Re: BBC TWO
documentary on Sathya Sai Baba 17 June 2004
Document date: Jun 23, 2004 at 04:04 AM
By: Robert Priddy
A trustworthy viewer in UK known to me
sent the following summary of the TV programme.
- This one-hour documentary covered the major aspects of SB's
alleged crimes, such as sexual abuse, murder, and fake miracles.
The following is a resumé written by a viewer in UK from memory
after the programme. Some of the details may therefore be
- It started by introducing SB as "India's biggest guru" and so
on. The first major "scandal" to be discussed was the story of Al
Rahm and Alaya.
They were intro'd nicely, explaining how Al had set up a "model
Sai Baba commune", built a large house for bhajan sessions, plans
to build a school, etc.
- The documentary was interspersed with the Rahms' story while
showing clips of SB at Sivarathri (early 2004), interview with B
Premanand, discussing SB's charity works (water project and
hospital) as well as members of the Rationalist Association
showing the residents of an Indian
village how SB performs his tricks, much to their amusement. The
main reporter is Tanya Datta, who appears frequently as an
- The Rahm's story is told like a common thread throughout the
documentary. It is a surprising thing indeed to discover that SB
had molested Al as well as Alaya. Mention is made of SB rubbing
oil on Alaya's genitalia and attempting to have sex with him as
well as kiss him on
mouth. A little hilarity there as Alaya mentions that SB is "about
5 feet" and that he is 6"6', conjuring up a rather comical image
of a short perverted man. The Rahm's collection of trinkets is
shown as well as orange robes, and Al Rahm clearly tells Tanya
that he thinks all those
trinkets were a "bribe."
The story of Alaya Rahm is indeed tragic; Alaya's mother is
reduced to tears and sobs as she relates how she felt when Alaya
told the family of his abuse at SB's hands.
- The other molestee mentioned is Mark Roche of USA, who tells a
similar story of genital oiling and SB's attempts to engage him in
oral sex already in 1976. Tanya asks him: "Why would God want to
put his penis in your mouth?" Roche replies something like,
"You've got me!"
Footage of a meeting and subsequent discussion between Roche and
the Rahms is shown as an example of how abused devotees need to
move on with their lives.
- Interviews in India were conducted. Basava Premanand relates how
he has been investigating SB since 1968 and going public since
1976. He is an elderly man, in his 70s. Footage of a town meeting
is shown where Premanand and his colleagues explain how typical
miracles such as the
vibhuti materializations and lingam-ejections can be easily faked.
- Interview with Dr. Murali Manohar Joshi (formerly India's
Minister for Science & Technology, Government of India, then Union
Minister for Human Resource Development, but now out of power).
This is one of the "funniest" parts of the whole documentary. The
background info about Vajpayee's letter is told to give context to
Joshi's interview. Tanya asks Joshi what he thinks about the
allegations and is he aware of them? Joshi gives the TYPICAL
evasive replies that SB Org officials always give and reiterated
that whatever Vajpayee wrote in the letter was correct, his own
statement being that the allegations were totally baseless.
- When asked by Tanya Datta if he or anyone representative of the
Indian Govt had investigated the allegations into SB, Joshi gave
more evasive replies before finally losing his temper and
exploding into arguing with Tanya: "You are just trying to malign
Sai Baba! Yes you are! Don't argue with me, you are! Do you think
you can ask these sort of questions with me, a minister of my
stature?" Total ego-trip.
- An interview with Isaac Tigrett is shown. Background info is
given about Tigrett's experiences, founding the Hard Rock Café
chain, donating money to build the Sai super-speciality hospital,
and so on. Later on, Tigrett says some pretty astounding things
which have the possibility to make
people seriously doubt his sanity. As also reported in Time Out
magazine, Tigrett sample comments: "Even if he [SB] went out and
murdered someone tomorrow, that would not stop my evolution. He is
my guru absolutely. I believe that the allegations are true, they
- Dr. Michael Goldstein, international head Sathya Sai
Organisation, is interviewed. At the beginning he is "officially"
interviewed wherein he states that SB is on an equal par with
Jesus, Buddha and all, and the founder of all the world's
religions. He expressed a reluctance to be
interviewed regarding the allegations so the BBC team entered his
home with a hidden camera and questioned him about the
allegations. I'm happy to say that he also came off as a ranting
maniac. He gave his side of the story of when the Rahms' reported
Alaya's abuse to him and generally acknowledges his past comments
to be true. He also told the whole story of how he went to SB and
questioned him on the Rahm's behalf, even including SB's statement
"Swami is pure." Goldstein relates that SB told him, "If you want
to fight gutter people, you have to go into the gutter. Forget
- Goldstein rants about how he is a physician and that qualifies
him to automatically "know" who has been abused judging on their
appearance alone, since he has been associating with students
since the 70s or so.
When questioned incisively by Tanya Datta and another interviewer
about why he never made a more thorough questioning of SB on the
Rahm's behalf bar that one question, Goldstein says "it is against
my faith and conscience to do so," because apparently "there is no
way he could ever do
such things." (!)
The genius part is how the documentary shows Al Rahm relating how
SB praised Goldstein in that famous discourse we all know about,
and a clip of this discourse is shown as well. Goldstein can be
seen holding his head in his hands in pride at having beeen
"blessed" so much by SB. Al Rahm
bemusedly relates his feelings that Goldstein was "played" by SB.
- The story of the murders is told next. It is told interspersed
with dramatic reconstructions of the incident which are
instructive, and good graphically speaking. The ex-Home Minister
for Andhra Pradesh state is interviewed to tell the story of the
murders. He tells the official police version and states quite
clearly that it is "riddled with lies and inconsistencies." He
also states that there was "no way that knives are a match for
roaring guns" and that any statement by the police officers that
they shot the four "assailants" in self-defence is hogwash.
Nayadjelu clearly states that it was "absolute, cold-blooded
murder." An interesting thing that he also remarks is that he
plans on RE-OPENING that 1993 murder case. Hooray! He clearly
points to a cover-up, saying how it is
"convenient" that the assailants were murdered, since if they had
been arrested and taken to court, all sorts of details of details
would have come out such as why they were there in the first
place. Premanand is shown clearly stating what would likely have
come out: "economic offences,
sex offences, and the like." Graphic pictures of the murder scene
are displayed, which work very well to give the viewer a good
picture of how brutal the murders were.
- In between all of the above segments, a trip to Puttaparthi at
the Sivaratri celebrations is shown. SB is expected to 'give
birth' to a lingam from stomach via his mouth. Back in March, one
could see how ridiculous of SB it was to simply vomit liquid and
pretend to produce a lingam that was so obviously hidden in a
towel. This could be viewed on an UNCLEAR clip from the
kingdomofsai.org website posted. Not so with this BBC documentary;
the Sivaratri footage can be viewed in brilliant detail, SB simply
regurgitates the water he just drank and maybe a little vomit but
it is obviously clear that no lingam ever came out of his mouth in
- After this lingam "no-show," SB is clearly shown collapsing due
to the exertions of the cosmic miracle, poor thing. It is noted
how the members of his coterie "swung into action" to help him.
After apparently producing two more lingams (not mentioned or
shown in the documentary) SB is shown being brought back to the
stage with assistance. Really, he is a poor sick frail old man who
is NOW in a wheelchair. It is absolutely amazing how anyone could
believe that this is God. God collapses in full view of BBC TV?