DR BRIAN O'LEARY AND BARRY PITTARD EXCHANGE
Posted: Tuesday February 18, 2003
By Barry Pittard. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Any Sai devotee with a shred of intellectual honesty - and not hell-bent upon using Dr Brian O'Leary, the ex-NASA space scientist, for propaganda purposes - could have done at least four things:
1. Checked with Dr O'Leary directly to ensure that he is satisfied with what Sai devotees, and a Sai devotee-fed story in the Hindustan Times, are claiming about him.
2. Checked with NASA to determine Dr O'Leary's exact role with the Apollo space program
3. Checked Dr O'Leary's credentials with NASA, and/or with respectable scientific publications
4. Checked to ensure that there was no current overplaying of a status that may have existed some thirty years ago, or that there was no agenda-promoting, whether subtle or gross, by an individual (Dr O'Leary, in this case)
Time limits me. Other researchers can make such enquiries to the extent required by objectivity and detail. (We note in the recent News section of www.exbaba.com that Sanjay Dadlani has made some forays into the topic, exposing some of the relevant documentation).
As things stand, my preliminary enquiries show that Dr O'Leary was dry-trained for the Apollo Mars space mission but certainly made no space flights. My exchange of emails with him (See below) and his earlier note on the Dutch website (dated February 2, 2003 5:41, see below) make it clear that Dr O'Leary is very far from satisfied with the use that Sai devotees are trying to make of a peace mission of his to India.
A search on www.google.com attests that Dr O'Leary has long ago disappeared from the NASA community, as indeed various writings of his in both articles on the Web and in his books make amply clear. Yet prominent Sai Baba discussion fora proclaim differently. For example, on Satguru (American-based, run by Bon Giovanni) and Sai Unity (an Australian-based discussion group site moderated by Dr Saba Siva), the following types of headlines exist:
embarks on peace mission http://sai-arjan.tripod.com/newyear/nasa.htm
US ASTRONAUT TO SPREAD SAI BABA'S MESSAGE FOR GLOBAL PEACE http://sai-arjan.tripod.com/newyear/pti.htm (Caps not mine, but those of the posting).
There is further material on a website apparently operated by Deepak Arjandas Bharwani. This site is regarded by the Sai Baba Internet community as a good resource for Sai Baba news. It's main URL is:
http://web1.mtnl.net.in/~sairam/index.htm (Link is not working anymore.)
On subscriber boards, one finds excited electronic Sai devotees busily chatting about meeting Dr O'Leary at the Chennai airport, conducting him to Sathya Sai Baba, and doing everything they can to smoothe his Indian tour, and to orient it towards Sai Baba.
The search engines show a vast preponderance, over many years, of Brian O'Leary topics such as UFO's, ET's, New Science, free energy, eco preservation, and peace projects. (Indeed, so much so that one wonders if Dr O'Leary has any old NASA friends left!)
Whereas, Sai devotees have made it appear that Dr O'Leary IS part of NASA, and an astronaut. As you may have seen, in an email to Andries Krugers Dagneaux, Sent: Sunday, February 2, 2003 5:41, Dr O'Leary makes his position in regard to Sai Baba as plain as possible: http://22.214.171.124/ex-baba/engels/shortnews/astronaut.html. He says: "I am not, nor ever was, a devotee of Sai Baba. As a scientist, a number of years ago, I was interested in witnessing his Siddha powers, that's all. I hope that clarifies your concern. My own efforts towards sustainability and peace, as well as teaching and lecturing at the Neyyar Dam Sivananda yoga ashram, is what this India trip is all about. It has nothing to do with Sai Baba."
Despite the fact that (as they themselves occasionally let slip) key Sai apologist Internet players monitor former devotee websites such as www.exbaba.com and www.saiguru.net , they have not, in the intervening weeks, attempted to correct the misinformation, which Dr O'Leary's forthright statement to Andries Krugers Dagneaux has so emphatically done. Doubtless, they hope that such inconveniences, like the former devotee exposure of Sai Baba and his officials itself, will all go away. (Without the slightest demur, the Sai Critic website states that the Expose is dead. Perhaps its authors themselves are dead, or else have simply forgotten to update their website).
Of the article which appeared in the Hindustan Times, Hyderabad, January 19,
http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_141804,0005.htm Dr O'Leary continues, "I did not authorize this press release regarding 'former astronaut to spread Sai Baba's message for peace;' in fact had nothing to do with it. I am telling the person who planted it to cease and desist spreading misinformation about me. This is most unfortunate because I think we all want peace and sustainability rather than a rumor mill."
Notable Sai devotees have shown interest in promoting Dr Leary's (now cancelled trip). One of these is Dr Saba Siva, who is influential in the Australian Sathya Sai Organisation. Never far off in Internet and other attempts to practise Sai damage control and to Sai spin-doctor the effects of former devotee dissent are still more seasoned operators such as Chris Parnell, now Webmaster of the official Australian Sathya Sai Organisation website, and former Deputy Spiritual Coordinator for the Australian Sai Organisation, and intimately involved in other Sai apologist websites. All of these have but one thing in common with Dr O'Leary - they have not been able to get themselves or their payload off the ground!
Pointing out a number of the basic reasons for the exposure of Sathya Sai Baba by an impressively wide range of many reputable former devotees, I emailed Brian O'Leary (who, it turns out, was one the astronauts merely trained for the Apollo mission to Mars) on Tuesday, 04, February 04, 2003 4:51 PM. Dr O'Leary replied on Wednesday, February 05, 2003 2:06 PM. (See my orginal letter below).
Many thanks for your beautiful and thoughtful letter.
My fever is subsiding, and my decision is made: we are not going to see Sai Baba, and the damage to me in all this is dissipating. Back to my peace-and-sustainability mission; we're doing a Sivananda-sanctioned press conference here today, all very liberating.
As time is short on the email here, I'll have to wait til my return to stateside to study your piece--sometime in March.
In retrospect, I'm glad I didn't do the Chennai press conference ...(B.P. edits here to say: there follows a line that Mr O'Leary has, for a thoughtful and sensitive reason he gives privately, subsequently asked be omitted) ... the newspaper article (ed. i.e. in the Hindustan Times) was full of disinformation about me that was never authorized
Om shanti, Brian O'Leary
To a further email of mine to him, of Thursday, February 06, 2003 11:58 AM., Dr O'Leary replied on Thursday, February 06, 2003 1:09 PM. He said it might help to mention that the story in the Hindustan Times was the result of a
"misunderstanding which led to disinformation regarding the purpose of my trip, which was to teach and to spread the word of peace and sustainability, networking with the people of India in common cause."
On Saturday, February 08, 2003 5:24 PM, Brian O'Leary emailed me again, and I quote from his letter:
... I hope the words I have already written and the praise for
your letter will stand on their own and the hype
will dissipate. It is all so crazy! I cannot get in the middle of this rip tide of controversy at this time, but will examine it further after this hectic trip, which includes a lot of teaching, some illness and some traveling ...
The following is my email, referred to above, of Tuesday, 04, February 04, 2003 4:51 PM
Sorry to hear about the fever, although - way back - my hatha yoga teachers saw fevers in a useful light, as a cleanser, and encouraged us to let them run their course without the pampering.
As in other contested areas, the Sathya Sai Baba issue is not without confusions contributed from all sides. Certainly, quite a number of us, who were former devotees (in my own case twenty-five years), are as determined as we ever were in our professional lives to exercise the utmost scrupulousness in handling of the truth, as well as maintaining a loving heart that overflows the walls of division.
I shall copy below an article (Sathya Sai Baba: Grace Disgraced, approx. 18.000 words) I have written which is very much short of being finished.
I send it to you
in absolute trust that you keep it for your
private study. I do not want it to get out yet, because it still needs real
I just noticed in some emails that cross the divide how some of the Sai devotees are leaping for joy as they await your arrival in Chennai. I do not have all the facts, but I have some pretty good sources, and see this and other evidence as a concerted propaganda pitch by the Sai apex leadership machine to offset a lot of damage occasioned by the strong organised former devotee efforts to expose Sai Baba and his accomplices in places such as UNESCO, UNICEF, major world media, Interpol, foreign ministries ... I think, for example, of the pro Sai Baba articles (coming three days apart!) by Keith Bradsher, New York Times, and Shashi Tharoor, International Herald Tribune (both of them exceptionally accomplished in their professions); the courting of high dignitaries, e.g., of a German politician considered a strong contender for the next Chancellorship; the pro Sai Baba representation of the Indian Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee to British Prime Minister Tony Blair; putting it out in the Sai Centres that Sai Baba is a candidate for a Nobel Peace Prize; attempting to arrange meetings with very eminent persons such as Tony Blair; and other, often recent and sudden upsurges of high level pro Sai Baba propagandistic activity.
My old bones rather feel that there will be, or perhaps already has been, the effort by Sai Baba people to court you into service as an icon of respectability, just as has been done with other individuals, not excluding, if we may smile for a moment, Steven Segal the martial arts Hollywood film star, who was widely pictured sitting on a fine chair next to an enthroned Sai Baba.
I deeply trust that in no way will you let yourself, as an ex U.S. astronaut be thus used.
I may tell you that - just in regard to the U.S.A. alone - our former devotee representations got all the way to the most senior officials in the State Department, not to mention other countries. Also, that we have the services of a number of highly trained and qualified sexual abuse therapists in the U.S.A. and elsewhere.
They are giving their selfless, loving and dedicated services to the many young men who, they are totally convinced, have been very badly sexually abused by Sathya Sai Baba.
outstanding U.S.journalist who has carefully researched the allegations and
found them justified, as have so many other independent researchers, is
Michelle Goldberg. Like Mick Brown of the Daily Telegraph in the U.K., she flew
vast distances in her researches on Sai Baba; in her case, including a trip to
Puttaparthi. Her resulting series of articles appear on www.salon.com, Bill
You mention witnessing Sai Baba's performance of miracles. I can tell you that I and others have witnessed hundreds - and ones of the most profoundly beautiful sort - both mediated in his own person and in places far from him but in their style connected with him. My own view is this: that they are happening on a tremendously wide scale; that they cannot all be explained away as faked; that they are phenomena not at present rationally understood but different from Sai Baba's view of them; and that there is nonetheless the utmost moral and ethical requirement for us to view any dark side fearlessly, and without going into psychological denial. It is hard, but, as ever in the case of spiritual development, the hard way can often be the good way, because it relentlessly blows away the stereotypical roadblocks of the ever encumbering mind.
Unlike Rick Ross's, my reading of your interview is that you very honestly face questions about our destiny as human beings in a time of greatest change, as well as honoring the satchidananda essence, as it were.
Best wishes, as all of us come out of our fever,
Barry Pittard, Australia.