Tal Brooke was sexually abused by Sai Baba
Date: Early March 1970
From: 'Avatar Of Night' (page 121-130) written by Tal Brooke
Four days later, in early March, right before Baba was to leave for Whitefield, his other residence in the neighbouring state of Mysore, he granted us one last interview. I didn't expect it, but longed for it more than ever. I was completely split down the middle on where to go. With my large suitcase and typewriter in storage at the Kendra in Delhi, and charter ticket about to expire, I was still going through the motions of leaving the country by the six-month visa deadline.
By the morning of the interview, Gill had already left for Whitefield to reclaim his old cottage where he could meditate in the absolute quiet of a semi-barren farm. Herman also had left, by Baba's command, to wait in Whitefield before-returning to the "householder's" duty of business and family. Baba would give him a goodly number of going away interviews.
The minute I walked in, Baba grabbed my shoulders, and sat me down in what was now the customary place, to the left side- of his chair. Baba addressed many of the stories directly to me, as though we were having a private conversation and. were the only two people in the room. Then he would look up and share it with the others. He often slapped me on the back.
After an hour and a half of interview time, we had already been given much. Baba's oozing ecstatic force had surrounded us in a lake of honey, and we were almost reeling from intoxication. Just as we were about to get up and leave, he looked me in the eye and asked, "Private interview? You have questions?" And I did, because I was starting to panic about where to go.
The dark velvet drapes shut behind me and Baba looked searchingly into my eyes. "What do you want?" The question came with the force of a psychic whammy.
On a high precipice of choice, I automatically, went through several gear-shiftings of awareness.
The problem of staying in India had now disappeared. The priorities were suddenly totally different. I had entered the spiritual market-place set to bargain over tables and chairs unaware that I had entered an exclusive arena where bids for cities and towns go by almost unnoticed as kingdoms, empires, and dominions balance, then shift, and dance as assemblies of concentrated thought move them across the board like shuffleboard plates.
Something helped me talk. "Baba, I offer you my life as a son, as a servant, for your direction, to have completely and do whatever you will."
As though a covenant had been made, "l am also your property, sir. Yes, I am also your servant," Baba replied.
Still nosing up a waterfall like a Canadian salmon, my quest cannot end until. the full tribute is consummated. I must acknowledge my deepening faith. "No, Baba. You are Mahapurusha, the Lord of the Universe, within that body. You can't fool me. I am your property, your servant. I am you. I want to be an Arjuna, Lord."
We embraced automatically. His wiry cloud of hair surrounding my face. I wondered what kind of deep soul cleansing was going on. Then huge force surged from Baba to me, almost visibly sparking. "Guru kripa, shakti-paat, power, purification." I thought.
.I stood hugging that same unreachable Messiah who stood atop the pagoda, whom tens of thousands came to see and wept, just for a glimpse of or a touch, or a smile.
The same one who sang with such incredible compassion before miraculously creating the seed-pod of his creative love. A still, musing voice entered my head. I spoke of great things in the tables of fortune. A prince is being crowned into life and glory, a once and future king.
Baba broke the embrace: and held me back. "Do you want a wife?"
Here was one of the truly great pitfalls that had thrust seekers and even adepts far from that incredible goal of liberation, back, back into the timeless spiral of maya. You were trapped once again and bound to another, as a house-holder. What a pathetically dull and ordinary fate when you have glimpsed the mountain of eternity. To be bound down financially and emotionally, a slave for yet another life. And in the next life, would you even remember the wife of your youth in this life? She too would disappear into the winds of time, spiraling into nothingness with your billion other former wives. Besides, I had already tasted the fickle transience of romantic love. That no matter how powerful, given enough time, would disappear as though it never existed.
"Baba, I don't need to get married, do I?"
"No, Rowdie, there is no male or female. In the end, there is only god."
In accord with each time I had been in the stair-well with Baba, the "Om" in the neighbouring prayer-hall, one cinder-b1ock's thickness away, struck the hour in the explosive rush of a runway during jet take-off. The discussion about a wife resolved abruptly. Baba had kept me beyond the magical hour. While five thousand remnants of the festival waited in the sun just for a glimpse of him, he was pouring over me.
Baba reached out to embrace me again, pulling me in strongly. The musing voice pondered Baba's comment, "There is no male or female." The embrace of Radha-Krishna, the avatar of the Dwarca Yuga and his lover, was the highest resolution of two polarities. And since the avatar was trans-sexual, his embrace of Arjuna was roughly equivalent, with everything but the basics taken away. Tradition, the voice reasoned, made Radha-Krishna lovers - it also made Arjuna-krishna like brothers, or father and son, or teacher and disciple. Arjuna and Radha were both polarities, Krishna was forever the "changeless One without attributes." Now the musing voice likened the embrace with Baba to the meeting of god, and god, breaking the wall of Maya to merge.
Baba's nudging pelvis stopped. Then suddenly a hand unzipped my fly, with the facile smoothness of turning a doorknob, and went into my pants, as though it knew the location of each stitch of cloth and each zipper stub. Then, like an adder returning home at dusk, the hand burrowed into the mouth of my underpants.
If Truth required these kinds of impossible labyrinths, I had already made my vow to see it through. Some day I would see the overview one way or another. I stood my ground, and tried not to noticeably finch.
The voice of reason was getting a little rattled. It began to summon every scrap of my accumulated knowledge and latent intelligence. "When they line you up in an Army physical, and check each draftee for Hernias, is the doctor trying to homo you or the other draftees, or is he busy trying to make sure that you don't get killed on the front lines? And if Baba is who he claims to be, it is inconceivable that he would stoop to anywhere near the impurity of the average army physician. Obviously if you're not getting married, he may be helping to close up some rather old troublesome doorways. And he may even be sublimating the energy to higher levels. And that can take some Hatha Yogis fifty years of concentrated meditation."
Baba's hips continued to shift again as he squeezed another limp organ, that had about as much interest in rising up as it desired a bath in liquid helium. It was frozen out, and not even a legion of nude Arab women could thaw it out at this point.
Baba's rapid breathing did not exactly register lethargy or unexcitement. The voice of reason proposed, "He's cooling your heat center, and purifying your lower chakra? However Redneck Logic also sat on the judiciary board, mumbling subsurface before I could censor the embarrassing thoughts from leaking out. "Man, I sure hope all that squeezing is purification because if it ain't, Jack - and that's a strange way to be purifying it - you've picked the wrong guy. It'd be a lot easier if you'd just radiate the thing from outside my pants. Somehow it just looks bad the way you're doing it."
With a surge of will power, rather than blow it by panicking, jumping to conclusions and, consequently, pressing the wrong button at critical mass, I let my autonomic system take over, "relax, and float downstream." It can't last long.
But my mind was reeling at a lightning speed. I sensed that part of the test was not merely that I comply, but know positively, and see, the holy in Baba's act. The Indian scriptures had declared repeatedly, "anything done in total purity is without blemish," whether it be wiping a nose or opening the gates of the most holy. Therefore Baba was bearing this out by showing this essential non-difference in all actions and things. Once this teaching was truly believed, one would see the body of god behind a patch of fungus, a dead fly, or a brilliant sandy shore. Parallel to Cranes, Red Badge of Courage, you still had to be on the front line to finally know what your reaction to killing would be. Otherwise you might armchair philosophize forever, and yet, never know. Baba could ask me, "Do you trust me?" And I might reply, "of course," forever. But until I was given a wide-open chance to suspect him or question his integrity, the depth of my faith would remain an uncertainty.
A minor voice interceded before it was quelled. "If there is no absolute standard to judge and anything goes right or wrong, how can you ever fully discern the genuine from the counterfeit? Other than a tenuous airy faith or a look of 'knowing', what concrete evidence can you ever go by? And how do you know that what you safely label a 'test', to preserve your faith, is not a slip by the counterfeit guru?"
Interrupting at top volume was the voice of an advocate, defending the accused with authority. "Baba himself is the final evidence. His love, his patience, and... his miracles. He has consistently demonstrated an innocence, a goodness, and a purity regardless of the audience. Mightier than any president or king, he has not been too proud to feed you or pat you on the back. If you call yourself his property and he has already told you that he is your property, why do you gladly surrender an arm or a leg, then recoil in horror when he chooses to take an ear or something else? What boldly spoken yet shallow faith. You might find the rigorous demands of discipleship eased, if you don't try to use rational analysis on the inscrutable mind of god. That is treading on hallowed ground." I was checkmated, and in a torrent of confusion.
I knew that even if I were given a thousand years to stand here in the stair-well, I still might not be able to resolve the present dilemma with its delicate balance of facts. Yet it seemed that all eternity rested on this one crucial. moment, the moment of my verdict - to either believe in Baba far more than ever, or fall away entirely, and perhaps, remain confused for the rest of my life. And this made my mind boggle. lt was nearly an impossible situation. But hold on, here was a clue to the answer. An impossible situation. Impossible in the sense that it was almost perfectly designed to the last atom to short-circuit my mind. And was this sheerly coincidental? Or was it the ultimate Zen Koan, the supreme illusion, contrived by an omniscient cosmic mind, with all the perfect variables lined up, to stretch me to the limit, and break me of numberless habits of belief of which one of the most fundamental, as basic as salt in my blood, was the conviction that good and evil were absolutes. The eventual critical situation brought about to dispatch this would require the touch of a neurosurgeon, otherwise I might end up like the frog, "at the bottom of the well."
The ideally timed Zen Koan dropped on a pupil by a master, by creating the perfect paradox of contradictions, brought about satori or enlightenment by initiating a chain reaction of self-consuming ties. That last lie to short-circuit was the ego, the sense of separateness, and finiteness, leaving nothing less than the infinite to take its place. But now that I was balancing on a high wire the risks seemed enormous.
I would either see the impossibility and contradiction in the very idea of Baba's having homosexual lust - the leap towards liberation - or the old habits of belief would win in the end. And I would dismount on a desolate halfway point of metaphysical confusion, perhaps doomed to wander into deeper spiritual labyrinths, with not a reference point on the horizon. Indeed, the stakes were frightening.
But the agitation remained, Baba showed every pant, every tremor of arousal. Why ?
"Part of the props for the total existential dilemma," came the answer. How else, other than by the perfect situational dilemma, an artwork of circumstance to the very last stage prop, could my most ingrained misconceptions be challenged? My thoughts flow quickly through a breaking: stress point; the situation here is a contradiction. He's using the thorn to remove the thorn. Good stacked over evil like a staircase to walk beyond them, where opposites merge, the new reference point.
The impasse breaks more; my belief in Baba's deity begins to overweigh superficial appearances. Too much at stake, too much to forfeit... it' can't end in a shoddly little stairwell with a queer, not after all this, the years, the pieces stacked up. He can't be a queer... impossible... impossible. I have got to believe in him. The only way is forward, I have to follow him in blind faith. That's the answer.
The balance tips faster; of course - blasphemous accusations fading - lust contradicts Baba's nature. Therefore it does not exist in him. He cannot sin, because it is not in him to do so. Blind faith, a new generalized optimism enters the horizon; The verdict - Baba is innocent. A mounting sense of victory replaces the mental weight that had almost overwhelmed me with stellar force. I have changed in some way.
The boundary around my personality or mind no longer feels impermeable, like a protective shield or a one-way membrane. Something has been pierced. It is semi-porous; a sensation akin to fasting, or a fever, or an alkaloid hallucinogenic, or a lungful of Acapulco gold. Partially gone is that vestigial thermostat of duality, the puritanical conscience, forever hung-up on two dimensional interpretations. In its stead, a heady sense of freedom, a mellow exuberance. I am not more alive, necessarily, nor particularly more lucid. In fact gone is some of that former sharp edge of emotional sensitivity, or hypersensitivity. But there is now nothing to fear.
My legs continued to shake nervously. Baba removed his hand from my pants and zipped my fly. The entire dilemma had lasted about half a minute. And I had not responded. It wasn't so bad, I thought, echoing those first words after once bravely receiving my first hypodermic injection as a very small child.
Smiling proudly, slightly fushed, Baba said, "Very happy, Go now." He waved with familial informality. And I passed through the curtains, stone-faced as twenty eyes, consumed with curiosity, looked up.
The rest of the private interviews with Baba were just token meetings, the curtains half-open the whole time. They sped by in about five minutes for everybody.
As the others filtered outside, I remembered, "Oh, Baba. Do you want me to go to Whitefield?" realizing the absurdity and needlessness of the question.
Amazed that I could think otherwise, "Of course sir, of course. You stay with me in Whitefield. You are near and dear."
Consistent with my pledge of turning my life over to him, "But Baba, my stuff is in New Delhi. It may take several, weeks to go there by train and get my bags...
"Go tomorrow. Then come to Whitefield, Brindavanam. Then many interviews and lessons in sadhana for all foreigners. I will train you."
Baba's car left that night. That next morning, Jai, Michelle, and I left on the five a.m. bus to Bangalore city. Both of them had diarrhoea and mild fever. I was deep in a new level of silent contemplation. Our parting agreement, once in Bangalore city, was that they were to find a house which we would all share together, and would join them around March twentieth.
For an extra read on Tal Brooke you may visit: http://www.saibaba-x.org.uk/9/talbrooke.html