CULTISM AND THE SATHYA SAI ORGANIZATION
"A cult is a group or movement exhibiting a great or excessive devotion or dedication to some person, idea, or thing and employing unethically manipulative techniques of persuasion and control (e.g., isolation from former friends and family, debilitation, the use of special methods to heighten suggestibility and subservience, powerful group pressures, information management, suspension of individual critical judgment, promotion of total dependency on the group and fear of leaving it, etc. designed to advance the goals of the group's leaders to the actual or possible detriment of members, their families, or the community." (West & Langone, 1986).
* authoritarian in their power structure
* totalitarian in their control of the behaviour of members
* a pyramid in structure and infrastructure
* the use of deception in recruiting or fund raising
* promotes dependence of the members
* totalitarian in their world view
* uses mind altering techniques such as chanting, devotional singing, meditation, hypnosis
and various forms of repetitive actions to stop normal critical thinking
* appear exclusive and innovative
* has charismatic or messianic leader who is self-appointed and has a special mission in life
* instils a fear of leaving the group
The above suffice as evidence that the Sathya Sai Baba Organization qualifies quite readily as a cult, however subtle its appearance(s).
The Central Coordinator for the European Sathya Sai Organization (Group 1), Mr. Thorbjørn Meyer, sent frequent circulars with instructions and regulations to North European national and centre leaders, of which I was then both. Here one sees how controlling the Sathya Sai Organization is regarding what can and cannot by said in public and by whom. Far from encouraging dialogue with 'the outside world', this typical Sai Org. circular denies the right to participate in discussion or activities not authorised by Sai Organization leaders.