Sathya Sai ‘University’ cardinal failings
Posted by robertpriddy on July 19, 2012
One of the most credible, clear, incisive and hard-hitting accounts of the experiences of a student at the Sathya Sai University was posted on a blog last year. The whole account of his experience of being a virtual prisoner within the Sathya Sai educational institution at Puttaparthi is striking. Moreover, it bears out to the full and more all the criticism of the quality of the teaching methods and doctrine that I and others have raised, not to mention the oppressive rules and counter-productive social restrictions. The level of insight into youth was appallingly old-fashioned moralism without understanding and the hierarchical and anachronistic institution allowed no change, no development and above all no intellectual curiosity or autonomous study and research by students. No access to the Internet or modern media (this in the 21st century!) and no free speech but only blind respect of elder person, however unfair, deluded, morally incompetent and corrupted they were. In short, a backward, obscurantist and under-achieving organization where the ignorance of the breadth and depth of science, world history and other religion ‘taught’ by Sathya Sai Baba permeated the daily ‘spiritual’ fare took precedence over all modern thought. Here is one short from the penetrating article Life at Sathya Sai University – by Kartik Vaddadi:-
SOME MORE BRIEF QUOTES FROM VADDADI’S BLOG
“I doubt many people will want to study at his university. In fact, I don’t think it made sense to study there even when he was alive.”
“The problem with the university, which is residential-only, is that it’s a bad place to learn stuff, and more generally a bad place to live or grow. The first thing anyone needs to learn is opportunity, which is highly restricted here. I studied computer science, and we were allowed practically no access to the Internet, and having a laptop of your own was frowned upon. Why?”
“…you are given no room to figure out what principles and practices you want to live your life by… it’s intellectually and emotionally crippling…. the place is an intellectual prison”. “Students are allowed to leave campus only once in six months, and sometimes not for a year. This place is not just a metaphorical prison, but also a literal one.”
“Watching movies, or listening to music, is considered immoral. This is like the Taliban’s Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. They have approved kinds of music, approved plays (spiritual, most of the time)” It is o.k only “if you have no tastes or preferences of your own”
“And you can’t question anything. The place expects mindless compliance rather than a healthu give-and-take. You are not allowed to question “elders”… Baba’s philosophy is like something out of Monty Python. Everyone knows that when a group, in any society, gets unconditional respect, they tend to become undeserving of that respect”.
The university’s staff have “knee-jerk reactions to suppress anything and everything that might look bad, no matter the human cost to the victims.” “it’s ironic that the authorities are more immature than the students they are nominally looking over”
Most unfortunately, this institution is the flagship of the Sathya Sai educational aspirations. It is regarded by Sai followers as a touchstone for the methods of teaching and especially discipline by all Sai education projects. The name Sathya Sai and the official ‘Sarva Dharma’ symbol (representing five or six religions) are the copyright of the International Sathya Sai Organization, so the International Chairman virtually controls which school or institution may use these insignia. Thus, Dr. Michael Goldstein is the virtual overall controller of the Sai education brand and can allow or deny the use of the Sathya Sai Baba name and icon. There have been a number of scandals involving sexual abuse and also bullying and punishment – the latest being noted at the Sathya Sai School, Leicester here (the female director, Dr Madhavi Majmudar, is working to cover-up the facts which have already been vetted by the Leicester school authorities.