If free speech is to prevail in the world, certain supposedly ‘spiritual’ teachings must be brought into universal disrepute. Such a doctrine was promoted by Sathya Sai Baba – at least in preaching, though not always at all in many of his discourses or interview statements. (See scan on right). If this were taken seriously we all risk becoming slaves in a society like Orwell’s 1984, where an omnipresent Big Brother enforced ‘Newspeak’, a means of controlling how people speak and by extension how they think.
The inherent self-contradiction of the ‘teaching’ is obvious if one thinks a bit about it. The abused and the abuser, the critic and the criticised, are not at all one and the same. Not if one rejects speculative theological claims such as ‘in transcendent reality we are all god, all divine’ (especially in Hinduism and advaita vedanta). A person who kills another does not kill himself, he survives. Unless one is taken in by the inevitable rebuttal speculative Hindus make – but he will be killed in a later life due to the law of karma – it makes no sense whatever to claim ‘all are one’, because all is all and one is one. This is no more illumining than saying 'All is all' or 'everything is everything'.
Were societies to take such a false teaching seriously and apply it across the board, they would have to abolish all systems of law which hold wrong-doers responsible for their crimes. The utter impracticability of such a nonsense is evident to anyone who has to lodge any kind of complaint against another for anything. Little wonder, therefore, that Sai Baba himself could not refrain from heaping abuse on others – mostly in general, but also by name (which he constantly did in his group interviews when it suited him, and also whether or not the object of his ill will was present or not). Little wonder, either, that his devotees, who sat through endless repetitive harangues about always not back-biting, always speaking softly and obligingly, never criticising others could never refrain from exactly those things, as well-documented evidence proves entirely (see a selection of abuses and defamation by devotees against dissidents and critics here.
While Sai Baba was still alive, I wrote about this as follows:-
Sathya Sai Baba has said “If anyone starts talking ill of
others, go away from that place without lending your ears to such evil
talk.” (Sathya Sai Speaks Vol.
27, p. 95). Followers
of Sathya Sai Baba
should recall that he claims that his life is his message and his acts
are all a perfect example and that experience of him and facts about him speak otherwise. Sathya Sai Baba has commented sarcastically and in a defamatory way in public on
certain easily identifiable persons – such as his rationalist critics,
easily recognised to observers as the much-publicised Mr. Narasimiha of Bangalore University who carried out an investigation
into Sathya Sai Baba and Basava Premanand who has published much
about cover-ups by Sathya Sai Baba and his people. Not least by far was he strong attack
(during his public discourse in July
1993) on an identifiable body of Indian journalists who had visited the
ashram after the 1993 murders in Sathya Sai Baba’s bedroom
and reported on what they could unearth in the face of massive secrecy
and impediments from Sai Baba and his officials.
A constant exortation of his was never to criticise others, always to speak obligingly, always softly and never harshly... to take the 'three wise monkeys' as your model and so on in that vein. In its original and grossest form it commands "See, hear and speak no evil".
So a typical dilemma for Sai devotees and their leaders is the conflict between not speaking ill of others and refuting the many allegations against Sathya Sai Baba by defaming critics. Those who leave Sathya Sai Baba and especially his outspoken critics have repeatedly been referred to in Sai circles and the Sai Org. as ‘having too big an ego’, or as a ‘bad man’, a term taken up from Sathya Sai Baba who often uses it when warning about persons not present in interviews. Following Sathya Sai Baba’s constant criticisms of others as persons jealous of others and/or Baba’s achievements’ and, more recently, by the demonstrably mendacious Indulal Shah as ‘representing vested interests’. (But in fact he is telling an untruth and in actual fact he represents the vested interests of the Sai mini-financial empire!). ‘Disgruntled’persons is a favourite label used indiscriminately of all critics in correct ‘Prashanthi-speak’. Even when known to be groundless, these pseudo-explanations are part of the Sai liturgy and function like protective mantras. Sai leaders are particularly in the forefront in branding others to draw attention away from the main culprit and to ‘protect’ devotees from knowing why other devotees can even consider ‘leaving God’ or from finding out any of the very sound reasons for their disaffection. These are the unmistakable symptoms of a truth- threatened cult closing ranks.
Mindlessly following the lead of their guru Sathya Sai Baba, various Central Coordinators have made a number of disrespectful and derogatory statements about Sai critics in widely-disseminated printed circular letters and e-mails. Notable was Jadadeeshan (Datuk Jegathesan) who identified critics’ and or their allegations as “faeces on the ground”, a vile slander on many outspoken victims who courageously told of being sexually abused by Sathya Sai Baba. Even when I pointed out to him that he is breaking with the strongest warnings of Sathya Sai Baba, he has not even apologised in public to the offended parties. This Malaysian Indian has long been a top leader chosen by Sathya Sai Baba for his organisation, where leaders are supposed to have ‘quality’ and be moral examples). Several Sai Org. office-bearers have characterised various Sathya Sai Baba critics as ‘sick’ and in worse terms. European and Danish leaders (Thorbjørn Meyer & Steen Piculell) stigmatised ex-devotee victims through proven untruths to the media to the effect that they were known as paedophiles! They have not had the decency to apologise, but they will certainly come to rue the day.
none of these leaders have taken steps to make contact with those they malign,
and are quite evidently unwilling seriously to investigate any facts reported
by victims of Sathya Sai Baba’s sexual attentions. Many devotees
and leaders turned like a driven herd of pi-dogs barking out slander and
back-biting rumours against those who were for many years much, much closer
than they to Sathya Sai Baba, the two formerly effusive pro-Sai
authors, David Bailey and Dr. Bhatia, when these independently of each other
spilled the beans in a big way about Sathya Sai Baba’s constant
sexual escapades with young male foreigners, Sai college students and underage boys.
This requirement of Sathya Sai Baba never to speak of others behind their backs and never to see anything other than the good in them - though mainly aimed at curbing slander, rumour and excessive negativity in gossip and the like - are wholly impossible requirement in normal life. How could examiners assess candidates, employers discuss job applicants, police investigate suspects, judges discuss cases, people control elected (or non-elected) politicians or carry out most of the normal functions of society? This ‘warning’ – if followed – helps stop all flow of information, esp. about thing.s one does not wish should be known. One must consider Sathya Sai Baba’s own interest in requiring this of his followers. It is above all others his own activities and failings that he does not want talked about! That is why practically everyone in the Sai movement is living the lie they do in a cocoon of wholly positive imaginings about him and refuse to learn anything other than what they wish to believe. He teaches them constantly to worship and see only the good in God in all things, which he has a hundred times indicated as Me, Me, Me - that is, Sathya Sai Baba posing as God the Father Almighty, Creator of the Universe.
The cleverly manipulatory Sai teaching: Already in 1968, Sathya Sai Baba was in full swing against anyone who dares to question or criticise him: “On one side adoration and homage are piling high into a peak; on the other, abjuration and slander are also peak high. Standing between them, I bless them both…” (Sathya Sai Speaks Vol. 8, p. 97) One further quotation will suffice, for 1993 – before criticism of him vastly topped all peaks from the past: “…if men whose hearts are filled with the poison of envy indulge in all kinds of slander from remote places, it can be described only as demonic conduct and not that of a human being."(Sathya Sai Speaks Vol.26, p. 267). The use of ‘if’ here was interesting. Nowadays Sathya Sai Baba apparently uses the word ‘slander’ only as anything said to question any word or deed of his!
The continual berating by Sathya Sai Baba of all kinds of persons and professions and the constant haranguing in discourses of his followers for lacking the simplest of virtues as well as all others as falling short of goodness in every conceivable way is so exaggerated as to sound completely hollow. It might be more warranted had he directed his spleen at those who really do deny virtually all moral sense and personal responsibility due to their society's universally corrupt practices. He should target those who most cynically disregard good values, such as murderous dictators, pseudo-Islamic terrorists, and the mafias of Russia, India and many other countries, the exploiters of children and adults in prostitution and forced labour. But no… Sathya Sai Baba applies his constant negative evaluations so universally as to pretend that he considers himself to be just about the only decent human being alive. Meanwhile he is against human rights! One has to ask how he can be so badly ill-informed about people and the world as to believe that the all peoples in decently educated and civilised societies are so infected by demonic qualities like hate, overbearing envy and greed?
On the one hand Sathya Sai Baba advises, “Come, examine, experience …” and on the other he hand he adds onto this “and have faith” (Sathya Sai Speaks Vol. 4, p. 227). Similarly he said, Also “approach, examine, experience, judge and then accept” (Sathyam, Sivam, Sundaram Part II, p. 265). His clever duplicity becomes evident when his various statements are compared. On several occasions he has seemed to support seeking through proper investigation, telling that one should believe only what seems correct when examined (Sathya Sai Speaks Vol.1, p 37) and get all facts, investigate the truth without haste (Sathya Sai Speaks Vol. 26, 377f) always to investigate well before Sathya Sai Speaks Vol. 4, p. 188).
At the same time Sathya Sai Baba repeatedly insists in many ways on devotees giving up all powers of independent judgment on a wide range of specified matters, and most especially about him! These include the nature of Sathya Sai Baba himself, his activities and behaviour, his words, and his dealings with all who meet him in interviews or in private. One must not think critically of anything or anyone (though he constantly speaks critically of most people in sweeping terms), but only see the positive and good (while he is always pointing out the bad, the sinful and what politicians, scientists, scholars plus all and sundry do wrong). One must paralyse one’s faculty of common sense observation as regards everything untoward one sees or hears, but above all IF it is connected with SB in any way. However, one is presumably allowed to follow his glowing example in his frequent sweeping damning tirades during the discourses against various groups and peoples (eg. politicians in general, people in general, atheists, most other gurus and yoga teachers, the scholarly, scientists, his imitators, his critics and many another category).