Sathya Sai Baba Deceptions Exposed

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

Sathya Sai Baba’s subversive rule

Posted by robertpriddy on November 13, 2012

The organizational culture of control and censorship learned at the ashrams is found throughout the Sai movement and was copied in nearly all Sai Organization groups and centres, all the more strictly so at national or international meetings and committees. One would literally never voice criticism of anything that could be considered as ‘bad’ or remotely negative if it was connected with Sai Baba, his works or organizations. This is still fully backed up by all the remaining ageing leaders in the Sathya Sai Organisation, who comply with all cover-ups and unquestioningly accept everything handed to them – whether lies or not – as being “the will of the Lord” etc. Yet a considerable number of the best founder members and active leaders resigned or were ‘thrown out’ – i.e. banned for reasons frequently unmentioned, but where an individual voice has been raised on some sensitive issue. See examples here and here).

Virtually every setback and difficulty for the supposed ‘all-knowing’ avatar was and still is denied or explained away. When not entirely unavoidable, diverse efforts were made to hush them up. Serious incidents caused the ashrams to be emptied of all foreign visitors and even residents, often on a few hours notice! Thus, the considerable number of disappearances, suicides, and murders of both foreign and ethnic Indian devotees were buried where possible or played down, as were also all lesser ills like the frequent epidemics of debilitating throat/chest ailments, dysentery and stomach infections most widespread at big festivals. Further, nearly all details of donations and finances were kept secret, as well as how and why accommodation was issued and any number of other internal matters. Cover-ups were, in my fairly broad experience of affairs there, endemic to Sai Baba ashrams and the fear of leaking secret information was like a constant cloud under which all residents and leaders existed, however good they may have been at rationalizing each episode.

These ‘total institutions’, as they are known in sociology, have their own rules and norms, existing mostly in isolation and with a high degree of independence from wider society. Group pressure to follow the rules – written and unwritten – is constantly present. This pressure can unify too, having some useful functions and positive aspects. For example, the variety of unwritten rules about how to behave, where to walk and sit, when not to move etc., in the huge crowd that gathered frequently for darshan at Sai Baba ashrams are soon picked up within the group and were enforced by those who had the duty of disciplining the crowd when necessary. Without such rules, the management of the vast crowds from every kind of background and all nations or cultures that gathered there would doubtless lead to crushes and deaths by trampling, as occurs all too often in India at religious festivals.

Group pressures also invariably work to unify against suspicions or criticism coming from outside. When this comes from within, however, the organisation often turns to censorship and then censure of those who speak frankly. This is the great problem of total institutions, not least of most religious organisations and especially ashrams, to which Sai Baba’s are certainly not exceptions. Many brush all hints of misrule and corruption under the carpet, believing that they become better devotees and increase their chances of receiving grace in one or another form. Sheepishly following is a trait encouraged and sometimes outwardly rewarded – at least in small ways – especially by those selected leaders who revelled in power over others and prestige within the organization.

Some examples: a villager’s death caused by Sai Baba’s driver; that man’s self-immolation as a result; a male US visitor killed at Brindavan found with his testicles cut off, the murder within the ashram of Sai Baba’s long-term violent bully and gatekeeper Kumar, a van accident on the way to Bangalore in which two students died, the death of a woman devotee under the ‘wish-fulfilling’ tree (!), the rape and murder of another foreign lady in Puttaparthi, the knifing to death by two thieves of a Swiss lady in her new ashram apartment, the Spiritual Museum dome’s collapse causing the death of three Americans… plus a number of other deaths in veiled circumstances through the years. There were many more such incidents. The first-mentioned death is worth recounting as it was told to me when I questioned V.K. Narasimhan, the close servitor of SB and a great friend of mine. In the late 1980s, Sai Baba’s personal driver for over 20 years took his own life by immolating himself, dowsing himself in petrol and setting himself on fire under the Shiva statue in the Hillview Stadium. He had failed to follow a warning, repeated three times by Sai Baba, to drive more slowly. While testing one of Sai Baba’s fleet of cars, he happened to knock down and kill a villager in a place near Puttaparthi. This was hushed up by secret monetary compensation by the ashram officials or, in a more accurate term, ‘bribes’. The poor man was driven to this by words uttered by Sai Baba himself. According to Narasimhan, the words of Sai Baba had been that, if one did not follow his directions to the letter after repeated warnings, one might as well set fire to oneself! However, the ashram officials must bear some of the real blame too, for they reacted to his ‘crime’ while Sai Baba was away in Brindavan by rigorously banning him from the ashram, knowing that he had no property or money, for he had been a selfless server of Sai Baba for decades, and so he chose to end it all. This is how the aphorisms so dear to Sai Baba, “Help ever, hurt never” and “Why fear when I am here” actually play out when his interests were seen to be threatened in any way, even by a road accident!

The following comment came in today, which bears out the above perceptions and shows what many grass root members of the Sathya Sai Organization had to put up with in the way of high-handed and even despotic methods:-


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