex Scandal Investigations and Not A Sathya Sai Baba Probe?

RC Abuse Priests Collared. Clergy sex revelation storms threaten worldwide After years of vast ecclesiastical cover up, many Roman Catholic sexually abusive priests have been collared, worldwide.

Some international commentators opine that there is a net of terrible revelation closing in on Pope Benedict XVI. One revelation after another indicates that he has for many years known about the endemic sexual abuses, both of children and adults, happening within the Roman Catholic Church. And that he has, all along, failed with any probity (unless it accorded with antiquated, incredibly out-of-touch notions of an ancien régime) to act. To the contrary, he has called, all along, for secrecy. A key issue is whether any ecclesiastical authority has the right to deal with crimes within its own entity. Countless sexual abuses have not been reported to the police, and strong sections within the Catholic hierarchy have triumphed in a division between Church and State that appalls most who live in a western democracy.

See companion article to this post:

Roman Catholics’ Deep Concern At Pope’s Apology. But He Is Way Ahead Of Indian ‘Pope’ Sathya Sai Baba.

The same high-handed rebuff to legal sovereignty of the secular state was, in effect, asserted by the longtime, now retired world coordinator of the Sathya Sai Organizer, Indulal Shah. See: Indian Newspaper Reports of Killings In Sai Baba’s Bedroom . One of the most responsible papers in India stated:

“When press persons met Mr. Indulal Shah, chief functionary of the Sri Satya Sai World Trust, after the murders of six young Sai followers in Sathya Sai Baba’s bedroom in 1993, Indulal Shah is reported as having said: ‘the matter is purely internal and we do not wish to have any law enforcement agency investigating into it.” (from The Hindu, 10-6-1993).

It forever echoes in my mind how a then editor of The Times of India told me privately that Sathya Sai Baba is too powerful to take on. One irony was that one of the most powerful figures on the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust – the former Chief Justice of India, P.N. Bhagawati, was at the same time on the Board of Directors of The Times of India. In fact, our group had to work extremely hard to get UNESCO senior management to cause the Press Trust of India (PTI) to make amends for publishing a gravely watered-down version of the UNESCO Media Advisory concerning Sathya Sai Baba and certain of his key officals. See:

Perhaps the day of great account will eventually come for the international Sathya Sai Organization.

At the moment, the Boy Scouts of America is under close scrutiny for its practices in dealing – and not dealing – with the sexual abuse issue. Will parents be able to trust the Boy Scouts of America organization?

Boy Scouts of America Sorely TestedIn recent articles at ‘Call For Media and Government Investigation of Sathya Sai Baba’, I have been pointing to cases in other areas which have often taken years of persistent activism by those who have exposed appalling levels of cover up by powerful institutions.

Typically found throughout all these institutions are the themes of psychological denial by the generality of followers and deliberate denial by those authorities who know the facts and go to great lengths to hide them. The amount of denigration, name-calling, distortion of what is being said, shunning, libel and defamation of those who have stood forth to reveal the facts, are also typical. They fly completely in the face of the professed ethical and spiritual teachings of those institutions, which in many cases are unexceptionable.

Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

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

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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

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Indian State High Court Blow For Swami Nityananda In Big Sex Case

Posted by Barry Pittard on June 17, 2010

As previously pointed out at ‘Call For Media and Government Investigation of Sathya Sai Baba’, the Nityananda case has had huge coverage India-wide. The battery of television cameras point and shoot at even the most trivial details, along with excited commentary.  Wealthy, influential and international though it is, Nityananda’s organization cannot bear comparison with the enormous wealth, political and religious clout of Sathya Sai Baba and his global Sathya Sai Organization.

Nityananda has spent over fifty days in jail. It has long been a commonplace in and beyond India that Sathya Sai Baba and his core servitors will never be brought to justice. A traveler round India can hear this comment quite easily. An editor of the Times of India told me privately:  Sai Baba and his people are far too powerful to take on. However, a cross-section of Indian commentary suggests a marked increase, if not a mobilization, of concern about the issues of gurudom or swamihood in India. For those who feel relieved by probing, consecutive analysis (vastly lacking in Sathya Sai Baba-proxy internet attacks on virtually all who raise questions about Sathya Sai Baba), there is lengthy and intelligent discussion in The Medha Journal, here – Lessons from The Swami Nithyananda Saga . Wednesday, 17 March 2010 18:40 by Rajiv Malhotra

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Big Story: Nityananda Verdict

By Vox Purpli – YahooINEditors – June 11th, 2010

Swami Nityananda

The Karnataka High Court delivered its verdict on Swami Nityananda’s bail plea. The 32-year-old spiritual teacher and founder of the Dhyanapeetam, faces several criminal charges including that of rape and “unusual sex”.

12th June 2010: Swami Nityananda has got conditional bail but has been instructed not to teach or preach.

11th June 2010: Swami Nityananda gets bail on Rs 1 lakh bond. No witness against Nityananda in rape case.

30th April 2010: When the CID was interrogating him, the swami’s shocking statement, “I’m not a man. There’s no way I could have indulged in sexual activities with women. Do a potency test on me,” gave a new twist to the  sordid saga.

21st April 2010: Almost a month and a half after the sex scam broke out, Swami Nityananda was arrested from Himachal Pradesh’s Solan district. At the time of his arrest, the Bangalore police found Rs 3 lakh and 2000 dollars with him.

2nd March 2010: The Swami scandal surfaced in March 2010 when a local channel aired video footage of the swami in a compromising position with a Tamil actress after he had retired from his ashram to live a life of “spiritual seclusion”.

After almost 50 days in jail, the decision on his bail plea will be taken today. Amidst allegations against Nityananda and all the controversy, some loyal devotees continue to hold onto their faith.

Swami Nityananda is not the only self-professed godman to be embroiled in a controversy; several others too have been in the news for all the wrong reasons.

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See Also

Robert Priddy

Barry Pittard

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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  

There is a Spanish version available:  

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

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Posted in New Age, Opinion, Religion, South Asia, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Nityananda, Sathya Sai Baba et al… Do Hindus Really Approve Sexual Immorality?

Posted by Barry Pittard on May 21, 2010

                                                                                 Swami Nityananda Sex Scandal. Huge, India-wide Interest

The court appearances of Swami Nityananda of India on charges of improper sexual behaviour towards a number of young women have made him the butt of outrage throughout India. Innumerable news articles, blogs, chatrooms, attest to the overwhelming abhorrence of a very broad Hindu public (what to mention other belief systems) for the types of sexual practices being referred to in the Nityananda court proceedings. 

In recent years, a top-ranking Hindu leader sent me an email (which can be verified for bona fide media and scholars who may wish to check that what networked former Sathya Sai Baba devotees and other critics claim is true). See:  Sathya Sai Baba: ‘Considerable Concern’ In Wider Hindu Community. This outstanding leader, recognized by a wide cross-section of Hindu organizations in his country, wrote:  

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

One of the greatest anomalies is that many religious institutions do not speak clearly – or very often even at all – on issues for which social taboos absurdly and dangerously flourish. The lack of genuine religious leadership and vision are palpable. The result is that lay persons frequently have to whistle-blow, and face extraordinary libel, defamation and other forms of attack because they vibrantly live those tenets that are so preached and yet so breached. In India, the dereliction of the religious institutions from facing hard moral questions is in sharp contrast to a rationalist such as the late Basava Premanand. See:  Basava Premanand. Vale. A fighter for truth who lived what others preach. For a western example, see:  In Memoriam – Glen Meloy (“Standing up for truth and goodness”)

In his article – Swami Nityananda tries the Sathya Sai Baba defense ploy, Posted by robertpriddy on May 20, 2010 – Robert Priddy, the former national head for many years of the Sathya Sai Organization in Norway, has just blogged on some recent developments in the Swami Nityananda exposure. He writes:

“So the Hindu Sangam in Malaysia evidently supports secret tantrick sexual exploits as this is not against Hinduism, for they could not have failed to note this aspect of Nityananda’s teaching. At least, it’s good to know where they really stand! One wonders if they support the practises of Sathya Sai Baba (which top Sai officials condone) such as the oiling of young male genitals. Or perhaps even also Sathya Sai Baba’s very widely testified sexual abuses from around the world, including pedophilia?” 

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By Robert Priddy

Sex scandal in Indian media – Nityananda and forerunners  

Swami ‘Paramahamsa’ Nityananda scandal – latest

HC dismisses plea for CBI probe against Nityananda 

 Nityananda sex scandal compounded by his lies and deceits 

 Basava Premanand Tribute: Indian Exposer of Sathya Sai Baba Dies 

 Nityananda sex scandal compounded by his lies and deceits

Nityananda video, lies and ’sex allegations’

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By Barry Pittard 

 Nityananda Sex Scandal Erupts in India. Sathya Sai Baba Lessons?

Nityananda Scandal. Police Seize Indicting Material. Why No Raids On Sathya Sai Baba?

 Is Heat Too Much For Swami Nityananda, Under Fire By Sex Abuse Allegations?

Why Nithyananda Sex Scandal Investigations and Not A Sathya Sai Baba Probe?

Boy Scouts of America – Sex Abuse Revelations. Who Next?

Priest Abuse. Long-denied Justice Catching Up In Australia Sexual Abuse Priests. What?! The Pope Never Knew?

Roman Catholics’ Deep Concern At Pope’s Apology. But He Is Way Ahead Of Indian ‘Pope’ Sathya  Sai Baba  

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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    

There is a Spanish version available:    

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

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Posted in New Age, Opinion, Rationalism, Skeptics, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Nityananda Scandal. Police Seize Indicting Material. Why No Raids On Sathya Sai Baba?

Posted by Barry Pittard on April 26, 2010

Why are Indian authorities and the Indian media so selective in exposing errant religious figures in that country? Anyone who knows a wide cross-section of Indians is well aware of the great shame they feel for the corrupt institutions in their country?

Non-resident Indians (NRI’s) are freely able to read exposing investigations about Sathya Sai Baba in major western media such as the BBC, Times of London, Daily Telegraph, Guardian, and newspapers in Europe, Canada, Australia, etc., but are prohibited from doing so in their own country.

One makes, though, the honorable exception of India Today. I well remember learning of how one of the journalists associated with the India Today cover story, Vijay Jung Thapa, had to have security mounted (‘close body protection’) during and for some time after he was involved in the exposure story on Sathya Sai Baba. Those among us who have great respect for the Gurka people of Nepal (of which Thapa is one) were not suprised by his courage, professionalism and tenacity in digging into the story. I see that he has now risen high as of 2008, getting the Editorship of The Hindustan Times, which has also, by the way, run an outspoken article by a former editor (although it was all too impressionistic, rather than the product of hard-nosed research) against Sathya Sai Baba.

See:  December 04, 2000 Issue COVER STORY: SATHYA SAI BABA

Test of Faith

The 75th birthday celebrations of the godman focus attention on his work ineducation, healthcare and social welfare. But allegations about sexual misconduct persist.

We do not see any detail reported in Indian media, in regard to Sathya Sai Baba such as (see below):

“A CID official said most of those who enrolled for this programme were women, and 90% were from Tamil Nadu. CID sleuths had watched a CD with more than 35 video clippings of Nityananda in compromising positions with at least five women”.

In short, why is Nityananda being investigated and not Sathya Sai Baba too? In short, someone far more powerful and influential than Nityananda, and who commands almost unimaginable wealth?

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Report from The Times of India

Godman’s flock signed ‘sex pacts’

Vinay Madhav, TNN, Apr 23, 2010, 03.06am IST

Karnataka High Court to hear ‘Sex’ guru Nityananda’s plea

BANGALORE: Nudity, sexual activity, and physical intimacy were part of the “learning and practice of ancient tantrik secrets’’ at Dhyanapeetam Ashram of controversial godman Swami Nityananda at Bidadi, near Bangalore. Nityananda was caught on camera during an alleged sex romp with an actress last month.

Bizarrely, those who volunteered for the programmes were made to sign an agreement prohibiting them from disclosing any of these details or taking legal recourse after practising “ancient tantrik secrets’’. The programme is called ‘Learning from the Master Program’.

The “non-disclosure agreements” were part of the documents seized by CID during raids on the ashram, where they seized computer hard disks, and mobiles.

One clause of the agreement, accessed by TOI, states: “Volunteer understands that the Program may involve the learning and practice of ancient tantric secrets associated with male and female ecstasy, including the use of sexual energy for increased intimacy/spiritual connection, pleasure, harmony and freedom. Volunteer understands that these activities could be physically and mentally challenging, and may involve nudity, access to visual images, graphic visual depictions, and descriptions of nudity and sexual activity, close physical proximity and intimacy, verbal and written descriptions and audio sounds of a sexually oriented, and erotic nature, etc.”

It further says: “By reading and signing this addendum, Volunteer irrevocably acknowledges that he/she is voluntarily giving his unconditional acceptance of such activities and discharges the Leader and the Foundation, and anyone else not specifically mentioned here but directly or indirectly involved in the organization, management or conduct of any such programs from any liability, direct or indirect, arising from such activities.”

A CID official said most of those who enrolled for this programme were women, and 90% were from Tamil Nadu. CID sleuths had watched a CD with more than 35 video clippings of Nityananda in compromising positions with at least five women.

 

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Related posts at Call For Media and Government Investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

 

General

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:

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

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Posted in New Age, Opinion, Rationalism, Religion, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Is Heat Too Much For Swami Nityananda, Under Fire By Sex Abuse Allegations?

Posted by Barry Pittard on April 2, 2010

In country after country, to explode vast naivety based on blind, unquestioning faith, it may take a great many major unmaskings of powerful, outwardly respectable, institutions, and  the charismatic leaders often associated with them.

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Tainted godman quits all posts of ashram

D P Satish

D.P. Satish.  CNN-IBN

Posted on Mar 30, 2010 at 08:25

Bangalore: Tainted godman Swami Nityananda has decided to step down from all posts of his ashram to lead a life of spiritual seclusion. This, after a controversial CD surfaced three weeks ago, showing him in a compromising position with a Tamil film actress.

The Swami, who has lakhs of followers in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, maintains his innocence. But his ashrams have been deserted ever since the scandals became public. His case comes up for hearing in Bangalore on Tuesday.

TAINTED GODMAN: Swami Nityanand says he wants to live a life of spiritual seclusion now.

I have decided to live a life of spiritual seclusion, for some indefinite time, to which the acharyas have agreed in principle,” said the tainted godman.

“In view of this, and to enable Dhyanapeetam to function with such amended agenda as may be necessary, I am resigning as the head of Dhyanapeetam and from all the trusts associated with it,” he added.

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See Related Barry Pittard Articles at Call For Government and Media Investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

Boy Scouts of America – Sex Abuse Revelations. Who Next?
Sexual Abuse Priests. What?! The Pope Never Knew?
Why Nithyananda Sex Scandal Investigations and Not A Sathya Sai Baba Probe?
Roman Catholics’ Deep Concern At Pope’s Apology. But He Is Way Ahead Of Indian ‘Pope’ Sathya Sai Baba
Standing Up To Cultic Monoliths. (Sathya Sai Baba Organization Example)
Nityananda Sex Scandal Erupts in India. Sathya Sai Baba Lessons?

See, too, Robert Priddy at Sathya Sai Baba Deceptions Exposed

Barry Pittard on sex abuses – Scouts, Nithyananda, Sathya Sai Baba, Pope

Swami ‘Paramahamsa’ Nityananda scandal – latest

Investigations of sex cover-ups not ’smear campaigns’

Sai Baba school closed because of reported sex abuses

Nityananda sex scandal compounded by his lies and deceits

Nityananda video, lies and ’sex allegations’

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Click here to view list of brief video clips available from the BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ documentary

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

There is a Spanish version available:

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

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Posted in Morality, New Age, Opinion, Rationalism, Religion, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Roman Catholics’ Deep Concern At Pope’s Apology. But He Is Way Ahead Of Indian ‘Pope’ Sathya Sai Baba

Posted by Barry Pittard on March 23, 2010

It is enormously instructive to watch the unfolding saga of papal apology for clergy sexual abuse. Large numbers of both Roman Catholics and others round the world have expressed deep dissatisfaction with the Pope’s apology. They say that it goes nowhere far enough, and does not address acute issues of crime and punishment. The Roman Catholic Church, like the international Sathya Sai Organization, has every reason to be afraid of sore depletions  of membership and finance, as well as moral standing in the world community.

RC Abuse Priests Collared. Clergy sex revelation storms threaten worldwide

RC Abuse Priests Collared. Clergy sex revelation storms threaten worldwide

There have been many critical commentaries from within and far beyond the Roman Catholic Church. They make it clear that there are central issues of institutional power and control that prevent far-reaching and genuine reforms from taking place. Even when the methods of statecraft far exceed the spirit or even letter of an institution’s spiritual, ethical and moral aims, it is the long history of powerful institutions to use the apparatus of legalistic and other forms of self-protection. In other words, cover up. And, at best, cosmetic reform. For a glimpse at an ancien régime swinging into action, see The Times report: Vatican moves to distance Pope from abuse scandal. Richard Owen. Rome.

 

Sorry Pope Indeed

Sorry Pope

 

What many Roman Catholics, including one of the greatest and outspoken theologians in Church history, Professor Hans Kung, and others are, in effect, asking is: why is this man so publically sorry now and not years ago, when he was cognizant of sexual abuses within his church?

The Dark Pages That Have To Be Faced

A secular example. The immediate past US President George  W. Bush’s name will stand forever darkened by his secret policy of “extraordinary rendition”, where prisoners deemed to be a threat to US security were spirited away to countries friendly to the US which routinely practise torture, so that the hands of US citizens would not personally be bloodied by the heinous acts then committed without the knowledge and consent of the American people at large.

Again, cover up. Again, acknowledgement only when the forces of exposure have reached tipping point.

Typically, among the lower orders of institutional membership, there are many who rationalize and justify an autocratic leadership’s  actions and instructions that appear to enhance or protect an institution. The rank-and-file do not act with the full knowledge, cynicism and realpolitik of those right at the nub of power. That this relative kind of ignorance, naivety, piety (or whatever form it takes) cannot, and should not, be used to plead excuse was made very clear in the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials that ran from 1945 to 1949.

What of India’s shame?

As we can see in recent weeks, there has been a public upsurge of concern at sex scandal revelations about high-powered religious figures in India. See: Nityananda Sex Scandal Erupts in India. Sathya Sai Baba Lessons? .

 
 

 

Puttaparthi Sai Baba. Will soon rule world, he says

Sathya Sai Baba will soon rule world, he says

Note: The glitter of pure gold, and immense pomp and circumstance are the order of the day at Sai Baba’s ashram at Puttaparthi. See:

It forever echoes in my mind how a then editor of The Times of India told me privately that Sathya Sai Baba is too powerful to take on. One irony was that one of the most powerful figures on the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust – the former Chief Justice of India, P.N. Bhagawati, was at the same time on the Board of Directors of The Times of India. In fact, our group had to work extremely hard to get UNESCO senior management to cause the Press Trust of India (PTI) to make amends for publishing a gravely watered-down version of the UNESCO Media Advisory concerning Sathya Sai Baba and certain of his key officals. See:

The Case of UNESCO’s Missing Media Advisory and BBC Caught UNESCO Head Bowing To Indian Government

In India, a particularly lamentable fact that speaks  against religious institutions is that their scandals have often had to exposed by such courageous rationalists as the late Basava Premanand.  See:  Basava Premanand Long Challenged Indian Governments To Come Clean On Sathya Sai Baba and Basava Premanand. Vale. A fighter for truth who lived what others preach .

Or, as anywhere in the world, by whistleblowers from’inside’ who undergo the most shameful attacks by those who proclaim to live by ‘Life, Love and Spirituality‘.

See also:

Religion and the Catholic Church Sex Abuses

Posted by robertpriddy on March 21, 2010

Ireland Acts On Clergy Sexual Abuse. India Does Not Act On Sathya Sai Baba

Posted by Barrypittard on November 27, 2009

Reputed Media and Other Agencies Decried By Sathya Sai Baba’s Defenders

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(Up-and-coming article at Call For Media and Government Investigation of Sathya Sai Baba:  Australia’s Shame …)

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Excerpt from New York Times, Agencies Report

Pope’s words of remorse fall flat for abuse victims

JOHN BURNS, DUBLIN

March 23, 2010

“POPE Benedict XVI’s weekend apology to sufferers of sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic clergy in Ireland has drawn a deeply sceptical and angry response from many Catholics.

In the apology – a pastoral letter read aloud at all weekend Masses across Ireland’s 26 Catholic dioceses and handed out in printed form to thousands of churchgoers – Benedict ex-pressed ”shame and remorse” to victims and their families for what he called ”sinful and criminal” acts by members of the clergy. But in the apology, the Pope did not require that Cardinal Sean Brady, the head of the Irish church, or any other church leaders be disciplined for their mistakes, as some victims had hoped

Nor did he clarify what critics in Ireland and elsewhere have said are contradictory Vatican rules about the procedures for investigating abuse cases and church leaders’ responsibility to inform civil authorities about offences they uncover, a duty the Pope reiterated strongly in his letter.

By remaining silent on the issue of punishment for top church figures implicated in what critics in Ireland have described as decades of cover-up, the pastoral letter appears to have done little to assuage the dismay and anger of many in Ireland at years of revelations about paedophile priests and child carers”.  NEW YORK TIMES, AGENCIES

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Click here to view list of brief video clips available from the BBC’s ‘The Secret Swami’ documentary

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

There is a Spanish version available:

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

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Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

 

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

Nityananda Sex Scandal Erupts in India. Sathya Sai Baba Lessons?

Posted by Barry Pittard on March 12, 2010

More than once, I have alluded to that India which is profoundly wonderful, but an India which has been traduced by her often immeasurably corrupt elites. Sometimes – according to presence or lack of the ‘right’ political patronage and the amounts of grubby money and other enticements at stake – the crimes of gurus are exposed but often the cover up is great.

However, there has been a big backlash against corrupt gurus in recent days. A hugely publicized sex scandal involving sex allegations against Swami Nityananda (alternative, Nithyananda) is part of the outrage. Apparently, he claims to be an avatar of Shiva, claiming 2 million devotees in 33 countries. Like Sathya Sai Baba, he has presided over social work and so forth. Some of Sathya Sai Baba’s followers who do not deny his sexual and other activities say: but look at all the good social work that he does. (Actually, one might have thought that it is his devotees that do it!). The laws of many countries, though there may be elements of mitigation, do not take any such absurd position.

I have yet to examine the issues, but fully expect, as has been the response of Sai Baba’s apologists to the mountain of evidence against him, no end of the same types of spurious, head-in-the-sand justification from devotees of the exposed gurus and malicious attacks on those who have stood forth to speak the truth, and who call – all the while at great readiness themselves to be accountable – for independent and proper third party investigation of allegations. See my update:

Why Nithyananda Sex Scandal Investigations and Not A Sathya Sai Baba Probe?

Posted by Barry Pittard on March 26, 2010

My colleague Robert Priddy, former leader of the Sathya Sai Organization in Norway, has written posts on the uproar, looking at instructive parallels and providing useful links to footage and media commentary:

Swami ‘Paramahamsa’ Nityananda scandal – latest

Posted by robertpriddy on March 28, 2010

Nityananda sex scandal compounded by his lies and deceits

Posted by robertpriddy on March 13, 2010

Nityananda video, lies and ’sex allegations’

Posted by robertpriddy on March 10, 2010

Sex scandal in Indian media – Nityananda and forerunners

Posted by robertpriddy on March 6, 2010

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Petition

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

There is a Spanish version available:

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

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