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:-
Comments by the undersigned are in blue text:
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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]
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
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, one of which went 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 left Sai Baba’s organization and 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 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 true 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. The claim falls on its own.
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 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 strolls about or sits, doing nothing resembling
hard work of any kind. 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):
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 informative reading for comparisons.
Unresolved, quashed investigation of murders in Sai Baba's bedroom, 1993
See The International Sai Petition - and View ex-follower signatures
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