Dr. Goldstein, the Baba and the Beeb
Reputation damage and how not to handle its limitation
By: Robert Priddy
THE BABA AND THE BEEB
One cannot but suspect that ashram officials and Sai Organisation leaders thought that the BBC could easily be induced to believe in the alleged purity and goodness of Sathya Sai Baba. But the Beeb is not prone to be fooled as easily as they have been fooled by Sai Baba and by themselves. These self-important 'blessed disciples' of God Himself assumed that their avatar could not now fail to become famous (so belatedly), rather than infamous, as he is fast becoming (so belatedly). Alas, there is almost no cure for most blind persons, even though their blindness comes of permanently wearing the rose-coloured glasses Sai Baba prescribes for all. (at least when looking at him and his doings).
Well knowing that he was being filmed by the BBC, of course, Sai Baba had the sheepish, slightly bemused expression of one who realises he has given his trick away when he took this year's "divine golden lingam" from the towel he was holding it in for some time and held it up for all to see... without even having smuggled it into his mouth this time! He sicked up some yellowish liquid before his cheating trick, all applauded enthusiastically by all his many sheep. No wonder he had a collapse and had to be carried off. In camera he was reported to have brought up two more lingams. Can one take this on trust? No, in this case, neither seeing nor not seeing can be believing. The sheer transparency of his fraudulence has become one of the more amazing features of his 'dispensation' to save the world and humanity. But most devotees interpret whatever they see so it looks rose-coloured, no matter how many mental somersaults they have to perform, as if on the slack line. This was a public spectacle not even worthy of Barnum and Bailey.
The BBC were interested in the allegations of sexual abuse (naturally, one would reckon) and they asked about this - after having secured film of the Shivarathri show, the ashram etc. They were then most rapidly shown the door in that inimical brusque Prashanthi Nilayam "Love All Serve All But Not You" manner, as they had doubtless been forewarned by well-wishers would most likely happen when they got real about things. The same reaction evidently came from Dr. M. Goldstein, world leader of the Sathya Sai Organisation... a person with plenty to hide and a man without integrity or even the civility and "agreeable, soft-spokenness", on which his guru insists on absolutely all occasions. To ensure the silence of muerta within his 'brotherhood', he then sent out an e-mail to trusted office-bearers warning everyone off speaking to the BBC or other media requesting interviews. One of the recipients slipped up and posted it on a Sai bulletin board for the supposed benefit of other devotees, and it was duly recorded (see below), even though it disappeared very soon afterwards in another failed damage limitation exercise by the secretive leaders who represent the 'Secret Swami'.
Comment: Why is it "very important"? The answer surely is that all efforts are being doubled to cover up any unpleasant but undeniable facts whatever of Sathya Sai Baba and also to suppress any comments or criticism from within the movement. Why is that necessary? Because there is something to hide! Some of this will be seen on the BBC documentary, because Dr. Goldstein and the ashram blew it, and now try in vain to shut the stable door after the horse has bolted.
This censorship and cover-up is a hallmark of the authoritarian Sathya Sai organisation, and of the regimented ashrams of Sai Baba, especially at Prashanthi Nilayam and Brindavan, where secrecy is the norm, as is the cover-up of all the many untoward incidents including murders, suicides, bomb threats (as detailed on this website) and where refusal to answer questions frankly on any issues considered sensitive by the virtually paranoid staff is standard fare to which all devotees have to adjust and become inured to, like it or not. What once was boasted by Sai Baba as being an ashram without walls, is now a tightly-weapon-guarded enclave within which Sai Babe lives in an impregnable apartment defended by a large secret staff of plainclothes guards. The movement is everywhere contracting into itself and sealing itself in true cult fashion against the outside world.