Date: 01-04-03

From: Elena A. Hartgering

Comment on the mails from “Saionline” by Elena Hartgering (Follower for 20 years. Ex-Vice-President of a USA Sai Centre and Regional Workshop presenter).

Immediately evident is the email is not signed. How can we be expected to take the content seriously when the correspondent does not have enough confidence in the truth of his/her writing to attach a signature?

The writer also makes personal attacks on Robert Priddy, and opines on his state of mind. This is the great fallacy of reasoning – argumentum ad hominem. When you have no real facts to support your position, then attack the person. Here again the writer loses credibility.

The writer then uses a tactic of warfare. He creates a diversion to confuse the enemy. Much of what is said here seems to be a diversion.

I believe there are essentially only two questions to be answered and only two. The rest is diversion:

(1) Does Sai Baba sexually molest children? (2) Is Sai Baba God?

Obviously, if the answer to #1 is affirmative, then #2 has to be a resounding, NO.

The writer addresses two major diversions: Dr. Bhatia and the murders in the Mandir.

I did not meet Dr. Bhatia, hence I have no personal knowledge of his character. The writer claims Dr. Bhatia is a "notorious pedofile." (Note, the correct term is 'pederast' or else 'paedophile'). For the moment, and the sake of argument, let us say it is so. Then the response is, "Shame on you Sai Baba for allowing a "notorious pedofile" to teach, mentor and medically treat the students in your care." How can Baba allow a "notorious pedofile" access to children in his care? The ultimate responsibility for their protection belongs to Baba, not Dr. Bhatia or anyone else. Obviously Baba has failed in his duty of care. It is also interesting to note the Dr. Bhatia only became a "notorious pedofile" and apparently a womanizer (which are clinically inconsistent by the way) after he made public statements about Sai Baba’s molestation of boys and young men.

There were six deaths in Sai Baba’s Mandir, the holy of holies, the temple of great worship, center of God’s kingdom on earth. Suffice to say that six people died in the holiest place in Sai Baba’s ashram. Does God, who knows all that transpires in the hearts and minds of humankind, spill blood in the very same location where he draws people to worship him? I don’t think so.

When we are confronted with the allegations of sexual abuse by the victims (whose stories are consistent with sexually abused children around the globe) we need to ask ourselves, "Is this characteristic of God in the form of man?" If Sai Baba were God, as he claims to be, is this the way God conducts business in a world that is so troubled? Does God manipulate the genitals of boys to cure them of desire, or whatever excuse is used to sanction this long-term perversion of his, while world war looms on the horizon, the environment is choking, economic disasters are in the making, and people around the world are disillusioned and afraid.

I am finally reminded about the scandal that has riddled the Catholic Church. The church hierarchy with its privilege, power and money, was able to keep a lid on public disclosure of the sexual perversion of many of its priests for a long time through denial, diversion and intimidation. The behavior of the leadership in the church is reprehensible. They too said there were no victims, and continued to cover up until the victims united and sought justice. Justice is served when TRUTH is allowed to see the light of day.

It is sad to say that those who blindly support Sai Baba are just like the bishops and cardinals who protect paedophile priests – they allow the molestations to continue. They are responsible for the destruction of innocent children. I have treated many victims of sexual abuse. The denial of the perpetrators is consistent with the denials made by Sai Baba, his organization and his devotees who blind themselves to truth. The victims are raped all over again when people such as the writer of the Saionline email attack the victims and call them liars. That hurts them just as much as the molestation itself.

And finally, I am reminded of the words of a true holy man, Jesus of Nazareth – "And what you have done for the least of these, you have done unto me."