Some may find it helpful to know how a follower of Sai Baba for so many years can be liberated from the delusions, the labyrinth of explanations, deceptions and powerful social and other cloying cultish influences. Even my current standpoint as regards Sathya Sai Baba has changed very considerably – though mostly gradually – on many issues since I first became disaffected. What I learned forced me to discard the belief in his truthfulness and nearly every claim he made, despite my attempts through the years to explain away the mounting mass of evidence to the contrary (also in his own journal). Due to his indoctrinating ‘teaching’, and my entire project to forward what I trusted to be his genuine goodness having lasted for decades, there is a very strong impetus for anyone to deny all that does not fit the picture one held.
Having studied every single writing of Sathya Sai Baba until at least 2000 – concentrating on the positive aspects and disregarding what failed to make sense or seemed misguided (explaining this away in many different ways from bad translation to his inscrutability and ‘testing’ of faith etc.) I grew more and more uncomfortable. I had trustingly accepted that his materialization were genuine, they seemed so and thousands insisted they were. But I was as naive as all the others then in that I had little knowledge of the techniques of stage deception and powerful suggestions (‘instant hypnosis’). In the years following my final disaffection, I began to look critically at all I had experienced and read of him and all the testimony and behavioural traits of other follower I knew very well. This was an entirely taboo approach for anyone who was still a service worker, a leader in the Sathya Sai Organization and so on, but not so after resigning.
Though I had been extremely uncomfortable with an increasing number of Sai Baba’s bogus statements on scientific, historical and scientific, I had not let that influence my overall positive agenda as to some of the main ideals Sai Baba supports which I always did accept. After 2000 and my forced rejection of Sai Baba’s basic claims of truthfulness, a very instructive process of new understanding began and continues to this day, i.e. the deconstruction of the deceptions backed by the huge myth of Sai Baba and most of the ‘spirituality’ he proclaims. Despite his having forwarded some good works in India (also, it is fair to note, with financial and other contributions from myself), I am no longer inclined to believe much of what he says at all, nor do I believe in his so-called materializations – I reserve judgement on the issue, for I now know there are alternative explanations for everything I had experienced, but had interpreted (mistakenly) according to the inculcated Sai Baba ‘teaching’, which relies on long tried and tested Indian forms of religious self-indoctrination (as do most religions, once one has for some reason taken the first steps of believing).
I have written much to enable those who want to understand more about how a follower of Sai Baba for so many years can break free and de-programme oneself from the labyrinth of explanations, deceptions and powerful social and other cultish influences. One series on Sathya Sai Baba cult worship disempowerment should explain the main lines in self-recovery. A former professional in philosophy and social science, it was natural for me to explore every avenue of explanation and change standpoint as the evidence emerges, rather than stick in one position and theory. This is not comprehensible to those whose minds have stultified or are trapped in indoctrinated and self-bolstered faith, and none more so than most persons who are still under the influence of Sathya Sai Baba or other deceptive and unwholesome Indian gurus.
Robert Priddy (see a my fuller credo here).