29 November 2006

Sanghvi's Truth About Sai Baba

Vir Sanghvi, a journalist for the leading Indian newspaper - Hindustan Times - has published a scathing exposé of Sathya Sai Baba to mark the occasion of the Baba's 81st Birthday. Read on:


COUNTERPOINT - The Truth About Sathya Sai Baba

If Sathya Sai Baba is a sort of God come down to earth to help us, credulous humans, then why doesn’t he use his powers for the public good? What’s the point of materialising a sandesh when you need to materialise mounds of rice for the poor?

Vir Sanghvi

So, The Sathya Sai Baba turns 80 this week. The celebrations have already begun. TV channels show us footage of an Afro haired old man in a saffron robe being wheeled out for the adoration of teeming devotees. And naturally, all the old staples of the Sai Baba story have been pulled out: the ‘miracles’, the claim to be the reincarnation of the Sai Baba of Shirdi, the assassination attempts (two that I know of), the legion of celebrity devotees (including, apparently, former President R Venkataraman and current incumbent Abdul Kalam — perhaps there is a vibhuti corner in Rashtrapati Bhavan), and, alas, the sordid controversy about the old boy’s behaviour with little boys.

As you may have guessed from my tone, I am not big on the Sathya Sai Baba (I have more time for the Shirdi original), but I am continually amazed by the unwillingness of his devotees to concede that there is any truth to the many allegations made against the Baba during his long career as king of the godmen.

The homosexual abuse allegations are now too numerous to dispute. (Enter ‘Sathya Sai Baba’ and ‘homosexuality’ on a Google search and you will get an astonishing 18,000 references.) I am prepared to believe that at least some of the young men who claim to have been fondled or otherwise assaulted by the Baba are liars. But can every single person who claims to have been fondled be a liar? By now, the list of complainants runs into triple figures. And that’s just the Westerners. (The Indians seem less able to speak out against the Baba.) Surely, there is a case for the old boy to answer?

Bizarrely, none of the fondling-of-devotees stuff seems to perturb any of the Baba’s high-profile followers. And, when you ask the many senior politicians, who turn up at the Puttaparthi ashram to fling themselves at the Holy One’s feet, whether they are legitimising the Baba’s activities, the only responses you get follow predictable lines: “Even Jesus had to face criticism” etc etc.

Then, there’s the business of the ‘miracles’. There’s enough evidence to suggest (eye-witness accounts mainly) that Sai Baba can materialise rings, expensive watches, sacred ash and the odd locket almost at will. It is also true that portraits of Sai Baba have been known to ‘weep’ even when the swami is far away. And, the Baba has been able to regurgitate a shivling from his insides on days of special significance. It is clear that no ordinary man can do any of these things. But does it follow that, by virtue of these ‘miracles’, the Baba is some kind of God as many of his devotees argue?

There are two objections to this claim. The first is that while sacred ash may be unavailable to the average Joe, there are large numbers of people to whom it is as easily accessible as it is to the Holy One.

I refer, of course, to stage magicians.

The sad reality of the Sai Baba’s ‘miracles’ is that every single one of them can easily be duplicated by even a moderately talented conjuror. In the old days (dating back to the 1960s), when scepticism was first expressed about Sai Baba’s ‘magic’ powers, critics asked why it was that the watches he produced, seemingly out of thin air, all said ‘Made in Switzerland’ and why they tended to be much advertised brands. (Rich devotees got Omegas, the poor just got sacred ash.) Sai Baba’s defenders retorted that the great man had never claimed to be a holy watchmaker. His skill did not lie in creating watches or rings. These already existed. All the Baba did was to invisibly teleport them through solid matter till they reached his sacred fingers.

Problem: this is exactly what magicians claim to do. No magician claims to have created the rabbit that emerges from the hat. He claims to have teleported it. And so, what is so special about a man whose tricks are roughly on par with K. Lal but well below the standard of David Blaine or David Copperfield?

Sai Baba devotees are sensitive to the ‘Afro-haired conjuror’ sneer. Over a decade ago, the magician PC Sorcar was refused entry into Sai Baba’s presence. He went under a false name and when the Baba miraculously produced a sandesh, Sorcar returned the compliment by miraculously producing a rasgulla. The Baba began shouting and Sorcar was physically evicted from the ashram. The magician wrote about the encounter in Sunday magazine. But since then, he has come under so much pressure from the Sai Baba lobby that he’s reluctant to repeat the experience. No matter. There are enough people who can do the same tricks. Sanal Edamaraku of the Indian Rationalist Association, who does not even claim to be a magician, will cheerfully reproduce any of the old boy’s ‘miracles’ on demand.

The second objection to the Baba’s ‘miracles’ is also fundamental. His devotees now take the revised position that the Omega watches are merely his ‘calling cards’ meant to show ordinary mortals how cosmic he is. The real God-like stuff, they say, consists of the Baba’s ability to see into the future, to change destiny and to heal the human body. All this is highly dubious. If he can heal other people, then why doesn’t he just heal himself first, and kick away that wheelchair? If he can see into the future, how come he failed to predict the two assassination attempts? And if he can change destiny, why doesn’t he start by changing that Google search that portrays him as a bit of a sicko?

I am familiar with all the arguments against my position. There’s the traditional one of how the Baba does not want to interfere with the karmic cycle of good and evil. Well, in that case, he should stop pretending that he can heal people and remove karmic sickness. The moment he bends the laws of nature, he is already mucking about with the karmic cycle anyway. Then, there’s the he-does-so-much-charity argument. I do not for a moment dispute that he spends many of the crores his devotees shower on him for very good causes. And I accept that he has built hospitals, colleges (and, incongruously enough, a planetarium) for the people of Puttaparthi. But all that this proves is that he’s a philanthropist of some description. Nor is religious philanthropy novel to Hinduism. The Ramakrishna Mission does much more than the Sai Baba has ever done or ever will. (Actually, it’s done more work in Calcutta than Mother Teresa’s better-publicised missionaries — but that’s another story.) However, none of its monks claims to be God. And they don’t need to produce Omega watches out of thin air. They are too busy helping the poor.

But, my basic objection is this: if this man is a sort of God come down to earth to help us, credulous humans, then why doesn’t he use his powers for the public good? What’s the point of materialising a sandesh when you need to materialise mounds of rice for the poor? Why bother giving some crooked politician an Omega watch when you can stop the Tsunami? Why do these Godlike powers never extend to any more than mere conjuring tricks? Why do they never translate into anything that is substantial and truly helpful?

If this is the best that God can do, then surely PC Sorcar is God too?

Mail your responses to

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

25 November 2006

81st Birthday Report (England)

Don't ask me why, but I just thought it would be fun to attend the 81st Birthday (2006) celebrations here in London. From the moment I walked into the place I knew I had made a bad decision. I was shocked and appalled to find that, in the six or so years that I've been an ex-devotee, nothing has changed. If you were a devotee then you might have found it a "blissful experience". If you're like me, you'd have been bored out of your skull with the same old platitudes and "shit". Disorganisation, chaos, long awkward silences, minor power failures, sound system failures, embarrasing pleas for patience, it went on and on while my legs were mangled to bits through a torturous four-plus hours of sitting on the floor. You'd think that with these people being Sai devotees, this is the one day in the year where they should excel and indulge their faith in him to the grandest possible extent! And, to be fair, they have performed better in previous years so what went wrong?

First they got a couple of adolescent teenagers to introduce the show; him dressed in a suit and tie with a long and goofy hairstyle dripping with gel and a half-broken voice, her miles shorter than him and desperately trying to act and sound like an adult. Here's a tip: Do NOT work with children or animals! As anyone in showbusiness will tell you. Then some Indian lady took the mic and started talking energetically and telling fast-paced jokes in a lame bid to sound cool. And she was a bit on the plump side shall we say. She introduced a dance program to be performed by students from the Sai School of Harrow while the poor kids posed in their starting positions for a full ten minutes before they figured out that the sound system wasn't working for the music to start. Then they were taken off the stage so that the "technician" could fix the problem, and we were led straight into the next item: A live report on the birthday celebrations from Puttaparthi.

This means that she called someone there on her mobile phone and placed the mic to the speaker, so we could all hear about some basketball game that had been played in the new Indoor Stadium that had been built especially for the occasion. Whoop-de-doo, I am regularly informed about happenings in Puttaparthi and I knew about these events weeks in advance. Nothing new, it's not like they placed a call to Sai Baba himself or something! Your sound system is hardly working, you take the kids off the stage and then you yap your head off on the phone talking about some bloody basketball game. Cue more lame jokes about how the speaker should climb up on the roof of the Poornachandra Auditorium so that Sai Baba receives the goodwill and best wishes from the UK devotees. Aww sweet, not.

When the kids were taken off the stage, I couldn't help disguising my audible chuckle as a cough. I wasn't laughing at them but at the situation. Mixed with that chuckle was an undercurrent of indignation; I was reminded of why I had left Sai Baba and his Organisation in the first place, because his devotees are so hopelessly inept and disorganised that they couldn't even bring themselves to worship him properly. Presuming that Sai Baba is God, don't you think that his birthday celebrations should be planned and practised well in advance to meticulous detail? Did they even rehearse anything? What if Sai Baba had been personally present, would they have been so lacking then? Nothing has changed in the six years I have been an ex-devotee, I can't believe that these guys can sit there and act as if everything is happening by divine will. They were just so oblivious and apathetic to what was going on, silently tolerating the mishaps ("Swami says we should be unruffled by pleasure and pain, even on his burfday"). It is largely because of the conduct of devotees that I left Sai Baba, it is just so embarrassing to be associated with them when they act so foolishly trying to hold an event. And don't make me start on the non-existent philosophical debates!

So while everyone was waiting for the sound system to be fixed, the volunteers started handing out covered plastic plates of food. The food wasn't bad, typical Indian fare, but the fat lady wouldn't let up, asking various people to come forward and tell the crowd of some experience of Baba's presence that they've had. Now look, I've heard about it not being over until the fat lady sings but that doesn't mean that she has to yap her head off while we're eating! Every five seconds someone says something nice and the audience claps because of some wonderfully goofy experience they've had that "proves" Swami's "omnipresence". For Christ's sake, just leave us alone and let us eat! It was nice of them to provide food though. In past years it has ranged from nothing at all to a cheese sandwich and apple, so this was almost like a small meal which was quite nice considering that a lot of people had given up their evening (and probably their dinners) to come and sit here on the floor for hours listening to a fat lady squawking excitedly about some dratted basketball game.

The highlight of the evening was a concert by Ravi Nasery (aka Ravi Raj Nasery), a singer from India who has composed and sung many of the currently popular Sai bhjans. I've got to admit that I was interested in hearing him sing as I still have a couple of his tapes around somewhere, and he does have a very nice voice. In this way this birthday event was also different from previous years; the usual fare would be a bhajan session, a couple of dance and drama performances, a special guest or two waffling on and on about how they kissed Swami's feet before the whole thing ends and they kick us out. This event was almost all taken up by Nasery. The sound system did get fixed in time for the schoolkids to do their dance, but it looks like they had too many plugs in too few sockets which caused occasional power failures. At least three times during Nasery's concert the power went off and the mics became silent which made him look a bit of an idiot on stage, singing passionately while no one could hear him. And this even happened at the climactic moment of a song, sadly I couldn't help smirking about the ineptitude behind that too.

But on the whole it was quite nice. Nasery sang all the old favourites that I have on tape plus a few new songs. I couldn't enjoy them as much as I would like to have done because, after fours hours of sitting on the floor, my legs were shot to shit. Plus-sides included getting a photo taken of myself with Nasery as well as an autograph too. Just to stick the knife in, I also got photos taken of myself with top-level Sai devotees. ;-)

One of the most poignant things about this occasion is that, while Nasery was singing, a movie of Sai Baba was being shown on a large projector screen. I later found out that this was a very recent video brought by somebody who had just returned from the ashram a week ago. As such, it was a video record of Sai Baba's recent travels around South Indian cities by aeroplane and suchlike, as well as the usual darshan footage. As expected, this was also a record of a strange episode in the Avatar's life: his being wheelchair-bound. It was so damn strange to see him continuing as if nothing had ever happened and that everything was normal apart from the wheelchair. It also showed how devotees continue to pleadingly hold out letters to him for him to take, and he is being wheeled around by a small mafia of white-clad devotees.

Reports of Sai Baba's now being able to stand are exaggerated. Yes, he can stand and walk a few steps but only with the support of a student. Imagine a very old person walking and stumbling when they're without their walking stick? That's exactly how Sai Baba is when he uses a young boy as a walking stick (and probably for other purposes too). He has become a very weak old man, speaking haltingly and delicately, every move being supervised and planned. As I was watching the devotees in the movie still fawn on him adoringly, as well as the devotees in the hall with me, I couldn't help but wonder what the hell is going on in their heads? How can they deal with this, their beloved God, in a wheelchair and suffering like a geriatric? Doesn't it niggle them in their hearts, doesn't it nag away at the back of their minds? They drown themselves in self-serving platitudes about how merciful he is to take on someone else's karma, when the Baba has publicly revealed that he is not suffering anybody's karma except his own, reaping the results of his slip in the bathroom earlier this year.

It's one thing seeing the latest pictures from the ashram on websites, but it's quite another to see him on video. Sai Baba has changed for the worse, there is no doubt. While his plans to usher in the Golden Age appear to have been shelved, he sits and cries his eyes out about being an invalid. And his devotees continue to love him as before. Where have they left their brains and their critical thinking faculties? I feel nothing but pity for those who cannot open their eyes to see nor their ears to hear.

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

23 November 2006

The Truth Behind Sai Baba's Homosexuality

A shocking discovery of Sai Baba's various personality disorders reveals a trend of femininity. The Baba himself had indicated this by making a sensational public declaration in 1963 of being a dual incarnation of Shiva and Shakti, male and female Hindu divinities. In a later speech made in 1974, he expanded further on this:

"Giving the appearance of a strange person, having a basket-like hair on his head, showing no signs which indicate any particular religion or sect, with no specific mark on his face indicative of any particular caste, he appears quickly in a moment and vanishes equally quickly, then suddenly comes into your presence, wearing a robe that comes right down to his feet and sometimes covers the feet and sometimes does not cover the feet. Inherent beauty and attractiveness are obvious in his playing and singing. These are the aspects of Shiva Shakti that are contained in him. Neither his hair nor any particular mark on his body nor the kind of robes that he wears give any clue to his divinity. All these signs point to the young Sathya Sai as he appears in his external form. He always smiles. In him, you will find the aspects of Shiva and Shakti. How is it possible for anyone to understand the secret of Sathya Sai whose form answers this description?"- Summer Showers in Brindavan 1974, 'Who is Sathya Sai Baba?'

The incorporation of masculine and feminine elements in one's personality is correctly known as androgyny, a quality that was noticed in Sai Baba as far back as 1970 by Tal Brooke, who was sexually molested by the Baba and who proceeded to write the first landmark exposure book: Avatar Of Night. At the outset I should mention that this article focuses on the Baba's feminine aspect in the light of continuing and devastating claims of homosexual paedophilia on his part, and Sai Baba's own androgynous tendencies have been brought to light by 'Love Is My Form', a well-researched biography.

Indeed, from the age of five onwards, it was observed thus:

"Sathya never hesitated to assist his family in household chores. He would help his sister Venkamma cook and go shopping for his father, returning with four-donkey-loads of provisions ... Sometimes Sathya was even called Aadamari Sathyakka (Sathya the elder sister), as he would help his parents in cleaning the house; fetching water from the well and doing other chores that were considered girls' work in those days." - LIMF, p. 39.

A clarificatory footnote elsewhere expands on why preoccupations with "worship, rituals and music sometimes had made others feel that he was often too genteel and not one of them." Devotees would seize on this as evidence of Sai Baba's (then Sathyanarayana Raju) divine otherworldliness except for the fact that his gentility is clarified as referring to his being appelled as "'ammani', because he was dancing, cleaning houses, bringing water, wearing saris and so on, like ladies did" (LIMF, p. 560). And although I am loathe to say this, it has been observed that a significant proportion of homosexuals exhibit feminine behaviour not unlike that described above, and close relationships with female family members often feature strongly. And so it was with Raju and his elder sister, Venkamma, of whose closeness to each other was especially prominent in his childhood and youth. As Raju loved to take part in dances and dramas, his lithe form often qualified him to take on female roles almost all of the time. Venkamma and another sister, Parvathamma, frequently took responsibility for his cosmetics and costumes, often clothing him in their own saris for the part.

This was especially noted in an instance in the mid-1930s whereby a popular dance artist, Rishyendramani, went touring around South India to entertain towns and villages with her impressive show. She was famous for feats such as dancing to music while picking up handkerchiefs off the floor with her teeth. Once when Rishyendramani and her troupe were due to perform at Raju's Annual School Day function, a last-minute announcement informed that the artiste would not be appearing and the event was cancelled. To prevent the disappointmentment of the crowd, Raju rushed into action and decked himself in fancy clothes and enabled an announcement to say that the artiste had turned up after all. Due to his lithe form he was able to pass for a young female, and reportedly improved upon Rishyendramani's feats to the delight of the crowd. The funny part was when the District Board President wished to present a prize of a silk sari to the 'artiste', asking for 'her' to come up on stage to receive it. Raju had changed back into his male clothes by then but walked towards the stage to claim his prize. He was stopped by officials and the situation was defused when a senior teacher informed that it was actually he who had saved the day and thus he deserved a prize, though it is unknown whether he received the sari!

What this tells us is that, by now, Raju had identified with females closely enough to take his prize in spite of having his deception unravelled. Any average individual who had done such a charitable and altruistic act to help in a time of disaster might have fought shy of admitting that they had to dress up as a female to do so, but not for Raju apparently. It should be noted that it is quite common in some Indian drama performances for the actors to switch gender roles; a play on Radha and Krishna may sometimes feature a female in the (male) role of Krishna. In any case Raju's relishing of female roles seem to be a prominent feature, as he often starred in female roles in dramas that he wrote himself.

This whole business with saris was first brought to my attention in 1997 when I purchased the book 'Recapitulation of Baba's Divine Teachings' by Grace J. McMartin in the ashram bookshop. The following image was published within it with an accompanying history provided by the preface's author, Pramod Kumar Suri:

The story behind this image follows, with significant cleanup from myself:

"I am reminded of the actual miracle of Bhagavan [Sai Baba] performed five decades ago with Mrs. Thippamma of Anantapur. Thippamma offered prayers and prasadam in a tray and paid obeisances. When she raised her head, she saw Swami standing in front of her. Mrs. Thippamma asked Swami, 'Just now I offered prasadam to a lady goddess and paid respects, where is she?' Swami waved His divine hand and materialised the photo of 'Swami wearing a sari' and asked, 'Was it this you saw?' This rare photo is being printed in this book."

As a devotee, I did not think much about it at the time since this was apparently a materialised photograph, although I did have some suspicions about it's being so unusual. Upon reading all of the anecdotes above I was forced to take another look at the picture and see it in a different light. What surprised me was that this same picture was also printed in LIMF (cleaned up and clearer) with significant differences to the story!

As per the LIMF account:

"The families of Gummagatta Thippamma, Yadalam Nagamma and Subbamma assembled at the mandir with Kudumulu and other items to perform Gouri Puja in Baba's presence ... The ladies petitioned to offer the [valedictory offering] to Easwaramma. Baba said, 'Why Easwaramma? I will receive it myself.' They were confused and looked at each other. By the time they looked back at Baba, he had transformed himself into a lady wearing a white sari, bedecked with a lot of jewellery, flowers and kumkum ... They touched her feet and received her blessings. After receiving the [valedictions], she transformed herself back into Baba.

"Thippamma expressed her desire to see the lady again. Baba materialised for her a photo of him as the same 'lady' and gave it to her. (To prove that he was the very same Gouri Devi, he hassumed the form of the lady that had received the [offering].) He said, 'I am not that Parvathi of those days.' In the photograph was a 'modern' Parvathi - dressed in a silk sari and adorned with necklaces and bangles. Characteristic of Baba's humour, she was wearing a pair of glasses too! Thippamma bowed down at the feet of Baba shedding tears of happiness and contentment." - LIMF, p. 523.

If that didn't blow your mind enough, we are observing a notable outbreak of transvestism in Sai Baba's lifestyle. A more in-depth look is needed at his childhood but, suffice to say, continued bullying at school, an aptitude for female-oriented tasks, regular performances in female roles and cruel beatings inflicted on him at home may have affected his psychosexual development in a major way for these cross-dressing tendencies to exhibit themselves at the most inopportune of times. Of course I don't believe that either of this photograph was "materialised"! It so obviously leads us to conclude that Sathya Sai Baba had dressed up as a woman and posed for these pictures.


What follows herein is a brief photographic record of various incidents in Raju's young life that invariably reveal more evidence of Raju's patent effeminacy. These are not the only indications of his burgeoning androgynous and effeminate characteristics; as with the above photographs, these two photos were snapped during a visit to the palace of the then King and Queen of Chincholi, Karur, in June 1949, at a time when Raju was openly advertising himself as an avatar on a mission to save the world:

Bangles and pearl necklaces? Need any more be said? Unfortunately yes.

In 1958 the Prashanti Nilayam temple had completed construction and was ready to be inaugurated. The date for the opening was 23rd November of that year and it was a momentous celebration. After years of living in a dilapidated shed in the village that was full to the brim with visiting devotees all the year round, Sai Baba finally had his own grand temple (paid for by wealthy benefactors) to live in and call his own. How did he dress for the opening ceremony and procession from the old shed to the new temple?

(Click to enlarge)

It seems that Sai Baba was rather a habitual wearer of saris and other feminine clothes. Eyewitness accounts of devotees present during the ten-day Dassera festivals (dedicated to the Divine Mother) in the mid-1940s have given testimony to the fact that for each day of the festival Sai Baba wore a different colour of sari and was paraded in public on a palanquin. It is not without cause that many who have seen him for the first time mistook him to be a woman, explicitly citing his long hair and robe as causing that impression.

And let's face it: the long orange robe that Sai Baba wears is not that much of a fashionable style among most of India's gurus, who almost always retain traditional styles of dress. Early photos of the Baba in his robes invariably reveal that they were oversized to say the least. And when you consider that the word 'robe' is rather flattering (and misleading), a more apt name for his choice of costume is dress!

To think that all this time Sai Baba, the Androgynous Avatar, has been beautifying himself with cosmetics, hair dye, and effeminately posing for photos wearing long dresses for pretty much all of his career in an odd bid to satisfy his cravings for transvestism and generally behaving like a drag queen. In the light of all these cold and hard facts, it's no surprise that the Baba has been the butt of jokes (pun intended) and speculations about being a practising homosexual. Happy 81st Birthday, Swamini!

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

The Truth About The Sai Baba Rock

A popular episode in Sai Baba's life relates to when, after sensationally declaring that he was renouncing material life and beginning his mission to save the world (six months after he had declared himself to be the reincarnation of Shirdi Sai Baba), he proceeded to the garden of a local devotee's house - Anjaneyulu, a Salt (Excise) Inspector and wealthy man - and sat on a large rock there. Here's the official version of the story from N. Kasturi, Sai Baba's authorised biographer, which has been replicated in several later accounts of his life:

"People came into the garden from all directions bringing flowers and fruits. The grove resounded to the voices of hundreds, singing in chorus the lines that Sathya Sai taught them. The first prayer that He taught them that day was, as many still remember:

'Meditate in thy mind on the Feet of the Guru. This can take you across the difficult sea of existence in birth after birth.'

"... Three days passed thus in that garden, three days of worship. A photographer came who wanted Sai Baba to remove a crude stone that was right in front of Him, but Baba did not pay heed to that prayer. The photographer took the picture nevertheless, and lo, the stone had become an image of Sai Baba of Shirdi! But only in the photograph, not for all the people who had assembled there." - Sathyam Sivam Sundaram Part 1, 'The Serpent Hill'.

Or so they say. Take a good look at that picture, it is renowned throughout Sai literature as being the 'first photograph' of the "Avatar" after officially embarking on his mission, widely believed to have taken place on 20th October, 1940. Sathya Sai Baba himself told it like it was:

"At that time, the Commissioner’s son ran inside, brought a camera and clicked a photo. In the picture, Shirdi Sai could be seen in front of Swami." - Summer discourse, 2000.

We now know that this took place in 1943 thanks to new research. What the above narrative doesn't say is how there was something of a strong culture of Shirdi Sai worship in Uravakonda too, just like in Puttaparthi. 'Love Is My Form', a well-researched devotional biography, informs us that Anjaneyulu was a devotee of Shirdi Sai Baba and was requested by the young Sathya Sai (then known as Sathyanarayana Raju) to procure a small statue of Shirdi Sai Baba from the nearest marketplace. This took place on 9th March 1943:

"Anjaneyulu ... created a personal shrine for [Shirdi] Sai Baba in his garden, spreading a tigerskin on a boulder and placing the statue there for puja [worship] every Thursday. The boulder later became a landmark with the name Sai Baba Gundu (Sai Baba Rock)." - LIMF, p. 134.

Needless to say, Raju attended these Shirdi Sai worship services regularly just as he used to do in Puttaparthi, which shows that - contrary to official information - the fame of Shirdi Sai Baba was so much widespread that it was possible for the residents of remote backwoods villages like Puttaparthi and Uravakonda to procure pictures and small statues of the Baba. And Anjaneyulu's statue is still being worshipped in the personal shrine of Goddumarri Sai Maruthi, his youngest son. Interestingly, LIMF doesn't mention a single word about the "Shirdi statue declaration miracle" that is described in official sources although that same photo is carried within it's pages (the picture above is scanned from LIMF), even when the narrative reaches the point at which Raju threw away his schoolbooks and announced his mission.

Given that LIMF has explained the truth behind the Shirdi statue and how it had been present on the Gundu for months before Raju threw his tantrum, there is yet another reason to believe why the popular story is a fraud. The international website of the Sathya Sai Organisation carries an old photo in it's picture gallery of this event that is still there at the time of writing:

Immediately the difference is obvious: the camera is at a slightly different angle and young Raju is looking even further away from the camera than in the other photo. The background is different and there is no tigerskin on the boulder. It is possible that the two photos were taken on the same day, however, and that this discounts the "miracle" even further. If Raju refused to move out of the way because of a crude and obstructive stone with the intention of performing a miracle (that the stone would transform into a small statue of Shirdi Sai Baba), how can this be possible for two different photos? To my knowledge this alternative photo has never been published before (it's not in LIMF!) so very few could have known of it's existence, while the large majority believes the official narrative of the miracle.

To highlight the differences between the two photos, I created this composite:

The uncovering of this bald lie represents yet another mephistophelian working of the Puttaparthi Propaganda Machine generated by the dynamic duo, Kasturi and Sai Baba, in a shameless and deceptive attempt to divinise each and every mundane event of his life in order to impress and attract followers. The arrogation of Shirdi Sai Baba's legacy has continued throughout his life and continues to be bowdlerised and plundered.

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

The Truth About Sai Baba's Birthplace

When I first became acquainted with the Sathya Sai Baba sex controversy in 2000, I came across some information that he had not been born in his home village of Puttaparthi as popularly described, but that he had been born in Karnatanagapalli - a nearby village located across the local river. A photo (currently unavailable) of the birth site was also provided, and it was alleged that Sai Baba had been born there because it was the local custom for pregnant women to travel to their home villages to give birth. Whispers about this have circulated even amongst devotees for several decades; I personally conversed with the wife of a Sai Organisation National Co-Ordinator about this matter when we were both in Puttaparthi. As I was a devotee at the time, I dismissed it all as malicious bunk.

I was extremely surprised to come across this information again during recent readings of 'Love Is My Form', a devotional and well-researched biography that - for obvious reasons - unwittingly smashes many of the myths and legends that surround Sai Baba. It seems that the circumstances of Sai Baba's birth is no exception, hence a fitting topic to be discussed today on his "official" birthday of 23rd November.

As I've discussed the topic of the Baba's supposed immaculate conception before, I'll just briefly note the glaring discrepancy between the testimonies of Sai Baba and his mother Easwaramma regarding whether it was a blue or white light that glided into her stomach and how this signified the entrance of the Baba into her womb. Here's the official version by Easwaramma about how it happened:

"Mother said, 'She [Easwaramma's mother-in-law] had dreamt of Satyanarayana Deva and she had cautioned me that I should not be frightened if something happens to me through the Will of God. That morning when I was at the well drawing water, a big ball of blue light came rolling towards me and I fainted and fell. I felt it glided into me.' Swami turned to Rama Sharma with a smile. 'There you have the answer! I was not begotten. It was Pravesha [divine conception], not Prasava [human intercourse]." - Source.

It should be of public interest that Vengamma, Easwaramma's youngest sister, presented a very different account of what happened. Needless to say, it differs significantly:

"Pedda Venkama Raju [Sai Baba's father] owned a few cows. One day, Easwaramma went to collect some grass for the cows, from the fields across the Chitravathi river. It was hot and she was very thirsty. She collected the grass, made it into a bundle and was returning across the Chitravathi riverbed. She put the bundle aside and sat down to rest on the riverbank. She dug a hole in the sand to get some water. Some dirty water surfaced, which she threw away. She then scooped up some clear water with both hands and was about to drink when she saw a luminescence merge into the surface of the water and finally become a part of it. She did not know what to do, and was very thirsty. Thinking of God and keeping faith in Him, she drank the water. The luminescence was so powerful that, in spite of the glare of the hot sun, she could still see it. She returned home and reported the incident to her mother-in-law. Shortly thereafter, she found herself 'expecting' again." - Vengamma, as told to R. Padmanabhan, 'Love Is My Form,' p. 19.

Hot sun? Burning thirst? Luminescence? Ever heard of a mirage?

Ccould have been a hallucination too. That aside, there's no reason not to believe this interesting testimony either! It is a raw and contemporaneous account given by a family member who is perfectly qualified to describe what actually happened. And that's not the last we've heard from Vengamma; she also happens to be a reliable source for claiming Sai Baba's real birthplace as Karnatanagapalli! As in LIMF:

"Easwaramma spent her confinement in her mother's house at Karnatanagapalli village. Her mother's family maintains that Sathya [Sai Baba] was born there." - LIMF, p. 21.

Footnotes affirmatively furnish readers with the information that, according to the local customs, pregnant women stay at their previous family homes to give birth. This is in marked contrast to the statements of the official hagiographies that maintain Easwaramma stayed in Puttaparthi throughout the duration of her pregnancy, even mentioning that she was engaged in formal worship rituals before she started experiencing labour pains. This is also corroborated by Chandramouli Raju (Easwaramma's brother) and his son Ganapathi Raju, who remembers his father telling him of these events on several occasions.

As LIMF is a devotional work, it unimpressively attempts to explain away these problems:

"Since the two families had always been very close and resided in adjacent villages, it is quite possible that they may have mistaken one for the other. Moreover, the flooding of the Chitravathi made movement from one bank to the other a frequent affair. The third day after the child was born, the family feared that the Chitravathi River would flood, and Easwaramma moved to Puttaparthi with the child." - LIMF, p. 21.

Hardly likely. No matter how much fun one may make of country bumpkins, the least one can expect from them is for them to know perfectly well in which villages they reside! In their clumsy attempt to resolve the conflict the editors of LIMF have unwittingly confirmed that Sathya Sai Baba was born in Karnatanagapalli. After all, where was Easwaramma coming from with a child to escape a supposed flood?

Ganapathi Raju also testified that, years later, Sathya Sai Baba supervised the construction of a bhajan hall on the site of Easwaramma's family home in Karnatanagapalli. It was a colour version of this picture that I saw back in 2000 when I first encountered this matter of controversy. The clear implication of this is the Baba's tacit acknowledgement of this venue as his birthplace and a subtle tribute to his maternal family. Why would he do this when had also supervised the construction of a "birthplace temple" in Puttaparthi circa. 1980 and installed an idol of the god Shiva, supposedly on the spot where he was born? It should be noted that he was loathe for years to construct a birthsite building in Puttaparthi in spite of the numerous requests and prayers from devotees to do so. 'Baba Satya Sai' by Ra. Ganapati, originally published in Tamil in 1976, mentioned that the birthplace then was in a state of "shambles", and that requests for a commemorative column there by devotees in celebration of Sai Baba's golden jubilee (1975) went unacknowledged, in spite of the fact that the huge world-religions pillar was being constructed within the ashram at the time.

In consideration of all of these facts, one might wonder why exactly Sai Baba seems intent on insisting that he was born in Puttaparthi, as the reasons are not immediately clear. What's going on here that we don't know about? Why are members of Sai Baba's maternal family still claiming to this day that he was born in Karnatanagapalli? At the very least we can say that he has much to hide and that this represents the latest uncovering of yet another strange episode in his dubious past.

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

Sai Baba's 81st Birthday Triple-Whammy!

Dear Swamini,

many happy returns of the day to you on your 81st Birthday, even though we all know that you are really 78. May you continue to entertain and amuse us for many more years, and please grant us the courage, strength and determination that is necessary to continue exposing you as a fraud, a sham, and a coward. We hope that you will be merciful enough to allow us to serve you in this way. Please accept some humble tokens of my unending love and gratitude, I hope this triple-whammy of a present will bring great joy to you as much as it has done for us:

Kind regards,

His Holiness Swami Saiexposedananda

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

18 November 2006

Puttaparthi BAN On Meat And Liquor

ANANTAPUR: The Puttaparthi police have banned consumption of liquor and non-vegetarian food within a radius of 9 km around Puttaparthi to maintain holiness of the international spiritual centre. Even though the ban was announced four days ago, the authorities have been treading a cautious path on the new rule.

Puttaparthi security wing DSP Gangaraju told TOI on Monday that police and ashram authorities decided to prohibit liquor and non-vegetarian food in and around Puttaparthi on the line of Tirumala. He, however, clarified that they were not harassing people and were only counselling them to maintain the holiness of the spiritual centre. At least 12 of the 15 owners of the liquor belt shops running in the surrounding villages have been counselled to stop selling liquor. Meanwhile, hotels outside the Ganesh Gate have also been asked to stop serving non-vegetarian food.

Officials said Puttaparthi town with a population of 20,000 never had a liquor shop, but visitors used to be served by the local belt shops.

Meanwhile, president A P J Abdul Kalam is likely to participate in the 81st birthday celebrations of Sri Satya Sai Baba at Puttaparthi on November 23. Official sources, however, said that the President's programme was yet to be finalised.

The President would be the chief guest for the annual convocation ceremony of Sri Satya Sai Deemed University on November 22. He will also participate in the birthday celebrations of the Baba at Prasanthi Nilayam on November 23. The President is also likely to inaugurate an indoor stadium constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 10 crore.

Sai Baba Exposed says: How cute. And a lovely 9km too! As if the radius wasn't a bit much, how fitting that it is nine kilometres - Sai Baba's favourite number?

And what was that about "officials" stating that Puttaparthi never had a liquor shop? What officials? Ashram officials? I wouldn't be surprised at these blatant liars. I was in Puttaparthi once and, after deciding to stoll outside the ashram to visit the local bookshop, I was accosted by a small child who couldn't have been older than six. He was repeating something to me over and over again in a low voice, and I ignored him because I thought he was begging for money as is typical in India. Only when I paid a little attention to what he was saying - "beer, beer" - did I realise that he was inviting me to a local liquor shop to drink alcohol!

As I was a devotee at the time I immediately refused to take him up on it and quickly proceeded to the bookstore. I was shocked to my core; how could liquor and meat be openly served in the "Kingdom of Heaven" where "God" personally resides? And yes, I discovered on my first trip to his ashram (back in 1993) that there was a non-vegetarian restaurant in the village. So now, in the run-up to Sai Baba's birthday (November 23rd) it looks like Puttaparthi police have been harangued by ashram authorities to ban the sale of alcohol and meat. The impression I got from this article was that this is some sort of temporary measure to "maintain the sanctity" of the village in view of the upcoming celebrations, but on a closer reading I see no mention of any temporary provisions. It looks permanent!

As usual you can expect the devotees to fully approve of this strategy. Here's a comment from one such that I found on another forum:

"I am glad to read this news item. True, we need to educate the people living there about the ill-effects of consuming alchoholic drinks and other pollutants like drugs etc. Also we need to educate all concerned about cleanliness and the need for keeping Puttaparthy spick and span. While the police is expected to do their duty in enforcing prohibition, the Sai devotees have also a responsibility for bringing necessary transformation in the hearts of those who are given to such addictions. Police can, at best, put an end to public drinking places and the sale of country and sophisticated liquor within a radius of 9 Kilometers. But how about drinking privately at homes by residents of Puttaparthy? How can the police nab such drinkers who are not a source of nuisance. Pl. think."

What-ho! As anyone knowledgeable about American history will know, the US Govt. already tried this in the Prohibition era, and what was the result? Massive lawbreaking and arrests all over the place; no matter how hard the law was enforced, people will find a way to continue indulging in their habits. If these Sai Baba goons think that they are on the way to achieving something great then they had better think again. "Please think", it won't work! And what's the problem about consuming alcohol within one's own home in Puttaparthi? Since when did devotees start leaning towards fascism?

Although I understand the intentions behind this new rule even though I do not consider Puttaparthi as a holy place as much as I don't consider Sai Baba as a holy guru or avatar, I don't think that banning liquor and meat is the right way of going about things even if it is being enforced cautiously. For a start, there must surely be a human rights issue what to speak of trade and business revenues making a significant downturn. Puttaparthi also has a sizeable Muslim population who are not bound to be vegetarian like their Hindu fellowmen, so does this ban apply to them too?

In their fundamentalist and frothing-at-the-mouth rabid enthusiasm to follow Sai Baba's teachings, it's clear that the ashram authorities haven't thought this through properly and are only interested in cribbing up some good publicity for themselves. They desperately want to join the ranks of other well-established (and real) pilgrimage centres and are intent on improving their surroundings so that they can perhaps apply for privileged status if they haven't already done so.

Just one thing though: The Prashanti Nilayam Township is a separate entity from the Puttaparthi village. It is a legally-incorporated entity in itself and does not have connections with the village as such. Is this yet another example of Sai Baba and his goons poking their noses where they don't belong?

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

17 November 2006

A Few Words Of Shirdi Praise...

Although this was received some weeks ago, I have been terrible at keeping up with all of the positive (and negative) emails that I get in relation to this blog. In response to the recent and devastating Shirdi Lies exposé, I received this nice letter from a devotee of Shirdi Sai Baba who had some very interesting points to make. Needless to say I am in agreement with their views. The sender has given permission to post their letter but chooses to retain anonymity:


Hello! (I don't know your name, excuse me).

I have had all my life devotion towards Shirdi Sai Baba. I agree with you that Satya Sai Baba is not the reincarnation of Shirdi Sai Nath. Since I discovered your blog yesterday, I felt the need to share this thought with you:

Shirdi Sai Baba was an avatar. Avatars do not reincarnate. That's the very simple reason why Satya can't be Shirdi's reincarnation. Avatars come from the Absolute directly, they are not subject to reincarnation, nor are they beings that have evolved to mukti. They come already complete, from the Divine, not the result of a chain of births. Reincarnation and avatarhood are not compatible. God, the Supreme, manifests as an avatar, a man, and that's it. Again and again, but no reincarnation implied.

Satya could have said that he is an avatar, like Shirdi Baba was, like Krishna was, and so on. But saying that he is the reincarnation of Shirdi Baba shows his ignorance about what avatar is and means. If Shirdi Baba was God incarnated (avatar), what of him could reincarnate and be passed to another body? If that other body (Satya) is an avatar, what he needs from the past Shirdi Baba when he can do all and knows all? Reincarnation only operates on the basis of ignorance and limitation, does not apply to avatars. They come from the Supreme, are the Supreme and return to the Supreme.

Best regards

OM Sai Amita Parakrama

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

08 November 2006

"We Do Not Care"

(Read this in Russian!)

Readers might have noticed from the recent DNA article that Sai Baba and his ashram goons are ambivalent to serious questions of sexual abuse. What's new?

In 2001 the US State Dept. published a travel advisory for India that stated:

"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."

As State Dept. officials will confirm, this announcement does refer to Sathya Sai Baba. Five years later we have an unnamed public relations officer representing Sathya Sai Baba and making the following callous statement:

We do not care what the advisory says. People and organisations can write whatever they want to believe. We have no more to say on this issue.”

No shit, Mr. Chakravarthi! If ever there was proof that the Sai Organisation is an isolated and secretive cult, you just provided it! It appals me how the Sai Organisation has been named and shamed by the United States administration, and a specific warning against him and his ashram is listed on their official website as a potential danger to US citizens, and these guys say they don't care.

This is consistent with their attitude to killing people too. In 1993 six people died in a police shootout at Sai Baba's ashram that was believed to have been an assassination attempt on the guru. Two of the dead were his disciples while the others were former students of the guru's educational institutions. This incident was hushed-up and swept under the carpet by a number of influential politicians and High Court judges, but not before the news had made it's way into the international media. Speaking to The Hindu newspaper, the then World Chairman of the Sai Organisation, Indulal Shah, had the following to say:

"The matter is purely internal and we do not wish to have any law enforcement agency investigating into it." - The Hindu, July 10th 1993

Excuse me? Six people died, and this guy tells the press that investigators should "buzz off" and keep their noses out of the ashram's "private affairs"?! What kind of harebrained attitude is this? I don't need to explain the importance of proper police investigations into the unexplained deaths of six people, much less the circumstances of their deaths by knives and gunshot wounds. And Indulal Shah is disturbed when the media come sniffing around? What does he expect? Sai Baba is arguably India's biggest and most popular guru, and when an event of this magnitude takes place it is inevitable that all eyes will be on Puttaparthi.

But no, the ashram authorities have never had a good record of press interaction when it comes to discussing Sai Baba's peculiar proclivities. When the Daily Telegraph ran a story into the allegations, they related how Chakravarthi had slammed the phone down on their reporter when asked for comment:

"When the Telegraph Magazine contacted K Chakravarthi, secretary of the Puttaparthi ashram, he said, 'We have no time for these matters. I have nothing to say' and terminated the call."

Cripes! "We have no wish", "we have no time", "we don't care", does any of this sound like wallowing in denial? It is this arrogant and irresponsible attitude that leads to many unsuspecting youths and boys being led into Sai Baba's inner apartments and asked to take their trousers off, and to be given the "boon" of an oiling on their genital area. With the "lucky ones" being afforded privileges of oral and/or anal sex with the guru, no police or judicial investigations bear fruit when all players in this deception engage in a conspiracy to hush it all up and deny it. Not even an internal investigation within the ashram. They just don't care.

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

05 November 2006

DNA: A Holy Furore Rages In Britain

Now DNA-India follows-up on the Guardian story:


A holy furore rages in Britain
Ginnie Mahajan/Brajesh Kumar
Sunday, November 05, 2006 02:00 IST

DELHI: Old allegations of sexual abuse of boys by spiritual guru Sathya Sai Baba have created a fresh furore in Britain.

The issue snowballed after the British press reported that 200 boys would visit India on a month-long humanitarian pilgrimage starting November 13, organised by the Sai Youth Movement, a division of the Sri Sathya Sai Organisation.

These boys are to receive the Duke of Edinburgh award for their humanitarian work. According to the Guardian, the British public is irked by two issues — safety of the boys at Sathya Sai Baba’s ashram at Puttaparthi in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh and the involvement of royalty with the Sri Sathya Sai Organisation.

The newspaper quotes a former home office minister Tom Sackville, who also runs a victim support group, as saying, “It is appallingly naive for the award scheme to involve young people and the royal family with an organisation whose leader is accused of paedophilia.”

Interestingly, the United States Department of State has a travel advisory against the Sathya Sai Organisation: “US citizens should be aware that there have been unconfirmed reports of inappropriate sexual behaviour by a prominent local religious leader at an ashram or religious retreat located in Andhra Pradesh.” The Guardian says US state officials have confirmed that this is a direct reference to Sathya Sai Baba. There have been rumours for years that the spiritual guru, who calls himself an incarnation of god, molested young devotees during interviews. Both Indian and foreign visitors to the ashram have come on record to say how he has abused them.

The public relations officer of Sathya Sai Baba’s ashram, however, told DNA: “We do not care what the advisory says. People and organisations can write whatever they want to believe. We have no more to say on this issue. Yes, the boys are coming to India in about two weeks’ time.”

The visit coincides with Sathya Sai Baba’s 80th birthday. He had apparently given a ‘divine commandment’ to the Sai Youth Movement to visit him on the occasion.

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

Cybernoon: "Superstition; A Crutch"

An interesting op-ed published by Cybernoon.Com about Sathya Sai Baba. It appears to be separate from the recent Guardian article but a very timely publication nevertheless, highlighting exactly why the Indian Government would be reluctant to arrest Sathya Sai Baba for his crimes.


Round Up - A.R.Kanangi

Superstition; a crutch
Saturday, November 04, 2006 8:59:12 IST

There is only a thin line between superstition and faith. People who are frightened and confused about life and death want a crutch, even if it is shaky. The new law on superstition, however, is necessary, as it will stop some horrible, cruel practices.

If the bill on superstition was passed 45 years ago, Satya Sai Baba would have attracted arrest. He was successfully cashing on the gullibility of people by claiming to be an avatar — endowed with supernatural powers. What he actually did was some cheap tricks like getting watches and kumkum from nowhere. Yogi L.S. Rao, a contemporary, wrote in a newspaper that the rascal knew how to impress people. A baba or sadhu had to first perform some miracles in order to attract attention. When once they were won over, nothing could change their faith.

Yogi Rao – from Bangalore – was a big hit with newsmen. The beedi-smoking yogi told me: "First you have to create an image, you can’t be a sadhu if you wear trousers and jacket. In India, you have to wear saffron or pale-orange brown clothes. No shirt – the torso remains exposed. And then, you must spread the word you went to the Himalayas and kept your head at the feet of the guru. Nobody will check of course whether you have actually been to the Himalayas. That Himalaya tag is very important. And then, armed with powers extraordinary, you descend to the plains and begin performing miracles. I can do better than that rascal. I can drink nitric acid, drink water and bring it out of the nose, walk on burning embers," the yogi said.

He did hold a demonstration before newsmen. It was so convincing. And then, he failed in one demonstration. He charged a fee for the public for the performance of a unique feat. It was at Versova – at that time almost deserted – that he dug a large pond. He said he would walk on water. He had a small kutir at the place. I was with him the previous night and I strongly advised him not to perform the water feat. He would not listen and strangely enough, he appeared to be quite confident.

Technical failure

Next day — in the evening — he stepped into the water and went down. There were loud protests, but everyone was pacified and told to collect the ticket money from a newspaper office. The crowd dispersed and the yogi looked at me pathetically and said: “The bubble burst in the arse. It was a technical failure.” A bubble in the arse?

Very few people went to the newspaper office to get back their money. The yogi made a neat pile and went to Bangalore. “Are you not doing something wrong — cheating people?” I asked him once. “It is not cheating. People want this. They want to believe in miracles. They are confused and afraid. They all want a crutch. I am doing this for a living. My life is simple, but I have to support three wives. That rascal down south is doing the same thing — but in a big way. He is scared of me because I can expose him.”

Yogi Rao was not the only one who could expose Satya Sai Baba. There was a rationalist in Bangalore, who at a big public meeting, did all the “miracles” of Sai Baba and proved they were all just tricks. We have thousands of babas in our country who perform all such miracles and earn their living. What will happen to them if the new bill is passed and becomes an act? It is a fact they are cheating and they need to be stopped.

No human being has seen a ghost, but go to a village, which at night is pitch dark and silent: ghosts – many and varied kinds – are said to roam round the village. The villagers say they can hear the frightening moans and wailing of the ghosts, the sound of the bells round the ankles of the ghost and sudden flashes of light etc. you tell the villagers there is no ghost on earth and they will not believe you. With ghosts ensconced in their minds, they become easy victims of unscrupulous village chiefs and hoodlums. When the fear of the ghosts is put into them, they are prepared to do anything.

And very loud rituals take place to force the villagers do what the chiefs want. A man with painted face and torso does a vigorous dance, salivating and muttering something all the time — until the Goddess or the ghost enters his body. Then he does a frightening act-shuddering from head to toe. Then he issues orders – calls out names and ask that it — the demon within him — be given rice, money. And he orders fiercely that someone the landlord does not like, must go out of the village for a month. And rebellious, cheeky, inconvenient young men are bashed up till they fall unconscious because demons inside them have to be punished. Every now and then, there are reports of women charged with practicing witchcraft being exposed to cruel punishment. The women are stripped naked and paraded through the village — getting beaten up all the time. Women receive such humiliating and cruel punishment because of false charges that they are practicing black magic, that rains do not come because the rain God does not like them, crops perish because of their very presence in the village.

The superstition with regard to “sati” sees quite a few women on the burning pyre with their husbands. It is nothing but murder, but thanks to prevailing superstition, the burning horror takes place. It looks like there is only a thin line between faith and superstition. A priest tells a man who has lost a dear relative that the latter cannot enter heaven until certain pujas are performed. The man has to feed Brahmins, pay the priest money and incur expenditure on certain other items. Will the priest be liable for arrest under the new act?

Out of over 100 crore people in the country, at least half of them are ignorant, illiterate and superstitious. Our country is fertile ground for superstition. Our knowledge of the superstitions is limited. Even rationalists are dumbfounded sometimes how actually action based on superstition results in harmonious, better collective living. There is nothing wrong with being superstitious, but what is wrong is its exploitation by unscrupulous men. And all of us — even the rationalists — are in some way on the other superstitious. There is nothing surprising about this. The life and death mystery frightens people. There is no answer. There are things beyond reason — many things we cannot explain. So we cling to superstition — like the sophisticated, educated folks rely on spirituality. Both indicate a certain helplessness, a certain attempt to find some meaning. A crutch.

Clean cheat

And today, we see the unique phenomenon of those who derive mileage from superstition and fears in the minds of innocent, gullible people, making it big. Once their own survival is ensured, they start building towns. They start colleges, hospitals, charity institutions, industrial units and other enterprises. They use the huge money they get from worshippers as well as from foreign sources to build a township. People then forget about the cheating and exploitation and give them a clean chit. It will be said they did not misuse the funds but utilised it for collective good. And if they did the tricks, they were done deliberately as per a definite vision. Nobody will arrest Satya Sai Baba today.

And I will end this piece with a Chinese joke. A China man was placing some rice at the grave of his relative in Beijing. A foreigner from Europe laughed derisively as he placed a bouquet at his friend’s grave and said: “Ho ho, will your dead relative come to eat the rice?” The China man replied: “Tell me whether your dead friend come to smell the flowers?”

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

04 November 2006

Sai Youth Take BIG Hit From Guardian

In May 2006 we brought you the news that the Sai Youth of UK were gearing up for a massive pilgrimage to the home base of Sathya Sai Baba, in full knowledge of the fact that any or all of them may suffer the grossest experience of homosexual paedophilia, and that it was the Baba himself who called for them to visit him this November. We also undertook an extremely brief and cursory analysis of Shitu Chudasama's Sadhana Plan for said trip.

Now we take extreme pleasure in noting how the recent Guardian article has completely blown apart all expectations and put Sai Baba and his crimes in the public eye yet again. It wasn't enough to suffer from an hour-length BBC documentary especially since a new angle has recently been cynically exploited by the Sai Organisation. Somehow or other they succeeded in their plan to win the Duke of Edinburgh Award and claim praise and encouragement from H.M. The Queen and, just as predicted, they went into a frenzy of self-glorification and patting their own backs for receiving "Royal Recognition". As due punishment for their misrepresentation of the facts, the Sai Organisation were forced to pull the page down and which now turns up a 'Page Not Found' error.

The thing which I like most about the Guardian article is the number of heavyweight names that are dropped; Tom Sackville (former UK Home Office minister), Michael Gove MP (Surrey Heath), Brig. Sir Miles Hunt-Davis (personal secretary to HRH Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh), among others. And all of them driving themselves dizzy about their glaring oversight of how the British Royal Family came to be associated closely with an organisation that has a widely-accused homosexual paedophile and murderer as it's head. You can't beat it!

And let's remind ourselves of the Guardian's eminent status; it is not some backwoods village newspaper. This is a full-blown and extremely highbrow national newspaper, and which is why I am in fits of giggles when I read quotes like this:

"The trip coincides with Sai Baba's 80th birthday and has been arranged, organisers say, after he gave a divine commandment for the UK's Sai youth movement to visit him for the occasion."

Combined with the 'Backstory' section at the end of the article, British elitists will be reading this and thinking that Sai Baba is completely nuts! Divine commandment? I love it! And this is just the Internet edition that is out before the print edition, who knows how different it will be with a full spread on Page 3? :-)

And what did Michael Gove say?

"As a society we need a more determined effort to identify and expose those religious cults and extremists that pose a direct threat to people, so that they do not enjoy patronage that should be directed elsewhere."

Right on the money! Shitu Chudasama weakly responded by saying that the paedophilia allegations were "totally unfounded" and bleated further:

"We hope to have an interview with Sai Baba but it's not guaranteed. If he wants to see us, he'll call us."


Reality check: Who gives a monkey's over whether Sai Baba will "call" them on a whim when the UK Sai Organisation has just suffered their biggest attack since the acclaimed BBC documentary? This is their idea of PR: "we hope to be called for a non-guaranteed interview"? Chee.

What to speak of the fact that - yet again - Sai Baba's ill name is splashed all over the pages of of a highbrow British newspaper on suspicion of homosexual paedophilia, compounded by the very public ignominy of having members of the Royal Family dragged into this classless and sordid affair. And to top it all off, the latest news holds that their trip to Sai Baba is still going full steam ahead despite the widespread concern effected by the news report. An announcement on the Sai Youth (UK) website notes the following:

Yep, the Final Meeting for the National UK Pilgrimage is being held tomorrow, Sunday 5th October 2006 at the following address:

Stanburn First School
Abercorn Road

Telephone Number: +44 208 9541423
Fax Number: +44 208 954 3227

Meeting times: 18.00-22.00

And which is none other than the Sai School of Harrow! Should be an interesting meeting. What I'd give to be a fly on the wall there. No prizes for guessing what'll be on the agenda.

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

Guardian's Sensational Sai Scandal!

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The Indian living god, the paedophilia claims and the Duke of Edinburgh awards

· Sexual abuse accusations against group's leader
· 80th birthday invitation to hundreds of youngsters

Paul Lewis
Saturday November 4, 2006
The Guardian

A spiritual group whose "living god" founder has been accused of sexually abusing young boys has become an accredited partner of the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme, the Guardian can reveal.

Last night pressure was mounting on the charity to break its links with the group whose followers are devoted to the preachings of 79-year-old holy man, Sai Baba. About 200 young people will fly to India in two weeks' time on a humanitarian pilgrimage run by Sai Youth UK, a division of the Sri Sathya Sai Organisation. The teenagers and young men earn their Duke of Edinburgh awards for humanitarian work, chiefly distributing medical aid. The trip coincides with Sai Baba's 80th birthday and has been arranged, organisers say, after he gave a divine commandment for the UK's Sai youth movement to visit him for the occasion.

For decades male former devotees have alleged that the guru molested them during so-called "interviews". During the last youth pilgrimage, in 2004, young people were granted group interviews with the guru after administering medical aid to villages surrounding Sai Baba's ashram in Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh, although there was no evidence of abuse. Large numbers of young men have travelled from across the world to study alongside and meet the guru. His supporters say their encounter was spiritually enriching. Others, including participants in a BBC programme, The Secret Swami, two years ago, accuse him of abuse, claiming he massaged their testicles with oil and coerced them into oral sex.

Sai Baba has never been charged over the sex abuse allegations. However, the US State Department issued a travel warning after reports of "inappropriate sexual behaviour by a prominent local religious leader" which, officials later confirmed was a reference to Sai Baba. Tom Sackville, a former Home Office minister and chairman of FAIR, a cult-watching and victim support group, said: "It is appallingly naive for the award scheme to involve young people and the royal family with an organisation whose leader is accused of paedophilia. Parents who plan to send their children on this month's pilgrimage ... should be aware of the danger their children are being exposed to."

But Peter Westgarth, chief executive of the charity, last night faced down calls to terminate his organisation's relationship with the Sai organisation. He said: "This is not the only religion accused of paedophilia. Young people who are participating on these trips are doing so because they choose to," he said. "The awards accredit the good work they do for poor people in India. We make no judgment about their religion. We would no sooner intervene here than we would the Church Lads' and Girls' Brigade."

The Conservative MP Michael Gove said he would write to the charity asking it to consider a stricter monitoring of the organisations they they work with. "As a society we need a more determined effort to identify and expose those religious cults and extremists that pose a direct threat to people, so that they do not enjoy patronage that should be directed elsewhere," he said.

Shitu Chudasama, Sai's UK national youth coordinator, defended the trip, saying it was primarily a humanitarian mission to help impoverished people, saying that the sex abuse claims were "totally unfounded". He added: "We hope to have an interview with Sai Baba but it's not guaranteed. If he wants to see us, he'll call us."

Sai Organisation's UK branch has also came into contact with royals through the awards, something Buckingham Palace was made aware of in September. In correspondence seen by the Guardian, Brigadier Sir Miles Hunt-Davis, Prince Philip's private secretary, wrote: "[We] are very keen to get this sorted out properly and finally." He said trustees of the award would undertake legal advice before deciding how to proceed. In July the Sai Organisation received a certificate for their "invaluable contribution" to the awards at a Buckingham Palace garden party. A news story which appeared on a Sai Baba website after the ceremony was removed after an intervention by Peter Westgarth, who said the event had been misrepresented.

In the posting, Mr Chudasama recounted the moment he delivered a speech to "various dignitaries, diplomats, ministers [and] famous celebrities" at the palace. "I was the last speaker called up, and suddenly a confidence, a joy, engulfed my being," he said. "I attributed everything to our founder Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. As I spoke I watched the sea of faces, they were hanging from my every word and there was a look of excitement on their faces as if to say 'why have we not heard of this organisation before?'." Mr Chudasama also attended a private audience with Prince Philip at St James's Palace last year. "Prince Philip showed a very keen interest in our youth and asked many questions," Mr Chudasama wrote in a Sai newsletter. "I also had the opportunity to mention ... that we drew our inspiration and motivation from our founder Sri Sathya Sai Baba; he paused for a few seconds and then said: "Very good".


Sathya Sai Baba, who has an estimated 30 million followers worldwide, is possibly India's most controversial holy man. He gained a following in his teens when he claimed to have divine powers and, later, said he was an incarnation of God. His teachings are benign - his most famous mantra is "Love All, Serve All" - and he encourages followers, which include many of India's political elite, to undertake humanitarian work. He purports to be able to miraculously conjure sacred ash and expensive jewellery into the palm of his hand, as if out of thin air. Opponents dismiss his miracles as party tricks. The Sai Organisation claims to have more than 1,200 Sathya Sai Baba Centres in more than 100 countries.


This article has three follow-ups:

Sai Youth Take BIG Hit From Guardian
DNA: A Holy Furore Rages In Britain
"We Do Not Care"

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