Call For Media and Government Investigation

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

Posts Tagged ‘Teaching’

A Sathya Sai Saga. Barry Pittard Recollects. Part 1

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 20, 2010

For twenty-five years, I was deeply devoted to Sathya Sai Baba. He is widely regarded as India’s most famous and most politically and religiously powerful guru. At his behest, and as an unpaid service, I taught all three years intake in the Humanities degree course at the Sri Sathya Sai College at Whitefield, via Bangalore, South India (1977-1978). In particular, quite apart from a large workload with the first two years, to have been handed the college Principal’s third year English lectures was a considerable challenge for which I shall always be grateful, especially given that this was my first teaching job, except for school experience in my teaching diploma, and my coaching at a college in Australia that helped put me through university, and having also just done post-graduate theatre training.

I had already done some work at the Sri Sathya Sai College for Arts, Science and Commerce before these classes and tutorials began; for example, my own mime performance, and a two-handed performance with an actor from New York of our condensed “Julius Caesar” by William Shakespeare for the senior boys along, and also supervised setting the foundations for a small library, apart from the main library. The ‘small library’, as it came to be called, eventually bloomed into a thriving cultural meeting-point. It gave me contact with boys from many parts of India, and has remained high among memories of a sort that a teacher cherishes. It meant excellent contact with students of very diverse socio-economic background right across the college. Generous funds were advanced so as to stock the ‘small library’ with books most likely to act as drawcards to students at diverse levels of interest and ability. I also originated an audio-visual acquisition committee consisting of the Principal of the college, D. Narendra Rao, (the late) Dr John Hislop (the then head of the Sathya Sai Organization in USA and latin America), and the film maker Richard Bock. See:

Timothy Conway Ph.D – On ‘The Hislop Letters’

Sai Baba films by Richard Bock

After years away, I returned to India in November 1997. When I arrived, boys I had taught – now grown men, many in a variety of professions – sped up and milled around. Here and in other places, there was a joy of reunion after long absence. Any fond old teacher’s heart gladdens at the sight of former students, and with rare exceptions. One feels that one has lived not in vain. There is a vital strain within India culture which holds learning, including secular learning, sacred indeed.

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This series continues at:

A Sathya Sai Saga. Barry Pittard Recollects. Part 2

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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

Posted in New Age, Opinion, Religion, South Asia, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Robert Priddy’s Views on Key Human Values in Relation To Sathya Sai Baba

Posted by Barry Pittard on December 6, 2009

In the brief article – Human Values – Sai Baba’s truncated ideas Robert Priddy, an academic philosopher at the University of Oslo for many years, and a former head of the Sathya Sai Organization in Norway, states his view of what human values are, in contradistinction to “divinely-instated values for humans” as proclaimed by Sathya Sai Baba. 

In the mind of any serious educator, especially when versed in the history of educational theory and practice, very concerning questions are raised. One of the key concerns is that, in the Sathya Sai educational undertaking, critical thinking is distinctly missing. When an English teacher at the Sathya Sai College in Whitefield, via Bangalore, South India, then Sai Baba’s premier education institution, I was alarmed at the extraordinary amount of rote learning to be seen. Swatting and regurgitation were on all sides. It was as though the great educational innovators, whether East or West, had never lived. Where were the exiting staff room discussions? Where was the meeting of minds? Where were the in-service professional development programs?  Where was there a working towards new paradigms? Rather, things were stuck in a time warp. Here or there was a teacher in love with his subject who deeply cherished the students (I think fondly of my former colleague P.K. Mohanti), but each lecturer slaved away in his own ‘burrow’. Lacking was a sense of the organic, of a meaningful community of learning. Marks and gold medals were the thing, and a wider unreformed education system in India reenforced this defecit of true learning. True, there were movements of reform in India, but the Sathya Sai setup, despite all the trumpet-blowing by those of narrow, uncritical mindsets on education, was decidedly not one of them.

In the way of innovation, I was fortunate in having the protection of the Principal (which actually meant Sai Baba), who handed over his own third year degree course to me as well as my teaching the other two years of the English course and the encouragement of the scientist and Sai Baba’s chief interpreter into English Dr S. Bhagavantham and the Board and two of my immediate colleagues, and many marvelous boys (both those devoted and not devoted to Sathya Sai Baba). But the flaws were great.

As the Sathya Sai Education in Human Values spread throughout Sai centers around the world, one could, yet again, see serious flaws. One saving grace was that contributors to the formation of the courses were international, which meant that some very antiquated teaching theory and practice got knocked aside. Since Robert Priddy and Serguei Badaev (the latter of whom was closely involved in SSEHV), both of them longtime educators, have incisively raised key questions, I shall point my readers to some of their critical work on Sathya Sai education programs. See my article: Sathya Sai Baba Critic Serguei Badaev: An Incisive Voice of Conscience From Russia

Priddy writes:

“The values according to [or against which] we act are unavoidable and essential links that tie together personal perceptions and judgements, motives and actions into the sphere of common cultural values.  They are central to grasping the motivations of our social and political life. Sai Baba promotes his own brand of ‘five human values’, which is a simple and often all too vague recipe. His biographer Kasturi writes that Sai Baba scribbled the 5 values down on the back of an envelope when Kasturi asked him to define them.  Grabbed as if out of thin air without any deeper thought, it is quite evident how shallow, rigid and incomplete they are when examined carefully and critically. They can only function at a most elementary level of teaching children, at best, for the doctrine is flawed and is badly out of step with modern thought and educational standards (outside developing nations)” .

Some Robert Priddy links on these issues

1) The Common Acceptance of Human Values
2) In what may human values consist?
3) Distinguishing and defining values
4) Human values defined in practice
5) Values and Anti-values
6) Values, character development and psychic health 
7) Inherent failings in Sai’s human values
8 ) Sai Baba’s teaching’s shortage of universal educational concepts and contents
9) Simplicity and vagueness in the service of moralism
10) The taint of intellectual and moral rigidity
11) Human justice as distinct from divine command
12) Sai Educare’s fundamentalist, doctrinaire teachings?

For still more detailed analysis of the above issues click here – SSEHV Exposed and:

Cardinal Failings in Sai Baba’s Human Values. Where the Teachings and the Teacher Go Wrong

Links for the study of Sathya Sai Education in Human Values and ‘Educare’ -and their shortcomings or failings – are found here:-

Sai_Baba_Five_Human_Values
Cardinal_Failings_in_Sai_Baba’s_Human_Values
Human_Values_as_Common_Ideals
Sathya_Sai_Educare_fundamentalist_doctrine
Sathya_Sai_Educare
Why the Sathya Sai organization is a cult

See also -:

Serguei Badaev

The Story of My Disqualification
by Serguei Badaev
(ex-President of Sathya Sai Organization, Moscow Centre, ex-deputy National Coordinator and National SSEHV Coordinator, Russia)

Badaev has written:   “Critical thinking, as one of a basic skills of character building, is absolutely opposed to the EHV and Sai Educare approaches. I think it is a threat to the Sathya Sai mini-empire. The situation is in a sense very similar to what occurred during the Soviet regime. Communist leaders needed people with good character to work hard and with enthusiasm. But the regime tried to restrict firmly (or to control) the area of application of their intellect and research skills to keep themselves safe from their analysis. The same with Sathya Sai. There is a sort of invisible circle around him where you should abandon your critical skills and submit completely to his uncertainty and mystery. Another interesting aspect of Sai education is an idea of separate education of boys and girls which is taken for granted without any serious justification”.

Barry Pittard On Serguei Badaev

Sathya Sai Baba Critic Serguei Badaev: An Incisive Voice of Conscience From Russia

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

Petition For Official Investigation Into Sathya Sai Baba Cult

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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

Posted in Morality, Opinion, Philosophy, Religion, South Asia, Theology, Theosophy, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »