By: Robert Priddy

Date: 12-30-03


Devotees known to me are circulating rationalisations about the 'curtain of shame'. This phrase is a telling one, but it also tends to hide the fact that there are also solid doors which SSB closes when it suits him. The lines on which devotee denials go are as follows:-
'It is not possible to seduce anyone behind the curtain because:-

1) a curtain cannot conceal such an act taking place from those in the main room, one would see or hear it

2) the time people are in the private inner interview room is too short.

3) there would be clear signs in the behaviour of the victim, marks on his or SSB's clothing etc., if anything so serious had taken place.'

These points are easily refuted on the basis of facts, even without reading the dozens of detailed and credible personal testimonies of those who have been molested behind the curtain and/or the doors.

Concerning 1): the obvious must be pointed out. Why can a curtain not conceal the view? The door is so placed, both at Prashanthi and Brindavan interview rooms, that most people cannot see the inside of the inner room from where they sit even when the curtain is drawn back. Many have experienced how difficult it is to hear anything but an occasional mumbling from the inner room, even when the curtain is not drawn! SSB dos not stand before the door opening, except perhaps when one enters. His seats are usually not at all near the door.
More crucial, however, is the fact that the inner interview room in the Prashanthi mandir is separated from the main interview room by a curtain, yes, but also by two fairly narrow but solid wooden double doors. These used to be in natural wood, then were later painted a rich blue colour (as clearly seen on photographs with the bloody floor in the interview room after the murder episode in 1993). My wife and I have seen the doors firmly closed when young men have been taken into the inner room on several occasions. They were also closed on at least two occasions when my wife and I were taken in there. In the Trayee Brindavan interview room, the inner room is yet more isolated from the main one, and a curtain and a door can be used there too.

Concerning 2): the private interviews vary in length and can last up to 10 minutes, especially when young men are invited in. The curtain is supposedly not drawn when ladies get a private interview, though we have seen it drawn across where there were more than one lady together with SSB. SSB closed the doors when a lady friend of ours and another lady were given the private interview in 1987.

The time taken for SSB to oil young men genitally around and beneath the penis (an event no longer denied taking place by anyone I know, whether devotee or not) can be very short... When a boy has been kissed on the mouth and oiled and kissed on the mouth (sometimes reportedly accompanied by SSB masturbating him) on a few occasions yet still comes to interviews, the next step can be undertaken well within 5 minutes and yet better within ten. So that knocks on the head any idea of it being impossible for SSB to do this in the time and place involved.

The seduction techniques of pederasts are well known in the medical literature, the gradual approach at first and more daring and unexpected quick advances soon afterwards. It is known that some enjoy the excitement of taking risks, such as that of discovery. When SSB gets hold of a boy or young man who has been brought up to believe that he is nothing short of Know-all God Almighty, a regular Shiva Destroyer as much as a blissful Krishna, SSB an obviously make very short work of him.

Concerning 3): The likely or possible behaviour of those coming out after sexual abuse is an issue. My wife and I have seen young men who have been given many interviews come out of the inner room after longer than usual periods. The first time they are usually quite excited and tell much (if not perhaps all) about it. Some we have seen after 5 or more interviews come out with blank faces. It has often been very difficult to get any replies from them about their experiences, despite the fact that we never remotely suspected anything untoward could have been taking place. This is confirmed by the reports of those who have spoken out about the abuses and how envious many devotees have been of them for all the attention they were getting. More and more unwanted attention as time went on.

It took real bravery - after terrible confusions and fears - for those who decided to tell the truth and make known what had happened to them, often in the face of 100% devoted parents and other family members and - of course - risking criticism, ridicule, ostracism slander and yet worse from other devotees. This is largely what happened in Sweden to the young man known as 'the Golden Boy' who spoke out at a crisis Sai meeting in Stockholm. Many devotees who had known him a long time would not even believe him, despite his anguish and tears, and put it down to mental disturbance, imagination and so on! They reacted likewise to the account of the son of a Sai leader, who also bore witness to sex abuse. All that really amounted to was betrayal of two young persons in favour of their own pet belief preferences.

Since the evidence came in tons from 2000 onwards, this betrayal is practised throughout the Sai movement. Devotees are in denial even after being TOLD FIRST-HAND by a victim, so how would they ever notice anything untoward when a young man comes out of the interview room looking serious and disturbed? They would have plenty of theories ready to explain it... Swami must have had to correct him strictly, and suchlike rubbish. Would they be in a fit state of mind to see and recognise any signs of abuse? Would they be searching for marks left by semen, oral sex or what… or even recognise it if they saw it in that situation? Absolutely not! All visitors know that SSB always has at least one handkerchief very handy. Anyone who has been in a SSB interview can ask, if SSB had molested him or her, would they have come out and given any hint in front of so many largely fanatical followers, and servitors who are known on at least three occasions to have beaten up people very violently right out in the darshan lines. Would they have denounced SSB in the ashram where there was a covering up the darkest possible doings... four cold-blooded executions in SSB's bedroom in 1993?