Topic: Cancellation of Buddha Purnima 2003

Posted: Barry Pittard, Australia, March 30, 2003


Sent to: 

Ref: Circular of Joint Overseas Chairman,  Ryko Hira  

I copy below the extract from the Joint Overseas Chairman (the other Chairman is Dr Michael Goldstein) Ryko Hira's circular on the cancellation of Buddha Purnima 2003.

The ever compassionate Lord Buddha Sai bestowed a boon upon we devotees to commemorate the sacred festival of Buddha Purnima (Vesak) in the divine presence for the past seven years.

This year on 16th May Friday, the eighth Buddha Purnima festival shall NOT be held in Whitefield. As such devotees and especially Buddhists may please organise the festival in their respective countries focusing on one of Bhagavan's main mission 'unity of faiths' and increased understanding of Swami's divine discourses on Buddhism.

Just to hand is a query from a former devotee.  She says,

"This is interesting. Do you think it is because of the scandal that circulates around Baba these days?"

I think it is too hard to say.  As far as I am able to observe, Indian former devotees have been very slow to get into gear with any sort of dissent, whether organised or sporadic.  Gurus hold incredible sway in their whole tradition.  Add to this the great difficulty, compared to the West, of discussion in that society of paedophilia.  Also, Indians commonly instinctively know, and readily acknowledge, the incredible corruption at all levels of society in their developing country, especially in government, police and judiciary. This can contribute ever more to a sense of fatalism, which has a long and profound tradition in India. An exceptionally common Indian phrase which, delivered with great resignation, well summarises this problem is: 'What to do'?  I hope some of our Indian brothers and sisters will point out historical occurrences that run counter to my view (based on years of living in that most magnificent and most frustrating country), for there are some marvelous counter instances.  But let us keep asking them to show the fearlessness and ingenuity of some of their great leaders and saints, and give all honor to them when we see it displayed right now.

I am trusting that one of the effects of our constant Exposure on many levels will be to get into all sorts of nooks and crannies that we cannot even be aware of, and that this will, for example, increasingly bite into the huge financial contibutions, with those who have been donors suddenly disappearing from the Sai Trust/Sai Org. arena, along with their disbursements. Perhaps it is too early-days for this to be happening but, given the enormous extent of our intensive actions, both individual and organised, in the last three years, it must be getting a lot closer. It is what we need to bring about, so that the Sai Empire begins to crumble from many points within its edifice.

Wherever those who cover up this great scandal of the centuries try to meet in venues owned by non-Sai people, venue owners will be informed of the serious and wide-scale nature of the accusation against Sai Baba and his accomplices. In the case of Buddha Purnima, Buddhist authorities around the world will be given access to information sufficient to make responsible judgements about the issues. The "main mission 'unity of faiths'" of which Hira hopefully speaks will have to succeed in the hands of other forces, and not those of the highly authoritarian, male-dominated cult of Sathya Sai Baba.

The reason for this is that, first, children in their sacred innocence have to be able to have faith in us. However often we may be berated as paedophiles, slanderers,  blasphemers, or  - to use Sathya Sai Baba's descriptions of his dissenters - "cawing crows," "Judases," "demons," and all the rest, we will not let them down.

Barry Pittard

Go also to 'Open Letter to the Prime Minister of India'