THE BBC DOCUMENTARY 'SECRET SWAMI'
shown on BBC2 terrestrial TV on June 17th
NOTE! Former devotee Eileen Weed ('Divya') informed the exposé of the following, which was also reported by other observers in India: "The Sai ashram authorities were most careful to stop ashramites seeing the BBC exposure documentary when it was shown in India on BBC World, as we learned from various sources. Divya told us:-"Guess what? 'Secret Swami' on BBC aired here in India on BBC too – about half a year or more after it aired in UK. However, as I sat eagerly down with my TV in Parthi to see it, the BBC channel suddenly went blank after the first five (positive) minutes of the show! It remained blank for over 24 hours, until the last showing was over. Then the channel came back as normal. Quick-thinking Trust Mafia, perhaps?? (Later, I was able to read the transcript from the Internet.)"
1) SATHYA SAI BABA'S 'PRODUCTION' OF THE GOLDEN LINGAM
2) HIS COLLAPSE AFTER THE STRAIN & HIS EXPLANATION AFTERWARDS
3) DR. MICHAEL GOLDSTEIN DISCUSSES THE SEX ABUSE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST SAI BABA
4) DR. MICHAEL GOLDSTEIN STATES THE SAI ORGANISATION'S FAITH ABOUT SAI BABA
5) ISAAC TIGRETT DISCUSSES THE SEX ALLEGATIONS AGAINST SAI BABA
6) INDIAN EX-MINISTER OF EDUCATION, M.M. JOSHI, ON THE SEX ALLEGATIONS AGAINST SAI BABA
7) INTERVIEW WITH THE EX-HOME SECRETARY OF ANDRHA PRADESH
8) VERY CLOSE DEVOTEES TESTIFY - SAI BABA'S SEX ABUSE AND DIRE THREATS ETC.
REVIEW OF 'THE SECRET SWAMI'
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- This one-hour documentary covered the major aspects of Sai Baba's alleged crimes, such as sexual abuse, murder, and fake miracles.
- It started by introducing Sai Baba as "India's biggest guru" and so on. The first major "scandal" to be discussed was the story of Al Rahm and Alaya. They were introduced nicely, explaining how Al had set up a "model Sai Baba commune", built a large house for bhajan sessions, plans to build a school, etc.
- The documentary was interspersed with the Rahms' story while showing clips of Sai Baba at Sivarathri (early 2004), interview with B Premanand, discussing Sai Baba's charity works (water project and hospital) as well as members of the Rationalist Association showing the residents of an Indian village how Sai Baba performs his tricks, much to their amusement. The main reporter is Tanya Datta, who appears frequently as an interviewer, etc.
- The Rahm's story is told like a common thread throughout the documentary. It is a surprising thing indeed to discover that Sai Baba had molested Al as well as Alaya. Mention is made of Sai Baba rubbing oil on Alaya's genitalia and attempting to have sex with him as well as kiss him on mouth. A little hilarity there as Alaya mentions that Sai Baba is "about 5 feet" and that he is 6"6', conjuring up a rather comical image of a short perverted man. The Rahm's collection of trinkets is shown as well as orange robes, and Al Rahm clearly tells Tanya that he thinks all those trinkets were a "bribe."
The story of Alaya Rahm is indeed tragic; Alaya's mother is reduced to tears and sobs as she relates how she felt when Alaya told the family of his abuse at Sai Baba's hands.
- The other molestee mentioned is Mark Roche of USA, who tells a similar story of genital oiling and Sai Baba's attempts to engage him in oral sex already in 1976. Tanya asks him: "Why would God want to put his penis in your mouth?" Roche replied, "You've got me!" This happened to Mark Roche during some of his 11 interviews with Sathya Sai Baba when he went to Puttaparthi with Elsa and Walter Cowan and Dr. John Hislop at the time when the 'resurrection' of Walter Cowan was faked (because he never died and no death certificate was made out, according to the responsible doctor). In 'The Secret Swami' footage of a meeting and subsequent discussion between Roche and the Rahms is shown as an example of how abused devotees need to move on with their lives.
- The well-known 'guru-buster', Basava Premanand, is interviewed and relates how he has been investigating Sai Baba since 1968 and going public since 1976. He is an elderly man, in his 70s. Footage of a town meeting is shown where Premanand and his colleagues explain how typical miracles such as the vibhuti materializations and lingam-ejections can be easily faked.
- Interview with Dr. Murali Manohar Joshi (formerlyi, India's Minister for Science & Technology, Government of India, then Union Minister for Human Resource Development, but now out of power). This is one of the "funniest" parts of the whole documentary. The background info about Vajpayee's letter is told to give context to Joshi's interview. Tanya asks Joshi what he thinks about the allegations and is he aware of them? Joshi gives the TYPICAL evasive replies that Sai Baba Org officials always give and reiterated that whatever Vajpayee wrote in the letter was correct, his own statement being that the allegations were totally baseless.
When asked by Tanya Datta if he or anyone representative of the Indian Govt had investigated the allegations into Sai Baba, Joshi gave more evasive replies before finally losing his temper and exploding into arguing with Tanya: "You are just trying to malign Sai Baba! Yes you are! Don't argue with me, you are! Do you think you can ask these sort of questions with me, a minister of my stature?" Total ego-trip.
- An interview with Isaac Tigrett is shown. Background info is given about Tigrett's experiences, founding the Hard Rock Café chain, donating money to build the Sai super-speciality hospital, and so on. Later on, Tigrett says some pretty astounding things which have the possibility to make people seriously doubt his sanity. As also reported in Time Out magazine, Tigrett sample comments: "Even if he [Sai Baba] went out and murdered someone tomorrow, that would not stop my evolution. He is my guru absolutely. I believe that the allegations are true, they probably are."
- Dr. Michael Goldstein, international head Sathya Sai Organisation, is interviewed. At the beginning he is "officially" interviewed wherein he states that Sai Baba is on an equal par with Jesus, Buddha and all, and the founder of all the world's religions. He expressed a reluctance to be interviewed regarding the allegations so the BBC team entered his home with a hidden camera and questioned him about the allegations. I'm happy to say that he also came off as a ranting maniac. He gave his side of the story of when the Rahms' reported Alaya's abuse to him and generally acknowledges his past comments to be true. He also told the whole story of how he went to Sai Baba and questioned him on the Rahm's behalf, even including Sai Baba's statement "Swami is pure." Goldstein relates that Sai Baba told him, "If you want to fight gutter people, you have to go into the gutter. Forget it."
Goldstein rants about how he is a physician and that qualifies him to automatically "know" who has been abused judging on their appearance alone, since he has been associating with students since the 70s or so. When questioned incisively by Tanya Datta and another interviewer about why he never made a more thorough questioning of Sai Baba on the Rahm's behalf bar that one question, Goldstein says "it is against my faith and conscience to do so," because apparently "there is no way he could ever do such things." (!!!!!)
The genius part is how the documentary shows Al Rahm relating how Sai Baba praised Goldstein in that famous discourse we all know about, and a clip of this discourse is shown as well. Goldstein can be seen holding his head in his hands in pride at having beeen "blessed" so much by Sai Baba. Al Rahm bemusedly relates his feelings that Goldstein was "played" by Sai Baba.
- The story of the murders is told next. It is told interspersed with dramatic reconstructions of the incident which are instructive, and good graphically speaking. The ex-Home Minister for Andhra Pradesh state is interviewed to tell the story of the murders. He tells the official police version and states quite clearly that it is "riddled with lies and inconsistencies." He also states that there was "no way that knives are a match for roaring guns" and that any statement by the police officers that they shot the four "assailants" in self-defence is hogwash. Nayadjelu clearly states that it was "absolute, cold-blooded murder." An interesting thing that he also remarks is that he plans on RE-OPENING that 1993 murder case. Hooray! He clearly points to a cover-up, saying how it is "convenient" that the assailants were murdered, since if they had been arrested and taken to court, all sorts of details of details would have come out such as why they were there in the first place. Premanand is shown clearly stating what would likely have come out: "economic offences, sex offences, and the like." Graphic pictures of the murder scene are displayed, which work very well to give the viewer a good picture of how brutal the murders were.
In between all of the above segments, a trip to Puttaparthi at the Sivaratri celebrations is shown. Sai Baba is expected to 'give birth' to a lingam from stomach via his mouth. Back in March, one could see how ridiculous of Sai Baba it was to simply vomit liquid and pretend to produce a lingam that was so obviously hidden in a towel. This could be viewed on an UNCLEAR clip from the kingdomofsai.org website posted. Not so with this BBC documentary; the Sivaratri footage can be viewed in brilliant detail, Sai Baba simply regurgitates the water he just drank and maybe a little vomit but it is obviously clear that no lingam ever came out of his mouth in 2004.
After this lingam "no-show," Sai Baba is clearly shown collapsing due to the exertions of the cosmic miracle, poor thing. It is noted how the members of his coterie "swung into action" to help him. After apparently producing two more lingams (not mentioned or shown in the documentary) Sai Baba is shown being brought back to the stage with assistance. Really, he is a poor sick frail old man who is NOW in a wheelchair. It is absolutely amazing how anyone could believe that this is God. God collapses in full view of BBC TV?
by Sanjay Dadlani
Robert Priddy comments:-
One of the most revealing episodes in the entire film is where the BBC use a hidden camera to interview Dr. Michael Goldstein, decided on because he had been less that frank and clearly would not answer vital wuestion put to him about the sexual abuses, which he had not investiagtes (other than asking the accused abuser if there was any truth in the allegations, which Sai Baba denied - not surprisingly!) Thinking he was in private he was most offensive to the young lady interviewer, Tanya Datta, and - as his aggressive body language shows - he was very far from being a model devotee who always replies obligingly, speaks sweetly, and so on. His true nature came out, as was already known to some of us who knew his associates and what they told about him. Two composite image of shots from the film footage suffice to close the case on him:-