THE SATHYA SAI ORGANISATION'S DECEPTION AND PROPAGANDA EXPOSED
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THE INEVITABLE COLLAPSE OF CALUMNY
[by Dr. G. Venkataraman]
[text in black from http://media.radiosai.org/Journals/Vol_04/01JUL06/collapse-of-calumny.htm
Radio Sai Listener's journal: Volume 4 - Issue 07 JULY 2006]The foes of the 'open society' (Sir Karl Popper's term) are those who use its very openness to achieve their closed and devious ends. Sai Baba and his highly authoritarian and cultist organisation have such ends, which critics have tried to make known. Its foremost leaders silence all those who question it - and never face substantive criticisms. For the first time - after six years of pained and guilty silence - since hundreds of long-term devotees left it in disgust - the Sathya Sai Organisation has found it necessary to try to defuse the debate about Sathya Sai Baba's alleged crimes, deceits and fraudulence. Dr. Venkataraman's tendentious cover-up article expresses untruths which have long circulated within the cult, giving an opportunity to confront him with facts and truth, as follows:-
Venkataraman's text in black normal font - Comments by the undersigned are in bold blue text.
Readers might recall that sometime ago, we made a special announcement over both Radio Sai and in Heart2Heart, entitled Truth Always Triumphs. At that time, we promised we would give full details later. The time has come to do that.
We hope you would take time off to study this article carefully, and encourage others whom you know to do so. Our main purpose in making this request is to enable you to appreciate how complex the Divine Drama is and how it always goes through ups and downs, all entirely by Divine design!
In the worldwide Sathya Sai Organisation, Dr G. Venkataraman is second in command only to Dr Michael Goldstein, Head of the Prashanthi Council. It is noteworthy that such a high-ranking figure in an extremely publicity-shy organisation has twice referred, in a newsletter read round the world, to Alaya Rahm's lawsuit against the directors of the Sathya Sai Society of America. He is a "true believer"
1- and nothing that Sai Baba ever does can be, for him, questioned or other than pure and just!
In this context, it is well to remember that when the Anantapur Drinking Water Project was in progress, the Central Trust which was executing the Project, had to borrow money from banks, because it was short of cash. On the face of it, this might appear very strange. God is the source of all wealth; how come He has to borrow, when He comes down in human form? Surely, there must have been a reason.
Comment: Despite Sai Baba and his worldwide organisation's constant claims to be extremely frugal with money, their extravagant promotions belie the truth of their claims. There are wasteful projects galore 2. For example, there are museums and other lavish buildings simply to glorify Sai Baba himself. See for yourself here 3. What Venkataraman cannot contemplate is that Sai Baba overestimated how much he could spend!
Obstacles, obstructions and oppositions there always will be even when one tries to do good. The Ramayana has many illustrations of that. But the same Ramayana also tells us that with purity any obstacle can be overcome. That is also the inner meaning of the folklore about Siva drinking the poison that emerged when the Devas and the Asuras churned the Cosmic Ocean looking for nectar.
Comment: This shows how ardent believers in Sai Baba often operate within an ancient and subjective belief system from which to interpret everything that happens today. Over six decades of Sai Baba's preaching his doctrine and rituals remain essentially an adapted form of Hinduism but one rejected by a wide cross-section of Hindus. Many speak of Sai Baba's vast pomp and ceremony as, for example, "a national circus". His perpetual focus on Hindu scriptures belies the much-promoted claim of his mission's 'universality' (i.e. the 'Sarva dharma' 'message', which asserts the equality of the world's major religions).
Now that it is all over, (Comment: What's all over, the Ramayana era?) we request that you reflect deeply, even as you read some of this historical material, which necessarily is influenced by the sentiments of the times. However, in a historical context, we must leave aside the background of momentary passions and look objectively at how the drama started, how it evolved and how it concluded. Such reflections can give us much food for thought!
Comment: Venkataraman and Sai Baba's other leaders have failed to look with even remotest objectivity at the reasons so many have left the Sathya Sai Organisation. Unconscionably and repeatedly, its leaders have refused a proper hearing to those anguished individuals and their families - or many former members - who have told them about Sai Baba's sexual and other abuses. These leaders have not been truthful about the integrity of those former devotees and their rightful - and righteous - claims. This cultic aspect of the Sathya Sai Organisation alerts third party investigators, such as the world's most responsible media, to the credibility of the former devotees' claims. Journalists and their research teams quickly notice the secretive, evasive nature of Sai Baba and his leaders.
Leading media and other organizations such as UNESCO and the U.S. State Department have been very stringent in their expectations of sound evidence from organised former devotees around the world. Those who have researched the worldwide allegations against Sathya Sai Baba include the BBC, DR (Denmark), ATUL (Argentina), SBS (Australia), ABC (Australia), and print media in India, the UK, Europe, Scandinavia, Canada, Australia etc. They quickly discovered for themselves the dishonesty and elusiveness of Sai Baba and his leaders. For example, this was why the BBC's legal department permitted its 'The Secret Swami' team to clandestinely film Dr. Michael Goldstein, allowing millions in many countries to see him show no respect for the accountability and transparency that citizens and responsible organizations today expect. They also saw Goldstein act nastily 4 in a way that is the very antithesis of a spiritual leader.
It suits Venkataraman - who refers to Goldstein as "Brother" to suppress this telling aspect, as he also does with other self-damning statements by Sai Baba and Isaac Tigrett in 'The Secret Swami' 5. The BBC interviewer Tanya Datta says to Tigrett "But even if it was proven to you that Sai Baba was a paedophile and a serial sex abuser, you're saying it wouldn't change the fact that he is your guru". Tigrett replies, "Absolutely not. Absolutely not. He could go out and murder someone tomorrow…"
We have made every endeavour to maintain high standards, and hope we have succeeded.
Comment: "High standards" would include acknowledging a fact of great ethical and moral importance. This is that many honourable devotees once in high standing in the Sathya Sai Organisation have done their best to see that those making the allegations are properly and fairly heard. Those who have investigated and spoken out include those who held prominent roles, such as Rick Raines, Richard Nelson, Al Rahm, Shirley Pike, Ella Evers, Dr. Timothy Conway, Glen Meloy, Serguei Badaev, Dave Lyons, William Lo, Hariram Jayaram, Terry Gallagher, Stephen Carthew, David Bailey, Britt-Marie Anden, Conny Larsson etc.
In the absence of proper and, these days, typical standards of organisational openness and accountability, there has been a large and principled exodus from the Sathya Sai Organization. Why do Goldstein, Venkataraman and the other key leaders conceal this from their congregations, and those political or religious leaders and the wider public they try so hard to cultivate and fetch to their keynote events?
It is not surprising, then, that the unaccountable ashram authorities and International Chairman met their match when they ejected the BBC for asking reasonable questions after filming there. The result was a worldwide exposure of the cultist nature of it all. Every major British newspaper reviewed the documentary as being well-balanced and revealing journalism! 6TRUTH ALWAYS TRIUMPHS
TRANSCRIPT OF A SPECIAL BROADCAST ON THE ALAYA RAHM CASE
By Prof. G Venkataraman
Comment: The fact that an organisation as secretive as Sai Baba's has now been forced to speak about the Alaya Rahm case on its international radio program and on its Heart2Heart website shows how heavily under siege it is. For years the leaders have failed to confront, or in any serious manner to refute, the many testimonies about Sai Baba's abusive sexual behaviour. They ignore cogent criticisms of his many published untruths and of his ignorance of basic facts in the history of religion, general and nuclear physics, astronomy, geology, medicine, etc 7
This picture of desperation intensifies when we observe the enormously costly, and previously forbidden, promotional/recruiting efforts the organisation conducts using donated funds in various countries where they always play down all Sai Baba's many unfortunate character traits and fraudulent statements. One may mention their recruiting drives made at great expense in the hire of the most prestigious venues - such as Cooper's Union, New York; La Mirada Theatre; Los Angeles County, Hilton Ballroom; Sheraton Hotel & Towers, both Chicago; Copley International Conference Center, San Diego; Town Hall, Melbourne; Super Dome, Sydney, etc. 8
But Venkataraman, with back-up from the facile attorney Robert Baskin now dares come out into the open, mistakenly asserting that the Alaya Rahm's self-dismissal of his case against the Society is a triumphant vindication of the Sai forces.Case Against Swami Withdrawn
Loving Sai Ram and greetings from Prashanti Nilayam. I presume that by now you would have either heard our special announcement over Radio Sai or seen our special message sent via the Sai Inspires service, about how Truth Always Triumphs. I am referring to the case filed in a California Court based on false allegations against Swami that was subsequently withdrawn by the plaintiff 'with prejudice', meaning that the plaintiff cannot file that case again in any Court in America or in India.
Comment: In a statement by the Rahm family, their attorney and the International JuST Group 9, we read: "No court found Alaya's allegations to be false. Simply, the suit could not continue on a technicality, and the claims of sexual abuse stand irrefutably true, just as before". Dr. Venkataraman is himself making a false allegation! Attorney William Brelsford Esq., seeing formidable legal obstacles set by the defendants, and not least working against a statute of limitations deadline, advised Alaya Rahm to self-dismiss the case. Along with other difficulties encountered, his attorney has explained, June 29th, 2006, to Alaya Rahm and his family:
"We were successful at the demurrer stage in establishing that a duty would be owed by the Society in the event they sponsored and/or endorsed the trips that Alaya went on when he was abused by Sai Baba. As it turns out, the Society is not the "hub" of all of Sai Baba's corporate activities. Rather, the Society, pursuant to declarations under penalty of perjury, confirmed they are a bookstore... nothing more. Accordingly, we do not have the necessary factual requirements to establish liability on the Society/Book center."
Today, I would like to offer some reflections on this event. I feel this "closure" is required because in a sense, we owe this to many who have repeatedly written to us expressing their deep concern about attacks on Swami, and asking us to do something about it.
Comment: Criticisms, however sharp, are not 'attacks'! What Sai devotee does not know that the Sathya Sai Organisation in the USA is far more than a bookstore? Where is the truthfulness that they claim as one of their core values?
Those around the world - victims, families, and their supporters - also want closure. But, in dereliction of its duty of care, the Sathya Sai Organization has refused fair and reasonable treatment of those who have come to them and given shocking accounts of various forms of abuse at the hands of Sai Baba and some of those around him. Many more victims have held back, realizing the futility of finding support from the organization.
Before I start, I think I should say something about my own views on the matter. There are many who have always wondered why we are not responding when Swami is being tarnished. On the other hand, there is a small minority that has always felt: "Let the dogs bark. Why bother?" I take a slightly different view of the matter; my own feeling is that we here can neither remain completely aloof nor be continually belligerent and go on the counter offensive at the drop of a hat. We are of the opinion that depending on the circumstances, different responses are needed at different times, to suit the occasion.
Comment: Former devotees are not "dogs" that "bark". Sai Baba and his leaders know this well. That they do not disclose key facts to devotees is reprehensible. The allegations come from many who are held in high esteem for their integrity, skill and human decency, and who have given many years of devoted service and financial contributions to the ideals which Sai Baba has preached but betrayed.
It is not a matter of being "aloof" or "belligerent" or anywhere in between. It is about listening with commonsense and common decency to those many decent persons in many countries who have made the allegations. Refusal to have proper mechanisms in place for the hearing of complaints has put the Sai Organization in the rear guard in today's demand for accountability. On April 3, 2003, the then Australian head of the Sathya Sai Organisation of Australia, T. Sri Ramanathan, phoned to threaten dire legal consequences for me, Barry Pittard - (all bluff and bullying, of course) if I did not "cease and desist". I suggested that any organisation, including his, is wise to have a workable complaints mechanism, otherwise unaddressed grievances are bound to create problems. He said I was "clouding the issue" and that the only issue was "Swami's glory". There was no need, he said, for such a mechanism in the Sai Organisation, which is "special and different to any other organisation." It was, he said, "a divine organisation".
Survivors of abuse will not share their stories with those who do not show them love, respect and understanding - or at least some degree of professionalism.
Former devotees have put in many years of devoted service and made financial contributions to the ideals that Sai Baba has preached but betrayed. That Sai devotees can relegate this knowledge to some penumbra of their conscience does not speak well for them. Naturally, Chapter 4 of George Orwell's "1984" will never be an item in a Sathya Sai Study Circle. It is about the stifling of conscience in a totalitarian milieu. As an antidote to the cultic grip, those leaving the Sai Organisation might well consider reading it.
Let me begin with the general observation that both the good and bad that we see in this world are part of a ceaseless Cosmic Shadow Play. At the objective and Spiritual level, we certainly must be detached, recognising both good and evil as a part of this endless Divine Drama. Yet, at the worldly level, we simply cannot march ahead ignoring the background noise. We have a role to play, and play that role we must; only, we must take proper care to ensure that whatever we do is done properly, as God would want us to. In passing, I might add that we plan shortly, to offer additional perspective about all this in H2H. So maybe you should look out for that also.
Comment: Many Sai students, both Indian and foreign, went to David Bailey both during and after he taught Music at Sai Baba's Puttaparthi university. He has recorded that they related to him anguished stories of Sai Baba subjecting them to major homosexual abuses. Under conditions of great confidentiality, former students, staff and others contact former devotees, including ourselves, both in India and abroad, with their accounts.
There is repeated confirmation that most leading Indian Sai officials and teachers know of the abuses. Some of them are recorded as making statements such as, 'Svami can rape and kill if he likes, he is God!' Isaac Tigrett has openly stated the same type of view 10. Ram Das Awle on his website 11 holds that Sai Baba is God and can rape as he sees fit. He claims to be able to explain and justify the sexual abuses and to have received Sai Baba's blessings for this! Though Ram Das Awle's text has been propagated by e-mail widely throughout the Sai movement no official in the Sai Organisation or ashram has ever seen fit to refute Awle's claim that Sai does abuse homosexually. Venkataraman denies alleging victim accounts, but why not refute the still-devoted Awle too? His and his colleagues' silence on such a vital issue supports our information that this view is commonly held that Sai Baba qua God can do absolutely anything and it must be for the best. There is e-mail and other evidence that influential Sai devotees (including Sai 'VIPs' Dr. M. Goldstein, Yaani Drucker, Phyllis Krystal and others) have expressed similar views.
Not least since the June 6, 1993 police, killings of four ex-students in Sai Baba's private quarters when he was nearby, no other students none of them will any longer speak to any officials who still deny the facts, for obvious reasons. However, time heals and strengthens; therefore, the abuse survivors, and some of their families and supporters are contacting us with a view to the future.
The Eternal Struggle Between Good And Evil
The Indian scriptures say that practically every Avatar has had enemies.
Comment: Most of the world does not accept Sai Baba as an avatar, nor ever will, as any student of religion knows. Despite his claims that in his own lifetime that he will first transform his own backyard, India, and then the rest of the world he will never succeed. His claims - such as that he will never look old - become daily ever more absurd as he becomes sicker-looking. He has undergone hip operations. His students and other aides have to prop him up. Several times, he has fallen over in full public view. He has walked around in circles, muttering incoherently. He has said - fully caught by BBC cameras! - that he had three tons of gold in him. This is to give but a few examples of his increasing physical and mental decay.
Many countries have laws stating that all are equal before the law. Those uninvited touchings - and much more invasive handling - of the genitals of young males that even many Sai devotees are forced to admit are true are not permitted by law. Only in most circumscribed medical circumstances may a medical doctor touch a person's genitals. Sai Baba is not a doctor. He is answerable to the law, if only successive corrupt regimes in India did not protect him. Simply to 'march ahead ignoring the background noise' is a central tenet of the authoritarian top-down Sai Organisation. No genuine feedback is accepted from rank-and-file members, who have relinquished all rights regarding it according to the Organization’s Charter and to whom even the slightest criticism is banned. We have thoroughly documented this from official sources. 12 Statements by virtually every official and major document in the Sai Organization's massive website propaganda make this clear.
I will not go into the details, but during every Incarnation there are enemies who challenge the Avatar in various ways. Sometimes, they even attack physically. Apparently, the enemies symbolise the evil on earth, and a struggle between the good and the evil is needed from time to time to establish the Eternal Truth that in the end, Good always triumphs over Evil.
Comment: This is sheer anathema again! If Venkatarman persists in calling former devotees ‘evil’, perhaps one day enough Sai devotees who know the quality of many who have left the Sai Organization will realise his bare-faced untruthfulness. To use one's right to freedom of speech against provably false claims and criminal actions is not "evil"; on the contrary, it is just and right, hence good!
In the Krishna Avatar, for example, there was a demon called Jarasanda who repeatedly attacked Mathura, the city that was the capital of Krishna’s kingdom at that time. In fact, to protect His people, Krishna moved from Mathura to Dwaraka. Krishna was God Almighty in human form. He commanded all the Powers of God. If you recall, He revealed Himself as the Supreme Lord to Arjuna in the battlefield. And yet, why is it that the same Krishna did not dispose of Jarasanda, which He surely could have done in a jiffy? Well, those are the mystifying aspects of the Avatar! Such aspects are present in every Avatar. By the way, to complete this story, it was finally left to the hefty Pandava Bhima, to tear Jarasanda to pieces, literally.
Comment: Venkataraman clearly reveals his unspoken wish - and that of similar Sai devotees - to see Sai Baba's critics torn to pieces, literally! How very loving and spiritual of him. To stamp people as demons, as he and his his supposedly compassionate Lord and master do, is to revert to primitive superstitions. No truly educated, rational person today would accept this perverse worldview.
Not many realise that attacks on Swami have always been there, almost from the time Swami declared His Avatarhood. If you read the accounts of people who used to travel to Puttaparthi in the good old days, they always tell us how the locals were quite hostile to Swami.
Comment: Now one can understand there were doubtless some very good reasons! The devotee Smt. Vijayamma’s account of Sai Baba's relentless and continued beatings of her two-year old baby are just one point in case. Moreover, that Sai Baba was in a homosexual partnership even then is very evident from her text too! 13
For them, a little boy who used to be one of them simply could not be God. How on earth was that possible, they asked. But that phase soon passed off, and now we see how that very same Swami is being venerated by the people of those very same villages, who were once so hostile to Him.
Comment: Many visitors are surprised how many Puttaparthi villagers still do not believe in Sai Baba. But it is in their economic interest - his becoming a major tourist attraction has raised their standard of living greatly. To try to oppose him now - when he controls the police, and has Supreme Court and High Court judges, Prime Ministers and Presidents and various government Ministers in his hand - would be far beyond any villager. So why, given their dire health problems, do they not swarm to his hospitals as they do to hospitals elsewhere in India? Relative to their size and opulence, his hospitals have very few patients. Are they not primarily Sai Baba promotional showpieces for the world and for use mainly by rich Indian and foreign devotees?
Later, came Vedic scholars who scoffed at Swami. How could this young man who never spent even a single day in Veda Patashala [Vedic school] know anything about the Vedas, they asked. But soon they realised that this was no ordinary young man but the One who was the very form of the Vedas, or Veda Pursusha, as He is known in ancient Indian scriptures.
Comment: Many Vedic scholars in India do not think that Sathya Sai Baba is God incarnate. The attempt to claim otherwise must be deeply offensive to many Indians. 14
In the sixties and seventies, it was Swami’s miracles that came under heavy attack. A whole bunch of rationalists pooh-poohed Him, challenging Swami to do this and that, so as to convince them. Swami has not come to convince anybody about His Divinity. Rather He has incarnated to tell man, “O man! Realise you are Divine and start acting Divine if not at least as a human. Do not be a slave to your senses and behave like an animal or worse still, like a devil.”
Comment: Behaving like the devil, or that the devil exists, are totally discredited ideas among educated people. These superstitions do occur among Bible-thumping Christian fundamentalist sects, for each religious culture has its own weak-minded variants.
The rationalists made a lot of noise but the world soon got tired of them. However, some serious intellectuals like Murphet, Hislop, and Sandweiss came with open minds and realised that Swami was the Embodiment of Pure Consciousness.
Comment: Venkataraman cites those whose assumptions themselves are under well-founded and strong critical scrutiny. Whatever competence they may have gained in their own professions, they are not recognized as scholars in religious studies or as probing intellectuals commenting on great public questions. Sai Baba elevated Howard Murphet, John Hislop and Samuel Sandweiss to a pantheon-like position among his devotees.
The Blitz Interview
In mentioning all these names, I must not forget Rusi Karanjia, a self-declared atheist and Marxist, who published from Bombay, the then highly-popular weekly BLITZ.
Karanjia wrote many things against Swami until someone asked him, “How can you write about something when you have not checked the facts? Have you ever met Sai Baba? Have you checked out whether what you are publishing as facts are really facts and represent the truth?”
Comment: Indeed! The painstaking checking of facts at the expense of much time and energy by many Sai critics is why a range of agencies, and gave valuable time to the of the alleging victims - for example, Interpol, FBI, the Australian Federal Police, the German State Prosecutor's Office, UNESCO, the U.S. State Department, and other governments, civic and religious institutions and many newspapers world-wide. When he generalizes about critics of Sai Baba, Venkataraman shows no evidence of checking his facts.
When his journalistic credentials were challenged, Karanjia came to Puttaparthi and Swami graciously granted him many interviews.
Being the journalist that he was, Karanjia asked many probing questions and Swami answered them all, patiently. Karanjia had to admit that he was mistaken and he wrote a book not only retracting all his earlier biased and critical opinions, but went so far as to describe Swami as the living God walking on earth! By the way, to my knowledge, with the exception of Karanjia, Swami has never granted interviews to pressmen in this fashion.
Comment: Why does Sai Baba refuse all other press interviews? We submit that questions from the independent press would be searching and would soon expose him.
For devotees, it is always a matter of great astonishment that the Lord could have enemies. “Why Swami,” many of them asked, “do You have enemies?” Swami always gave the same Comment: “It is only when there is darkness that people appreciate the value of light.”
In the same way, Avatars need enemies so that people understand better the difference between Good and Evil. In short, the appearance of villains in the Lord’s Story is preordained, and we need not be overly surprised by it.
Comment: Like the defenders of so many other personality cult leaders who come under serious and honest questioning, Venkataraman identifies critics as villains and enemies, his only basis being a false perception of all as being fatefully predetermined by Sathya Sai Baba! Critics include many former Sai Organisation leaders who write incisive articles such as Stephen Carthew , Terry Gallagher, Serguei Badaev, Reidun Priddy, Britt-Marie Andén, Conny Larsson, Timothy Conway. Other writers who, in Venkataraman's amusing scheme of things are also supposedly 'preordained' by Sathya Sai's vast plan include Brian Steel (Australia), Jorge Reyesvera (Mexico), Sanjay Dadlani (UK), Alexandra Nagel (The Netherlands), Åsa Samsioe (Sweden), Dr. Dale Beyerstein (Canada) Paul Holbach (Italy), Basava Premanand, Dr. Nayendra Nayak (both India), and numerous other ex-devotees and known independent journalists such as Duncan Roads (Australia), Mick Brown, Dominic Kennedy, Tanya Datta (all UK). Then, of course, there were the revealing investigations of the former top favourite of Sai Baba and adored by many devotees, David Bailey (UK). He went to great lengths, and suffered great and despicable calumny from Sai devotees when he, with the support of his wife Faye, formerly a key figure in the Australian Sathya Sai Organization, self-sacrificially set about to find out and disseminate the facts. 15
One of Sathya Sai Baba’s favourite long-time devotees was Dr. Naresh Bhatia, former head of the blood bank at Sai Baba's Superspecialty Hospital at Puttaparthi. He confirmed to the Daily Telegraph 16 that he had had sexual relations with Sai Baba for 15 or 16 years, and that he was aware that Sai Baba had had sexual relations with 'many, many' of his students, and had brutally raped a minor whom Dr. Bhatia examined afterwards and referred to a physician in Bangalore. Strangely, he still believed Sai Baba to be God. Dr. Bhatia, a top favourite lecturer to students and foreigners, was banished and silenced, his previously acclaimed book 'Dreams and Realities....' being stopped directly by the US Sai publisher, Leela Press, on the order of the Organisation).
Let me now focus on the more recent events, because the Court case I referred to earlier is connected with these.
Now the Opposition Uses Powerful Media
Starting from somewhere around the late-nineties, began what might be called the fourth anti-Sai wave. Thanks to the internet, this time, it was global. In the past, the targets of attack were Swami’s Divinity, His knowledge of the Vedas and His miracles. This time, the detractors went to the extent of questioning Swami’s purity and character itself. During this period, I was always quite busy with my work, and I therefore heard very little about the non-stop chatter in the gossip circles.
Comment: Former devotees are not gossips but men and women from a large array of social, educational and professional backgrounds. Does Venkataraman think that his accusations would endure in a proper court of law, or among the educated public? Many leaders and devotees know the integrity of those who have left the Sai Organisation for ethical and moral reasons. Acts of concealment and falsification of such facts by Sai Baba and his leaders will forever condemn them.
From time to time, someone or the other would try to tell me something about this nonsense but I politely kept my distance since I neither had the time for this sort of thing, nor any patience to listen to falsehood.
Comment: It takes patience to listen to anything critical, and folly to deem a matter false before even listening.
The slander campaign started amongst a few disgruntled devotees, and soon spread to those eager for sleaze and scandal.
Comment: Here we have the same old hypocritical mantra “disgruntled” chanted about defectors - it is the standard widely-parroted Prashanthi misconception. Former devotees have no heart for sleaze or scandal, but only for proper investigation of the facts. Many have made detailed investigation of the facts but leaders who remain in the organization have not done so. In their hearts, most of them know the valid reasons why so many have now left Sai Baba.
In that sense, the anti-Sai campaign did not amount to much and could be ignored. However, encouraged by the prevailing social atmosphere, the people bent on vilifying Swami now got a toehold in important circles.
Comment: Defectors sought justifiable exposure of vast-scale fraudulence, and, on a historic dimension, the worst spiritual betrayal and moral hypocrisy. Using the stark testimony of Sai Baba’s own printed words, we have demonstrated dozens of Sai Baba’s patent lies, false promises, manipulation of individuals and the masses, and his tremendous betrayal of trust when he maintains that "Swami is pure" and that he represents Truth. He has said that he has magnetic feet that the earth pulls so that he cannot walk (miraculously?). 17 That he never suffers from any illness (yet he is visibly senile). That - in his own words - he can "cure uncurable diseases" (!), and yet many Sai devotees know that his promises have proved false, though they often rationalize by saying e.g., "Swami must have meant to cure him/her permanently by taking them away to Heaven" or dreaming up other imaginative fantasies. That he has said he spat out a three-ton Siva lingam, which actually came from a towel on his lap, and rested lightly on a tray afterwards - captured for all to see on the BBC film!
He has stated that he will - going yet further than Krishna - lift a chain of mountains and fly through the air. Now, Venkataraman (supposedly a man of science?) defends all this claptrap. Such published statements by Sathya Sai Baba with his self-proclaimed omiscience ensure he will be a sectarian curiosity and a laughing stock.
First, there was a very negative article that appeared in The Times of London.
Comment: Actually, it was three articles, all appearing on August 27, 2001, which Venkataraman’s colleague, India's Air Chief Marshal (Rtd) and others tried to get the Times of London not to publish: 1. 'Suicide, sex and the guru', 18 by Dominic Kennedy. 2. 'I sought peace and couldn't find it' by Michael Dynes in Durban and Dominic Kennedy. 3. 'Three die after putting faith in guru', by Dominic Kennedy.
After this came an anti-Swami Media advisory by the UNESCO, and to cap it all, there was the film by the BBC. I am sure you all know about these things and so I shall not spend much time on them. For the present, let me just mention the following:
· When the Times article appeared, I was shocked as were many others. Here was one of the leading newspapers of the world, and it was publishing negative material without even a casual inquiry about the accuracy of the content. Some of us wrote letters to the Editor, but, contrary to the usual practice of giving some space to those with differing opinions, none of these letters were published. So much for objectivity of the Press!
Comment: Unlike Radio Sai, The Times is a respected world press leader, with high standards of source checking. Does Venkataraman really believe that such a paper (and other respected media) would publish "without even a casual inquiry about the accuracy"? Why should the Editor publish the Sai leaders' attempted propaganda on behalf of an organisation not willing to investigate disturbing allegations or check anything with honest accuracy? The Times would not retract anything, despite the initiative of the autocratic and unaccountable accountant, Indulal Shah and retired Indian Air Chief Marshal N. C. Suri to influence this newspaper. The Times and officials of important institutions (UNESCO, the State Department, etc.) acted upon the allegations only after strenuous investigation of credentials and documentation by former devotees.
· The fact that the Times refused to extend media courtesy due to us did not mean the end of the matter. One could not simply remain silent when wild allegations were being made and atrocious aspersions were being cast in so-called responsible quarters. That was when our respected Mr. Indulal Shah took the initiative and met the then Prime Minister Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee.
As a result of this meeting, a statement was prepared that was later signed by Mr. Vajpayee, the Prime Minister, Justice Bhagavathi, former Chief Justice of India, Justice Ranganath Mishra, another former Chief Justice of India, Mr. Shah made sure that the letter was seen by the top leaders of Europe, including the then Prime Minister of Britain.
Comment: However, Exposé personnel in London convinced the Foreign Office to warn the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair. He then ignored the invitation from Sai Baba to visit him at Brindavan when Blair was visiting literally across the road at the new IT center there! See Blair’s letter on this matter! 19
The "respected"Mr. Indulal Shah, chief functionary of the Sri Satya Sai World Trust went on record with The Hindu, 10-6-1993 as follows: When press persons met, he said, "the matter is purely internal and we do not wish to have any law enforcement agency investigating into it." In this statement, he perfectly reflected the despotic methods favoured by him and the Sathya Sai Organisation.
UNESCO Withdraws Its Criticism
Where the media advisory of the UNESCO was concerned, we took a different approach. The UNESCO is a part of the United Nations and India is in fact one of the founder members of the UN – it was a signatory to the original declaration, way back in 1944. We in Prashanti Nilayam took up the matter with the Government of India through suitable channels, and for its part, the Government, through its Ambassador in Paris, protested to the UNESCO.
Comment: This is a gross untruth! UNESCO has NOWHERE stated that it withdraws its criticism of Sathya Sai Baba by updating its website; there is no evidence of that on their website or anywhere else. Their official spokesperson, Sue Williams, stated to the BBC in mid-May 2004 that UNESCO (Paris) did not regret having posted this document adverse to Sai Baba and "certain of his organizers"! 20 Further, the removal of the posting was the “result of a routine system purge”, a fact clearly stated by another UNESCO Office spokesperson, Isobel le Fournis.
Most noteworthy, however, is that, since UNESCO posted its advisory, there is no proof that UNESCO has sponsored or involved itself in any way in a single Sai Baba-related event anywhere in the world, despite the Sai Organisation’s intense lobbying through diplomatic and governmental channels! Unlike the Sathya Sai Organisation, UNESCO is most definitely not an amateur organization that bases its advisories on mere rumours, non-investigation or wishful guesswork!
I shall not go into the details here but merely say that the Indian Government took strong exception to the UNESCO posting a hostile media advisory, merely on the basis of hearsay, thereby maligning Sai Baba, who is a revered figure in India and has done enormous good to Indian Society. This strong protest worked and the UNESCO backtracked. This retraction by UNESCO was a big set back for the anti-Sai group
Comment: The label "anti-Sai group" points to a common untruth promoted by many Sai devotees that we number only a handful. Instead, there are hundreds of disaffected former devotees and ex-leaders 21 of the Organisation in many groupings. Most workers conduct activities well away from the Net because of security reasons. The UNESCO Advisory remains a huge setback for Sai Baba and those who defend him. It is independently available on-line (click here). UNESCO posted its Advisory only after they had investigated the allegations and were satisfied that they were well founded!
but they now attacked from another angle, namely television. As you well know, most TV channels have sunk to depressingly low levels. It was no surprise therefore that some channels in some countries seized the opportunity to come out with negative programs on Swami.
Comment: Professional media critics and the general public did not deem the BBC to have "sunk to depressingly low levels". Indeed, the contrary was true!
Venkataraman, Indulal Shah, other Sai leaders and Sai Baba himself are alike in playing the ‘blame-the-media game’! When local Indian journalists investigated the murders of four devotees in Sai Baba’s apartment on June 6, 1993, Sai Baba ridiculed them. They published a number of perfectly reasonable questions on his role in relation to the incident (in his supposedly holy building). For example, they asked where he was during these events, and why the Central Trust or ashram authorities reported nothing to the police. However, Sai Baba’s officials hindered them at every point, and, some weeks later, Sai Baba attacked them in a public discourse for publishing "nothing but flights of the imagination" and for being "malicious". The eviction by Sai officials of the BBC crew from Prashanti Nilayam was but another in a long series of suppressive moves. Of course, nothing banishes “flights of the imagination” better than proper accountability and openness!
Sai Baba has often said never to criticize or slander others, and always to speak sweetly and softly with love. Yet his actions frequently belie his words. Being absent, those attacked in this way could not present their case. This behavior Sai Baba often calls "back-biting".
Given the scepticism of many in the West about Gurus, such a program naturally commanded an audience, though not among viewers with discrimination. Hence, though we received complaints from many overseas devotees, we did not bother too much. It was not worth getting into arguments with third-rate TV channels.
Comment: The phrase "third rate TV channels" encapsulates Venkataraman's the National Danish TV Channel, which is the main high quality non-commercial Danish State-run TV channel on which the film 'Seduced by Sai Baba' was shown in 2001? He imagines perhaps that his Radio Sai propaganda station is first rate - but it only serves the most boring, verbose, repetitive, preachifying and syrupy hypocrisy! Western cultures have their own traditions of critical enquiry skepticism, and include issues about fraudulence and superstition about gurus. There can be little wonder about "skepticism in the West about Gurus". There is plenty in the East too - happy to say.The BBC Shames Itself
Things went into a different gear altogether when the BBC came out with an anti-Swami film. This was absolutely shocking because like the London Times, the BBC is an icon - in the broadcasting world that is. And yet, for reasons best known to it, the BBC produced a program that was not only poorly researched but also deplorably low in taste, quite in contrast to what it is known for.
Comment: As Venkatarman would have it, in the face of thousands of programs that maintain the BBC as an "icon", suddenly it deviates and becomes "absolutely shocking". Autocratic and corrupt regimes and organisations with much to hide invariably complain like this when the BBC exposes them after exhaustive research!
The Sad Case of Alaya Rahm
Central to BBC’s vilification campaign was one Alaya Rahm.
Comment: The BBC never carries out "vilification campaigns". Only corrupt and unaccountable people or organizations would claim so. Venkataraman’s statement amounts to slander against the BBC! The fact is that the ashram officials treated the BBC team high-handedly, throwing them out because they dared to ask for responses to the worldwide allegations of sex abuse, etc. This eviction alone shows how secret and autocratic a cult the whole Sai hierarchy has become and how they use all the political power they can muster to suppress anyone who speaks up and cover up everything. It is a cult with despotic tendencies. That led the BBC to dig deeper and they uncovered a great deal, only a small part of which could be included in a coherent one-hour film. Indeed, there remain eighty plus hours of footage in storage.
In 'The Secret Swami', Venkataraman's superior in the Prashanthi Council, Dr. Michael Goldstein, would not reply to civil, sensible questions, which are those a responsible public would wish to ask. The BBC wanted him to explain the notorious Hislop letters [signed copies of which they had with them 22] which mention Goldstein as a recipient along with other leaders in the US Sai Organisation (but we do not know if the US bosses confided in their ‘brothers’ among the top leadership in India). Therefore, the BBC filmed him with hidden cameras. It acted entirely within the law (including the libel laws of the many countries where the film screened, as Goldstein found out when he tried to pursue them legally) and in the public’s best interests. Dr. Venkataraman has no tenable case.
I have to mention the name of Alaya Rahm because he is the one who filed a case on January 6th, 2006, in the Superior Court of California, Orange County. It was a lawsuit in which the plaintiff sued for money damages. The Court set the case for trial April 28, 2006.
At this point, I shall quote, with permission of course, from a letter we have received from Brother Robert Baskin of California, who is himself a lawyer. He has full knowledge of this case and I think it is best to quote from his report since it would be factually and legally the most accurate account we can present. This is what Baskin says concerning what happened to this lawsuit.
“Although Alaya Rahm’s accusations received some publicity before he filed his lawsuit, his claims were not thoroughly investigated until after the lawsuit was filed. The legal proceeding provided a forum in which his claims could be thoroughly and critically examined. Through this process of investigation, it was discovered that the plaintiff and his family had spoken at a number of retreats and conferences between 1995 and 1999, during the time that the events were alleged to have occurred. Inconsistent with his later accusations, these conference talks, many of which were recorded and have been transcribed, contain no suggestion of any wrongdoing and the earlier words spoken by the plaintiff would appear to refute his later accusations.
Through the process of discovery during the handling of the lawsuit, witnesses were identified and interviewed who were present in the Ashram in India when the events were alleged to have occurred which formed the basis of the plaintiff’s lawsuit. One of these witnesses brought the plaintiff to India in 1995, accompanied the plaintiff to India in 1997, and was present for some of the alleged interviews. The deposition of this witness was taken as a process of discovery in this lawsuit. The witness testified that he had a close and confidential relationship with Alaya Rahm from 1995 to 1997, spoke with the plaintiff on a daily basis when he was in the ashram in 1995 and 1997, discussed the details of each of the plaintiff’s interviews during that period and that Alaya Rahm never suggested during this period of time that any misconduct or wrongdoing had occurred. The deposition of the witness was taken in March 2006. Alaya Rahm dismissed his case after the deposition was taken.
No offers of settlement were made in this case and no money or any other consideration was paid for a dismissal of the lawsuit. This dismissal should be the conclusion of this lawsuit.”
I must at this point, express my deep and personal thanks to Brother Baskin for that succinct account.
Comment: The lawyer who advises the Sathya Sai Society, which set itself up to avoid accountability, is Robert M. Baskin. As such, "Brother Baskin" gives an account that twists and ignores facts in a very tendentious way. Alaya Rahm's claims, fully supported by his mother and father, were NEVER thoroughly investigated! A wholly predjudiced Sathya Sai Society opposed them. One of its defendants was Dr. M. Goldstein, who the BBC soundly exposed (see the BBC's The Secret Swami) for his rigid prejudice towards Alaya Rahm’s allegations. The Rahm family's meeting with him in September in La Fayette in Arkansas 1999 is typical of this sort of inaction.
The untruthful deposition by the devotee of Sai Baba, Lewis Kreydick had no effect whatsoever on the decision of Alaya Rahm to withdraw his case. The withdrawal was purely because his attorney could not find any person or accountable body to answer to Alaya Rahm's lawsuit. He fully maintains these claims. There is nothing proved against them.
I do not know what you think about it, but as far as I am concerned, this case withdrawal by Alaya Rahm, before the suit came up for formal hearing before a Judge, knocks the bottom out of all the allegations that have been circulated during the last several years.
Comment: Not one accuser, out of scores around the world, has withdrawn his allegations. Read the statement by the International JuST Group, the Rahm Family and the family's lawyer.
And please remember that Rahm would not have dismissed his own case, if he thought he had a chance of winning. The fact is he had no case, none at all, at any time. For years, Alaya Rahm got away with wild allegations, and the BBC made much of it. Why? Because they were never put to the legal test.
Nor was Alaya Rahm's case put to the legal test. For reasons former devotee lawyers in the USA and elsewhere are having trouble in understanding, Rahm's attorney embarked on the case only to discover that there was no legally incorporated entity to sue.
Kreydick's main point is that Alaya never mentioned the abuses to him. In the television documentaries, Alaya stated that he believed, at the time of the abuses, that if he spoke about them his family would reject him. Lewis Kreydick's deposition is that of a blindly subjective devotee who attempted to slur Alaya Rahm. Kreydick claimed that he was a close friend and advisor to Alaya and made constant speculations about Alaya's state of mind (repeatedly objected to by Rahm’s attorney), claiming he could not have been abused and unhappy because he was all smiles. The attempt was to sully Alaya’s character (and, disgracefully, that of his mother, too!). This was heartless. Kreydick's testimony totally disregarded the situation that Alaya was going through a tremendous inner upheaval while having to put up a brave face. Experts in sexual abuse attest that abusees, in the face of a situation too painful to admit fully into consciousness, can hide the turmoil about a situation beneath smiles. Here was an individual, knowing the terrible consequences in a US court should anyone perjure themselves, striving to tell his story of a very confusing and traumatic sexual abuse by his former guru, whom he had been raised to regard as God.
Emboldened by the apparent wide acceptance of his claims in the West, Rahm then thought he could seek damages and filed a lawsuit. But his attempt has backfired and the chief accuser has realised that. Quietly, he has withdrawn the case.
This is calumny! Venkataraman - who claimed he never even listened - does not know Alaya Rahm's motives. Alaya Rahm's and his family's active support of the JuST Public Statement on the case is not an example of "quiet withdrawal", nor that of his lawyer, William Brelsford, which is plain testimony to Alaya Rahm's reason for self-withdrawal of his case. Furthermore, there is no evidence whatever that Alaya Rahm proceeded out of a selfish motive, though he did wish to make the Sathya Sai Organisation accountable, although hindered by legal technicalities. He was bravely trying to create a legal precedent for the scores of alleging victims of Sathya Sai Baba, also so they might more easily obtain just compensation for the destruction to their lives. An increasing number of the many Indian Sai alumni (whom we carefully check for their bona fides) contact us. They relate that Sai Baba has sexually abused them or their brothers or friends. Recovery from serious abuses and preparing for public and legal confrontations takes those affected a long time, inner struggle, organization and effort. This is proven by the decades it took for victims of sexual abuses in the Roman Catholic Church, the Hare Krishna (ISKCON) movement and many other institutions to come forth and take action, not least after major top-down cover-ups by top officials in these bodies very similar to those current in the Sai Organisation.
His lawyer, William Brelsford, makes plain Alaya's reason for self-withdrawal of his case: obstructive legal technicalities. Recovery from serious abuses and preparing for public and legal confrontations takes a long time, and much organization and effort by the survivors. The dossier is growing and some day will illuminate all. The depths of the depravity amaze even us. They will not remain hidden forever. Yes, though very differently from the reasons Venkataraman gives, eventually the truth will out!
Points To Reflect Upon
Let me now stand back and look at this entire history from a slightly detached perspective. I would like to make the following points:
Comment: This “slightly detached perspective” is that of a foot-kissing, first-line propaganda man for Sathya Sai Baba, who received from his Lord and Master, for just such cover-up services, an expensive brand-new Japanese car paid for out of devotees’ donations to raise the poor and suffering! 23 Since Sai Baba claims to own nothing whatever, and since Dr. Venkataraman co-administers finances as Central Trust member, one must ask whether he and his cronies on the Trust have literally benefited themselves with free cars ('self-serving seva’?).
Objectively speaking, one ought not to be surprised at the mudslinging that has been going on recently. As already pointed out, for devotees, anti-Swami campaigns are really not news. What is new is the type of accusations made this time.
Comment: Objective investigators would say that the campaigns arise because of:
1. The exposure of the falseness of most of Sai Baba’s claims
2. The actions of those who back them up corruptly and dishonourably
3. The worldwide refusal of top echelon Sai Organisation leaders to evince duty of care for those who have gone to them in anguish with their shocking accounts of abuse by Sai Baba
4. The same leaders’ Soviet-style censorship and refusal to participate in third party adjudication of any disputes.
The fact that they received wide circulation merely testifies to the prevailing low standards in the Media. These days, people in the Media openly say that scams, scandals, sleaze and controversy alone make news, nothing else. Increasingly, even newspapers and TV channels that once prided themselves on high standards are being driven to gimmicks that would attract attention and “improve” ratings.
Comment: Venkataraman grossly insults the intelligence of educated readers and viewers of the quality media, who are often concerned about social justice, moral and ethical issues. On quite the other hand, we see the massive and usually very expensive efforts by Sai officials and the Sai Organisation to spread its inflated claims and one-sided propaganda by radio, film, books, newspapers, and the Internet, while rigorously censoring the slightest hint of any criticism of their Guru-Lord. (In 1999, Sai Baba banned his followers from using the Internet, but eventually learned he had blundered 24, so now it is a chief propaganda outlet for them)
5. When Avatars come, they weave a subtle web around them. This web is a test for humans. Some by the Grace of God, manage to see through the web and recognise Divinity beyond. They are the ones who are redeemed. Others get deceived, fail to see the Divine hiding in the human form, and flunk the test.
Comment: This is a most convenient but most unconvincing way of explaining away all the glaring deceits, errors, and breaks of faith Sathya Sai Baba has committed. This is the very same devious explanatory technique used by numerous fraudulent ‘Swamis’, ‘Babas’ and ‘Masters’!
They have to wait a long, long time before they come closer to God. By the way, the web I am talking about is the cloud of suspicion raised by the detractors. In that sense, the detractors play their own role as instruments!
Comment: This is the usual cultish threat of damnation, the weapon of priests and oppressors of all time. It belies all the gushing empty talk about ‘God’s infinite love and compassion etc…’ Though he represents himself as God the Saviour whose love is unbounded and all that hypocrisy, Sai Baba heavily demonised his detractors – threatening that they will have to be reborn many times in shame. This was in his infamous rostrum-beating discourse of Christmas 2000 25. There was no ‘peace and good will to all men’ here.
6. Incidentally, all this is mentioned by Krishna Himself. In the Gita Krishna says:
Not knowing My transcendental nature as the Sovereign Lord of the Universe, fools slight Me when I incarnate in diminutive human form.
But the great ones, O Partha (Arjuna), guided by their Divine nature and knowing Me as the Imperishable Source of all beings, worship Me with their minds always fixed on Me.
7. Continuing with the theme of Avatars and their enemies, Rama needed a Ravana, so that He could, in the name of going after Ravana, confer Grace on so many Rishis who played host to Him in the forest, give Sugriva the opportunity to claim God as his friend, help old Sabari to realise her dream, enable Jatayu to make the supreme sacrifice for the Lord, and so on. In other words, the Lord’s Drama is complex and we cannot visualise it in pure black and white terms.
Comment: Nor can any intelligent person make good or relevant sense of it in the modern world – it is just a fantastic, impossible concocted story of the ‘Superman’ kind – with ‘monkey-man’ Hanuman lifting and flying aloft with a whole mountain (so Rama could pick out a herb from it!) or jumping across the sea to Sri Lanka. Come on, how can one be so backward intellectually? This may be o.k. for ignorant peasants, but the thinking world must regard it as sheer delusion!
8. Having said that, as in the Ramayana, each of us has been picked to play a certain role. Very few of us might be aware of it, but the fact of the matter is that no one is without a role in the Cosmic Drama. In the Ramayana, for example, we have the little squirrel. What can a squirrel contribute to building a mighty bridge? Yet, it too played a role, calling attention to the fact that God is not interested in quantity but quality.
9. In the same way, from a larger perspective, we too have a role to play, within bounds of course. When needed, we do have to counter untruth in manners appropriate. However, while contesting falsehood, setting the record straight and so forth, we must NOT allow any room for hate and anger.
10. I have found that many a time, when Swami denies access or pulls up someone, some reform, some withdraw, while a small minority become offensive.
Comment: Most of the devotees known to us who left ‘Swami’ and made public their complaints were not ‘pulled up’ by him. On the contrary, they pulled him up! He is the one who needs to reform. He needs to stop his abuses and lies, massive waste of donated money (e.g., excessive opulence and gift cars to his crony VIPs - one of the five went to Venkataraman), and false promises of miraculous cures to many sufferers who go there at great expense, and much else. Why are Venkararaman and other leaders silent about all who have, on moral principle, left Sai Baba’s organization and why do they fail to tell the truth about them in their highly stage-managed public promotions?
At least in the case of two people who have been carrying on an e-mail campaign against Swami, I know that one fine day, Swami started ignoring them. Maybe that hurt these people too much, especially as they used to enjoy not merely good but enviable access and privileges.
Comment: Why does Venkataraman make vague and unsubstantiated allegations about “two e-mailers”, out of the dozens involved in these campaigns (not including many more with whom they network)? Why does he assume the worst motivation? No one is known to have left Sai Baba because of lack of attention or privilege but hundreds left because they wanted nothing more to do with a person they are convinced is a liar, sexual abuser and/or complicit in murder cover-up! Those are the facts!
But disinformation cannot always be ignored; it has to be countered in suitable ways. Thus it is that Mr. Indulal Shah, requested Mr. Vajpayee and several distinguished citizens of this country to issue a Public Statement.
Comment: Without a shred of evidence, Indulal Shah claimed that the critics of Sathya Sai Baba are paid and represent ‘vested interests’. This is wholly untrue. The Hindu 10-6-1993 revealed Shah’s agenda, as follows: “When press persons met Indulal Shah, chief functionary of the Sri Sathya Sai World Trust, he said, ‘the matter is purely internal and we do not wish to have any law enforcement agency investigating into it.” This devious person – then the International Chairman of the Sathya Sai Organisation - was deeply involved in the cover-up of the murders in Sai Baba’s bedroom!
While those who want to believe in falsehood might dismiss this, responsible people would definitely sit up and say: “Do we believe some unknown people making unsubstantiated charges or do we believe a man like Vajpayee who is a world statesman?” If we fail to contradict when responsible agencies peddle falsehood, we can be in all kinds of trouble.
Comment: How could Atal Vihari Vajpayee, the Sai devotee of over two decades know that the sexual allegations concerning Sathya Sai are untrue? He cannot have been behind closed doors in all the private interviews. He could not have been in Sathya Sai Baba’s bedroom nightly - or in any place where the many alleged sexual acts have taken place over decades. How can he have interviewed, with open mind, the many individuals and families who make the allegations? Thus, his statement of Sai Baba’s innocence is sheer belief, nothing more. Unlike the allegations based on many independent young men from many countries - including devotees and even officials of the Sai Organisation, Vajpayee's statement is of course not backed up by any evidence whatever. The claim falls on its own as a wishful belief.
I don’t know how many of you are aware that even today, many TV channels, including in India, sometimes broadcast controversial material about Swami. Some newspapers, likewise, try to downplay Swami’s enormous contributions. We just cannot sit back and say, “Oh, God does not need my intervention. He knows how to take care of things.” If there is anything I have learnt by watching closely, it is that we must be totally involved in anything that we do and not try to act like a recluse. However, while being intensely involved in our work, we must not carry malice, jealousy or hatred in our Heart.
Comment: We know very well from local observers that Sai officials cut off power to the whole of Prashanthi Nilayam and Puttaparthi after five minutes of 'The Secret Swami' had been shown on BBC World so that no one could see the allegations or the rest of the documentary, including the failed 'lingodbhava' (in which he pretends to materialise a golden egg-like object in his stomach and spew it out after a protracted show of agony) and other highly damaging facts! This is yet another example of totalitarian censorship.
Allow me please, at this juncture, to point out something pertinent. I found it strange that when all this negative propaganda was going on, so many of our devotees were busy telling each other, “Do you know what they are saying?” and so on. Very few bothered to tell each other, or more important to the world, about the wonderful work Swami has done and is continuing to do. I hope you do not get angry with me for saying this, but spreading the good word is one effective way of countering bad odour.
But few seem to know about what all Swami has done for the welfare of humanity. What is even more saddening is that not many are bothered about it; their concern is more about Swami’s travel plans, daily Prashanti gossip, etc.
Final comment: If “not many are bothered about” his work, how can he come to rule the world sometime during the last quarter of his life, as he has foretold? He has said that he will first clean up his “own backyard” before reforming the rest of the world. Yet India is still a land of great calamities and injustices.
Devotees do all the work, make all the sacrifices, and provide all the money. Servitors cater to Sai Baba every minute. Everything is free for him. He is wheeled about, never having done anything resembling hard work for over 60 years since he left school. He offers himself for worship twice a day, constantly directing others to do his will, then has the alleged sexual satisfaction with boys and young men, reportedly by day and night.
All the accusations against Sai Baba stand. His organization is a classic cult 26.
signed: Barry Pittard (Australia) and Robert Priddy (Norway)
Note: Several paragraphs from Venkataraman’s article were omitted in the above since they required no comment.
Footnotes: active links to documentation, (click on any one):
1) 'true believer'– definition from Wikipedia
2) Wasteful Projects listed and described and
3) Photos of Sai luxury apartments etc.
4) Dr. M. Goldstein exposed exposed by the BBC as angrily displaying a totalitarian attitude
5) Isaac Tigrett’s video clip on the BBC
6) UK Press reviews of ‘The Secret Swami’ all the top news journals in UK!
7) Sai Baba’s self-published ignorance of the sciences, history, geology, astronomy
8) Spending spree by the Sai Org. at the Sydney Super Dome
9) Statement by the Rahm family & the International JuST Group
10) Transcript of Tigrett’s statements on BBC
11) Devotee Ram Das Awle’s supposedly ‘Clear View’ of the rapes he admits!
12) The Sathya Sai Organisation’s total unaccountability until now
13) Vijayamma’s account of Sai Baba often beating her baby
14) On Sai Baba’s Vedic ignorance a mish-mash of misunderstandings
15) ‘The Findings’ by David Bailey one of the closest devotees who found out!
16) Dr. Naresh Bhatia’s testimony to The Daily Telegraph
17) Sai Baba’s preposterous predictions and claims
18) Article by Dominic Kennedy of ‘The Times’
19) Tony Blair’s letter concerning Sai Baba scan of the original
20) The Case of the ‘Missing’ Media Advisory and deception by Sai authorities and their political cronies
21) Some prominent ex-devotees and former leaders in the Sai Organisation
22) Scans of the xeroxed and signed ‘Hislop letters’
23) Dr. Venkataraman’s free brand-new car
24) Sai Baba warns against the Internet
25) The Christmas 2000 Discourse where Sathya Sai shows his true colours
26) Why the whole Sathya Sai enterprise is a cult (Robert Jay Lifton’s criteria)
BBC’s webpage on Basava Premanand’s claims against Sai Baba
George Orwell’s 1984
Unresolved, quashed investigation of murders in Sai Baba's bedroom, 1993
See The International Sai Petition - over 1,100 signatures