Sai Slurs, Part Six

Sai Slurs / Part One / Part Two / Part Three / Part Four / Part Five / Part Six / Part Seven / Part Eight /

Part Nine


Posted: Thursday October 23, 2003

Author: Barry Pittard


You cause beat-ups in the sensationalist press

This Sai Slur is on a par with the statement of Indulal Shah, recently replaced by Dr Michael Goldstein as world convener of the Sathya Sai Organisation, who circularised its leaders (September 18, 2001).  Of the media which reported the allegations, he said that it has “a strong propensity for sensationalism. A whiff of scandal always helps their sales and therefore they do not even pause to verify the truth."  In fact, for the last four years, we have repeatedly approached the media with the best reputation for careful research and reporting, such as The Times of London, Daily Telegraph, The Age, and broadcast media such the BBC, DR, ABC, SBS, etc.


The reaction from organised Sathya Sai devotees afforded yet another sign that they are beginning to lose their nerve and strike out wildly for survival. Last year, Thorbjörn Meyer, Central Coordinator for Europe and Co-coordinator for Russian Speaking Countries, hired a top Danish lawyer in court actions against Danish Radio, the Danish national television broadcaster. A senior contact in the company has told me that at least ten threats of legal action were presented before and after "Seduced" was aired, and that none of these was able to stop it. “Seduced” has since been shown at least three times in Norway, and - again by   successful former devotee efforts to promote the documentary to one of the world’s major broadcasters - will soon be seen in other parts of the world. Promptly, the municipal authorities rescinded the sale to Sai Baba devotees of the famous castle Arresødal in Copenhagen, which was to have been used as a Sai international school. Though money is supposed to speak all languages, an injection of US $6 million did not speak Danish! Happily, Øjvind Kyrø's Director, Steen Jensen, and Danish Radio stood by Øjvind Kyrø's professional integrity in this penetrating documentary. Suddenly, Thorbjörn Meyer's case rapidly disappeared from the courtrooms of Copenhagen. Leading member of the Sathya Sai Organisation and wealthy businessman, Jørgen Trygved hired Denmark’s foremost lawyer thrice tried and failed to keep the documentary from being aired. The same Jørgen Trygved was also Chairman of the ‘Sai international school’ fund board, so ignominiously defeated by the civil authorities of Copenhagen. 


The history of cover-ups shows a remarkable pattern: a cover-up, once exposed, redounds to the discredit of the initiators at a cost far greater than would have attended the prompt admission of the initial misdeeds. In passing, let us pay tribute to the dauntless conscience-driven efforts of others who have quit a teacher and called the teacher to public account. To name a few teachers often regarded as disgraced beyond recall - Balyogi Premvarni, Kriyananda, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Premananda, Muktananda, Rajneesh, Yogi Bhajan …, not to mention very many non-India related ones. We see precisely the same patterns in their remaining followers as in the typical responses of Sathya Sai devotees, both on and off the Internet. For example: 


  • Ignoring the sheer weight of the evidence, and strong, psychological denial;

  • Derision and shunning of former followers;

  • Terrible vilification, especially, of those former followers who attempt to bring the allegations to light;

  • Threats of litigation;

  • Spurious justification of their teacher’s misdeeds. E.g., claiming that he is raising the kundalini; balancing the devotee’s sexual energy; ‘ironing out sexual kinks’; rapidly expunging the devotee’s bad karmas; stating that, as we are not our bodies, the guru has not violated anybody; disporting in the divine role as Shiva the destroyer; and so, woefully, on.