11 September 2006

Sathya Sai Baba - The Terrorist Connections

Today being the anniversary of the horrific tragedy of 9/11, how apt that we should discuss several disturbing connections of Sai Baba to terrorism. Five years ago today, Islamic terrorists boarded four aeropanes with the intention of hijacking them and driving them into landmarks of America's political and commercial scene. Two of the planes succeeded in destroying their target of the World Trade Centre's Twin Towers; another jet succeeded in damaging a significant part of the Pentagon, whereas the fourth was brought down due to the courageous efforts of passengers who refused to let evil have it's way. Several thousands of people lost their lives in this earthshaking tragedy, and countless more have been affected by this tragedy in direct and indirect ways.

On a personal level, and like millions of people around the world, I watched the tragic events unfold on my television screen. I watched the North Tower collapse live. It broke my heart to think of the countless people in the tower lose their lives as fast as the tower collapsed. Since then I have taken a serious interest in 9/11 (and Islamic terrorism as a whole) as one of my deep interests, possessing several books on the subject and related developments, 9/11 Commission reports, criticisms of the same, and all the rest of it. The world has significantly changed since the events of September 11th, 2001, and nothing will ever be the same again. For some of us, the fire of rage still burns brightly. On this, the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy, we can spend some time in deep contemplation, hoping and praying that such horrific acts of terrorism will never be perpetrated again.

How strange, then, was it to read Sai Baba's message (read: press release) on this occasion:

"Be brave! Events of this kind overcome humanity from time to time. Face this with fortitude. This is the time for repetition of the Lord's Name (Namasmarana), and remembrance of God always."

Of all the utterly ridiculous and teeth-grittingly annoying things that I have had the misfortune of reading from this perverse individual, this really took the biscuit! Nearly 3000 people died and all this guy can say is to repeat the name of God! Forgive me for thinking that 9/11 ushered in a new era of terror and fear into the world. We all still remember those dark days of not even knowing who had perpetrated this atrocity nor did we find it in ourselves to wholeheartedly engage in the Christmas and New Year celebrations later that year, given that the whole world was in a state of depression which made the gaiety of the occasions relatively muted.

And as if Sai Baba's view was not annoying enough, you just have to bite your tongue not to tear out your hair when you read the press release in it's entirety:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Sai Ram to all of you!

Recently, Americans have been overwhelmed with the terrible tragedy in New York and Washington D.C. A communication was sent to our Beloved Swami with a report on the situation and status of the New York Sai Centers. All of the Sai Centers in the New York area have reported to their regional president that all of their members are safe and unharmed. A number of reports have been received from devotees indicating that our Beloved Swami prevented many of his devotees from being injured or killed in the World Trade Center where they are employed or had meetings scheduled. His Miraculous Intervention on behalf of His devotees is clearly evident. Included in the communication sent to Swami was a letter written to Him by the officers of the New York and Washington D.C.Region that expressed their gratitude to Him for His Divine Protection and their desire to be of service to the less fortunate victims of this cataclysmic disaster.

Swami has responded to this communication. Swami said:

"Be brave! Events of this kind overcome humanity from time to time. Face this with fortitude. This is the time for repetition of the Lord's Name (Namasmarana), and remembrance of God always."

Our Beloved Swami teaches us that the darkest clouds of gloom and doom are short-lived and pass by quickly as do the pleasures of this world. We must focus on our inner truth, our spiritual heart, our authentic being, God within us. As a result, regardless of what might happen in the future, our actions and emotions will be noble andselfless. To those who grieve, let uspray that they will find peace. To those who are enraged, let us pray that they will find wisdom and resolve. To those who are injured, let us extend compassionand pray that they will find courage. To those who have perished, let us pray that they now reside in heaven.

Sai Love to all of you,

Michael Goldstein

Goldstein supposedly echoed these sentiments in a public talk where he voiced similar sentiments with those above, this time with a little more glee and relish. Fancy exulting over the fact that Sai Baba's devotees were all supposedly saved from sure death in this tragedy, and if God/Sai Baba's mercy was not available to the 3000 or so who perished! Understandably, Goldstein received severe criticism for many quarters for these irresponsible comments that were made without sensitivity for the feelings of those who suffered a loss. It was probably a good thing that the Sai Organisation were (and still are) aloof from the press in most instances so that they didn't have to suffer the added brunt of public indignation.

David Jevons did not anything meaningful to add to the situation. Brian Steel noted how this haughty attitude is typical of the triumphalist and conceited self-conception of Sai devotees, quoting a (now removed) release from the official Australian Sai Organisation site:

"Our knowledge and experience is that all true devotees are beneficiaries of Sai protection at all times. By being in the Sai fold, we have not only a great 'treasure', we have a good cause to share our blissful life. Are we taking every measure within our power to defend the Sai cause from misguided persons?"

When you get past all of this diversionary rhetoric and effervescent sweetness in a bid to see the truth about Sai Baba, you'll find that Sai Baba has a long and disturbing history of connections with terrorism. Not of the obvious kind, mind you, because even he is not that stupid, but still the links with terrorists and explosives continues to linger like a bad odour.

In October 1990, the Deccan Herald reported an alleged bomb hoax at Puttaparthi. Foreign pilgrims were suspected to be behind the hoax and security was stepped up as a precautionary measure. The little tidbit about the Central Trust paying the local police salaries once upon a time is revealing. This is significant because, just under three years later, an assassination attempt was made upon Sai Baba's life in June 1993. Although six people were killed in cold blood, several media and reportage outlets made mention of the fact that explosives were discovered during a search of the ashram. To the best of my recollection, the Asian Weekly (UK newspaper) reported that high-grade explosives were discovered in a residential apartment in Sai Baba's ashram, supposedly connected to the assassination attempt. The Writ Petition connected with this affair mentions the discovery of explosives in several places, even going as far to say that two land mines and a cast-iron shell were also discovered. Several poisons were also said to have been discovered.

It is no secret that, since then, a fanatical level of security that borders on pathological obsession and intense paranoia has been set up around Sai Baba in both his Whitefield and Puttaparthi ashrams. You have to ask yourself: Does the World Avatar need security?

In April 2001, an article by Hari Sampath appeared on the Internet where a cursory analysis was made about the amount of money Sai Baba receives in donations each year. It should be noted here that an Indian news source reported Sathya Sai Baba as being the largest recipient of foreign donations in India. It is hardly surprising, then, that Sai Baba is arguably the only guru in India who has a regular clientele from the political sphere. Presidents, Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers and civil servants alike have been seen at Puttaparthi waiting for an audience with the Baba, even posing for photo-calls afterwards. While this charade may be mutually beneficial to each other (politicians ingratiating themselves to religious voters while Sai Baba boasts of his political clout) but it is hard to tell if any of the dignitaries are actual devotees. It hardly matters in this age of public relations.

In July 2001, Sai Baba was accused of harming the cause of the Tamil Tigers (aka LTTE, Liberation Tigers for Tamil Eelam), a Sri Lankan separatist group warring for the creation of an autonomous Tamil state. Due to the number of Sinhalese politicians who visit Sai Baba, the terrorist Tamil Tigers couldn't be blamed for thinking that Sai Baba was a "friend to the Sinhalese", also urging their Tamil compatriots to "stop worshipping this false teacher". Former Sri Lankan President, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, and her brother Anura Bandaranaike are two of the famous faces who have visited Sai Baba on a basis that suggests warm relations. Previously to that, former Sri Lankan political big-guns Sirimavo Bandaranaike, J.R. Jayawardene and Ranasinghe Premadasa were said to be devotees. Premadasa was assassinated by the Tamil Tigers.

In January 2002, a youth was arrested on suspicion of launching a second assassination attempt on Sai Baba. According to reports, the youth was in possession of an air pistol and pellets and was violently apprehended by security staff in Sai Baba's Whitefield ashram and was detained in one of the rooms for questioning. While the devotees were driven into a frenzy over the possibility of the Baba dying, it turned out that the youth - "Somasundara" from Tamil Nadu - was armed with the misguided purpose of holding an ashram resident hostage in order to force Sai Baba to grant him an interview, when the Baba had not answered any of the letters written to him by Somasundara. This was an interesting turn of events in light of the LTTE threats to terminate his existence. Just two days later, Sai Baba publicly denied that the incident was an attempt on his life.

Fourteen months after the tragic events of 9/11, Barry Pittard expressed grave concern over the possibility of Sai Baba's ashram being a high-listed target for potential terrorist activities with specific concern over the possibility of a terrorist strike against Westerners. A Sai devotee then made contact with Pittard in order to evaluate the seriousness and potential of a strike.

In March 2003, Pittard succeeded in communicating his concerns to several authorities in the Australian government. The fruit of his efforts had resulted in the inclusion of a statement against Sathya Sai Baba in the publication of Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Travel Advice Warning stating thus:

"There are persistent allegations and media reports of sexual misconduct made against certain prominent cults and their leaders in India."

This closely echoed similar sentiments that had been published in a Consular Information Sheet, a Travel Advisory for India by the US State Department, ironically published on Nov. 23, 2001:

"U.S. citizens should be aware that there have been unconfirmed reports of inappropriate sexual behavior by a prominent local religious leader at an ashram or religious retreat located in Andhra Pradesh. Most of the reports indicate that the subjects of these approaches have been young male devotees, including a number of U.S. citizens."

The US are worried about their boys too.

The present President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapakse, has visited Sai Baba along with his wife to seek his blessings at the start of his term. When I was in Sri Lanka during the summer of 2005, I read an interesting newspaper article that detailed Sai Baba's cryptic advice to Anura Bandaranaike and others on the future of Sri Lanka. It's no wonder that the Tigers are getting understandably irate. The same article also listed Sai Baba as being a major target for the Tigers. Among other things, Sinhalese Sai Baba groups were accused of infiltrating Tamil communities worldwide, and also the claim that Sai Baba himself was supplying maps [apparently of military significance] for the Sinhalese army. Still, in August 2001 the Govt. of Karnataka took steps to tighten security at Sai Baba's Whitefield ashram due to the expectation of a Tamil Tiger assassination attempt. After the widely reported assassination of erstwhile Indian PM Rajiv Gandhi, it would be safe to assume that the method of execution would be carried out by a suicide bomber. The Tigers were even reported to have made a telephone threat to the Whitefield offices.

Earlier this year, Mumbai (formerly Bombay) was the latest city to suffer a wave of terrorist attacks widely believed to have been perpetrated by Islamic organisations affiliated with Al-Qaeda. We couldn't help noticing the connection of Shivraj Patil, former Lok Sabha speaker and devotee of Sathya Sai Baba claiming that, as a government minister, 'some' information about a forthcoming attack was going to take place, but lack of preparedness was evident due to lack of detail and specifics over the attack.

Just yesterday [Sept. 10th 2006], a story was published in the Times of India about a stash of gelatin sticks being discovered in a warehouse in Puttaparthi. This story was also carried by the Gulf Times. Police are on the hunt for two individuals who took delivery of a consignment of rocket launchers. With an attention-grabbing headline of "It's Raining Explosives!" and the increasing suggestions of Sai Baba's connection with Maoist separatists, one has to wonder what on earth is going with the Baba and the periodical increase in political hobnobbing and it's dark side of terrorist threats, as well as the ever-present threat of assassination.

For those who have educated themselves in the psychology of cults and cult groupthink, one might be forgiven for thinking that Puttaparthi is fast heading into another Waco.

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

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    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12 March, 2008 11:57  

  • Big words from a small (and anonymous) man..

    By Blogger H.H. Swami Saiexposedananda, at 16 March, 2008 21:55  

  • you extra knowledgable guy when he said it is the time re uttering god name he means we should not loose our faith o god.u might be from LTTE or some other terrorist group so u r makeing such baselase allegation on baba.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 16 July, 2008 22:43  

  • I just wanted to look into this article as an article. So going by that perception let me also add that I knew nothing of H.H.Swami, the author of this article or of his earlier connections that got soured with SaiBaba (I end this last statement as may or maybe only.)

    Ok coming to the contents of the article there are many contradictions.
    The author has titled it as "The Terrorist connections" totally seem to lack a clear script.
    Before I proceed further let us putdown some names of the Terrorists organizations that any one is familiar with.

    1.LTTE (Concept of first human bomb was originated by this organization)


    Though the origin of these groups emerged from different geographical locations, it must be noted that except Palestinian rebel groups rest are from ASIAN origin. That too from many Backward muslim countries like Pakistan,Afghanistan,Bangladeshis etc., It is also a known theory that each of these groups help the other by supplying arms and earning revenue especially LTTE.
    So every terrorists organizations has close links with each other.

    Now coming to the instances that featured in this article for e.g.,

    Instance No.1

    Saibaba was accused of harming the cause of the Tamil tigers and due to this many Srilankan leaders visited Saibaba.Eventually angering Tigers. This proves Saibaba is against LTTE. So does the author support LTTE then?

    Instance No.2

    In 2006 September, Times of India published a story(the author has not mentioned it as an article) that some gelatin sticks were discovered in a warehouse in Puttaparthi.

    Though Saibaba resides in Puttaparthy, though he vields lot of clout among public and in politics one should not forget that he is also a resident of Puttaparthy and dosen't mean the entire place is his ashram. If those gelatin sticks were found in his Ashram then I can agree that something is fishy atleast someone in the ashram. But it is not found in his ashram.But the author draws connection with Naxals and Maosist immed.

    Instance No.3

    Finally Mumbai bomblasts. The author says that Indian Home Minister Shivraj Patil has close connections with Saibaba. So what let it be. It dosen't mean that Saibaba is a terrorist or is funding terrorism. It is the duty of Home minister to be alert and also alert citizens and especially Police. But Indian Intelligence is very weak. It is not neccessary for a Home minister office to recieve information of all the attacks. Even in US it can't happen. How come in India with corrupt polticians?

    All the instances mentioned by the author proves that there are no evidences of Saibaba linking to terrorism. It is not even the question of evidence but simply a stupid article trying to link some situations.

    The only thing I agree to the author is the statement of Michael Goldstein after 9/11 attacks.
    That says "3000 Saibaba devotees have benn saved by the blessings of Saibaba from 9/11 attacks"

    This is totally an irrelavant and stupid statement by Goldstein.
    What are the chances of Sai's blessings that if any one of the Sai devotee was travelling in that planes that hit thw twin towers.

    Again it's only the devottes emotional devotees who are not logical in thinking issues some statements. Death can't be prevented by any GOD for that matter. It's a natural process and one must die ofcourse peacefully.

    Being practical is the correct way and a balanced way than being emotional or aethist or an rational.

    But I like the way Saibaba replied to that deadly 9/11 attacks.

    "Be brave! Events of this kind overcome humanity from time to time. Face this with fortitude. This is the time for repetition of the Lord's Name (Namasmarana), and remembrance of God always."

    I believe this statement because I belive in GOD. Not necessarily Saibaba or any God or Godman.

    By Anonymous Mahesh.G, at 13 September, 2008 10:18  

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