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Sathya Sai Baba's refusal to explain anything other than what pleased himself made it difficult to have confidence in many of the statements he made on whatever subject, quite apart from what concerned the 'unseen' and unknown world of spiritual realities he claimed to rule over. Sathya Sai Baba 's demand was that the devotee have implicit and wholly unquestioning trust in him, all his works and anything he uttered. If it failed to make sense or was not in accordance with observable fact or other statements of his, this had to be put down to our human ignorance. It was therefore not entirely wrong to say 'we cannot properly understand him'! He held that virtually everyone alive is ego-laden, sense-attached and impure and are people who really knew nothing truly about anything! But we do know with demonstrable certainty that Sai Baba got his facts wrong time and again, laughably so! And he was, by all appearances, unaware what a storm the world would raise against pedophilia, probably because it is common and yet is not talked about openly in India. A long-standing suspicion seems justified, namely that this kind of homosexual exploitation of boys in India is very widespread and is tacitly accepted in many segments of society - such as in backward parts like the Andhra Pradesh villages of the Puttaparthi region. This is the result of the wall-to-wall culture of repressive censorship against such sexual deviance in most of India.

It is evident that many close followers of Sai Baba held him in awe, but - more than that - feared him personally. There is plenty of written evidence by followers showing this. The ashram murders of 1993 increased this fear without a shadow of a doubt. The fear is seldom talked about but can at times be seen in faces of those often in contact with him. One can simply imagine the effect on those under his control, especially his students. Sathya Sai Baba told that his close servitors have three chances of obeying him when he tells them something. If not, terrible consequences can follow. As in the case of Baba's driver for two decades, who burned himself to death in the Hillview Stadium after failing to follow Sathya Sai Baba 's warning to drive more slowly and ran down a villager who died! One does not have to circulate for long among Sai devotees to know the general paranoia or come across the aura of unexpressed anxiety around questions of what one can and cannot say and do. One often sensed a threatening ambience when one spoke too freely, and experienced scenarios where people were blacklisted, even forcibly removed by ashram authorities. I gradually came to understand how adherence to and obeying the dictates of Sai Baba - especially while at the ashram was far more based on cleverly-insinuated fear than I at first realised... but it is cleverly concealed in a more cunning form than in most cults (fear of rebirth, terrible karmas, possible psychic and other interventions, lack of protection, becoming a 'demon' (if one believes in that), plus direct retribution via Sai people, not to forget that severe beatings and other killings have been reported on occasion.

Sathya Sai Baba's imperious and down-looking attitude did not exactly make for a feeling of overflowing divine acceptance and love, which he was always talking about as being his entire nature etc. He could smile and be charming, but love is shown only in action. What did he mostly do? Stroll about looking distant and often as strict as a headmaster who will never abide to be gainsaid or crossed in the least way. This is a manner which invites private anxiety and even fear. He certainly set up considerable barriers to knowing him and so also to loving him, for how can anyone love someone they do not knowor can get close to? This feeling was not confined to relatively peripheral persons such as I, for it is quite evident at times even between Baba and some of his most trusted office-bearers. I heard from Prof. N. Kasturi's own lips the account of how Sathya Sai Baba - without any provocation - scared the wits out of him with a raging lion-like expression, after which he ignored him totally for a long period. When Kasturi finally was able to ask him what he had done wrong, Sai Baba told him he had granted interviews to persons who clamoured to have private meetings with him when on a tour... but the 'interviews' were prearranged by others who were hosting Kasturi, so he felt he had to comply. Sathya Sai Baba's aim was almost certainly to ensure that he could keep him in line by cowing him totally. This he was known to do through rejection, disapproval, anger and threatening looks to many followers, especially his staff and personal servitors. This is a typical psychopathic trait - to combine much charm and flattery with sudden rejection and anger, and so on in a push-pull manipulation which creates uncertainty and self-negation with the purpose of controlling others.

Another example of how Sai Baba used fear was given by Al Rahm in describing how he reacted to Alaya (his son) telling him of the long and vile sexual abuses he had been subjected to by Sai Baba"-
("SAM"s father - Al Rahm) "We were shocked when we heard it and the both of us just embraced our son at that time and we said, 'That's it. It's over. It's finished.' And the thing that was most impactful there, was that when we said to him, 'Why didn't you tell us?', and he said, 'The greatest fear that I had was that my family would choose Sai Baba and I would lose my family.' And that he had lived with that fear..."

The traditional fear of God was often carried over into fear of Sathya Sai Baba from other religions, not least Judaism and Christianity. Consider the Bible: "Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD." (Psalms 34:11) "The Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love." (Psalms 147:11) "The Father knows His children must look solely and complete to Him for everything so, through Solomon, He makes this statement: "Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man." (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

All this set standards and examples. In the Sai movement, both foreign and Indian officials in the Sathya Sai Organization were unduly tight-lipped and worried about all even remotely sensitive matters having to do with Baba, his organisation or other works. Towards the ordinary members (foot soldiers) they always had to be in the right, one ciuld not question anything that had been decided by whoever decided things in the top-down organizational hierarchy there. [Members were even sometimes expelled without any explanation, as in the case of the Moscow centre's president, who allowed discussion of the sexual allegations against Sathya Sai Baba.] The personal qualities of most top leaders in the Sai movement made for a social and mental-emotional gap between these 'Sai officials' and 'ordinary' hard-working followers, with few exceptions. This had the effect of consolidating an inner circle who were subservient to the International Chairman and the Central Trust - a kind of international jet-set elite who invited one another around the world to hold forth - often mainly to regurgitate or repackage Sai Baba aphorisms - and who evidently conferred to hush up anything which might affect their own positions in Baba's favour and within the organisation that bore (and still bears) his name.

Feasr of Sathya Sai Baba - qua God Almighty - is the basis for the many cover-ups. The 1993 murders and the many pedophile accounts involving Sai Baba (some going back decades), were kept from the main body of devotees for so long through organised deception and spreading confusion about the facts. However, even today, remaining Sai officials would be well advised to "sweep their hearths and keep their houses clean" on this count from now on, for the information is presently freely available to every one of them.

When fear is felt but cannot be expressed it is all the more effective for manipulating and suppressing people. Once fears can be confronted without the possibility of retribution - such as by removing oneself from their source both physically, socially and emotionally - it becomes evident that, as F.D. Rooseveldt put it "there is nothing to fear but fear itself".