28 September 2006

Sai Baba's Shirdi LIES 5

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A shocking discovery in my research consisted of information about how Sathya Sai devotees are unashamedly using the name of known Shirdi authorities to acquire a measure of authenticity for their "avatar". More specifically, Venkamma and Seshama Raju (Sathya Sai's elder brother and sister) were jointly interviewed by V. Balu and Shakuntala Balu and were reported to have surrendered the following information about what occurred soon after Raju publicly declared himself as the reincarnation of Shirdi Baba:

"He [Raju] stayed in Uravakonda for some time more. People came from far and near to attend his bhajans. His fame spread like wild fire. Many sceptics came and were convinced. Mr. B.V. Narasimhaswamy, who wrote the life of Shirdi Sai Baba in detail and established the Sai Samaj in Madras, went to see Sathyam. He said to Seshama Raju, 'Though we do prachar [preaching] of [Shirdi] Sai Baba, we have not been as effective as this boy in spreading the name of Sai Baba. Whether he is an incarnation or not of Sai Baba, only time will tell.' He also wrote about this in the Sai Sudha magazine." - Divine Glory, p. 146.

No matter how you look at this, this story certainly serves as an example of almost shameless publicity-seeking. We have previously noted the status of Narasimha Swamiji in the firmament of the Shirdi sky, providing a brief description of his life achievements while we were at it, and suffice to say that it is largely down to his efforts that the name of Shirdi Sai Baba spread throughout India on account of his enthusiastic preaching and construction of temples in the Baba's honour, also founding and editing the 'Sai Sudha' magazine.

A prominent feature of the Swamiji's activities entailed travelling far and wide to meet with those who had directly met with Shirdi Sai Baba and experienced his miracles and presence first-hand. Part and parcel of this was to meet with several "reincarnations" who, by the early 1920s (Shirdi Sai Baba died in 1918), were already sprouting up here and there. In his famous four-volume biography of Shirdi Sai, Narasimha Swami relates how he personally met several such reincarnations and exposed them as frauds without mentioning if one of them was Raju. Further research is necessary to clarify the issue of the alleged article in Sai Sudha, but for now we may note that the general policy among the Shirdi milieu is that the Baba has not been reincarnated as we have observed on several occasions. As recently as 1982, a certain Narayana Baba of Hyderabad claimed that Shirdi Sai Baba had not reincarnated:

"He says the disembodied soul of his guru (that is, Sai Baba) talks to him. He sits before a framed photograph of the Sai Baba of Shirdi and looks at it for enlightenment... With the help of his guru's spirit, he is even able to materialise rings, lockets, and vibhuti [ash] from thin air. When asked how he produces these things he declares that the spirit of his departed guru gives them in his hands, so that when he opens his fists the object is there." - Ruhela, 'Sai Baba And His Message', p. 133-34.

The object of this series of articles was to engender a deep and penetrating analysis of [Sathya] Sai Baba's Shirdi Lies in the light of new discoveries. While we await the results of continuing research on these and other lines of enquiry, we hope that we have been largely successful in bringing this information to the public and helping them to re-evaluate their understandings of the Sai Baba phenomenon. By way of a short recap, we have shown how Sathya Sai and his official biographies initiated false impressions about his 'self-knowledge' while not disclosing the culture of Shirdi devotion that was prevalent in Puttaparthi; the testimonies of several old devotees who witnessed Raju engaging in Shirdi worship on a substantial scale; a brief recapitulation of the scorpion incident which is inconsistent in places and revealed evidence of Shirdi Sai Baba as being a separate figure; a short review of the tangled explanations offered to explain the transformation of Raju into 'Sai Baba'; and a short discussion about the possibility of a reincarnation. Considering that Sathya Sai's empire is based on the foundations of his declaration of his identity with Shirdi Sai, it's no mean feat to declare that - with the uncovering of these devastating facts - those foundations will now crumble.

To round off these essays we will conclude with the wise and considered words of that doyen of Shirdi, His Holiness B.V. Narasimha Swamiji, by whose efforts the name of Shirdi Sai Baba has largely spread to every corner of India:

"The question has several times been raised whether Sri Sai Baba arranged for and left a successor to his position. He was Guru on certain lines to vast numbers of people who looked to him at Shirdi for governing their entire lives. Naturally one would expect that such a person with such vast and mighty powers would provide his devotees with some means for their future guidance. Usually a Guru forms a Math or an Ashram and trains up, some time before he passes away, a pupil and even introduces him to those dependent on that Math or Ashram ... Every experience of every devotee that comes to him now makes him feel that he is dealing with Divinity, a good Guardian Angel, or Ishta Devata [chosen deity], if he likes to term him so. So Baba's assurance of the continuance of his protecting personality after Mahasamadhi is a sufficient reason why Baba did not mind the absence of any person to get into his Gadi [seat] at Shirdi and continue his Guruparampara [lineage of gurus] there. It is not necessary to discuss the claims of X, Y or Z, who occasionally put forward the chaim that he is the successor of Sai Baba. A few of such claims seem to have been put forward. But they were all pooh-poohed and there is no set of Sai Bhaktas that we are aware of who are deliberately saying and holding to the position that X, Y or Z was the successor to Baba's Gadi.

"That however, is a different matter from the question whether there is now any living person who has to be identified with Sai Baba. Just as the Avatars left Nava Naths as their representatives on earth, sometimes people come forward and say 'I am an Avatar of Sai Baba'. This sort of claim has been put forward in various places at various times. It is not necessary to narrate all of them even if that were possible ... But these have occasionally been mentioned in the columns of the 'Sai Sudha' or other papers and invariably on investigation, it has been noted that any person, claiming to be Sai Baba, does not show even a very small fraction of Baba's nature. Mere power to read thought, mere clairvoyance, mere production of articles from empty box and hands and mere devotion to Sai or God, will not constitute one into an Avatar of Sai. So, we might conclude this chapter by saying that Sai left no successor to his seat, that there was no seat to succeed to, (as God's seat can never be vacant) and that there is no person living who can be recognised by all as having the entire Sai spirit or Soul in his body, that is, who can be regarded as the Avatar of Sai.

"That question arises because of the statements of Sai Baba to several of his devotees ... Kaka Dixit (H.S. Dixit) seems to have said, 'Baba said that he would suddenly appear as a boy of eight and show himself, that is, his power and nature'. We have not till now discovered any boy of eight, who had Baba's wonderful nature and powers. Even if he should take birth somewhere, his Apantaratma Rupa is still there and still helping. Therefore the question of our finding any person now who is the Avatar of Baba need not be further discussed. It is sufficient to say that those who are anxious to benefit by Sai Baba will be very wise if they confine themselves to the well known history of Sai Baba; and if they adopt the usual and well known methods for contacting Sai Baba of Shirdi, who is now no other than God himself, they would succeed, and they need not be panting to discover if there is any Avatar of Sai Baba or anyone who is entitled to call himself the successor of Sai Baba for the Shirdi Gadi. God's seat we repeat is never vacant. Sai Baba was and is God always immersed in the God idea, and carrying out God's lilas when he was in the flesh. His Ritambhara Prajna or Antarjnana, as it was called, his control over men's minds and material objects at any distance, his power to appear and do anything anywhere, can only be called divine. These powers we read of in his lilas before 1918, and we read of the same also after 1918.

"Sri Sai Baba's kindness in stirring up people's minds to contact him now seems to extend itself in various places in remarkable forms and ways which are not always understood by us, but which are to spread faith in Baba. What Sai Baba did at Coimbatore in 1943, at Ramachandrapuram in 1950-54, at Ahmedabad in 1953, and at Thotapalli Hills in 1954 and in so many other places, have been brought to public notice and have greatly increased the number of Sai bhaktas. These recent lilas ... have strengthened people's fath in Baba and are bound soon to make Sai faith reach all the distant corners of this country, a faith that deals with Sai Baba as God and not as a human being holding a position that has to be filled up by a successor." - Life of Sai Baba Vol. II, p. 336-49

We couldn't have put it better.

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Sai Baba's Shirdi LIES 4

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As a reminder, the reason for spending enough time in discussing Raju's 'scorpion trauma' is because it is widely believed to be the turning point in his life. Bearing in mind the new facts about the Shirdi culture present in Puttaparthi way before Raju debuted on the guru scene, we have to re-evaluate all of the pre-Annunciation reports and insinuations of Shirdi connections in that light.

There are reports of his altruism even as a toddler of three years of age, by way of providing the local beggars with food and clothes. Upon Raju's indiscriminate giving of food and being threatened with starvation himself, he patently refused to eat in spite of the apologetic coaxing he received. Despite going without food for several days in this way, Raju appeared to show no signs of starvation and claimed that he had been fed sumptuously by an 'old man' whose identity was never discovered.

Sai devotees generally flirt with one of two explanations for this:

  • Raju simply 'fed himself' on account of his own inherent and avataric miraculous power, talking of an 'old man' in order to put his relatives off the scent, or
  • An 'old man' (none other than Shirdi Sai Baba) really did feed Raju, coming to him in an extra-corporeal form invisible to human eyes.

The first would make sense only in the belief of Raju's divinity; as an 'avatar' he could naturally look after himself and need not have gone hungry. The second option operates on the understanding that the young Raju was the recipient of some miraculous good fortune wherein the discarnate spirit of Shirdi Sai Baba was looking for a fortunate soul in whom to invest his powers and instate as his de-facto successor.

Unsurprisingly, the idea of Shirdi Baba's taking possession of Raju was mused upon by none other than Seshama Raju, and was seriously considered in a greater depth within the hagiographical work of Ra. Ganapati. Raju's aside to Kasibatla Sriram Murthy clearly indicates that something was happening beyond his control, and that he was confident of his protection by the Baba of Shirdi. Ironically, many of Raju's critics complaine that he is the one who has taken 'possession' of Shirdi Baba's name and fame, and in the midst of refuting these accusations, Ganapati first discusses the putative explanation and provides his refutative reasonings:

"Then there is the question of how the boy came to know and misuse the name of the Super-saint [Shirdi Sai Baba], a stranger in those parts then. The reply given by his critics runs like this: Whether by the [merit] of former births or due to the inexplicable compassion of Shirdi Sai, Satya [Raju] had been the recipient of that divine saint's grace right from childhood. Perhaps Sai had bestowed a little of his supernatural powers on the boy. Giving Satya milk and rice, curing him of his fever and swollen eyes (announcing his presence, as it were, with the distinctly heard steps of the sandals) - these were instances of Grace of the old Saint. Does it not follow that the two were different then, and the Saint had blessed Satya? The supernatural powers that the boy demonstrated should have been his gift. Satya the donee, had now twisted the truth and proclaimed himself the donor, Sai Baba.

"Let us ponder over this. Would Shirdi Baba have gifted such powers indisciminately onto undeserving hands? ... We came across Kusa Bau earlier. A close devotee of Shirdi Sai, he obtained certain powers like materialising sweets. But Baba stopped this and said, 'In future when you invoke me, only vibhuti will appear in your hands, nothing else.' Thereafter, Kusa Bau lost his powers of materialising sweets. Does not the Kusa Bau episode have it's application here? ... The Shirdi devotees who ought to have the conviction that their Baba's power have not terminated with his Mahasamadhi [exit from the body], will do well to ponder over this point.

"A doubt remains. Was not Shirdi Baba apparently independent of Satyawhen he came to feed the latter with milk-rice and cure the boy's eye-trouble? Then, how could Satya claim oneness with him?Is there an explanation for this? Yes, certainly. Jesus normally called himself the son of God. But at the end of his preachings, he said, 'I and my Father are one.' Samarth Ramdas is the avatar of Hanuman, but he received initiation at the hands of Hanuman himself! Why? This is true of Shirdi Baba too! He described himself differently as the disciple of Kabir, and also as the avatar of Kabir! ... Likewise, Shirdi Sai had given of his grace as a grandfather to the Satya form though it was his own rebirth. Ultimately, he consummated the role of the grandson." - Baba Satya Sai (Part 1), p. 157-159.

This is a very obtuse, tangled and unsatisfactory explanation for why it is possible for the powerful spirit of Shirdi Sai Baba to take possession of the young Raju and continue his works through him. Not only would this be an unacceptable proposal for Shirdi devotees, but also to most people. Sensible and rational people who are logical and down-to-earth do not believe in things like reincarnation, spirit possession, miraculous materialisations and the like.

For starters, Sathya Sai devotees make a big issue out of a popular story involving Hari Sitaram Dixit, a close devotee of the Shirdi Baba. As evidenced in a compilation printed by Narasimha Swamiji, 'Sri Sai Baba's Charters & Sayings', Shirdi Baba had apparently confided to Dixit that he would come again as a boy of eight years of age. Sathya Sai seizes on this and claims that Dixit had a weak memory and misheard what 'he' said in his 'former incarnation', that he would appear again in eight years rather than as an eight-year-old boy. This makes more sense when you consider that Shirdi Baba passed away in 1918 and Raju was born in 1926, but one cannot help noticing how this explanation is very convenient and self-serving to Raju's cause. Moreover, additional information has come to light that generates considerable suspicion on 1926 as the supposed year of Raju's birth, but that's another story.

Dixit had no problem remembering every other of his notable experiences when narrating them to Narasimha Swami for posterity, so this type of reasoning is a slight on the both of them for suggesting that they have misrecorded the words and intention of Shirdi Baba. Moreover, Shirdi Baba was well known for making very abstrract and cryptic remarks about anything and everything, and the bulk of Shirdi literature testifies to that! So this is another reason why Sathya Sai's "mishearing" explanation can be doubted on perfectly reasonable grounds.

Any amount of self-serving reasoning by Ganapati or other authors favourable to Sathya Sai needs to be taken with a pinch of salt; Ganapati's first mistake was to be influenced by the idea that Shirdi Sai Baba was a "stranger in those parts" as he says, which we have already seen was untrue. How Raju would know about the Shirdi saint is explained by the bhajan sessions he used to attend as well as the possible deep study of the Satcharita, so much so that he was able to correct people's misinterpretations. The rest of it is pure speculation; Ganapati's error was creating a hagiography that was built on an earlier hagiography, as he himself wrote in the introduction to his work that he had extensively consulted with Narayana Kasturi - Sathya Sai's authorised biographer - in order to formulate his work. There is very little evidence that Ganapati performed any independent research except for that which serves the cause of propagating the name of Sathya Sai, because one of the big problems with all of these quaint reasonings is that the people who made them did not know enough about Shirdi Sai Baba in the first place, and why it is virtually impossible to accept Raju as a reincarnation.

We shall attempt to expand on this in the next instalment but, as an aside, it is no wonder that due to their attitude, devotees of Sathya Sai are not perceived respectfully by Shirdi Sai devotees due to their reckless aggrandisement of Shirdi Sai Baba's name and fame. As recently as January 2006, Shirdi devotees launched a punitive legal action against the devotees of Sathya Sai, specifically aimed at halting their claims of reincarnation. The Shirdi Sansthan has also publicly disavowed any claimed reincarnations by reaffirming that the Shirdi Baba had no successor and no reincarnation.

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Sai Baba's Shirdi LIES 3

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It is at this point that we come to the incident of 8th March, 1940, where the young Raju was believed to have suffered a near-fatal scorpion bite. He was living at Uravakonda, a town approximately 139km from Puttaparthi, with his elder brother (Seshama Raju) and his family to continue his schooling. Uravakonda was notable for it's proliferation of venomous snakes and scorpions and a strong superstition abounded that stings effected in the area would cause certain death.

Raju was different. He leapt in the air with a piercing shriek while holding his right toe. Although no scorpion was found, he fell into a deep sleep for the whole of the next day and woke briefly only to fall into an unconscious state exactly 24 hours after the previous day's bite. His limbs became stiff, he didn't speak and his breathing was very faint. Several doctors were brought to try and effect a recovery and numerous acts of worship were performed at local village temples to propitiate the deities, but to no avail. After a coconut was broken at the local Muthyalamma temple, Sathya woke briefly to declare that the coconut had broken into five pieces before again falling into his near-comatose condition.

As described in the official biographies, this incident is widely accepted as a turning-point whereupon further trials and tribulations were undergone before the young Sathyanarayana Raju transformed into the Sathya Sai Baba that we know today. While some have questioned whether this process was due to the effect of the scorpion bite, Sathya Sai Baba has registered his rebuttal:

"You might have heard some people say that I became Sai Baba when a scorpion stung me! Well, I challenge any one of you to get stung by scorpions and transform yourself into Sai Baba. No, the scorpion had nothing to do with it! In fact, there was no scorpion at all!" - 23 February 1958

The real truth is very different. Raju's elder sister, Venkamma, left behind her unpublished diaries where she had described all of these incidents and which were consulted during the research phase for LIMF. It is surprising to find significant diverging between the official hagiographic accounts and a 'live' contemporaneous narrative. Sticking to the essential points, Venkamma's report furnishes us with the fact that Raju himself claimed to have been bitten by a scorpion while he was in the bathroom and that this happened on the night of 4th March 1943, which was incidentally the occasion of the Shivaratri festival. Rather than sleeping the whole day, Raju was sent out to the local market by his elder brother to procure the vegetables for the evening meal. Shortly before dinner he told Venkamma that he would visit the nearby Sunkulamma temple, and was served his dinner upon his return from there. Instead of eating his food, he became physically immobile and fell to the ground when touched concernedly by Venkamma. Only then did the hysteria around Raju's coma start.

Even then this was not all; Raju oscillated between consciousness and unconsciousness, and approximately twelve hours after the second fall he broke into high literary expositions of classical literature that were unknown to him as a mere schoolboy. His behaviour had also undergone a severe change. He was no longer the fun-loving and cheerful prankster, but became decidedly 'other-worldly', muttering sacred incantations and random incohererencies that made no sense to his close observers. His periodic but extremely violent epileptic seizures caused Raju's family to believe that he was possessed by an 'evil spirit' and so he was taken to various witch-doctors and exorcists in the hope of removing the 'demon', one of which put him through horrendous torture. Throughout the process of having his head shaven, four 'X' marks drilled across his scalp, a highly acidic paste (consisting of turmeric, chillies, pepper powder, lemon juice and garlic) being vigorously rubbed into the open wounds, having 101 pots of freezing cold water being poured on his head from a certain height and having his head and eyes swell beyond recognition, he was allegedly calm and unruffled through it all.

After these exorcisms proved largely unsuccessful, Raju was taken home by his family and, after continuing with his alternated bouts of other-worldliness and disturbing behaviour, the day commonly referred to in the official biographies as 'Annunciation Day' dawned, 23 May 1940. It was on this day that Sathyanarayana Raju formally and publicly debuted as 'Sai Baba'.

Except that it was really 1943. And during one of the conscious periods which he underwent after the scorpion bite, Raju had made possibly the most intriguing and cryptic statement to Kasibatla Sriram Murthy, a neighbour:

"Don't worry. Sai Baba will take care." - LIMF, p. 100.

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Sai Baba's Shirdi LIES 2

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The influence of Shirdi Sai Baba started to become prevalent in Raju's own activities only after his move to study at the Samithi Elementary School in Bukkapatnam, which is located across the Chitravathi river four miles away from Puttaparthi. Bukkapatnam is home to an extended temple complex - with separate shrines dedicated to Lakshminarayanaswami (Vishnu), Rama, Lakshmana, Sita and Hanuman - and is located directly opposite Raju's school and at which Raju spent almost all of his free time with friends. There was another temple dedicated to the goddess Chowdamma located outside the town which was also a favourite haunt of Raju's, where he often ate his lunch in solitude. G.V. Sathyanarayana and T. Kesappa, two classmates of the young Raju, testify that after lunch he would be lost in thought while gazing constantly at a small picture of Shirdi Sai Baba which he always carried with him.

LIMF contains the following unattributed story: Gummagatta Suba Rao, a local government clerk, lived with his wife, Thippamma, in one of the rooms of the Lakshminarayanaswami temple complex. As part of fulfilling her daily religious duties it was Thippama's habit to circumambulate the temples, and she occasionally noticed Raju sitting behind the inner shrine in the Hanuman temple. Her suspicions raised, she hid herself one day in order to observe Raju. After a picture of Shirdi Baba picture was materialised and worshipped by Raju, Thippamma saw the boy light camphor on his palm and offer arati to the picture. He then materialised fruits and powdered dried ginger mixed with powdered sugar as an offering to the deity, ostensibly of Hanuman. A footnote informs us that this ginger preparation is similar to that of sanctified food given in the actual Shirdi shrine.

In spite of the verifiability (or not) of this story, it begs the question as to why mention of Shirdi Sai Baba is made in connection with the young Raju as far back as 1941, when Raju was believed to be just eleven years old (working from the school-registered birthdate of 10th October 1929). We have previously noted Sathya Sai Baba's testimony that no one knew of Shirdi Sai Baba in the immediate area of Puttaparthi until he declared himself as the latter's reincarnation in 1943. Indeed, a culture of Shirdi Sai worship existed in Puttaparthi contary to Sathya Sai's contention:

"Thippamma's daughter, Nagalakshmi, would perform Shirdi Sai Baba worship at home. Sathya would stay after school, sitting in a corner of Subba Rao's puja room until the worship was completed. He would then take prasadam and leave." - LIMF, P. 71.

Supporting evidence for this is contained in a footnote that informs us that a picture of Shirdi Sai Baba (for woshipping purposes) was gained by Sathyavathamma, Nagalakshmi's sister, who had obtained it from the famous Narasimha Swamiji of Mylapore, Madras, and to whom she had been for training. For those who are unfamiliar with B.V. Narasimha Swamiji, he became a devotee of Shirdi Sai Baba (after the Baba had passed away) and who spent the bulk of his life in visiting devotees and collecting stories about Shirdi Baba from his direct disciples in order to publish books on the Baba, which included a four-volume biography and a three-volume compilation of devotees' experiences. He also founded the 'Sai Sudha' magazine and was responsible for opening many Shirdi Sai temples which he collectively maintained under the umbrella organisation, the All-India Sai Samaj, based in Madras. He notably preached powerfully in South India, and is arguably Shirdi Baba's greatest ambassador and is highly revered in Shirdi circles even today.

Taking this into consideration, it can be seen clearly how the posthumous influence of Shirdi Sai Baba could filter into Puttaparthi due to word-of-mouth and indirect affiliations with famous Shirdi figures. This could also explain how the young Raju was able to procure pictures of the deceased saint. The Shirdi influence was so patent that LIMF surprises us with the revelation that two of Raju's own uncles were openly known as Shirdi Sai devotees!

"The practice of Shirdi worship was becoming common in Puttaparthi. Raju's uncles, Venkatarama Raju and Venkatasubba Raju were worshippers of Sai Baba of Shirdi, long before Raju announced himself as being 'that' Sai Baba. Venkatasubba Raju bought a Shirdi Baba portrait and started offering worship before it. During the worship, Raju used to sit behind him and, on many occasions, would fall into a trance. Venkatasubba Raju often read aloud the biography of Sai Baba. Whenever he erred while reading, Raju would point out the mistake and explain where the mistake was, including page number, stanza or line." - LIMF, p. 117.

How could Raju have known of the Sri Sai Satcharita in detail? One rational answer, and also the obvious one, would be that he spent an inordinate amount of time studying it. As a schoolboy, Raju was naturally accustomed to studying and was thus well placed to swot up on the Shirdi milieu, given his tendency to spend long periods of time in solitude worshipping the Baba of Shirdi! Indeed his classmate, T. Kesappa, recalled that during such times Raju never meditated but used to recite the 'Shirdi Sai Dandakam', an ostensible Shirdi liturgy. Another classmate, R. Venkataramudu, has the following to say:

"Even in school days he used to bring flowers and perform worship to Shirdi Sai. He had pasted Shirdi Baba pictures in all his books and also carried one in his pocket. Sometimes he would move his hands in the air as he does now. Sometimes he was seen lost to this material world." - LIMF, p. 78.

This is corroborated by Sankara Chinna Obulesu, also a classmate:

"He was like us in many ways but we knew he was also different, since he was often lost to the world, chanting or muttering things holy. He had a picture of Shirdi Sai Baba. He would invoke gods and goddesses and we knew he was pure." - LIMF, p. 79.

It should be noted that the practice of keeping a picture of a deity in one's pocket is extremely prevalent especially in South India, and is often taken as a public exhibition of one's devotion to that particular saint or deity. This means that the young Raju's keeping a picture of Shirdi Sai Baba in his shirt pocket signifies his dedication and public adoration to the saint.

All of these hitherto-unknown anecdotes tell us is that in spite of the revisionist biographers and Sathya Sai Baba's own unfortunate misrepresentations of the situation, there was a strong culture of Shirdi worship in Puttaparthi that, in all likelihood, made a significant contribution to the young Raju's delusions of grandeur. In spite of foggy biographical timelines, Love Is My Form has managed to surprise us all with it's unearthing of newly-discovered facts and figures meant to illuminate a mysterious period in the history of this dubious "avatar".

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27 September 2006

Sai Baba's Shirdi LIES

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To get to the heart of this issue, I have relied almost wholly on an independently-researched biography of Sathya Sai Baba, 'Love Is My Form' (hereafter referred to as 'LIMF'), which was produced by a team of devotees to commemorate his 75th birthday. The work is scintillating in the amount of new information turned up, old sites revisited and the sheer number of the Baba's contemporaries being interviewed about his history. Unless directly stated and to avoid confusion, Shirdi Sai Baba will be referred to by his full name whereas Sathya Sai Baba will be referred to by his civil surname ('Raju') and nickname ('Sathya').


Much has been made of Sathya Sai Baba's declaration to be the reincarnation of Shirdi Sai Baba, and rightly so since everyone is in agreement over the fact that the proclamation was a pivotal event in the Puttaparthi Baba's life. The basic story goes like this: On the 23rd May 1940, the young Sathyanarayana Raju woke up and drew a sizeable crowd to him and proceeded to materialise various eatables for them. Raju had been exhibiting extremely strange behaviour for the previous couple of weeks after suffering an alleged scorpion bite, his moods having ranged from bitter weeping to manic laughter after being in a comatose state for several days.

The moods and the materialisations were increasing gradually with each passing day until this day, when Raju's father, Venkappa, could take no more. Brandishing a stick, he pushed and shoved his way through the crowd and stood before his son. Prof. Narayana Kasturi (Sathya Sai Baba's authorised biographer) relates the scene as follows:

Arming himself with a stick, he moved a step nearer and threatened to beat it out of him. "Are you a God, or a ghost or a madcap? Tell me!" he shouted. Prompt came the answer, the announcement, that had been held back so long, "I am Sai Baba."

Further argument became impossible Venkapa Raju was stunned into silence; the stick slid from his hands. He stood staring at Sathya, trying to grasp the implications of that announcement, "I am Sai Baba." But, Sathya continued, " I belong to Apasthamba Suthra; I am of the Bharadwaja Gothra; I am Sai Baba; I have come to ward off all your troubles; keep your houses clean and pure." ... The elder brother, Seshama Raju went near him, and asked, "What do you mean by 'Sai Baba'?" He did not reply, but only said this much: "Your Venkavadhootha prayed that I be born in your family; so, I came." - Sathyam Sivam Sundaram 1, Chapter 5.

These events are described further in another of Kasturi's works - 'Easwaramma - The Chosen Mother' - with major revisions that allow much more verbosity on the father's part:

"Someone in the crowd turned to Venkapa. 'Sathya gets sugar candy in his palm from nowhere when he waves his hand. He gets flowers that are already strung. Look! He gave me these. Everyone got something.' Venkapa was outraged. 'Sugar! Flowers! The cheat! Everything, a trick!' he yelled. 'This must be the last!' and pushed himself towards the boy. Easwaramma [Sai Baba's mother] stood alone on the edge of the crowd. She closed her eyes tight , not to see the stick coming down on Sathya's head. She prayed to the village gods.

"Venkapa reached Sathya. 'Stop this stupid drama! Tell me, are you a ghost or a rogue or a madcap? Are you a God? Are you Narasimha or Narayana?' 'I AM SAI BABA!' said Sathya, calm and fearless, for he spoke the Truth! Easwaramma gasped. This was someone no one knew! 'Sai Baba?' his father queried, 'Sai Baba?' The lathi [cane] had fallen from his hands but he went on angrily. 'You may be Sai Baba or Hai Baba. It doesn't concern us. But you had better leave this boy and this place!' He was apparently addressing the spirit he thought dwelt in his son ... But there was yet another problem to worry the family and every curious man and woman of Puttaparthi: who or what was this 'Sai Baba'?"

Further into the story we find a statement that describes the reaction of the Puttaparthi villagers as one of "fear and amazement" to the mention of the name 'Sai Baba'. Enquiries into the meaning of this name led them to the house of a government officer who lived in nearby Penukonda and who was a devotee of Shirdi Sai Baba, who promptly denounced the young upstart as a victim of mental derangement.

The general mood of the biographies present Puttaparthi and it's cultural milieu as a typical backwoods village isolated from the outside world, symbolically (even literally) represented by it's geographical locale, a valley surrounded with high hills. As such, the name and fame of Shirdi Sai Baba could not penetrate this inaccessible village and nobody knew who he was. The biographical literature acts as if Raju's declaration was a stunning event for precisely this reason; since no one knew of Shirdi Sai Baba, 'who is this strange figure who has possessed this little boy, our darling?'

Hagiographers like Ra. Ganapati ('Baba Satya Sai') inform us that several years prior to his declaration, Raju formed a club amongst his schoolmates known as the 'Pandhari Bhajan Group', whose main aim was to walk through the streets of Puttaparthi and surrounding villages singing loud hymns in praise of Lord Vitthala of Pandharpur. As Raju composed almost all of the hymns himself, it is related that several cryptic references to Shirdi and the Baba who lived there abounded throughout them. Again, we are informed that although the villagers relished the public sing-songs, they were puzzled by the Shirdi references.

In rounding off this introduction, we can take note of the most emphatic statement of Shirdi ignorance in Puttaparthi, incidentally made by Sathya Sai Baba in the only full-length interview that he has given to the media in 1976:

Q: What makes you so sure that you are Shirdi Baba incarnate?

Baba: The knowledge of My own authentic experience, of course. Since no one who knew Shirdi Baba is alive today, there is no evidence except My own knowledge and experience. The very fact that I announced that I am Shirdi Baba 40 years ago, when I was only 10 and when nobody in this part of the South had known or even heard of Shirdi Baba proves this fact.

We will proceed to analyse the truth of this.

One | Two | Three | Four | Five

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Sai Baba Shirdi Lies Index

A Full Exposure of Sathya Sai Baba's claims to be the reincarnation of Shirdi Sai Baba (d. 1918). Complete re-evaluation of the facts in the light of new evidence that blows apart unquestioned and accepted histories in the hagiographic milieu of Puttaparthi.

Sai Baba's Shirdi LIES - | Introduction | Kasturi's storytelling | Shirdi Sai Baba unknown in Puttaparthi | Sathya Sai Baba interviewed declaring his identity with Shirdi Sai |

Sai Baba's Shirdi LIES 2 - | Sathyanarayana Raju worshipping Shirdi Sai in 1941 | Raju attending Shirdi Sai bhajan sessions | Puttaparthi villagers "trained" under Narasimha Swamiji | Raju's two uncles openly worshipping Shirdi Baba | Classmates testify Raju's worship of Shirdi Baba | A strong culture of Shirdi worship in Puttaparthi |

Sai Baba's Shirdi LIES 3 - | Raju bitten by a scorpion in 1940 | A turning-point in Raju's life | Sathya Sai Baba denies scorpion bite | Raju's sister confirms scorpion bite in 1943 | Raju's suffering and epileptic seizures | Raju taken for exorcisms | Raju affirms he is under Sai Baba's protection |

Sai Baba's Shirdi LIES 4 - | Raju's brother muses on Shirdi Sai possession | Ra. Ganapati muses further on possession | H.S. Dixit on Shirdi Sai's return after 8 years (or not) | Sathya Sai claims Dixit misreportage | Ganapati musing unacceptable due to self-serving convenience | Sathya Sai devotees' ignorance of Shirdi culture and practice | January 2006 punitive legal action |

Sai Baba's Shirdi LIES 5 - | Shocking discovery of Shirdi name misused | Raju's brother & sister claim Narasimha Swami visit | Brief description of Narasimha Swami's activities | Narayana Baba says Shirdi Baba not reincarnated | Brief recap of last four articles | Sathya Sai's empire foundations to crumble | Narasimha Swami on Shirdi succession | Narasimha Swami indicates Raju not a reincarnation | Narasimha Swami discusses Dixit's 8-year claim | Narasimha Swami regards posthumous Shirdi miracles as evidence of Shirdi Sai's ever-living presence | Narasimha Swami concludes no successor for Shirdi Sai Baba |

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Shashi Tharoor Disowns Sai Baba

In a recent interview with Visi Tilak (hosted at Beliefnet), prospective UN Secretary-General candidate (India) Shashi Tharoor has voiced his refutation of the Rationalist International's call for the withdrawal of his candidature, claiming that he is not a devotee of Sathya Sai Baba.

Among other things, Tharoor admits that he is a practicing Hindu. One wonders to what extent one can praise Sai Baba in gushing terms (as Tharoor did in his 2002 contribution to the International Herald Tribune) while claiming non-devotion; in his article, he described his impressions of Sai Baba that he gained during a personal audience with him. And as if that was not enough, the Baba proceeded to "materialise" a gold nava-graha (nine gem) ring for him. While Tharoor claims that his mother is a devotee, we can also note that the Baba proceeded to materialise a small ash casket for her.

It's no wonder, thus, that after having his positively-slanted IHT article published in the face of numerous complaints about extremely serious allegations regarding Sai Baba's leanings towards homosexual paedophilia, involvement in murders and other disturbing issues, one could not be blamed for believing that Tharoor is a Sai devotee. It wasn't without grounds that Rationalist International called on the Indian Government to withdraw his candidature for the UN Sec-Gen job, for even Puttaparthilive.Com (a site run by residents of Sai Baba's home village) openly declared Tharoor as a devotee while fully endorsing and supporting his UN nomination.

We cannot help thinking that this is a cynical ploy by which, after Rationalist International's trenchant brouhaha as well as the ongoing commentary on this blog, Tharoor's mood has been adversely affected by such reporting and that his latest comments - in spite of his bias in favour of Sai Baba - represent a considered move to distance himself from the Baba and all of his associated scandals so that his UN candidature may prove successful. After all, the political community are already of the opinion that his successful nomination in light of India's rising status in world affair may effect a type of political nepotism, so it is unlikely that he will attain the post on those grounds.With this latest Tharoor development, it looks like this is one game that Sai Baba just won't win.

Sensational Update:

Tharoor UN Nomination Flops

Related articles:

Shashi Tharoor: The Sai Baba Connection
Even More Tharoor Tribulations
Rising Opposition To Shashi Tharoor
Vajpayee Endorses Shashi Tharoor
Rationalists Boo Shashi Tharoor
Shashi Tharoor: Next UN Sec-Gen?

Copyright © Sai Baba EXPOSED! 2005-2007. Discuss this post!

25 September 2006

More Books!

I recently met a high-ranking former devotee who unloaded a very large part of his Sai book collection onto me, thinking that I may find them of value. And how! Due to this person's years of service in the Sai Organisation, they have acquired a wealth of rare and out-of-print literature that I will be able to use in my analyses and investigations of Sai Baba's cultural milieu.

I was almost salivating over these books due to their rarity and also their potential to make waves, but as I leafed through them all later that night I became utterly convinced of my position regarding Sathya Sai Baba. Le tme make it very clear; these books (and any other collection of Sai books too) are very useful in their potential, but after overdosing on them in just a couple of hours I became convinced that Sai Baba's books are, to put it mildly, nothing but shallow shit.

I even repeated that term several times today while informing other people of my recent acquisition, highlighting the sugar-coated and saccharine sweetness in these books that can make the reader as sick as a parrot. I was also astounded at myself; how on earth could I ever have fallen for this crap? I was twelve years old when I became a devotee, a mere child, so I guess I could be forgiven for believing in all these Sai fairy stories just as much as a toddler can be forgiven for believing in Santa Claus. But sheesh, how could adults, supposedly rational and sensible, fall for this utterly embarrassing piffle?

A lot of former devotees may have asked themselves this question in many different ways, and I would be interested in hearing how they answered these questions (so please feel free to leave comments at the end of this blog), but it left me feeling an enormous amount of pity for those who still believe in this weakened old man with perverse sexual cravings and a lust for fame. Interestingly enough, I met an old friend today who had been a very close pal when I was a devotee. Because he was with a friend (they are both devotees), I didn't want to make a fuss and so gave him the impression that I was still a devotee. He informed me that even though he is still a devotee, he is less committed and visits Sai Centres on a monthly basis rather than weekly as he used to do. What to speak of the fact that he hadn't been to see Sai Baba since 1997, the year of the first World Youth Conference when we were both there.

Because I was close to this person and am still very fond of him, I decided that should I catch him alone the next time I meet him then I would inform him of my current situation and take him into my confidence. I'd be risking our friendship which is surprisingly still close even though I haven't seen him for about six years, but I'd rather remain committed to my own idea of helping devotees to think critically for themselves about all of the problems surrounding Sai Baba, and to make their own decisions over whether to stay or whether to leave such a pointless lifestyle. Not interested in converting people, but just bringing information that is hidden in plain view and allowing them to think for themselves.

Pointless, because the one thing that I absolutely detest about Sai devotees is their blind faith. Indeed, many pay lip-service to the fact that faith should not be made on a blind basis, but my mother was specifically told by her female compatriots at the ashram that the best thing to do in regards to Sai Baba was to have blind faith in his divinity. Even then I was utterly shocked that supposed long-term ashramites would advise this and I insisted to my mother that such advice was defective and should be rejected. It just goes to show what kind of crazy people (and their crazy opinions) Sai Baba surrounds himself with. What are we supposed to have blind faith in, exactly? How could any rational and reasonable adult believe that a blue light glided into Easwaramma's stomach? Or that Sai Baba never sleeps?

So these books are like I say, more shallow than hollow. Yes these books do present some gems that will prove extremely useful, but after just leafing through all of them I felt like a brain-dead zombie. I guess this is what Sai devotees must feel like inside; zombies, slowly and spookily walking with arms outstretched and hungry to bite every non-zombie they can find in order to make them like themselves.

Copyright © Sai Baba EXPOSED! 2005-2007. Discuss this post!

Sai Baba Rebirth Refuted

Sathya Sai council refutes news [ 2006-9-22 ]

By A Staff Reporter

KATHMANDU, Sept.21: Sri Sathya Sai Central Council Nepal has condemned the news published under the headline "Rebirth of Saibaba"in a newspaper few days ago.

The council has refuted a news item carried by the newspaper stating the rebirth of Sai Baba has taken place in Nepal.

Saibaba is living at Puttaparti of Annantapur district of India and he is of 80 now, so the news is mockery in itself as it has stated his rebirth, the release has said. The Council has also informed the followers of Saibaba not to believe such erroneous news report.

Comment: As if things couldn't get any sillier. Whoever submitted the report of Sai Baba's rebirth must have had some inkling of what he was doing. We'd love to think that Sai devotees are getting ahead of themselves and finding the reincarnation of Sai Baba before he's even kicked the bucket! There are already whispers going around that the future Prema Sai's parentage is in doubt, which we will report soon. In the meantime, we'd like to advise devotees that they had better wait until their leader dies before they get around to carving up the money pie. We appreciate their greed to get their paws on the amassed billions of dollars but there is also such a thing as good manners.

Copyright © Sai Baba EXPOSED! 2005-2007. Discuss this post!

24 September 2006

Hush Hush!

Which European country contains a Sai Organisation that is quivering with fear and on it's knees, worrying over it's future due to dwindling members and disgusted marginal members who healthily doubt Swami's divinity thanks to the sheer number of allegations and reports over Swami's sexual abuses?

Don't pass this tidbit on. ;-)

Copyright © Sai Baba EXPOSED! 2005-2007. Discuss this post!

22 September 2006

Sai Org's Deception & Propaganda Exposed


Part One

The foes of the 'open society' (Sir Karl Popper's term) are those who use its very openness to achieve their closed and devious ends. Sai Baba and his highly authoritarian and cultist organisation have such ends, which critics have tried to make known. Its foremost leaders silence all those who question it- and never face substantive criticisms. For the first time - after six years of pained and guilty silence - since hundreds of long-term devotees left it in disgust - the Sathya Sai Organisation has found it necessary to try to defuse the debate about Sathya Sai Baba's alleged crimes, deceits and fraudulence. Dr. Venkataraman's tendentious cover-up article expresses untruths which have long circulated within the cult, giving an opportunity to confront him with facts and truth, as follows:-

[Comments by the undersigned are in bold blue text:]

[by Dr. G. Venkataraman]

[Black text from Radio Sai Listener's journal: Volume 4 - Issue 07 JULY 2006]


Readers might recall that sometime ago, we made a special announcement over both Radio Sai and in Heart2Heart, entitled Truth Always Triumphs. At that time, we promised we would give full details later. The time has come to do that. We hope you would take time off to study this article carefully, and encourage others whom you know to do so. Our main purpose in making this request is to enable you to appreciate how complex the Divine Drama is and how it always goes through ups and downs, all entirely by Divine design!

In the worldwide Sathya Sai Organisation, Dr G. Venkataraman is second in command only to Dr Michael Goldstein, Head of the Prashanthi Council. It is noteworthy that such a high-ranking figure in an extremely publicity-shy organisation has twice referred, in a newsletter read round the world, to Alaya Rahm's lawsuit against the directors of the Sathya Sai Society of America. He is a "true believer" - and nothing that Sai Baba ever does can be, for him, questioned or other than pure and just!

In this context, it is well to remember that when the Anantapur Drinking Water Project was in progress, the Central Trust which was executing the Project, had to borrow money from banks, because it was short of cash. On the face of it, this might appear very strange. God is the source of all wealth; how come He has to borrow, when He comes down in human form? Surely, there must have been a reason.

Comment: Despite Sai Baba and his worldwide organisation's constant claims to be extremely frugal with money, their extravagant promotions belie the truth of their claims. There are wasteful projects galore. For example, there are museums and other lavish buildings simply to glorify Sai Baba himself. See for yourself here. What Venkataraman cannot contemplate is that Sai Baba overestimated how much he could spend!

Obstacles, obstructions and oppositions there always will be even when one tries to do good. The Ramayana has many illustrations of that. But the same Ramayana also tells us that with purity any obstacle can be overcome. That is also the inner meaning of the folklore about Siva drinking the poison that emerged when the Devas and the Asuras churned the Cosmic Ocean looking for nectar.

Comment: This shows how ardent believers in Sai Baba often operate within an ancient and subjective belief system from which to interpret everything that happens today. Over six decades of Sai Baba's preaching his doctrine and rituals remain essentially an adapted form of Hinduism but one rejected by a wide cross-section of Hindus. Many speak of Sai Baba's vast pomp and ceremony as, for example, "a national circus". His perpetual focus on Hindu scriptures belies the much-promoted claim of his mission's 'universality' (i.e. the 'Sarva dharma' 'message', which asserts the equality of the world's major religions).

Now that it is all over, (Comment: What's all over, the Ramayana era?) we request that you reflect deeply, even as you read some of this historical material, which necessarily is influenced by the sentiments of the times. However, in a historical context, we must leave aside the background of momentary passions and look objectively at how the drama started, how it evolved and how it concluded. Such reflections can give us much food for thought!

Comment: Venkataraman and Sai Baba's other leaders have failed to look with even remotest objectivity at the reasons so many have left the Sathya Sai Organisation. Unconscionably and repeatedly, its leaders have refused a proper hearing to those anguished individuals and their families - or many former members - who have told them about Sai Baba's sexual and other abuses. These leaders have not been truthful about the integrity of those former devotees and their rightful and - righteous - claims. This cultic aspect of the Sathya Sai Organisation alerts third party investigators, such as the world's most responsible media, to the credibility of the former devotees' claims. Journalists and their research teams quickly notice the secretive, evasive nature of Sai Baba and his leaders.

Leading media and other organizations such as UNESCO and the U.S. State Department have been very stringent in their expectations of sound evidence from organised former devotees around the world. Those who have researched the worldwide allegations against Sathya Sai Baba include the BBC, DR (Denmark), ATUL (Argentina), SBS (Australia), ABC (Australia), and print media in India, the UK, Europe, Scandinavia, Canada, Australia etc. They quickly discovered for themselves the dishonesty and elusiveness of Sai Baba and his leaders. For example, this was why the BBC's legal department permitted its 'The Secret Swami' team to clandestinely film DR Michael Goldstein, allowing millions in many countries to see him show no respect for the accountability and transparency that citizens and responsible organizations today expect. They also saw Goldstein act nastily in a way that is the very antithesis of a spiritual leader.

It suits Venkataraman - who refers to Goldstein as "Brother" to suppress this telling aspect, as he also does with other self-damning statements by Sai Baba and Isaac Tigrett in 'The Secret Swami'. The BBC interviewer Tanya Datta says to Tigrett "But even if it was proven to you that Sai Baba was a paedophile and a serial sex abuser, you're saying it wouldn't change the fact that he is your guru". Tigrett replies, "Absolutely not. Absolutely not. He could go out and murder someone tomorrow…"

We have made every endeavour to maintain high standards, and hope we have succeeded.

Comment: "High standards" would include acknowledging a fact of great ethical and moral importance. This is that many honourable devotees once in high standing in the Sathya Sai Organisation have done their best to see that those making the allegations are properly and fairly heard. Those who have investigated and spoken out include those who held prominent roles, such as Rick Raines, Richard Nelson, Al Rahm, Shirley Pike, Ella Evers, Dr. Timothy Conway, Glen Meloy, Serguei Badaev, Dave Lyons, William Lo, Hariram Jayaram, Terry Gallagher, Stephen Carthew, David Bailey, Britt-Marie Anden, Conny Larsson etc.

In the absence of proper and, these days, typical standards of organisational openness and accountability, there has been a large and principled exodus from the Sathya Sai Organization. Why do Goldstein, Venkataraman and the other key leaders conceal this from their congregations, and those political or religious leaders and the wider public they try so hard to cultivate and fetch to their keynote events?

It is not surprising, then, that the unaccountable ashram authorities and International Chairman met their match when they ejected the BBC for asking reasonable questions after filming there. The result was a worldwide exposure of the cultist nature of it all. Every major British newspaper reviewed the documentary as being well-balanced and revealing journalism!


By Prof. G Venkataraman

Comment: The fact that an organisation as secretive as Sai Baba's has now been forced to speak about the Alaya Rahm case on its international radio program and on its Heart2Heart website shows how heavily under siege it is. For years the leaders have failed to confront, or in any serious manner to refute, the many testimonies about Sai Baba's abusive sexual behaviour. They ignore cogent criticisms of his many published untruths and of his ignorance of basic facts in the history of religion, general and nuclear physics, astronomy, geology, medicine, etc.

This picture of desperation intensifies when we observe the enormously costly, and previously forbidden, promotional/recruiting efforts the organisation conducts using donated funds in various countries where they always play down all Sai Baba's many unfortunate character traits and fraudulent statements. One may mention their recruiting drives made at great expense in the hire of the most prestigious venues - such as Cooper's Union, New York; La Mirada Theatre; Los Angeles County, Hilton Ballroom; Sheraton Hotel & Towers, both Chicago; Copley International Conference Center, San Diego; Town Hall, Melbourne; Super Dome, Sydney, etc. But Venkataraman, with back-up from the facile attorney Robert Baskin now dares come out into the open, mistakenly asserting that the Alaya Rahm's self-dismissal of his case against the Society is a triumphant vindication of the Sai forces.

Case Against Swami Withdrawn

Loving Sai Ram and greetings from Prashanti Nilayam. I presume that by now you would have either heard our special announcement over Radio Sai or seen our special message sent via the Sai Inspires service, about how Truth Always Triumphs. I am referring to the case filed in a California Court based on false allegations against Swami that was subsequently withdrawn by the plaintiff 'with prejudice', meaning that the plaintiff cannot file that case again in any Court in America or in India.

Comment: In a statement by the Rahm family, their attorney and the International JuST Group, we read: "No court found Alaya's allegations to be false. Simply, the suit could not continue on a technicality, and the claims of sexual abuse stand irrefutably true, just as before". Dr. Venkataraman is himself making a false allegation! Attorney William Brelsford Esq., seeing formidable legal obstacles set by the defendants, and not least working against a statute of limitations deadline, advised Alaya Rahm to self-dismiss the case. Along with other difficulties encountered, his attorney has explained, June 29th, 2006, to Alaya Rahm and his family:

"We were successful at the demurrer stage in establishing that a duty would be owed by the Society in the event they sponsored and/or endorsed the trips that Alaya went on when he was abused by Sai Baba. As it turns out, the Society is not the "hub" of all of Sai Baba's corporate activities. Rather, the Society, pursuant to declarations under penalty of perjury, confirmed they are a bookstore... nothing more. Accordingly, we do not have the necessary factual requirements to establish liability on the Society/Book center."

Today, I would like to offer some reflections on this event. I feel this "closure" is required because in a sense, we owe this to many who have repeatedly written to us expressing their deep concern about attacks on Swami, and asking us to do something about it.

Comment: Criticisms, however sharp, are not 'attacks'! What Sai devotee does not know that the Sathya Sai Organisation in the USA is far more than a bookstore? Where is the truthfulness that they claim as one of their core values?

Those around the world - victims, families, and their supporters - also want closure. But, in dereliction of its duty of care, the Sathya Sai Organization has refused fair and reasonable treatment of those who have come to them and given shocking accounts of various forms of abuse at the hands of Sai Baba and some of those around him. Many more victims have held back, realizing the futility of finding support from the organization.

Before I start, I think I should say something about my own views on the matter. There are many who have always wondered why we are not responding when Swami is being tarnished. On the other hand, there is a small minority that has always felt: "Let the dogs bark. Why bother?" I take a slightly different view of the matter; my own feeling is that we here can neither remain completely aloof nor be continually belligerent and go on the counter offensive at the drop of a hat. We are of the opinion that depending on the circumstances, different responses are needed at different times, to suit the occasion.

Comment: Former devotees are not "dogs" that "bark". Sai Baba and his leaders know this well. That they do not disclose key facts to devotees is reprehensible. The allegations come from many who are held in high esteem for their integrity, skill and human decency, and who have given many years of devoted service and financial contributions to the ideals which Sai Baba has preached but betrayed.

It is not a matter of being "aloof" or "belligerent" or anywhere in between. It is about listening with commonsense and common decency to those many decent persons in many countries who have made the allegations. Refusal to have proper mechanisms in place for the hearing of complaints has put the Sai Organization in the rear guard in today's demand for accountability. On April 3, 2003, the then Australian head of the Sathya Sai Organisation of Australia, T. Sri Ramanathan, phoned to threaten dire legal consequences for me (all bluff and bullying, of course) if I did not "cease and desist". I suggested that any organisation, including his, is wise to have a workable complaints mechanism, otherwise unaddressed grievances are bound to create problems. He said I was "clouding the issue" and that the only issue was "Swami's glory". There was no need, he said, for such a mechanism in the Sai Organisation, which is "special and different to any other organisation." It was, he said, "a divine organisation".

Survivors of abuse will not share their stories with those who do not show them love, respect and understanding - or at least some degree of professionalism.

Former devotees have put in many years of devoted service and made financial contributions to the ideals that Sai Baba has preached but betrayed. That Sai devotees can relegate this knowledge to some penumbra of their conscience does not speak well for them. Naturally, Chapter 4 of George Orwell's "1984" will never be an item in a Sathya Sai Study Circle. It is about the stifling of conscience in a totalitarian milieu. As an antidote to the cultic grip, those leaving the Sai Organisation might well consider reading it.

Let me begin with the general observation that both the good and bad that we see in this world are part of a ceaseless Cosmic Shadow Play. At the objective and Spiritual level, we certainly must be detached, recognising both good and evil as a part of this endless Divine Drama. Yet, at the worldly level, we simply cannot march ahead ignoring the background noise. We have a role to play, and play that role we must; only, we must take proper care to ensure that whatever we do is done properly, as God would want us to. In passing, I might add that we plan shortly, to offer additional perspective about all this in H2H. So maybe you should look out for that also.

Comment: Many Sai students, both Indian and foreign, went to David Bailey both during and after he taught Music at Sai Baba's Puttaparthi university. He has recorded that they related to him anguished stories of Sai Baba subjecting them to major homosexual abuses. Under conditions of great confidentiality, former students, staff and others contact former devotees, including ourselves, both in India and abroad, with their accounts.

There is repeated confirmation that most leading Indian Sai officials and teachers know of the abuses. Some of them are recorded as making statements such as, 'Svami can rape and kill if he likes, he is God!' Isaac Tigrett has openly stated the same type of view. The same view - that Sai is God and can rape as he sees fit - Ram Das Awle on his website holds that Sai Baba is God and can rape as he sees fit, and he claims to be able to explain and justify the sexual abuses and to have received Sai Baba's blessings for this!. Though Ram Das Awle's text has been propagated by e-mail widely throughout the Sai movement no official in the Sai Organisation or ashram has ever seen fit to refute Awle's claim that Sai does abuse homosexually. Venkataraman denies account alleging victim accounts, but why not refute the still-devoted Awle too? His and his colleagues' silence on such a vital issue supports our information that this view is commonly held that Sai Baba qua God can do absolutely anything and it must be for the best. There is e-mail and other evidence that influential Sai devotees (including Sai 'VIPs' Dr. M. Goldstein, Yaani Drucker, Phyllis Krystal and others) have expressed similar views.

Not least since the June 6, 1993 police, killings of four ex-students in Sai Baba's private quarters when he was nearby, none of them will any longer speak to any officials who still deny the facts, for obvious reasons. However, time heals and strengthens; therefore, the abuse survivors, and some of their families and supporters are contacting us with a view to the future.


Barry Pittard (

Robert Priddy (

Footnotes: active links to documentation

  1. 'True believer'– definition from Wikipedia
  2. Wasteful Projects listed and described and
  3. Photos of Sai luxury apartments etc.
  4. Dr. M. Goldstein exposed by the BBC angrily displaying a totalitarian attitude
  5. Isaac Tigrett’s video clip on the BBC
  6. UK Press reviews of ‘The Secret Swami’ all the top news journals in UK!
  7. Sai Baba’s self-published ignorance of the sciences, history, geology, astronomy
  8. Spending spree by the Sai Org. at the Sydney Super Dome
  9. Statement by the Rahm family & the International JuST Group
  10. Transcript of Tigrett’s statements on BBC
  11. Devotee Ram Das Awle’s supposedly ‘Clear View’ of the rapes he admits!

Extra sources:

Copyright © Sai Baba EXPOSED! 2005-2007. Discuss this post!

Gujarat CM Meets Sai Baba

Prasanthi Nilayam, Sept. 20: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi had the darshan of Sathya Sai Baba on Wednesday. He reached Puttaparthi in a special flight at 3.50 pm. He drove straight to Prasanthi Nilay-am and reached Sai Kulwant Hall.

He spent about an hour with Sathya Sai Baba and had a special discussion with him. He came to Puttaparthi along with his family. In fact, he is supposed to be here by 2 pm but came two hours behind schedule. As a result, he cut short his trip for one hour. After the darshan, he straight return-ed to the airport and retur-ned in the special flight to Gujarat.

Earlier, he was accorded a warm reception at Puttaparthi airport. Penukonda RDO Nageswara Rao, district BJP president Pundarikaksha Reddy, former Kadiri MLA Parthasarathy, Yuva Morcha state executive member Nagendra Reddy and others welcomed him at the airport. Mr Ashok Bhat and Mr Anand Ben Patil accompanied the chief minister.

Heavy bandobust was arranged for the Gujarat chief minister’s visit. Dharmavaram DSP Sivayya led the security along with three SI and special police force. The entire airport was in heavy security cordon for the Gujarat Chief Minister’s visit.

Source: Deccan.Com [Link no longer available]

Copyright © Sai Baba EXPOSED! 2005-2007. Discuss this post!

21 September 2006

Letter From A German Citizen

I received this from a German citizen who is himself a former devotee with many interesting stories to tell. The following has been posted with permission, and I have corrected the spelling mistakes and capitalised some letters where necessary:

Since I was a child, accidents occur to me so obviously that I was often shocked. I survived as child an accident with a tractor without blessings, fell from a tree sharply near with the head against a stone, had asthmatic shocks on medicaments, deformed my head by another accident, that could also have led to a break of neck when that murder attack came. I went with my bike through the forest down the hill with my friend at the age of 16. We both enjoyed very much those ridings with high speed. Never before we thought of stopping, when riding down the hill, when my friend said: "I have to piss." So had I and we stopped.

When we came out of the bushes, we saw a wire right across the way in the height of the neck. If we would have stopped 3 seconds later, we would have been killed both. At that moment I started to search for God. I tested my Christian religion, but there was the feeling that everybody would like to have a better contact to God but didn´t know how to make progress or had surrendered or even had no interest. So I felt alone. Very much alone.

In television I saw the film Holocaust and I couldn't believe what had happened in our country. Such pain, that we had caused. How was that possible? How could the Germans let a dictator lead them to mass murder? No explanation of the teachers could reach me, until I read the book of Alice Miller: At the beginning there was education. There she explained about the fact, that there had been 200 years that literature told the people to break the will of a child within the first 2 years. Many Germans did so, because they wanted a child that is easy to lead. That fitted in my feelings. How often let Germans their child cry alone in the bed or demonstrate a cruelness in another way?

As I wanted to serve the world, I began to study economic engineering, when they showed the polution of Windscale (now they call it Sellafield) with plutonium in a democratic country. The amount of dead children within the first year was twenty times higher in this region than everywhere else in Great Britain. So, I was demonstrating against the planned fabric in Germany to do the same. Then in a discussion between Conservatives and Green Party, the possibility to get electricity in a harmless way by combined heat and power units was mentioned. I had to go this way. 15 years later a factory came out with a good product for every small house and I was the seller. But during the same time I developed through crises a deep depression and was near suicide. Because my father had chosen Sai Baba in his depression I also did, even though my father had stopped believing in Sai Baba before he suffocated after having numberless strokes.

Now it happened that because of the rising number of clients, each year the product chp became 12% more expansive, so that it wasn´t economical for the customers any more. To keep the amount of sold product at the same level, sellers had to learn how to lie. Some didn´t have to learn, because they were expert for whole of their lives. But some like me had to learn it, if they would not like to lose their job. Because I had invested really much money and time into that new thing I wanted to go to the training. The trainer was Manfred Müller-Gransee, a customer of CHP himself, who knew everything about economical risks with the product. And he was a very good psychologist. He told us everything we had to mention, if we want to sell the product, like little stories at the beginning of a lecture, the important 10 minutes at the beginning and the end and the process of thinking. We should not allow the client to think to long, because if we would do so, we would lose the contract. Too much independent information in the internet or the neighbor.

As I had to feed my children I tried to adopt the new concept. But after a few weeks I recognized, that I hated myself for what I was doing. I had to leave the whole carrier chp to save my soul. I was workless but I had friends.Especially in my Sai Baba group. After half a year someone told me that there would be a new master of the Sai Organisation in Germany. His name was Manfred Müller-Gransee. I couldn´t believe it! I discussed a lot with the chief of SSB Germany and he turned to me as if I would be jealous for the job. He changed his arguments three times, when he mentioned my deep knowledge of Manfred Müller-Gransee´s deeds and lectures. At the end he said: "And now, I have the decision to try to change it or to leave the organisation, or what should I do? No, I won´t do anything." Up to now he doesn´t want me to quote his position to the cheater. A lot of rationalizing without feeling of the truth or interest in the truth was felt by me.

Other members of the SSB-Organisation were shocked, when I told them that he smoked. "He isn´t allowed to smoke. It is a very big sin," they said.

For me, everything became more and more ridiculous. I started to have second thoughts about even Sai Baba. If there is a cheater on top in Germany, how will it be in India? In our meetings they observed my strong will for clearness as I read also Yogananda and Bhagavad Gita. They tried me to believe, that Sathya Sai Baba had chosen a card for me with the words: 'Don´t be the zero you have been through lives and lives. Don´t be a zero - be a hero! Stop thinking - start loving God with your heart'.

Because I had had a reincarnation therapy I knew my former existents. I went to my former son without telling him about my belief in former lives (he is a strong Catholic). He told me, that I had been addicted to a form of sect in my former life.

Then I began to search in the Internet. After 3 days I knew, that I was in a sect in this live, too. And that it was a criminal movement in India. I had several calls by telephone with Robert Priddy and Conny Larsson. I read his book: 'Behind the mask of the clown', that he gave me at once.

I started my own live, when I recognized, that I had solved a small problem of my former live: the longing for sects. Maybe I will be able to change my profession into a psychotherapist for reincarnation and familiy settings by Hellinger. Religion will always be important in my life, as I am sure that we all are God. Only because our souls have been tortured in various lives we have lost the trust in peace, harmony and the possibility to meet all the needs of the souls in the world.

It seems to my like a race: Will we be able to understand that there is no bad in the world and has never been and that all bad behavior is caused by a tortured soul (even Adolf Hitler's) or will we have destroyed ourselves before?

There is not much time left for sitting and chanting. We should try to act as soon as possible:

  1. Construct a functioning round table of religions in the UNO and every city, like Dalai Lama taught us.
  2. Inform everybody about the importance of knowledge of the soul.
  3. Search the most effective way for healing the soul.

The rest is on the word document for better correcting my english.

See you.


Copyright © Sai Baba EXPOSED! 2005-2007. Discuss this post!