Sai Baba, a deceptive guru
By: Andries Krugers Dagneaux
"Welcome to the mourners' club," e-mails ex-Sai
Baba devotee (worshipper) Leo to his new fellow-sufferers. He does not
want his name in the newspaper. "For me it's now been a week since I'm
an ex, and that after eleven years." As a result of all the rumors that
he heard and in spite of Sai Baba's prohibition, he took a look on the
internet. "It was shocking. I could no longer dismiss it as a conspiracy
of negative forces and disappointed devotees." He is now in mourning.
"Baba was not only my father and mother but also the founder of my world
view. I've torn up all his photos."
Hundreds of Dutch believers in past months have, just
like him, torn their Sai Baba photos off the wall and thrown away his books. The
number of testimonies on the internet is growing, from rank and file adherents,
but also from 'highly placed persons' who know Sai Baba well. Invariably the
swami pulled their trousers down and touched their genitals. Some were forced to
have oral sex. Those who are allowed to meet Sai Baba in private are very lucky.
Thousands have to be satisfied with a brief sight of the deity when he gives the
The mytho-sociological relation between Sai Baba and
the deity Shiva is thus largely explained. What remains is to connect the erotic
component of Shiva with Sai Baba. Swallow points, among other things, at Sai
Baba's artistic appearance in the past (Baba danced and sang) and his looks.
Baba's looks show more female than male traits, and his aura is a mix of
eroticism and asceticism. With regard to the way in which Sai Baba will get the
new age going, Swallow believes that he will do this through his own rituals,
but that in addition "the sexual metaphors are hidden and adapted to the
sensibilities of his rather prudish listeners."
With this last remark it becomes plausible why Sai
Baba's sexual acts, as Brooke and Ord have related them, have largely remained
out of sight: the majority of his devotees is not open enough to understand the
symbolism or to accept it. It is totally unclear whether Swallow knew about Sai
Baba's acts with young men and his hermaphrodism. From the way in which she
portrayed Baba as an incarnation of Shiva, one could infer that she would have
found it normal and appropriate that those events took place. Because Baba shows
his side of the 'supreme lover' in private and in addition combines this with
Shiva-Shakti, the male-female form. Baba is literally the living lingam in the
yoni. To the outside world Baba shows his other side, that of the 'ascetic', of
the guru who explains sexuality as a functional thing needed for the survival of
With each new piece a slightly different picture of the
guru emerged. For example, Vroon referred to the Indian Basava Premanand who has
worked years to expose Sai Baba as an avatar. Two days after the IKON
documentary's broadcast, Premanand said in the Karel de Graaf's talkshow that
Baba is involved in shady affairs, such as gold and jewel smuggling and tax
After this Gurupurnima festival, Sai Baba's standing
and reputation increased further. Temples were built for him in Bombay,
Hyderabad and Madras. English, Australians and Americans went to him. The books
that appeared by them about Baba, together with Baba's journey to East Africa,
gave him a world-wide reputation. And still it seems the number of people who go
to him is on the increase. Current estimates of the number of his followers, who
are often called 'devotees', vary quite a lot. 23 A rough estimate is 50
million, from all layers of sociey and spread over the whole world, although the
majority come from India itself. The Dutch Sathya Sai Baba Nieuws has a
circulation of 2,800; Sai Baba services and study circles are held in all big
cities in our country and groups travel to Puttaparthi yearly to stay in his
ashram for some time.
Beyerstein (1992:3) estimates the number as 6 million;
Riti & Theodore (1993:31) as 30 million, Sluizer (1993:19) speaks of about 70
million and Van Dijk (1993:30) "between 50 and 100 milllion."
For a sceptic, the described behavior by Baba is indeed
evidence that Baba is not omniscient.
In fact, views pro-, anti-, and neutral-Baba have
become more common because of the publicity. The contradictions of and about
Baba have emerged in more extreme form, because they existed in essence already,
although more instinctively. Those who did not believe in miracles or something
similar questioned Baba's feats in advance, but they are now supported in the
form of real proofs and names of people who are trying to prove Baba's fraud.
Alexandra (30) has her objections, but would be unhappy
if her experiences were only interpreted in a negative way. She tells her story
with hesitation: in '89 she was in Sai Baba's ashram for three months. She
became impressed with what she experienced there and she even felt that she'd
become a devotee. But finally she went away totally confused and she needed some
time to retrieve her balance. Although she doesn't like to tell it, she also
thinks that she has nothing to hide: a friend with whom she was associated in
the ashram has had very strange experiences with the godman. Yes, indeed, of a
sexual nature. We had better ask him himself.
Keith, (26), says that when he had been chosen for a
personal meeting, Sai Baba said to him that he thought too much about girls. But
on a another occasion Baba went further. "Suddenly he pulled down my trousers
and tried to excite me sexually. He took my hand and put it on his genitals.
Then I noticed that Sai Baba was dual-gendered: not that he was half-female
half-male, not a hermaphrodite, no, from one moment to the next he changed from
male into female, completely with the appropiate genitals. Don't ask me how this
is can be, but that is how I experienced it. It must be some sort of miracle
too. Obviously Sai Baba lives on another level from mere mortals." This is what
Keith Ord tells us and we only repeat it.
Keith Ord: "When Baba saw my consternation, he said
that I needn't be frightened because this was divine too. Greatly confused, I
then went back to my room. It took three weeks before I dared to talk about it
with some friends who I had met there, including Alexandra. One of my friends
left in a hurry after my story; he had experienced exactly the same, including
the remark by Baba that this was divine." Keith started to investigate and heard
from about ten men and boys that they had experienced similar things. They had
accepted it based on the thought that nothing human should be strange to a
godman, including sexuality.
But Keith himself was thrown off balance by this event.
He had faith in Sai Baba, including the fact that that this was a matter of a
god in human form. And then suddenly this rather aggressive undesired sexual
intimacy. He could not reconcile it. "After some weeks of internal struggle I
broke with Sai Baba. I realize that he behaves hypocritically. He preaches that
sex should only be for procreation and that everything else is a waste of energy
and only feeds the lower instincts. This is what he says, but then behind closed
doors, he does something like this. He speaks with a double tongue and a godman
can't do that. Apart from that, he abuses his position."