Author: Barry Pittard


Posted:, Tuesday, March 18, 2003

It is immeasurably gratifying that former devotees report increasing numbers of clearly genuine enquiries from Sai devotees. 

It is a welcome relief from the hate-filled emails from so many of those who ostensibly follow Sathya, Dharma, Prema, Shanti and Ahimsa. And indeed from the vicious attacks on two former devotee websites. One succession of these led to shattering the psyche of the webmaster, a young woman full of sincerity, love, compassion and a desire to serve. Another succeeded in shutting down the Quick Topic site, where the webmaster, Anthony, forever strove to be patient under the extreme provocations of pro Sai Baba apologists, who finally spammed this forum to death.

Many devotees ask us: how do you reconcile the Baba's miracles with what you allege to be his wrongdoings? 

Utterly devoted for twenty-five years, I spent several years living round Sathya Sai Baba, attended hundreds of darshans, and taught English for two years at his Whitefield College.

I have seen manifestations via the person of Sathya Sai Baba which it would be absurd to ascribe to sleight-of-hand, no matter how clever. I still leave open, however, that an expert conjurer can embody the famous old saying, "the quickness of the hand deceives the eye." 

My own view is that he both fakes and doesn't fake. That sometimes extrasensory phenomena manifest through him, and sometimes the operative principle ceases to function, and he then fabricates. Remember, that many of the films that can now be studied scientifically have been made by devotees - until almost all filming was forbidden. That is, the film-makers were not out to ensnare him. (Neither are former devotees. Sai Baba will, when the facts all come out, will be shown to have ensnared himself!). The best known examples are the work of Sai Baba's former official videographers: the prolific James Redmond (USA), and on a much smaller scale Peter Rae (Australia). Frame-by-frame, and even by straightforward but attentive viewing, one would have to be blind or silly not to at least suspect the fakery. James Redmond is now a former devotee, and entirely convinced both that Sai Baba's fakes many of his materialisations and that he is guilty of homo-paedophilia.

Anyone who has received from Sai Baba a ring, pendant, etc., can have it assayed independently. Many recipients, if not all, will be in for a shock. They will find that they have been given, to use a phrase of Sai Baba's, 'tinsel and trash.' There are many cases where devotees have been shocked to find objects, later to be so-called materialised, hidden in Sai Baba's chair and other places. At the same time, I do not discount remarkable stories devotees relate about some of the objects. Again - we observe the play of both darker and lighter sides.

Even so, I have been in various parts of the world, and sometimes on my own, when manifestations of a sort that relate to the presence of Sai Baba on the planet, have occurred. There was no 'hand' present to exhibit deceptive quickness. The manifestations were highly complex and deeply beautiful, just as the evidence for a dark side to the Sai Baba phenomenon is so terrible.

So for me the question is not about whether supramundane events occur. The absurdity - and the ethically reprehensible thing - would be for me to deny the utter truthfulness of the many direct, personal accounts I have from males around the world who have given me accounts of sexual molestation practised by Sai Baba on them. Some of these are from persons who have kept their terrible secret for many agonised years. I am in touch with many other former devotees who have also been privy to the same sort of accounts from other victims, and these number some highly qualified, experienced, sexual abuse therapists.

Another absurdity would be to deny  -  whatever he may happen to get right  -  the countless examples of Sai Baba's contradictions, confused utterences, speeches which have to be doctored so as to make proper sense (briefly, at Sai Towers, I was one of the doctorers!), mix-ups about historical detail, mistaken prophecies, etc.

One of the very terrible problems are the many cover-ups by Sai Baba and the leaders of his organisation, both in India and worldwide.  One of the most horrible is that of the police executions at Puttaparthi in 1993, in a situation where Sai Baba had ample time and space in which to prevent them. See, Also, Robert Priddy's "Faith-shaking events - the 1993 murders,”  , and and

The writings of Alexandra Nagel, Serguei Badaev and, very extensively, Robert Priddy (Norway) and Brian Steel (Australia) are compelling. For anyone to ignore the penetrating intelligence and the utter honesty with which they present their evidence is quite simply to be intellectually dishonest. To ignore the many first-hand allegations of sexual molestation by Sai Baba, which are but a small portion compared to those from others who are not ready to go public (at least not yet) is to be, surely, without a heart. To find these and other writings, under the heading Studies on the site, there is a navigator to: "Important studies from critical authors since 'The Findings." People from many different nationalities can consult Lionel Fernandez' website at:

Thousands of Sai devotees, if not millions, have refused to hear hundreds of cries from victims. They are heedless of the honorable standing of both victims and supporters in their wider communities. How then can Sai devotees speak of Truth, Love and Righteousness?

Devotees have fallen for the lies Sai Baba has told (for example, in his 2000 Christmas discourse). There he says that his dissenters are "cawing crows," "Judases," "demons," and that we demean him for the sake of money. There he consigns us to terrible karmic futures. There he boasts that none of us have done a tiny proportion of all the things he has done for humanity. There he exposes his all-too-human side, for surely God would allow his own fruits to be known by themselves, and would not sink to comparing his own supreme works with those works of others which he so searingly deplores. There is no wishing from him of Good Will to All Men. There he defends himself rather than celebrates the joyful spirit of Christmas.

In short, Sai Baba and the apex leadership of his organisation follow a double standard. They preach "do not criticise" yet attribute to dissenters qualities such as jealousy, envy, false propaganda mongering, distruntlement, malice, slander, corruption ... He and his followers say that one should accept everything as Divine Will, yet they depict former devotees as manifesting demonic qualities.

For years, Sai devotees have regarded as exemplary many of the Sai devotees who now dissent. You can see many former devotee names on a professionally conducted petition website at:, where they have signed the JuSt Petition (Just Seekers After Truth), as have nearly four hundred people who wish to see properly constituted government and police investigations of Sai Baba and his worldwide organisation. For the same devotees to think that we have, after terms of up to thirty years of utter devotion and service, decided, in an instant, to indulge in disgruntlement and slander shows little, if any, intelligence.

Barry Pittard. Email:


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