My instinct was generally to take all kinds of public allegations of sexual abuse, corruption and major deceit with large pinches of salt, at least until the weight of evidence is incontrovertible. Eighteen years after first visiting Prashanthi Nilayam and engaging myself deeply in work as a follower of Sathya Sai Baba, I finally investigated the allegations of Sathya Sai Baba's homosexuality, sexual abuse and involvements in other deceits (including murders) for several years. I turned every stone to find a way out of accepting the strong likelihood of the worst. Alas, what I have found leaves no way out of this.
Contrary to what I had hoped and even half-expected, the evidence has become more and more widespread and convincing, including reports of independent investigations by several persons whose integrity I trust, so that I have reached the position that the main allegations, at the very least, are true. Very serious accusations of sexual misdemeanor are increasingly proving - in my long-considered and often agonising judgement - to have such circumstantial weight and back-up as to be unavoidable.
That Sathya Sai Baba has never been brought to book
and so far remains unconvicted for the crimes of which he has been accused
is reportedly only due to the power he still exercises on and through
politicians, backed by his considerable financial empire and very extensive
The former Indian Prime Ministers Narasimha Rao and Atal Vihari Vajpayee among other Indian top politicians have denied in very public ways that Sai Baba is or ever could be guilty. This was backed up to the hilt with rabid accusations in the BBC documentary by another fanatical finger-pointing and hysterical Indian Minister, Murali Manohar Joshi. One may be pleased that he was firmly removed from his post as Minister of Human Resource Development by the India electorate. (Incidentally, his arrogance is ostensibly only matched by his ignorance of 'human resouces' which for him are based on Hindu astrology plus Sai Baba's penny proverbs). He is a fairly typical representative of those Indian public know-alls who loudly refute that Sai Baba could ever harm anyone. He admitted that there have been no investigations by the Indian Government of the allegations against Sai Baba, and claimed that such were entirely unnecessary.
Prominent "Sai Baba VIPs" Dr. Michael Goldstein, Datuk Jegathesan, Thorbjørn Meyer, Jørgen Trygved and Jack Hawley among numerous others have claimed to know that Sai Baba is innocent of the sexual charges, as do nearly all who are still followers. Yet they are at apparent odds with one another and there is much confusion in the camp about what his physical actions are, what he actually does and why. Meyer and Trygved admit sexual oiling of male genitals by Sathya Sai Baba but fondly think it is only an age old Indian ceremony of anointing. Meanwhile Hawley denies any wrongdoing by Sathya Sai Baba whatever and Goldstein (a doctor of medicine who considers himself a "consummate professional"!), insists vehemently and finger-pointingly that Sathya Sai Baba is not above the law and could never conceivably do such things and thaty he can see just by looking at them that no boy near Sathya Sai Baba has ever been abused like that. Goldstein 'knows in his heart' etc. that it is entirely inappropriate to investigate at all. Compared to them, Isaac Tigrett is straightforward, at least, for he believes the allegations are true enough, laughs loudly and somewhat manically over it (on TV), while holding it does not bother him in the least! Then there is the Awle camp which admits the likelihood of all kinds of what normal people call sexual perversions and justifies them with a cooked-up divine theology of divine retribution!
However, the claims of all the power-brokers, corrupt politicians and bemused devotees are a wholly transparent deceit, because none of them have been able to monitor Sathya Sai Baba's lifelong activities in more than a few dozen hours of interviews lasting an hour or so, plus the limited periods he is seen in public during darshans, festivals and such like. What do they 'know' about what he does in private interviews, or in his private rooms during both day and night? Only what they believe! Their belief in Baba's purity is based entirely in the last instance on subjective imaginings and wishful thinking and supported by all manner of motives from loss of face, prestige, faith, friends, plus privileges and properties on trust to them from Sai Baba. Here one clearly sees the closed cultish nature of the Sai Organisation and movement as a whole, nonetheless a cult which includes a wide range of Indian and foreign professionals and public figures.
Numerous devotees have tried to rationalise the widely reported sexual abuses by Sathya Sai Baba by suggesting that the victims could themselves have been sexual abusers in a previous lifetime, and required this experience to put them on the straight and narrow. This is a mere idea and a naive and oversimplified view of the laws of retribution (karma) and shows just how hard devotees have to look for a way to save some faith in Sai Baba, whatever the facts are. Being sexually abused is more often itself a forerunner to becoming an abuser. Given that the reincarnation of sexual abusers took place, how did this qualify them for the supposed tremendous blessing of being close to the Avatar as Sai students and devotees? The cunning answer given by Sai Baba is that he allows 'bad persons' to stay close to him so he can keep track of them and correct them. Yet he affirms just as strongly that proximity to his holy personage is only a result of good actions, and even many lifetimes of it! None of this stands up to ordinary reason and smacks of desperately stamping out doubts that will just not lie down and die.
On top of it all,
testimonies from young men abused by Sathya Sai Baba - not least Alaya Rahm on the BBC
programme - of how Sathya Sai Baba would give them money after sex! The Rahms shows some
of the banknotes received, along with various trashy 'gold' watches and
Early Brindavan College Sai Baba sex scandal hushed up: Referring to a long-standing Sai devotee friend who lived for decades in Prashanthi Nilayam, Eileen Weed (who first began to live there in 1984) wrote:-
“She said in the mid 1970s, soon after she arrived in India, there was an event like that, when many students just left the college in disgust. Another time that it happened was soon after I arrived in 1984; we had heard many boys walked out of college because of something which we never learned details of. That was when sb did not go to Whitefield for 18 months (waiting for the controversy to die down, no doubt). All of us, even those like me who were generally clueless in the early days, heard about the mass exodus of walk-outs in the Whitefield college in 1984 (see more).“
The above refers to an episode that was well-known to persons involved at Brindavan College at the time, but about which all information was systematically suppressed by the entire Sai Baba movement, as indeed has been and continues to be the policy. Barry Pittard, who lectured in English for two years from 1978 at Sathya Sai Baba’s Whitefield College.
Accusers of Sai Baba never challenged: No speculations or accusations against the accusers of Sathya Sai baba for sexual abuse have shown themselves to have any identifiable basis or substance, certainly not in respect of their allegations against Sai Baba for sexual interference and direct abuse. The former Chairman of the International Sai Organisation, Indulal Shah, has stated that they represent 'vested interests' (by which Sai people often mean Christian churches and the like) and Sathya Sai Baba announced in his infamous 2000 Christmas Discourse that his accusers were doing this for money. On such a day, Sai Baba piles on insults to injury against those whose faith and whose bodies he has desecrated and whose secrecy he has tried to purchase with money, large sums too in some cases. Not a shred of evidence has been put forward to support Sai Baba's claims. They have massive financial resources and could discover any, if it were possible, but they do not. On the contrary, many of the staunchest devotees have vested financial and social interests in covering up all negative facts about Sathya Sai Baba. Many have said that envy, malice or even mental imbalance explains the allegations - and have mailed exposé activists they do not even know to accuse them of this and also of being paedophiles themselves (including the author of this) - but again without the remotest of evidence to back this. They simply do not seem to understand that some people stand up for unpopular, unavoidable truth and act on their consciences, whatever the cost may be.
Closing one's eyes to facts in the real world is one way to postpone the pain of breaking all the other attachments and needs for more or less imagined spiritual blessings or rewards from Sathya Sai Baba nourished by those in the Sai movement. Sathya Sai Baba schools and colleges, especially in India, are inevitably under the gravest suspicion of supplying a steady stream of under-age boys for sexual purposes, not only to Sathya Sai Baba but to those masters and higher students who have been themselves turned into sexual abusers by Sathya Sai Baba himself or those homosexuals and even paedophiles who have come there attracted by the 'precedence' of Sathya Sai Baba's sexual activities. Paedophile activity by anyone who is in the public gaze invariably involves the complicity of others, that is, a secret inner circle of paedophiles and victims who are threatened to silence. Experience is teaching the world that a major abuser cannot keep his activities secret and continue for many years without a circle of silenced 'victims', some of whom become active collaborators and abusers. Reports have been posted and supporting evidence accumulated about this delicate and dangerous subject to expose. This is a most likely, for many examples of such institutionalized abuse have been coming to light during recent decades. This has finally been proven in courts in many countries, especially the USA in recent times. Even the supposedly-infallible Pope was finally forced by the huge weight of public opinion developed through decades to admit and condemn as 'evil' the massive abuse of minors that has taken place in the Roman Catholic Church.
Was Sathya Sai Baba ever celibate? New evidence: Sathya Sai Baba had evidently burnt his bridges long ago and he could no longer take steps to avoid the consequences of his actions from puberty onwards. Sathya Sai Baba's soul brother, Krishna, who shared his rooms for years in their teens, definitively told an interviewer in the 1970s that Sathya Sai Baba masturbated a lot during that period. He repeated this several times on two quite separate occasions. I first met this interviewer in India visiting Sai Baba in 1989 and he has visited and stayed with us fairly recently. When he told me of Krishna's testimony, I was rather stunned that I had never considered that Sai Baba was not once full of testosterone too! Why would "the Divine Avatar" who says he never does a single thing for selfish reasons would need to masturbate like any other hormone driven teenager!
I do not make the name of the interviewer/author known here because he wished for anonymity. However, after consulting a psychologist friend and others, that I decided the information with which he was entrusted by Krishna (now deceased) in Madras is of too great importance to bury, considering what is at stake for so many in the turmoil of uncertainty or grief. Because he wishes to limit his interest to para-normal investigations, he would not speak up about the many allegations of homosexuality by Sai Baba he was faced with in India when conducting research there in the 1970s. Nevertheless, I consider such information scientifically interesting too, since sexual malpractices are so very common among those having so-called siddhi and tantric powers (on the authority of such a formative researcher as Mircea Eliade in his major work on Indian religious practices, Yoga, Immortality and Freedom). He has unfortunately withdrawn from public discussion of his position on the Sai phenomenon, which now looks decidedly shakier and unscientific as the video evidence of sleight of hand etc. emerges on an increasing scale. A book he published book well-known to Sai devotees is used by many to justify and defend their faith in Sai Baba and his divinity. However, he still occasionally visits Prashanthi Nilayam. (Incidentally I do have his testimony in his e-mails).
Though not checkable first-hand at the source, since Sathya Sai Baba's (former) "soul brother" Krishna died some years ago, I have no reason to doubt this, for I knew my source as a reliable and honest man, however inconclusive and somewhat biassed I now regard his investigations to have been. I have the source documentation in my private keeping. The same person told me of other instances of being told that Sathya Sai Baba was homosexual and of talks with Mr. Kamini (once Sathya Sai Baba's engineer and very close attendant until the 1970s) in which he made it quite evident that Sathya Sai Baba enjoyed many of his boys sexually!
Sathya Sai Baba's teenage 'soul brother' Krishna & the sex allegations: "This Krishna became a Christian and lived in Madras after leaving Sathya Sai Baba. Though he deceased some years ago, he was interviewed twice by my elderly friend. Krishna told him on two separate interviews (though unasked) that Sai Baba masturbated much during their time together. This bears out what any sensible person would assume, that Sathya Sai Baba was much under the thrall of his awakened sexuality by then:
In her book, "Other than You refuge
there is none" (Anyatha Saranam Nasthi) the elderly Indian
woman devotee, Smt. Vijaya Kumari, who was with Sathya Sai Baba already in the
1940s when Sathya Sai Baba was in his teens, we read about his relationship with
the young man Krishna, with whom Sathya Sai Baba co-habited for years:
Krishna was very mild-mannered. He was not brisk, but very slow while walking. He was slim and fair, and of a sensitive temperament. Everyone would tease him saying that he should have been born a lady. While walking with him, Swami would stay very close to him. It showed how much Swami liked him. Looking at them both, we would playfully refer to them as Radha and Krishna. We do not know what merit accrued from previous lives it was that gave Krishna the privilege of staying upstairs in the company of Swami. Because Krishna was fond of bed coffee, Swami himself would make sure that the tray with coffee and biscuits was ready, and then wake him up. His meals also were with Swami. Making Krishna sit by His side serving him items from His own plate, Swami would watch over him very affectionately.
Who will have such rare fortune! Once Krishna had to go to Madras on some errand. Swami developed high fever. In His delirium, He would call out " Krishna ". His fever subsided only after Krishna returned. This shows how much God loves His devotees”..."(pps. 194-195)
Sathya Sai Baba's advance precautions planted for his own protection have been publicised many times since his famous letter to his elder brother (Mr. Sesham Raju) in the 1940s, in which he refutes any possible criticism of himself. That brother reportedly never believed his claims of pure divinity, but still thought of him as possessed, even though others have tried to present this brother as a fully signed-up devotee rather than a doubter of the full glory of his younger brother (who assumed the role of 'Big Brother' in fact). However, this elder brother evidently kept his distance from the whole Sai business even though he lived in Puttaparthi, where I saw him in 1985 shortly before he died. He is not known or reported to have attended a single public Sai event. The family considered Sathya Sai Baba possessed by a 'Muslim spirit' and put him through very punishing exorcisms, without success. Later they came to admire and worship him and the extended family benefitted greatly in material ways from his fame and wealth. The multi-millionaire property speculating younger brother Janakiram - banned for many years by Sathya from the ashram - nevertheless presented himself as a worshipper of his brother. However, he made many millions in property speculation in Puttaparthi and its environment ("beyond his wife's wildest dreams", were the words of V.K. Narasimhan). Narasimhan also told me that Janaki Ramiah was a chief conspirator in blackmailing the police in executing cold-bloodedly by rifle young men armed only with knives during the 1993 murders episode! What he really believes is anyone's guess... but he has now become the main power in the Central Trust. (Well, Sathya Sai Baba always claims to have nothing to do with money! And what a bare-faced lie! Several report how he even tries to silence his victims with money given to them in secrecy.)
couldnt the 'universal world teacher' broach the subject of
sexuality? In his interminable and
highly-repetitive two-hours discourses at an average of at least two a week
through about 45 years, Sathya Sai Baba only mentioned the subject of
sex briefly a few times, and then only in an indirect way. (See how he states his views on girlfriends, and how he indivates his well-known preference for boys and men over th female sex - inset on right). Since the sexual
impulse is so fundamental and is the source of so many personal, social and
other problems in the world, one might have expected some less
fundamentalist and more enlightened talk about it from the supposed 'world
universal teacher' than preaching monastic and repressive ideals, a parody
of spiritual guidance to mankind. But he has nothing whatever to advise but
abstention from sexual behaviour (i.e. words apparently not acted upon by
him). The entire subject of sexuality is as close to taboo with him as one
could get, except that he repeats the ancient Indian scriptural view
advising total chastity by all before marriage, minimum indulgence during
it, and chastity again from the age of 60. Sathya Sai Baba lists and condemns lust as
one of the seven or cardinal sins, without explaining what kind of lust
even, though he always claims to have no lust or any other bodily desire.
Though he avoids subjects like birth control, condoms, AIDS and other
sex-related issues like the plague (except sometimes perhaps in the privacy
of the interview room or with close confidantes), he has once shown in
public that he is far more Catholic than the present Pope. This failure to
speak out openly on his real views is most noteworthy and can hardly be
explained other than because he is unable to raise the subject frankly or
talk about it in understandable fashion. One can understand better now why
he always steers clear of such a touchy subject for him. His real views
would probably awaken astonishment and would cause many to fall away from
his movement and might also draw more attention to his own sexual
proclivities and preferences.
Because Sathya Sai Baba seems unable to handle the subject frankly, his closest servitors also keep whatever they know of his real views secret. However, V. K. Narasimhan confided many such things to me and said, "Swami is extremely traditional" in his attitude to heterosexual sex. The attitude of a traditional Indian male chauvinist shines through Sathya Sai Baba's behaviour at darshan and talks in interviews and in his discourses.
As to relations between men and men, who can say what he really thinks, seeing what it is so widely claimed that he really does? It is extraordinary too that, before the exposé of his abuse of minors and young men became a major issue for him, he seemed to consider it almost uncontroversial when, in a discourse some years ago, he related en passant how he shares his bedroom with young men and even boys... a fact for which he has never offered even the hint of a "spiritual" explanation. His apologists would doubtless claim that it is merely a part of the guru tradition, for devotees to massage the guru etc. When discussing with V.K. Narasimhan why Sathya Sai Baba would tell this in a public discourse when Tal Brooke had accused him of this years before, he asked me whether homosexual relations with younger men and boys (i.e. paedophilia) would be looked down on in the West. I assured him that it would be condemned outright. A strange silence ensued, which I recall now and wonder how naive I must have been then not even to consider to ask him outright whether Sai Baba was guilty or not!
That Sai Baba cannot admit to having had the sexual urge reflects the repressive mentality of double morals, especially about pubescent sexual urges. In contrast to this attitude, the great Sufi mystic and famous poet, Rumi, regarded sexual desires in youth as 'letting one's feathers grow out', without which dangerous problems can be caused later. (The Essential Rumi, p. 64). This is definitely an enlightened attitude and is favoured by an increasing majority in most modern countries nowadays. (So much for the cherished belief that Sathya Sai Baba will rule the world, or his own deranged claim that the whole world will be in his organisation!). I have since found many grounds on which to consider that this kind of 'letting sleeping dogs lie' concerning homosexual paedophilia is far from being as uncommon in India as I formerly thought or hoped.
Nearly all Sai followers 'follow' Sathya Sai Baba in considering sexuality as something unmentionable, as if it were necessarily dirty... not least because Sathya Sai Baba has replied to those who have asked him if the allegations of his sexual activities are true by saying "Baba is pure"! This shows Sathya Sai Baba's attitude clearly, 'sex is impure!' And there are degrees of dirt and depravity too, such as threatening a boy to cut off his penis or that he will get a life of pain and suffering if he does not do what he is told, as Alaya Rahm reports Sai Baba threatened him!
One asks: have only male devotees - and those of young, attractive appearance - inherited such merits from former lives that they can consort physically with Sathya Sai Baba now? In view of all the points made in the preceding, Sathya Sai Baba's activities must surely be regarded for what they are described to be by dozens of young men? To try to explain them away by speculation about divine energies is just to try to sustain cherished illusions about Sathya Sai Baba and the spurious benefits or blessings he is supposedly to confer now or, more usually, later, later, later...
There is, however, growing awareness even in India that both hetero- and homo-sexual pedophile relations are very widely practiced there as elsewhere in the world, if not more so in such an atmosphere of the repressive Victorian mentality. Child marriage, though unlawful since British rule - amounting quite simply to paedophile sex - is still practiced underhand in India and is openly accepted by some. The subject is so taboo and so inflamed there, above all in ashrams and other religious communities, that it can only be discussed privately with persons one trusts, and then at considerable risk. However, it is apparently very widely known and is looked away from out of powerlessness before the threat of the issue.
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