Sai Slurs, Part Eight

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

Part Nine

 

Posted: Saturday, November 29, 2003

Author: Barry Pittard

Email:
bpittard@beachaccess.com.au

ExposÚ people are Christians out to destroy Hinduism
 

Some Indians say this, but by no means do they represent the great traditions of tolerance in that country, nor the ethical imperative: always tell the truth. Given the pernicious history of colonialism in India, its citizens’ being hurt at insensitive Christian missionary zeal is understandable, but not condonable when it extends to kindling hatred and prejudice. As if there has not been enough of that.

 

A poll conducted by the Indian The Newspaper Today, Saturday, September 1, 2001, gave the following results, which alone reduces to ashes the claim that raising questions about Sathya Sai Baba is somehow a put-up job by anti-Hindu Christian activists:

 

TNT Poll #158
Should the Centre   institute a probe into the allegations against Sai Baba?

92%

8%

Yes               No

 

Archived at:  ex-baba/engels/shortnews/India%20News%20-%20The%20Newspaper%20Today.htm

 

Many Sathya Sai Baba devotees assume that any questioning of him equates to a questioning of Hinduism. However, Hindus at large do not make this assumption in the least. Travel widely across India and you will know the exceptionally widespread disdain for him. This is especially due to his emphasis on miracles, his claim to be the prime manifestation of God in all history, the vast pomp and circumstance that surround him, his fleet of luxury foreign cars, his cultivation of the rich, his giving special seating positions at darshans to the rich, his flattery of the rich and famous … By the way, his flattery of various visiting Indian Prime Ministers is, unwittingly, documented across issues of Sanathana Sarathi, including the case of Narasimha Rao, who was sentenced to years in jail, convicted on a slew of corruption charges relating to kickbacks from secret arms deals with the Swedish firm Bofors.       


In 2000, I was a member of a small international group of former devotees which ran a number of potent exposure operations. In one of these, we got a 10-page cover story (December 4, 2000) in the prestigious mass circulation weekly magazine India Today: archived at:
http://saiguru.net/english/media/001204india.htm. In eleven languages, millions of Indians read this publication, which is somewhat like a Time or Newsweek magazine for India and Indians abroad. Convincing its proprietors, editor and legal advisors of the good credentials of the ExposÚ group of Sai Baba dissenters was a very demanding task indeed. It required extensive submission of documentary evidence, such as copies of victim affidavits, the provision of direct access to a number of Sathya Sai Baba’s victims, evidence of our presentation of the facts to our own governments, Interpol, FBI, Scotland Yard, CBI New Delhi, etc.


Predictably enough - see:
ex-baba/engels/letters/letters.html - some writers of Letters to the Editor of India Today levelled the Sai slur that this exposure was all a Christian plot against Hinduism; again, as though he and Hinduism are somehow synonymous. Can there be very many educated Indians who think that Arun Shourie of India Today is a pushover? Such letters yielded yet another tiresome case of assertion without evidence, of not being sensitive and intelligent enough to hear the cries of the afflicted, of ignoring the good community standing of those furnishing the information to the magazine, and of being blind to the professionalism of journalist Vijay Thapa and his India Today team who extensively researched and wrote the story.

 

In actual fact, not one member of the ExposÚ group was affiliated with a Christian church. All had been typical Sathya Sai devotees who, whether Westerners or not, had spent years singing Hindu-oriented bhajans and chanting Sanskrit slokas. Those of us who were Westerners on an Eastern spiritual path had typically rejected not Christianity, in some primal sense, but the church - Churchianity. Characteristically, each of the Westerners involved had the same love and veneration of Vedic culture as many serious Sai devotees.
 

Interestingly one of the letter writers was High Court Judge Y.V. Anjaneyulu, a well-known Sathya Sai devotee whose disgraceful flouting of justice has done far more than a foreigner might do to reveal the corrupt patronage endemic in the Indian power structures. B. Premanand, of television’s "Guru Buster’s" fame, bravely tried and failed to expose Sathya Sai Baba in the High Court of Andhra Pradesh (in the State where Judge Anjaneyulu’s guru lives). He submitted that the usage of the gold in Sathya Sai Baba’s so-called materializations, since it is not declared as strictly required by Indian law, contravenes the Gold Standard. Justice Anjaneyulu handed down the ruling that the law requiring a license to produce gold does not apply to Sathya Sai Baba, who, he determined, materialises his gold from a divine realm:

http://www.indian-skeptic.org/html/saigold.htm.


The same rigor in our dealings with India Today has been the case with the press of many countries: Australia (The Age), Canada (Ottawa Citizen, Toronto Star, Vancouver Sun), Denmark (BT), Chile (Gatopardo), Germany (Bild, Focus), Holland (Trouw), India (India Today), USA (Salon.com), the UK (Times of London, Daily Telegraph), Sweden (G÷teborgsposten), …
and the National broadcasters of Australia (ABC), Denmark (DR), Norway (NRK), UK (BBC) and other broadcasters in Argentina and Holland.

And - coming up - with one of the major television broadcasting companies in the world!

 

Despite this sheer quality of journalistic professionalism, the profoundly shameless Indulal Shah, recently displaced as head of Sathya Sai Baba’s world organisation though still in charge of India, wrote a letter (September 18, 2001) to leaders of the world Sathya Sai Organisation, in which he said "Devotees, however, must be careful in interacting with the media, which 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."

 

By thus playing to many people’s populist images of an irresponsible media, Indulal Shah dishonestly ignored the credibility of those presenting the allegations, of the facts and arguments presented, and of the superior quality of the media which it is our strict habit to seek out. Typically, it was he who did not “not even pause to verify the truth," which is the case with so many prominent Sai slanderers – to name but a few:  Ashok Bhagani, P.N. Bhagawati, Roger Basham, Bob Bozzani, Al Drucker, Bon Giovanni, Michael Goldstein, Leonardo Gutter, William Harvey, Jagadeeshan, Thorbj÷rn Meyer, Ranganath Mishra, Chris Parnell, S. Piculell, Indulal Shah, Ken Soman, J°rgen Trygved, T. Sri Ramanathan, A.B. Vajpayee… All of these are men, in an incredibly male-dominated Sai milieu.

 

Where is the Sathya in these peak Sathya Sai leaders? Where is the leadership of those who ostensibly lead this so-called ‘divine organisation’? It is their hypocrisy, whether they come from East or West, that runs the risk of destroying the good repute of Hinduism to the world at large, which is why Hindu former Sathya Sai Baba devotees such as Jeyendran Soma (Sydney, Australia) are now organising to see rigorously documented representations made in these matters to leading Hindu Councils in the world.