Sathya Sai Baba Deceptions Exposed

Exposing major deceits by guru Sathya Sai Baba in India, incl. murders cover-up & widely alleged sexual abuse

Posts Tagged ‘Ladies Day’

India’s women’s struggle for emancipation from traditional male chauvinism

Posted by robertpriddy on March 16, 2012

You can tell the condition of a nation by looking at the status of its women.
- Jawaharlal Nehru

However much a mother may love her children, it is all but impossible for her to provide high-quality child care if she herself is poor and oppressed, illiterate and uninformed, anaemic and unhealthy, has five or six other children, lives in a slum or shanty, has neither clean water nor safe sanitation, and if she is without the necessary support either from health services, or from her society, or from the father of her childen.
- Vulimiri Ramalingaswami, “The Asian Enigma”

The women who participate in and lead ecology movements in countries like India are not speaking merely as victims. Their voices are the voices of liberation and transformation. . . The women’s and ecology movements are therefore one, and are primarily counter-trends to a patriarchal maldevelopment.
- Vandana Shiva

Amartya Sen – The Unheeded Conscience: We will lionise him, but will we ever listen to what he’s saying? Sen points out that when he took up issues of women’s welfare, he was accused in India of voicing “foreign concerns.” “I was told Indian women don’t think like that about equality. But I would like to argue that if they don’t think like that they should be given a real opportunity to think like that.”
- Parmita Shastri, Outlook India, 1998

The self-styled avatar Sathya Sai Baba, worshipped by Prime Ministers, Presidents and many other governmental and judicial elite, ‘put women in their place’ – on a most traditional religious-spiritual pedestal as ‘grihasta’ (or householder-homemaker)  - where they should be worshipped as mothers (though preferably should be celibate!) and who should rather follow Rama’s dictum which he quoted as Women have their estimable role in household affairs, but they should be kept out of state politics.” (Sanathana Sarathi, May 1995, p. 118)  Despite this the woman President Patil visited him at festivals and worshipped him!  See Ladies Day – Sathya Sai Baba vs. International Women’s Day and true female emancipation

Despite Sai Baba’s backward-looking influence on many Indian women, there are some strong and very promising women’s rights movements in India which are taking up the battle against male chauvinism (in whose ranks Sai Baba firmly belonged – known also to many devotees as a homo-erotic misogynist). For example, the leader of the pink vigilante movement which has targeted corrupt officials and wife beaters, Sampat Pal, is a serious contender in one of the key and most populous states in crucial polls coming early next year.

‘We realise we are not strong enough to carry out our plans of emancipating women and getting rid of poverty”, says her close aide, Suman Singh Chauhan. ‘We don’t have money or power. So we need to get one of our own into politics. If we get one person elected, we’ll become powerful.” Sampat Pal agrees.
‘We have tremendous support on the ground because of our reputation. Women make up half of the population and yet have so little political power. (See BBC report)

For India’s women, rape and slavery are ‘tip of the iceberg’

India’s Women and Girls Fight Second-Class Status

   CHRONIC HUNGER AND THE STATUS OF WOMEN IN INDIA

CLICK ON IMAGE TO ZOOM IN

 

See also Broken Promises, New Pledges, and Possibilities on Women’s Rights in India – http://www.sacw.net/article723.html

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Women, Sathya Sai Baba and male chauvinism

Posted by robertpriddy on October 31, 2011

There is something suspicious about Sathya Sai Baba’s continual praise for Indian women (it is evident from the contexts of his outpourings that he is always referring to them, not foreign women). What first strikes the eye is the chauvinism in expecting women to look after the household, bring up children and can work at jobs too only on top of all that. No female emancipation for Sai Baba!  It is well known from many reports that Sathya Sai Baba gave 90% of his attention to men and boys and behaved like a misogynist, which some of his students have reported on this blogsite too. The students of the Ananturpur College for Women had very infrequent visits to interviews, while boys were constantly included and visited in their campus most regularly by Sai Baba, also invited in groups almost every evening to his residence for talks. Many foreign women (and their husbands) complained constantly that they were repeatdly treated at his ashrams as second- or third-class citizens. They would have to sit on the floor and often at the back at most events.

In short, women were praised by him in public only insofar as they are 1) chaste 2) religious 3) home-makers 4) good child educators (i.e. upholders of the traditional values of Sai Baba’s strict requirement) and finally as good workers in certain jobs, but NOT as political leaders! Of the 365 days of the year, only ONE day was chosen for women to partake fully in the main ceremonies of the ashram… “Ladies Day”… November 19. A charade to keep up a façade if ever there was one: see Ladies Day – Sathya Sai Baba vs. Women’s Day and true female emancipation The values he claimed they embody – and other times said they should change themselves to embody – patience, fortitude, compassion, and sacrifice – are noteworthy because surely they the very qualities which have made women endure without revolt the vast injustices of patriarchal and male chauvinist societies throughout history. The sufferings that so many women face in India are legion: being made into social pariahs if their husband dies and they become widows (!), often being forced into ‘suitable’ marriages (and even still sometimes only as children), to being dominated by their husbands in most cases and to risk being set alight in their kitchens if they do not follow the family’s demands (bride murder). Female prostitution is a major unregulated and dangerous industry involving millions, often sold away from home and taken into brothels as children, often being forced to do back-breaking underpaid work in fields, mines, factories etc., not seldom being expected to produce sons only (and then – due to the huge rate of female infanticide in India, to kill their newborn girls). These are just some of the enormous hardships faced by millions… but where did Sathya Sai Baba ever speak up or give a moral teaching specifically about any of these shameful practises? Nowhere at all is the answer! 

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Ladies Day – Sathya Sai Baba vs. Women’s Day and true female emancipation

Posted by robertpriddy on March 8, 2011

Sathya Sai Baba imagines that he has importance for the improvement of the status of women, not least because back in the 1990s he instituted a ‘Ladies’ Day’ at his ashram on November 19th. This year the woman President of India, Shrimata Prathiba Devisingh Patil attended this Ladies’ Day at Prashanthi Nilayam, worshipped Sai Baba and gave an address to the crowds about women. It was wholly evident from this address – along with many of Sathya Sai Baba’s statements about women and their role in life and society, that the values they support are very largely opposed to those of International Women’s Day, the 8th of March (see Wikipedia).

“Today, we are gathered at Puttaparthy to begin the 85th Birthday celebrations of Sri Sathya Sai Baba.I pay my regards and I wish him the very best on this occasion. His progressive views on the role of women are inspiring.” (see http://www.ssso.net/091110/191110.html)

Progressive views? Surely, about the last word one can associate with Sai Baba’s views – especially on women – is ‘progressive’? That the first female President of India finds them so speaks volumes about the lack of real female emancipation – even intellectually – in India. He regards the woman first and foremost to be a home maker, a mother and a chaste second-string to her husband. (
“Today is 19th November (1999). It is celebrated as Ladies’ Day to remind you of the importance of the mother.” (Sai Baba, Sanathana Sarathi, 12/99. p. 365)
Neither Sai Baba nor President Patil express anything supportive of the most central modern feminist ideals – equality of women with men throughout society, not least in the workplace as regards equal opportunities, rights and – not least – equal payment for equal work. The Sathya Sai Baba ‘teaching’ on women is 90% traditional Indian fare, that is – in a country where women are exploited to extreme degrees in the home and workplace, who have traditionally been excluded from nearly all male occupations, who can be seen to be treated by most men as subservient, second-rate citizens! What may seem progressive in India on this issue is regarded in most modern societies are truly backward-looking. In talking about women and the role and ideals they should adhere to, Sai Baba continually harps back to the mystical past of Rama’s rule and example of Savitri – a women whose intense prayers brought her dead husband back as a blessing from the death deity! Remarkably, Sathya Sai Baba claimed on November 19, 2010, just before his 85th birthday that that Ladies’ Day as instituted by him would be of major importance in forwarding women’s rights through future generations! Considered on the background of the world struggle for genuine female emancipation from their traditional roles and social suppression as represented by the suffragettes in Britain and now expanding throughout the world, Sai Baba’s claim reminds of his many other delusions of grandeur. His Ladies’s Day was first announced in 1995, but International Women’s Day already has its centenary this year, 2011!

If the following is progressive, I would like to know in what sense and to whom it applies (i.e. surely not fully grown Indian men?) … “You should conduct yourself according to the wishes of your mother. Do not disobey her.” (Sai Baba – Sanathana Sarathi 12/99, p. 365).

On one Ladies Day, Sai Baba said:As today is a sacred day dedicated to women, they should change themselves and help to change the men and the children. They should develop the qualities of sympathy, compassion; love and sacrifice. Study the lives of our great women, who were models of patience, fortitude, compassion and sacrifice. I desire that you should take up the reins of leadership and bring peace and prosperity to the nation by leading ideal lives.” (Sathya Sai Speaks Vol 28, Chapter 32 ‘When Women Are Honoured’)
Comment: The values listed  – patience, fortitude, compassion, and sacrifice – are noteworthy because surely they the very qualities which have made women endure without revolt the vast injustices of patriarchal and male chauvinist societies throughout history.

India's President, Pratibha Patil, worshipping Sathya Sai Baba

Lacking democracy and ‘rights’ for women

Sai Baba does not allow women in central positions in any of his institutions except those exclusive to women. Not one is represented on his Sathya Sai Central Trust or Prashanthi Council.   He avoids women on most occasions, a frequently observed and reported fact even by some keen devotees. Women in the ashrams who work (not the moneyed women visitors with jewels and costly silk saris) are employed mostly only in traditional women’s jobs in India – washerwomen, sweepers, orderlies, nurses. A few are doctors at his hospitals. Women are in general not provided with the same facilities as men at ashram events, such as chairs at conferences, nor are they allotted places on his much-envied veranda. At his walkabout ‘darsans’, Sai Baba very often simply strides past the women’s side and lavishes his attention on men and boys. All in all, Sai Baba must all be very confusing to women devotees! Not least, at Sai events in the ashrams they have to sit at the back and on the ground, while men are always to the fore. But there is one day of the year – Ladies Day – introduced in the 1990s, when women get the prominent place! Numerous students have reported that he is a strong misogynist, and this reputation has dogged him for decades.

Here are some of Sai Baba’s views about what is essential to women:-

“How To Celebrate Ladies’ Day? The Ladies’ Day should not be observed only by making speeches or holding Bhajans. They should endeavour to help the poor and the destitute. Helpless women who have no means of livelihood should be taught some occupations like tailoring to enable them to earn an income. Slum dwellers should be helped to keep their huts clean. The environment also should be cleaned to help the children grow in a pure atmosphere. Proper housekeeping should also be taught to those people. Disease is caused mainly by unhygienic surroundings. Moreover, air, water, mind, everything is polluted. Pollution is causing several new types of diseases” ( Baba, SS. 6/96, p. 160)

Bhagavan then delivered His discourse, in the course of which. He extolled the role of mother as the moulder of the family and the first teacher for children. In the evening, there was a cultural programme entitled ‘Naari Shakti’ (The power of women), which highlighted the glory of Indian womanhood as revealed in the story of Savitri, who brought back her husband from the Lord of death. ” (Editor Sanathana Sarathi 12/96. pp. 328 & 329)

“Women should realise that, irrespective of their education or position, their foremost obligation is to protect the home. For lakhs of students and children who go to school, the mother is the first teacher. From the moment of birth, for every one the mother is the preceptor. If such a teacher leaves her home to teach other children, who will teach her children? For Indian (Bharatiya) women, the first duty is to reform the home and run it along ideal lines! The home and the family is the basic social institution everywhere in the world. When the home improves, the whole world will be better.” Sai Baba at Prashanthi Nilayam on Ladies day – 19/10/1996. (Sanathana Sarathi, Dec. 1996, p. 334)

This is interesting thinking indeed, for each woman must teach only her own children, so “who will teach”. The answer to that is that there is no lack of male teachers, nor of women who are unmarried or whose children have grown up. These women could teach. The faulty assumption Sathya Sai Baba implies he has made in the above, however, is that it is due to the negligence of the home by women that the whole world has become as it is… and we know how Sai Baba sees the world through extremely jaundiced eyes as a place where unrighteousness rules and almost everything is wrong. He puts the burden of the home and the family on women, and the burden of the world on them, just as men have done throughout most of history! His belief is wholly untenable, of course, a prejudice of bygone ages.

Sathya Sai Baba has however bemoaned the fact that women are empowered to work outside the home and earn. Again, he harps back to the past he wants to revive:-

“Rama told Bharata that he should not permit women to take part in affairs of state. Women have their estimable role in household affairs, but they should be kept out of state politics. “Don`t employ women as ministers. The reason is: a nation’s honour is based upon its women. It is only when women maintain their respect and honour that the nation will be respected. It is not proper for women to cheapen themselves by roaming in public places.” and…

“How does the situation in the country today compare with Rama’s conception of an ideal government? The state of things today is 100% contrary to the ideas and ideals of Rama. How, then, can Rama Rajya be established here? If we desire to establish Rama Rajya there should be harmony in thought, word and deed… “ etc. . (Sanathana Sarathi, May 1995, p. 118).

Sai Baba seems to dither back and forth between the tradition he knows from Indian village life and the more modern approach many of his middle-class Indian ladies now hold. Women must in effect do two jobs if need be:- “A lady must look after the home first and then work outside, if necessary… she can study to get degrees, enter politics or do any other work but she should not neglect the home, which is the very foundation of her life.” (Sanathana Sarathi, Dec. 1997, p. 327-8).

No need to stick to the same opinion at all, so Sai Baba changes tack to:- “…in the modern world, it is necessary for the women to share the burden of maintaining the family with their husbands and so the women should also pursue studies as much as possible and take up suitable jobs to share the burden of the family. It will smack of selfishness if the males prevent them from going to work for which they have acquired the requisite qualifications. Women can control the whole world for themselves by virtue of their inherent qualities of love and spirit of sacrifice. (Sai Baba in a discourse, 19/4/1999 at Kodaikanal. Sanathana Sarathi, July 1998, p. 172)

So now we see that Rama – whose view on women is praised inordinately by Sai Baba – must have been seriously wrong, after all:- It will not be out of place to mention here that women who have wielded power in Bharat or other countries have proved themselves to be exceptionally able and successful. There have been many kings of Britain but no one ruled the country so well as Queen Victoria. Her rule was marked by righteousness, prosperity and efficiency. There was no discontent during her reign. In more recent times, Indira Gandhi ran the Government with courage and consummate skill. She was prepared for any sacrifice in the interests of her country.(see Sanathana Sarathi, Nov.-Dec.1995, p. 293). Yes, but nor can more than a very few women ever be seen in leadership positions in India.

In a turnaround from his “women’s place is in the home” talk, he suddenly pronounced: “Women too are doing all jobs equal to men. In fact, women do work more sincerely with dedication. Svami questioned the Director of the Indian Telephone Industries when he came to see Svami, about the percentage of women employed in the industry. He said 99% of the employees were women and added that women do better work than men. They do not stop or step out till the allotted work is completed. They have the work culture better than men. It is nowhere stated in any sacred text that women should only cook and not do work like men.” (Sai Echoes from Kodai Hills, 1998, p. 48-9). Here, Sai Baba sees it as exemplary that cheap women’s labour is exploited in the most boring and repetitive work of telephone exchanges (as they were earlier). These women must work long hours, then be home makers supreme etc. etc. This is much closer to the exploitation of women than respecting and honouring them.

Posted in gender discrimination, Prashanthi Nilayam, Sathya Sai Baba | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Sathya Sai Baba, women, men, & celibacy

Posted by robertpriddy on December 13, 2008

Continuing the reported prophecies about Sathya Sai Baba claimed (but not substantiated in any way) to come from the ancient Suka Nadi’ we note two items:-

· He will have equal attitude towards all men and women. His glory will spread and many people will get near him. But all cannot have His grace due to past sins.

No one who has been to the ashrams can fail to know that, Sai Baba’s entire outward attitude is one of discrimination of women. Yet he claims to give no more attention to men than women, for it is his inner attitude that matters. Whatever one may think of this, his observable actions certainly belie his words. He gives far more time to men, with whom he is literally always surrounded both in public and private. He always gave his male students far more attention than anyone else and gives far more attention to men and boys at darshan than women. He selects men to 95% of the positions in his various institutions and his Sathya Sai Organization. Women are relegated to the ‘back seat’ in all events with the one exception of on one day per annum ‘Ladies Day’, which he introduced in the 1990s. This he did no doubt  criticism reached his ears from many women and also male devotees from Western countries where women’s rights are taken seriously both in legislation and practice in a way which Indian women can only dream about.

The close proximity in the Suka Nadi predictions of the statement about women and about past sins – and that not all can get close to him due to their karma – can reflect the widespread prejudice in India that women are inferior to men and that they are born females because of their ‘karma‘ (which in the Hindu world-view includes both past good deeds and sins). Sathya Sai Baba’s has spoken about women, praising them as mothers and frequently rejecting ideas like their being fit to rule a country or even carry out traditional male professions. He holds in the main that they should be dutiful wives, child bearers and home makers rather than aspiring to what is a male preserve in India and other Eastern countries. He also makes various contradictory statements bout women and their roles – probably all according to the audience and other considerations. See Sai Baba’s “teaching’ on women

· He will be Brahmachari. He will establish Ashrams, educational and medical institutions.

A Brahmachari means a totally celibate person. But he stands widely accused of homosexual activities, even by some of his closest follower, such as Dr. Naresh Bhatia, who told the journalist Mick Brown of the Daily Telegraph that he had been in a sex relationship with Sathya Sai Baba for years and that many, many boys had been sexually used and abused by him, including one under-age boy he personally examined and found to have been anally raped by Sathya Sai Baba. It is known from Sai Baba’s own indiscreet discourses that boys have for many years slept in his apartment all night see here) It seems that a  quite a number of Indians interpret ‘celibacy’ as  abstaining from sex with females, while homosexual relations are unmentionable and systematically ignored, not least between older men and boys. Sathya Sai Baba has been accused of sex abuse by scores of persons… see showcase of clip and transcripts from the BBC documentary ‘The Secret Swami’ for two prominent examples here and here.
For a comprehensive overview see here.

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