My Process By: I.M. Annonamurthi
This document was received on November 27, 2000.The text is a personal story from, and written by, a former committee-member of a Sai Baba organization in Australia. He wants to remain anonymous, because his wife is still a devotee.
The story of a National Officer, now discharged from duty.
(This story and its writing is still in process)Introduction
This is the story of my relatively rapid realization of Sai Baba's 'dark side' during the latter half of 2000. During this period I came to believe that Sai Baba had been having manipulative homosexual relationships with selected devotees (some possibly as young as 8) for many years.
I had to rethink my attitude towards his 'manifestation' miracles - many of which I now recognize as fakes.
I have also had to question the integrity of some of his wide-ranging 'social service' activities - which was what had impressed me so much during my 15 years connection with the Sai organization.
I do not have first hand experience of any of this - so what gives me the authority to write on the subject?
An old teacher of mine, when asked how he could believe things that he hadn't experienced first hand, said "I haven't seen the Statue of Liberty either, but I know that it exists" - other people he trusted told him.
The testimony of others is often used to inform those who have not had a particular experience.
My 'moral conscience' directed by my own powers of discrimination have been my guide. If information had come to me during my investigation, that made me realize I had been wrong, I would have been a very happy indeed. I would have loved to have been wrong.
It gave me no thrill to have been a 'dream buster' - either of my own dreams or others.
I have written this to share something of the events, communications and most of all the thinking and feeling process I have been through to draw me to such a conclusion.A Simple Fax The realization that something was very wrong dawned on me through the simple act of someone faxing me an article from the September 2000 Nexus Magazine. It contained the abbreviated testimonies of Terry Gallegher, Hans de Kraker and Jens and Gurprit Sethi. These people were all ex-devotees who had been close to Sai Baba. They shared their sincere and powerful first hand experiences that had been freely available on 'The Findings' website: http://www.myfreeoffice.com/saibabaexposed/ (not online anymore...)
I had heard about these "gossip sites" that vilified Sai Baba. At the time I regarded these sites almost in the same light as pornographic sites - designed to trap and then defile the unwary through an appeal to human curiosity.
I had a good friend in a position of responsibility in the organization who had been much troubled by information on the web. Although tempted, I had decided I didn't need to disturb my peace of mind by getting involved in 'head trips' about the unfathomable nature, stature and activities of Sai Baba. However his obviously serious concern did have an effect on me - preparing me somewhat for the information to come.
My writing is not designed to convince anyone of the truth of the testimonies, but only to help people make sense of them once they have been absorbed as valid heartfelt testimonies of sincere ex-devotees.
These writings will be likely to mean little to anyone who has not read at least some of the testimonies of those who claim to have been sexually abused. These are available on the web site referred to above and through other channels available. I am convinced that only by reading such accounts is it possible to comprehend what I am talking about.
This story is not designed to add more information to the pool. There is already a 'flood' of that available to anyone mildly interested and an 'ocean of lust' seems to exist for anyone willing to investigate. The information in the testimonies are often nauseating and most unpleasant reading. Some people are put off such reading such testimony because of the unsavory nature of the allegations and an inability to countenance them as possibly true.
Lost the Moral Compass
Unfortunately the current leaders of the Sai organization, many of whom I still regard as my friends, have somehow temporarily lost their 'moral compass'. They seem more interested in maintaining 'faith' even openly admitting to it (their faith) being 'blind'.
Believing that Sai Baba is God, some even reason that "so what if it is true - God can do whatever He likes - this is all Swamis Play".
This line, nor any of the other rationalizations do not wash with me, so I have written about why it doesn't stack up.
I have now personally followed through on many of the written testimonies, speaking to ex-devotees who have had sexual encounters with Sai Baba. I have talked with parents of youth who have been sexually molested by him. Most of these were long time devotees with nothing to gain and lots to loose by speaking out. They have been prepared to drop their ego and cop the embarrassing fact that they had been deceived for many years.
'Embarrassment' is a small price to pay for making a contribution to the truth. Only the truth will set anyone free. If truth shakes ones faith then that faith needed a good shake.
I have been amazed by the web of perversion and corruption attributed to Sai Baba. It is hard to know how much is true. However it does seem verifiably clear that his homosexual activity with devotees under 30 has been known about and condoned by quite a few of the older leader of the organization.
Having said this, most of the devotees and many of the leaders are very loving people who serve society, often in outstanding ways. There tends however to be a 'blind spot' in regards to this issue.
I have seen the negative mirror of Sai Baba's teachings. I discovered that although he preaches the beautiful truth of "Love all, Serve all", there are areas of his life where he actually lives something quite different.
He says "My life is My message". I have become convinced that "his life" is certainly not "his message" - It is almost unbelievably different.
Unfortunately in a world where conspiracy theories abound, "stable people of faith", refused for years to countenance such stories and "media beat ups". I believed they were.................... "Ugly rumors - a conspiracy without substance - and even if there was a shred of truth in some stories, they surely had been embellished and taken out of context. There had to be reasons why the Avatar would do such things. I must rely on my own experience!" All this and more, I told myself. If you were or are a devotee you will be likely to recognize this self talk - particularly the part about focusing on ones "own experience"?
This is what I wrote after becoming convinced that there was truth in the allegations:
Although a part of me would still love to be proved wrong about my conclusions, I am now at a point where I am recognize that there is too much wrong to say nothing. I need this whole thing like a hole in the head. However I know that things will continue unless people say and do something.
So you are invited to go through my process with me. Follow my responses from my initial letter to the organizational head in XXXXX through to the present. It will be an ongoing story. But this is where I am up to. At the same time do your own research please.
Remember this is a subjective story of my own actions and thinking processes during this time rather than testimony in its own right.
The bulk of the material was written just to clarify my own mind on the subject.
Making a Choice
Although it has not been easy or pleasant coming to this realization, I have been most grateful for the clarity that has replaced my niggling agitation that something was not quite right. This niggling 'background hum' of discontent had been overlaid by a 'warm blanket' of marvelous stories devotional activities and experiences that I had cuddled up too.
So this is my story of estrangement from a being I recognized as a false teacher. It is also a story of a powerful reconnection with the leadings of The Spirit of Truth.
Here is some of my early responses to the challenge of accepting that much was wrong:
"It has been worth taking this swim into the bracing and battering surf of truth - I know I will get to the deep clear water. There are still many challenges but I know I have made the right decision. Making moral choices is how I grow. Indecision has never inspired me, it is like spending my life on one foot - I go nowhere. I won't get through this by just meditating or worshipping, I have to do some work in finding out the truth in the best way I can - even if I can't be sure of the source. Although the jury is still out, I will need to make a choice sometime. I may as well start my research now - sometime I will find the truth. That is why I got interested in Sai Baba in the first place - to find the truth!"
End of Intro
Although it has been difficult to comprehend why, I can now accept that many devotees will not want to hear about these things. After all, that was me not so long ago. Although my time of following Sai Baba is over, the good that I have received through following his better teachings will be of continuing value. The lessons I have learnt through my time, as both a follower and a detractor are all grist for the mill of life. I think I have a greater compassion for others..... and for my own weaknesses.
After an initial burst of 'righteous indignation' (a very close relative of anger) I have been surprisingly able to tap into a vein of compassion for Sai Baba that seems to exist beyond my recognition of his abuse of his devotees. A friend reminded me of some of the great artists writers and musicians who were less than lovely in their private lives, and yet were geniuses who did give a lot to the world. I wonder if the same can be applied to Sai Baba?
I think I can forgive Sai Baba because the problem came about partly through the gullibility of the devotees and the power that we laid at his own vulnerable feet. It was the devotees surrendered power of their choice making capacitates that made it possible for him to abuse some of them and their sons.
We gave 'our power' away to a person - that was our mistake. This does not excuse Sai Baba for misusing the power we handed him, however it provided him many opportunities to fall for the temptations of the flesh.
There is little doubt that his nefarious sexual exploits were for his own sexual gratification - or as one woman ex-devotee put it "getting his rocks off."
"Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely" is an old saying that has had greater significance since I started to investigate this issue - only for the divine is this saying untrue. The alleged actions of Sai Baba are not divine - therefore, if true, neither is he.
We need to be more confident as humans, less likely to become followers of extraordinary charismatic beings who seem to have 'the power'.
Even though he says "you are God too" he has been prepared to climb upon an ornate 'golden chariot' of adulation and from this vantage point of power he has taken us all for a ride.
Am I Obsessive
I was at times almost "obsessive and compulsive", in wanting to 'do something' about this issue. I think this is probably how many people react when they see an obvious injustice or a crime against the most vulnerable.
It is now increasingly possible to focus more on how to respond effectively.
I do find it difficult to be tolerant and sweet to devotees who 'worship the feet of a pedophile'. It's outrageous that people can be so rapt up in their self centered peace, that they can reject the silent cry of those who, as you read this, may be being molested by this amazingly professional and successful counterfeit of "divine love in human form".
I believe that the astoundingly widespread deception needs to be spoken about publicly. The positive stories have been told and shared from person to person. Those who have discovered the 'dark side' are now doing the same with the negative stories, where appropriate - this is the only responsible action.
My response to the Nexus Article
After reading the articles published by Nexus magazine in September 2000 I soon wrote the following letter to The Central Coordinator of XXXXXX.
I believe you to be an honest man. A person who has served the community in a position of esteemed responsibility in regard to the Laws of the land. As the primary representative of the Sai Organization here in XXXXX, it places you in the best position to make an unbiased assessment of the testimonies of ex-students of Swamis schools; ex-members and even long serving office bearers of the organization here in XXXXXX.
As an office bearer of the South XXXXXX Sai Organization I was as asked by a sincere devotee to comment on the recent Nexus article that follows this fax.
Since hearing about the allegations, and reading your open letter to the Sai community, I had been avoiding the investigation of the web sites that were spreading distasteful testimonies. My rationale was, and still is, not to spread rumors and hearsay. However, recently I was asked, as both an office bearer and the person who extolled the virtues of Sai Baba to this women (prior to her membership), to read the article that was concerning her. She asked if she could fax it to me.
I found it extremely difficult to give her the reassurance she was so much hoping for.
My response to her is this current open letter to you. In a sense I am passing the buck.
I want to give myself time to contemplate and respond rather than react.
In a strange way I feel most grateful for this opportunity to grow as a person. I will not jump to far reaching conclusions, on the basis of only three testimonies.
Nor do I think it responsible behavior to discount the horrendously serious allegations, without due deliberation. This is where I would like your wise and experienced counsel. Not as the 'upholder of the faith', so to speak, but as the person who seems most suited to assess the various testimonies in the clear light of day - much as a judge would do.
This task, if you are prepared to take it on, will be an incredibly difficult, onerous and distasteful assignment however, it is best performed by yourself, as the chief representative of all the XXXXXX Devotees. As you said at my inauguration as (National Officer), and again at the XXXXX Conference - "the office bearers are the servants of the people in the organization - they exist only to serve the needs of the members" - the members need real leadership based on honesty.
As the Central Coordinator, you are being called to exercise your sacred duty of service and trust by investigating the allegations of disaffected ex-members, for the benefit of all current members.
Is this a reasonable request to ask of the head of the XXXXXX Sai Organization?
It is obviously essential that the office bearers address this issue courageously, both for their own self-respect, honesty to the members and genuine peace of mind. We need to be able to face members who have doubts in an informed and reasonable manner. We need to be sure, in heart and mind that the evidence submitted in this article and in the web site named is outrageous and false. I refer to www.myfreeoffice.com/saibabaexposed/
I have not personally been through this web site yet, as I am not keen to be overly curious about rumors and hearsay. Nor would I wish to ingest 'poison' without good cause.
I hope very much that the answers I receive both from within and without confirm the faith I had in Swami's spiritual status. However, one can't just dismiss heart-rending evidence of sexual misconduct, at a rampant level, given on oath, by former devotees, who seemingly had nothing to gain and a lot to lose by stepping forth with their experiences. To ignore such allegations, would be cowardly and unworthy of the teachings of any of the worlds great teachers, including those of Sathya Sai Baba.
The teachings, which speak of the importance of following of ones 'own conscience' and 'moral sensibilities' are basic and essential - to ignore them is to fail a simple ethical and therefore spiritual test.
In the end our allegiance is only to the pure Creator, the Atma, the Mother/Father God.
If the Form we know as Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi has gone off the rails, we need to know and then act appropriately.
Unfortunately our conscience demands an either/or response to this situation.
the information presented is emanating from deluded and disaffected minds and is false, in which case we need to be both informed and united in the face of a terrible and unjust persecution, against one of the holiest men to walk on the face of the earth.
the offences outlined in the Nexus article are true or at least partly true. In which case we may well be supporting and venerating a powerful cult figure as dangerous and well supported (by celebrities and politicians) as the infamous Jim Jones.
I naturally hope the former is the case but I am sharpening my discriminatory powers and opening my eyes and ears. Not to do so would be irresponsible, as an Office Bearer that exists to serve the membership.
It is almost ludicrous that I should be suggesting that you wear a Judges wig and sit in court to assess evidence against the Founder and Personage you believe to be God Incarnate - the Avatar of the Age. However this is your inescapable duty/dharma to the membership and evidently your Karma as a person.
I wish you well in this unenviable undertaking.
It is awfully like an investigation into the personal life of the President of the United States. Unfortunately this case is even more serious, in that some of the offences alleged against Sai Baba are clearly criminal, repeated and some involve minors.
I realize this is a challenging request. I know that you love Sai Baba and his great teachings as much as my family and I have done, over a 15 year period.
Your length of time with Swami and your association with many office bearers, including those who are now disillusioned and disaffected, will add weight to your considered assessment and opinion.
I believe the membership would find it reassuring to know that you, with your legal training and background, had fully investigated the allegations and found them to be baseless.
I would find it difficult to believe that you would hide any evidence that you suspected might support the claims. It would be all too easy for a cult leader to whitewash allegations, but much harder for a Judge - trained in finding the truth of a given situation.
I have read how difficult it is for jurists to refrain from having preconceived judgments regarding cases that are well publicized.
As a person and an ardent devotee it will be hard not to defend Sai Baba.
As a Judge listening to testimonies it may be hard not to accuse him.
I am personally finding this whole situation difficult but I am trying to take a measured approach. I have a lovely and most devoted wife, and a son who is an active member of the Sai Youth Organization here in South XXXXX.
I will personally encourage members to hold off making a judgment themselves until you have made an investigation and given a report. I will make this current letter an Open Letter to any members who ask me for my response to the article. I may send it to my fellow office bearers here in XXXXXX, to outline my position.
At this point I am very supportive of the Organization and of yourself as Central Coordinator. I look forward to your response.
Unfortunately I received no response to this letter. Some days later I rang the gentleman but he was uninterested in the idea of an internal investigation. I could only conclude that he had a major 'blind spot'. His devotional (bhakthi) love for Baba made it impossible to countenance any wrongdoing on Sai Baba's part - even in the face of so many testimonies. I guess he was personally chosen by Baba, as the countrys leader, for exactly this quality of blind acceptance of Sai Baba as an Avatar/Godman who could do no wrong. After a long and meandering phone call with this aged and in many ways rather lovely gentleman, I knew that I had to look at the web sites and speak to those involved to find out as best I could whether there was any truth in these "negative stories".
I couldnt see that I had any other choice considering the gravity of the allegations.
I wrote the following article both for my own clarification and to justify to my family and Sai friends my decision to look at the 'negative stories'. At this point I was still having 'inner wondering' as to whether it was really OK to investigate the negative side of Sai Baba - the person I had come to accept, at least as a Living Saint, or even a Divine Incarnation:
No one engaged in the pursuit of truth beauty and goodness likes to focus on the negative. I have generally been a person who likes to focus on the positive. This has certainly been the case on my journey with Swami.
As I sit here prepared to look seriously at the negative side of the Sai Baba story, I naturally ask myself "Am I am involving myself in an activity that may destroy something beautiful"?
"Where is my faith"?
"Will this enquiry lead to a major rift in relationships"?
My overriding thought regarding this step I am about to take is that I am simply looking at another view of something. Putting my attention on the 'internal defects' rather than the 'exterior shine'- The reverse of my natural tendency. We all do this when it is appropriate.
When most people walk onto a used car lot or go out looking for a car through a private sale, they tend to be a bit negative in their investigation of the vehicle under scrutiny. The salesperson or private owner about to sell to me realizes this and continually presents the positive view of the car. The buyer however will often focus on scratches and signs of rust, in what could be called a 'negative' manner. Mechanically ignorant buyers will sometimes even bring a mechanically literate friend who will listen to the motor and even get under the car looking for the problems - focusing on the negative again.
Do we see this sort of negative investigation as a bad quality, or do we see it as part of wisdom? It is our responsibility to make an assessment or judgment about whether the car is all the salesperson or owner says it is.
If I were at a used car yard and a mechanically literate friend saw me looking at the car he had just inspected and test driven, and warned me not to buy it, would I berate him for his negativity or thank him for his warning? I would be likely to ask him what was wrong at least. It would be unlikely that anyone would think it wrong to listen to his opinion.
No one likes to be taken for a ride; in fact no person of good will likes to see others 'ripped off.' Many people will go out of their way to warn others about 'con artists'. This is simply part of friendship - the other side of the coin to telling a friend about something really worthwhile, whether it's a product, a film or a 'truth'.
If we have learnt a hard lesson, it is almost our responsibility to share it with someone else, so that they can avoid the trap we fell into - whether a physical one or a spiritual one. This is the nature of true progress. Whether anyone listens is not our responsibility.
This used car thinking was rather helpful to me back then in legitimizing my research to myself. I still hoped that I was to engage in a short burst of necessary 'fault looking' rather than to have become engaged in the process of 'fault finding'. However once seen they couldn't become 'unseen'.
Time to Look without the Blinkers
Today I have decided to examine these allegations about Baba in a different light - to take a negative look at the vehicle called Sai Baba, as if I were buying a car. I will look for scratches and get under the bonnet hopefully with others who are prepared to get a little dirty in examining the hidden workings of this extraordinary being - who many of us regard as an Avatar.
I will listen to first hand witnesses who have had negative experiences. I will do so in an endeavor to find the truth. In effect I will be negative about their stories. Although I don't want to believe such stories, I know that I must not fear the consequences of this investigation.
If life is a game then we need to play it.
If life is a play then this is the part I am going to play.
My conscience will not allow me to ignore these serious testimonies.
No doubt the investigation will be painful. I very much hope that the allegations in question are false. I want to be able to follow the simple Sai path that my family and I have been following these last 15 years.
I almost long for it on a personal level.
Deciding to Make an Assessment
You see, I don't want these allegations to be true. None of us do.
I have nothing to gain and lot to loose by taking this negative path of investigation. However at the moment I see no other way to proceed, considering the gravity of the accusations.
Some people genuinely believe there is evidence of gross misconduct occurring at the Ashram. I had only ever thought of the miracles occurring there.
As a person who has had the pleasure of introducing a number of people to Swami, my only responsible way forward seems to be that of investigation. Not judgment - that is not my role. However I think I will have to make an assessment. Who can blame me for this? How wrong it would be to shrink from the task and condone alleged child molestation without taking it seriously.
Love of a Dream
Should we be blinded by our love of a dream?
Should we be swayed by an astounding healing, visions and spiritual experiences (whether recently or in the past) or by that magic element of synchronicity that seems to confer rightness to a given scenario?
Should we simply use our conscience in the making of moral choices?
Although our spiritual experiences have an important place in life, they are simply not appropriate to use as rationalizations in the clear light of investigation into the truth or falsehood of testimony. Spiritual experience plays little part in the courtroom consciousness. Allegations need to be examined. Actions need to be assessed and looked at in context. Swami's "divinity" or fine teachings or past 'good deeds' although having a bearing on the situation are not the issue here.
Appearances are just that - how things appeared to be. As distasteful as it is, we have an obligation to each other to assess the evidence that is coming out - not just from a few people who "didn't get the attention they sought" but from a number of credible people.
If, as I hope, there are sound explanations that make it clear that these allegations are outrageous lies, then I will be in a much stronger position.
I believe the saying that "looking for faults isn't looking for Truth". So I want to be able to make positive responses to the negative allegations, looking for substance to refute the allegations of Swamis faults.
Injunctions coming from so called leaders telling us not to be poisoned by reading the rumors on the are simply not good enough. They are simply opiates to our conscience.
For an organization that espouses "exemplary conduct" in its members, we have to be sure that our founder is a living example.
Quotes of Swami's such as "My life is my message" needs to be examined in the light of the heartfelt testimonies of former devotees. To understand what I am saying, one simply has to read the distasteful testimonies of those who wrote the articles. On the face of it these people are not deluded. They are people who had everything to loose and nothing to gain by making up such stories. Their evidence is at least worthy of appraisal, especially since there seems to be a consistent thread - however this could also be a copy cat scenario with disaffected and deranged members fabricating stories that add substance to other peoples earlier stories.
"But My Experience was Good!"
The idea that we each have to go only on our own personal experience sounds good but could be flawed. Any investigative process looks at the testimony of witnesses, the character of such witnesses and the motives they may have for telling an untruth. Many Germans thought Hitler was good some are still loyal to him to this day saying ..."but my experience was good!"....this line is seen as inane and ridiculous by almost everyone and yet it is being consistently used by fine and good people as the primary excuse for 'having faith' Sai Baba. Is this sort of faith code for refusing to shift and 'staying in denial?'
Just because well-respected dignitaries and politicians thought Jim Jones was a wonderful man, at a certain time in his life, doesn't mean that he couldn't go way off the track and commit terrible crimes that caused immeasurable harm.
Hindsight is easy, foresight is hard, but it needs to be exercised if we are to be positive about life.
Indifference, hiding from fact or rationalizing distasteful evidence is actually a form of cowardice rather than a demonstration of faith.
Only informed and honestly thought out rationalization is acceptable to our conscience. Our feelings will want to go along with our experience - that is easy - it does not require change.
Objective principles and laws always go beyond subjective personal experience as our guide in life. Our feelings can and do lead us astray in the same way as they seemed to have led Sai Baba into the dark alleyway of illicit sexual experience with young men and boys. I am sure Sai Baba sees nothing wrong in this activity - after all it would be done with love for their spiritual benefit. It is apparently a fact that some untreated pedophiles actually see their activities as being a worthy expression of love. However such ideas are wholly selfish and predatory giving little thought to the 'rights of the person being cunningly abused.
Satyanarayana Raju alias Sai Baba has written loftily on the subject of principles. His moral stance seemed to be very strong and was a primary reason for my involvement in the first place. I never liked the 'surrender to feelings' concept that seemed to be encouraged by Rajneesh and elements of the New Age philosophy. This sort of freedom seemed to create bondage. I knew a woman who had become pregnant to this Guru and was emphatically told she must have an abortion - he ran an abortion clinic at the Ashram for a while. Amazingly Rajneesh is looking like Goody Two shoes in comparison to Satyanarayana.
Part of his 10 Principles of divinity reads:
Principle 9 : Observe the laws of the State and be an exemplary citizen.
Principle 10: Adore God Abhor Sin.
What to do if the author of such statements is failing to live up to them in mega proportions? That is the question needing to be addressed.
As I am
Live Mind or Dead Mind
The mind can jump all over the place - we all know that. The mind can become focused - we have probably all experienced that, when involved in a project, a mathematical or creative challenge or when involved in an important discussion. There are times when the mind should be dropped from a great height, especially when one is intending to relax or meditate. Hence Swami's "Die Mind" - allows the diamond of peace to glisten.
The Mind as a Tool
In looking at moral issues the mind should be enlivened and sharpened, so that it can make clear assessments, weighing facts in a considered way. The mind is the tool we have been given to make moral decisions. It works in conjunction with the conscience; a more heart focused knowing that connects universal law with appropriateness - to make a judgment or assessment about something.
Universal law does not always have to be law abiding. The Green peace actions are often law breaking on moral grounds.
However, unless an action is governed by a clearly higher law of conscience, then the state laws should be adhered to.
Impartiality of Jurors
Our moral sense or conscience seems to have links with the faculty of intuition and yet should not be ruled by this 'guidance' or 'feeling' based inner faculty. Someone on jury duty has a responsibility to weigh the facts. Their feelings, hunches and intuitions should be placed on hold while one is examining the testimony of witnesses. In a court, those known to the defendant are disallowed as jurors, as impartiality is almost impossible with friends or relatives.
Hard To be Objective
As individuals we are placed in a very difficult position, when faced with the accusations made against Swami. We each have our own experiences both inner and outer. This naturally colors our perception. We don't want to go off on a 'mind game' believing ugly rumors that have little relationship to our own experience. Yet, when examining, these so called rumors we are confronted with heartfelt testimonies that relate abuses of trust, that seem to have enough substance to be worthy of consideration.
Reactions and Responses
· Patience is one. Just letting it sit for clarification at a later date - hopefully much later! This response may well be appropriate for many of us, especially if there is already a lot happening in life. However the tendency is to keep putting off looking at the issue. I have been using this strategy myself.
· Calling investigation into the accusations "mind tripping" is another reaction. We avoid having to fully engage our moral faculties. When confronted with what is clearly a moral dilemma we may want to use the 'Die-mind' formulae to escape hard analysis and the use of our powers of discrimination in the making of a decision about Swami.
· We can say "there is something else behind all this, we can't understand it with our minds. There must be a good reason for Swami to do anything he does; this is a test of faith; we must go beyond the outer form". Yes, it sure is difficult; we never understand the why's or the how's of certain actions. However if you became convinced through multiple testimony, given on oath, that unconscionable actions have taken place in the privacy of Swamis interview room, can you escape making a moral decision just because you don't understand why he has done these morally reprehensible things? Crimes are committed every day that boggle the mind - this is surely the 'Mother of all Boggles'!
We live in a world of thoughts, feelings and most noticeably - actions, everyone, whatever their spiritual status, is accountable for these.
Swamis teachings themselves make it impossible to excuse the actions of self-gratification that are being attributed to him.
I had hoped to be able to prove, with others in a group of formal investigators, led by our well equipped leader - a Judge - to prove that we are dealing with a pack of lies. Unfortunately we have no decisive leadership prepared to take the allegations seriously.
Dropping the Form involved Grieving
During my process of investigation I naturally enough started to wean myself from identifying God as Sai Baba the 'Form'.
Our house, being full of photographs of Sai Baba, made it interesting for me during this disconnection phase. I wondered if it would be similar to being in the middle of difficult divorce proceedings and yet having to face life sized pictures of your "ex" where 'ere you moved.
A White Flag
My family has been very good to me during this time. Although they have not shared my compulsion to investigate the claims, they have given me freedom to make my investigation. They have made the decision not to read the articles and although that has its difficulties I have had to come to terms with this and respect them for their conscious decision. There have been and probably will continue be difficult times and challenges to go through, but I am confident that, if I can remain centered and happy as a person, without being consumed by the issue, then our lives together will move into a new phase. A life together that will have come to terms with my decision to sever myself from devotion to Sai Baba even a life in which I actually oppose the activities of the Sai Organization.
My wife and I talked about a married couple I read about in America (it could only happen in America) who were running for the same seat on different sides of the political fence. They seemed to have a good life together each respecting the views of the other - however wrong they were! Their love for each other was based on the fact that they appreciated that each was following their conscience. They each held out some hope that the other would come round to their right view. They apparently hung a white flag on the door of the bedroom. Seemed to be sensible - we have done likewise!
This is and will continue to involve a time of mourning for the dropping of the 'Form' of Sai Baba is akin to grieving for the death of a spouse or a child. As a spouse and children are the focus of our emotional lives so Baba had become the focus of our Spiritual life.
I am also aware, as I make this choice of disconnection, that there will be an estrangement with a number of people we regarded as friends. But that is life and it will simply define who our friends actually are.
It will certainly not mean that I will cease to be friends who chose not to take my path. As my decision is sure to cause some acrimony within the organization I am preparing myself not to react to well meaning but misinformed reactions. That will be an interesting phase. One that I am already giving thanks for.
Nothing Certain in Life
A very pure soul - a teacher from India, who is staying with us at the moment, shared this
Gratitude for Everything
All I can do, is to give gratitude to God for what comes into my life on a daily basis and then follow my conscience, the voice of God, as it is borne out of responsibility and freedom of fear regarding the consequences.
As the song Dream the Impossible Dream says,
"Be willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause". Very 'crusaderish' I know - but it feels a bit like this. Righteous indignation can be an appropriate response. Most important movements and changes come out of forcefully held views acted upon - then they become protests. This could end up a protest.
Inaction may be a Sin
Certainly it is true, that if we, as members, do nothing we could be allowing something very wrong to perpetuate. Something we may regret just as much as those who saw the signs around Jim Jones and did nothing, relying on others to act, while half wondering how such a well respected and spiritually powerful being could possibly go off the track.
Well they have and quite possibly are right now in Puttaparthi.
A Strange Mission
At this point I don't know what I expect to find. I have only read one article involving three testimonies. This is the start of an honest but distasteful journey, strange mission -- to investigate the actions of a being proclaimed by millions as an Avatar.
What qualifications do any of us have?
Only one: the ability to discern truth from falsehood through the use of our conscience, and yes, our minds. They will need to be engaged fully and fairly, without prejudgment.
In this situation maybe we should say -- LIVE MIND not DIE MIND.
With the understanding that we should not presume to understand the why's but only the facts.
It is not our job to place judgment on the testimonies given by ex devotees. Nor is it our job judge Swami as guilty. It is, however, our responsibility to make a considered assessment as to the likelihood of these allegations being true - for the sake of young students who may be being sexually abused as you read this.
Mother of All Pranks?
I can see a lot happening in the Sai Organization as a result of the testimonies of former close devotees. It is certainly difficult to ignore the issue once having read the testimonies.
I have been looking at every possible reason and spiritual purpose of this issue. It has occurred to me that the "Eternal Charioteer" could also possibly be the "Eternal Prankster" playing the mother of all pranks?
I can even conceive that the Inner Pure Divine Sai (connected to the God within) who is behind and beyond the person at Puttaparthi is actually orchestrating the whole affair exactly for the purpose of exercising our conscience. Just to see if we are able to discard the exterior and brightly colored packaging to accept the less outwardly interesting gift of moral discrimination that is the important content of the package. Sort of discarding the husk for the kernel. This seems as likely a possibility as many other rationalizations I have heard.
Exercise of Faith?
Others may think it is to exercise our faith in the face of scandal. Well that is the test--fascinating and as yet not fully resolved for me.
One common thought of devotees I have spoken to about the subject is "there must be more behind this". I have also thought that there may well be. One thing for sure is that people are leaving or having to step back to reassess their position in significant numbers.
I may feel the calling to go myself. I am certainly now open to the possibility that there is something very wrong.
Moral Questions and Personal Decisions
I can see moral dilemmas right "in my face" when I read the heartfelt and obviously sincere testimonies shared by ex-devotees.
I have become aware that I am going to have to make important decisions regarding Swami's alleged misconduct.
These decisions will be very real and meaningful to me, as individual.
I believe every person connected with the work of the organization will also be faced with moral decisions that include issues such as:
· Will I read or not read the testimonials, whether they are in magazines or from friends who are themselves investigating?
· Will I look at the web sites that claim to have 'findings' that have substance?
· Am I prepared to question Sai Baba and his purported actions, or will I have faith and trust in my own experiences and just trust in Swami?
· Will I make my own enquiry as a curious human?
· Will I search the recesses of my own mind looking at the negative aspects at the Ashram or will I focus exclusively on the positive?
· Will I entertain or admit to doubts - or will I block all questioning?
· Will I talk to friends who are "negatively investigating"? or will I only talk to God about it?
· Will I look for the weaknesses in the negative allegations or will I to easily accept these negative findings?
· Will I talk about the weaknesses of those investigating?
· Will I become 'nego-skeptic'? or Will I become 'poso- cultic'?
· Is there a genuine 'middle way'? Can I be 'nutro -truthic' or will I see this 'middle way' idea as clever code for fence sitting - 'fenco sitic'?
· How long will I investigate before deciding. A week a month or a year?
· Do I feel comfortable sitting in front of an alter worshipping a person who has been named by many former devotees as having abused them both psychologically and sexually?
· Will I get involved in helping others come to terms with the allegations?
· Will I just depart quietly or will I let others know what decision I have come to and why.
· Would I be interfering in members Karma by alerting people to the
possibility or probability (depending on where you are at) that Swami is a sex pervert?
· Is there any difference in telling positive stories to telling negative stories if they are true?
· Do I see the allegations as poison to the beauty and life of 'Swami's elixir of devotion' or as an antidote to the ugliness of 'Swami's drug of deception'? Powerfully different alternatives.
· How do I see 'illusion' in the light of these testimonies?
· Will I just go for the 'blind faith' path of surrender to Swami - not reading or hearing - blocking off all reason and testimony?
· Will I engage in a search for truth prepared to go where ever the truth takes me?
These are the questions I am asking myself as I move through this quagmire of moral dilemmas.
A Group Answer?
I believe there is no right way or group answer to these questions. Everyone is different and should be free from the overt influences of the group leaders, yet able to tap into the loving support and counsel of those office bearers and members selected by the 'seeking member' as possibly being of help to them in their time of challenge.
There are a number of potential pressures that can surface when a group is put on the line. A group always becomes stronger during persecution but it also can become very 'hard line'. It is all too easy to cast judgment on those who are reassessing their views of Swami and their involvement in the organization.
Assessment is a right and proper use of our powers of discrimination. Judgment is quite another proposition.
People that either step down as an office bearer during a re-assessment phase, or leave the organization all together, will usually do so with regret after courageously following their conscience.
Stay with a sinking ship?
While investigating the truth I have decided not to abandon ship. I may be asked to leave by my fellow members-- that has yet to be resolved. However I believe my only allegiance is to God and Truth.
If our founder is found wanting in the living of his teachings should I be the one resigning or should he. I believe that the teachings are always more important than the teacher.
Should those who are deeply questioning be curtly and swiftly placed to one side and seen as having "lost their way" or as "having been affected by the negative internet gossip"? Let us watch ourselves for cult like judgmental behavior.
I encourage all office bearers to stay with this ship for a while at least for the purpose of sharing the allegations however unpopular.
Is Swami is Sorting the Wheat from the Chaff?
It would be sad to see sincere people, who inquire openly, relegated to the "chaff bag" having been sorted. Leaving only the inflexible hard liners as the nutritious "wheat". At the very least the organization could be grateful for their excellent "roughage" that the organism absolutely needs to prevent the ever-lurking possibility of spiritual constipation.
Exit Stage Right
It may well be that in Gods eyes these leavers / deserters / betrayers, have made the right decision! It may also be that they go on to do much more valuable work and feel Gods Presence in their lives, much more fully, than if they had stayed on as a member of the Sai Organization.
It does me no harm to remember that there are many forms of what we could call the 'Sai Spirit of God' - the consciousness that drew us to 'Him'. There is after all the formless path. Many of these people may have felt they had become to attached to the 'form'. Could it be that we all have focused too much on the 'form' at the expense of the teachings?
This may be a good time for many people to exit stage right as their part in the Sai play has been completed.
They may be destined to join another theatre/play group using another director (or directing their own) using the technique of 'acting' taught by Swami - on the stage we call life.
Watch the 'Cult Creep'
It is simply not for us to judge those who leave - only to love and respect them for themselves - we should have quite enough to do in assessing our own life decisions and ourselves.
Once members start expressing or even making internal judgments on those who are leaving, then 'cult creep' slithers into the group psyche.
Self-righteousness and smug self-glorification of ones own "faith" easily follows. This can grow like a science fiction amoebae, into an ugly growth that flip-flops over our own mask of insecurity, obvious to everyone else but us. Beware of this insidious tendency that lurks within us all. You know it when you see it. It's the - "look at me I'm sitting pretty - full of faith"? ....Full of what......!?"
Where does pride cometh - before a fall?
For all its complexity there is simplicity to be found.
We can just give thanks for all things including this unpleasant testimonial driven 'publicity cup' which has been handed us. How do we digest the personal and challenging reports about Swamis behavior in the interview room? As one reads the various testimonials, they seem to have substance. Are they pranks or are they crimes? I don't know.
You probably don't know either. You would like to but you don't.
I remember hearing Carl Jung being asked if he had Belief in God. He said "No, I don't believe.....I Know".
What is important is to Know that God is with us both during and after our decisions. We must not feel that a decision to reject the form of Sathya Sai Baba in India, because we have followed our conscience and moral sensibilities will possibly incur the wrath of God.
'Never fear I am here' we can say, as we touch our heart.
Swami has apparently recently said that everyone in this drama has their part to play.
If I come to a clear-headed decision based on 'weight of testimony' that Swami is doing something that I consider He/he shouldn't be doing, then so be it. I will naturally enough be morally bound to leave the Sai Organization and have little to do with the form of Sai Baba. That is a simple and obvious way to respond to the situation. That's OK, we are free, and it doesn't really matter in the universal scheme of things.
It does seem unfortunate to see ex-devotees become what we could call 'bitter and twisted crusaders' against Swami, however even that may be their part in this play.
More than meets the I?
There may be more to all this than 'sensible analysis and moral decision making' is capable of comprehending.
Could it be that many sincere people are having hallucinations in the interview room? Could it be that they are reacting to their own personal issues and challenges in a way that hangs distasteful blame on Sai Baba?
There are virtually no witnesses to the alleged breaks of trust by Swami only the testimony of those who had the experience.
There are many stories that suggest that different things happen for people in the interview room. Often people are in a very 'expectational' mode of consciousness. I guess this scenario is possible. I have spoken to sensible people who absolutely believe this. I tried to but I cannot take on this with rationalization.
Swami does seem to be occasionally 'conjuring' things instead of manifesting them. He is doing some 'fake miracles; if we accept that the camera evidence of 'slight of hand' isn't itself a fake. I wish Swami wouldn't do this it. It is most irritating. However it is unlikely He/he will take my views into account. Why he does fake miracles when he can do real ones I don't know. The miracle thing is relatively unimportant to me.
In any case, there have been to many miracles over to long a period for them all to be fakes - I am convinced of that.
The camera evidence on the internet and elsewhere doesn't account for the thousands of materialization's at which he isn't present physically - both in the homes of devotees and with people who don't even know of his existence.
It seems to me that these fake manifestations are designed to appeal to the skeptics and to embarrass us to our friends, just to see how we respond. Swami is a prankster. He does play tricks on people. This is well documented.
I would like to think that all of the negative stories are pranks to test us.
Maybe I will be able to. It is a process. Pray for those of us that have read the testimonies ......don't judge us.... especially if you haven't read them yourself. Not that I am saying you should do so, although I guess I lean towards informed faith rather than blind faith.
I do however believe that all office bearers should be informed as to what the public is reading about Swami. Ignorance is never bliss. Blind faith is an inappropriate response for leaders. Those of us who are investigating have not lost the plot, we are part of it.
Resignation or Investigation
I have spent the last month reflecting and seeking Gods guidance and His Will in the matter of the negative testimonies about our Founder Sai Baba. I had decided not to rush things but to allow myself the time to come to terms with the issues in the right time. It has been hard going at times and a bit of a lonely road. I am still looking but am getting closer to conclusions.
Here are some of the fruits of my investigations. Unfortunately they are rather bitter fruits but they need to be shared with the leaders of the Organization as they are far more serious than a 'media beat up'.
A Father and Sons Experience.
I spoke to a man from America today who had been a devotee for approximately 20 years.
He was a regional officer of the Sai Organization and was, as he says, "deeply invested in the Sai Organization".
He had started a Sai Community and a Sai School on his property.
He had been asked to speak all over the States about Swami.
He was assured of an interview every time his family went to the Ashram.
He had over twenty interviews. His son had been given over 40 interviews.
During the period between 97-99 this man discovered facts that has led to him closing the school in Swamis name, resigning from the organization and ceasing to make speaking engagements about Sai Baba.
What changed his mind?
This mans family were getting ready to go back to visit Swami, when the reluctance to return on the part of their son, made them persevere in dragging the reason out of him. The truth was that Swami had been engaging in repeated sexual activity with this mans son. It started relatively innocently with oil being rubbed on the stomach and genitals but ended in mutual masturbation and repeated offers of oral sex.
This man, who doesn't feel the need to go public, has since made his own extensive investigation with other devotees who had sons that had also had repeated interviews. His discoveries confirmed his sons testimony. It seemed that this sort of behavior has been going on and still is going on daily at the Ashram.
Since the Sixties
It has been generally acknowledged that Swami has since the sixties been performing a sort of spiritual operation by rubbing oil or vibhuti over the bodies and particularly the genitals of his student, much like a doctor would do if there were a rash. It has apparently always been thought to be helpful to the spiritual growth of that person. However strange this custom was, it was possible to rationalize this away as some Tantric operation, done without self-gratification on Swamis part and for the good of the person involved.
However this activity is allegedly ending up in both oral sex performed on Swami and apparently with Swami doing it to the students who become his 'favorites'. On the outer level it seems they are receiving extra grace by having lots of interviews.
There are multiple reports of Swami effectively and not effectively masturbating devotees and students.
There are some allegations that claim Swami has engaged in the act of sodomy with a number of his students. I really don't want to believe that, but there does unfortunately seem to be some basis for these allegations.
These activities, it seems, have become habitual and apparently continue on a daily basis -- as hard as this is to believe. It is apparently somewhat common knowledge amongst the students that some of these favorites are often with Swami for his sexual gratification. Some of these boys have approached westerners asking them to ask Swami to stop molesting them. This is how some of the stories got out.
It is clear that this is not a benevolent activity helping young people with their sexual problems.
This is highly unpleasant to write or read. However I am now convinced that at least some of these things are happening and so I can no longer put off the pain of revealing them to those who have the guts to listen to these activities that are being attributed to this extraordinary being Sai Baba.
Why he has been doing these things I do not know. But doing some of them it seems he is. The recognition of the truth that some of them are happening is enough for me to say "enough" - it is time to speak out.
For those who would say it is a test, I can only agree. It has been a test of my faith in the God the Supreme, who I believe would not sanction such actions, whoever it was that did them.
My faith will no longer be in the supposed Avatar but in God. I am upholding the teachings of restraint given by Swami.
It seems even the very elect have been deceived. Those with sublime teachings and those who do great works can even be deceiving and perverted.
Some people, like myself of recent times, will try all sorts of ways to rationalize these reports. The first one is to talk yourself out of even reading the testimonies. To see them as poison. To me they have become an antidote. There are many other rationalizations - such as:
· "Baba Is God! He can do what ever He likes. There must be a reason beyond my comprehension"........ If someone can handle this in that way then that is their business. For me it is not Godly behavior and is simply not acceptable. Swamis saying "My life is my message" becomes a very ugly joke.
· "We, as humans, cannot understand, therefore we must accept this as part of the divine play"............Our minds are ours to use in coming to terms with moral dilemmas on this plane of existence. We use our hearts and minds in combination with our spiritual guidance and gut feelings, to make moral choices. It is right to employ our God given faculties in the search for truth using our conscience - however unpleasant it may be.
· "I will only go on my own experience"............. That is like saying, "the con man was good to me", while he ripped off a little old lady. Good experiences with some people are simply not relevant to other actions in another part of ones life. Many pedophiles have been seen as good citizens, until the truth came out. Ignoring the actions done to others while focusing on the good experiences and grace you have received is simply a self-centered view. In this case it is unfair on the young children who are possibly being taken advantage of by the worlds most active and powerful pedophile. What if this were true? At least it deserves investigation.
Following My Conscience
There are all sorts of rationalizations that we can throw up. But of recent times they all make me do just that......throw up. I have tried them all and none of them sit well in my somewhat delicate stomach. Unfortunately my gut feeling corroborates the testimonies that I have now heard.
I am simply following my conscience on a daily basis. I have tried not to go at this stuff to hard. It has been awful to read the stories and have ones picture of a Great Soul even an Incarnation of God shattered to pieces.
I would just love these stories to be lies. However I now know to much to ignore them, or sit on them, covering up my real reasons for concern.
One of the most disturbing things about all this is that so many people are prepared to condone or explain away behavior that under ordinary circumstances they would condemn outright.
The Sai Leaders
It seems that a number of the leaders of the organization are aware that there is far more to all this than rumor. Many are leaving. Whole organizations overseas have closed down as a result of investigations made by the courageous Coordinators of those countries.
Our leader, Mr. XXXXX has sadly not responded with any real leadership. He has failed to answer my formal letter asking for a level headed investigation of the allegations contained in Nexus Magazine testimony. I had hoped that a group of office bearers would be inducted as 'truth seekers' within the organization. My thinking and hope at the time, was that an investigation would have been able to dispel the allegations. I can understand why this course was discarded without a response. A highly impolite mode of operation. I had to ring XXXXX. His only real response was "let someone take him to court".
My Own Investigation
I have been forced to do my own lonely investigation, both within and without. This has included speaking to those who are very positive that Swami is pure and that the allegations are hallucinations or tests.
Oh, how I would like to believe that, but I just can't. I also have a lot to loose and nothing to gain by taking this action. It is purely because I know now that my moral conscience won't let me do otherwise.
A Pure 'Inner Swami"?
I suspect that there exists an absolutely pure 'Inner Swami', who has answered prayers and done all manner of good for people. When we pray to Swami sincerely our prayers get transferred to this 'Inner Swami" or God within for processing. We end up healing ourselves or finding our own solutions in conjunction with this inner guidance.
There are many pure souls who will continue to see Sai Baba as God. I don't find that difficult, especially if they know nothing of the actions of the Outer Swami.
Sai Baba's teachings are fine ancient teachings restated for modern man. His service and good works have been inspirations to millions.
Swami has in a recent message said "Many of you are pained by the calumny that some papers are indulging in about me. Many are urging that something should be done about it. But, I am holding back for that is the best way to deal with both praise and blame........"
If Swami were guilty he would not want an investigation.
He goes on to say "The ocean knows no flowing or drying up. It is ever full, ever majestic, ever unconcerned". This is typical of Swami's 'above the world' or 'law unto himself' attitude that has always been Swamis way ..... and one that I appreciated. In the light of the information coming to hand it is simply a great tactic that works a treat with those who are being faithful and refusing to read the negative testimonies.
There are just to many people who had everything to loose and nothing to gain by standing up and telling their sad and sometimes embarrassing stories. Although I am sure there is a lot of exaggeration in many of the testimonies that are coming out, I am also sure that we are not looking at unsubstantiated rumormongering. I have no doubt that there is now a major body of testimony that amounts to a serious revelation of gross misconduct, that has gone on for far to long, under the veil of Divinity.
It is a cruel joke to have this sort of perversion spoken of in the same breath as the God of Purity.
Compassion for Swami
Strangely I still love that Inner Swami, the one that drew me to Him.
I know that this Inner Swami is a great being. My experiences have on the whole been fascinatingly good. I will not deny the wonderful experiences I had. Unfortunately it seems that there is truth in the saying "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely". I had hoped that this Avatar was beyond those sorts of clichés, however it seems not to be so, when we look at the testimonies regarding the Outer Swami.
We are all human - even an Avatar is human - if it is caged in a physical body. With all the best intentions outer bodies have weaknesses, however these cannot be glossed over when they are impacting upon others negatively. It seems presumptuous, but I actually feel compassion for this 'Outer Swami'. What a load to carry! .
It has been a challenging time looking at this stuff. Once one has taken the leap of engaging honestly with this issue, without fear of the consequences, then there comes a time when it is important to make a decision. To remain part of a spiritual organization that refuses to investigate its founder, who now lives under the dark cloud of pedophilia, is very difficult to accept.
Fence sitting for very long becomes far too uncomfortable for everyone concerned. I have decided to speak out within the organization. To resign is as I see it cowardly. I would rather stay on the sinking ship for a while to help man the lifeboats for the sake of the children.
I will not be an easy time coming to terms with all of this.
So I will not be tendering my resignation as The XXXXXX XXXXXX of South XXXXXXX.
I am upholding the principles of the organization such as the living of an exemplary life. If our founder comes into question then so be it.
Principles come before powerful people even if they are proclaimed as an Avatar. All that stuff means nothing if these allegations are true.
I encourage each of you to take off the blinkers and have a good look - earlier rather than later. We are sitting on a time bomb, one that will inevitably explode and be revealed as a Jones-Town -- in its own way.
Never fear God is Here
Don't be afraid of the truth, there is nothing to fear because God is with everyone who makes a sincere and honest search for the truth using their conscience as a tool.
I am well aware that I may be expelled from this organization. It has a leader who is very clever. He is also a solidly brainwashed devotee who will not countenance any criticism of Swami. A person with letters after his name but it would seem with little intestinal fortitude.
I hope I am wrong about this and that he will reevaluate the situation. In which case I will be happy to serve on an 'investigative group' of office bearers as I requested in my as yet unanswered letter.
My mandate in this portfolio was to serve the spiritual needs of the XXXXX Organization as its officer.
I will continue to play my part in defending the spiritual teachings related to 'Exemplary Conduct' while I remain in the organization.
I hope you are each guided by your conscience and the moral laws of God. Even simple worldly ethics will do.
The Issues Behind this Issue:
One thing I am learning out of this issue is that it brings up my 'issues'. The things I need to realize about myself. Hopefully I will be able to grow as a result of genuinely addressing these issues.
I have been able to see how I have tried to force others into believing that which I believe, about this issue and other things in life.
I have come to realize more fully that it should never be my business what anyone else thinks. It is fair to share my thoughts and feelings but it is not helpful to be attached to the results of my sharing.
What others do with my offering is their business. I got too involved in other people's thoughts. This ended in futile argument and some unpleasant interaction.
I have been too heavily invested in being 'right'. Being 'right' is not the only issue here. The interestingly important issue regarding my own growth is the finding of the issues this situation brings up for me - those I need to work on. This has recently become as important as the outer issue of Swami's alleged pedophilia. Which although of huge importance to those young people who have or may be effected is still for me an 'outer issue'.
I will be of no use to others or myself if I continue to fling myself about in an attempt to "do something!"
I must focus on "being something" - something full of love and compassion. A person centered and together caring for those who even violently disagree with me.
It is one thing to share my truth in an unattached state, it is another thing to be full of turmoil and agitation. It is fruitless and even destructive to harangue others who are innocently going about their life in a loving and kind way. I have no right to foist my views on others in an aggressive manner, as I have at times been doing. This pushiness has repulsed others from me. I can see that my 'crusader' qualities although having a place in the world, can go to far when they seek to massage and manipulate others into thinking as I think and acting as I act.
I am now consciously and subconsciously looking for the causes of the patterns set within me. While pursuing understanding and trying to act appropriately in relation to the outer issue I am seeking to find the cause of this sometimes obsessive reaction to that which I diagnose as wrong or evil. It is unhelpful to play the I am right and they are wrong game. Being right means nothing if I am relating in a way that does not exude love and genuine respect for all the people I interact with.
My brash way of delivering my 'understandings, and 'findings' has at times been unacceptable to me. I must stop this mode of operating.
Only loving gently shared understanding has value. Even then it only has lasting value when it is shared in a sacred and loving consciousness without any thought of the influence on others - the results. I must leave the results up to God.
Unless I have a specific and planned strategy in mind, I should only share the unpleasant information when requested. I need to be aware of the shattering effect this information can have on a person who is developing their faith in God. However I must not be deterred from exposing the difference between real faith in God and faith in a human who has been exposed as very fallible. I must remember that I am sharing valuable information. The fact that it is shocking and repugnant is not my fault.
All I have done is to discover what has been happening through the testimony of those who seem to have, no axe to grind.
It seems that the devotees who criticize my criticism are doing so from a point of denial. This denial will persist if I show frustration and bad will towards them, as it points to my lack of centered action.
I think I should only share information or understanding when I know that my love is stronger than my desire to change them. The decisions people make should be of no consequence to me.
My responsibility is to be aware of my motivations. I can wield a destructive power by indiscriminately sharing this emotionally explosive information.
Each person will go through their own process in a way that suits them.
Everyone will have pain in just hearing about this issue, let alone immersing themselves in an investigation of the testimonies.
It is almost unbelievable when first heard. I must remember how it was for me when I fist heard such stories. A persons psychological fragility is more important than 'socking it to 'em between the eyes'.
I can only be of value to my friends or associates when I acknowledge the sacred nature of their own process. This will often involve giving them space from my own firmly held position. They need to know I love them more than the issue. They need to see that I am growing rather than destroying myself -'rotting away in a moldy chaff bag after having been sorted'
Only when I am at least on the way to being healed from my own pain, having learnt some lessons and come to terms with the issue this brings up for me will I be able to be of real value to others.
When I perpetuate my own pain by rehashing the issue with those who do not have ears to hear right now, it has no positive purpose and produces only a sour taste in my mouth and their ears. If ears have taste buds.
The bitterness of this issue only has value when I have learnt that my task in life is to create a sweater awareness of the God that lives and breaths within me. As I realize this I will naturally share this in all my interactions - even the ones where I speak out about this issue.
I must not allow this cautionary idea that "my issues" are the only the issues important in this issue. This idea has been put to me by well meaning devotees who have as yet avoided coming to terms with Swami's misconduct. This aims to divert their attention and mine from the issue that still needs to be handled. Devotees in denial will say things like
"This issue is only the outer issue - what are the "real issues" within you. They are simply hooks to catch your issue". There is truth in this thinking and I have now taken it on board. I have however also realized that they also should seek to discover the 'issues within themselves' that this "issue" brings up. For instance, what issue within them stops them from engaging in an open and honest enquiry? We all have issues that are triggered by this issue. They are our individual challenges that life has tossed us. It is not for us to judge another persons issue.
I have learnt that I must not loose confidence in what I am doing. The outrage of pedophilia must be stopped. I need not become too introverted because I have "issues". A selfish over focus on my own weaknesses will simply divert energy from acting in the way my inner conscience dictates.
There is an old saying " First there is a mountain. Then there is no mountain. Then there is". It is likely that we will look at this issue in all these ways at various times.
I know there is a beauty that lies beyond the ugliness of this issue,
I now relinquish all my stance of " I'm right your wrong".
I ask you God to guide me in my daily round of relationships,
Help me to resist the temptation to interfere in the processes of others.
Help me to respond wisely and with love to any request for guidance.
Please help me see all ' the issues' with a clear mind and loving heart.
Give me the confidence to act from my deep center of conscience.
Help me to be part of the answer rather than a part of the problem.
Protect the Young
This morning while swimming in a Dam with a bunch of ducks I inadvertently swam between a mother and her ducklings. The mother had no hesitation in protecting her chicks by flapping her wings hooting and dive-bombing near me despite my intimidating size.
It is in this spirit of 'the parent seeking to protect their young' that motivates the ex-devotees to make a noise and flap about.
This is not a negative campaign run by misguided crusaders reacting to the gossip of a few "hallucinators".
This activity is a positive response to a negative activity--a perversion that has been perpetuated by a shameful cover. There are clearly those who have known the stark truth for years but refuse remove the blinkers of a blind and selfish faith - every bit as bad as the camouflages that hid the awful facts in the disasters that have surrounded the checkered history of modern cults.
This is a call directly to the heart of parenthood.
It is time to listen to the quiet insecure voices of the vulnerable instead of the bright colorful stories of the ecstatic devotee who has received a ring a dream or an experience. The miraculous the emotional and the psychic or spiritual experiences are as a tinkling bell born out of impressionable devotion to an assumed Avatar. Where is our deep love and compassion for the young and abused - are they to be sacrificed for our own precious 'inner experiences' and our blind beliefs.
Sure some of us get a bit worked up at times - but who will blame us if the allegations are true. Silence can be more shameful than making a protest in some situations - and this is one such time.
So excuse us if we get a bit upset. Either you don't know what we now know, or else you need a little bit of moral 'weight lifting' to strengthen the muscles of your weakened conscience.
Summary of meeting with XXX Coordinators on 10/9/2000:
In the two days prior to this meeting I had been badgered and harassed on 4 occasions by the Deputy Central Coordinator of XXXXXX trying to turn me from my course of speaking out in the organization about the allegations of pedophilia. This man used every possible tactic in a frantic attempt to stop me from causing waves. I kept saying "I will see you at the meeting". He tried to dissuade me from attending, saying, "Everyone knows exactly what is happening. You are free to think how you like but you are not free to share your negative views with others who still had faith".
I suspected that he was displaying a high level of fear and tension. He had spoken to many office bearers on the phone warning them of my lapse in faith and of "the poisonous nature of the gossip".
On one occasion when he rang me at my place of work, I explained that I was in the middle of editing a film and was working with a person at the moment and that now was not a good time. He wouldn't stop. I actually had to hang up on this insistent Deputy Coordinator of the Sai Organization in XXXXX, who was displaying all the worst traits of
A " cult leader".
On the morning of the meeting, after spending approximately 20 minutes in heated discussion, with the two most unreasonable members (XXXX and XXX), the fair minded current Chairperson for XXX allowed me to read the letter I had brought which everyone assumed to be my resignation letter.
After a brief introduction outlining the inner and outer process that I had been through in the preceding 6 weeks - of both investigation and reflection - I read the letter. It was at times punctuated by protest. Motions were made that I be forced to stop but the chairperson allowed me to finish - to his credit. It was a fascinating situation. One member seemed to be chanting just audibly so as to 'cut off from engaging in the process of listening.
There were however some open-minded office bearers who were attentive and open to what I had to say. Here is the letter I read with my comments in italics:
Dear brothers and sisters,
During our last meeting I tabled the letter to XXXX our XXXX Central Coordinator about the Nexus article with the testimonies from ex devotees. Firstly, I am interested to know if everyone read my letter?
(From what I could ascertain - out of the 10 people present 3 had read the letter to the Central Coordinator).
Who has read the Nexus article? (Only two had read this article that was freely available in newsagents - not a good sign of responsible leadership).
Please could the results be tabled? (They probably were)
How many of you have read 'The Findings' by ex devotee David Bailey? (Things were happening pretty quickly but from what I could gather only two members had looked at this).
I went on:
Without having done so, (reading "The Findings" material) I don't believe it is possible to understand what on earth I am talking about.
I certainly didn't have a clue, until my eyes were prized open by the heartfelt testimony of these brave ex-devotees who have told the truth about their experiences of sexual abuse in the privacy of the interview room.
As of last month I had not sought out any ex-devotee or read anything on the various web pages devoted to either putting down Swami or upholding his status. I had thought the whole thing to be a 'media beat up' and 'sob story', designed to suck in the unwary. A process that we had been told by Swami would happen - a "sorting of the wheat from the chaff". You can if you like put me in the chaff bag today.
However I will provide good satvic roughage, if you will hear me out fairly, without applying the gag - either physically or mentally.
(At this point I made a sarcastic aside referring to the effort made to silence me from even reading the letter - I was not proud of myself for this - it aggravated the life out of the two most unreasonable members and set a more confrontational atmosphere).
My request for an internal inquiry into the allegations seemed reasonable. Something I would have though standard practice in an organization with such a high moral code. Any group that denies the process of investigation of the alleged misconduct of one of it leader is an organization that falls quickly into the category of 'irregular' or even 'cult like'.
So, "what to do"? I had nowhere to go, other than to carry out my own investigation by whatever means available.
· I have read the testimonies on the so-called "gossip" web sites.
· I have spent time on the 'positive' Internet sites designed to undermine the authenticity of the unfavorable testimonies.
· I have spoken on the telephone to ex-devotees who were kissed passionately on the mouth and were asked to perform oral sex on Swami.
· I have also spoken to three parents who have sons who have been asked to give gross sexual favors to Swami.
These people are quite sane and quite clear that these events have happened to their sons. There are now many reports flooding in. It is understandable that young men have held this information within, in the same way as those who were abused as a child by priests relations and parents have taken half a lifetime to come out and speak about it and eventually be healed. Some of these young people have been through suicidal episodes. One pattern is clear they were all told by Swami not to tell their parents.
It seems there are many of the Sai Organizations leaders who know that this has been going on for years. Some say "the Avatar is God he can do whatever he likes". This doesn't wash with me.
Under the self-proclaimed title of "Avatar" it seems that Sai Baba may have impunity to do whatever he likes. It is possible that this behavior has been going on throughout his adult life and continues as we speak together this morning. ( I had to raised my voice above the voices of protest. There was a certain drama in the air - with the quiet drone of chanting emanating from one of the members)
Reports from older ex-devotees who were at the Ashram with Howard Murphet in the sixties are apparently now becoming available. These ex-devotees are now 'coming out' admitting to the dark side of their relationship with Sai Baba. The stories related to the 'shadow side' of this undoubtedly extraordinary person, who we devotees thought to be "of the Light", is now coming out.
Apparently it is almost common knowledge amongst students at his colleges, that 'his favorites' have many such sexually oriented 'interviews'.
I could go on and on with pages of this stuff. However, it is hard and unpleasant to read and just as awful to listen to.
At the least, I am saying is that there are serious allegations that need to be evaluated internally. The Central Coordinator and the Deputy Central Coordinator seek to put all this to one side saying. "If you have a problem take Swami to court!." They say. This has and will be tried, however Swami is in India and we all know about Indian corruption and the connections Swami has in high places.
Here we are as office bearers, in insignificant XXXXX, sitting on information that could be having the impact of Jonestown in its own way.
For us as office bearers to have any self-respect, we must, I believe, make an internal investigation. It seems our leaders may be either too 'brainwashed' to even consider the reports, or too weak and afraid of the awful truth to delve beneath the surface. (This statement really set the cat amongst the pigeons - I had to raise my voice above the outcry)
I believe we, as the XXXXX Organization should have the courage to follow truth wherever it takes us. Only by using our discrimination and moral conscience, will we make our way through this saga. It is a lonely road by ones self. Together we may be able to make sense of it.
I have written extensively on my process - it may be helpful to others I will send my understandings upon request - by email or fax.
I believe we have a 'spiritual crisis' on our hands and that this issue falls clearly within my portfolio as XXXX XXXXX of South XXXXXX.
For all these reasons and many more that go beyond the time available, I propose that the XXXXX Sai Organization set up a "Truth Seeking " committee to examine the allegations and hopefully to disprove the claims against our Founder. There is nothing more that I would like to see this 'phase' of mine over and to become a devotee again. However this can no longer be from the point of 'blindness' from which our leaders wish us to operate.
The truth will out eventually, we may as well play our part by engaging in the process of finding it for ourselves, sooner rather than later - however distasteful. Your Faith in God can only be strengthened by truth.
For this purpose I will be continuing as the XXXXX XXXXX for South XXXXXX and continuing to uphold the spiritual principles that have been given by our Founder.
Particularly. "Members shall live an exemplary life".
Is Sai Baba an embodiment of his often-repeated statement
"My Life is My Message"?
That is the key question we will address on this committee, if we have the guts to form it.
This couple of paragraphs were a twist. The two key 'cult controllers' were using words like "absurd" and "ridiculous" almost exploding with a strange sort of wide eyed rage.
They had all expected a resignation! However I had placed a motion on the table for the formation of a committee that then needed to be handled.
I admit that for the rest of the meeting I was a bit of a pain.
I knew they would sack me, which they promptly did.
However I wanted to make it hard for them - which I also did.
I stayed on at the meeting making comments occasionally about aspects of general business that seemed to be irrelevant, when compared to the issues I had raised. This would have been hard for the reasonable Chairperson. Although I explained to the group that I was being disruptive in the same spirit as the Green peace activists, I was, on reflection, going too far and, as a result, I alienated some of the more reasonable members. This is a pity - I put it down to the adrenaline rush that can come when we create a living drama - I would have been much more effective if I could have simply ' held my peace' at the eye of the storm. The state of mind I was in was that of 'The Crusader'.
I almost wanted to be asked to leave. I would have refused and asked them to carry me out. It never got to that. The meeting finished with a somewhat healing chat with some of the members.
A motion to the effect that I can present my findings to the group was accepted. Whether anyone would read it or not is another matter. However I was able to make my point before being ousted.
Other members will look at this issue in their own time.
I believe all those whose 'moral conscience' rises above 'blind faith' will eventually evaluate the actions of Sai Baba. There is clarity to be found in the multiple testimonies of the ex-devotees, none of whom wanted to believe that this was true - until it happened to them or their sons.
Taking a Breath
After going through the ordeal of the meeting I sort of took a breather to regroup. I had made some mistakes. I decided to make contact with a few more ex-devotees. They were very helpful. Yesterday I decided to write the following letter to the Central Coordinator of XXXXXXX;
It is understandable that you find it difficult to make a response to the testimonies about gross misconduct being attributed to Swami.
However, it could be seen as negligence of your duty, if you do not formally respond to my reasonable request for an internal inquiry sent to you on the 8/8/2000.
In the absence of your response, I asked the XXXXX Sai Coordinating Committee to form a small 'Truth Seeking " committee. As a result of this request, I have been summarily dismissed from my position as XXXXX of XXXXX. The document attached gives an idea of the proceedings of this extraordinary meeting that had the flavor of a Kangaroo 'Cult' Court. Only by the good grace of the reasonable Chairperson was I allowed to speak at all.
I am still, however, a member of the organization as I understand it. I feel comfortable with this as the moral and spiritual teachings are ones I can have faith in. In my quest for the truth regarding the alleged actions of our founder, I have been granted permission by the Coordinating Group of South XXXXXXX, to continue my research and investigation alone, or with any members volunteering to assist.
It was also agreed that I could submit this information to the Group at a later date, when I have collected enough information and first hand testimony to be considered as more than just gossip or hearsay of a few disaffected members. I am still hopeful that all the many testimonies I have now read about sexual abuse are false. As a part of my investigation authorized by the South XXXXXX Coordinating Committee could you please answer the following questions?
1. Have you ever been asked to meet with members or ex-members to discuss their experience of alleged sexual manipulation by Swami?
2. If so could you show me either the correspondence from these people or the notes you made regarding such an important issue as sexual irregularity or impropriety, if not pedophilia?
3. Have you made any personal investigation into the testimonies printed in the Nexus article? If so what are your findings? If you have not done so, what is the rationale behind ignoring an issue of such importance - particularly to those people who trustingly organize youth groups to Puttaparthi and possibly putting youth at risk of abuse?
4. Could you please make it clear whether UNESCO still has anything to do with the Human Values Education Conference? If it has pulled out do you have any understanding as to the reasons?
5. I have in my possession a number of testimonies of ex-devotees who claim to have been sexually active with Sai Baba. Some of these were long time devotees and were recognized as leaders. I also have in my possession many resignation letters from Coordinators of major regions in the US. I also have letters from leaders in European countries that have, (as a result of internal investigations similar to the one I have recommended) now closed down all Sai activities in those countries. Are you prepared to read these communications and to make them available to the Coordinators of the various States so that they can each use their own discrimination in examining them - even if only in the quest to discredit them as false if they deserve such treatment?
6. On your recent visit it was said that you would bring up these allegations directly with Swami. Was this your intention? I believe you did have an extended interview with Swami. If so did you discuss the allegations of sexual abuse? If you did could you tell us as our representative what Swami said? If you did not ask, could you explain why you didn't ask? If you know of other leaders in the organization who have asked could you please tell me what swami is purported to have said about the issue.
7. Do you know of any cultural precedent for a Guru or Swami massaging oil into the stomach and or genitals of young aspirants. I have heard it said that there is a sacrificial ritual or karmic purpose connected to this activity. Do you know if there is any truth in this?
8. I am prepared to assist by sending you such information. However before doing could you please assure me, that you will take this matter seriously, either personally or else through deputizing other Coordinators to take this matter in hand.
Could you please respond to this letter within 14 days, as I want to include your responses in my report to the XXX Coordinating Group.
Failure to do so will alert me and the XXXXX Coordinating Committee to an irregular and 'cult like' lack of responsibility within the leadership of the Sai Organization in XXXX.
XXXX, it would be a pity in your twilight years to find that you have presided over a cult that harbored a strongly suspected pedophile, making it possible, by your silence, for him to continue his criminal activities.
You owe it to yourself as a person and to your career of service to the community to make a contribution to a simple fact finding internal investigation.
We both know that legal action is very difficult from here. We also know that swami has fiends in high places in India. Although Legal action will no doubt take place in time it is unlikely in the short term.
If Swami is pure then the truth will out. If he is not it is better to have played your part in listening to the testimonies of sincere people so as to uncover the facts to the best of your ability. This at least will have the effect of warning any devoted but unsuspecting young visitors to Puttaparthi of his suspected unusual sexual "leelas".
I look forward to your response or that of someone you deputize to act on your behalf.
At this point I would like to share an article I wrote for the Sai Newsletter just prior to finding out about 'The Findings'
A path to enlightenment?
It is easy to be grateful when good things are happening to us, and we feel high.
It is harder to feel gratitude when nothing much is happening and we feel flat.
It is difficult to feel gratitude when disaster is happening to us and we feel low.
"It is best to regard both happiness and misery as gifts of God. That is the easiest path to ones own liberation...." Sathya Sai Baba
I first learnt about the importance of gratitude through an Army Chaplain - a Charismatic Christian, who wrote books about Praising the Lord in the 60's and 70's. He studied and then practiced the many injunctions related to giving gratitude to God and 'praising the Lord' that are sprinkled liberally throughout the Bible. Although his books were probably seen by most people as being "over the top", I recognized a great truth in them and realized that all enlightened beings were quite literally, over the top, living above their down to earth, often negative, critics.
What really hit home in these books was the idea that the response of 'gratitude' should be for all occurrences in life - a sort of equal minded, joyful acceptance - a happy equipoise, undisturbed by the occurrences of the world, yet practical in response, avoiding reaction, yet genuinely concerned.
I was particularly inspired by the thought that it was right to give thanks for the mistakes we make, immediately after realizing we make them. Mistakes were my forte ---- the author had my attention! He suggested that we live constantly with the knowing that "all things work together for good for those who love God and listen to His call....."
I still remember this chaplains story about a dinner party called in his honor.
In an extraordinarily clumsy maneuver he spilt tomato juice all over his hostess's white evening dress. His reflex response was "Thank you Lord." Although said somewhat under his breath, it was easily audible to her. As he awkwardly tried to mop her up, she said, "Did you just say what I think you said?"
"Yes", he said, "I do apologize, but I know God even uses my clumsiness".
She said, "I want that attitude!" After getting changed, she asked him to talk to the guests about 'giving thanks for all things that occur in life'.
This response is the positive alternative to the reaction of swearing when things go wrong. Whether we say Praise the Lord, Sai Ram, Om Mani Padme Hum, or nothing at all, matters little. What does matter is how we respond to life's changing fortunes, whether caused by us or by others.
One of my early mentors often said, "It's not what happens to you that counts, it's what you do about it."
Of one thing I am convinced. The first and best thing we can do in life is to give thanks to God for everything that happens. This doesn't mean we have to like sour medicine as much as we do sweet nectar, only that we give thanks for both, and reserve judgment, as to the ultimate value of each.
If through the practice of worship, meditation, contemplation and devotional singing, we form the habit of gratitude, then it will be possible to experience oneness. Without grateful acceptance of life with all its happenings there can be no full devotion.
"....... All that is done by the way of bhajans, japa, meditation and prayer can be effective only in a spirit of gratitude".
Without being all-mystical and off the planet, we can, through the 'Path of Gratitude', be at peace and feel the fullness of Gods love. When we know that everything is a gift from God we will be more able to respond to life in a genuinely appropriate manner. Could Bhakthi Yoga could also be translated as the Yoga of Gratitude?
Work associates, relatives, spouses or even co-workers in the Sai organization who press our 'annoyance buttons', are touched when we take the initiative and compliment them, gratefully acknowledging their actions, contributions and qualities. The clue to making this strategy real is to look for something we can love, or even just genuinely admire. Expressing sincere appreciation and gratitude is not flattery. It will open us up to them and their better qualities. If shared from the soul, without 'holier than thou' attitudes, a healing of relationship may take place.
To have someone tell us that they appreciated something we said or did is helpful to us on our journey. Swami is always talking about the importance of self-confidence. We all tend towards a lack of confidence; even those with the most bravado often have problems with deep seated unworthiness. One of the most valuable social services we can perform is to express gratitude to others. Compliments cost nothing and yet they are the most valuable gift we can give another person.
If it is true that people are affected positively by our gratitude then it must also be true of God. What is worship, if it is not complimenting the Divine for all the gifts given so freely?
"Devotion should be regarded as an expression of gratitude for all that one receives from providence - the air that we breath, the light and heat we get from the sun, the water we drink and the food we consume. All the essential necessities are got by the grace of God."
Whilst pondering on this "sub -value" I could see how when one is grateful it leads on and upward in a spiral of spiritual growth: 'Gratitude sprouts into devotion, which flowers into bliss, which shed seeds of gratitude, which sprout into devotion, which flower into bliss, which shed seeds of gratitude, which sprout into devotion, which ..............' You get the idea.
Gratitude is a good platform from which to jump onto this spiraling ski lift of ascending growth towards the summit of Love.
I could see that only with gratitude in our hearts, can we feel Gods universal love and experience 'the peace which passes all understanding' that Jesus talked about.
PS. Directly after I finished this article, I went on an early morning walk, full of joy and gratitude and feeling reasonably evolved. It was still somewhat dark and I tripped in a pothole swearing profusely --- before correcting myself and giving thanks.
I picked myself up and with a less evolved ironic smile, continued my walk.
Pride in ones gratitude evidently cometh before a fall.
The Findings were a real test for my "path to enlightenment". However without it I wonder if I could have coped!
Prayer helps us and the situation;
Recently it has become clear to me how important it is to pray for all those involved in this situation. Even to pray physically but silently with those who are still devotees "worshiping at the feet of the pedophile". In the spirit of going beyond the form we can do this in front of a picture of Sai Baba. This can be helpful, especially in a household where there is a difference of opinion about his status.
Here are some prayers I wrote that helped me to get into a state of meaningful prayer in a difficult situation.
Please help all devotees of Sathya Sai Baba at this time of conflict.
Grant them the ability to feel compassion for those who are young and vulnerable.
Help them to overcome the guilt they may be feeling in supporting a God man who they inwardly know may be abusing his trust.
Inspire them to read the testimonies of those who have had a variety of experiences.
Open their hearts and minds to the truth wherever it leads.
Help them to be free of the fear of finding unpalatable truths.
Help them to follow their individual moral conscience, even at the expense of their personal good experiences and presumed knowledge of the status of Sai Baba.
Assist devotees to be free themselves from the chains of their sincere and pure devotion to the supposed 'Avatar of the Age'.
Help them to understand that this remarkable being we know as Swami, is also a flawed man living a dark life behind a 'curtain of shame'.
Help all devotees to maintain their psychological balance as they come to terms with the painful truth. Help them while making the transition to go 'beyond the form.'
Help those who maintain their faith in Swami to continue to 'love all and serve all'. Assist them to love and respect those friends who have felt conscience bound to expose what they consider the dark side of Sai Baba.
Help them to stand up to the cultish behavior of some of the leaders who are acting as 'thought police'. Be with them during their lifes journey.
Help all ex-devotees to continue to love and cherish all the good that they experienced through their love and devotion to the ideal of 'the perfect human life'.
Help them to continue to strive for this inner ideal through the exercise of their moral conscience and any other appropriate spiritual practice.
Assist them to be free of anger at being tricked by one they regarded as God incarnate.
Help those who have been abused to be free from thoughts of shame, revenge or worthlessness. Especially help those young people who have been abused to find their way through their experience without trauma.
Guide ex-devotees to act with compassion and love as they play their part in helping to open the eyes of those whose faith is as yet blind.
Help all ex-devotees to maintain their 'center' during the psychological challenges involved in this issue.
Help these people to find creative and meaningful strategies to protect the simple human rights of young devotees and children to a life free of sexual abuse.