Rather like myself before 2000, Ullrich was not - seven years ago - in a position fully to see through the deceptions to which I consider we were all subject. I now understand the major part of the whole Sai Baba question in a completely different light to what I did formerly. So I will here take issue with some of the assumptions and beliefs expressed by Ullrich at that time for the sake of any who may study them in detail. Particularly the first of the video interviews gives an unfortunate impression (though soundly refuted by Ullrich in the third one) of Sai Baba as God Incarnate. There he was doubtless portraying how had he felt at the time, so as to bring home to outsiders what a huge effect encountering this personality cult and its figurehead has on a trusting and indoctrinated believer.
One fact that does not come out in the interviews is that Ullrich had
his first interviews at the age of 21, last interview in 23. He says
he was only 14 years at the time of his first 'contact' with Sathya
Sai Baba - via his devotee mother. He is now nearly 40 years old. It
is significant that he came under the influence of Sai Baba's ideas
at a tender age. That it took 18 years for Ullrich to bring out the
public presentation of the facts about Sai Baba's sexual acts is not
surprising. The same applied to Mark Roche, who testified to oral sexual
abuse by Sai Baba on the BBC documentary 'The Secret Swami' two decades
after the event. It is not unusual in all kinds of cases of sexual abuse
for such a long delay in speaking out, as is well known and widely documented
by abuse counsellors and psychologists.
Even though a very low percentage of sexually abused persons actually stand forth publicly [according to expert estimates], we can expect more Sai Baba allegations to come out as the years go by and conditions change, especially when the life-threatening danger of so doing in India may recede. (As known to all, murders of young males occurred even in Sai Baba's bedroom in 1993). Some of Sai Baba's closest former attendants and visitors have testified that Sathya Sai abuses several boys and young men daily, and has done so for ages, so there would be at least many hundreds, especially Indians, who have had the experience. India is still an extremely backward country as regards its laws on homosexuality, and in its lacking enforcement of law on sexual abuse, which is still very largely the subject of taboo and shame. Consequently those who stand forth invariably do not get help, sympathy or proper publicity - and, when their allegations are about persons of political or financial clout (such as Sathya Sai Baba with his governmental and judicial protectors) - they mostly instead suffer the contrary.
The 'spiritual honeymoon' period: Ullrich Zimmermann describes experiences in relation to Sai Baba after his first interview which have frequently been referred to by Sai devotees as 'the spiritual honeymoon' period. The feelings Ullrich reports - of undergoing a regenerative change of life - attended by what seems at first to be the realisation of (often long-suppressed) hopes, longings and desires and a sense of joy or even bliss - is well-described in the literature of religious confessions and transformation. It is common - though in different degrees of intensity and sustainability - in practically all religious sects and other charismatic movements, and also even in strongly ideological political movements (think only of the excesses of fervour in Chairman Mao's 'cultural revolution'). The uplift and released energies of the 'honeymoon' seldom if ever last for very long, for the realities of everyday life and many difficulties of achieving in both word and deed genuine and lasting personal self-transformation return. Meanwhile, questions which are unanswered (except apparently by the sprawling catch-all and often vague doctrine of Sai Baba) are soon seen to be very nearly as intractable at the personal and existential level as before - as long, that is,as one still remains within the sphere of Sai Baba, as Ullrich discovered some weeks or months after his interviews.
The unavoidable need to explain Sai Baba's sexual approaches: After being subjected to sexual advances by Sai Baba, it would be only natural to seek other explanations of it, as some devotees have done in public and many evidently do between themselves. It surely becomes a pressing need to understand what he never admits or explains himself. For example, some have chosen to see it as a kind of 'spiritual healing', others think it some kind of 'inoculation' against sex in general. Some devotees even claim that these are molestations carried out as retribution for bad acts in former lives!" That Ullrich did not feel it was sexual abuse does not alter the fact that it was an illegal act which would be definitively defined as such in medicine. Indeed, it is indisputably a criminal act under Indian law, and even among consenting adults. [I am not in agreement with this discriminatory law against homosexuals, but only pointing out that it is still the law in India]. Whether Ullrich consented - or submitted under strong psychological duress - is yet another question.
One obvious problem that has to be solved by those who are sexually approached by Sai Baba is whether to tell anyone about it. The difficulties of telling about such abuses are well described in the literature of sexual abuse and therapy and are recognisable in many sexual abuses cases within religious or 'spiritual' settings, not least in the Roman Catholic Church, the Hare Krishna movement, Jehovas Witnesses and numerous other sects and religious cults which have been exposed and sometimes brought to account legally. Ullrich told his mother, who he says - being a devotee and trusting Sai Baba totally - immediately accepted it as a blessing. He also spoke to others, including residents at the ashram, and he learned it was a commonplace thing taking place on "a really big scale". That Ullrich has, after many years, spoken out is extremely laudable for the sake of truth and protection of those who wish to avoid any such encounter themselves or for their sons. For most of those affected, the risk of exposure and public attention, possible ridicule, and even scandal attacks on one's person by 'true believer' devotees who will to defend Sai Baba by means fair and foul causes them to remain silent. For Indians - particularly students of Sai Baba, to speak out can have terrible consequences, as four male devotees were murdered in Sai Baba's own bedroom (in 1993) most likely due to the intention of some of them to try to force him to stop his sexual abuses.
Is reduced sex interest caused by Sai Baba's 'genital oilings' and sexual contacts? Induction into sex by the overpowering figure - the supposed God Incarnate - would - if anything - only tend to increase the suppression of sexual impulses and feelings, since the confusion this reportedly creates in many who have experienced it with Sai Baba is a disturbing factor affecting feelings deeply. In experiencing less sexual attraction to women after achieving the longed-for acceptance by him who one has long believed to be God Incarnate, there need be no mysterious 'spirituality' involved. The extreme suppression of all sexuality that devotees are required by Sai Baba obviously becomes all the more pressing, in fact a virtual psychological necessity when Sai Baba repeatedly points this out as a chief failing during the first private contact (eg. to Ullrich: 'You think of girls all the time'). Not to heed Sai Baba's advice seriously thereafter could mean rejection (supposedly by God himself) as a genuine devotee. One cannot discount the effect of unmanageable feelings of disgust and shame in thinking about the sexual function after such an encounter with Sai Baba. Such feelings are very commonly reported by victims of sex abuse and rape the world over!
It is noteworthy that Sai Baba, claiming to be a universal teacher and personal guide to devotees who claims he knows everything about their entire lives, never explains to those who reported his sexual approaches, what the genital 'oilings', homoerotic and sexual acts are for! He does not even admit that they take place, but states only "Swami is pure" and sustains the continual assertions throughout the Sai literature that he is a lifelong celibate and entirely free of desires of any kind. Most people would of course conclude from this that it is because he was simply indulging his own sexual desires (and would never admit it). Sai Baba limits himself to instruction like ' Do not tell anyone!' or makes some vague and apparently irrelevant comments. His well-know use of ambiguity and unexpected digressions leaves everything to the puzzled and confused persons' imagination and any personal interpretations they always have to strive to cook up... for no aid in understanding anything properly, in depth, or satisfactorily is offered by Sai Baba on the great majority of interview occasions.
After such a radical uplift of spirits in attaining one's greatest and previously almost futile desire through years - to have an interview and get personal acceptance from the supposed Godhead - the incentive to control one's sexual attractions is very strong. Accepting Sai Baba' corrective comment fully, Ullrich's attitude changed towards girls and he evidently easily suppressed feelings of sexuality, which always normally arise and are sustained from one's own thoughts and emotional impulses, despite one's hormones or youthful testosterone. Avoiding undue contact with girls, lowering one's eyes and not dwelling on lustful impulses or thoughts are instructions Sai Baba has given to those males who want to be his true devotees. By rather entertaining thoughts of God, reciting mantras and directing one's behaviour so as to try to become pure and selfless, one can doubtless experience a change of lifestyle and personal sense of well-being. This is likely almost invariably to be only a temporary change. As Ullrich so frankly admits, this enhanced sense of well-being and disinterest in the opposite sex lasted but a few weeks for him. That it became unsustainable can easily be explained by the lack of expected or hoped-for 'spiritual' results from repeated attempts at behavioural changes.
The question of 'spiritual energies', white or black: Ullrich has very correctly pointed out how Sai Baba feeds off of his devotees' feelings. The enhanced self-feeling of being accepted by Sai Baba - and made a fuss of - is a kind of empowerment and gives an increased status within the movement. These 'blessings' add to Sai Baba's own influence and the 'lucky person' often the works hard to help Sai Baba's agenda along in numerous ways, not least with reports or 'stories' based on own indoctrinated interpretations and beliefs about Sai's influence - often based on wishful thinking.
In these interviews Ullrich sometimes generalised unduly and expressed his case rather definitively about some things which no one can know about with such certainty - such as how widespread siddhi powers may be in India, for this is doubtless based mostly on hearsay and belief, even though I too have personally come across a few other instances of what may be siddhi powers. I find the kind of language Ullrich uses about 'energies' and Tantrism unhelpful in understanding what occurs between Sai Baba and his followers. The existence and nature of this kind of 'energy' is virtually only in the realm of opinion or belief, as there is a complete lack of empirical knowledge or scientific hypotheses about such 'subtle energies'. Rather, the broad sciences of psychology and related subjects (including social anthropology, history of religion etc.) provide a much more articulated language, empiri and hypotheses for approaching such personal experiences. I find that one can explain most of what happens personally in relation to Sai Baba equally well by other means without invoking doubtful assumptions about 'spiritual energies'. Using the term 'white Tantra' was ill-advised, as is Ullrich also saying (contradictorily) in the 3rd interview about Sai Baba's miracles "It's just black magic". More articulate explanations should be sought.
To get rid of unfortunate 'programming' from one's background - as Ullrich thought his acceptance of Sai Baba's outlook originally did for him - did not itself lead to any personal liberation, despite a temporary sense of well-being (even bliss and joy at getting an interview and being given much attention, despite the unwelcome sexual part). A too negative outlook was replaced - as Ullrich testified - by the Sai indoctrination which seemed positive, but which disempowered him as a person and gave him no further development. It is very difficult to distinguish genuine 'teaching' from 'spiritual programming' and 'indoctrination', especially when the latter is a kind of self-programming and is backed by strong social influence to accept beliefs and alternative views of the world ('group effect'). Ullrich's mother was already a full believer, so this must have had deep effects on him.
'Tantric sex' practices? There have not been any controlled studies of alleged 'Tantric' energies made hitherto by scientists or experts in any related discipline, so this matter remains obscure amid hearsay and speculation. While one cannot therefore definitively exclude Ullrich's idea about Tantric energies being transferred, such an unexpected, unwanted and "dumbfounding" experience as he describes obviously causes mental confusion and emotional disruption. This is the basis of a down-to-earth psychological explanation, for when he had obviously anticipated a quite other reception by Sai Baba, he experienced disorientation and unusual perceptions of what was occurring, giving rise to rationalising interpretations of its nature and meaning afterwards. No homosexual interactions, let alone any supposed 'Tantric energies' need be involved in the process through which Ullrich went. Induction into sex by the overpowering figure - the supposed Ultimate Godhead - would - if anything - only tend to increase the suppression of sexual impulses and feelings, since the confusion this reportedly creates in many who have experienced it with Sai Baba is a disturbing factor affecting feelings deeply. No end of disturbed thoughts may arise after being so unexpectedly sexually dominated against one's will (not through physical but through psychical domination). This may well be how the appeal to 'Tantric sex' as an explanation arises, for this gives an aura of some kind of 'spiritual meaning' to an otherwise basely abusive act.
Ullrich described having seen some kind of ball of light floating briefly
between him and Sai Baba's penis after the oral act, he is inclined
to believe that this had to do with some subtle energies. I would not
deny it is possible that he perceived something outside his normal experience.
Many persons have described having visions of much more extraordinary
sorts - including a kind of halo around Sai Baba head up to an including
total changes of appearance by Sai Baba (into the elephant God Ganesh,
or a blue-faced Krishna). I have personally experienced one such so-called
'halo' phenomena - a kind of reflective sheen around Sai Baba's head
for some moments. How these appearances are generated by the mind is
quite another matter, and Tantric sex has not been called upon to explain
those phenomena. Particularly when in a pre-prepared receptivity due
to massive 'indoctrination' by books, films and stories, the human mind
is capable of a vast range of what - in lack of a complete empirically-controllable
explanation - are lumped together as 'paranormal' or 'parapsychological'
phenomena. Not least of these are the perceptions many people have under
hypnosis through strong suggestion! It should be noted that such phenomena
in connection with Sai Baba are invariably seen only by one or a few
people, while others just as near and attentive, see nothing. This is
also the case in stage hypnosis, where the subjects are often prepared
in a very short period of time and without years or months of increasing
built-up tensions and expectations as in the Sai Baba movement.
Sai Baba's dual sexuality? Interestingly, Ullrich's experience involved an incident already reported (quite independently) by others - that Sai Baba took Ullrich's hand to his crotch twice, and he seemed to feel a female organ, then a male organ. Since it is obviously impossible to investigate this matter, explanations have been put forward. A none too reputable Indian doctor claimed in a posting on the ExBaba Guestbook that "Everyone knows that Sai Baba is a hermaphrodite". The statement is totally unreasonable, of course, more because of the "everyone knows" than the possibility that Sai Baba was born a hermaphrodite (which is a known condition). A simpler explanation has been put forth - that Sai Babe creates the illusion of dual sex, either by hypnosis or - more likely - by trickery, involving the pulling of the penis back from behind to make it seem that he has none. As all males know or can discover, this is not at all difficult to do. That this has not been reported of Sai Baba in a naked condition increases the likelihood of guile. He has claimed he is both male and female, Shiva and Parvathi, Sai=mother and Baba=father, etc. since he was regarded as such reportedly from his early childhood. On the other hand, if he was born as a hermaphrodite, this could explain the awe in which he was held by the backward and medically ignorant villagers of Puttaparthi in the 1920s, and it could also explain a great deal more about why he was worshipped and how his most unusual reputation and life developed. This would be a prime case of massive 'projection' of dual-sex Divinity onto a physical malformation.
Indoctrination, self-programming and 'projection': I have shown in detail and at length how indoctrination (and self-programming)
is an essential part of the Sai Baba movement. One most often comes
to India already largely pre-programmed through stories, books, personal
accounts, films and experience in the Sai community etc. This began
around the age of 14 for Ullrich. In his interviews I recognise his
acceptance of a number of false ideas about Sai Baba, his miracles,
materialisations and 'energies'. This was certainly no fault of his
at the time, for it is near impossible for an outsider - that is, a
foreigner without special connections over a long period to Indian insiders
in the ashrams - to discover the deception both by and around Sai Baba,
let alone the depths to which it goes. Devotees are usually of a very
trusting nature and wish to believe - and get their beliefs reinforced
- through association with the movement. Watching his 'manifestations'm
his followers never suspect fraud or look carefully, and the fewest
know anything about how sleight of hand can be done. The vast majority
of followers - over 90%, never even see Sai Baba for as much as a minute
as he is in daily life out of sight of the crowds, so their experiences
are necessarily to a large degree influenced by - or simply based on
- hearsay. Interpretations of their own experiences arise in the context
of these powerful and fantastic stories, their own desire to be accepted
and above all by very strong emotional, psychic and meditational 'projection'
onto the guru.
There are kinds of psychological function which fall under the broad category of 'projection', both of psychological and epistemological varieties. The combination of concentration, yearning and indoctrination (especially self-programming in following a teaching so as to integrate it into one's every thought and feeling in life) is very powerful and can produce the strangest perceptions, thought often to be 'leelas', 'synchronicities' or miracles... which can appear to be objective too. Projection is unavoidably involved to a great extent when seeing Sai Baba as the source, creator and director of everything, as most devotees do (according to his own frequent claims) - even believing one's own thoughts and feelings come from him! One's own qualities are attributed to or projected onto him (but, quite inconsistently, never one's own bad qualities! He denies very strongly that he is the agency in any of those qualities, or in any way responsible for them for it is one's own failings only). This 'projective attachment' to him obviously makes one gradually alienate from one's own self-understanding by focusing on and desiring that everything comes - or are at least ordained by - Sai Baba (mistaking him to be 'the' Divine Creator).
Sai Baba's ability to influence his devotees' perceptions: Other persons' perceptions can be manipulated by many means. Sai Baba does this very effectively - and some of his devotees experience unusual visions of him etc. while those sitting beside them see nothing at all - surely comes mainly from them and their concentrated yearnings etc., - as Ullrich is well aware - and even influences them to the extent that some experience visions of him transforming into other beings, or having a halo or whatever etc. while those sitting beside them see nothing at all. The process of suggestion begins with the first book one reads, the personal stories one hears, or say the first dream one has where his figure occurs. Most come to him already believing in materialisations and so never even suspect that sleight-of-hand and other techniques can be involved (especially as to the well-known swallowing/regurgitating of lingams which was first done as a showpiece by the famous Houdini). The relatively poorly understood but well-recorded phenomenon of 'mass hypnosis' almost certainly applies to many of Sai Baba's interviewees. The conditions for so-called 'hypnotic' suggestion are almost perfect in advance with most devotees, and this perceptual trance is one from which one is not awakened in any noticeable manner. Subjects of hypnosis generally do not even know - or are able to recall - that they have been induced into it . and, by the way, sleep-like states are not at all necessary for it to be very effective. One brilliant exponent of how tremendously people's minds - perceptions and thoughts - can be manipulated by non-mysterious means (very often explained by him in detail) is the rising TV star, the Englishman Derren Brown, many of whose 'psychic' feats are very like those for which Sai Baba and many others are known. Derren Brown convinces his subjects that he knows their minds, shows that he knows what they have in their pockets down to the last detail and can induce states of mind - including total immediate forgetfulness, drunkenness, sleep - in them with the greatest of ease and no preliminary 'hypnosis' which are most impressive to observe. However, he explains how all he does is achieved without any 'psychic powers'.
It is possible to experience a great deal through projection of various kinds and almost anyone or anything can potentially be the catalyst (persons, idols, animals, pieces of stone even!"). It can - and often does - go badly wrong as time goes on, since it is a form of cognitive dissociation with sober perception and reason, leading to many forms of weirdness of belief and behaviour (as can be seen above all frequently at Sai Baba's ashrams, if one looks around). I know of many people who are in desperate conditions because the experience wore down and the spirituality disappeared. It happens with the Moonies, the born-again Christians, the Mormons, the 7th Day Adventists and almost every charismatic sect or cult in existence... and also in other kinds of organisation too, from the sublime to the ridiculous.
Effects of deep yearning, concentration, deprivations, sleep paralysis, drugs etc.: Long-term and ingrained projection is evident in many other areas of human belief and there is a wide range of possible causes. For example, if one believes in UFOs strongly enough and concentrate on the issue enough you can evidently have experiences of them, even experience abduction and whatever, it certainly seems. This is most likely partly due to the brain's incapacity to separate dream from waking reality under certain conditions, now being researched very convincingly in modern hi-tech neurological science, This occurs in 'sleep paralysis', which can arise in intervals between normal sleep. The brain can under a wide range of circumstances apparently 'conjure up' what is not actually there. Such functions are not confined to schizophrenic hallucinations or in major sense deprivations, extreme thirst and very high fever, but may apply in all kinds of apparent visitations and magical experiences, from shamanism, black magic, voodoo, meeting elves, earth spirits, animal guides, ghosts and so on. These can be the result of concentrated worship over a long period, powerful longings, joyful singing, concentration on the form or qualities of the worshipped entity, and intensive prayers for answers and revelations. Even stones and pieces of wood (viz. the idols at the Jagannath temple) can become 'animated' and even talk! The means of inducing these experiences vary enormously from intense indoctrination, suggestion (hypnosis) to privations, blood-letting (as in religious rituals) social fear (as in black magic) ingestion of a huge range of drugs and poison from Jimson weed to LSD, morphine to ganja and so on...
The 'well-prepared' interview rooms: The interview room used to be 'prepared' by Joga Rao (or a servitor called Kalkaka) - I saw them both involved in this when I was sitting in the front waiting to go in on several occasions. Once they had a very sheepish almost guilty look and it struck me, but I ignored it. Later I was asked conversationally one day to my utter surprise by V.K. Narasimhan what I thought of Joga Rao... that he did not believe in any of Sai's miracles. I was astonished. The closest servitor of all for decades! Narasimhan said all Indian residents knew this and it was often discussed, but Joga Rao wanted to serve Sai Baba because of his educational and social work for Indians. I later found evidence of Joga Rao's scepticism when a Norwegian friend of mine worked with Joga Rao to design a new waste disposal unit for Prashanthi. My friend suggested that Swami should decide on the issues, Joga Rao said 'What does HE know about it?'
Some revealing details were recently learned from Indian ex-students who contacted the expose in strict confidence, especially from one former 'form boy' whose brother was still recently a Sai Baba 'chic' (i.e. permanent bedroom fixture). Sai Baba has a machine for making vibuti pellets with vibuthi and water (which pellets he conceals in many places and about his person, which are handed to him by his letter-bearing servitors etc. - as now seen on videos). Pellets are placed, for example, on top of the electrical switch box on the left inside the door where he always goes to turn on the room lights after entering the room - then he invariably 'materialises' vibuti for the ladies! Further, in the private inner room he has had concealed a sponge in a small tray of fragrant oil, sometimes under a chair or elsewhere. Such a simple trick - he only has to squeeze it once before the young man enters, or when the worshipful fellow is inattentive! None of his critics had imagined this obvious explanation despite years of investigating and pondering.
Oiling with psychoactive substances? In this connection it is worth consideration that, since Sai Baba oils people on their chests, stomachs, genitals the oil may often contain psychoactive ingredients which enter the blood through the skin and cause psychically unusually experiences (arising some time after the oiling). Even the traditional Indian pharmacology is well-acquainted with all manner of drugs and poisons and it would be a small matter for Sai Baba and his minions to find an agent which affects through oiling of absorbent bodily parts. Of course, there is no proof of this, but it is not impossible, especially where fraud as a means to enhancing his status is known to be part of Sai Baba's agenda. There are reports that Sai Baba oils the perineum (the very sensitive spot between the gonads and the anus, where the so-called 'kundalini serpent' - an alleged supra-natural power is symbolically represented as 'sleeping' in the 'muladahara chackra'). This he did to the author Paul William Roberts, who eplained this in an e-mail to me - though in his earlier book about India where he tells of his visit to Sai baba and interview, he only stated that he was oiled on the "chest". Roberts claims it was completely innocuous... he did not realise it was a form of grooming, testing for availability, because it gave him what he claims was a 'wonderful experience'. Authorities on witchcraft in the Middle Ages in Europe even suggest the broomstick association arose because it was used for self-application of 'potions' - involving certain psychoactive drugs like Jimson weed and toad skin extract - to the perineum and/or anus - where it is well-known that drugs can be quickly absorbed into the bloodstream without going through the digstive tract (as in use of medical suppositories).
Apropos the serpent symbolism, it is noteworthy that Sathya Sai Baba had a bed made (see image) representing the 'serpent bed' on which Vishnu Narayana supposedly reclines on a sea of milk in Vaikuntha (heaven). This bed was reportedly where he nightly seduced many of his young male students. See his own statement here.
Sai Baba's intuition and knowingness: Ullrich relates how he asked Sai Baba about his brother Peter, who was then dead. But Sai Baba responded with "He's fine, he's fine!" Ullrich corrected him. He fell silent a while then said 'Drugs, bad company'. That evidently made Ullrich think Sai Baba had special knowledge. However, Sai Baba is definitely very intuitive and can pick up people's thoughts to a considerable extent, that is my experience and also that of many others (and Sai Baba is far from being alone in this, despite the failed experiments on telepathy in parapsychology and by James Randi etc.). Now, Sai Baba is also very smart and quick to adjust, so just think - knowing the brother died, it is a fairly safe bet to say he had do both with drugs and bad company in some form or other, because very few young Western men can have totally avoided these things.
All who have had any prolonged contact with Sai Baba know that he is he is sometimes quite right, but also sometimes 'seems' completely wrong. Even when he is definitely wrong, hardly anyone even considers he could be! Those who know he misunderstands and says completely wrong things mostly suppress the facts - as did Dr. Samuel Sandweiss about Sai Baba's totally incorrect account he gave students about what Sandweiss had just told him as to the number of psychiatrists he knew were intending to visits Sai Baba). For these 'true believers', in their belief that he is the greatest omniscient teacher ever, set about imagining in every conceivable way how his words could make some sense in some connection or other and eventually can often make something out of it . however unlikely. Sai Baba has a set of commonly used remarks which he applies almost willy-nilly to many interviewees - sometimes they fit, sometimes far from it. To couples he will say 'You fight', to the unmarried he will say 'You want a husband, or wife' and many another obvious comment, which are always taken in interviews as showing his infallible knowledge and brilliant wit. Sometimes he has been told facts by his servitors and 'spies' who infiltrate the ashram, often he just knows the facts from letters. He often finds out the names of those coming to interviews through the leaders, or the office data (which is very thorough on each group of foreigners who arrive).
Why such great secrecy if not to cover-up deception? No reader of Sai literature or frequent ashram visitor can fail to know that Sathya Sai Baba is extremely secretive. He is constantly guarded by servitors and not one of 'officials' ever gives a straight answer to any questions about sensitive matters, nor do they give away anything they know about suicides, murders or the slightest possible untoward event. When such events occur, the ashram is often cleared of all foreigners within 24 hours so as to hinder anyinvestigation and inquiry. No one can find out what goes on in private, let alone what transactions are made between the Central Trust and all those who live from its donations. Less known is how his closest attendants collude with him in ways to enhance his apparently endless 'psychic abilities', providing intelligence on visitors and handing him vibuthi tablets being two of the least serious deceptions. The spreading of 'miracle' stories is also done by his VIPs, and some have been discredited by proper investigations (especially 'resurrection' as totally debunked by Prof. E. Haraldsson's investigations). These deceits are in the interests of those who live by Sai Baba, not least financially, but this is played down and cannot be investigated by anyone without excellent connections. Sai Baba is now known from many witnesses - including very 'privileged' devotees who have had literally hundreds of interviews each (Dr. N. Bhatia, Conny Larsson, David Bailey and many more) to practice a great deal of deception and outright fraudulence. Not least, of course, he had been widely and very credibly accused of the most serious kinds of sexual abuse by young men around the world. (See here).
In the years since Ullrich gave his video interviews, it has been shown definitively through hundreds of instances by many observers that Sai Baba exhibits in many ways that he lacks the characteristics he claims make for divinity (omniscience, omnipotence) and definitely practices fraudulence on a large scale, which is totally incompatible with any truthful divine personality. This is not to say that Sai Baba may not always practice fraud - that he has some genuine psychic powers of the kind known as 'siddhis'. Little of what Sai Baba actually does (not least behind closed doors - where he is most of the time) can be examined properly in any case, and no one is allowed to test him in any way, let alone subject him to scientifically-secure controls, as Professors Haraldsson and Karl Osis found out when they tried. However, Haraldsson was able to find that the claim of Sai Baba that he resurrected Mr. Walter Cowan from the dead to be contradicted by the facts and the doctors involved! Be that as it may, the evidence of fraudulence and lies of many kinds by Sai Baba has grown and grown - particularly since the Internet allowed communication between disaffected persons (who formerly just disappeared from the movement and were mostly then excluded from the meeting places). Several websites have masses of testimony on all aspects of this, and the BBC documentary film 'The Secret Swami' added to this exposure of his fraud (especially as to lingam regurgitation) and alleged sexual abuse and more very considerably. See excerpts and transcripts
Sai Baba's frequent lies and fraudulence: This has been documented most thoroughly from his own published words and also from his many broken promises and actions which belie his claims, predictions and words. I am in a position to state this most definitively. I know from my own experiences with him through 18 years, including many hours of interview - 5 private interviews - and much contact through nine long visits, also very privileged contact with some of his very closest servitors. For six years, since I left his organisation (where I was national leader in Norway most of the time since I was a founder member in 1983) I have not only studied his teachings in toto, but made a 20,000 entry of one-liner source quotations in a index covering Sai Baba's every significant authorised/published statement. My critical analysis of his teachings is further supported by my investigations of the many allegations of sexual abuses and murder involvement of Sathya Sai Baba, whereby I became personally convinced from my many contacts with involved persons that there is no room for doubt as to Sai Baba's guilt and major fraudulence, and also as to his constant self-contradictions.
Further, in the light of an increasing number of revelations, very many - perhaps even all - of Sai Baba's famed 'materialisations' may be fraudulent... especially his production of vibuthi. This has been shown on videos and testified by many who have seen him drop vibuti tablets or have objects ready behind his cushions and in other places. The same goes for the rings, talisman, bracelets and watches he 'produces'. Some Indian UK devotees donated many watches on one occasion, only to find that Sai Baba had later 'materialised' them for student devotees! Further, as to the 'green stone' rings he produces, he gave me one (after I promised a major donation to his Central Trust account), which he claimed was 'better than a diamond' (and which he has repeatedly told people are diamonds), but I had it assayed 15 years after getting it (in 1986) by the Queen of Denmark's diamond expert (see how the "Green Diamond" Ring Sai baba gave me was exposed). When the ring was opened and the stone examined minutely (being closed behind by the 18 carat gold ring setting) it was found to be just a synthetic sapphire, worth around $10.- at the time in India! It had green tinfoil behind it to make it more brilliant, which indeed it was. Others I know personally through many years have also had Sai Baba 'diamond rings' assayed and found out the same about them! So fraudulence is established definitively. Of all those wearing Sai Baba rings with stones [which I have repeatedly heard him state to those he gives them that they are diamonds], not a single one can is certified by any reputable professional jeweller or firm as having a genuine, valuable diamond among them. But these 'diamond rings' are worn by Indian statesmen, ministers (not least by T.N. Seshan, the President of the Electoral Commission in India!) and many VIP leaders in the Sathya Sai Organisation. In the light of evidence that has now emerged, this is wholly absurd and laughable, in fact.
Go back to summary and transcripts of Ullrich's final part where he reflects back on the Sathya Sai experiences and cult