At the beginning of the exposé in 1999 I was still in doubt about much of the material that had come forth about Sathya Sai Baba’s sexual abuses and worse. While getting involved in investigating the facts, I came into contact with defecting members (eventually over 100 at least). Not unexpectedly, though all found the sexual abuses abhorrent, most were of different opinions on many other aspects of the exposé. I was eventually urged by the most articulate group of activists (later composing the core of the 32-member JuST group) to coordinate the development of the Sai petition (and hence the core policy of the exposé). This involved up to 1000 e-mails in trying to get solidarity around its key aims, during which time those with cantankerous views, extreme agendas, and evidently unstable minds (of which the Sai movement had a high percentage) either left the process or were ignored. Meanwhile, the remaining core eventually hammered out a common overall policy.
The main targets for our information and agitation persons in public office, especially institutions like Governmental departments, United Nations’ branches, the UK Foreign Office and secret services, the US State Department, India’s CBI, law enforcement agencies, top human rights organisations and their key persons, other cult exposers, serous journalists and media, plus present and future researchers into religion, sects and cults. This has remained our focus, in accordance with our mutual agreements and trust. We aimed to try to protect and advise vulnerable persons seeking meaning who otherwise could only read the massive and unopposed propaganda praising Sai Baba uncritically exaggerating his own massive claims of his world-wide importance as a pure and divine saviour of humanity. Reducing the influence of the Sathya Sai Organisation and serving notice on devotees’ self-serving praise etc. on their deeply indoctrinated minds was also of importance, but was supplementary to the main aims. Indian devotees were – and still are – so entrapped in denial and their particular environments that it virtually takes a personal disaster for them to change completely (such as by being sexually abused, or close to badly abused and not least murdered devotees). However, the tremendous demise of the Sathya Sai Organisation was largely due to the exposé and its interventions… capped off by the ignominious ‘premature’ death and all that came out then.
The main work rested on the shoulders, so to speak, of the brave young men and their families etc. who stood forth and told of their experiences of sex abuse, but also of those who worked hard in exposing the infamous 1993 murders in Sai Baba’s apartment. Meanwhile several bold apostates (especially David Bailey, Glen Meloy, Barry Pittard, Conny Larsson and other JuST members) were very active in campaigning to try to motivate officialdom: governments, UN bodies, human rights NGOs and embassies etc., for all of his various ‘victims’ their efforts being directed towards bringing SB and his cronies to justice, stopping sexual abuse, and organising various lines of inquiry and action. Of course, we eventually learned that it was an impossibility to get him into court in India due to his control over much of the judiciary and government (a long line of Sai-devoted Indian Prime Ministers and Presidents too).
I had begun dealing with the revelations with the attitude that I would strike some balance between the good things about Sai Baba and the dark side. Only gradually did events – and a flood of information from intelligent, selfless and trustworthy former devotees who had found no forum for their discoveries while devotees, did I realise that – for all I had believed and given myself to promoting wholeheartedly – the dark side of him and his secretive conspiracy was far, far more extensive that I could have imagined. While still deceived by it all, I had written a book promoting him, so I had to make amends by presenting the other side of the coin fully in order to correct wrong impressions so as to protect the weak and vulnerable against him and the highly overrated and misunderstood motives behind his works.
On balance, the outcome of Sai Baba’s life was deception in the interests of self-glorification, financial, social and political power, sexual satisfaction and many deeply serious breaks of trust. Ultimately, through a long lifetime of experiences and disillusionments with many promising theories, movements and doctrines, I am convinced that all religious and most spiritual doctrines are largely unfounded and speculative, and can lead to very dangerous social conditions and only provide temporary comfort from the fears, problems and sufferings of mankind. No ‘balanced’ approach to religion or organised faiths can do other than help sustain their basic self-deceptive hopes and longings.
It is informative to see that the power and money-grabbers who control Prashanthi Nilayam today present the Sai Organisation on their website as being just as it was at the height of its membership… now a complete and total untruth as it has lost the vast majority of it’s former supporters world-wide.