Testimony from Chris Dokter
Date: April 28 ,2011
Chris Dokter, Netherlands signed the petition on April 28. 2011.
Period as a follower: 1980-1995
I was one of few early devotees from my home country. After reading Howard Murphet's first book on Sai Baba, I visited Sai Baba three times between 1981 and 1985, each time for no less than six weeks. I had several interviews back then, both as part of a group and individually. Within the Sai Organization, I was mainly active as a spokesperson and a translator: I translated the Sandweiss book, for instance, and got the Dutch edition published. After the mid-eighties, I gradually withdrew from the public eye, although on occasion, I still appeared on Dutch television or wrote a foreword for a book on Sai Baba. In addition, I did the English voice-over for a heavily disputed documentary film made in the early nineties by a Dutch film crew in Whitefield and Puttaparthi (‘As in a mirror darkly’).
The reason I stopped being a believer/follower had to do with the very strict rules, the dictatorial regulations within the ashram and all the mayhem that sprang from an organizational form that was becoming more and more obscure. First allegations of sexual abuse further kindled my mistrust. Added to that, it became apparent to me that Sai Baba did not keep his promises made during interviews.
It took me years to really free myself from all the bogus, and the false promises made to me by swami himself. In hindsight, I am, for want of a better word, 'glad' that I disengaged myself in a period long before most westerners even came to Puttaparthi in the first place.
Since then, I followed delopments from a distance. As a scientist (I am a psychologist and psychotherapist) I am interested in the psychological effects on individual and group level of these kinds of mass movements. I fully endorse a thorough investigation of the Sai movement.
Chris Dokter MA MSc