The Head of the Sai Org. in Australia,
T. S. Ramanathan, Threatens Australian Broadcaster
by Robert Priddy, Oslo, former national leader of all Sai activities in Norway.
(see Release 185 on their official website at:
Your Central Coordinator had faxed to the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) (fax no: 02 9430 3700) the attached letter of protest to SBS regarding the proposed telecast containing anti-Sai Baba sentiments.
To SBS Policy Manager
SBS TV screening of the program "Insight" on Sathya Sai Baba, Thursday the 12th of February 2004.
We wish to PROTEST the proposed screening of the above program on Sathya Sai Baba for the following among other reasons: -
1. The anti Sai Baba group have sought to produce videos of alleged sexual assaults of Sai Baba's alleged devotees. None of these allegations have been established beyond doubt.
2. As sex abuse stories attract media and of public interest, you (SBS) have been the source whereby the anti Sai lobby have got you to screen this video on hearsay evidence.
3. One would expect SBS, an entity recognised for their independent reporting, to make their own investigation and screen a truthful newsworthy program.
4. In matters of this nature, one has legal rights to safeguard and protect the name of Sai Baba - such course of action will not be in accordance with Sai Baba's teachings where his devotees are called upon to "freely examine and experience" his Divinity.
5. As for the anti Sai group, some of them subsist on the generous welfare handouts of government and exist on Disability Pensions (disability being physical or mental) have the time to conjure up situations. Some of the anti Sai group are eccentric, neurotic and their behaviour and attitude are equally bizarre.
We expect SBS to either withdraw the screening or at least to announce before or after the screening that the "show" was not one produced by SBS. Such steps will avert any action against SBS and will maintain the truth.
The Sai Organisation, which is a voluntary free democratic organisation, is involved in dissemination of Sai teachings. The Sai Organisation covers most of the countries of the world and participants include Heads of State, Intellectuals, Psychiatrists, professionals and people from all walks of life.
We are ready and willing to be interviewed for a program which you may screen. This will enhance your reputation as a free and independent entity. Truth triumphs.
sgd. T. Sri Ramanathan, Regional Central Coordinator, Sathya Sai Organisation Australia & Papua New Guinea, 43/84, St. Georges Crescent.
As is seen in the above, Mr. Ramanathan sneers at persons who suffer from physical disabilities! Is this the true spirit of a leading Sai devotee, supposedly a model citizen full of compassion? His facetious remark implying that the same persons suffer from mental disability hardly does him great credit, especially since he knows full well that the persons he impugns certainly suffer no mental disabilities. Is this the best he can do in trying to refute the documentary about his guru's homosexual seductions of young men and minors?
Mr. Ramanathan cannot even get simple facts straight. He holds that "the anti-Sai group sought to produce videos" etc. But it was an independent journalist working for Denmark's National TV who did the investigations and made 35 mm films (not 'videos') which included interviews with three persons who told of the abuses they were subjected to. The film was authorised and shown by DR (the national Denmark Broadcasting Corporation), which defended itself with complete success in three court cases brought against them by Sai Baba representatives in the attempt to stop the showing of the film there. It was thereafter shown three times on both Danish and Norwegian TV, naturally reducing very seriously the movement in both countries. Over 500 persons, including many long-time devotees and ex-leaders, have so far signed the on-line public petition to bring Sai Baba to justice. Moreover, thousands have left the organisation since 2000, another fact which it strives to cover up. Admittedly, many prominent Indian followers are as if welded into the super-rich and powerful Sai movement for reasons of finance, and prestige and so as to obtain their own social and political ends.
Mr. Ramanathan cannot tell the difference between 'hearsay evidence' and' first-hand evidence', which latter the three interviewees provide. Weighty and credible circumstantial evidence of Sai Baba's sexual molestations has been made available in over 20 sworn and signed affidavits by other victims around the world. Sai Baba devotee judges in the Indian Supreme Court rejected this evidence before examining it. The Indian Government have been openly complicit in covering all Sai Baba's suspected and uninvestigated criminal acts, but the murders of four of his young male devotees in his own bedroom in 1993, which matter was quashed by Government intervention, is to be brought before the Indian Supreme Court again this year. Most of the sex abuse accounts can be read on this website (see under 'Witnesses').
Further, just as one more example, my colleague Professor Erlendur Haraldsson of Rekjavik University, who investigated the Sai movement and alleged miracles very widely in the 1970s (though without controlled scientific results) , was repeatedly told of Sai Baba's sexual interest in boys and young men and refers to some of these in his book 'Modern Miracles'. Besides, Sai officials on both radio and TV news and journalists in Denmark have openly admitted that Sai oils the genitals and crotch of many young men, itself an illegal act in most societies with an effective rule of law (unless done by a medical doctor with a patient's advance consent).
Mr. Ramanathan would expect SBS - as a recognised independent media institution - not to have sent the film. But even Ramanathan evidently recognises their independence, so why does he think they have not investigated the matter to their own lawyers' satisfaction? Further, he would expect SBS to make a separate investigation and screen a truthful newsworthy program. Nothing could be more desirable in this matter than that SBS might deepen these investigations further, and we hope it will occur... for SBS would surely not fail to pursue the truth in asking most penetrating questions of the sort that no Sai official - let alone Sai Baba - has so far answered or dared to discuss. It seems likely that serious journalists would not simply swallow all the Sai propaganda (God the father who sent Jesus, Sai to lift a range of mountains single-handedly etc.) They would wonder why no Sai officials have sought to contact the many sexual victims to hear their evidence, for these officials have been too busy denying out of hand (or rationalising away) what they fear to know about. It would bring their private world of beliefs and delusions and their whole way of life as devotees crashing down about their ears. As to Ramanathan's threats of possible litigation against SBS, from our viewpoint we could hope (with all due respects to SBS nonetheless) that they are not as empty as such threats by him have previously shown themselves to be. But time will doubtless show just how empty they are.
As so often before in his vapid and rambling 'news releases', Ramanathan demonstrates his poor education in the following: "Some of the anti Sai group are eccentric, neurotic and their behaviour and attitude are equally bizarre." This is a tabloid-like attempt through unfounded and defamatory general allegations against a group of unnamed people who disagree with him to divert attention from the major issue, Sai Baba's suspected and widely-alleged fradulence and criminality. This is a well-known cheap kind of trick used to avert attention from the accused by accusing the accusers (such as unconvincing lawyers of Ramanathan's calibre do). It is a recourse taken by unconscionable people who have no genuine arguments and want to conceal the facts they cannot face head on.
Not surprisingly, Mr. Ramanathan fails to mention the large numbers of seriously ill people, mentally disturbed and often wildly psychotic persons who are a constant feature at the ashrams of Sai Baba, but who are treated largely like pariahs by the officials there. But we now know his typical VIP attitude towards those in ill health, which well reflects Sai Baba's own oft-repeated preposterous, uncompassionate attitude, namely, "it is all entirely their own fault". Ramanathan virtually accuses people of being 'disabled' and receiving pensions they have earned, forgetting that his own Sai Baba is also disabled now and has lived most of his life on massive handouts from devotees, including big donations from me.
Perhaps the most mendacious part of Ramanathan's letter is the claim that the Sai Organisation is a democratic organisation. This is a direct untruth. At the lowest levels, there is a kind of democracy in electing group and even Centre leaders, but this is limited by the narrow restrictions on what a member can do, as set by the Charter and which anyhow subject to the approval of the higher, unelected leaders. So this is pseudo-democracy, creating an illusion to mislead new members into thinking theywill be able to exercise at least some influence. The correct way to characterise it is as an autocratic personality cult. It is an organisation run entirely by unelected leaders in each region and country (nominated by Sai Baba or occasionally by his chief minions), leaders who cannot ever be removed by any membership vote, but who can be dismissed without any explanation by any superior official (as has been documented, for example, by the former and dismissed leader of the Moscow Centre and Russian Sai Education leader, Serguei Badaev). The organisation has no democratic checks and balances whatever, even constructive critical feedback is blatantly ignored. All is run on an authoritarian Indian, entirely top-down model... no accountability on anything and no right of redress of any kind. Members have to sign a paper recognising the Charter which declares that they can have no claims or rights of any kind whatever as members of the Organisation. It exercises a soviet-type control of information, and spreads disinformation and nothing but positive self-propaganda (through world radio, dozens of websites, films, books and magazines). My website on it documents its nature quite fully. Mr. Ramanathan knows this all too well as he admits it has an 'unwritten constitution', besides which he runs his branch in a wholly authoritarian manner. We would hope SBS take up the offer to investigate it and also the many victims of sexual abuse and families of murdered devotees too, they will soon uncover a great weight of evidence!
An altogether pathetic, wholly unconvincing and self-revealing performance from this impressionable centenarian Sri Lankan Sai devotee Ramanathan, who likes to have people touch his feet as a sign of his supposed 'blessedness'. He moves in a privileged stratum of Sai VIPs very largely out of touch with the many decent people who are nevertheless part of the movement (as I also was for 18 years) . He concludes with 'Truth triumphs'. It has had one small triumph in the showing of 'Seduced by Sai Baba' and - in accordance with this prediction - more will certainly be on the way.