Response Series, Part Nine (Final)






Response Series, Part Nine (Final)


Posted: Barry Pittard.


Date: Saturday August 23, 2003




Note:  A long letter to me from an SSB devotee named Seema has prompted this series, in which the one devotee's letter is readily seen to reflect many points scattered throughout many devotee letters received by SSB Exposé activists.


Coming Soon!  Some Psychologists look at the psychological denial 'mechanism' in Sathya Sai Baba devotees such as Seema. 


Seema's comments are in red.  


All those so called victims should be thoroughly investigated in every aspect of their lives.


In making a serious allegation, supported by sworn testimony, a person has a right to be fairly heard. Shamefully, the present Indian government denies this right to those who accuse your guru. The world Sathya Sai Organisation denies this right. See how far you get if you dare even to raise with its officials the issue of the allegations, much less proffer a victim testimony! Prominent former devotees who personally knew the top leaders have made strenuous efforts to get them to look at the sheer integrity of the testimony, but failed. 


To the head of the Australian Sathya Sai Organisation, T. Sri Ramanathan, retired commercial lawyer who now works for the Law faculties of both the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales, I dared to suggest (afternoon, April 4,  2003) that his organisation put in place a proper complaints mechanism. I also suggested that he consider having a meeting, mediated by an independent professional mediator, where he and his executives, along with the parents of alleging victims and their families, could bring matters into the open. He said "I have only one simple mechanism which I have applied down the years" - which is to deal with such matters, as he was dealing with “this one with you -  Personally.” (I should add that it was he who contacted me – hard on the heels of my success in getting the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Adelaide to investigate the provenance of the allegations and cancel the Sai National Conference 2003). There was no need, said T. Sri Ramanathan, for such a mechanism in the Sai Organisation, which is "special and different to any other organisation."  It is, he said, “a divine organisation.” As if totally oblivious to accountability policies that virtually every other organisation in democratic countries has now put in place, he said that my thinking was "clouded" here, and that the one issue was "Swami's glory. There is no other issue." Clearly, he has not realized that he is living in a democracy, and will be in for a shock when the Sathya Sai Organisation, which likes the community to accept its Sai Schools and social service programs, is exposed to the same community as shockingly lacking in those checks and balances that are now expected throughout civil society.


A dear friend of mine, a highly respected former leader of that far less than ‘divine organisation,’ Stephen Carthew, a documentary filmmaker, was the Spiritual Coordinator for South Australia. After speaking to a number of families who accessed him to alarming first-hand accounts of sexual molestation by Sathya Sai Baba, he was, as so many others have been, deeply shaken.


In 1999, shortly after the three NEXUS article had appeared (September-October ) Stephen called a formal meeting of devotees in Adelaide to discuss the allegations openly. Summarily, however, in a gesture so typical of cult leaderships, T. Sri Ramanathan cast him out. . Moreover, on Mother’s Day 1999, Stephen Carthew had dared to suggest to a South Australian Sathya Sai Organisation’s ladies' group - who warmly endorsed his speech - that the Organisation was highly male chauvinistic. With all the myriad male officials in it - is it not?  Please tell me that.


In various parts of the world, other courageous and truthful individuals have received the same draconian treatment. For a similar bloody-minded casting out of a former top leader of the Russian Sai Organisation, see Serguei Badaev's report,  


Do you want all of the attention on the accusers, and none on the accused? If so, what a sense of justice you have!  One of the great dangers in sexual abuse matters is what is called 'blaming the victim.' It is utterly pernicious. Those who allege paedophile crimes, especially minors and young people, have an acute right to be heard without duress, and by those well-trained, skilled and licensed to do the hearing. 


Because the truth and the fact is that so many more lived there and went to school there and they can only say good things.


Did you not know that sexual molesters thrive on a culture of extreme secrecy?  In any case, neither a majority nor a minority is always right. There are but the facts to be established. Obviously, it would be impossible for Sathya Sai Baba to molest every boy at his institutions. We are concerned for those who have suffered. 


Doesn't statistics have a place in this world anymore? 200,000,000 happy people across the Globe against 30 odd buggered persons and a few thousand or so ex-devotees.


Your head-counting capacities are prodigious! It may pay you to recall the adage: there are lies, damned lies, and statistics. A great many more than thirty accuse SSB of molesting them, but even if there were one person who had been sexually molested it is one too many! 


Your rubbery figures remind me of those of your teacher himself. It is worth having a look how one of the closest individuals around Sathya Sai Baba spoke privately of SSB's vast exaggeration of crowd numbers. I refer to Robert Priddy's and my much loved and respected friend the late Sri V. K. Narasimhan, who was, until he died March 9th, 2000, the Editor of Sanathana Sarathi. See: . We also have evidence of how SS centre leaders have trumped up falsely high membership numbers.

Robert what you choose to believe is really your business. I believe that I have answered all of your questions. 


Robert? You mean Robert Priddy? You do flatter me. 


No, you scarcely answer any of my questions. Your inability to answer direct questions is highly typical of the Sathya Sai devotee mail to former devotees, and of the pro-Sai contributions to the vast literature on the bulletin boards.


Frequently, you need to face the issues squarely, instead of racing off into presumption, emotionalism, defensiveness, the use of argumentum ad hominem (i.e., attacking persons rather than addressing their arguments), and the slandering of so many people round the world who are noted for their moral and ethical uprightness and intellectual probity.  


Wishing for the best in all of us,