I first met Raye Thomas, the husband of Joy Thomas, in 1985 at Prashanthi Nilayam. I was intrigued by seeing one of his feet had six toes and told him that Indians believed this kind of anomany was very auspicious. So we got to know each other. Joy had just completed the draft her first book about Sai Baba (and herself) and was hoping for the (almost obligatory) Sai Baba's blessing and signature on it before publishing. However, it took several more years before it actually appeared in print.

Joy Thomas became an apparent favourite of Sathya Sai Baba since he would speak to her often at darshan and grant many interviews. She became the President of the Cherry Creek Sathya Sai Centre in California, which was much publicized by her (since rebranded as 'Cherry Creek Centre for Healing and Esthetics' only accessible to registered members). For nearly two decades, Joy and Raye Thomas took groups from California to visit Sai Baba and these were accorded many interviews. Following the lead of their Lord and Master, the ashram staff provided much support to this wheelchair-bound VIP and she was ushered by Seva Dal organisers into prominent spots at darshan so that Sai Baba could see her right away. She was literally besotted with Sai Baba, more so than Raye) who took to wearing the largest set of huge, gaudy-looking rings with Sai Baba images on for all to see (he had got some made himself too!). Both of them struck me as most impressionable persons whose comments about Sai Baba and their relations with him were so fanciful as to be rather embarrassing to listen to. They also flaunted every book, card or other item he signed or blessed for them, and they repeatedly begged/pressed more and more things on him to sign, much like un self-conscious but spoilt children.

Sai Baba's "take up they bed and walk' ploy

Joy Thomas, wrote in one of her five rambling books (Life is a Challenge... p. 157f - see scan on right), Sai Baba seemed to 'cure' her temporarily or partially of her chronic disability when she had to leave her wheelchair before steps up to the Kodaikanal interview room. However, everyone could observe that she still remained almost permanently tied to her wheelchair for many years until the end of her days, of which more further down here.

From a handwritten note I made in 1996 after hearing from two very close friends of Joy and Ray about their choice to move to Sai Baba's ashram): 30 Dec. 1995 at Robert and Rita Bruce's room in Prashanthi.

Transcript in violet text:
Rita told of Joy and Ray Thomas that they have moved into P.N. permanently, Sai having asked them 3 times "Do you really want to live here?" (and they answered 3 yesses!) Now they regret it bitterly - no peace at all, 2 tiny rooms (R 1 A4) and 24 hr building noise plus people who sit and talk outside etc. They had no medical insurance in the U.S.A., so thought they'd be safer here. But no one is allotted to push her wheelchair (in the ladies' side etc.), so she has to hire a pusher.

She recently had some medical checks and there was something wrong with the platelets in the blood - possible/probably cancer. Sai, when asked if she was going to die, grabbed the X-rays and said powerfully,"She is not going to Die"

Scan of Joy Thomas' and a supposed 'miracle'

Comment: The Thomases were allocated the use of a small ground floor apartment in Prashanthi ashram (not cheap!) and they both moved there in 1999. Sai Baba made critical remarks about Joy's constant writing to the effect that she was not doing spiritual practice or service. Once there, they did not get much attention from him. One reason was that they did not qualify for health care in the USA and could not afford health insurance there... ironically enough they had full faith that Sai Baba's hospital provided top quality free care.

Joy Thomas was admitted to the Sathya Sai Specialty Hospital with cancer and was treated there for some time. However, she died from cancer just over 4 months later. Contributing to her condition was reported blood loss at the Sathya Sai Specialty Hospital due to refusal to give transfusions, possibly causing premature death. (I had unknowingly been misinformed earlier, that she died in the Sai hospital from blood loss, but it later appeared that was incorrect). She was flown back to California before her death. She died back in California April 17, 1999. A blessing in disguise in the eyes of the devoted, but not in that of her husband. Incidentally, she had been considerably obese, far more so than her heavily-built husband (who Sai Baba used to call her 'has-been', one of his standard laugh-raisers in interviews).

Once again Sai Baba's word failed. A conscious lie and or proof that he did not know her future. SB held that one must adhere rigorously to the truth and that even a 'white lie' is unacceptable. It is better, he said, to say nothing. While Joy was in the Sai hospital, Raye had been very disturbed by about the lack of care, but there was nothing he could do about it. Once in the hands of a Sai Hospital, no one has recourse to any normal patient rights as everything is supposedly the will of Sai Baba.

The prominent dissident Glen Meloy was a long time close friend of Raye who told dissidents that Raye was most disturbed and in doubt about what to make of it for a long period. Eventually he succumbed to the faith - Swami's inscrutable will for the best of everyone etc. - beliefs in which he was most heavily indoctrinated. Of course, the Sathya Sai Specialty Hospital was and is a private hospital which - under Sai Baba's directions - maintained great secrecy about its patients and would not release any official and proper details of their apparent shortcomings to Raye. This was also the case with the legally invalid death certificate they made out for Sathya Sai Baba, who most likely died of AIDS weighing 28 kgs. and having had a series of all his major organs failing). (see here)

From an e-mail sent to me by Glen Meloy:-

Glen Meloy <>
To: Robert Priddy <>
Re: Your excellent circular mail
Responding to: Robert Priddy at re: Email on 2/20/02 6:55 AM

Raye Thomas just called me and said he was planning to go to Puttaparthi to check on the Joy Thomas Memorial Library. He mentioned some names such as Dianne Wells (lives in Bangalore) and the Krishnaswamis (wife's name Rukmini - has a school for handicapped children in Bangalore). I have known Raye and Joy since the early 80s and helped him thru the grieving process when Joy died. He has told me that he never put Baba on the same high pedestal like most of us did, but he is lonely and still attends the Hemet Center meetings and the 1st Sunday Santa Ana meetings chaired by Bozzani. He knows exactly where I stand on most of the issues and he is not threatened by my questions or the fact that I am no longer a devotee. He also knows the crooked police chief in Puttaparthi and used to have verandah privileges.

Incidentally, the Joy Thomas Memorial Library has long since disappeared without trace, as has on-line publicity about her or most of her books.

According to Sharon Purcell, who knew the Thomases being a long term member of the former Cherry Valley, California Center under the leadership of late Joy Thomas, one of the boys ) in the group which visited Sai Baba in India with Hal Honig in 1993, had his genitals oiled by Sai Baba in the private room, son of Mahri and Bruce Kintz. They also knew that the same was done to her son, Sathya Purcell. Neither Raye nor Joy Thomas ever dared to speak out about these matters, though they certainly
also knew of the allegations from the complaint by Mrs. Payne to the US Sathya Sai Organization and the infamous letters of denial circulated by Hislop to Sai VIP persons. Such cover-up behaviour was almost universal among VIPs, who had based their lives more and more on Sai Baba, the privileges and status they could obtain among the huge following... in short, they had become totally dependent upon being accepted within the cult. So much for Sai Baba's great care and compassion for his devotees!

Read more about Joy Thomas' authorship here


1) Print this Page       2)  Use right click here - then 'Open page in new window' to translate

Return to index menu

Disclaimer: These pages may contain copyrighted material, the use of which is - or has not always been - specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Material used in quotation for the sake of critical comments refers back to the original materials for the protection of those who may otherwise be mislead into a deceptive and possibly dangerous cult. Any such use constitutes a 'fair use' of copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law.