Re 'Statement by Alfred Barelds regarding SBS Transmission' [of the BBC's "The Secret Swami" documentary]
(see the statement referred to at http://www.saiaustralia.org.au/release/197.html (NOTE: PAGE REMOVED BY SAIAUSTRALIA'S WEBMASTER IN DAMAGE LIMITATION EXERCISE)
The statement by Alfred Barelds (see original saiaustralia page captured here), caused by the reaction to the BBC documentary 'The Secret Swami' (see showcase, transcripts and clips here) has doubtless been appreciated by numerous persons, both within the Sai Organisation and those outside it, if from diametrically-opposed angles. From my viewpoint of a purposely low-profile national leader, labouring under an unaccountable and manipulative Scandinavian Coordinator, it is all very familiar... the attempt to get enough room under the low Sathya Sai Orginazation ceiling to be able to stand up and speak some decent common sense. Though we have had sufficient grounds to sympathise with Barelds, his whole intention is a damage limitation exercise, one made all the more pressing by the defamatory statements and uncompassionate threats made public on the Australian Sathya Sai Baba website by the leader under whom Barelds has to labour as a subordinate (like it or not), the inflexible and inadequate Sri Lankan ancient, Central Coordinator T. Ramanathan.
As Barelds points out correctly: "The Sai organization and its leaders have to date not been able to provide support and care to individuals being badly affected by the allegations. There has been no open discussion in the organization and it has hardly been mentioned at official Sai functions in Australia, for example at the national conference in Adelaide last year it was hardly mentioned."
This is quite typical of the Sai organisation worldwide. The same happened in Scandinavia when 'Seduced by Sai Baba' was shown. Though T. Meyer, J. Trygved, P. Pruzan etc. were forced solely as the result of a massive public reaction totally to give up the planned Sai College in Denmark and withdraw from the purchase of a famous and very expensive castle near Copenhagen which they had bought. However, it was (and still is) said internally there that 'Swami did not think the time was ripe yet' (for the school). How can one not laugh outright at the blindness of this misplaced faith in the supposed 'omnipotence' of Sai Baba? Barelds also sees things in the same manner: "It appears that the organization and its leaders were in a state of shock and unable to grasp the opportunity given to them by Swami." So the sexual abuse case is turned into "an opportunity" for leaders to help devotees! This again shows how far from reality it is possible to get.
Nonetheless, the following view of Barelds confirms what many have long known: "In my opinion the Sai organization has not taken the opportunity to develop an effective 'sanga' or 'fellowship' as nurtured by the Buddhist or Christian communities. Although we talk about Sai brothers and sisters, we have not acted in that spirit." That is an understatement, and it also again demonstrates clearly how exclusive Sai followers are, for it is at best those who believe in Sai who are called brothers and sisters (the 'Sai family' is another recurrent phrase), but definitely not the whole of humanity, as is held in their preachings from rostrums.
Meanwhile, anyone who tries to raise the burning issues at any Sai meeting is always slapped down very quickly (all leaders have to be control freaks in line with their superior's directives)... so the sore wounds fester and spread in the hothouse gossip underworld which is a constant feature of the Sai environment throughout the world. For example, the former President of the Moscow centre and EHV leader in Russia, Serguei Badaev, was removed from office without explanation because he allowed questions about the allegations even to be raised within the Organisation. No one there cares to count the stream of defectors, doubters and waverers, and so most of them slip away and doubtless do not wish to advertise how terribly they have been duped all along. Those who remain include many who have been characterised by a Sai apologetic as 'the walking wounded'. It is these who Barelds wants to help... by hauling them back into the cocoon of blind faith in Sai Baba as the Godhead.
By his statement, Barelds wants the Organisation to follow the implications of Sai Baba's instructions as in: "Swami has said for many years that he does not need us or the organization to publicise or to defend him or his mission. `Who are you to talk about Me?'" At the same time it is an attempt to find a way around these words and defend Swami vis-à-vis devotees who get to hear of the allegations (i.e. facts) and to defend the Sai Organisation from the implications that follow from worshipping as God and as an educational ideal a known homosexual molester, an accomplice to cold-blooded executions in his own bedroom and a consummate liar (proven and documented from his own statements many times over on various websites) plus from numerous other financial frauds and sleight of hand deceits etc. etc. Sathya Sai Baba's boasts exceed any by self-proclaimed Godheads or other religious figures now or in history, but the great majority of them do not stand up to any serious, well-informed investigations. Sai Baba asks: "Who are you to talk about Swami?" Answer: Those who believe in forwarding truth and justice, the latter being a cardinal 'human value' in all civilised countries but one which is totally neglected throughout his teachings by the unjust Sai Baba, who threatened in public anyone who does not see him exclusively in a positive light. The increasing worldwide recognition of many most untoward facts about Sai Baba - including the crushing and detailed assortment of sworn allegations and overwhelming supporting circumstantial evidence that he is a homosexual molester at the very least.
To people trying to answer to the allegations (i.e. to defend against them) should present no problem, after all, because no devotee has yet even tried seriously to refute with reasonable evidence any allegations to our knowledge, nor reply to any of the hundreds of documentations of Sai Baba's untruths, factual and historical ignorance. The obvious implication of Barelds wish that no one should try to defend Sai Baba is that there simply is no defense... that the allegations are so substantial, detailed and are backed up by so many sworn affidavits, newspaper and film interviews etc., that to read them or (God forbid) investigate them must therefore be avoided at all costs by all devotees.
Such then is the propaganda recommendation of this apologist
Barelds, a call by a man blinded by his own desires to believe to induce the
same blind faith in others:
"We can engage in positive media stories, encourage documentaries like for example 'God lives in India' that demonstrate the power of Sai and extent of his name and mission through the work of the Sai organization. In order to do this successfully, we will - as individuals and as Sai organization - need to accept that we do not and cannot understand and are not able to explain the behaviour and actions of the Sai Avatar."
This belief in Sai Baba as God the father who sent Christ etc. etc. is based entirely on unsubstantiated claims by Sai Baba himself. It is necessarily a belief, and a wild one, for who could really ever know such a thing? Evidently no one (unless omniscient)... but one can and does behave as if one 'knows', a famously infamous human failing). So one also thereby has to choose NOT to believe in anything said against Sai Baba, and NOT to examine and investigate him (as he once, in a weaker moment which he now regrets, perhaps, invited all humanity to do - "Come, experience, examine.. etc.. and then decide". Even this has been angled carefully by Barelds into "come and experience My Divinity").
Barelds walks the razor's edge, to help get permission to post his own divergent views he had to get in a pat on the back to his 'brother' ("... to Sri Ramanathan's credit, quickly addressed by a national policy") before the weak sting, namely that this policy is "still unacceptable to many devotees". To see better the reason for the constant internal tensions and disgruntlement with the policies within the Sai Organisation of Australia, which Barelds' views surely reflect, one can also examine some of Ramanathan's betrayals of the Sai slogan 'love in action' and his perversion of the 'human values' he parrot-preaches... such as in his public attack on critics at http://members.tripod.com/saisat0/ramanathan.htm