Call For Media and Government Investigation

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

Posts Tagged ‘Timothy Conway Ph.D.’

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

Posted by Barry Pittard on February 16, 2010

We know that  Jaani Drucker and her husband Professor Al Drucker have long known, and indeed been the guests of, persons who carefully investigated accounts of Sathya Sai Baba’ sexual abuses of boys and young men, and other serious abuses.

yaani-drucker

In an email to me (see link just below), Jaani Drucker, who was brutally raped in a New York Sai center in February 1985 wrote:  “what happens to the body is indeed not real, and has no effect whatsoever on who we are as immortal beings inhabiting a body for a moment”.

The fact is that many boys and young men (and others who have grown older) do not share, Ms Drucker’s notion. Neither will their families and many others.

My reply to Ms Drucker is here: 

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

Posted by Barry Pittard on February 8, 2010

I wrote back to her, with no reply, so I posted the above article. Having now seen the latter, she emailed just yesterday to say: “I did not see your e-mail to me, so it must have gotten into my spam folder”. Her reply is scarcely a reply at all. Although her website states that she “has truth, will travel” and that she is happy to discuss and debate issues, she avoids responding to the issues I raised. 

Why will she not properly discuss or debate?

I would still like to know whether she sees no reason to defend the integrity of many former Sathya Sai Baba devotees for whom, over years, she and her husband had much respect for. They have long been extremely assailed – including with the assistance of prominent Sathya Sai Baba figures. Must they, too, be expected to live in the (perhaps rather Manichean) state of non-dualism which Ms Drucker in public discourse and on her website claims to be living in?

In her first email, Ms Drucker said, “As to Sai Baba – He needs no defense”. Whatever may be the case about that, it is clear from evidence from many parts of the world that boys and young men DO have, and have long had, need of defense against him. But there are those, including a number who were once in top positions in the international Sathya Sai Organization, who attest that Jaani and Al Drucker DID hear at first hand compelling testimony from families of (then) young males who have given accounts of his sexual molestation of them.

The issue is serious for most. Indeed, very keenly so for families who wish to protect their children against both harm and the bad advice that can lead to harm. In her second email to me, she writes:

“Is it necessary for a rape victim to receive professional counseling? This assumes that psychology has answers that TRUTH does not. I would disagree. In fact I would go as far as to say the only way to come into right relationship with any and all past traumas is to understand truly who we are. Then we see that nothing real can be threatened. We are all unaffectably whole and complete. When you know this at a deep level you are free of any past whether you were the victim or the victimizer. Then you have shifted out of the victim/victimizer paradigm into the God-consciousness where you know you cannot be a victim. This heals the past and assures you that you will not attract just experiences to yourself in the future”.

This is not what responsible parents will want their young to hear. It is not what mental health professionals think, aware as they are of how belief systems can be hazardously used to put survivors of abuse into states of denial.

Moreover, it strikes me that Jaani Drucker herself makes a very big assumption. Namely, that she has reached that high plateau of non-dualistic self-realization (in ancient Indian reckoning, that of advaita). Classic Eastern spiritual texts say that very few beings achieve this goal of yogic striving – (e.g., the Bhagavad Gita). 

Jaani Drucker extends such a notion in public discourse and across her website. It appears plain that Jaani Drucker is deliberately side-stepping points I put to her. Like so many well-informed Sai devotes, she entirely skirts issues but does not deny that he has long engaged in the actions that the rest of the world calls sexual abuse. In her second (just received) email, she says:

“Sai Baba has demonstrated powers of omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence. I am convinced of His divinity and that everything He does is in the service of the uplift of all. He knows the past, present and future of each of us, and He knows how to transform the world into a world of peace, love and joy for all. In order to understand Baba’s actions we have to hold the big picture… And when we know who we are, we will know a little better who Sai Baba is. So the task at hand is to know yourself, rather than spending your time trying to pin a crime on Sai Baba. However if you wish to pursue that course, Sai Baba does say Inimical Bhakti is the fastest path to truth, so I am sure it is serving the highest good.”

At a cost of great individual and family sacrifice, former Sai Baba devotees from many countries have assisted in submissions to UNESCO, the FBI, Interpol etc), and spoken out in other ways. For example, the Rahm family (formerly among the most prominent devotees in Sai Baba’s worldwide movement), went to tremendous effort in standing forth to protect young males from Sathya Sai Baba, as in their extensive testimony to the BBC and DR, submissions to the FBI, and much more. See independent British author Kevin Shepherd’s:

The Alaya Rahm Lawsuit in California (at 23.6) and

Alaya Rahm’s Lawsuit vs Sathya Sai Society of America – Joint Statement by the International JuST Group and the Rahm family 

Has Jaani Drucker nothing to say about whether in Sai Baba’s international organization there should be proper processes in place for dealing with such serious allegations made by perfectly bona fide members of the organization? Have they no rights to be protected against such dereliction of duty that has been amply demonstrated in the Hislop letters. See:

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

The Hislop letters – part one [Timothy Conway on Gerald Moreno]

The crucial John Hislop letters, Sathya Sai Baba, & Sathya’s defender Joe Moreno by Timothy Conway, Ph.D

In her earlier email, Jaani Drucker said,

“Is not the fact that He stays out in the open and has not gone into hiding, and charges have never been charged, evidence enough of His Divinity? Again, for pearls one cannot stay on the surface”.

Surely, Ms Drucker is being terribly naive. Countless offenders do not go into hiding. They prefer to tough things out. The retention of a public profile not closed to Sathya Sai Baba. He wields incredible political and religious power. There is a bleak scenario difficult to imagine for many outside India. The extent of corruption is immense. They need to count themselves fortunate that their democratic institutions tend to work more effectively. I have written of protections that the Indian power echelons afford him. See:

Why Has Sathya Sai Baba Not Faced The Indian Justice System?

Quote from this article:

“In 2001, the celebrated Indian advocate Kamini Jaiswal (who was a lawyer for the famous ‘Bandit Queen’ Phoolan Devi) attempted to mount, pro bono, a case against Sai Baba on behalf of a former Sai Baba devotee, Hari Sampath. apparently a former member of Sathya Sai Baba’s intelligence and security wing. They were thwarted in what lawyers, including eminent ones from different countries (their identities are available to bona fide investigators by writing me), have described by such terms as “a kangaroo court”. One used to democratic court procedures can hardly believe, as one reads the lawyer’s notes in transcript, that judges could be so blatant. See, Record of Proceedings document of Hari Sampath’s 2001 case against Sai Baba in the Supreme Court of India, and further comments on this case scuppered by Judges G.B. Patnaik and R.C. Lahoti with the concurrence of then Chief Justice Dr A.S. Anand”.

Sathya Sai Baba Disposed Judges Sathya Sai Baba Disposed Judges

Another example of the appallingness that can pass for Indian justice (often an oxymoron) is illustrated by the conduct of a Sai Baba devotee Judge,  Y. V. Anjaneyulu, in Sai Baba’s state of Andhra Pradesh. It is a judgement that contradicts India’s secular justice system and confounds those of our lawyer members who live in far more democratic countries than India who have seen the document. For this undeniable perversion of justice, see HERE.

In the face of all this (and so much other) testimony, where is Jaani Drucker’s compassion? Where is her sense of duty as a citizen, with responsibility towards transparency and accountability? Where does her “have truth will travel” philosophy lead to when she has so long been complicit in the workings of one of the most authoritarian cults in the world, the Sathya Sai Baba Organization?

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Select Further Reading

Will the Real Professor Alvin Drucker Be Upstanding?

Inequality before the law in India

Liberhan Commission Report, India: Names Some Long-time Close Associates of Sathya Sai Baba

Prominent Indians Berate India’s Rife Political Corruption

Will A Newer India Throw Off Old Oppressions?

India’s Chronic Addiction To Anacronistic Gurus. Any Sea-change?

India’s Painful Experience of Corrupt Leadership

Hazards For Abuse Survivors Both Timid and Bold

Video Resources

The Secret Swami (BBC Television):
(154 MB, Broadband)

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

http://home.hetnet.nl/~seduced/seduced.wmv
(21 MB, Modem)

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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

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

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Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

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

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

Posted by Barry Pittard on February 8, 2010

It is hard to convey to the general reader the extraordinary extent of appeal and significance of Sathya Sai Baba’s greater and lesser ‘apostles’. Prominent among these are Professor Alvin Drucker and his wife Jaani, who have long loomed large in the minds of the Sathya Sai Baba sect around the world. Central to this impact is a devotee psychology that goes as follows:
  
It is impossible for most to get an interview with Sai Baba or a glance or touch from him when he gives darshan (appears in public). However, by his infinite Grace, he has drawn special beings around him. As in the case of the disciples of spiritual luminaries down the ages, we at least – alleluia! – have them, the ripest apples of His eye … In their accessibility to us lies our mystical accessibility to Him.
 
Those who have seen these ‘apostles’ have, in a sense, seen the Father.
 
For some of those seen in this role, see the following articles (which contain further key links) :
 
 
For some background to this story, see:
 
 
 
At her website, under ‘Services, Products and Related Links’, yaani-druckerMs Drucker states: 
 
“Connect any time to ask questions, participate in dynamic discussions or debates on the teachings of Sai Baba, ACIM and the Torah/Bible. Our purpose will be to join in truth by sharing in the spirit of wanting only Truth and being willing to be wrong about everything we’ve taught ourselves thus far toward that end”.
Unless my reply to her contact with me (sent weeks ago) has e.g., accidentally ended up in her Spam section, I may mention that she has not responded to my (surely) courteous response (see below) to her recent email to me via my blogsite.  (After-note:  Ms Drucker has since emailed me, saying that she had missed seeing my email in her folder. I can respect this explanation, knowing that this mistake can happen. One day there may be a general solution for this problem).
 
A number of highly qualified mental health professionals have looked at Jaani Drucker’s account of her rape in a New York Sai center in February 1985. Their view is very different to Jaani’s understanding – which she puts in terms of spiritual “realization”.
 

Although Ms Drucker has at least written of her experiences in an area where most recoil from discussing their shocking experiences, there is clear professional opinion that the account she gives has strong and questionable assumptions, and which do not go near the advice professionals in psychiatry, psychology, psychotherapy etc., almost universally give to those dealing with abuse. Her article ‘Are You Ready To Stop Making The Unreal Real’ is HERE. My readers, who come from a wide array of sociocultural backgrounds, may well query whether this is the sort of reading which they would wish to see as embodying a role model, especially for the young and impressionable.  

Jnaani Drucker bears, surely, great responsibility.  She has portrayed her rape as a step to realization and advertised her wares on-line stating “Have truth, will travel”!!  Her reasoning is dangerous and close to pathological

 
Rationalization according to belief systems often leads to the driving of symptoms deeply and perilously underground. Indeed, even if a given person has somehow negotiated many of the dangers, their accounts of treating of such hold considerable risks to others who wish to follow the exceptionally unorthodox model evinced by Ms Drucker.
 
As I have suggested in my reply to Ms Drucker, there are some uncleared-up situations about information that shows that both Jaani Drucker and her husband Professor Alvin Drucker al-drucker-when-young-former-nasa-specialisthave known perfectly well – and directly so – of responsible, compelling accounts by those terribly stricken by Sathya Sai Baba’s sexual molestation of young males. Do they think that the large numbers round the world who make gut-wrenching report of his sexual abuses should resort to the Drucker approach? Indeed, as they have publicly outlined e.g., at Kingdom Hall at the ‘United Kingdom Sai Baba Retreat’, in April, 2000 …
 
Ex-head of the Sathya Sai Organization in Norway Robert Priddy comments on but one example that the Druckers should have no difficulty in recalling. See:  Top UK Sathya Sai Organization leaders left Sathya Sai Baba. He refers to a past head of the Sathya Sai Organization in the UK, Aime Levy and his wife Sandra:
“Aime later informed me that Alvin Drucker had – when pressed on the issue – confided to him and his wife while in Glastonbury. UK, years ago that one of the reasons he left Prashanthi Nilayam was because of the many American parents who used to come to his room and complain that their son or sons had been sexually abused by Sathya Sai Baba (I do have full proof of this if events should require it – responsible journalists and investigators can contact me for release of this proof material in confidence)”.
 Jaani Drucker’s note
 
The details of my rape experience can be found in Chapter 5,  Are you Ready to stop making the Unreal real? available free on my website. Perhaps it will help the reader to understand why what happens to the body is indeed not real, and has no effect whatsoever on who we are as immortal beings inhabiting a body for a moment. 

As to the rumor that Al Drucker was banished, again my take on that story can be found in the last chapter of the same book, at the same website. Things are not always as they appear on the surface. For pearls we must dive deep.

As to Sai Baba  – He needs no defense. Is not the fact that He stays out in the open and has not gone into hiding, and charges have never been charged, evidence enough of His Divinity? Again, for pearls one cannot stay on the surface.

May all beings find peace love and joy. May all the world be happy and blessed.

Barry Pittard’s Reply to Ms Drucker

Dear Jaani,
 
Thank you for your comment, and for the link to your website.
 
Your note is a breath of fresh air compared to the streams of almost unimaginable abuse, and various kinds of distortion Sathya Sai Baba’s devotees so often hurl against those former devotees who have stood forth at tremendous personal sacrifice, and indeed the serious misrepresentation by prominent leaders of the Sathya Sai Organization, including Dr G. Venkataraman, the deputy world chairman. 
 
I shall be glad to look carefully at what you have written.
 
There has long been a matter in my mind. There are those of indisputable reliability, who have known you and Al well, who have told me that you both know of the truth of the reports of young men and of various parents with compelling accounts of various forms of sexual abuse, as the law and the public would most certainly view it, by Sathya Sai Baba. Various parents have come with heart-rending abuse accounts, just as they have to others in the Sathya Sai Organization. If my informants are somehow mistaken, please kindly tell me so.
 
You mention the real/unreal topic. Perhaps you will know that, in vedantic terms, classic discussions about what is real and not real make very careful distinctions between paramarthika satyam and the “relatively real” level of truth (vyavaharika satyam). My former devotee colleague Timothy Conway Ph.D. writes clearly of this distinction in his piece that I cite below, where he discusses you. Many spiritual aspirants overlook important elements of the second understanding. Mind you, I have observed somewhere that, very correctly, the police were informed of your rape in the Sai center. In short, that those involved acted as responsible citizens in reporting the crime. There are those into forms of ‘spirituality’ who will not do this, saying, for example, that the rapist is the Lord in another form and that everything is alright. Another difficulty is that a great many survivors of rape and other forms of serious abuse do not reach out for professional counseling. My view is that no matter how far one may have advanced in any vedantic understanding, this process is a very important one – given, of course, the quality of the professional service. Would you agree?
 
In my article that you cite, I shall also be happy to point to your link, and to ensure that my article portrays the essence of your account. I can also check out what I have written in:  Ex-NASA Scientist and Wife Test Sathya Sai Baba’s ‘Grace’
 
Should you wish, I can send you my draft, before posting. Do please be assured of respectful discourse from this end.
 
Should you have time or wish to at all, please let me know whether there are any substantive misunderstandings in the following pieces that deal with your understanding of your rape, other than what you have mentioned in your Chapter 5. I can do my best to ensure that your viewpoints are properly represented. This may indeed be of help to many readers.  See, Reidun Priddy, Robert Priddy – “Two Articles In Response To Yaani Drucker’s Posting”, http://www.saibaba-x.org.uk/17/drucker.htm and Timothy Conway Ph.D. “My Concerns about Sathya Sai Baba”, http://www.enlightened-spirituality.org/Sathya_Sai_Baba_my_concerns.html and the psychologist Åsa Samsioe (who deals in her psychology practice with sexual and other forms of abuse) “The Ways of The Mind. On the rape victim Yaani Drucker’s denial and rationalization”, http://www.saibaba-x.org.uk/18/drucker.htm . Åsa in turn comments on words of a dear friend of mine, a psychotherapist, the late Elena Hartgering, whom you may remember from Puttaparthi days.
 
Jaani, I wish you Love across the great ‘divide’, and to Al likewise, whom, of course, I remember when we were both teaching within the Sathya Sai education wing – in ancient days,
 
Barry Pittard
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Further Reading
 

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

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

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Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

 

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

Questioning Sathya Sai Baba and His Global Cult Is Not A Smear Campaign

Posted by Barry Pittard on January 30, 2010

I direct my readers’ attention to Robert Priddy’s latest post, which refers to Gerald ‘Joe’ Moreno, who, for several years, has been assisted by those notable in the Sathya Sai Organization and, in some cases, closely connected with Sathya Sai Baba:  

Not a ’smear campaign’ against Sathya Sai Baba

Posted by robertpriddy on January 29, 2010

Robert Priddy, former long-time leader of the Norwegian Sathya Sai Organization and retired academic from the University of Oslo, rightly says that there is:

“a massive  smear campaign directed against me, Barry Pittard and every single critic of Sathya Sai Baba by the foremost Internet defender of Sathya Sai Baba, his organization and all persons positively connected with him. This is the work of the Las Cruces, New Mexico resident, Gerald Moreno, of no known profession or qualifications other than a huge propensity for denial of facts, obsessive attempts to insult and assassinate the characters of all against whom he takes exception. That we have not held him legally accountable is primarily due to the waste of time, energy and money it would involve to give such attention to this nonentity, whose campaign is easily seen by anyone of independent mind or common sense to be a self-defeating exercise. For example, he defends the convicted rapist and murderer, Swami Premanand, and defended Sai Baba for some years while actually believing him to be a sexual abuser (he had his own sexual molestation incident with Sai Baba, about which he is in deep denial). Moreno’s efforts only serve to increase the controversy about Sathya Sai Baba and make sure we are active in exposing Sathya Sai Baba further so as not to be swamped out by positive propaganda and smears. See A Formal Open Appeal to the ‘Prashanthi Council “

Further Reading

Joint authorship

The chief pro-Sai cult activist can be evidenced as having association with, and having been assisted by, important members among Sathya Sai Baba’s servitors. See ‘The International Sathya Sai Organization – an accessory to a massive libel and disinformation campaign
See also ‘Open letter to the Prasanthi Council – c/o Dr. M. Goldstein, Dr. G. Venkataraman and its other members’

Robert Priddy Not Exposed

Robert Priddy (Former head of the Sathya Sai Organization, Norway)

Fighting Facts with Smears – profile of a web aggressor, Gerald Moreno

Gerald Moreno and his pathological denial

International Sai Organization’s clandestine operative

On Wikipedia issue, See HERE.  Priddy has noted:

SATHYA SAI BABA’S CHIEF DEFENDER ON THE INTERNET – GERALD ‘JOE’ MORENO WAS FORCED OFF WIKIPEDIA
BY AN INDEFINITE BAN AGAINST HIM… SUPPORTED UNANIMOUSLY BY ALL SIX ADMINISTRATORS!
see the ban recorded here (Gerald Moreno = User SSS108)

In his typical deceptive way, ‘Joe’ Moreno wrote that he had “disengaged from Wikipedia” when he was actually blocked and banned indefinitely for harassing the Wiki-administrator who had already warned him, then blocked him for 24 hours. Subsequently six arbitrators voted to ban Gerald ‘Joe’ Moreno (aka SSS108) indefinitely from Wikipedia. So much of Joe’s self-imagined ‘integrity’ – nothing but a sham! He richly earned this with his many hundreds of boorish arguments and proactive entries. He repeatedly removed documented critical entries so as to suppress information and true facts about Sai Baba and worked – as usual – to undermine all critics by his slander. His companion in libel, Lisa de Witt (click here) was also thrown out of Wikipedia!

Timothy Conway, Ph.D (A former senior leader in the Sathya Sai Organization, USA)

The crucial John Hislop letters, Sathya Sai Baba, & Sathya’s defender Joe Moreno

Brian D. Steel (An Australian academic)

Diversionary Tactics by an Internet Demagogue

Evidence of an Internet Activist in Action:  Gerald ‘Joe’ Moreno

Kevin R.D. Shepherd (Independent British author on philosophical and religious issues)

Internet Terrorist Gerald Joe Moreno

Barry Pittard (Former lecturer Sathya Sai College Whitefield, via Bangalore)

Al Rahm’s Explanatory Letter To Sathya Sai Baba Internet Proxy Gerald Moreno

The Hislop letters – part one [Timothy Conway on Gerald Moreno]

Sathya Sai Baba Man Gerald Moreno and Fact-Changing

Sathya Sai Baba Man Joe Moreno’s Diabolizing Photo Alterations of Sai Baba Critics

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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

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

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Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

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

Cultic Behaviour and Lack of Accountability (Sathya Sai Organization Example)

Posted by Barry Pittard on December 22, 2009

In mid 1982, at Puttaparthi, I spoke to two prominent devotees about concerns being raised sub voce that Sathya Sai Baba had been engaged in sexual activities with young males. One of the reports was that he been involved in such activities since he was young, and that this was quite common knowledge within Puttaparthi and district. 

The two were Richard Bayer, then a high official in the Sathya Sai Organization, organization, and (the late) Howard Murphet, Australian journalist and renowned author of several books on Sai Baba. Murphet was typically gracious but Bayer was shockingly rude, chastising me for daring to breathe such a topic, then turning angrily on his heel and striding away. Bayer’s deplorable behaviour implied that one may not, with any trust, raise issues with Sathya Sai Baba’s handpicked leaders. 

I have since heard from  a series of reliable sources that Richard Bayer has been high-handed with many other followers of Sai Baba in general. Indeed, many Sai devotees realize and quietly lament the highly egotistical nature of some of the leaders Sai Baba appoints, passing it off as “Baba’s Leela,” and a test of the tolerance of the devotees, and the like. It is also said that he has left the Sathya Sai Organization.

Like many other top-level leaders of the Sathya Sai Organization, Richard Bayer has much to answer for in general. For example, we have clear documentation that Bayer was one of the officials present at times when reports alleging sexual molestation of males were presented to Dr Hislop and others. We have written evidence that, as far back as 1980-1, when regional director, Richard Bayer told the mother of one abused male youth that the boy was lying. What was this – no pause to consider that a mother may know her son well?

In the face of serious accusations, responsible organizations have proper processes. As though to waste my breath, I raised this point with T. Sri Ramananthan, for many years head of the Australian Sathya Sai Organization, yet another individual known for his ruthless, autocratic treatment of devotees. He too would hear none of what is, after all, uncontentious proposition. His draconian treatment of a loved spiritual coordinator in South Australia, Stephen Carthew, I have recently written of:  Stephen Carthew, A Voice of Testimony From Australia, On The Dangers of Cults.

My colleague Robert Priddy, former head of the Sathya Sai Organization, Norway, and retired academic from the University of Oslo, has recently again been looking at what we have come to refer to as the Hislop letters. These are essential documents for any serious investigator to analyse with the greatest of care. In its investigation, the BBC – which traveled to the USA and India in the research phases that led to ‘The Secret Swami’ – treated these letters very seriously, although there have been scurrilous attempts to try to distort the facts about them:

Sathya Sai Organization’s abuse cover-up & unaccountability

Letter by John Hislop to Sathya Sai Organization leaders

Revealing letters on sexual abuse claims by Dr. John Hislop

The Hislop letters – part one [Timothy Conway on Gerald Moreno]

Timothy Conway, Ph.D

The crucial John Hislop letters, Sathya Sai Baba, & Sathya’s defender Joe Moreno

(c) Copyright 2007, by Timothy Conway, PhD

Barry Pittard

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

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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

 ——————————————————

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

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Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

 

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

Most Former Sathya Sai Devotees Respond Without Hatred

Posted by Barry Pittard on September 26, 2009

Former followers of Sathya Sai Baba have noticed recurring features in the notes of Sai Baba defenders who write to us. The most common, by far, is reference to his purported miracles. This tendency is evident in writers whether more sophisticated or uneducated. This despite the advice of a great many spiritual teachers (including Sathya Sai Baba) of various traditions who say not to get hung up by phenomena such as miracles.

Another common trait revealed is extreme attachment for Sathya Sai Baba’s form, which he himself has often also referred to as an obstacle to spiritual development.

As pointed out in the article  Reply To Sathya Sai Baba Defender, most former devotees – leaving aside those few who have much-to-be regretted bad manners – do not respond nastily.

Two writings that would invite the description: grace and self-restraint whilst under fire are by Timothy Conway Ph.D. and Al Rahm (both former prominent leaders in the Sathya Sai Baba movement). See:

The crucial John Hislop letters, Sathya Sai Baba, & Sathya’s defender Joe Moreno

Al Rahm’s Explanatory Letter

When those who are now former devotee were engaged in their transitional discovery process – for example, speaking to individuals and famililies with shocking accounts of abuse by Sathya Sai Baba and/or some of his core servitors – they came up with the same questions that some devotees would now aim at them. And, at an earlier stage, when unquestioning devotees, they used the same defences of Sathya Sai Baba when questions were raised by others.

Here is a quite typical note from a defender of Sathya Sai Baba, and the reply from one who is no longer partial to him. The writer had written a number of emails to the recipient, who did not retaliate to any of the points. Some of the language of the other emails was couched more unkindly than anything in the following. The former devotee responded because of the basic decency and sincerity, nontheless, of the person who wrote:

“All your articles written on your websites ( Anti-Sai Baba) seem to be an old type of fairy tales similar to what we have been seeing as a kid in our kindergarten days. The difference in presentation lies in its depth, of hate and malice. The idea of molest is a great hoax to discredit Swami, that’s for sure. When you compare Baba’s materialization of vibuthi and other manifestation as a stage show similar to what magician can do, is very puzzling. Swami’s divine manifestation of vibuthis and other religious artifacts etc;  in various part of the world is a fact. How do you answer to that? There is no need for anyone to cheat on this. It’s a world wide phenomena going on for decades. It’s not a simple paranormal activity. What about prayers? How do you answer to those prayers which Swami has responded to his devotees? How could this be possible, if not for His divine grace? Do not make sweeping allegations. Swami teaches love, not hate. Do take care”

Response (by former longtime devotee of Sathya Sai Baba, who had considerable responsibilities in his service)

“I think that I understand your harsh judgements on us and the driving of very important questions. For many former devotees have had to raise, amid great anguish, the same issues that you raise. Many of them spent years of great devotion for Sathya Sai Baba and dedicated service in the various wings of his organization. How there can be such an incredible anomaly between the uplifting experiences which you have mentioned – which many former devotees have also experienced – and the stark opposites is a very great mystery.

However, what may appear as hatred in the eyes of one devoted is not hatred. It is speaking out the facts as we have best been able to determine them.No doubt,reading such claims can be very upsetting for devotees. That is most understandable. Some have viewed it as a challenge to their own sadhana of calmness and steadfastness.

One of Sathya Sai Baba’s key teachings – and that of many spiritual teachers down the millennia, as you will be aware from your 34 years of sadhana – is to learn to distinguish the form from the formless. When we human beings become defensive about the form, does it not mean that we are very attached to it?

I notice in your prior emails that you have made much of the miracles, and yet Sathya Sai Baba, in his spoken words, has placed a very small value on them. Do not we human beings also become very attached to such manifestations, which are rupa (embodiment), as well.

Do you not think that many former devotees pray? And have lovely spiritual experiences? If we were to be motivated by hatred, do you think that I would write to you (just as other former devotees write to devotees who have written to us) with patience and respectfulness?

Many sweeping allegations, including your own, have been made about large numbers of former devotees, including, I may repeat, some who were important and much-respected leaders in the Sathya Sai Organization, who continue to be loved and respected in their various walks of life”.

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Timothy Conway Ph.D on: The Crucial John Hislop Letters

Posted by Barry Pittard on July 24, 2008

Very few former followers of Sathya Sai Baba have responded to the extraordinary attacks on the integrity of those many who have left him, having made their own enquiries.

These attacks continue year after year.

The ex-devotees do not at all agree with everything that has been written against their former teacher or his cult, and deeply deplore those writings against him, or his international Sathya Sai Organization, whose language is heated and contains nasty put-downs of those who defend Sathya Sai Baba or his devotees viewpoints.

Most serious Sathya Sai Baba followers and most former followers are good and decent people. They have long been noted as being so in their jobs, places of study and communities at large.

Agreeing with a person’s right to their opinion is very far removed from agreeing with that opinion. What one has seen in some of the forums has been enough to make one not want to read them – and this is surely true of the offerings by the hotheads of either side.

Therefore, atttempts at the classic ploy of ‘guilt-by-association’ is reprehensible indeed.

And no doubt, most Sathya Sai Baba devotees, inasmuch as they view these related topics on the Internet, are appalled by the shocking departure by the main pro Sathya Sai Baba defenders from civil discourse. There is extensive resort to poor arguments, distortion of contexts and character assassination. Likewise, most former Sathya Sai Baba devotees find abhorrent the crudeness, nastiness and vilification evinced by an extremely small minority of former devotees.

Former devotees who have named key servitors of Sathya Sai Baba (as indeed have I) do not sink to ad hominem arguments, which are distinguishable from playing-the-man by requiring accountability from those who have major public roles in the Sathya Sai Organization and who should be held accountable. Naming an individual and asking for answers can only be mistaken for ad hominem by those who distort deliberately or else out of extraordinary ignorance.

One of the very few who have responded (not in the discussion forums etc., but in the locales listed in the links below) – on a particular issue – is Timothy Conway Ph.D.

This was because it involved, as he uniquely is able to do, authenticating vital documents that the Sathya Sai Organization heads (such as Dr John Hislop and Dr Michael Goldstein), since 1982, in the USA never intended its membership, let alone the world, to see. His reply to an vehement antagonist is of the quality that one would like to see excercised by any Satha Sai Baba follower or ex-Sai Baba follower whose integrity had been assailed. Indeed, this same quality of decency and moderation of language has been shown by some of Sathya Sai Baba’s former students who have testified that he is not guilty of the terrible allegations that have been made, worldwide, against him.

Some Key Documents

Timothy Conway’s Update

Timothy Conway PH.D confirms the Hislop letters

Formal statement provided to Exbaba.com by Timothy Conway Ph. D. concerning the Hislop letters

Click here to access Timothy Conway’s website

An article in which Timothy Conway outlines many key issues

Posted in Religion, Sai Baba, Spirituality, Uncategorized, World Religions | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

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

Posted by Barry Pittard on December 18, 2007

Before resigning in February 2001 – following his investigation of allegations of Sai Baba’s multi-faceted abuse – Timothy Conway Ph.D had been a respected member of the US Sathya Sai Baba movement (president of the large San Francisco center and a liaison-consultant for Northern California in the early to mid-1980s), as well as a longtime member of Santa Barbara, CA, Sai Center since 1988 (in addition to hosting the local Ammachi satsang and his own spiritual groups). Timothy’s key interest has been comparative East-West spiritual traditions, not just emphasizing intellectual expertise but concerned with actual living of the insights and precepts. An independent scholar with a background in psychology, Timothy is a respected lecturer and author of several outstandingly well-reviewed books (Women of Power And Grace and the forthcoming two-volume India’s Sages and other works). See his well-written and wide-ranging Enlightened Spirituality website for much more, details below.

Timothy Conway has just released (December 2007) his clarification of points raised about very indicting letters that were circulated (see dates, etc., in the scans listed below) to peak leaders of the US Sathya Sai Organization by former head, the late Dr John Hislop. This December 2007 update is the first reference in the links below, listed under Resources.

timothy-conway-phd-2005.jpgTimothy Conway, Ph.D, 2005

Authenticity of The Hislop Letters

Assisted by trusted former devotee networks, many of whose members had long previous association with Sathya Sai Baba and his movement, Timothy Conway investigated some of the abuse allegations, most notably, serial sexual molestation of boys and young men, after which he resigned as a matter of principle, an action taken by many worldwide, and indeed, though the occasion was different, a repeat of history, except that after 2000 the exit was on a far larger scale, when members had earlier left because of the strong signs of a profound cover up by Sai Baba and his officials and Indian central and state governments at the time of the June 6, 1993 police killings in Sai Baba’s bedroom. 

The Hazards of Speaking Out

As invariably happens when speaking up about Sai Baba or his global cult, the Sathya Sai Organization, Timothy Conway has been attacked – but not of course by those who have respected him down many years as a man of integrity, love, and care for others. He has made public – including (in April 2004) to the BBC in its preparatory and intensive researches of several months for its documentary The Secret Swami (June 2004), what have become known as ‘The Hislop Letters’ (See links below). At my request, he also made a notarized sworn testimony as to the proper provenance of the letters, which had come into his possession via his precessor, see below)

Hislop Letters Further Evidence of Failure of Duty Of Care and Accountability By U.S. Heads of Sathya Sai Organization

Courteously and with great patience, Timothy Conway has recently responded to attacks on the authenticity of these letters, and on himself personally.

The letters indicate that foremost leaders of the Sathya Sai Baba Council of America, such as Dr Michael Goldstein, Bob Bozzani, Phyllis Kristal, Richard Bayer, Dr William Harvey and others have long known (at least since early 1981 when the memos were written) of the sexual abuse allegations, but not acted with duty of care and other forms of accountability. The wider membership in both the USA and other countries were kept in the dark. Still further, given that they have been told by Sai Baba not to look at dissenting views of him on the Internet, many remain in that dark.

Most Former Devotee Dissenters Do Not Respond To The Attacks

Most former devotees will not respond to attacks on themselves, and have spent years of spiritual practice aimed at rising above nastiness, vindictiveness and various type of falsity. Especially because of the extreme fanaticism of certain of pro Sai Baba apologists, they prefer to share their evidence with bona fide, third party investigators of repute, such as the world’s most responsible media, UNESCO, governments, law enforcement agencies such as Interpol and FBI, leading religious and civic institutions, academics researching the Sathya Sai Baba phenomenon, etc. The obstacles to getting convictions have been stupendous. Indeed, former members of other powerful groups have found the same difficulties – for example, patterns of denial, cover up, slander, libel, shunning, harassment, suppression of evidence, misrepresentation of the viewpoints of those who have spoken out about abuse by guru and cult, and so forth.

Around the world, the good name of many former devotees like Timothy Conway was not at stake when they were Sai Baba followers – often for decades of dedicated service – and is not indeed at stake in their professions, trades and wider communities.

Resources

Timothy Conway’s Update (referred to at beginning of this blogpost)

Earlier documents

Timothy Conway PH.D confirms the Hislop letters

Formal statement provided to Exbaba.com by Timothy Conway Ph. D. concerning the Hislop letters

Click here to access Timothy Conway’s websitetimothy-conway-website-banner.jpg‘Enlightened Spirituality’

An article in which Timothy Conway outlines many key issues, in historical perspective – including acute spiritual concerns and personal resolutions – relating to dissent from Sathya Sai Baba. I highly recommend this article as a mature, clear, very readable account.

The Sun Magazine Interview by Arnie Cooper, 2003, Issue 328

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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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Call for media and government investigation of Sathya Sai Baba

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Dr Timothy Conway’s Summary of Ullrich Zimmermann Interview

Posted by Barry Pittard on January 27, 2007

Here is a summary shared with me by Timothy Conway Ph.D of Part 2. of Ullrich Zimmermann’s three-part interview which describes inappropriate sexual conduct – including getting Ullrich to suck his penis – towards him by Sathya Sai Baba at: http://blip.tv/file/127606 .

(The remaining material is at:

http://blip.tv/file/125164 .  Part 1. and: http://blip.tv/file/127950 . Part 3). I have asked and received Dr Conway’s permission to post his summary).

From Santa Barbara, USA, author of several books and many learned papers, Dr Conway has specialised in Social Science and in comparative religions of the East and West. You can check out his extremely comprehensive, multi-faceted website, http://www.enlightened-spirituality.org –which also has a long, specific page rebutting SSB’s various “true believer” defenders and clarifying different truth-levels at: www.enlightened-spirituality.org/Sathya_Sai_Baba_my_concerns.html

Dr Conway is a former well-respected leader in the Sathya Sai Organization, leaving it, like many others, including prominent leaders, after carefully investigating allegations by under-age males or in some cases their families who gave compelling accounts of sexual abuse by Sathya Sai Baba.

On a separate but germane issue, see the following links. These relate to Dr Conway’s sworn statement verifying the provenance of the implicating internal letters of the late Dr John Hislop that show a) a mix of psychological denial, dereliction of duty-of-care, and b) a cover-up by Hislop and those circularized from their own congregations: See links here and here.

Dr Timothy Conway’s summary:

“All words in quotations are the exact words that Ullrich Zimmermann uses in his video interview:

In a video-filmed interview of seven years ago but not previously released, Ullrich Zimmermann, strongly heterosexual and not at all gay, tells his account of SSB’s “white tantra” with him at age 21; he describes how SSB in each of his first two interviews raised his orange robe and wanted Ullrich to suck on his penis. Ullrich’s mother, who he told of the episodes, was a devotee of SSB and Ullrich totally “trusted” SSB to do the right thing for him, and had heard something about the tantra tradition, so he went along with SSB’s wishes. On the first occasion, SSB kissed him fully on the mouth after rubbing Ullrich’s stomach and chest area with oil that he materialized. Ullrich felt “awkward” over the kiss. SSB took his hand to SSB’s groin area and had him feel SSB’s crotch through his orange robe; the first time it felt like a female; the second time like a male. Ullrich felt at the time that SSB was trying to thereby indicate that this was not about sex. Then SSB pulled up his own robe and requested Ullrich to suck on his erect penis. Again, Ullrich trusted SSB and did it dispassionately for about 90 seconds. Ullrich did not notice any ejaculation and did not see SSB appearing very involved in the act; he appeared “remote.” Then the experience was over and so was the interview. Afterwards, Ullrich says he felt “dumbfounded,” and rationalized it as “white tantra.” Some 30 minutes later he began to feel completely elated with spiritual joy. Ullrich says that SSB had said that he would “completely change him” and sure enough Ullrich, strongly heterosexual and “filled with testosterone,” no longer felt attracted to women’s “tits and butts” after this. Ullrich says that the two sexual experiences with SSB were very “awkward” for him. On the second occasion, he pulled away from sucking on SSB’s penis after only a short time, feeling the whole thing awkward. Upon pulling away, Ullrich saw out of the corner of his own eye a vector of light shooting off in a direction from the angle of the penis, and he felt that this vector of energy was meant for him, i.e., as an energetic shakti empowerment, “a very giving and tantric experience.” For legal purposes, it is noteworthy that Ullrich describes in detail SSB’s anatomy–hairless legs and genitals, with a “childlike penis.” Also noteworthy is that Ullrich on his second interview asked SSB about his brother Peter. SSB at first didn’t know that Peter had died, but nonchalantly said, “He’s fine, he’s fine.” But when Ullrich told him Peter had died, SSB fell silent for about 5 seconds, then said, “Drugs. Bad company, bad company.” Which was true. Peter had become a daredevil, did drugs–his lifestyle was evidently induced by associating with “bad company.” There would be for Ullrich a total of 5 interviews, 2 rings and an amulet materialized, but sex only on the first two interviews. Ullrich reflects on his experiences and says he doesn’t feel “abused” or that SSB was harming him. He feels that SSB totally changed his personality, opening him up energetically. Ullrich says that years later he disconnected from SSB, feeling that, beyond all the interesting energy experiences, SSB doesn’t help people become truly spiritually liberated and God-realized, “becoming your own master in your own Divine power.” Ullrich also expresses concerns about the male youth even younger than himself who are having these experiences in what is evidently being cryptically called “the banana club” around SSB. Zimmermann makes mention of meeting face to face at least one other male youth who had these sexual advances made upon him by SSB”.

Note: A very useful, quite detailed page by Robert Priddy on the Ullrich Zimmermann interviews has just gone up at: http://home.chello.no/~reirob/Z/index.htm

For Online Viewing and/or Dowloading

Resources

The Secret Swami (BBC Television) Broadband 154 MB

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

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Posted in Morality, Neglected/sidelined News, Religion, Sex, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »