15 August 2006

Questions & Answers From Indonesia

I received the following list of questions from an Indonesian male, who kindly asked me to reply via this blog so that he can use the answers for his own purposes.

1. Has Sathya Sai Baba generate statements that despise women? Is he (considered) chauvinistic--despite being gay? Any report ever made on human female molestation by “God”? Has he aver made any statement condemning the communal discrimination against Indian women?

One of the things to realise about Sathya Sai Baba is that he is a perfect example of a hypocrite; he says one thing and does the opposite. In that sense, he has never said anything mysogynistic in public (at far as I am aware) and is rather encouraging of the idea that they should seek to better themselves. But in his personal talks with close disciples and students he does indicate the level of his feelings towards them. More often than not, these are told in thinly-veiled "humour" and crude jokes that illustrate women as stereotypes of cooking and cleaning slaves. One example of this is Prof. Anil Kumar, who is the Baba's personal translator and close disciple; he is on record cutting jokes about how Sai Baba indicated that the proper duties of women were to cook, clean and look after their husbands, not to mention child-rearing. Some may view that as taking a traditional line, whereas we all know that this modern age is given to career women with high-flying ambitions which is something that Sai Baba strongly disapproves of.

2. Is it true that Sai Sathya’s boarding school, and college with the dormitory are only for boys? Any particular reason ever given?

No it is not strictly true. Sai Baba built a women's college at Anantapur in the early 1970s. There are female students at his base ashram of Puttaparthi also, although it should be noted that these female students are kept strictly apart from the male students in classes and in dormitories. This does not always work, however.

3. Any statement on why Sai Baba segregate everything on the ashram based on sex? Has he ever talked about human sexuality--at all?

I have never actually seen a statement from Sai Baba reasoning why men and women should be kept apart in his ashram, although I am aware that it is a general rule in the ashrams of many a guru. The general reason is that interaction with the other sex is a stumbling block on the spiritual path and that such association should be minimised. I should note that Sai Baba's ashram is the only place I've been where this rule is taken to fundamentalist extremes, so much so that I was not even allowed to sit with my mother in a relatively public place!
His statements on human sexuality are the usual tripe about how it is a base passion that is characteristic of animals. He speaks very strongly against natural human drives such as lust, hunger, and so on. Here is a typical statement from the Handbook for Sai Youth, that was available from the ashram bookshop in 1999:

"We find here boys and girls. The boys should remain with the boys. Do not have any connection or contact with the girls. If you have connections with the girls and follow the wrong path, you are worse then the dogs ... Your life will be wasted."

There are many more similar quotes.

4. Is there any female on the cream of Sai Baba’s elite--that you know of?

As far as I am aware, there are no women in the 'elite'. Sai Baba's inner circle consists only of male disciples. The Prashanthi Council is made up entirely of men and it is men who perform much of the day-to-day administration in the ashrams. There are female co-ordinators for the female section of the canteens and other places in the ashram, but no 'top job' as such. The only person who could be a likely candidate is the old 'Mataji' who sits on the verandah and acts as an usher for those (female) individuals who have been selected by Sai baba for a private interview. Beyond this there is no female 'elite'.

5. Any report on the actual size of Sai Baba’s boner? Hairy-bushy?

Sai Baba is alleged to have a small penis and dark-coloured testicles.

6. Has there been any reports of Sai Baba conducting sodomy (other than asking the boys to do him blowjobs and masturbating them)? Has he ever sucked the boys’ boners? Does he prefer masculine-handsome boys instead of androgynous (sissy) boys?

Sai Baba is known for his preference of blonde-haired blue-eyed boys such as in the case of Alaya Rahm, who was quite handsome. Although Sai Baba has sexually abused all sorts of men and boys, he generally prefers them to be between 16-30 years of age. Sodomy and oral sex are but two predominating features of these sexual encounters. As well as performing oral and anal sex, he is also on the receiving end.

7. Observing the statistics of devotees, from which religion they’re least coming from? Any religion contributes less followers than Islam?

There are no clear statistics as such, nor has any survery ever been made in order to prvide demographical analyses of Sai Baba's followers. However, empirical observations do reveal the least followers to be from Islam and Sikhism. Buddhism is also a contender, as well as Confucianism, Taoism and Shinto.

8. Noting the fact that there is absolutely no place for Sai Baba’s divine claims in the literal interpretations of Islamic holy texts (Quran), has he ever mentioned anything about his connection to Islamic teachings to please his Moslem devotees, or is he (apparently) afraid of Islamic fundamentalism terrorists and decided to play safe by not mentioning anything particularly controversial about Islam like he did to The Bible? What particular approach towards Jewish people?

Given that Sai Baba has very few Muslim devotees, comments have been sparse. However, he has sometimes mentioned the story of Mansur al-Hallaj in order to portray him (Mansur) as a God-realised saint whoe realisations of oneness with God brought about his death. From my own studies of Islam I know that Mansur al-Hallaj was a Sufi figure, and this is the "middle way" that Sai Baba can speak about Islam in a way that suits his own group of followers and which can also appeal to Sufi Muslims on the fringe. It is also obvious that he refers to Sufi figures like Mansur because the more orthodox schools of Islam (like the Shias and Sunnis) would not lend any ear to his interpretations of the spiritual path.
Some of his devotees like Prof. Zeba Bashiruddin have published articles and small books about the Baba's connections to Islam and how his message reveals the fundamental truths of Islam. However, Bashiruddin is a Sufi and her views form a minority opinion in the vast breadth of Islamic interpretation. On another note, he is alleged to have stated that Muslims would be among the last to recognise him as God, and one can only wonder why. Even if that comes to pass, you can be sue that he will start including Islamic examples and stories in his public discourses that will be riddled with fanciful errors. I will certainly be interested to hear these.

Sai Baba certainly has a lot of Jewish devotees, one of whom is the International Co-ordinator for the Sai Organisation (Dr. Michael Goldstein). Another Jewish devotee, Dr. Samuel Sandweiss, is a psychiatrist from San Diego who has authored two books on the Baba. To accomodate the growing Jewish influx of devotees, Sai Baba modified his organisation logo to include a Star of David. His whole "unity of all religions" concept has it's kinks, however. When he was asked if he was the Messiah of the Jews, he replied: "That is not for Sai to say." Rather coy, I think, when he is openly praised as everybody else's Messianic figure and has done nothing to stop it.

9. Any Indian saints that you know to be non-devotees of Sai Baba? What do they think about him? What about Dadi Janki & Shrii Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar of Yoga Ananda Marga (known by some Indonesians), are they devotees too?

In all fairness, I have never heard of those two whom you mention. However, I know of at least one Indian saint who openly criticised Sai Baba for his fraudulent miracles as well as challenging him to prove his divinity. In those days (the 1970s) knowledge of his sexual molestations were not very well-known, lest you can be sure that he would have been heavily scandalised for that too.

I hope that I have answered these questions in a satisfactory manner and without personal bias. Please feel free to seek further clarificaiton if necessary.

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