All-Round Defence on the Russian Forum ‘Sathya Sai Ru’ The following appeal was posted on 17th 2006 on the forum Sathya Sai Ru, the biggest forum of the Russian followers of Sathya Sai Baba.http://forum.sathyasai.ru/index.php?showtopic=3000
APPEAL of Forum Sathya Sai Ru Administration to all the participantsUnprepossessing Facts: As a result of growth of Bhagavan’s fame in India and around the world some people started their activities in order to undermine Swami’s reputation.
Causes of the Propaganda: They are motivated by unfulfilled hopes and resentments towards Bhagavan.
Results of the Propaganda: They spread rumours and unchecked facts about Sathya Sai Baba’s life and create chaos in innocent minds not spoiled with calumnies.
We want: The Forum Administration wants to support the common sense and spirit of the participants and to protect their peace of mind.
We ask: 1. To ignore false rumours and unchecked facts, delete letters from strangers who suggest that you should read some “interesting” and “secret” stories about Bhagavan.
2. To refuse deliberately to disseminate rumours, not to send your friends “interesting” links and letters so that not to help to weave a web of lies and calumny.
3. To inform the administration of the forum about any letters and messages attacking Sathya Sai Baba’s name.We believe: We believe in purity of intentions. Sooner or later the foam of lies will dissolve in the ocean of truth.
I, Serguei Badaev, was a follower of Sathya Sai Baba from 1995 till 2000 and was a chairman of the Moscow Sathya Sai centre and co-ordinator for Sathya Sai Education programme. Now being among the critics of Sathya Sai Baba I would like to share my view of the whole situation that is quite different from that of the Sathya Sai Ru administration. My comments follow the structure of the appeal.
A lot of unprepossessing facts of the Sathya Sai Baba’s life have been discovered during the last 5-6 years. Today there are a lot of his ex-followers who quite unexpectedly discovered a dark side of this Indian guru. The first material which collected a number of witnesses was posted on the Internet in 2000 by David and Faye Bailey. They were very close to Sathya Sai Baba and were shocked when they saw and knew a lot of things that always are covered from the rank and file. That posting was called “The Findings”. Apparently, that material was on some points too emotional and not quite substantial but it made a great impact on followers to start to investigate the whole situation. As a result, hundreds of pages of witnesses and analytical materials have appeared on two main critical web sites (http://www.saiguru.net/ and http://www.exbaba.com/ ) and more that 1200 signatures support the international petition (www.saipetition.net). A lot of followers have left Sathya Sai Baba and his international organisation. It is hardly correct to claim growth of Sathya Sai Baba’s fame in India and in the world. In India Sathya Sai Baba is a very controversial figure (one of the so called “jet gurus”), and many Indians do not hide their negative attitude or suspicion towards him.
Causes of the Propaganda The authors of the appeal just repeat someone’s words that those who criticise Sathya Sai Baba are motivated by unfulfilled hopes and resentments. How could they know that? Do not they disseminate rumours by saying so? They should be reminded that many of Sathya Sai Baba critics were very close to him or were very active in his organisation for 10-15 years – and several founder members of Sai organization centers with 20 or 30 years involvement – before they knew about his dark side. Perhaps it is more accurate to say that they sacrificed their closeness to Sai Baba and his positions in the organisation for the sake of truth and justice.
Results of the Propaganda It is worth noting that the dissemination of unchecked facts and rumours about so called miracles of Sathya Sai baba is not called propaganda by his devotees but they call it stories about Avatar’s leelas (divine sports). The critics of Sai Baba do have to analyse rumours and unchecked facts in some cases, because Sathya Sai Baba and his coterie cover up and distort many facts and doing so they consciously or unconsciously promote rumours.
They want On the one hand, the administration wants to support common sense and spirit and, on the other hand, to keep the peace of mind of the forum participants. I think they can hardly support common sense by blocking discussions on the forum. Perhaps the peace of mind of the proverb “ignorance is bliss” is right.
They ask The recommendations of the forum administration can be called “all-round defense”. I would reformulate them as follows: to support and disseminate only those rumours and unchecked facts that glorify Sathya Sai Baba as an Avatar and to inform the authorities about everybody who, as it seems to devotees, vilify Sai Baba’s name.
They believe I guess that many critics of Sai Baba believe that the truth is more powerful than a lie and that justice will prevail after all. So we agree that far. Although the forum proclaims itself as a community of truth seekers, it puts strong limitations on its participants. They must accept the divinity of Sathya Sai. They are not allowed to make any statements which can be qualified as disrespect or criticism to Sathya Sai or his teachings or his organisation. They should evade any discussion on any point but display only love and understanding. It seems to be more proper to call this forum a community of promotion exclusively to devotion to Sai Baba, because if the truth happens to trespass the limitations, it will be sacrificed for the sake of devotion. It really looks quite sectarian.
Below you can see my correspondence with one of two administrators of the forum, Kirill Borodin. He is an office-bearer of the Sathya Sai Organisation in Russia and is a co-ordinator of the Youth Wing. This correspondence is a good illustration of SSB followers and the Sai Organisation’s inability to open and sincere dialogue.
Dear administrators and moderators of Sathya Sai Ru forum! I am writing to you with regard to the situation around Sathya Sai Baba. As you may know some people believe he is a spiritual master and avatar, at the same time some other people believe that he is a cheat and charlatan. Those people who try to figure out the matter and read the materials posted on the Internet feel confused as they see two completely different versions that cannot be both true. One of these two versions is inevitably wrong. Of course, each party hopes that they are right, but we are all humans and we are prone to make mistakes and to be biased. Perhaps it is a good idea to arrange an open and sincere dialogue between these two parties with the main goal – to clarify all the points as much and to approach the truth as close as possible. If you think that Sathya Sai Ru forum is not a proper place for this we can do it by exchanging e-mails or arranging a special meeting in Moscow. For the beginning of the dialogue I suggest you write a letter of review with the analysis of the posted critical materials about Sathya Sai Baba. Your critical review, which clarifies your position can be posted on www.saiguru.net/russian if you find it suitable. It seems to me that, if this discussion really takes place, both parties will win as I believe this will allow us to come nearer to the truth which we all look for and value so much. If during the discussion some mistakes or discrepancy in the materials posted on http://www.saiguru.net/russian are revealed, I, as the editor, will do all my best to correct those materials or to remove them from the web site.
3rd September 2006
I do not know if my letter has reached the second administrator of the forum, Serguei Moisseev, and four moderators. Anyway, I have got a reply only from Kirill Borodin.
Dear Serguei Badaev,
I want to tell you at once that there will be no dialogue between us. To support such a dialogue is like taking part in a conversation with a man who tries to persuade you that you have had no mother. No mother at all. You may have some doubt for a moment but sooner or later you will understand that this way of thinking is inappropriate. Sathya Sai Baba repeatedly answers all your questions in his discourses. Please read the topics where relevant quotations are given.About criticism:http://forum.sathyasai.ru/index.php?showtopic=2790
About anti-sites: http://forum.sathyasai.ru/index.php?showtopic=3000Do not try to assure us in your kind intentions of “looking for the truth”. Your aim is clear and distinct – criticism. So be sure for the future and do not waste your time – you will always find a firm opposition from me. Other devotees and I have no such a task “to correct the misguided” whereas you, as I can see, have one. Sai Ram. With love, Kirill Borodin
PS. Serguei, sooner or later you will have to stop – you’d better do it now. To throw mud on other people is a thankless task and I am sure you are tired of it. “Those who meditate on other people’s vices will acquire them”. Do stop. You do not have to answer. You won’t get any more answers from me or from the administration of Sathya Sai Ru.