DECEMBER 14, 2015
Catholic devotees of “Godman” Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Fr. Mario Mazzoleni becomes a devotee of Sai Baba, is excommunicated by Rome
A Catholic Priest Meets Sai Baba
By Don Mario Mazzoleni, Leela Press; April 1, 1994 (November 2000), 285 pages – ISBN: 0962983519
Synopsis by the publisher, 06/10/96:
What does a Catholic priest do when he encounters a man who can create anything at will, who heals the sick, and who raises the dead? What does a Catholic priest do when he discovers that God is alive in India? Don Mario uses his theological training to examine Sai Baba‘s miracles and teachings. His doubts dissolve as he learns how Sai Baba’s teachings mirror those of his divine master, Jesus Christ.
When the Church demands that Don Mario recant for saying that God is alive or be excommunicated, the author said, “Institutions do not accompany anyone beyond the grave, the only reality that one can present to God is one’s conscience. The Lord who examines our hearts is the Judge!”
Don Mario Mazzoleni was excommunicated Sept. 24, 1992.
This vintage video interview of former Catholic priest, Don Mario Mazzoleni was recorded in 2000, just before he died. Because of Don Mario’s feelings towards Indian Holy man Sai Baba, he was excommunicated by the Vatican. Don Mario is the author of the book, The Catholic Priest and Sai Baba, must reading for those interested in spiritual growth.
Don Mario Mazzoleni from the Catholic Church and the instructive case of his ecommunication by the Vatican in Rome
Don Mario Mazzoleni published a book “A Catholic Priest Meets Sai Baba” (1994 Leela Inc.). In this he later wrote an ‘Afterword’ with the sub-title “Farewell, Mother! The History of an Excommunication”. The first publication of his book was in September/October of 1991. According to his US editor, former publisher and devotee Jack Scher of Leela Press Inc., his Afterword was not included in the Italian edition. Though he died prematurely from heart failure in 2001, his ‘written legacy’ remains and it is quite fair to examine it freely and critically.
Note: In the following, I follow the text of Mazzoleni’s ‘Afterword’ accurately and carefully, though admittedly not “religiously” so as to project all of his own opinions and evaluations arising in his text.
Mazzoleni wrote that he realised when he wrote the book that there would be a reaction by the church hierarchy. His aim was to awaken some interest, of whatever kind, in Sathya Sai Baba who is announcing a time of redemption for our ailing human race. Mazzoleni did not imagine that the Church would have recourse to such anachronistic measures as excommunication. [Neither had he surely envisaged the interest presently shown here in part of his book.]
In his ‘Afterword’, Mazzoleni greatly dramatised what occurred, referring to “a very beautiful, but rather bitter film by Lilian Cavani, called Galileo. He wrote that he tried to put himself in the place of the 16th Century heterodox priest Giordano Bruno, when he was condemned and burned alive. He was moved deeply by “the chilling screams of that monk, enveloped in flames”, asking himself if he too would be capable of facing the stake? He tells that he trembled at the very thought that he might give in, if even only mentally. But he also reflected that a fire kills you in a few minutes – terrible but brief minutes, and mused on what would happen to him if, to escape being burned by those flames, he consumed himself in the fire of betraying the Truth? He concluded that to be “the most disgraceful death sentence: no remedy, not even Time, could ever lessen it or even ease its pain.”
He claims that the Italian press gave a lot of attention to his excommunication, mostly with what he saw as the usual superficiality, confusing the issue in his view by “mixing up the Divine with the so-called Indian gurus”. The Catholic press unanimously condemned him, he claims, and encouraged people “to morally lynch the sinner”.
He reports that the Vatican was careful to avoid giving him a regular trial. He states he had dealings with only Cardinal Camillo Ruini, and that the Vicar of the Diocese of Rome. Cardinal Ratzinger, the head of the Holy Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, the only body with the qualifications to judge his case, was evidently not even consulted. He had expected that the Pope would be asked, claiming to know that the Pope (John Paul II) was inflexibly reluctant to allow anyone to leave the priesthood.
The sentence which declared him to be a “heretic,” and the subsequent condemnation, were issued with a rapidity that surprised him, wrote Mazzoleni. He stated that no legal defense was allowed, or even suggested, for the “defendant” (who in Canon Law is termed delinquens, that is, a “delinquent” or “culprit”). He bemoans the fact that it was decided to avoid a legal procedure, though he notes that a judge in an ecclesiastical court told him that this way he was spared many humiliations and psychological pressures.
(Note: That Mazzoleni makes such a to-do about this is a telling fact, for members of the Sathya Sai Organisation who express any doubts or criticisms are dismissed by their superior office-bearers and sometimes without even being informed, and find it out at second hand from other members!)
Mazzoleni asserted that, although the Church had excommunicated him, he continued to love Her as his Mother, even without the return love that any son, no matter how degenerate, should be able to expect from his mother. The only judgement that he said he loved with awe and respect was God’s. He claimed to know that he had acted in His presence with a pure conscience, and that everything that he had written and said flowed from a great love for Truth.
This is fair enough from Mazzoleni’s subjective viewpoint, though how far away from the truth of the matter he was only others can judge as the hidden facts and wider truth about Sathya Sai Baba become more surely known.
He writes of his reaction to the Pontifex of the Roman Church having rehabilitated Galileo some months previously, and apologized to scientists for the errors of the past. Mazzoleni thought about all the documents, all the trial-transcripts, all the condemnations that were issued against that eminent astronomer, musing on who knows when the world will ever see first-hand what was actually written and said, not only about Galileo, but also about all the other people who ended up burned or tortured or exiled? Thinking about this, Mazzoleni notes that decided it was proper to write some historical notes about his case, so that anyone interested can know what actually happened.
It seems that some inflated sense of self-worth (what Sai followers deplore as ‘ego’) taints the self-image Mazzoleni projected in the above, implicitly comparing his position to that of Galileo! [Note: I do not speak of him being self-important without experience of it, because -as the national delegate from Norway – I attended an annual European Sathya Sai Organisation meeting at Mother Sai House, Divignano, Italy, in 1992, where Don Mario Mazzoleni was also present. There he held a kind of mass-cum-bhajan with Communion plus vibuthi (wearing his priestly robes) and also dominated a committee of devotees with his views and was remarkably insensitive to any suggestions he did not make or support himself. However, he could not dominate the meeting as a whole because he had not been selected for any office in the Sai Organisation by Sathya Sai Baba, so he was subject to the leadership of the then Central Coordinator, Bernhard Gruber, and others in the Sai Organisation hierarchy.]
Mazzoleni also points out that the Vatican authorities were so concerned with spreading the news that after four months they spread it again, as if it were brand new, through all the national press, and even in Switzerland.
Monsignor Roberto of the episcopal see of Bergamo, Amadei, who had been his professor of Church history when he was studying theology (1965-1969) called him to a meeting. After a few initial pleasantries, Roberto reportedly spoke to Mazzoleni about the book. Mazzoleni notes he was told, among much else, that he was upholding some ideas which are not in line with those of the Church, such as a distinction between Jesus and the Christ. He was told that the Christ, for the Church, is Jesus Christ, and there cannot be anyone else. He was also told that Roberto could not agree with his opinion in which he was putting Christ and Sathya Sai Baba on the same level!
He was told that God cannot contradict Himself, that if He has revealed that He has come as saviour only in Jesus Christ, He cannot break His word. The conversation reportedly continued a long time on this theme, which is too theologically convoluted and, frankly, boring to consider further here.
A few weeks later, Mazzoleni stated, in the Catholic daily L’Eco di Bergamo (allegedly supported by the Curia), that two articles appeared one after the other, which refuted various points made in his book. They were apparently written by a priest who taught at the diocesan Seminary and was the first official response on the part of the clergy.
On the 24th of May Mazzoleni received a registered letter by express mail from the Vicariate of Rome, which he transcribed as follows:
Rome, May 18, 1992. Prot. N. 447/92.
The Cardinal Camillo Ruini, Vicar-General of His Holiness John Paul II for the Diocese of Rome, seeing that – the Bishop of Bergamo has informed the Vicariate of Rome, in a note of December 17, 1991, that the writings, the public declarations and the – to say the least – disconcerting ideas upheld by the Priest don Mario Mazzoleni in regard to the Indian teacher Sai Baba, whose convinced follower he declares himself to be, excite significant astonishment and scandal among the faithful; – the priest, on November 23, 1990, dedicated the book entitled A Priest Meets Sai Baba to “the Catholic Church,” a book which, though it begins with the praiseworthy intent of seeking the action of the Spirit of God in every man and in every religious experience, ends up disavowing the truths of the Catholic faith; – an attentive reading of the book reveals that the author has lost his Catholic faith in the Holy Trinity and in Christ as the Only Savior, and, especially in the letters addressed to a friend (pp. 210-213 and 216-217), the unicity of Christ the Savior is expressly denied; – the assertions moreover that accept Sai Baba’s claim to be a divine incarnation, that defend his works, miracles, sayings and doctrines, are grave affirmations against the faith; – the public declarations of don Mario Mazzoleni have caused confusion and scandal because of the fact that they come from a priest who continues to exercise his ministry in the name of the Catholic Church; – since the good faith of the writer shows clearly from the tenor of the book’s dedication, it is all the more necessary to call the priest back from error with an urgent request to cease causing scandal and to return to the doctrine of the Church, invites the Priest Mario Mazzoleni to retreat from his heretical doctrinal positions, to cease causing scandal, to explicitly retract his errors within the suitable time of three months; with the warning that if the retraction is not forthcoming the Cardinal will have to proceed to declare excommunication latae sententiae [in the broad sense] for heresy according to Canon law 1364, and subsequently to bar the priest from the exercise of the power of his office, until he returns to the Catholic doctrine.
He further invites the same priest to a personal interview on the subject in his office at the Vicariate of Rome on the day June 3, 1992 at 10 a.m., or else on June 6, 1992, at 12 noon.
Camillo Card. Ruini Vicar-General
Mazzoleni says he was not so excessively upset by this, despite the gravity of his situation. He thought the cardinal’s invitation to a meeting seemed like a good opportunity to speak to him about his experience, and to make Sai Baba known to these men. This he wrote had always been his only dream as a Catholic priest. He made an appointment for June 3, the anniversary of the death of Pope John XXIII.
He wrote that he felt very much at ease; having no fear, and inside himself constantly bringing his thought to “Him who holds all the threads of history”. Little good did these overwrought ideas do him, of course, as soon transpired.
He then describes the meeting and his thoughts about the Cardinal at length. He had transcribed in a letter to the Cardinal the various things that he wanted to say when he met him and ended up saying exactly what he had written. The letter is virtually only propaganda for Sathya Sai Baba, his “miracles” and “teachings”.
Mazzoleni wrote another letter to the “Most Reverend Eminence” and – though he had written it himself – then thought it significant that the date of the letter coincided with the holy day of Gurupoomima, the day devoted to one’s Teacher. Sai Baba has often explained that that Master is inside the heart of each of us. Mazzoleni was gratified by the coincidence, and tells that he left with serenity for the East. However, such superstitious interpretations of signs in trivial events is as universal with Sai followers as is not treading on the cracks in the pavement with some small children.
Mazzoleni claims that no one had told Sai Baba about his situation, However, he could surely not know this with any certainty and it seems very unlikely, considering that Sai Baba’s informers are everywhere in the movement and thousands of people write letters to Sai Baba, which he very often takes by hand from the writer.
Mazzoleni obviously found some solace in that he tells that Sai Baba bestowed “many attentions and particular favors” on him and also “created a ring for me, as if to consolidate our relationship, and He put it on his left hand. Obviously He knows everything, as He demonstrated to me on numerous occasions.” What was obvious to Mazzoleni would be questioned by persons who reckon that they do not know everything themselves, therefore are i no position to judge that Sai Baba “knows everything”. This presumption is more deeply questioned by those who have studied deeply and systematically most of Sai Baba discourses (as I can reasonably claim to have done, despite all), where he exhibits massive ignorance of many matters even a modern high school student known better… especially physics, the history of religions and the origins of many words.
Needless to say, Mazzoleni avoids stating whether the ring has a diamond in it, as Sai Baba usually claims, nor would he have had it assayed, as this is taboo for followers to do (because such a gift is taken by nearly every devotee as a sign of the highest Holy Grace, never to be questioned or doubted!)
Upon returning to Italy, Mazzoleni reports that expected to find the decision from the Vatican, but there was no registered letter in his mail and the silence amazed him and unnerved him a little. Thursday, September 24, the fateful letter arrived, reportedly a fully formal decree, printed on a sheet twice as large as the protocol, and on a yellowish parchment; at the top, in the centre was the coat of arms of cardinal Ruini in orange ink. Mazzoleni tells that the decree repeated exactly the text of the preceding letter, with only a few additions.
The condemnation Mazzoleni received was: excommunication latae sententiae for heresy, in accordance with Canon law 1364, with the penalties established in Canon law 1331. The decree reportedly concludes with the following declaration: “The above-mentioned disciplinary actions shall be in effect until the priest, with the grace of the Lord, retreats from his obstinacy and insubordination in accordance with Canon law 1347, section 2.”
An excommunicated priest is barred from performing any of the rites or acts one is authorized to perform through having been consecrated by one’s religious order. A “suspended” priest can never celebrate mass, hear confessions, or administer any sacrament, though he can receive them (i.e. taking communion, going to confession, etc…) But excommunication, Mazzoleni tells, is a formal action by which the superior authorities forbid a person ” 1) to take part in any way as a minister in celebrating the Eucharistic Sacrifice or any other ceremony of public worship; 2) to celebrate sacraments or holy rites or to receive sacraments; 3) to exercise any function in any ecclesiastical offices or ministries or duties whatsoever.” In the event that the “guilty party” should not obey the aforesaid measures, “he must be driven away, or else the liturgy must be interrupted, unless some grave situation prevents it” (Canon law 1331).
In Mazzoleni’s case of excommunication for “heresy,” he was considered an outcast in every sense. An excommunicated priest loses any right to any kind of financial support, severance pay, any compensation or benefits, and is thus suddenly deprived of any income. Mazzoleni also notes, melodramatically, that until just a few centuries ago, he would have ended his earthly existence inside a spectacular bonfire in the town’s main square.
Mario Mazzoleni died in September 2001, reportedly from a heart condition he had been suffering for 7 years. This was sad as he was only in his mid-50s. One may wonder why he received no ‘divine help’ to achieve his heartfelt aims in promulgating was his “God” Further, or why he was NOT cured by Sathya Sai Baba, despite all. Another case of an apparently close devotee who Sai Baba did not protect. But, of course, on Sai devotees’ usual assumptions that Sai Baba is behind these deaths as a deliverance from whatever, it will be seen as a blessing and a boon by an unfathomable Avatar whose ways can never be rationally or otherwise explained. This is far from being an isolated instance. Other instances will be recorded in a subsequent posting.
Sai Baba would be one of the more dangerous of the Indian Hindu godmen.
I can relate the following story because the person concerned is no more. Thomas Rajan, altar boy and daily mass-goer was my neighbour and studied at the same school as I did. He joined the same college as I, opting for a B.Tech degree in architecture, and was successful in his career. About twenty-five years ago, I heard that he had died in a car smash.
When I met an elder brother of his a few years ago, he told me that their family believed that Sai Baba had claimed Thomas’ life and soul. Thomas had started erecting buildings for the godman
and finally became his devotee. He was on his way to the Sai Baba’s Puttaparthi ashram when the accident took place. This just might be coincidence … but it provides thought for our reflection.
Subject: Re: Fw: PLEASE READ THIS CAREFULLY, ERIKA EDITED
Dear Michael, I am sure you are right in every word you say.
I myself have not been afraid to speak out and will send you my article on Yoga … I will word it such a way that it is clearer what the error in it for a Christian is.
Now to dear Fr. Rufus. He told me that he was not happy with his article [one that he wrote for CHARISINDIA] … He is very prudent by nature. Then additionally Indians are more fearful then we Western people, then he is getting older … all excuses.
I myself told him off when he told his story of praying silently for a man who had terrible headache flying to Sai Baba’s birthday. That headache disappeared instantly. The man had it since he has been worshipping
He was an Italian. Now when
tells this story he does not mention that
the guru that this man was afflicted by is
Sai Baba! It made me always very angry and I have told him many times.
Now this other story [Charisindia, March 2007] is of a man who, when doing his postgraduate studies [overseas] fell into the hands of [the name of the NRM/cult]. […] Some cults kill, this one makes lengthy court cases and persecutes people they do not like. I write all this in my book hence I am suffering many, many attacks from the enemy himself…
Erika Gibello has been the Secretary of the International Association of Deliverance (IAD) and the Association of Exorcists International (AIE).
The March 2007 issue of Charisindia mentioned above carries this editorial by Fr. Rufus Pereira, “Jesus was Tempted and Tested, but Triumphed“. In it, he intentionally withheld the name of the cult.
A brief introduction to Sathya (spelt also as ‘Satya’) Sai Baba:
Satya Sai Baba
By Louis Hughes
Who is Satya Sai Baba?
Sri Satya Sai Baba was born Satyanarayan Raju in 1926 in the village of Puttaparthi, Andra Pradesh, India. At the age of 14 he had a series of strange experiences, which his family and others believed at the time to be demonic possession. Soon after one of these, Satyanarayan asserted that the spirit of a guru known as Sai Baba of Shirdi*, Maharashtra, who had died more than twenty years earlier, had come into him. Shirdi Sai Baba (1856 -1918) was admired in his lifetime for his austere lifestyle and particularly for the miracles that were attributed to him. During the later period of his life, he claimed to be God and was venerated as such by his followers. Satyanarayan, who appropriated the name Satya Sai Baba, likewise claims to be God. In support of his claim, Satyanarayan began early on to work the ‘miracles’ for which he has since become renowned and which have led to a growing number of followers. The ‘miracles’ include materializing sugar candy, flowers, vibhuti (sacred ash) and other presents for his devotees. They also include healing the sick and knowing the thoughts of his disciples whatever be the distance between them. His followers even claim that Sai Baba has restored two dead men to life. These ‘miracles’ are adduced as proof of Sai Baba’s divinity and specifically of his ability to create out of nothing. He says: “It is beyond you to know how or why I create things … the objects that I create, I create them by My Will, the same way I created the universe.” Sai Baba claims to be a full avatar or ‘incarnation’ of God, greater than Jesus and founders of the world religions. In his own words: “Buddha, Christ, Mohammed and others were not avatars. They had some divine power… My power is infinite.” *See the Sathya Sai Baba-Shirdi Sai Baba controversy on page 28.
Despite his claim to divinity and to infinite power, Sai Baba maintains that he did not come on earth to establish a religion. Rather he sees his mission as being to restore the dharma – the proper and original inner transformation which is the heart and purpose of all genuine religion. As an expression of his recognition of on-going role of existing religious traditions, his logo contains the symbols of Cross, Crescent and Star, Star of David as well as the Hindu Aum and the Buddhist Wheel.
Satya Sai Baba has prophesied that he will leave his present body in the year 2022**, when he would be 96 years of age. But he will immediately be reborn for a third time as an avatar named Prema Sai Baba. He has specified that this final appearance will take place in the Mandya district of Karnataka State. **But, he died in 2011!
Over the years the number of Sai Baba’s followers has increased to several million, all but a small minority of whom are Indian. Shrines to and images of him and of his guru, Sai Baba of Shirdi, are widespread in India. One meets his followers in the streets, in shops and on the buses, as well as in the many temples and ashrams of the movement. Besides, the organisation has spread to over 137 countries including the US and most European countries. It claims to have over 30.000 centres world-wide. These work to extend Sai Baba’s message and ministry. Members come together regularly to sing bhajans (hymns) and particularly in India, to initiate projects to serve the disadvantaged. The main centre for such development has been Sai Baba’s home village of Puttaparthi – since grown into a substantial town due to the growth of the Sai Baba movement. The centre piece is Sai Baba’s magnificent ashram called Prashanti Nilayam (abode of great peace). There is an airport to facilitate the tens of thousands of devotees who come annually to pay their respects to the guru whom they venerate as God Educational institutions have also been established in his name. The movement produces a wide range of printed and visual publications and also runs a highly sophisticated Internet site to propagate Baba’s teaching. In November 1991 the organization established a modern polyclinic at Puttaparthi. Sai Baba has become a highly influential public figure in India, and is often visited by government officials and leaders – in part because of his supposed powers, and in part because of his reported good works.
The authenticity of Sai Baba’s miracles have long been questioned. A Committee was set up by Bangalore University to carry out an investigation. Through its work Sai Krishna, a 7 year-old ‘miracle’ boy and protégé of Sai Baba, was exposed as a fraud. Three members of the committee observed the boy produce sacred ash on July 15, 1976. However, it was no miracle. They found that the ash was hidden in the boy’s vest and came out when he pulled a string hidden in his clothes.
The Deccan Chronicle is a Hyderabad-based English daily with a large circulation. On 23 November, 1992 it published on its front page pictures from a video recording of Satya Sai Baba’s ‘creation’ of a gold necklace, in the presence of the Prime Minister of India, Mr. P.V. Narasimha Rao. The video tape of the event appeared to show unambiguously Satya Sai Baba being passed a necklace clandestinely by his personal assistant Radhakrishna Menon, which later Satya Sai Baba ‘materializes’ after a wave of his hand. Working on behalf of the Dutch newspaper De Volkkraant, Piet Vroon was at Puttaparthi to film Baba at “work”. He and his partner reported that they saw Baba remove rings, necklaces and watches from behind flower vases and from pillows on his chair. They also detected Sai Baba holding vibhuti balls in one hand, transferring them to the other hand, pulverising them and distributing them. Vibhuti was also alleged to be hidden in his mouth and removed while wiping his face, which Baba does very often. In his report of December 5, 1992 Vroon’s conclusion is unambiguous: “we just think that he’s a trickster and a cheat.”
Sai Baba devotees not surprizingly reject all of the above, pointing out that modern video technology can be used to produce ‘evidence’ of almost any kind of faking or for that matter of ‘miracle working’. In any case the point is made that Sai Baba himself attaches little importance to his ‘miracles’ – the important aspect of his mission being the call to a spiritual way of living.
Scandals in the Ashram
On June 6, 1993, six inmates of Prashanti Nilayam died violently in Satya Sai Baba’s bedroom. All were part of the inner circle of Sai Baba, among whom was Radha Krishna Menon, the personal assistant who was caught on video passing the necklace clandestinely to Baba. It was alleged that two were killed by assailants in an attempted murder of Baba and the police claimed to have shot dead – in self defence – four of the assailants, who were armed only with knives. However, the police of have been accused of wilfully destroyed evidence in the case.
The Marathi language weekly Lok Prabha, of January 19, 1996, published an account concerning the Satya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, in which a peasant from the Latur district of Maharastra was to have received his son Balaji’s kidney in a transplant operation. Whereas the son’s kidney was removed, a scan carried out later revealed that his father had not received the kidney. This raised the question of whether this institute was involved in the international organ theft business.
There have been numerous other allegations against Sai Baba and his movement. These include accusations of sexual misconduct by Sai Baba with teenage boys and also the discovery by the police of cyanide, land mines and plastic-explosives in Prashanti Nilayam. Disillusioned by the scandals, many disciples have been turning away from Satya Sai Baba and to the 35 year-old Palghat (Kerala) born Bala Sai Baba. Bala Sai claims to be the real Sai avatar. He has set up an ashram in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh. He dresses like Satya Sai Baba, performs the same kind of ‘miracles’ and has been successful in attracting a large number of devotees. He too has western disciples.
Despite the evidence that Sai Baba was a charlatan, a pedophile and a false prophet, he had “Catholic” devotees and admirers. Like Jesuit yoga-guru Fr.
Francis Clooney and liberal “Catholic” magazine America:
Death of a God-man? Sai Baba Dies at 85
On Easter Sunday, Sri Sathya Sai Baba (1926-2011) died in India at aged 85. The accounts of his death are many in the Indian press, and will increase as the day of his funeral, a state affair, approaches. (Just google “Death of Sai Baba” and you will see.) Professor Tulasi Srinivas of Emerson College here in Boston just published a fine scholarly study of the movement surrounding Sai Baba, Winged Faith: Rethinking Globalization and Religious Pluralism through the Sathya Sai Movement
(Columbia University Press). And today, she sent us all an email about his life and death, and has kindly given me permission to quote from it here:
“Shri Sathya Sai Baba’s life was extraordinary by any description. Born Sathya Narayana Raju to a poor peasant family on November 2, 1926, he became a nationally recognized guru and mystic who counted leading Indian politicians, sports figures and media celebrities as well as the poorest among his devotees. In 1940, he declared himself an “avatar,” or reincarnation, of another Hindu holy man called the Sai Baba of Shirdi, a town in the western Indian state of Maharashtra who had died in 1918. In the 1960s and after, riding a wave of popularity in the West he became a celebrated global guru, often providing solace through his twice daily darshan (sacred sighting) to the tens of thousands of devotees, interacting with them, magically manifesting healing vibhuti (sacred ash) or talisman for those who sought his blessings. Devotees scrambled to get a good seat during darshan often waiting hours in long queues… His devotional base grew to an estimated 20 million in 160 countries around the world and they were predominantly middle class and professional. Sai Baba used his enormous influence to harness this human power to do seva (charitable works) including raising money for educational institutions, hospitals to treat the poor and drinking water to parched rural districts in and around his home town. He grew the Sai Movement into a transnational phenomenon allowing people to remain in the faith they were born into yet offering them hope and solace as his devotees through a strategic set of embedded practices, multivalent symbols and ambiguous performances.
“But he was also the eye of the storm as controversy swirled around him. Skeptics and non believers accused him of being a “mere magician,” using trinkets and conjuring acts to increase faith in him. He never denied the magic but rather claimed that the talismen produced were magical merely a pathway for his larger maya (divine magic) of devotional transformation to occur. In the 1970s a Commission to investigate Miracles and other Superstitions was set up by Dr. H Narasimaiah, the Vice Chancellor of Bangalore University to investigate Sathya Sai Baba. The BBC documentary Sai Baba: Godman or Con man detailed the so called “tricks” but this did not deter devotees and followers. More recently ex-devotees and former devotees have accused Sathya Sai Baba and the Sai Trust of more serious infractions including embezzlement, fraud and sexual abuse of young boys which they claimed culminated in the death of four young men within the ashram in 1996. A series of films and internet websites detail these allegations. But neither Sai Baba nor the Trust were ever convicted of any wrongdoing. Rather Sai Baba and his devotees, on his behalf, claimed that he was vilified in the public arena by disaffected devotees. The Anti Sai movement has been appropriately silent about the current happenings in the ashram.”
It is a real test of interreligious openness to move beyond respect for the scriptures of another religion to ponder a contemporary representative of another tradition. It is one thing to admire famous figures of the past, or to imitate a reformer like Mahatma Gandhi — but quite another to reflect on the meaning of a figure whose power lay primarily in himself, his claim to divine status; it was on that basis that millions have been devoted to him, and perhaps it is impossible for us to respond to Sai Baba in that way. (But read about Fr. Mario Mazzoleni, who left the priesthood after becoming a devotee of Sai Baba — excommunicated, I believe; his book, A Catholic Priest Meets Sai Baba, is most unusual.)
My own contact with Sai Baba was minimal. In 1990, while at a conference in Bangalore, three of us drove up to Whitefield, to visit his afternoon audience. By that time, he had taken a vow of public silence, and so for about 45 minutes he just walked up and down in front to the crowd, giving blessings, touching the sick, receiving notes from especially devout people who were seeking an audience. Though it was not a singular moment, I’ve always remembered the occasion and have been glad that I did go to see him. A few years earlier, when studying here in Cambridge, I knew some students who were entirely dedicated to his message, even allowing him to guide them – by spiritual inspiration and dreams — even in their choice of marriage partners. I was impressed, and a bit worried, by their total devotion. Even earlier, when I was in Kathmandu in 1973, someone gave me some of that divine ash he was wont to produce. I still have the little folder paper containing the ash, even now: it was not something to misplace.
There is only one religion, the religion of Love;
There is only one language, the language of the Heart;
There is only one caste, the caste of Humanity;
There is only one law, the law of Karma;
There is only one God, He is Omnipresent…
Nations are many, but Earth is one;
Beings are many, but Breath is one;
Stars are many, but Sky is one;
Oceans are many, but Water is one;
Religions are many, but God is one;
Jewels are many, but Gold is one;
Appearances are many, but Reality is One.
A Catholic reader’s comment at the America article:
I must take issue with your statement “The Anti Sai movement has been appropriately silent about the current happenings in the ashram” This is far from being the case. Daily blogs revealed what was going on throughout his illness, covered-up cause of death, pre-arranged funeral (before he was declared dead). Any Google search would reveal many of the sources.
Fr. Mario Mazzoleni, who I knew, WAS excommunicated in a formal document from the Vatican. He believed Sai Baba had cured him of a heart condition, but he nevertheless died of it in 2001 while still in his mid 50s.
The words of Sai Baba are not originally his, they are compiled from other Indian savants and even from slogans known on the streets of India. More important is that he certainly did not live according to his words, such as “Help ever, harm never” or “Never criticise anyone, only examine oneself” (He forcibly called his accusers ‘demons’ in a discourse on Christmas Day – and worse too). See page 30.
I was in his ashrams and had interview there over 18 years until I came to learn from a very trusted source of more and more criminal activities by him, which cause a major crisis of faith and a long period of further investigation and reorientation. -Robert Priddy See page 31.
During the terminal illness of Sai Baba, the then Archbishop of Madras Mylapore A.M. Chinnappa SDB actually eulogized the self-proclaimed god-man during a Holy Week service in the Cathedral, and exhorted the faithful to pray for him. He was not alone in doing so. Catholic news agencies reported:
Christians pray for Hindu ‘godman’ – Concern mounts over health of renowned spiritual leader Satya Sai Baba
By Arulanandam Elango, Puttaparthi, April 6, 2011
Sai Baba, 84, fell ill with pneumonia on March 28 and was admitted to his own hospital, the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences in Puttaparthi, in Andhra Pradesh.
The spiritual leader is considered by devotees as a “godman” miracle worker who is the reincarnation of Sai Baba of Shirdi, a 19th century spiritual guru who blended Hindu and Muslim beliefs.
Doctors yesterday said the spiritual leader was in stable condition.
Thousands of devotees from all over the world flocked to Puttaparthi on hearing the news, forcing local authorities to cordon off the hospital after some followers allegedly tried to attack officials for not letting them see their leader.
Yesterday was “Ugadi, Andhra Pradesh’s New Year’s Day,” but it was a low key affair out of respect for Sai Baba, said Father M. Selvaraj, who heads a Jesuit mission in Krishnapuram near Puttaparthi.
Christians in the state prayed for Sai Baba’s speedy recovery during Sunday Mass on April 3, the priest said.
Most of his Sunday Mass participants are Hindus and they started crying when they heard about Sai Baba’s illness, Father Selvaraj said.
Bishop Moses D. Prakasam of Nellore said he has followed the news about Sai Baba and has prayed for him since he fell ill. “His service to humanity, particularly in the fields of health, education and drinking water is tremendous,” the prelate said. Thousands have benefited from the Hindu leader’s philanthropy such as free heart surgery and quality education, he said.
Father M. Devadoss, another Jesuit priest working in the area, said his mission was among the beneficiaries of the Sai Water Scheme set up by Sai Baba. “I drink Sai water and it forces me to pray for his speedy recovery,” Father Devadoss said.
Jesuit Father Sandanasamy, principal of a college in Hindupur, said hundreds of his students were planning to conduct special prayers for Sai Baba.
Godman’s recovery brings relief
April 8, 2011
Thousands of people, including Christians, are happy over the improvement in the health of world renowned Hindu spiritual figure and philanthropist Satya Sai Baba.
“I am very happy to hear the news of his recovery. It will bring relief to the people,” said Father Swarna Bernard, administrator of Hyderabad archdiocese.
Sai Baba, 84, showed signs of improvement and his other clinical parameters continued to be nearly normal and satisfactory, according to the doctors attending him. He was admitted to his own hospital, the Institute of Higher Medical Sciences in Puttaparthi in southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, on March 28 after he fell ill with pneumonia.
Jesuit Father Pudota John, who heads a retreat house in Secunderabad, said the spiritual leader had given a new dimension of love – love all and serve all. Father John said that more than Christianity, Sai’s teachings have inspired people to come forward to help the poor.
Social and dalit activist Jesuit Father A.X.J. Bosco said the teachings and life of the spiritual leader appealed to the rich both in India and the west.
Ganga Devi, a follower of Sai Baba, said she is relieved after hearing about his recovery.
Devi hoped that the spiritual leader would soon recover fully to provide succor to millions of devotees like her.
Christians grieve at death of guru – Leaders express their condolences at passing of spritual leader
By A. Elango, Puttaparthi, April 26, 2011
Christians in India have expressed deep sorrow at the passing away of a popular Hindu spiritual leader and philanthropist Sathya Sai Baba.
“We express our deepest condolences to all his followers. It is a big loss,” said Father Babu Joseph, spokesman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India.
The 85-year-old spiritual leader was undergoing treatment at the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, the hospital he founded, when he died on Easter Sunday. He was suffering from pneumonia that led to a multiple organ failure.
Picture: Men line up to pay their last respects to a man many thought to be a god
Sai Baba built the hospital in Puttaparthi in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, the place from where he ran his spiritual ministry.
“We are deeply grieved by the passing away of the Sathya Sai Baba and share the loss felt by his followers,” said John Dayal, secretary general of the All India Christian Council. Dayal recalled the “tremendous” amount of social work done by the leader by building hospitals and educational institutions.
Bishop Moses D. Prakasam of Nellore expressed the hope that that the philanthropist’s work would continue even after his demise.
Thousands of people have benefited from the Hindu leader’s initiative of providing free heart surgery, quality education, drinking water and other welfare programs.
Jesuit Father M. Devadoss said the spiritual leader followed the message of “love all and serve all” and it is fulfilled even in his death on Easter Sunday.
Jesuit Father E. Selvaraj, parish priest in Hindupur, said his parishioners offered special prayers for Sathya Sai Baba during Mass on Easter Sunday.
The spiritual leader claimed to be the reincarnation of a former holy man Sai Baba of Shirdi who died in 1918. His last rites will be performed tomorrow in Puttaparthi.
Thousands attend Hindu guru’s burial
April 27, 2011
More than 600,000 people, including Christians, today attended the funeral of Sri Satya Sai Baba, a Hindu spiritual leader who died on Easter Day. He was buried with state honors at the same place in Puttaparthi, a village in the Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh state, where he used to address devotees for many years.
The last rites were conducted according to Hindu rites and caste rituals. R. J. Ratnakar, Baba’s nephew and a trustee, sprinkled the holy water on the remains of the spiritual leader before burial.
The ornate burial place, Kulwanth Hall, is located inside Prashanthi Nilayam (abode of divine peace), a temple built during 1948-50. Hindu temple towers surround the hall’s four parts.
A giant statue of Baba in a sitting position has been kept in the hall to give the impression that he continues to address devotees, said a statement issued by the Satya Sai Central Trust that looks after the spiritual leader’s assets, worth billions of rupees.
The same reason was given for preferring burial to cremation.
The trustees have vowed to carry on the deceased leader’s legacy of welfare activities, the April 26 statement said.
Hindu priests sprinkled waters from the Ganges and other sacred rivers in the hall before the burial.
Kalavathi, a teacher, said she stood 10 hours in the queue yesterday to have glimpse of the spiritual leader. She expressed happiness that he is buried in the same place where she used to get his blessings.
Father J. Sandanasamy, who heads the Jesuits working in Anantapur district, joined the crowd at Puttaparthi. According to him, the burial would give the devotees certain attachment to the place.
The priest said the deceased Hindu leader’s motto, “Help ever and hurt never,” echoed Christian teaching.
The administration has allowed people to give their last respects to the leader until April 29.
Baba was born to Eswaramma and Peddavenkama Raju Ratnakaram in Puttaparthi on November 23, 1926.
Many consider him a selfless philanthropist who helped millions of poor people in a backward region. Some dismiss him as a trickster who used magic tricks.
The above Catholic reportage reveals the miserable syncretized condition of the Catholic Church in India.
Then, there’s the Italy-born “Catholic” leader of the Opposition in the Indian government:
Sai Baba’s life inspired people: Sonia Gandhi
New Delhi, April 24, 2011
Congress president Sonia Gandhi Sunday expressed her condolences to the devotees of Sathya Sai Baba who passed away earlier in the day. “I am pained at the demise of Puttaparthi Sai Baba. He was a spiritual person whom millions followed. His life has inspired people in the country and abroad towards spirituality and religion,” Gandhi said in a statement released here. “In addition, the institutions he created for social benefits will be remembered for long. The vacuum created by his death is uncommon. At this sad moment I express my heartfelt condolence to his devotees,” she said. […]
Sathya Sai Baba, one of India’s most famous spiritual leaders with millions of followers in the country and abroad, died at Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh Sunday morning after a prolonged illness. He was 85.
Prime Minister, Sonia Gandhi pay homage to Sathya Sai Baba
Puttaparthi, April 26, 2011
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi today joined thousands of mourners in paying homage to godman Sathya Sai Baba, who will be interred here tomorrow morning after a state funeral.
Last glimpse of Sathya Sai Baba of Sathya Sai Baba
April 26, 2011
Congress president Sonia Gandhi walks in to pay her last respects to Sri Sathya Sai Baba in Puttaparthi.
Singh, Sonia bow before Baba
April 27, 2011 […]
See also SONIA GANDHI-CATHOLIC OR HINDU?
Sr. Vandana Mataji RSCJ a Catholic nun and ashram founder’s book ‘Living with Hindus’ is dedicated to
Sai Baba, and also to Swami Sivananda, founder of the
Society and his “broad-minded spirituality.”
On page 24, one sees a photograph of Vandana “at the feet of (a life-sized portrait of) Swami Sivananda… in Sivananda Ashram“, and on page 28, with her forehead bowed in contact with the seat where Sivananda used to meditate.
On page 61, one may see her “getting Prasad“ from B.K.S. Iyengar, the world famous yogi from Pune, the guru of Fr. Joe Pereira of Kripa Foundation.
Another photograph on page 37 is of Sr. Vandana at the ashram of
Was Jesus just one of many avatars or was he the only incarnation of God?
By Mike Shreve (a writer who exposes New Age errors and dangers)
Sai Baba (born in 1926), whose name means divine mother/father, is a popular guru with a large following in India. He claims to be an Avatar for this age. He has been quoted making declarations such as the following: “I am the Self (Atma) seated in the hearts of all creatures. I am the beginning, the middle and the end of all beings” … “I am everything, everywhere, omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. My power is immeasurable. Tune into it.” One of his disciples explains, “The only difference between Sai Baba and ourselves is that he knows his Divine Reality while we have forgotten the fact.”1
1. Mohan Prasad, “Bhagavan Shri Sathya Sai Baba,” http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Forum/5464 (May 2, 2001).
Sathya Sai Baba
Sai Baba‘s fame started after an incident in his childhood when he suddenly leaped into the air with a shriek, holding his right toe. The following evening, he lost consciousness. When he recovered, his behaviour changed. Soon he was manifesting supernatural powers (siddhis).
Right away he claimed to have inherited the spirit of Sai Baba of Shirdi who had died in 1918.
Later he claimed to be an avatar or God-incarnate in the form of Siva-Shakti, the male-female principle responsible for the destruction of the world.
At his ashram, “figures of Ganesh and other deities adorned the walls. I was drawn to a 5-sided pillar which stood in the central courtyard. Each side bore a symbol of a major world religion… The pillar itself pointed to the unity of all religions. The bhajans took place in the mandir overseen by a huge statue of Krishna on horseback.1
(Saivites & Vaishnavites) agreed that he was Narayana, God come to earth with human and divine attributes. 2
Sai Baba uses secret sessions with his intimate followers in which he helps purify their lower chakras by handling their sexual organs…
People, according to Baba, are atman (self or God), but, under the influence of maya (illusion), we forget that we are God.3
1. Escape From the Guru, Barbara Szandorowska, 1991, page 86.
2. Dawn of the New Age, Five New Agers Relate their Search for the Truth, Tal Brooke, page 16.
3. World of Gurus, Vishal Mangalwadi, 1987, pages 115, 110.
Peculiarity of the New Age Movement in a Catholic Country: the Case of Poland
CESNUR – Center for Studies on New Religions
By Dorota Hall, Ph.D. candidate, Graduate School for Social Research, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland – A paper presented at The 2003
International Conference “RELIGION AND DEMOCRACY: AN EXCHANGE OF EXPERIENCES BETWEEN EAST AND WEST” April 9-12, 2003
at Vilnius University and New Religions Research and Information Center in Vilnius, Lithuania.
Polish New Age adherents most carefully foster these traditions. The shift in relation to tradition, that they make, concerns nothing more than terminology and the sort of accessories used, while the sensibility or the ways of acting have remained the same. Thus, instead of pilgrimage to traditional sanctuaries for kissing a relic or washing with the water from a miraculous spring, New Agers go to one of the numerous power-points to touch and draw the holy energy proceeding e.g. from trees or ancient rocks. Instead of telling exciting stories about crying Mother of God’s icons they charm for Sai Baba’s photos and images that secrete vibhuti (a powder that the guru materializes for his devotees in India). They enrich home altars, where traditionally images of Jesus, Mother of God and saints have been situated, with photos of gurus or another objects filled with “positive energetical vibrations”.
New Religious Movements
August 19/20, 2000
Uniqueness of the Incarnation of Christ
Most Rev. Giuseppe Casale, Doc. 55.
A concept deriving from the Hindu tradition, present explicitly or implicitly#151; in the new religiosity, can help us to focus better on this most important point: it is the concept of avatara. This is a Sanskrit term that literally means descent. It is applied to the divinity and to his condescending manifestation in the sphere of the tangible (not only human). Many Hindu experts and occultists translate it simply by incarnation. Here then we have the central dogma of Christianity channeled into a broader historical and religious category. The god Vishnu’s descents are supposed to have been frequent. His last human apparition is supposed to have been Krishna. The event of Christ thus becomes only the particular case of a more general category. A case that can be repeated again, as for example, is claimed for the Indian guru, Satya Sai Baba.
In fact, a more careful examination, theological such as the subject requires, immediately shows that the concepts of avatara and incarnation can be linked only by virtue of a serious error.
Apart from the historical inconsistency of the figure of Krishna, the human manifestation of God is resolved in the assumption of an apparent body. Whoever applies this concept to Christ falls more or less consciously into the errors of an ancient heresy, Docetism (from the Greek dokeo: to appear) and certainly does not express the Christian faith. The Christian incarnation, which implies the truth and completeness of Jesus’ humanity, emerges from this comparison as a unique and unrepeatable event, a true sign of contradiction (Luke 2:34) that does not sustain any syncretistic or pseudo-gnostic homologation, but requires a clear and decisive stance.
The national media covers a scandalous “special Mass” at the National Shrine Cathedral Basilica of St. Thomas in the Archdiocese of Madras-Mylapore, Chennai:
Multi-faith prayer held
January 19, 2014
The mass at Santhome Basilica was attended by an unusual crowd on Saturday — there were Hindus and Muslims in attending.
It was a special service, held on request from members of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation, who observes the 33 anniversary celebrations of Sundaram, a temple dedicated to Sai Baba, in Chennai.
“Even though we spread the message of communal harmony, this is the first time our members (Hindus and Muslims) have experienced one and taken part in a prayer at a church. It was a fulfilling experience,” said Vijayalakshmi, a Bal Vikas guru and member of the Seva Organisation.
Over 700 men and women listened in rapt attention, for nearly half an hour, to the address delivered by Rev. Fr. Don Bosco (SDB). Following this, Muslim men and women from the village of Elavanasur in Ulundurpettai who have been involved in the services of the Seva Organisation for nearly 15 years, had a prayer session in the Sundaram complex.
“We are trying to use the anniversary celebrations to serve mankind and tell society that we are all one,” said N. Ramani, national vice-president of Sathya Sai Trust.
Several activities, including a photo exhibition, cultural programmes, and a video show, have been scheduled for January 18 and 19 as part of the celebrations.
Prayers at Santhome Church for Sundaram Temple
By Express News Service, Chennai, January 20, 2014
Sri Sathya Sai Baba devotees attending the special mass at the Santhome Cathedral during the weekend.
Special prayers including a service at a church, bhajans, rallies and cultural performances marked the 33rd anniversary celebrations of Sundaram, a temple dedicated to Sathya Sai Baba, over the weekend.
Sunday began with a rally by over 1,500 children of Bala Vikas, a value-based education programme for the development of children. The rally, which started from three different locations in R. A. Puram, Mandaveli and Chamiers Road, saw children aged between 5 and 14 holding placards with phrases on human values and singing bhajans. The three groups of children, accompanied by their parents, converged into one as they arrived at the Sundaram complex.
The children later shared their experiences of how Bal Vikas classes have transformed them to a better person. The celebrations also saw close to a hundred children walking to every house on Sundaram Salai and Sai Nagar, to distribute prasadam. “Our children have gone to every house to distribute a sweet and a packed lunch instead of people coming to the temple,” said N Ramani, national vice-president of Sri Sathya Sai Seva organisations. He added, “It is to inculcate the habit of giving in these children.” Sunday evening also saw a performance by violinist A Kanyakumari.
Earlier on Saturday, a multi-faith prayer was organised at the Santhome Cathedral, with over 750 Sai Baba devotees attending a special mass. “The principle of Sai Baba is ‘there is only one religion and that is the religion of love.’ We call it unity of faith,” said G Varadhan, State president, Sri Sathya Sai Organisation.
The special service saw people from other religions attending in large numbers. About 34 Muslim men and women from a village near Ulundurpet, who have been involved in the services of the Seva organisation, had a prayer session at the Sundaram complex.
Several other activities, including an exhibition of 750 photos, a cultural programme by Bal Vikas children and a video show on Sai Baba’s visit to Chennai, were also organised as part of the celebrations.
Over 3,000 devotees visited the temple complex in the two-day anniversary celebrations.
Sai Baba will always have his defenders and spiritually blinded sycophants…
Sathya Sai Baba (Sathya Sai Organization Guru)
Sathya Sai Baba is a highly revered spiritual leader and world teacher, whose life and message are inspiring millions of people throughout the world to turn God-ward and to lead more purposeful and moral lives. His timeless and universal teachings, along with the manner in which he leads his own life, are attracting seekers of Truth from all the religions of the world. Yet, he is not seeking to start a new religion. Nor does he wish to direct followers to any particular religion. Rather, he urges us to continue to follow the religion of our choice and/or upbringing. He succeeded Bhagawan Nityananda. (Sathya Sai Organization, pamphlet)
Born on 23rd November 1926 Sri Sathya Sai Baba demonstrated remarkable materialization phenomena from an early age. At the age of thirteen, after a two month period of illness and unconsciousness, he announced to the startled villagers that he was an avatar- a teacher sent directly from God. This, he said, was his second incarnation, the previous being as Sai Baba of Shirdi a Muslim fakir who had died in 1918, and there would be a third to come as Prema Baba. Over these three lives he intends to bring the religions of the world together as one brotherhood with universal love as their foundation stone.
On the evening of Tuesday 3th December 1991 the National Italian language Swiss Television Channel broadcast a documentary entirely devoted to Sai Baba as part of the Thesis, Issues and Witnesses program.
Sai Baba had been seen producing “vibhuti”, a kind of ash that it is said he is able to create out of thin air.
Sai Baba also materialized other objects such as valuable rings encrusted with diamonds. After this a Dane woman suffering from cancer witnessed her miraculous healing after being admitted to Sai Baba’s presence in India.
In addition S. Bhagavantam, a known Indian physicist, also declared these “miracles” as real and unexplainable by science. S. H. Sandweiss a teacher of psychiatry in San Diego University witnessed the healing of one of his patient’s thanks to Sai Baba and various other people have also spoken on behalf of Sai Baba.
At the IV Euroskeptics Conference held in St. Vincent on the 17th-19th July 1992 a report was given by B. Premanand, an Indian that devoted years pursuing Indian marabous and disclosing the clever tricks used by most of them to deceive their followers. Particularly he feigned for months to be a Sai Baba’s disciple till he understood all the skilled conjurer’s methods. Recently he was beaten up by some fanatics and has being recovering after a period of time in hospital. Premanand at St. Vincent showed how to handle fire, eat glass, pierce your arm with needles, stop the heart beating and produce apparently enormous amounts of “vibhuti” (the holy ash that Sai Baba get from perfumed starch and sometimes dried cow dung!). (Sai Baba and Television, by Marco Cagnotti Caflish, from Scienza & Paranormale, year IV, n.1)
Isaac Tiger, the restaurant chain’s founder, believes that Sai Baba saved his life when his Porsche careered at 90 mph over a 300 ft drop. “Sai Baba appeared beside me in the car and put his arm around me. The car was totally destroyed but I got out without a bruise.”
Never before has anyone displayed such remarkable PK powers. The reports coming out of India are mind boggling. Sai Baba has raised the dead, multiplied food as Christ did at the Last Supper, materializes jewelry out of the air and turned water into petrol when his car ran out of fuel. There are tales of him materializing sweets directly into people’s mouths, appearing in two places at once and making a photograph of the face of Christ appear on film. Most of his manifestations have been demonstrated in front of highly respected professional people and are particularly well documented by Dr John Hislop and Howard Murphet.
There are of course skeptics who argue that Sai Baba’s miracles are nothing but cleaver conjuring tricks. The fact that he has levitated in front of hundreds of people or can materialize jewelry from thin air can be explained by simple trickery and sleight of hand. But when you read the thousands of testimonials or meet intelligent people whose lives have been completely transformed after an encounter with Sai Baba you soon realize that to trick people on this scale would be impossible. For example Sai Baba will often ask people “What do you want” and many people will ask him to materialize very obscure things: fruits out of season, a perpetual motion watch, a map of the world in the future, some wood from the original cross and specific medicines. To keep all this up the sleeves of his robe would be an impossibility.
Amongst the ‘Sai Stories’ told by devotees are some very strange stories. For example: Knowing that every Rolex watch has its exclusive serial number, an Australian visitor asked the swami to materialize one for him. Sai Baba obliged with a wave of his hand. On his return the serial number enabled the Australian to identify where the watch had been purchased. He asked the proprietor if he remembered who bought it. The owner remembered the occasion well. He could hardly forget the unusual orange clad Indian gentleman with strange fuzzy hair. The shop owner was a meticulous man who kept accurate sales records that gave not only the day of purchase but the time as well. Together they checked the records. It corresponded exactly with the time and day that Sai Baba had materialized the Rolex. Sai Baba had been in two places at the same time!
Another intriguing story, although accounts differ, concerns an Australian who visited Sai Baba in the hope that he could cure his wife of terminal cancer. Sai Baba spoke to him saying “You shouldn’t be here. Your wife needs you. She will be well.” He then tapped the Australian three times on the forehead. The man vanished in front of a crowd of people and reappeared besides his wife’s hospital bed in Australia. Baffled by what happened he checked his passport. It was stamped correctly with that day’s date yet only moments ago he was in India. His wife recovered.
All over the world there are people who have had similar impossible experiences many of whom I’ve met or have written to me at my columns. Sai Baba’s most frequent materialization is of a healing ash called vibhuti. Hindus consider this to be very holy and on a par with the holy sacrament of Christianity. In the Daily Telegraph of March 6th 1992 a reporter witnessed vibhuti ash forming on photos of Sai Baba and objects in the room at the home of Mr. G Patel in Wealdstone, Harrow London. In honour of Sai Baba’s 70th Birthday, Mr Patel carved a life-size wooden statue of his guru. As soon as the task was complete vibhuti ash began to form on the statue’s hands, gown and feet. Mr Patel took a photograph of this but when the film was developed it was not the statue in the picture but a photograph of the real Sri Sathya Sai Baba!
Remarkable as these stories about Sai Baba are, they are unlikely to convince traditional scientists until he is tested by researchers under laboratory conditions. Sai Baba considers that this is unnecessary. “Miracles are my visiting cards” he says and on another occasion “My greatest miracle is Love” (Craig Hamilton-Parker)
Joan and her husband Richard first heard about the miracles and teaching of Sai Baba over eleven years ago. Their search for spiritual truth began within Spiritualism and says Joan “we found that without a shadow of a doubt that life goes on after death”. Joan and Richard have since had a number of private interviews with Sai Baba over the years. “On many occasions we’ve seen him materialize objects from thin air” continues Joan “On one occasion he materialized a silver medallion with his image imprinted on it which was passed round. He then blew on it and it changed into a little golden statue of the Hindu elephant god Ganesha with three rubies hanging from it. This again was passed around. Sai Baba then looked at one of the visitors and said ‘What do you want?’ ‘You Swami was the reply’ so Sai Baba blew on it again and back came the medallion. “I’ve seen him materialize rings with pictures of Christ on them, vibhuti ash, silver boxes, a whole list of things.” But Joan stresses that the phenomena Sai Baba displays are unimportant.
“When he looks at you know that he knows everything about you. I cannot explain the feeling of overwhelming love you feel in his presence. It’s not hysterical, it’s a silent, inward transformation.” (Joan and Richard Brake Ph: 01275 848039)
I went to India this year to see Sai Baba with a group of followers. On 20th January I saw him materialize a gold and diamond watch for a young devotee. He then took another devotee’s steel ring from his finger and blew on it. We saw it change into a diamond ring. Baba recently also materialized a small Bible containing facts about Jesus. Tears of joy flooded my eyes to see such wonders.
Later I witnessed another marvel. I saw a statue of Sai Baba- as his first incarnation as Shirdi Baba- drink milk from a little pot [this same miracle was reported on 21 Thursday September 1995] which was offered by the Hindu priest. In India this is called the abhishekam ceremony and your readers may remember how this hit the headlines sometime ago when statues, even brass statues, from all over the world started drinking milk. These miracles are interpreted as proof that the formless God can also take form. The statue of Baba that I saw drinking milk was five feet high and made of solid marble. There was no hollow for the mouth. As it drank the milk I could hear it slurp. It drank half a pot every day. (Bhupendra Desai, Edgbaston, Birmingham.)
Dr Madhini Bhanu tells of Sai Miracle. About myself: I’m a medical doctor of about 20 years experience in this field. Now I’m in private practice. I’m born in year 1955. The background: I came to know about Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi, India about 3 years ago, and ever since it I got stuck to Him as it was beyond my explanation his miracles.
The incident: Now I don’t write about second experiences. I write first hand experiences, that’s what I’ve myself observed. I pray Sai Baba. One day I noticed liquid coming out the picture of Sai Baba from outside the glass. It was pouring out from the site of his blessing palm, but only little in quantity. It dripped down slowly. My wife is also medical doctor. I’ve 2 daughters, one 7 years, one 9 years. There’s no foul play. The question is: How can this liquid issue forth from the picture of Sai Baba, from the glass outside? In fact the neighbouring Lord Ganesha picture was ‘sweating’ similar amrith also from all over the glass. How do you explain this? This’s the question. Since you expound the unexplainable, please explain this phenomena.
A student really wanted to know if UFO’s were or were not real. Swami looked at the young man and started to answer, but at that moment in the field behind him, in broad daylight, a UFO appeared and just hovered there in the sky above the group. Not even looking back behind him, Baba calmly said ‘UFO’s are just imagination’, and the craft vanished.
I was talking to John, a customer at my newspaper shop, about the miracles of Sai Baba and I felt so sorry for him that gave the man some of vibhuti ash. Sometime ago he had damaged his neck and the doctors said that there was nothing more they could do for him. He had over the years visited many specialists and private doctors. I gave him four packets of vibhuti and a photograph of Sai Baba. The vibhuti I gave him had been given to me by Dr D Gadhia who is a very old devotee of Baba’s teachings. This vibhuti was in fact extracted from his own body coming out of his hands and from his legs particularly at night. This phenomena lasted for three months and everyday devotees from all over the UK were going to his home in Leicester to see him and would see vibhuti everywhere- even in his bed sheets. I told him to keep these packets under his pillow and under his bedsheet. I also told him to pray to his own chosen God incarnation. I believe he prayed to the Lord Jesus Christ. John also told me how during the healing process the photo of Sai Baba would move from room to room yet there were no children or pets in the house that could have done this when his back was turned. This is just one example of healing that Baba can do. Within a week John could turn his neck 45 degrees. I two weeks he was fully cured and could hold his head straight and without any pain. He returned to my shop to thank me “It has nothing to do with me” I said “It is Baba who has blessed you.” (Bhupendra N Desai, Birmingham)
And here’s another miracle. Mr. Desai enclosed a pack of vibhuti with his letter to me [exactly the same as Pentecostal preachers sending out their trinkets]. My father was in the terminal ward of a hospital dying of terribly painful bone cancer. I gave him the vibhuti. That night he dreamed about Sai Baba. Everyone else on my father’s ward died but he is now back at home, his morphine has been reduced and he has begun walking again. I’m sure a miracle is beginning to happen.
State Sponsorship to Holy Hindu Gurus
By Ram Puniyani, November 14, 2009
Satya Sai Baba of Puthaparthi in his recent tour of Mumbai was invited by the Maharashtra Chief Minister designate, Ashok Chavan to his official residence, Varsha, for blessing the house and for the associated puja (invocation). When criticised for inviting the Holy Guru to his official residence he said that since he is a devotee of the Baba from last many decades it is a privilege for him. There are many other news items where state functionaries mark their presence for the programs of Gurus and Babas (God men).
As far as Satya Sai Baba is concerned he is regarded as the living God by his devotees, while he himself claims to be the reincarnation of Sai Baba of Shirdi. This Sai Baba is also a miracle person and a spiritual Guru. His miracles have been exposed by the Rationalist Associations and his trick of producing Gold chain was brought up in the court, as production of gold is illegal. This case was not pursued for various reasons. There are many charges of sexual abuse by Sai baba. Magician of fame P.C. Sarkar also said his miracles have nothing to do with divinity but are mere magical tricks.
Use of official residence for such functions is in total violation of the secular constitution of the country where religion is a private matter of the individual and state functionaries can’t wear their religion on their sleeves in official capacity and in official places. Contrary to that norm, lately this norm is known more for its violation than by adherence to it.
Gone are the days of Nehru when he could stand up and snub such actions by whosoever it is in the official capacity. Of course, Gandhi, Father of the nation and Nehru the architect of Indian state were no devotees of any Baba or Guru. Over a period of time such principles have been violated with impunity. Uma Bharati during her brief tenure as the Chief Minister ship of Madhya Pradesh converted her official residence in to a Gaushala (Cow shed) with saffron robed Sadhus forming the main residents of her official residence.
India has quite a broad fare of God men. There are Gurus, Sants, Maharajs, Acharyas and Purohits (clergy) in the main. Their role has been changing over a period of time. Last three decades seem to be the time of their major glory, with their presence in all spheres in a very dominating way. Their number has also proliferated immensely and while some of these are big players, Sri Sri Ravishankar, Baba Ramdeo, and Asaram Bapu to name the few. There are hundreds of them scattered in each state. Many of them are working in close tandem with Hindu right, Swami Assmanand, Late Swami Laxmananad Sarswati, Narendra Mahraj etc. These are the one’s who have created their own niche with different techniques, while Shankarachayas, are associated with the Mutts coming from historical times, the Akshrdham chain is also not very old a tradition. The Pramukh swamis (Chief Guru) of these temples wield enormous clout. One recalls Anand Marg came up during the decade of seventies and not much is hearing of that now.
Overall religiosity has been on the upswing and not many are protesting the promotion of blind faith by many such God men. The rational thought and movement is on the back foot and political leadership, social leaders, of many hues are bending over backwards to please these Babas, some of whom are also dispensing health and some of them claim to be looking into the crystal ball of future.
There is an interesting correlation between the coming up of adverse effects of globalization, rise in the anxieties and deprivations and the current dominance of God men. Many an interesting observations about these God men are there, the major one being the rise in alienation in last three decades along with the rising religiosity in the social space. Many a remarkable studies on this phenomenon are coming forth. One such is by a US based Indian scholar of repute, Meera Nanda. In her book, The God Market, she makes very profound observations. She points out that this rising religiosity is manifested in boom in pilgrimages and newer rituals. Some old rituals are becoming more rooted and popular. She sees a nexus between state-temple-corporate complexes also. Secular institutions of Nehru era are being replaced by boosting demand and supply of God market.
A new Hindu religiosity is getting deeply rooted in everyday life, in public and private spheres. The distinction between private and public sphere is getting eroded as the case of Sai Baba in Maharashtra Chief Ministers official bungalow shows. Hindu rituals and symbols are becoming part of state functions; Hinduism de facto is becoming state religion. Hindu religiosity is becoming part of national pride with the aspiration of becoming a superpower. She observes a trend of increased religiosity. In India there are 2.5 million places of worship but only 1.5 million schools and barely 75000 hospitals. Half of 230 million tourist trips every year are for religious pilgrimage. Akshardham temple acquired 100 acres of land at throw away price. Sri Sri Ravishanker‘s Art of Living Ashram in banglore has 99 acres of land leased from Karnataka Government. Gujarat Govt. gifted 85 acres of land to establish privately run rishikul in Porbander. Most significantly Nanda argues that the new culture of political Hinduism is triumphalist and intolerant, while asserting to be recognized as a tolerant religion. While claiming to have a higher tolerance, its intolerance is leading to violence against minorities.
It is because of this that even if the BJP may not be the ruling party, the political class and other sections of state apparatus have subtly accepted Hindu religiosity and the consequent politics as the official one, and so the justice for victims of religious violence eludes them. The question is, can the struggle for justice for weaker sections also incorporate a cultural-religious battle against the blind religiosity and proactive efforts initiated to promote rational thought.
…including Catholics whose faith is syncretized:
He (God) answers your prayers, if you deserve – Chef Jacob Sahaya Kumar Aruni
talks about the many miracles he has experienced in his life
By Shankaran Malini, November 2, 2010
God and I – The relationship
I am a God-fearing person and I strongly feel it’s only the Almighty who decides on our survival. Without God I am nothing. I am a Christian.
I believe immensely in Jesus and Velankanni. My mother used to tell me that I was born due to her prayers to mother Velankanni.
Apart from Jesus, I like Saibaba.
I start my day by writing Praise the Lord 25 times in a separate notebook. It has been my practice for the last six years. I read the holy Bible, although not everyday.
I always inform Him about my proceedings and get blessings. I visit the Saibaba temple at Mylapore too.
Found, lost and found:
In 2000, I was experiencing a severe mental crisis, at my workplace at Coimbatore.
One day, when I was walking in the playground of the college where I was working, a rosary suddenly fell on me from above. A lot of crows were flying above and I thought one of them should have picked it from somewhere else and dropped it on me.
Ever since I have had this rosary on me. My crisis got gradually resolved. But last year, one day, this rosary went missing. I searched everywhere, at home, in my car but could not find it. Everyday I would light candles for Velankanni, before starting for work.
On the 10th day, to my huge surprise, I could see my lovely rosary on mother Velankanni’s statue, as soon as I lit the candle. I cried for half-an-hour and felt so happy and blessed that I got it back. Also during those 10 days, I had developed a serious illness in my lungs which got cleared on the 11th day.
Saibaba, the Universal God:
With Saibaba, the miracles are numerous.
I prayed him to keep my migraine headache at a distance, during my Guinness attempt of cooking non-stop, for 24 hours. I experience this headache almost daily. It had taken a toll on my work and shooting schedule too.
But I had faith in Saibaba. And for the entire duration of the attempt, I had not even a symptom of headache.
Jacob Sahaya Kumar Aruni is a researching Guinness record holder, a restaurant consultant and a cookery show host.
I submitted the following comment but it was not posted:
Mr Jacob must not blaspheme God by claiming to be a Christian.
He is practising superstition (like writing ‘Praise the Lord’ 25 times a day), and syncretism.
His own words show that he uses what he believes is “God” for his personal benefit. Any devotion is good enough as long as it satisfies his needs. That is not true spirituality.
As a believing Catholic myself, I cannot accept his claims about the rosary “miracle’.
No true Christian will either venerate Saibaba or call him a “Universal God”.
Michael Prabhu, Chennai
But the truth about Sai Baba is well known:
Sathya Sai Baba
Born as Sathya Narayana Raju in a poor and remote Indian village, Sathya Sai Baba claimed to be a reincarnation of Shirdi Sai Baba in 1940 and subsequently used Sai Baba’s name. He used his cleverness to fool the people and became guru and fraudster. In spite of that, he may have been sincere about certain aspects of his many teachings. Apart from the fraud allegations, Baba has also been also accused of sexual abuse and pedophilia.
Sai Baba was no novice to controversy (yes, he is dead). Death couldn’t stop him from featuring in this list though. Plunge into Wikipedia, you’ll find a full 1000 words collection of accused misdeeds under the ‘criticism and controversy’ section.
In 2002 a documentary produced by Denmark’s national television and radio broadcast company, Danmarks Radio (DR), named “Seduced by Sai Baba”, presented interviews with Alaya Rahm who alleged sexual abuse by this swami. Again in a BBC documentary titled The Secret Swami, one of Swami’s critics had claimed that an ex-devotee had confined to him about the repellent swami’s sexual behaviour when once he had “put the oil on his hands, told me to drop my pants and rubbed my genitals with the oil”. Even Sai Baba’s multi-millionaire devotee clearly believes in these rumours; see here.
India’s 10 most controversial gurus
November 20, 2014
The list will remain incomplete without a mention of Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi, probably the most famous guru with millions of followers across 126 countries. Often regarded as ‘Bhagwan’, Sathya Sai Baba, who passed away in 2011, ruled the hearts of his devotees through many social service endeavours like building multi-specialty hospitals providing free treatment, schools and colleges among others.
However, his life and times were also marked by several serious controversies involving allegations of faking ‘miracles’, sexual abuse and even pedophilia — all of them vociferously refuted by his followers.
Sai Baba has often been charged, both nationally and internationally, over the veracity of his ‘miracles’ — be it producing holy ash or vibhuti, gold ornaments and rings from thin air — by his critics. Skeptics and rationalists have alleged from time to time that his miracles ‘were simple magic tricks to woo his devotees’. Nevertheless, such allegations, although never taken on directly by the Baba, have not dented the faith of his followers.
There have also been allegations, sometimes by former followers, that Sai Baba used to indulge in sexual abuses and pedophilia. However, the allegations have never been proven.
The biggest ever controversy to have haunted Sathya Sai Baba’s Puttaparthi ashram Prashanti Nilayam was on June 6 1993, when four persons were shot dead by the police after they had allegedly stabbed four devotees in Baba’s bedroom, killing two and serious injuring the other two.
There also have been allegations of misappropriation of funds in the name of donations in running the Rs 40,000 crore Sathya Sai Baba trust. Moreover, even after the Baba’s demise, trustees found cash of Rs 11.5 crore, 98 kg of gold and silver articles weighing 307 kilograms from his private room, which again raised eyebrows. The money and valuables took 36 hours to be counted.
Introduction to ‘Robert Taliaferro Brooke’ – Tal Brooke
June 28, 2008
Tal Brooke is the President and Chairman of SCP (the Spiritual Counterfeits Project); a Christian Evangelical organization located in Berkeley, California (read their Statement of Faith).
Robert Taliaferro Brooke (an extreme fundamentalist and evangelical Christian) was the first person to make accusations of sexual impropriety against Sathya Sai Baba (a revered Guru living in India). Tal Brooke published his first Anti-Sai book in 1976 under the title “Lord Of The Air”. It was republished in 1979 as “Sai Baba, Lord Of The Air”, renamed “Avatar of Night” in 1982 with a reprint in 1984, was renamed “Lord Of The Air: Tales of a Modern Antichrist” in 1990 and reprinted again as “Avatar of Night” in 1999…
In an interview with John Ankerberg, Tal Brooke acknowledged as true that he had “spirit guides” come to him and that he had “out of body experiences”. Tal Brooke claimed that after he played with an ouija board when he was 11 years old, he felt “spirit presences” in his room and then began to have “out of body experiences”. Tal Brooke also stated that he became involved with “psychic stuff” (i.e., psychic gateways, reincarnation and routes to higher consciousness) during his teen years. These alleged experiences were what drew him to India in 1969. In January 1970, he encountered Sathya Sai Baba.
Major exposure of alleged sexual abuses by Sathya Sai Baba
A documented overview of the history and extent of the alleged sexual abuses by Sathya Sai Baba and the questions they raise. […]
The first-hand directly-presented accounts of being sexually abused by Sai Baba by highly articulate young men in interview with highly-respected national broadcasters (Danish TV) were neither denied nor challenged by Sai Baba (or his chief minions). This fact itself speaks a loud and clear ‘message’. Further, these brave persons who spoke out cannot bring Sai Baba to court because he stays well out of harm’s way in India, where he has demonstrated that he exercises decisive influence over the judiciary and government…
Accounts of Sai Baba being a homosexual and paedophile have circulated in diverse circles in India during the 1970s (to be summarised here later). His predilection for homosexual relations was reportedly widely known in Puttaparthi when he shared his rooms with a young man called Krishna (they were called ‘Radha-Krishna’ where they went together everywhere hand in hand, according to the long-term worshipper Vijayamma). Mrs. Bitten Nelson of Denmark firmly indicated what has been known all along to many villagers, none of whom dare say a word about it due to the huge power wielded threateningly by the Sai Baba camp…
The scandals about sexual abuse of male students among Malaysian devotees around 1980 which caused resignations from the Organisation in Malaysia, apparently was very little known in the West. The following information was sent to me by a person who wishes to remain anonymous, having distanced himself socially from all connection with Sai Baba. “When I became aware of Sai Baba’s activities on some male Malaysian students studying at the Sai institutions in Whitefield and Puttaparthi, I carried out my own inquiries and dropped out from that movement. So did many devotees in Malaysia f these male students, I am unable to reveal their identities. It is not fair to them. I remember having advised them in 1980 to keep their identities confidential and not be overzealous since they have lives to lead and they should forget about what had happened to them. An American boy, Terry Scott, who was a contemporary of these Malaysian students, left the Sai College together with the rest of the Malaysians. There were many devotees who left the cult. Those holding office in Sai organisations in Malaysia did not do so but quite a number of them may have quietly slipped out of the cult.”
Barry Pittard also writes of another former Australian devotee, Connie R. of Cooma, in the State of New South Wales, who visited a Malaysian devotee family during a stopover to India. She said that she heard a disturbingly authentic cassette tape of an Indian Malaysian boy’s account of sexual molestation by Sathya Sai Baba. The boy had attended the Sathya Sai College at Whitefield, where Pittard had taught for two years. Horrified, his parents had withdrawn him from that institution. Convinced of the truthfulness of the account by the boy and by the family, and deeply disgusted, Connie R. cancelled her trip.
Likewise, a scandal about sexual abuse of a Greek boy in the Sai College in Greece and similar accounts in Yugoslavia in the 1980s did not reach or affect other countries in Europe. Meanwhile, a major scandal arose independently in the USA in the early 1980s about which the leader of the US Sai organisation, Dr. John Hislop, wrote letters to leaders in the Sai Org. there advising them to suppress the facts as unconfirmed.
Again, in France and Belgium around 1990, there was apparently much talk about Sai Baba being a homosexual, which only seeped through to some followers in a few other countries. Only when the Internet provided the means for communication between alleging victims spread and isolated here and there, did the world-wide exposé of Sathya Sai Baba’s various activities begin to come together from 1999 onwards.
As long ago as the 1970s, Sathya Sai Baba told two ‘old-timer’ American devotees (one was ‘Vidya’, a lady known to many followers and the other a long-term US resident of Prashanthi Nilayam, known to all as Michelle) that the day would come when the number of devotees would dwindle to very few. He also told other interviewees similar things now and again, such as that “a great scandal is coming”. By the 1980s, when Tal Brooke published his first whistle-blowing book on the sexual abuses of students and foreign young men (Avatar of the Night), Sathya Sai Baba would most likely have read the increasing signs – or been advised by some of those relatively few Indians who do not turn a blind eye to such practices – that it would eventually lead to his exposure. His warnings of coming scandal went on until the late 1990s in interviews, such as when, for example, David Jevons was present (as he has posted on his website). (However, some time after the above was posted, David Jevons deleted this from his website! This is typical, damage limitation by trying to bury all acknowledgment of any whiff of scandal they previously mentioned around Sai Baba).
A most lucid comment on these “predictions” came from Mr. John Bright, whose account of being sexually molested by Sathya Sai Baba is found on various websites, referring to what the British ‘psychic’ Craig Hamilton-Parker (a believer in Sai Baba) had replied to him on his website as follows:
“…you mentioned that Sai Baba told a woman in an interview that she would be able to get an interview whenever she wanted in the future because devotees would be leaving him in droves. (When I was in India I heard something along similar lines). You seem to use this as evidence of Sai Baba’s omniscience as well as a way to discredit these stories of sexual molestation. I will simply say this; if you were a molester in Sai Baba’s position and you knew that the word was getting out or was likely to get out and that people were talking, what better way to cover your tracks and conduct damage control than to say such things?
He is killing two birds with one stone – he creates the illusion that his knowledge is born of omniscience when it comes to pass and at the same time he discredits these stories of sexual molestation. His prediction comes not from omniscience but from the knowledge of what he is doing to young men in his private interview room and the knowledge that it is leaking out.” Craig Hamilton-Parker has since removed the above letter from his money-grabbing and highly misleading ‘U.K. psychics’ website. Typical damage-limitation & cover-up. Click here for John Bright’s testimony ‘Sai Baba molested me’.
The cover-up of allegations about Sathya Sai Baba’s sexual behaviour: The ‘fully paid-up’ believer clings to ideas like ‘if he had wanted it otherwise, Sathya Sai Baba would have taken steps to avoid it’, or ‘it must have been part of some predestined plan to sort the grain from the chaff’ (read, “good from bad persons”) – a favourite quote from an Sathya Sai Baba sixtieth birthday discourse which was as long ago as 1985. But separating ‘chaff from grain’ in fact equally signifies removing ‘the sensible people from fully gullible believers’. It is believed in Sai circles that “the grain” are those who plug their ears, willingly stick their heads in the sand and believe firmly in Sathya Sai Baba, despite any evidence of his wrong-doings that may come forth! For my part, I wish to be counted among those who act on their conscience for the sake of the good of society (i.e. dharma) by facing up to the mass of information, investigating it thoroughly and so promulgating the truth of the matter as far as it is known… at least until yet more thoroughgoing and fair investigations should be conducted in the public sphere by an independent court.
During Christmas 2000, however, Sathya Sai Baba did rail in public at his accusers as ‘thousands of Judases’, meanwhile beating his rostrum angrily and also calling them demonic and saying they spread scandal about him for money. He gave no details or any evidence of payments or who had made them, and none has ever been made public anywhere. On past experience, he could be confident that his word would never be questioned or doubted by his devotees. In a later discourse he spoke of his critics as “demons without the spark of divinity”. This is a major turnaround, since he has previously repeatedly held in many discourses that the spark of divinity is in all living beings and in a higher potency in all human beings. Now some of us are apparently not human beings, but demons! He has thus changed his former attractive teachings about his universal compassion and love for everyone! His new tack is transparently an angry threat (even though he claims to be totally pure and hence free of any anger, and that he merely pretends to be angry when he deems it suitable). Apparently, spiteful anger had already (in his Christmas 2000 discourse) got the better of him at his being fully found out and challenged.
Months later Sathya Sai Baba repeated his warning to devotees: “If you listen to bad speeches, don’t repeat them to anybody. Absolutely never tell it to anybody. You have to pay the greatest attention to this argument. You may have heard some things by chance. Forget to have heard them. Don’t tell to your friends, don’t disturb their mind.” (From a speech of 15 May 2000, personal translation by Achary, who also asks,” is this “Divine Transparency?”
‘The Findings’ by David Bailey – once the top favourite foreign devotee – released the floodgates for testimonies: The latest and most decisive phase of the exposé so far took off with the publication in 1999 of ‘The Findings’ by David Bailey, one of Sathya Sai Baba’s closest ever devotees (over 100 interviews within a few years only).
As he lectured about Sathya Sai Baba around the globe, David Bailey was eventually so inundated with reports from parents of abused sons and of sexual molestations from students who he taught music at Sathya Sai Baba’s colleges that he began to investigate with an open mind. He began to discover various kinds of fraud by Sai Baba (valueless synthetic stones given as ‘diamonds’ in rings etc.) and in various of his projects (especially the much-trumpeted Rayalaseema Water Project).
He has since withdrawn from actively exposing further, for not only had he made his decisive contribution, but he understandably must have wanted to rest from the abusive and defamatory reactions and threats that poured in on him from Sai devotees. Yet his discoveries set off a chain-reaction among those who describe how they have been abused, defrauded and otherwise seriously maltreated by Sathya Sai Baba. Therefore, for all his claimed ‘divine prescience’, Sathya Sai Baba had evidently not reckoned with David Bailey and his wife Faye, whose report on his wide-ranging investigations called his bluff in grand fashion. His findings were reported widely in the media. Comdot Free Information Exchange summed it up: Well-regarded former disciple, musician David Bailey and his wife went public with accounts of their experiences from spending three years as two of the guru’s closest disciples. This prompted the release of yet more material from former devotees around the world. Response to these claims from Sai Baba’s ashram appears so feeble that to many it would seem an admission of his guilt. It is said that sources close to the guru claimed that as “a living incarnation of God”, Sai Baba could do what he pleases and it is not appropriate for mortals to question his activities.
“Faye’s own son had been kissed repeatedly on his cheeks and the corners of his mouth when alone in the inner room with Sai Baba, and also sexually touched. And when it was obvious to Sai Baba that this behaviour was unwelcome, he began berating the young man in subsequent interviews with Faye, calling him ‘Mad dog! Hard hearted!’ and so on. At the time this seemed incongruous; it was only after we began travelling the world that the inconceivable and incomprehensible began to make itself clear. When I asked various coordinators about these many disturbing incidents reported to me in our travels, I was told that Swami was ‘raising kundalini’. I questioned this in my mind. If he was capable of doing anything, why did he have to physically touch the boys, especially when they were unwilling? And what about when he had them actively engage in sex to him?
It seems that an ongoing, serious and untenable infringement of basic human rights is being scurrilously perpetrated, in the name of ‘divinity’. Also see this quote: “On my last visit to Puttaparthi, a male student came and asked me for help, on behalf of some of his fellow students, because they were desperately in need of someone to stop Swami sexually abusing them. I was told how Sai Baba had for years been demanding that these particular boys have oral sex, and group sex for his pleasure. Their details matched what I had already been told so many times round the world. I asked him if this was an acceptable practice in India, and his look of horror as he denied it, spoke volumes. Then he asked me a question I couldn’t answer. ‘Sir, why do you think ex-students tried to kill him in ’93 …?'” (!!!)
So-called “Sai devotees” have tried to drag Bailey’s name through the mud as a condemned paedophile in prison and even spread the story that he hanged himself in his cell. These are the depths to which many have sunk to preserve their false faith. Of course, these allegations are totally incorrect and David Bailey is alive and well, living in France. In an e-mail of 2006 he informed me that he no longer wishes to be active in the exposure of Sathya Sai Baba. Incidentally, he is not the owner of the David Bailey music website, as I once mistakenly assumed. His reluctance to continue in the crucial role he once held in revealing the truth about Sathya Sai Baba is most understandable considering the massive consequences his involvement had (losing teaching position at a private school where a British royal prince was taught). His subsequent defection from Sai Baba also made him the victim of massive libel and lies spread against him throughout the Sai movement and on the Internet. One particularly mad and vituperative mail by a rich Australian female devotee, Millie Phillips was circulated widely.
Hear David Bailey’s account of his discoveries in a phone conversation or read the transcript.
Neither had Sathya Sai Baba reckoned with the outspokenness of another of his (former) favourites, Dr. Bhatia, who he had made Head of Blood Transfusion at his Super-speciality Hospital and who was a chosen lecturer at the ashram for years. Dr. Bhatia really spilt the beans, telling of his having been the beloved sexual partner of Sathya Sai Baba for years, and was in the position to know and tell of massive sexual exploitation by Sathya Sai Baba of students, including a report on the physically-injurious anal rape of a minor, a boy student, with which he personally confronted Sathya Sai Baba. This led to his immediate sacking from his position as head of the Blood Bank at Sathya Sai Baba’s hospital in Puttaparthi and total banishment from the ashrams and all Sai Baba institutions (as published in Sanathana Sarathi).
Source found at Sai Baba’s Dark Side?
http://www.thoughtsnmemories.net/saisdarkside.htm and on http://www.thoughtsnmemories.net/sathyasaibaba.htm and posted on forum sekty.net and then in ‘The Findings’ by Faye and David Bailey.
Source: Name withheld at request. (Available for investigation by authority)
Dr. Bhatia. Why did he leave?
Regarding the notice of expulsion of Dr. Bhatia in the Sanathana Sarathi magazine, please note: Three young students from Sai Baba’s junior male college were called for interview. One of them, a seven year old boy student, came out of the private interview room crying. He continued to cry for two days, and was unable to eat or study. That evening Dr Bhatia, on duty in the children’s canteen, was asked to find the cause of the child’s distress.
He questioned and then examined the child, and found that he had been sexually penetrated, via his anus. The child was taken to Bangalore and re-examined. A second medical opinion confirmed sexual abuse. Dr. Bhatia had been involved in sexual activity with Sai Baba for six years, believing that he was serving divinity.
He went to Sai Baba: Why do you do this to such a young child when you have all of us adults and the older students to play with?
Sai Baba’s reply: Don’t bargain with God!
Soon after, five men went to Dr. Bhatia’s home, threatening his life with knives. He made his escape by car, fleeing to Delhi. Once there Dr. Bhatia was unable to practice medicine because he had left all his personal papers behind in Puttaparthi. He wrote asking for them. They have not yet been released. However, the doctor now practices at a Delhi hospital.
A promissory agreement has been offered from Puttaparthi, that Dr. Bhatia’s personal belongings will be released to him on the proviso that : he remain mute about the happenings concerning the little boy student he does not make any legal claims against the Super Speciality Hospital he keeps his sexual relationship with Sai Baba a secret. A rumour given out for his ‘dismissal’ was that he was caught selling blood, another that he was having an affair within the ashram, and yet another claiming jealousy between departmental heads at the hospital. I offer this for the sake of truth.
[Note – Subsequently it was confirmed that this boy was NOT 7 years old but was a 7th Grade student – in other words, up to 14 years old, but still a minor. This came to light through Stephen Carthew’s discussions with Dr. Bhatia after he had been sacked from his position as head of Sai Baba’s Blood Bank and banned from the ashram totally.]
These reports brought the allegations to massive prominence because of the former closeness of Bailey and Bhatia to Sai Baba. However, for years before this the well-known Indian rationalist Basava Premanand had tried with very limited public success to warn the nation of the sexual abuse issue, among other criminal counts. He wrote an article ‘The True Story of Life in the Sri Sathya Sai Hostel for Boys’, summing up the situation and posted it on the internet to assist in the exposé there. Premanand has also detailed further information he had at the time in an article in the ‘Indian Sceptic’ magazine and on the Internet.
These reports were but three of many more who have very bravely published their highly credible accounts on the internet and have signed sworn affidavits to that effect. A certain young man from Sweden known to many of us in Scandinavia as ‘the golden boy’, and the then-underage ‘Sam Young’ (Alaya Rahm) – the son of Al Rahm, regional leader in the Sai Organisation in USA, were both shattered by their predicaments when, as favourite boys, Sathya Sai Baba abused both their trust and their bodies very much against their will. But they very bravely dared to speak out. The long-term devotee who was close to Sathya Sai Baba for decades (too close, he came to understand), Conny Larsson, stood forth with exceptional courage and told of how Sathya Sai Baba misused him sexually in very base ways, which Larsson believed to be some kind of divine healing from his terrible childhood sex abuse by his father’s male friend.
Since he recovered from the terrible disillusionment, Conny Larsson has courageously and tirelessly campaigned on TV around the world with regard only for bringing out the truth about Sai Baba and he is soon to publish a new and exceptional book in which he tells of his experiences with Sai Baba most credibly. One of the most shocking revelations in his book is how Conny Larsson came to realise why two of his patients committed suicide. At different times, Conny took along in his groups to India two young men, hoping they may be healed of problems relating to their drug dependency and inspired by Sai Baba to follow his values etc.
However, he describes how he realised too late that they had been sexually abused by Sai Baba (the description he gives of events he witnessed is very convincing) and how he became convinced that that this led to their suicides. This is also why Conny makes such efforts to bring his transformed understanding of Sai Baba and the cult to the widest possible public.
Sathya Sai Baba’s prediction that “a great scandal is coming” only got devotees asking why he would not have taken steps to avoid it, and to conclude that the scandal must have been designed by him somehow as part of his wonderful plan for the world and humanity. For example, Millie Phillips, a rich donor and long-term follower from Australia, told David Bailey in a widely circulated and often vituperative e-mail that he was just an instrument of Sathya Sai Baba’s will. (These so-called ‘Sai devotees’ soon turn nasty if their faith is put in question, it seems). If it was Sathya Sai Baba’s will, then – on this assumption – he would have exposed himself beyond reasonable doubt as an active homosexual, a fraud and a liar who has not cleared himself of the suspicion that he condoned four executions in his own bedroom (in 1993).
This took place without any court examination of the incident – or even the slightest police questioning of Sathya Sai Baba who was present when the intruders killed his attendants and who remained close by throughout the whole episode – just shows how totally defenceless any Sathya Sai Baba victim in India is. How then could he at the same time possibly be the truthful, all-good, non-violent example upon which he claims a teaching depends for its credibility? The insurmountable fact is, Sathya Sai Baba has been exposed as not being what he claims to be in many different respects, and not least in world media. It seems most likely that Sathya Sai Baba’s repeated vague predictions were an on-going attempt to limit this damage and not lose all his followers (plus their financial and other support).
Deceptions and failed prophesies revealed… take your pick! Finally, since Sathya Sai Baba is widely known and seen now to use sleight of hand trickery as part of his repertoire, and to lie about the objects he gives away.
I have proved fully that he did with an alleged ‘green diamond’ he gave me in expectation of a large financial donation I had offered, see my detailed account with photographs of the assay done by Queen Margarethe of Denmark’s official jeweller. Sai Baba must have known the day of accounting for such repeated fraudulence on such a scale would be coming sometime. Hence the occasional warnings through the years about the ‘great scandal’. It was quite a sure bet.
In the 1980s, when the flow of foreign visitors to Prashanthi Nilayam had increased considerably, Sathya Sai Baba himself, (and, following him, his staff and Sathya Sai Organisation leaders) frequently warned foreigners not to have close contact with residents or other locals, but instead to concentrate on their own spiritual practice and keep to themselves. Likewise he regularly instructed ashram residents only to have necessary contacts with foreigners. He sometimes warned that personal friendships between Westerners and Indians, especially men and women, could lead to serious problems for those involved.
The heads of the ashram at that time (Kutumba Rao and Chiranjiva Rao) carried out regular surveillance of persons who mixed too freely with certain talkative residents, and were especially vigilant in suppressing such contacts after the brutal gate-keeper Kumar was murdered inside the ashram in February 1987. In hindsight, quite other reasons for the cult of secrecy that this actually implied are evident. Sathya Sai Baba would have presumably wanted to ensure that such matters – known to many residents and locals, not least his sexual activities with boys and young men – should not become known to visitors and thus stem their flow.
Strong circumstantial and corroborative evidence: The first question is ‘what is hearsay’? There is a crucial difference between someone who gives a first-hand report of being sexually abused and reports which are at a second or third remove. The former is not ‘hearsay’ but evidence. Neither are second-hand reports hearsay, if based accurately on first-hand reports – and especially when they are investigated soundly as to the credibility of the original report and the person reporting. So hearsay evidence is usually vague, sloppy reports based on something of uncertain origin which the person telling it has not investigated, and such reports give rise to ‘rumour’.
It is of importance too to realise that there can be both ‘negative’ and ‘positive’ hearsay or rumours. Some people believe in all hearsay which is positive and build up an unfounded view of a matter, while others do the same on the basis of negative hearsay. Where Sai devotees are concerned, a very great amount of what they believe is based on ‘positive hearsay’, as anyone who has circulated in the movement for a few years will doubtless know. The secrecy about Sathya Sai Baba, what he says and does in private, and the care taken about who one tells what, all contribute to the multiplication of hearsay. Since negative thoughts or words are strongly discouraged by Sathya Sai Baba and his followers, ‘positive hearsay’ rules the roost in the movement and organisation.
The allegations form what is known to various legal systems as ‘circumstantial evidence’, or ‘indications of presumptive guilt’. These indications must corroborate the main allegation(s); that is… confirming them formally by evidence. Courts in Scandinavia, for example, can convict without concrete evidence but on the balance of probabilities, if the ‘indications of guilt’ are strong enough. This means that the allegations need not be judged as proved ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’.
This ensures that crimes of such a nature that they can be extremely difficult or impossible to prove definitively – not least sexual abuse – can be prosecuted, and indeed have been prosecuted successfully. (Conviction without conclusive or decisive physical forensic evidence is accepted in varying degrees in other European legal systems which reflect Napoleonic rather than British law). Such indications of guilt include testimony which is subjected to thorough investigation, involving diverse documentation and cross-questioning. In cases such as sexual abuse, circumstantial and corroborative evidence, including personal testimony, is most often all that can be required for a judgement.
Most of the allegations that have been levied at Sathya Sai Baba by alleging victims of sexual abuse are written statements open to a considerable degree of factual checking of details given by persons who have been contacted by writing, phoning and personal meetings. Some have also given filmed interviews. Accounts of sexual abuse are obviously second-hand (unless one was personally involved). This, of course, does not mean that such accounts are ‘rumours’, as they are called by those who want excuses for not considering them. There can be no ‘smoking gun’, no ‘corpse’ in such cases. The facts can very seldom be proven by physical evidence such as forensic data, audio, visual recordings etc. – and then mostly only in quite exceptional circumstances.
Therefore, no one can fairly assume that reports from people – whether first-hand victims or at second-hand via a friend etc. – are baseless. Unconfirmed assertions are the unavoidable first step in uncovering nearly all sexual abuse. The huge obstacles faced by its victims individually – whether personal, social, financial or a combination of these – are by now well-known and in addition to all that comes the emotional upheaval and threats to stop the victims from telling. Increasing worldwide experience shows that the road to conviction and imprisonment of abusers is exceptionally long and relatively very few paedophiles are brought that far anyhow. It almost always must begin with allegations coming into the public sphere (often indirectly or anonymously so as to protect the victims).
Many remain in danger of being discriminated, harassed, persecuted, attacked or worse by the original perpetrators of the abuse (or by others who are complicit in such abuse, such as in a ‘paedophile circle’). This applies to a high degree in India where Sathya Sai Baba has demonstrated to the full that he exercises virtual control of the judiciary and government on all matters concerning his own reputation.
Various anonymous Indian ex-students have mailed exposé workers and our websites, or have posted on bulletin boards, that their careers, their families and sometimes even the lives of any who were to stand forth with full name in public would be in jeopardy. Quite apart from this, it can take many years – up to decades – for victims to come to terms with their experiences, while it is highly likely that many never do so enough to speak out.
For it requires a robust personality to take the criticism, suspicions and threats which are so often met, including the ever-present likelihood of lurid and inaccurate ‘tabloid media’ coverage.
As an example of how some critics have been met by Sai officials, the European Central Coordinator of the Sathya Sai Organization, Thorbjørn Meyer, and at least two of his Danish collaborators followed Sai Baba’s cue and maligned as a paedophile one of the victims of some of Sathya Sai Baba’s worst sexual and psychic abuse, including oral sex etc., namely Conny Larsson of Sweden. This was an untrue and tendentious defamation, quite evidently to divert attention from their Lord and Master by accusing his critics of the very thing for which they accuse him.
No less than the Swedish Government, which still finances Conny Larsson’s therapeutic institution for criminals and drug addicts, has investigated these allegations and found them to be baseless. Further, these allegations were investigated and firmly refuted in public by the thorough investigations of the Danish journalist, Øjvind Kyrø (also maker of the hour-long Danish National TV film documentary ‘Seduced by Sai Baba’). However, the Danish defamers have so far failed to withdraw their baseless, serious charges. The arch-instigator, Thorbjørn Meyer, has for about 25 years been the top man responsible for Sathya Sai Baba’s Education in Human Values in Europe, but one wonders what values he lives by himself.
This episode should suffice to demonstrate to any independent observer the level of integrity of these VIPs in the Sai organisation who preach “human values” and “love in action”. On National Danish TV, the Sai devotee Mr. Peter Pruzan – an economist now involved in ‘leadership and values’ at the Copenhagen Business School – accused without giving a shred of evidence those victims who described Sathya Sai Baba’s sexual abuse of them, of being deluded as to their own experiences. He is no psychologist, of course, but a businessman. One can only put all this denial of directly reported facts down to minds having been so thoroughly manipulated through their half-understood experiences with Sathya Sai Baba and all that follows from having resigned both their freedom and responsibility to such a deceitful guru.
The case against Sai Baba is no one-off affair, for it involves dozens of open allegations – many backed up by signed affidavits – plus a time span involving decades and a spread across the continents. Members of the JuST group like myself have been very cautious about forwarding allegations until we made extensive investigations. We have eventually had to conclude from the evidence that this cannot be other than a case of ‘no smoke without fire’.
Sai Baba knew he would someday be caught out, saying, “A great scandal is coming”: There are many cogent reasons to question Sathya Sai Baba’s prediction that “a great scandal is coming” as a sign of his alleged divine knowledge of the future, which devotees repeat to one another almost like a self-protective mantra. It is as worthless as many other unfulfilled predictions and promises he has made through the years. Many of these I followed up assiduously and found them very largely wanting when compared with what actually occurred.
Most of his ‘wild guesses’ have been exposed fairly widely by his critics, and even by somewhat outspoken devotees, such as Ra. Ganapati in the up-dated second volume of his otherwise excessively fanciful ‘Baba: Satya Sai’ biography! Anyone who realised some of the extent of Sathya Sai Baba’s deception, plus his alleged sexual and other unprosecuted crimes, might easily have predicted the same.
I have heard any number of Sathya Sai Baba’s predictions (often straight after interviews) and they are quite simply proven wrong by events, though sometimes can seem roughly right if one struggles hard to make something or other fit them! So far to my knowledge nearly all have been unfulfilled. Sometimes his vague and general ‘predictions for the year’ made annually at the Yugadi festival are roughly right, if one struggles hard to make them fit something or other! One small example is his saying that there would be much volcanic activity, floods and theft in the coming year. Some seem to come about through the luck of the draw. To predict, as Sathya Sai Baba did in his youth, his own coming fame and riches has been done by very many, though only few may have achieved it. So nothing very extraordinary that he did so.
However, he told various persons known to me that the ashram was to be almost empty in 2000 (i.e. 10 years after he told people we knew, and as long ago as the 1970s (incl. the long-term US resident of PN, known to all as Michelle) and as recently as 1992 to friends of mine. I’m sorry to say that this also did not come true. He predicted a major worldwide airline failure over several days in 1998 due to changing earth magnetism spoiling the compasses (but they no longer use magnetic compasses). He also told students in 1990 that the PN ashram would stretch as far as Dharmavaram (the nearest town with a railway station) before the millennium!
That is about 40 miles or so! Yet the ashram has not expanded beyond its area since then until 2004. He told people I met at Whitefield that he would be using PN mostly “only as an office” by 1998, and would live mainly there in ‘Brindavan’, Whitefield, but this of course has not happened. (They offered me to come in on an exclusive bungalow scheme they started there). The list goes on and on…
By 2002, some further major media exposures based on global investigations with abused ex-followers were made. ‘The Sunday Telegraph’ of Britain published “Divine Downfall” in October 2002, a well-researched article by the UK author and journalist, Mick Brown, reporting interviews with a sexually-abused minor and one of Sathya Sai Baba’s closest associates and sexual partners, Dr. N. Bhatia, formerly employed in the Sathya Sai Baba Super-Speciality hospital.
An important critical front page article also appeared in the nationwide India ‘Today’ magazine called “A God accused” on 4 December, 2000.
On-screen interview testimonies by sexually abused young men (one a minor at the time of abuse) were seen in Denmark when Danish National broadcasting showed the documentary film “Seduced by Sai Baba”. This was later shown in a few other countries, causing a major fall-off of Sai Baba followers there.
Scandal engulfs guru’s empire
By Padraic Murphy, The Age (Australia), November 12, 2000
For Hans de Kraker, a trip to India to see Sathya Sai Baba, a self-proclaimed god with a following of up to 25 million devotees, was a spiritual quest. But he said the pilgrimage ended when the 73-year-old guru tried to force him to perform oral sex. Mr. de Kraker, who now lives in Sydney, has gone public to alert devotees to a sex scandal that is threatening to undo Sai Baba, by far the most popular of India’s new-age gurus. “It is devastating to realise the man you see as a spiritual master is simply conning people for his own sexual gratification,” Mr. de Kraker, 32, said. “After a while you notice that the people chosen for private interviews tend to be good-looking young males.” Mr. de Kraker, who first visited Sai Baba’s ashram in 1992, said the guru would regularly rub oil on his genitals, claiming it was a religious cleansing, and eventually tried to force him to perform oral sex.
He was kicked out of the ashram after alerting senior officials in 1996. Mr. de Kraker’s story is not an isolated one, and a growing list of alleged victims is threatening to engulf the Sai Baba organisation, which has an estimated worth of $6billion.
Droves have left after allegations of paedophilia and the rape of male followers. Sai Baba’s main ashram in Puttaparthi, India, is the largest in the world and can sleep up to 10,000 people. That number of people regularly turn out to “darshan”, a twice-daily ritual in which Sai Baba walks among devotees choosing people for private interviews.
It is in these private interviews that many of the alleged assaults against males between the ages of seven and 30 take place. Former devotees said the interviews usually involved family groups, but when young males were involved they were ushered into a second room, behind what has come to be known as the “curtain of shame”. The organisation has been shut down in Sweden after revelations that Conny Larson, now a film star in that country, was molested by Sai Baba. The FBI is looking into similar allegations made by American children and there are investigations into the sect in France and Germany.
Both UNESCO and Flinders University in South Australia and Flinders University in South Australia pulled out of a conference organised by Sai Baba in September because of concerns about the guru’s sexual conduct. In Australia, the sect is estimated to have up to 5000 followers. It runs schools in northern NSW and Western Australia, and has meditation centres across the country. Now Australian victims are preparing documents to present to federal authorities about the guru’s activities. Terry Gallagher, a property developer from Kiama, in New South Wales, regularly visited Sai Baba in the early 1990s and spent three years as the coordinator of the group in Australia. He left the group in the mid ’90s after boys in Indian schools run by Sai Baba complained to him of sexual abuse.
“Spiritually it is devastating. I’m concerned because of both the sexual abuse of young boys, and the spiritual fraud Sai Baba perpetrates,” Mr. Gallagher said. Sri Ramanathan, a former Sri Lankan judge and head of the Sai Baba Organisation in Australia and Papua New Guinea, refuses to warn families taking children to Puttaparthi about the allegations. “All god men have these kind of allegations levelled at them, why should I warn people of these allegations, they are just allegations?” he said. “He is a holy man. I know that (these allegations) cannot be proved.” Raphael Aron, the director of Cult Counselling, said: “These organisations are run by one individual and there are never any complaint mechanisms. When these sorts of allegations come up, the usual response is that it is some kind of test of faith and the whole thing is denied.”
Several former devotees who spoke to The Sunday Age said they had been thrown out of Sai Baba’s ashrams when they questioned leaders about the charges. The sexual exploits of the guru were exposed 30 years ago by Tal Brooke, a former high-ranked devotee who now runs a cult-watch group in the US. “It appears that now he is out of control. The problem is that people have such faith that these allegations would kill them spiritually,” he said from his home in California.
Sex Scandal swirls around Sai Baba
Cult News Summary/December 2004
Sai Baba, a controversial Indian “holy man” presides over a spiritual kingdom that includes one of the world’s largest ashrams. He claims to have millions of followers. But the guru, who is approaching 80, has a history of sexual abuse allegations that in recent years has made media headlines around the world. Former followers of the aging swami reportedly call him “a sexual harasser, a fraud and even a pedophile.” One man says Sai Baba ordered him to drop his pants and allow the guru to massage his penis. He later said, “Sai Baba was my God — who dares to refuse God? He was free to do whatever he wanted to do with me; he had my trust, my faith, my love and my friendship; he had me in totality.”
Despite such revelations and the growing scandal that surrounds Sai Baba he continues to be worshipped at his ashram. Twice a day he parades about and makes appearances to the faithful, entertaining them with what seems like little more than magic tricks. Sai Baba’s so-called “materializations” include making watches and jewelry appear out of “thin air.”
At functions his followers rock back and forth with “shining eyes” seemingly in trance-like or hypnotic states. Perhaps in this condition they are prepared to believe almost anything. The guru holds court within lavishly appointed rooms decorated with gold leaf and hanging chandeliers. “Sometimes I think the ashram is a madhouse and Swami is the director,” said one recently devoted disciple. Does Sai Baba prey upon the psychologically and emotionally vulnerable? “When you don’t have problems, you don’t go to the ashram,” says a disciple. But there may be casualties amongst the true believers.
A Malaysian woman reportedly had a psychotic breakdown, attacked ashram workers and was taken into police custody. She sat in a holding area almost catatonic, mumbling “darshan, darshan, darshan” repeatedly. Sai Baba has accumulated substantial influence and prestige within India. That influence includes some prominent leaders such as former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao. The Times of India reported in 1993 that the guru’s followers include “governors, chief ministers, assorted politicians, business tycoons, newspaper magnates, jurists, sportsmen, academics and, yes, even scientists.” His popularity is easy to understand. Sai Baba has built a hospital that offers free services, partly financed by a $20 million donation from Isaac Tigrett, co-founder of the Hard Rock Café. Its pink façade makes it look more like a palace than a hospital. And in the entrance area there are images of Sai Baba.
Sai Baba’s charities have reportedly been plagued though by “rumors of chicanery and worse.” Nevertheless Illustrated Weekly of India stated, “God or a fraud, no one doubts the good work done by the Sai organization.” But does the guru use his accumulated good will and “God-man” status to get into people’s pants? The sex abuse claims are strikingly similar and seem to fit the same pattern.
“During my ‘private audiences’ with Sai Baba, Sai Baba used to touch my private parts and regularly massage my private parts, indicating that this was for spiritual purposes,” wrote one former devotee. “He grabbed my head and pushed it into his groin area. He made moaning sounds. As soon as he took the pressure off my head and I lifted my head, Sai Baba lifted his dress and presented me a semi-erect member, telling me that this was my good luck chance, and jousted his hips towards my face,” the man said. When the devotee later talked about his sexual encounter he was thrown out of the ashram.
“Each time I saw Baba, his hand would gradually make more prominent connections to my groin,” said another former follower. All of the allegations reportedly involved mostly teenage boys and young men in their 20s. This story is hardly new. In 1970 a book by Tal Brooke titled “Lord of the Air” later renamed “Avatar of Night,” told the story of a devoted disciple’s disillusionment upon learning of Sai Baba’s sexual appetite. More recently a document called “Findings” accumulated accounts of alleged sexual exploitation and abuse from the guru’s former followers. An excerpt from the document reads, “Whilst still at the ashram, the worst thing for me — as a mother of sons — occurred when a young man, a college student, came to our room, to plead with David, ‘Please Sir, do something to stop him sexually abusing us&These sons of devotees, unable to bear their untenable position of being unwilling participants in a pedophile situation any longer, yet unable to share this with their parents because they would be disbelieved, placed their trust in David; a trust which had built over his five years as a visiting professor of music to the Sai college.” Since the release of “Findings” the Sai Baba sex scandal has grown and gained momentum.
A California man named Glen Meloy, who spent 26 years as a devotee wanted to launch a class-action lawsuit against the Sai Organization in America. “You’ve got all these kids who are scared to death to do anything that will do disrespect to their parents, in a room with someone they believe to be the creator of the whole universe. This isn’t just any child abuse; this is God himself claiming to do this,” Meloy said.
One former Indian ashram volunteer petitioned India’s Supreme Court to investigate Sai Baba. “I’ve spoken to 20 or 30 boys who have been abused, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are 14-year-old kids made to live in his room and made to think it’s a blessing. In most cases, their parents have been followers for 20 years and are not going to believe them. American citizens have been knowing about this abuse and taking American boys to Puttaparthi and feeding them to him,” he said.
UNESCO yanked its co-sponsorship of an education conference in India linked to Sai Baba and stated it was “deeply concerned about widely reported allegations of sexual abuse involving youths and children that have been leveled at the leader of the movement in question, Sathya Sai Baba.” After Conny Larsson, a Swedish actor went public about his coerced sexual relations with the guru; the Sai Organization in Sweden was shut down. India Today ran a cover story about the scandal, as has England’s Daily Telegraph. Labor MP Tony Colman raised the issue in Parliament. Former British government minister, Tom Sackville said, “The authorities have done little so far and that is regrettable.” But it seems that the guru’s ardent followers can rationalize almost anything. One such disciple concluded in an essay published on the Internet, “First of all, I believe that Sathya Sai Baba is an Avatar, a full incarnation of God … any sexual contact Baba has had with devotees — of whatever kind — has actually been only a potent blessing, given to awaken the spiritual power within those souls. Who can call that ‘wrong’? Surely to call such contact ‘molestation’ is perversity itself.”
A “potent blessing”?
“When he does it, he has a purpose,” concludes another still devoted follower. Other devotees have rejected reports about their guru’s sexual abuse completely regardless of how many of his alleged victims come forward to tell their stories.
One said, “I think this is a projection of his devotees’ problems. You hear a lot of rumors & but for me it’s not important. When you’re happy, why doubt it?” Note: This news summary is based upon an article titled “Untouchable” (note: dead link) by Michelle Goldberg, which appeared in Salon Magazine, July 25, 2001
Suicide, sex and the guru
The reputation of Sai Baba, a holy man to the rich and famous, has been tarnished by mysterious deaths and allegations of sexual abuse.
By Dominic Kennedy, August 27, 2001
In a world of pain and sorrow, a smiling little man in a saffron robe who can cure misery by magic is a bewitching prospect. To millions of followers around the world, Sai Baba is a benevolent spiritual leader whose hospitals and schools work tirelessly for the advancement of the poor. But an investigation by The Times today discloses that three British men have apparently taken their own lives after becoming followers of the miracle worker. Two of them were encouraged to believe that he could cure their medical problems. One of those also said that he had been touched intimately by the Sai Baba.
This is the same Sai Baba who is adored and indulged by the international jet set. The Duchess of York had the treat of watching him produce a gold watch and cross from thin air when she visited his ashram in India. The Prince of Wales’s architectural adviser, Keith Critchlow, designed a vast, stunning hospital for Sai Baba, which has been compared to St Peter’s in Rome and a maharaja’s palace. “The most influential holy man in India today,” is how the respected architect describes the guru. The hospital, mostly financed by Isaac Tigrett, the wealthy American founder of the Hard Rock Café chain of restaurants, treats the humble people of the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. So it was with righteous indignation that Sai Baba, in a rare fit of public anger, has turned on the band of disillusioned disciples who are now tarnishing his name.
Jesus Christ, said Sai Baba to a large crowd of devotees, underwent many hardships and was put on the cross because of jealousy. In those days there was only one Judas to betray him, but now there are thousands.
The holy man alleged that his detractors were being bribed to lie about him because of fear of his growing popularity. “People are trying to stop me but can do nothing,” he said. “People love and follow Sai because of the truth I stand for and the love that is my basis.” Detractors are casting doubt on Sai Baba’s miracles, suggesting that he is little more than a conjuror with a limited repertoire of jaded tricks. A financial row over the £13 million fortune of the British film actor James Mason, whose widow became a Sai Baba devotee, is smouldering.
Most devastating is the suggestion that Sai Baba might have been abusing his power over young male followers by indulging in sexual activity with them. Sai Baba was born Sathyanarayana Raju on November 23, 1926 in the tiny village of Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh. When he was only 14, Sai Baba – already magically producing candles and pencils for school friends – surprised his family by announcing that he was the reincarnation of Sai Baba of Shirdi, a miraculous old Indian sage who died in 1918. Today Sai Baba’s birthplace is home to an ashram that can accommodate 10,000 pilgrims. The obscure village has grown to cater for Sai Baba’s followers, of which there are more than 20 million worldwide. They include some of India’s most influential people.
The legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar, who helps to organise cricket matches at Sai Baba’s stadium, says that he “worships” the guru. The director-general of police in Andhra Pradesh, H. J. Dora, acts as Sai Baba’s chauffeur when the spiritual leader visits the state capital, Hyderabad. Judges and top civil servants flock for audiences with him. The Indian Prime Minister A. B. Vajpayee, another follower, has opened a new Sai Baba hospital in Bangalore. In a lofty tribute, the premier said that Sai Baba has shown humanity the path of liberation which goes beyond freedom from worldly attachments.
However, the first cracks in faith in Sai Baba’s magical powers came about because of a visit by a previous prime minister, Narasimha Rao, also a devotee. For this special occasion, Sai Baba appeared to materialise a gold watch from nowhere. But when Indian state television workers played back film of the incident in slow motion, they saw that the miracle was a sleight-of-hand hoax. The clip was never broadcast in India but has been widely circulated on videotape there. Sai Baba’s most common miracle is to produce “sacred ash” from between his fingers. Sometimes he pulls shiny, solid religious artefacts from his mouth. But magicians who have analysed these wonders say they are nothing more than old and simple tricks. Sai Baba is being challenged on another more prosaic front. Questions are being asked about the fundraising techniques employed by his followers. Some are accused of targeting vulnerable rich people and claiming that the miracle worker might be able to cure the afflictions of old age.
One of Sai Baba’s most devout followers was Clarissa Mason, the second wife of the film star James Mason. When Clarissa died of cancer in 1994, she willed a large part of her late husband’s £13 million estate to the cult, although, due to a dispute with Mason’s children, Portland and Morgan, who contend that the estate was not hers to will in the first place, it will be some time before the cult can hope to see any of the Mason millions. Clarissa Mason believed utterly in the powers of Sai Baba, filling her house near Lake Geneva with pictures of the “godman”.
Her legacy has gone to a trust whose beneficiaries are believed by Mason’s children to include a follower of Sai Baba. But more potentially damaging than claims about money are the sexual allegations against Sai Baba. These were first publicised as long ago as 1976, when Tal Brooke, a disenchanted American devotee, wrote Avatar of Night. Over the years, the description by disillusioned followers of intimate acts involving Sai Baba has persisted. The suggestion is that Sai Baba grants one-to-one audiences to young men, who believe they are in the presence of a living god. This may entail a high level of intimacy and the men allowing their private parts to be touched or fondled by the guru.
There have been no prosecutions. A complaint was lodged with India’s Central Bureau of Investigation on March 12, 2001 but there has been no result. In the United States, though, anti-Sai Baba campaigners are trying to persuade the authorities to open investigations into the alleged molestation of American citizens who are minors. The coordinator of this American campaign says that he has been interviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation but no formal inquiry is under way. So has Sai Baba, the most worshipped sage of the Orient, really been groping youthful followers. One innocent explanation is provided by Stuart Jones, a member of Sai Baba’s Bristol and Bath group.
He points out that there is a possible cultural misunderstanding at play. In yoga, Jones explains, one of the energy points on the body is below the testicles, an area sometimes stimulated by a teacher such as Sai Baba. “When I was out there, it happened to a couple of friends of mine, but it was more like, how can I say, doctor’s surgery. There was no sexuality involved. One chap said that a tremendous amount of energy was suddenly released in him and he felt wonderful afterwards. I don’t mean ejaculation. It was like suddenly feeling wonderful.
Sometimes he rubs the chest or the forehead where these other points are.” Talk of “energy points” does not endear Sai Baba to the Indian Rationalists Association, an organisation of atheists and doubters which seeks to debunk organised religion and disprove all miracles. They denounce him as the biggest fraud of the “god industry”. Joseph Edamaruku, the association’s president, says: “He has consistently refused to subject himself to an independent examination. He raises enormous amounts of money from India and around the world. We do not believe claims that it is spent on hospitals and charitable works.”
One charitable field where Sai Baba’s followers do seem to be most active is education. Sai Baba’s teachings, however, are a collection of banal truisms and platitudes. The most famous utterances he has made in a six decade-long career as a living god are “Help ever, hurt never” and “Love all, serve all”. Few are likely to argue with such a simplistic and universal moral code. He broadens his appeal further by allowing devotees to continue practising their own religion while paying homage to him. Sai Baba’s children’s course, Education in Human Values, is taught in schools in 100 countries.
It promotes five qualities: truth (satya), righteousness (dharma), peace (shanti), love (prema) and nonviolence (ahimsa). Education in Human Values rejects rote learning, emphasising Indian techniques such as “silent sitting”, quotation, story-telling, song and group activities. Sai Baba’s message reaches British schoolchildren through two charities. The first is named in his honour, the Sathya Sai Education in Human Values Trust UK, which claims to have had contact with 80 schools. Typical of its activities is a summer camp held at Christchurch Primary School in Ilford, East London, several weeks ago where 100 children painted, played games and sang.
Courses have been cleverly designed to fit into Key Stages 1 to 4 of the National Curriculum, targeting children aged seven to 16. The charity states that it does not promote any particular religion. Carole Alderman, the founder, a former ChildLine volunteer, has no teaching qualifications. She admits to using some of Sai Baba’s quotations but says: “We don’t teach about Sai Baba at all.” She adds: “I have witnessed a lot of his miracles. I have seen people going in with crutches or wheelchairs and come out walking. I have seen him materialise things many times a day. He just knows everything.” Asked about the sexual allegations, she says: “It’s totally unfounded. Anybody who actually knows him, knows it is.”
Another British charity, the Human Values Foundation, says it has reached more than 500 schools. Its chairman, Dennis Eagan, said “The foundation has nothing to do with Sai Baba.” But the Human Values Foundation’s programme is also called “Education for Human Values”. It promotes Sai Baba’s same five virtues, using “silent sitting”, activities, songs, quotations and stories. Its president, June Auton, has been a regular visitor to Sai Baba’s ashram. She has been described by Barry Pittard, a former English lecturer at Sai Baba’s college in India, as “synonymous with Swami’s Human Values Programme.”
Auton told The Times: “I’m not going to discuss anything about my religion at all on the phone. My religion is my business.” Pressed, she would only say: “I do attend my local church.” It is the recent suicides, however, that may hurt Sai Baba the most in Britain. Suicides and suspicious deaths have long marred his reputation. A German man was found hanging from a rafter in Puttaparthi in the early 1980s. A father and daughter took fatal overdoses in Bangalore in 1999 after failing to get an audience with the guru. In a puzzling incident in June 1993, Sai Baba was attacked by four young male devotees armed with knives. Two of the guru’s bodyguards were stabbed to death. After the four youths, long-time followers of Sai Baba, locked themselves in a room, they were all shot dead by police. Challenging faith in a man of miracles can be painful. At Sai Baba’s Central London base in Clerkenwell, there is reluctance to confront the allegations of sexual harassment, suicides and financial maneuvering.
Dee Puri, at the London headquarters, denounces the suggestion that Sai Baba takes money from the rich, pointing out that at his 28-year-old London premises: “Entrance is free. There is no money going to Baba at all. As for the suggestions of sexual harassment, she told The Times:
“I don’t want to talk about it because there is no such thing. I think such conversations disturb me and my beliefs. The organisation is most unhappy that you have tried to hurt us. Nobody will speak to you unless you want to write something which is truth, which is not controversial. “As far as I am concerned, Baba is a great, great guru. Thirty years I have been a devotee of Baba and millions and millions of people are, so I would very respectfully ask you please not to put that sort of question to me.”
The man, believers think is God
Sai Baba, an Indian holy man, worshipped by many prominent Canadians, is accused of being a sexual predator.
By Bob Harvey, The Ottawa Citizen/December 19, 2000
Millions of devotees in Ottawa and in more than 100 countries around the world recently celebrated the 75th birthday of Sai Baba, an Indian spiritual leader they believe is God. But a growing number of leaders of the movement in Canada, Sweden, the U.S. and other countries have quit: they say Sai Baba is a sexual predator. UNESCO also recently cancelled its co-sponsorship of a conference in Sai Baba’s home town of Puttaparthi, India, saying it was “deeply concerned about widely-reported allegations of sexual abuse involving youth and children that have been levelled at the leader of the movement.
“Raj Midha, the president of Ottawa’s brand new $2-million Sri Sathya Sai Spiritual Centre on Hunt Club, is a believer. Like many devotees, he wears a large ring given to him by the guru. “He materialized it from thin air,” Mr. Midha says. Television documentaries produced in Australia, India and other countries have used slow-motion to show that such “miracles” are really just clever sleight-of-hand by Sai Baba. But Mr. Midha shrugs off this and other allegations about Sai Baba. “With all big leaders, there have always been people who didn’t like them. Even Jesus was crucified.”
What Mr. Midha wants to do is tell how Sai Baba has changed his life and others. He shows off the 156,000-square-foot centre with pride, and points to Sai Baba teachings posted on the walls of the building. He says those teachings can be summarized in eight words: “Love All, Serve All”, and “Help Ever, Hurt Never.” Mr. Midha, a telecommunications engineer, believes Sai Baba cured his wife’s cancer, and he credits his own work with the Shepherds of Good Hope and other charities to Sai Baba’s teachings. On the centre’s second floor, he is reverent as he enters Sai Baba’s bedroom, which comes complete with bathroom, and a balcony overlooking the worship area on the ground floor.
Sai Baba has taken only one trip out of India, and that was to Uganda. But Mr. Midha and other devotees firmly believe their leader can transport himself around the world at will. Mr. Midha says they know Sai Baba uses his Ottawa bedroom, because they leave a glass of water on his bedside table, and often the glass has been half-drained. About 200 devotees regularly worship at the centre, and some report having seen the holy man while they were praying. Conny Larsson, a psychotherapist, and once a well-known actor and film star in his native Sweden, has a very different view of Sai Baba. He first met Sai Baba in 1978, built his own apartment near the guru’s headquarters in Puttaparthi, and remained a devotee until last year. Mr. Larsson was the spiritual coordinator of the Sai Baba movement in Sweden, and says he brought tens of thousands of people to India to see Sai Baba by speaking at conferences, writing a book about Sai Baba, and speaking on radio.
“Now I feel very guilty,” he says. For the first five years he knew Sai Baba, Mr. Larsson says the guru regularly practised oral sex on him, and asked that Mr. Larsson do the same for him. The guru’s explanation, as it has been for many young men, is that he was correcting Mr. Larsson’s kundalini, or cosmic force. “I was brainwashed,” said Mr. Larsson in a telephone interview from Sweden. “As a child I was severely molested, and when he did this to me, he told me he was going to correct something. And in my mind, I thought God was healing me of this tragedy. This is the reason he could do what he liked. “Everyone told me I was very special. They puffed me up. For a person so molested and hurt as a child, it was a relief to be someone.”
By 1986, Mr. Larsson had talked to many young male devotees, most of them attractive blond westerners, who told him they too had had sex with Sai Baba. He believes Sai Baba has had sex with many more reluctant male followers. Why do they do it? He says it’s because “everyone believes he is divine. They want to believe because they have nothing else,” he said.
For more than 50 years, Sai Baba has been India’s most famous holy man. The number of his followers is estimated at somewhere between 10 million and 50 million, and they include India’s Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee; Isaac Tigrett, the co-founder of the Hard Rock Restaurant chain; Simon de Jong, a former New Democrat MP from Saskatchewan; and Kris Singhal, founder of Ottawa’s Richcraft Homes. Birendra, the king of Nepal, Sarah Ferguson, Prince Andrew’s former wife; and many other celebrities have also made pilgrimages to see the guru.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of people visit Sai Baba’s ashram, and what was once a small village now has an airstrip, a university, a hospital and enough hotels and apartment blocks to accommodate tens of thousands of people. “When you see all these important people moving around there, kings and queens moving around as if they were common people, you start to believe he (Sai Baba) has a divine plan for all mankind,” said Mr. Larsson.
Twice a day, Sai Baba strolls among the thousands of devotees seated in the main temple and chooses people from the crowd for private interviews. Often those chosen for private interviews are young men like Mr. Larsson once was. What prompted him to quit the organization and start speaking out was the abuse suffered by a young Swedish man who asked for his help as a psychotherapist, after six interviews with Sai Baba. “He told me about the same things that happened to me. The swami opened his trousers and started to masturbate him. He withdrew, but the swami insisted.” Mr. Larsson then brought the man to a meeting of Swedish leaders of the Sai Baba movement, and told his own story as well. The majority of the leaders resigned, and Mr. Larsson, like many other ex-devotees, put his story on the Internet.
Mr. Larsson’s story is one of many that appear in another Internet posting, The Findings, a 42-page document amassed by David and Faye Bailey, former devotees who once lived in Puttaparthi, and edited a magazine to propagate Sai Baba’s teachings. Mr. Bailey is a British concert pianist and taught students at the Sathya Sai Baba College. When some of his students complained to him about being sexually molested by Sai Baba, he quit the organization and began documenting the stories of abuse.
Glen Meloy, a retired management consultant in California, is another former devotee who is using the Internet to warn others to keep their sons away from Sai Baba. After 26 years of following Sai Baba, he quit when he heard the story of a 15-year-old California boy who said he had been abused on multiple occasions. Mr. Meloy said this boy and others in families of devotees “were born with the idea that Baba is God. So they submit because they’re afraid to displease their parents, let alone God himself, who’s asking them to participate in these acts.”
Mr. Meloy is now bombarding politicians, the White House, Indian newspapers, and the FBI with allegations of abuse by the Indian spiritual leader. He says he gets 50 to 100 e-mails and phone calls a day from former devotees, many of them looking for advice on what to do about the tales of abuse they have heard. To date, only one former Canadian devotee is willing to go public with his story of being sexually touched. Marc-Andre St. Jean of Montreal said that when he visited Puttaparthi in 1992, Sai Baba took him into a private interview room, and asked him to drop his pants. Then he touched Mr. St. Jean’s genitals. He said he had a kidney problem and at the time he thought Sai Baba was just trying to help him.
But Mr. St. Jean’s story, and that of the son of a Quebec family of devotees, helped persuade seven coordinators of the Sai Baba movement in Quebec to hand in their resignations. Alain Groven of Montreal’s South Shore was the province’s representative on the national Sai Baba council. He said he and other coordinators resigned after comparing the stories of Quebecers to those of Mr. Larsson and others who suffered more severe abuse. Mr. Groven said that last year, the Canadian organization gave Sai Baba $90,000 as a birthday present, and the 70 centres across Canada probably donated even more this year, for the 75th birthday.
[One woman said that] she and the other Montreal-area coordinators who resigned wonder why so many others have remained devotees. “But when you believe he is God, and you have invested yourself in a spiritual community, it involves too much to suddenly decide he is not God. Your whole spiritual world falls apart. It’s too hard to bear,” she said.
V.P. Singh of Windsor has been president of the Canadian Sai Baba organization for the past 30 years. He said he does not care to read the allegations against Sai Baba, and like most other devotees, he obeys his guru’s command not to use the Internet. “I have known him for 30 years, and I have had a nice experience,” he said. Mr. Singh said the Canadian and other leaders who have resigned from the organization around the world “can do whatever they want to do; it’s their business.” [There’s PLENTY more at http://darandu.hpage.co.in/fake-avatars-and-anti-christ_61236664.html]
Sai Baba Devotees Sued By Sai Baba Devotees
January 12, 2006
Followers of Sai Baba file case against devotees of Sathya Sai of Puttaparthi to restrain them from calling him a reincarnation of the Shirdi seer
By Manoj R Nair, Mumbai, January 11, 2006
Claims by followers of Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi that he is a reincarnation of Sai Baba of Shirdi have enraged devotees of the latter. They have filed a suit in the court at Rahata, in Ahmadnagar district, asking the court to restrain people from making such claims. The case will be heard on January 14. The controversy began when an organisation, Bharat Cultural Integration Committee, wanted to club Sathya Sai’s 80th birthday celebrations with the Shirdi seer’s 168th birthday in November last year. The invite to the function carried a story that claimed the Sai Baba was born to a woman called Devagiriamma in 1838 and that before his death in 1918, he had promised his followers to come back after eight years, thus lending credence to the reincarnation theory.
Though it is universally agreed that Sai Baba died in 1918, his followers contend that his origins are unknown. For this reason, the Shirdi shrine has never observed any birthday of the saint. Versova resident and ardent Sai Baba devotee Manu Gidwani who has objections to the claim made by followers of Sathya Sai Baba says: “I respect the faith of the followers of Sathya Sai Baba but by claiming incarnation, they have insulted the followers of Sai Baba.”
The literature on the saint brought out by Shirdi Sansthan, the organisation that runs the shrine, says the birthday and name of the holyman’s parents are not known. The Sansthan’s books also do not recognise claims of other godmen to be a reincarnation.
The celebration was cancelled after the objections; but the followers of Sai Baba have sought a permanent injunction restraining anyone from making claims about the birthday.
“Every saint has followers. But how can anybody claim to be an incarnation?” demands Dr Pyarelal Tiwari, a cardiologist at Bombay Hospital and a member of the Shri Sai Baba Sansthan.
However, followers of the Sathya Sai Baba insist their guru is an incarnation of the Shirdi Sai Baba. “It is a fact; there are so many evidences in this regard,” said Sudhir Joshi, a follower of the Puttaparthi godman. The devotees of the Southern guru say Sai Baba had said that he will be reborn eight years after his Samadhi and meet his followers to solve their problems. Sathya Sai Baba was born eight years later after Sai Baba’s death, on November 23, 1926.
Swami Sai Exposed
Location: United Kingdom
I was a hardcore follower of Sathya Sai Baba for just over a decade, and made six trips to see him in India. Now no longer a devotee, I use this blog to record memories, comments and muses on the Sai scenario and also point out inaccuracies in Sai Baba’s philosophical and theological presentation.
Why did I leave Sai Baba?
Sai Baba EXPOSED!
Despite his lifelong claims never to condemn anyone, to love all and always to adhere to truth, Sathya Sai Baba demonstrated his hypocrisy by refuting all these claims in his false and accusatory, threatening words.
He branded his critics and anyone who raises doubts about himself or circulates negative facts about him. He labels dissenters as ‘Judases’ implying that their actions can never be redeemed – that they shall suffer shame throughout any number of future existences. Compare the more literal and full translation made by Sai students so that nothing should get lost with the officially edited and redacted Sanathana Sarathi version which can be downloaded here. If unavailable, it is also found here. Here is a brief excerpt:
Bad Publicity Is Shameless
These types of publicity are shameless. Truly they are not human beings at all. The ones who put obstacles in the way of all sacred works are demons, not human beings. The determined vow of Sai will never change, even if demons like this may be all over the world. (Swami bangs his fist decisively on the table to emphasize His point. The audience applauds for long.)
They are trying to reduce the respect for Sai Baba with all this lowly publicity. I do not desire respect at all. If it lessens, what is the loss for Me? Gradually the respect will go on increasing. Even if this publicity goes on, using all the letters of the alphabet, in this whole world and in our country of Bharat, My glory and the respect for Me will NOT BE reduced by even a fraction.
Even many devotees are becoming very weak. They are not true devotees. Even when recognizing the powers of Sai, why should you be afraid of all this crazy, useless talk? The writing that is written on the wall, all the heap that is spoken on the stage and the heap that is written in the paper, they are all rotten heaps. No one needs to pay attention to them.
Sathya Sai Baba refuted that ‘The Divine Spark is in everyone’ – the main tenet of his ‘doctrine of universal love’
That there is a spark of Divinity in every living being and even in all matter, was one of his most admired ‘revelations’: “All beings are sparks of the Eternal Divinity” page 101 from his ‘Discourses in Kodaikanal 1998’). Hed refuted this again in 2001 (see right hand scan of excerpt from his discourse). Further, in a later discourse two years after that he confirms his complete reversal by proclaiming that there is not even a spark of divinity in his critics! [“… a hard-hearted person cannot be called a spark of Divinity; he is verily a demon.” p. 323, Sanathana Sarathi, November 2002].
Bribes to Betray the Guru
Switzerland, America, Japan, Germany, China, Russia – our children have entered in all directions. Some foreigners are trying to bribe them. They are saying, “See, foolish ones! I will give this much money. I will give so many dollars. I will give this many pounds. You write and give some stories against Sathya Sai Baba.”
Ones of certain religions create this bad publicity leading to conversions. They are offering bribes like this. Even one girl staying in Switzerland said that they told, “You write a story and give us.” That girl took the boots which she was wearing from her feet and yelled, “Is this the Truth that your religion teaches? Is this the ideal Truth of your religion? Chi, chi, chi, chi! (“Very, very bad!”) Go!”
Many of these Judas’s get desire for money and they are entering into things like this. Entering into such activities, at last what happened to Judas? He said the name of Jesus, revealing him to the authorities to be captured. After the deed happened, he sat with tears in his eyes. “Cha! Did I do such deceit to my guru? I am Guru Drohi, betrayer of the guru, betrayer of God.” Saying this, he hit himself.
Any betrayal may be done. However, just don’t anyone start to betray God. Betrayal of God is the worst of all betrayals. It will not be atoned for no matter how many births are experienced. Therefore, you don’t take any part in betrayal of God at all.
(Excerpt from Sathya Sai Baba’s Christmas Discourse, 2000, in the Prashanthi Nilayam temple mandir)
Without a shred of evidence, he stated that ex-devotees were offered bribes to write stories against him.
This is patently an outright lie intended to mislead devotees, who dare not go against his claims whatever they are. They always want to believe he is innocent of any wrong doing because they believe his claim to be God Incarnate, so he could well calculate that this ploy would succeed. It is a widely reported that Sai Baba himself uses bribes to silence the victims of his homosexual abuses of them, though he was unable to silence at least 20 of the – his bribes of money, ‘jewellry’ and ‘gold’ watches did not work long enough to keep Alaya Rahm from speaking out.
In calling his critics “demons” he made a complete break with all his previous soft talk about love. This discourse helped convince many followers to look much more carefully – and with a critical eye too – at the evidence. His unfounded allegations brought out the sham that his teaching really is. In his Christmas Day discourse he virtually boasted (unlike the one whose day is his namesake): “Today many people are jealous of Sai” and “neither will they undertake any good activities themselves”. All those hundreds of office-bearers who left him, however, had worked harder than most – often for decades – doing many kinds of social service in his Organization – also donating large sums of money – and even giving the real credit for it to him!
Sathya Sai Baba ranted on in his discourse before invited foeign visitors in the ‘mandir’ (Prashanthi Nilayam temple) against his accusers of sexual abuse
“There are some jealous and petty minds who do false and imaginary propaganda. I take no note of this”- but he noted it right there!
He pretended that his accusers employ ‘imaginary propaganda’ and so he must have been moved to take note – as he did so in the same sentence! Angrily beating on his lectern, he showed that even more plainly!
Sathya Sai Baba was under great pressure to limit the loss of foreign donations and the damage to his reputation, and to continue to dominate his own following. In the decade after that attack, foreign visitors fell away increasingly. Many of his foremost, most active and professionally gifted Western followers resigned from his organizations (see here).
April 28, 2011
Google search with “sai baba deceptions exposed” for lot’s more.
Watch “Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s tricks revealed”:
As a devotee of the Baba, he wrote “Source of the Dream, – My Way to Sathya Sai Baba” (1994, Bangalore/1998 USA/2000 and 2002, Puttaparthi).
Founder member/national leader of the Norwegian Sathya Sai Organisation, he resigned in 2000 after discovering deep cover-up of murders and sex abuses.
SEXUAL PREDATORS MORE PREVALENT AMONG RABBIS PASTORS YOGIS THAN AMONG PRIESTS
For an exposé of Shirdi Sai Baba, see
Sai Baba EXPOSED!
By David J. Stewart