Dr John Hislop, who was for long head of Sathya Sai Baba’s organization in USA and (strangely) ‘the Americas’, wrote most revealing and embarrassing letters in 1980-81. These came into the hands of Timothy Conway Ph.D., from his immediate predecessor the former president of the San Francisco Sathya Sai Centre. This is the third in the series of letters by Hislop dealing with the allegations by Mrs. Payne (see her letter here). The first Hislop reaction is here and the second here.
TRANSCRIPT OF HISLOP’S LETTER TO MRS. PAYNE & TERRY – WITH COMMENTS BESIDE IT IN PURPLE
The letter to Mrs. Payne was in reply to a first letter of 9/11/2000, the text of which was first posted here.
Letter 3 Feb 21 1981 from Hislop to Terry Scott and Mrs. Payne:-
|2-21-81 (see scan of original xerox circular from Hislop)
Dear Terry and Mrs. Payne :
I have just now received a letter from Richard telling me about his conversation with you and that you feel I should have phoned yourselves first about the receipt of Sri Baba’s letter, that I am destroying the reputation of the family as good truthful people, and that a response is expected from me.
How can I be on the telephone or discuss in person with yourself, Mrs. Payne and Terry Jr.? The boy has committed himself to his story, and throughout history mothers are lionesses who defend their sons to the bitter end. I could only repeat directly by voice that I do not believe the story, and that could serve only to further infuriate and antagonize the family. I could satisfy the mother and son only by agreeing to believe that what Terry Jr. says is factual, but I can never believe any story from anywhere which accuses `Sri Baba of vicious, low-class criminal acts.
From my first reply to your initial letter I have clearly stated that I do not believe the stories told by Jerry Jr. and, furthermore, that I do not condemn him because I do not clearly understand what would lead a teen-age boy to make accusations which I hold cannot be factual. I have told the same to the Directors and you have a copy of that letter. I do not accuse the boy of “lying”. I am not a psychologist, but I have observed over the years that the subconscious can readily invent and project unreality in an attempt to escape intolerable stress. And, with Terry Jr. expelled in disgrace from the Hostel, he is under intolerable pressure to his sense of self-esteem and to his family security. Dr. Sandweiss would be able to describe escape mechanisms and suggest how the family could help.
In respect to the Directors, how can I stand silent and let the accusations have their way unopposed? The Directors all received from Mrs. Payne her letter detailing the accusations — is it not my duty as President of the Sai organization to inform the Directors of the position I take and the reasons for it. We all can only do what we believe to be correct, refrain from doing what we believe to be wrong and leave the rest in the hands of Providence.
You have heard that Swami replied to my letters. The significant part of His reply is this: “Sai is millions of miles away from the devilish passion attributed to Him … As fire consumes all materials … these false stories and false allegations are reduced to ashes by my Divinity … Rest assured that Sai’s fame can never de diminished by those false stories … good and pious people will never care for them.”
Richard speaks of your thought that you may “go public” with the accusations in order to vindicate your son. In what possible way can this help your family? Might it not, on the contrary, create a reputation for the boy which might follow him as a serious future handicap? Do consider seriously before putting your family into the newspapers. Seek the advice of mature friends before starting such a journey-of-no-return.
May this unhappy situation halt at once before it brings further sorrow into the life of the Payne family.
With kindest regards to yourself, wife and son.
|COMMENT: The letter Hislop refers to as coming from Richard was most likely Richard Bayer. Mrs Payne was quite right in feeling that Hislop should have contacted her after receiving Sai Baba’s letter. He did not even respond to her with care and concern, when a phone call would have been the honest alternative. Hislop had heard similar allegations before from Conny Larsson, not least, and knew of Tal Brooke’s reports of Sai Baba sex advances. Yet he was evidently too perturbed by yet more such to have the courage to face her personally. Instead he took an underhand route of contacting Sai Baba and directors of the Sathya Sai Organization to disavow in strong terms the possibility that her claims were genuine. Hislop’s (no doubt obsequiously framed) question to the accused (Sai Baba) had a predetermined outcome – for an accused pedophile would never readily admit to the truth of accusations, especially not one who has all his life promoted himself as about the purest being ever to walk the planet!
As leader of the Sathya Sai Organization in the USA, Hislop failed dismally to exercise any duty of care. His dishonest procedure patently aimed to manipulate the situation before replying to her by raising major doubts among those who were formerly her fellow devotees (‘Brothers and Sisters of the Sai family’ as they are fatuously called in Sai parlance) as to her truthfulness and even the psychological state of her son, using words like ‘cunning’ and ‘violence’, ‘deadly weapons’ in reference to the contents of the letter received.
Hiding behind the fact that Mrs Payne had seen it necessary at length also to send her letter to directors of the organization, Hislop argues that his duty as President of the SSO was not to allow the allegations to stand unopposed. So much for duty of care.. he believed we could only do what we believe to be correct… but why could he not have done the more correct thing, to investigate the allegations seriously, including with others who he knew to have reported such abuses? No, he preferred to ‘leave the rest in the hands of Providence’ (which he also fully believed to be nothing other than the hands of Sathya Sai Baba!)
What did the providential Sai Baba reply to Hislop? He made a most exaggerated statement involving “millions of miles” of distance between his holy self and boasted about his fame never being diminished by such stories [That I can confidently say is proven entirely wrong today! Fire has not consumed the allegations, which are many and mostly entirely credible, especially to those of us who know some of the claimants personally and have contacted numerous others and questioned them closely]. Sathya Sai Baba calls homosexual molestation “devilish passion”, which says far more about him, his beliefs and strong sentiments than about his accusers!
After what he has done to destroy their reputation, one cannot but suspect the guru-deluded and moralistic Hislop of crocodile tears on behalf of the Payne family… What he South to have written was more like “May this unhappy situation halt at once before it brings further sorrow into the life of myself and Sai Baba followers everywhere”