Suffer The Children Unto Sai Baba
Looking back on this topic, I now realise that this statement was somewhat exaggerated in the context of regular discussion of other victims of Sai Baba's sexual abuse. I have also since come to recognise that Sai Baba's abuse may not only be characterised as sexual abuse, but may take many other forms such as verbal abuse, emotional abuse, emotional blackmail, physical abuse (as in violence) and general manipulation. For example, Alaya Rahm's testimony [in the BBC 'Secret Swami' documentary] includes accounts of emotional blackmail where Sai Baba insisted that he never tell his parents about the abuse lest his penis be cut off and his life made hellish.
In Alaya's own words:
"Oral sex he would try to get that to happen several times. Both on, he would perform it to me and then, you know, and then sometimes threaten to cut my penis off and hold it, like it’s bad, I should cut it off. He would ask me all the time; why don’t you want me, you don’t want me. It was so far out to me, to think that he was actually just wanting me to physically want him." [10.29.19]
In any case my own statement about Sai Baba's child abuse of a three-year-old child was something of a personal project; for the life of me I could not recall where I had read it or where I had heard it from until today. I was flicking through the book 'Anyatha Saranam Nasthi' by Smt. Vijaya Hemchand (aka Vijayamma) when I came across the following tale relating to the author's son:
"Swarming around Swami, we were all chatting one afternoon. He asked me to bring along my sleeping son. I brought my son to Swami. Everyone used to call him 'Chota Baba' (little Baba). He had a full head of crinkly hair. Swami made the boy sit in his lap and asked him, 'What is your name?' 'Have you drunk milk?' 'Would you like to eat rice?' 'Do you want to be naughty?' The boy gave replies in a cute way. Everyone was laughing. The boy was then three years old.
"Suddenly, Swami made him lie face down in His lap and began beating him hard on the back. None of us knew what to make of it. We were all stunned, and staring at Swami. Who among us had the courage to go near Swami and question Him? The boy's face looked jaded. He was yelling and crying. "Go, go away from here." Saying so, Swami pushed the boy away from Him. The poor little boy! He came running to me, sobbing. The sobs did not subside even after one hour. Every week, Swami would treat the boy like this, three or four times. The minute I took him out of the cradle, my son would say pathetically, 'Don't take me to Swami, mother,' and break into tears. I would feel very pained. But when Swami ordered me to bring the boy, how could I say no?
"Further, I had full faith and confidence in Swami that He won't do anything unless He had a strong reason for it. And whatever Swami does is for our ultimate good only. On the days that Venkamma garu [Sathya Sai Baba's elder sister] happened to be with us, she would take my son from Swami's lap, saying, 'That is enough, Swami.'
"My son was by no means mischievous. He was so quiet that no one was aware of his presence in a room. But we do not know which 'evil power' Swami had to drive away from him. When there were so many little children, why would Swami single out only my little boy and beat him, unless there was a strong reason for it? Swami must have removed some harmful aspect from my son's astrological chart. Except during this 'exorcising time', He would pamper the boy a great deal. While Swami was walking in the corridor, my son would cling to His robe. On such occasions, there would be happy smiles on Swami's face." - Anyatha Saranam Nasthi, p. 222-223.
As if anyone cares about Swami's smiles? I had to stop myself from crying after reading this story, and suddenly the fact that I had found the "3-year-old child" story didn't matter to me anymore. This event is so wrong on so many different levels; how are we to deal with a mother who just stands there and watches Sai Baba beat the living hell out of her own three-year-old child in a helpless manner? That too, despite the painful and piercing crying of the child who wasn't rescued from Sai Baba's violent mania! Is it any wonder that the poor boy cried for over an hour?
Another worrying factor was the regularity of these beatings; the author is not clear on whether the beatings took place three or four times in total at weekly intervals, or whether it took place three or four times on the same day every week or so. In any case, what does it matter? Abuse is still abuse, whether it be every day, every week or every year.
Then what are we to think when, out of a misplaced devotion, the mother continues to take her child to receive regular beatings from Sai Baba every time the latter summons and despite plaintive weeping and pleading from the child, who expresses the explicit desire not to go anywhere near the evil Baba? We hear the most ridiculous explanation that is typical of brainwashed Sai devotees everywhere: Swami has a good reason for whatever he does. Really now? Despite the author's admission that she did not know the reason for Sai Baba's violent behaviour, she just assumed that it may have something to do with removing maleficent influence from the child's horoscope!
It should be noted here that even today, Indians in general tend to be something of a superstitious lot who only do the simplest things after consulting their friendly neighborhood astrologer. Attending job interviews, births, deaths, marriages, funerals, first day at school; every mundane or otherwise inconsequential occurrence is performed nder the advice of an aged astrology expert. Be that as it may, where have you ever heard the idea that beating the living daylights out of someone removes the influence of the stars? The very idea is ridiculous and beyond sanity.
Yet another disturbing observation relates to the apparently blasé attitude of Venkamma, Sai Baba's elder sister. Giving the impression that one should have been grateful for her presence, her (Venkamma's) removal of the child from Sai's presence with just a simple "that's enough" bespeaks of an extraordinarily ambivalent attitude towards behaviour that was evidently shocking to all other onlookers. Is it possible that Venkamma was more than familiar with other incidences of Sai Baba's violence against little children, and possibly his homosexuality as well? Granted, Sai's behaviour in this instance does not count as homosexuality per se (although you hardly ever hear of his violence towards little girls) but directly witnessing an instance of child abuse and not appearing to be all that concerned brings forward a most disturbing idea to contemplate.
The last paragraph exemplifies everything that is wrong with Sai devotees in my opinion; the level of rationalisation and denial that spews forth is beyond belief and can test the very limits of incredulity. As if it makes any real difference whether Sai Baba was playful with the child at other times when a beating was scheduled every week or so. This incident took place in the year 1951 or 1952 at a time when Sai Baba was 25 or 26, given the fact that the author describes her marriage as taking place in 1948 and that this abuse took place when the child was three years old. It is appropriate to note that Sai Baba had also abused the author and her brother in 1949 for snooping around in 'forbidden' areas of the Puttaparthi village, which has described elsewhere as part of my 'Sai Baba: Shiva or Sadhaka' essay.
It is only when you consider a similar case like Alaya Rahm's, where it transpires that Al Rahm (Alaya's father) was also a victim of Sai Baba's genital oilings, does there emerge a sick and disgusting pattern of family and inter-generational abuse carried out by Sai Baba the sick pervert extraordinaire! The sad story of Sai Baba's sexual psychopathology appears to have been traced upto at least 1949 where violence, intimidation and threats have been the order of the day then as now. I strongly suspect that, with Sai's ancillary self-delusions vis-a-vis his supposed divinity and other issues, clinical psychologists would have a field day with him. For instance, what would Freud say?
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