Escaping the web of Sathya Sai Baba!
by Tony O'Clery
I write this whilst it is still fresh in my mind. I have just left the Sai Baba organisation and in fact Sai Baba. I came to this decision after trying to cleverly and rudely refute Anti-Sai people.
In order to do this I needed to do my own research on their allegations of cheating, trickery, lies, conjuring and sexual impropriety. As a result of my research and also after receiving emails from present devotees and others, I decided that the weight of evidence pointed to the fact that Sai Baba was in the least a cheat, and a fraud. Some of my emails independently backed up statements that were made by the Swedish boy, who was allegedly molested in some way. One was from a lady who came across a distraught girl in Prashanti, and found out she was unhappy for Sai had molested her friend allegedly, the girl was a Swede! This was independent information from an existing devotee, apart from what Conny Larsson is saying. There is a Swedish magazine coming out with all the details in from the boys and Conny in mid-January. It is called Sokaren! There was also overwhelming evidence of homosexual touching from present devotees even. Some may be ‘tantric healing’, some seems to go further allegedly.
Some email received whilst I was still a devotee:
I have been following the controversy on Yahoo's SB discussion page. I am particularly surprised about David Bailey's new stance. I have heard of sexual stuff and SB for years - but never took it seriously. However, this time I am paying more attention. I was in India when a Swedish girl I met came up to me distressed. Her close friend had told her that SB acted out sexually with him. She would not give me details, but told me that he was going public in Sweden. I think it is the young man mentioned on this site. Of course, my information is second hand also.
I have been a follower of SB for 9 years. I have always had doubts but continued to travel to India and try to follow his teachings. My interaction with Swami has definately changed my life. At this time, however, I am concerned that these "rumors" may be true. I am surprised about my lack of emotion about the subject. I had my "shock" early on in my involvement with SB when I saw him pull a watch out of his chair cushion and "manifest" it. I was devasted. I had put all my trust in him. He was my "savior". But then, I calmed down over the years and realized that I need to rely on my "inner swami". That may be why i am not so upset about these acusations - my not feeling betrayed or fooled or whatever. I see that watch incident as a gift
and feel it made me stronger.
There are so many acusations about molestation and sexual abuse that I have to wonder if they are true. I agree with you - that there needs to be some sort of investigation into the acuracy of these charges. there can never be proof - it can only be SB's word against the boy's. There has been so much molestation in churches and by guru's that it doesn't seem so far fetched. I am afraid that this time I do feel like I must distance myself from SB. I am cancelling my trip in January. I feel it is beyond me to comprehend who SB is. I have no doubt that he has powers like bi-location - but I have
read about others who do not claim to be great avatars who had similar powers. He may just be very gifted by having such paranormal abilities.
I know you love SB very much and this must be difficult for you. I admire how you hang in there and come to his defence. I hope with all my heart that you are right.
My husband is curious that I would let rumors affect my personal experiences. He has also pointed out that certain wealthy, close-to-Baba Indian families that we know- would not send their son's to Swami's school if these rumors were true. We also have students from swami's school in our center - don't you think they would be aware of this type of thing? I guess my husband's point is not to get too excited about this unless there is some proof available. Even when David says that there are investigations going on in England - I wonder - how does he know this? Has he been contacted by the authorities personally or has he "heard" this from others?
The danger of the Internet is that so much information is passed on and
there is no possibility of knowing it's quality. I am also curious about what
personal experience Faye had - kissing and french kissing? who? her son?
None of this is very clear.
I don't know what to think about the young man in Sweden. I don't know
him - I have no way of knowing how stable he is.
Do you know Al Drucker. I have reason to believe he could shed some light on
this. I hope you know how to contact him - I don't.
I hope you don't mind my e-mailing you. I don't like public forums.
Take care, M.
Thanks for replying. I guess I am grasping at straws!! I have heard all this stuff before, but not so intensely. I am particularly taken with David's accounts -everything I have ever heard before was second hand (including the friend of the boy in Sweden). My inclination is to distance myself from SB at this time - keeping in mind that I have benefited greatly from my association with him. Again, for some reason I am pretty calm about all this. If the "truth" comes out and Swami is innocent of all these charges - I can make my way back - if so inclined. I don't feel it is an issue of loyalty - but of being true to ones intuition and conscience.
I don't feel this is a battle I need to get involved in to any great extent. However, I have always been curious about Al Drucker's take on these matters.
I believe that he has remained a devotee despite these allegations or perhaps "facts". I'm curious how he comes to term with the possibility of sexual acting out on the part of SB. If you get any answers - please let me know.
I wish you well. You are a courageous soul. M.”
With regard to the so-called miracle gifts. Sai even says himself that he doesn’t materialise all the time check ch 14 of ‘Holyman and Psychiatrist’, by S. Sandweiss. However this is just a convenient escape clause for the impression he gives is that he is materialising everything. Sandweiss even gives an account of Sai palming Japamalas, but explains it away as some type of test.
" Swami creates some objects in just the same way that he created the Universe. Certain other objects are brought from where they were." Swami, p 122, Ch 13 HMAP, Sathya Sai Trust, 1975.
Also Sandweiss wrote this; 'I said to myself ah ha, I bet Baba is going to create a Japamala for Jeff. As I watched him, He brought out from behind His back in His left hand what indeed appeared to be a Japamala. He continued speaking to Jeff and it seemed to me that nobody else was looking at His left hand, that I was the only one who noticed it ……etc etc ". Sandweiss p 137, Ch 14.
. There are many other quotes including one where an author talks about the presence of Devas at a major materialisation.
Evidence from many videos indicates that much of what he does is conjuring and sleight of hand. His uncle was a tantric conjurer but they didn’t have videos in those days. I am talking about the Gurubusters video, the 1993 presentation to the hospital builders or architects, the 1996 Xmas Small Bible video, the presentation to the Prime Minister video, God lives in India and more, where the sleight of hand is obvious.
So it had to be faced that if this had to be done then he couldn’t be who he says he is---the Avatar. Never mind the allegations of sexual touching or whatever. Also the many contradictions in his statements and taking different positions at different times worried me for it indicated something less than omniscience. The test was could I see Shirdi, Maharshi, Maharaj, or even Jesus doing this? The answer was no, so Sai couldn’t be an Avatar.
The different versions about the murders in 1993, also had me worried. For if he was the Avatar how come he let all those people die? His assistant Rahdhakrishna Menon was supposedly ratting on people embezzling. Then four assasins get in with knives and swords on to the verandah? The murderers of Menon are killed in turn, which seems more than convenient to me. My question is where they shot after they were dead or what, there are many questions unanswered.
Now I am not saying that he didn’t have powers/siddhis or that he still may have some. I feel they are diminishing as he ages or are being conserved for some reason?? I have experienced myself, his power of astral travelling and other subtle siddhis that he has. So have members of my family on many occasions. They however do not indicate Divinity, but an Astral Being.
What about the vibhuti and other manifestations in people’s homes, including some strange things in my own home. Well Sai doesn’t claim ownership of these he just says it is due to the devotees devotion. In other words it is kinetic from some level of the devotees mind. In other heavy manifestations I suspect the aid of spirits, as well. So you see I am not a sceptic totally or a rationalist. Some may be outright fraud as well of course.
How did I get in this mess? Well it seems I was recruited unbeknowns to me. One morning at Bondi Beach in Sydney, I ate a hamburger. Well I fell asleep on the beach and dreamed that I was a cow going to slaughter, and knew what was happening. This was very vivid and was accompanied by the sense of terror, smells etc. On awakening I said.’ They know they are going to die cruelly’, and at that time I decided to become a vegetarian.
Later in the day, I was in the Theosophical bookshop browsing around, as was my habit. For I was reading a lot of stuff about Huna, the Sufis, Meditation, Edgar Cayce etc. I had also stopped drinking some nine months before after taking up meditation. As I moved along the shelves I came across some books of Sai Baba that were displayed covers flat out. I was looking at this Jimmy Hendrix looking character when a clerk asked me if I was interested in this Baba. I asked who he was and she gave me a quick description and then asked would I like to buy a book. She said she could get me a cheaper one from the back as a clerk was a devotee. So she got me Sandweiss’s, ‘Holyman and the Psychiatrist’, for only $6 or so in 1985.( Of course when I was still a devotee I translated this as he working through the girl and leading me to the books etc. I was being personally chosen.)
I read the maxims, including vegetarianism, and decided that this Sai Baba must be a real live ‘High Self’, or Aumakua in Hawaiian Huna. I took it on face value and the girl had given me the address of a Centre, Sara Pavan’s Mirrabrook. So the next week I went and was given a medal to wear. I returned to Vancouver the next week and joined the group here, who were mainly Hindus. Of course they reinforced all the ideas about being individually called by Baba and I had hardly time to think about anything. I was in hook line and sinker! My wife refused to have anything to do with it but I took the kids to the ‘Sunday School’, where they learnt the message and all about Indian Gods and nothing about Moses, Mohammed, Jesus, Nanak or anybody else. I thought this was strange for that isn’t what Sai said things should be. Anyway I liked languages so I soon learnt how to sing in Sanskrit, I was converted. I was now suffering from ‘true believer syndrome’.
I went back and forth a few times to Australia and we all continued in the society. All the time I was being encouraged, told stories of miracles constantly, which I duly passed on. Even my wife was regarded as a potential threat and commisserations were extended me as she wasn’t a devotee. I was well into the ‘True believer syndrome’, even had a little shrine and everything plus pictures all over the place. We were told to ignore any negatives, as that would prove we had a doubt. ‘You don’t have a doubt do you?’ Everyone seemed to think they were specially selected and wanted to teach everybody about it all.
At one point in 1987 I was appointed Secretary by default for the favoured candidate didn’t turn up for the election/selection. Some time later the President and the treasurer took me into a little room and showed me a legal file. This was either a court document or a lawyers copy. It was all about the misdeeds and charges against a member who it seemed was accosting female members. I was surprised they had such a document and asked where they got it. They answered from someone in the system. I wondered who else they had files on, but I dismissed it as all Swami’s will and his work.
I visited Prashanti and was allowed to touch his feet, Padanamaskar,( a great honour), plus talk to him in the darshan line, and get something touched and blessed by him. I didn’t go inside for I was by myself on both occasions. I stayed nearly a month each time, so I was well familiar with the goings on. However after a couple of years I took down the shrine but kept the pictures up. I had discovered Sri Ramana Maharshi, and Vivekananda so I was tending toward the Jnana or Knowledge Path. However I was still hooked into Sai Baba as an Avatar even if I now understood we were both God. I believed his consciousness was in union with the Universal and mine wasn’t. I still started with his image in meditation before going formless. I was a true believing devotee. I had heard the negative stories and dismissed them as lies of course. It wasn’t until much later when videos started to circulate that other questions arose. I dismissed these as well including the Gurubuster phony materialisation. There are none so blind as those that won’t see!! Even the junky and shoddy nature of some of the materialisations didn’t wake me up.
I continued on, even ending up giving talks and speeches in the Centres and I was very active on the internet and Sainet. I was probably their most prolific poster, I was doing work for Sai. I even took time out and wrote a couple of books which, as it happened didn’t yet get published and now are just paper. Apart from this I had several articles published in Sai magazines around the world. I was doing well but they still didn’t trust me. In fact I stopped giving talks after the Secretary said that I had to submit my talks for approval. The excuse being that some of my stuff was too early for the minds of the newer devotees and it might frighten them! The executive of course suspected that I was going to wake up to this scam which they obviously already knew about, but stayed in for position and power and just ego. The President had been with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi of T.M. fame previously. So he was well versed in the management of a cult, even went with his wife to the school in Switzerland.
I was starting to wonder about the relationship in Canada with the Visva Hindu Parishad and the Sai-Org. As many prominent Indians, including officers, were members, even participating on the shrine/altar etc. The VHP was banned in India by Prime Minister N.Rao ,a devotee, and their members imprisoned after the mosque at Ayodhya was sacked resulting in thousands of deaths around the country. Even though it was a proscribed organisation the members in Canada were still attending and Sai functions were held at the Parishad Hall. Also as nobody seemed to take any notice of Baba’s orders for including local language, songs, and culture, I wondered!! These were prominent Hindu people and here they are ignoring the Avatar. Perhaps they knew something that I didn’t.
Now every Saturday, I used to do service work giving out books and videos from our Centre library. I noticed how the co-ordinators would sidle up to hear what you were telling visitors or what the conversation was. On one occasion someone brought in Scallions future map and this caused a big fuss. One guy was actually told to throw the holder out of the Centre! There was much fuss and people saying we are devotees Sai will save us from any disasters. The next week the ‘thought police’, in the form of the President, and the V.P. , came in to check if anybody was talking about ‘ Earthchanges’, or any other non-Sai stuff! They were strutting around showing the flag and trying to intimidate the devotees.
As time went on I started to notice that videos were going missing or were ‘out’, a long time. I later found out that they were the videos which showed Sai palming and conjuring his phony materialisations, like the little Bible etc.
I never really questioned anything for being a devotee entailed complete surrender to the Guru. I am surprised at myself, now that I have again become myself, and can look back objectively. I, like all, believed his presence was with us watching all the time, guiding and protecting. I believed he was talking to me all the time.
With regard to collecting money, there was a box at the back of the Centre for people to donate to the Sai Trust. Also many N.R.I.s donated large somes privately to acquire good karma. The Sai-Org organ the Sanathana Sarathi also advertises for tax dedutible donations as well. So money is collected on a grand scale even though they say they don’t ask for money or preach like other religious groups.
Of course there was the Seva or service work that was performed but it was never overwhelming. Worshipping activities were always the most important. These were usually elaborate functions including food with no expenses spared. Hiring big halls and erecting big altars. All for the worship and glorification of Sai. Just one function would have fed many unfortunates but then the officers wouldn’t have the opportunity to give speeches, grandstand and feed their egos. Everything was of an exremely fundamentalist Hindu nature with barely even lip-service to other beliefs. I was never asked to sing at these functions although I was good enough to be the ‘token Westerner’, singing in Sanskrit on the main day Thursday. The other groups such as the Japanese, Chinese, and English were segregated out and relegated to other nights. Most of the controversial teachings were never taught, so as not to upset the members. Quantity was far more important than quality! There was never any real pressure to keep devotees but then who is going to leave God? Sai has said it is an opportunity that comes along only every few thousand years and it would be just our fate to not utilise it. What kind of bad karma would that bring?
It is all like a common mind or shared ego. It is primitive and tribal and even similar to how animals share their minds and instincts. It is like a computer programme that is shared by many, and if that is the only programme you have, that is what one plays. The ego becomes attached to the programme for thoughts are things and they become posessions. We all thought we belonged to an exclusive group that had been individually called by the great Avatar. This imparted an incredible pressure and instilled an even more incredible arrogance. Even as a devotee, I was fed up with idiots coming up to me and telling me the wisdom of the ages. Usually a fundamentalist who thought Sai talked through him. They all felt superior to non-devotees the misguided members of other religions. Of course the usual lip-service was given about all being one and God has many names, but they all knew it was Sai Baba really. A name that Sathyanarayana Raju had given himself. Probably because there were millions of ready made Shirdi Baba devotees. Many of these could be persuaded to follow a real life version of their Guru.
It is all very strange how normal people come in pranaming to pictures of Sai Baba and the mixture, elephant headed God Ganesha. They do this to increase the sense of belonging and this why they adopt Saris and Indian dress. Sai-Org is really aimed at India but these Westerners coerce themselves. Most of them would not know any Vedanta at all. It is all tribal manipulation and human inadequacy. The need to belong seems to be a basic human instinct and leaves one open to exploitation. Especially in the West where there is a spiritual vacuum. Also most of the Centres are highly politicised and full of ego competition, not really spiritual at all. So there were all the personal agendas needing to keep control as well. This isn’t exclusive to Sai-Org, many religions and cults are very similar.
For some reason attending group functions seems to have not only a binding effect but a blocking effect as well. Take my own case for example; before I came across the yahoo club I had already walked out of the centre, some time before. I still considered myself a devotee but not a member of Sai-Org anymore. As soon as I freed myself from the reinforcing vibrations, my thinking started to ‘free-up’, so to speak. The mind has a tendency to go out and grasp, so overcompensating ,( to eliminate its other aspect, ‘doubt’), seems to result in self-deception/attachment. I had the advantage of being a bit of a rebel anyway. This freed me from the Sai-Org, but freeing myself from Sai Baba was like a divorce or grieving over a death. Perhaps like a nervous breakdown. It is all the true believer syndrome, and one has to live through the destruction of ones future before the new future starts to manifest. However the first morning that I awoke free, I was happy and relaxed and back to my old jolly Irish self.
It must have been a strain for me to be a devotee. My personality was not similar to the other devotees at all for I was extremely extroverted. I was perhaps trying to fill a hole in my life. Perhaps my childhood and my bad experiences with the Catholic Church, for I had walked out of that also. I was actually reading the Sufis and wanted to sit around with a group of mystics, that brought me to Sai Baba…..Some mystical group!!
The Sai-Org was a fundamentalist group, which I really didn’t appreciate until I had left. Then I realised it was all about numbers and the lowest common denominator. No wonder I, as an aspiring Jnani was looked upon with suspicion. It also explains why Sai is contradictory in his teachings, keep everyone in whilst the money is coming. I believe that most if not all of the executives in the Sai-Org are aware of the truth but are willing participants. For it is another Sect/Cult with wide open opportunities for advancement. There are many Tammy and Fayes around and other religious frauds.
It is strange that even now that I write against him. People write me and tell me that I am doing his work, playing a role in this leela/play. The mental gymnastics of devotees never will cease to amaze me. I am sceptical but I am not a true sceptic/rationalist for I have experienced too much of Sai Baba and other stuff on the subtle planes, I believe in the occult. I know that he is an Astral Being of some kind, a Deva or Asura or even Fallen Angel. Thessalonians 2 in the New Testament writing on the Anti-Christ seem to fit him quite well. Saint Paul( Saul of Tarsus, studied under Gamaliel), in his letters obviously peered into the eternal now. I am not getting hysterical here, for Anti-Christ has many meanings.
“The wicked one will come with the power of Satan,( I translate this as Ego-T) and perform all kinds of false miracles and wonders. 2:10. Thess.
“He will even go in and sit down in God’s Temple and claim to be God.” 2:4. Thess.
Sai Baba has said and done both of the above!!!!!!!!!Over and over again. Even in the birthday discoures of 23-11-99 he says that people shouldn’t be ashamed to say they are going to Puttaparthi to see God! Combine that with his proven phony materialisation miracles on video and it all fits????
The need to believe in phony wonders sometimes exceed not
only logic but, seemingly, even sanity.
--The Rev. Canon William V. Rauscher
The true-believer syndrome merits study by science. What is it that compels a person, past all reason, to believe the unbelievable. How can an otherwise sane individual become so enamored of a fantasy, an imposture, that even after it's exposed in the bright light of day he still clings to it--indeed, clings to it all the harder?
--M. Lamar Keene
One of the greatest tragedies in all of this; is the amount of people that have family problems, lose spouses, lose businesses, all for this Sai-Org. The purpose being to get money to India, where it translates into power and influence. All the Seva work and E.H.V. work is all free, cost nothing, and put a good face on an empire…I am extremely fortunate that my wife, Jean, stuck with me during the fifteen years of this madness and never was conned herself…For that I thank the true God!…
Om Namah Sivaya.
It is strange but when I was working in Miami Fla, in 1968/69, a girl told me some of my past and future. She wanted me to go to Bimini to scuba dive over some ancient ruins, with some University People. She said they were Atlantean and that I would remember them. She also predicted that I would go to India and meet Sai Baba, whom she had already met. Some other stuff about my first wife dying at a young age and how many children I would have also came true. I think her name was Phyliss and her friend was, called Ray and his mother was called Yolanta, she was from Albania, I think. I didn’t think of Sai Baba again, until 1985, perhaps I should have!
Another thing that I found was that prophecies were distorted to suit Sai Baba. Like distorting Revelations:19, and Aurobindo’s announcement about the descent of Krishna Consciousness. Not being able to find the Mohammed prophecies and that Nostradamus’s don’t fit Sai Baba.
The one good thing that has come out of this is that I am now more into ‘formlessness’, no images, no gurus.!
Check out these urls....
It is a guy called Beyerstein it was part of my overall research.
Om Namah Sivaya..Tony.