The Name "Sathya Sai Baba"
By Robert Priddy
Sathya Sai Baba has long insisted on the importance of his “holy name”, claiming that it alone is what brings success to all projects undertaken under it. What a pompous boast! Fortunately, this has definitively not proven to be tenable. It has been near impossible to start various service projects using the name, especially in some European countries where an understandable mistrust of Indian swamis based on previous experience is very widespread, and where Sathya Sai Baba’s notoriety is also spreading fast. Various devotees have developed reasonable teaching programs based on SSB's ‘universal human values’, which value-system however is crucially incomplete, often far too vague in practice and culturally biased towards Indian religious beliefs. But because some teachers with experience among them have not mentioned Sai Baba so as not to awake suspicions – they have been systematically excluded by the secretive and largely unaccountable Sai organisation. Such quality teachers, such as in UK, Sweden and Italy started independent organizations to avoid using SSB’s name even before the sexual abuse exposures began, all leave the Sai organisation when they meet up with the authoritarian fundamentalism and rigidity of its top-down nature.
However, the taint of accusations of closet sex with males and child molesting have become widely attached to the Sathya Sai Baba name around the world through the Internet, television, reputable newspapers internationally and in other media... not exactly a recipe for success attaching to Sai Baba's name, nor for the foreseeable future! Even the Sai organization is trying to conceal its closeness to the difficult name by starting up independent school projects that do not contain the full 'insuperable' name but are directed under cover of the less blatant banner of “Sai Educare”. All this 'Sai education' has met with big set-backs - not least recently in Denmark, Sweden, Holland and Australia - and has made no visible headway in achieving public recognition in the world. Various exposé activists are working to ensure that educational bodies and authorities around the world are gradually being properly informed of the situation and the reasons for utmost care wherever the name Sathya Sai Baba and his devious organisations are involved.