Sathya Sai Baba Deceptions Exposed

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

Archive for October, 2018

Sathya Sai Baba wrapped himself in false ‘mystery’

Posted by robertpriddy on October 25, 2018

Sai Baba maintainef his ‘mystery’ by avoiding giving straightforward answers

Sai Baba was a practiced master at seeming to answer a question or tell something while expressing it so ambiguously or obliquely that it amounted to saying as good as nothing. Every now and again he suddenly broke off mid-sentence and turned his attention to something else or another person. The disappointed person soon contrived an explanation, for this omniscient God had to be telling something deep and subtle through this behaviour. There is much talk about how to understand in a positive light things that it would be glaringly evident to independent persons are avoidance or manipulations by Sai Baba. I have to admit that I was taken in for a long time by some of his clever comments and half-spoken sentences…

I too spent much time searching to explain his words and acts. It was like searching for a needle in a haystack, and the results were seldom too convincing when I did find any. I even wrote articles in his journal Sanathana Sarathi at the behest of its editor (V.K. Narasimhan), all precisely to try to clear up some of his vague or contradictory statements. I now conclude that he mostly avoided really telling anything when he might have been trapped into an easily unproven answer, meanwhile leaving the devotee at least an illusion of having the attention of God Himself and a response the meaning of which would make itself known in good time. Those he talked to (very seldom more than one or two sentences) were told by yet blinder followers that they should be pleased, even grateful, for this divine blessing! Many were overwhelmed with gratitude for this audience which it was said by all devotees to be something one had striven towards through many previous lives packed with good actions! Many people want to believe such things and the more difficult their lives are, the more they apparently do. In the ashrams one believed in ‘thinking with the heart, not the head’. No one seems to realise that the heart (i.e. the emotions and irrational impulses) can deceive as much or even more than the head. The so-called ‘heart’ can be filled with feelings of inferiority, intense unfulfilled longing for love and further, bitterness and hate. Not exactly an infallible inner guru to rely on blindly in the face of common sense and informed reason, as most gurus like Sai Baba insist it is!

There is no doubt that the subjective experiences of interviews were felt as very good by most people (though not all, for some were told off strictly too). One can read hundreds of accounts that use superlatives beyond all reason. I can now see myself as misled and so ‘naively guilty’ of a much too one-sided and gold-tinted account of interviews in my book (‘Source of the Dream’). Therefore I choose to describe my summary of Sathya Sai Baba interviewees from the cool clarity of my eventual disillusion with them.

After attending several interviews they tended to become an anticlimax to persons who  still had a mind of their own, because so little could really be learned about anything from Sathya Sai Baba. He just reeled off his usual imprecise spiritual directions and followed – with few variations – a set of routines he had practised and perfected through thousands of interviews. Sometimes it was like a routine he entered, regardless of who was present. But this is certainly not how one’s first interviews seemed! Interviewees were often so worked up after months or years of his ‘Wait! Wait!’ instruction – and who can count what sacrifices and efforts many have made – and were mega-relieved to have ‘won’ an interview (as if they were pools’ winners). In interviews, many behaved as if in a daze, there was often a sense of staring, hypnotic happiness. Especially ladies, mostly having been constantly starved for the slightest attention at darshan, often gave themselves over to an orgy of gushing words about it afterwards, like ‘blissed out’, ‘spaced out by divine love’ and ‘eternal moments of realisation’. All of this reminds of some psycho-social orgasmic release of pent-up doubts and worries in surrendering to the delightful conviction, ‘So I am really one of God’s chosen children after all’. This conviction was always insecure, however, and Sathya Sai Baba would shake it time and again with his famous hypothetical ‘tests of faith’, i.e. his indifference, his neglect and much more besides until death… of that one could invariably be convinced and confident, at least!

From about 10 hours altogether in the various interview rooms with Sai Baba and from hearing and reading at least 100 accounts of interviews from other devotees (often noted in papers they circulate or in articles and books) and after countless hours of private discussion with Sai Baba’s translator at many interviews, V.K. Narasimhan, it is fair to say that Sai Baba seldom responded openly and frankly to what the questioner really wanted to know, but turned the question back at the questioner or spun the matter around somehow. If he didn’t reply (rather than, as often, turn to another person instead) what he said was frequently elliptical and off the point. He treated all questions or comments which he did not like in what my elderly contact, Prof. Erlendur Haraldsson, characterised to me very fittingly as follows:
“I recall when Karlis Osis and I had our first encounter with Sai Baba we both felt that he, apart from his great charisma, was a great prima donna, with a tremendous ego, and also kind of a Napoleon, with a ruler’s mind and tactics. Boasting, and illusions about one’s true characteristics is a part of such a psychological makeup, and in Sai Baba this is to a psychopathological degree unless one assumes the split-personality model to explain him, which I find tempting.”

What we would not accept as a valid or relevant answer from other people, many devotees would immediately accept as profound since it came from the one they believed to be omniscient. For example, when asked by a friend of mine from Copenhagen why it was that Jehova (i.e. God, i.e. Sai Baba) had not told the Jews about reincarnation, but asserted the contrary via the Bible. Sathya Sai Baba simply did not understand the question and asked to have it explained. (A divine joke that he can’t understand? I think not!). My Jewish friend said that the question was about reincarnation and intended to specify, but – without waiting to hear the actual question again – Baba replied brusquely, and in so many words, “Oh! Reincarnation! You cannot understand it. Do not try to think about it. It is like the seed and the fruit.” I saw that this answer was just a brush off, but afterward my friend claimed that it was a perfect answer! His view was that, because the question was one that his Jewish wife considered very important, Baba was telling that they should rather concentrate on other more important things. This is not untypical of Baba’s way of answering questions.

Sai Baba frequently replied so obliquely that no intelligible sense could be made of his words, or he changed the subject unexpectedly, or brushed it aside. The person concerned often took whatever came as a significant teaching or even a spiritual directive. This is also typical of evasive deceivers hoping to maintain others’ false perceptions, or to avoid being unmasked or incriminating themselves. In short, whatever Sai Baba replied, or however he avoided replying, was taken by devotees as a profoundly meaningful matter! If what he said seemed plainly mistaken, based on a misunderstanding or factually wrong, the devotee would twist and turn the words in every possible way and relate them to all manner of events past present, dreams, imagined things and so on until some kind of sense could be derived from the words… however unsatisfactorily. This was also the case when he did not reply or was gruff, or gave the brush off. It became a subject of constant meditation or worry, self-examination and self-doubt. I  witnessed this on many occasions. What hardly ever seemed to occur to the poor person who was struggling with these challenges was that Sathya Sai Baba might be wrong, might not know what he was talking about, bluffing or may simply have been inadequately equipped to deal with the question. Only after realising that Sai Baba was not at all what he claimed to be does all this gradually become as apparent as the sun in daylight!

See also how Sai devotees are induced into the cult of systematic rationalization through re-interpreting Sathya Sai Baba’s words and vague statements


 

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Ullrich Zimmermann and Sathya Sai Baba

Posted by robertpriddy on October 12, 2018

Ullrich  Zimmermann

In October 2008, the Equalizer (Moreno) blog Kevin Shepherd Exposed reproduced the gist of earlier Moreno assertions about Ullrich Zimmermann. This ex-devotee had provided three lengthy online video interviews describing his relationship with Sathya Sai Baba (d. 2011).

Gerald Joe Moreno (Equalizer) opted to caricature my comment that Zimmermann had contributed “one of the most arresting testimonies of sexual abuse” in relation to Sathya Sai Baba. Critics say that Moreno was desperate to distract attention from the basic issue of abuse.

Zimmermann was confused on many points by his indoctrination at an early age; he was only fourteen years old when he first contacted Sathya Sai in the ashram at Puttaparthi. An activity of sexual abuse is discernible in his reminiscences of the guru, accompanied by exaggerated references reflecting some devotee beliefs. Clinically, this sort of material is very evocative, and deemed important by psychiatrists and other specialists. 

The commentator Robert Priddy entitled his report Ex-Sai Devotee Speaks Out Convincingly, and in relation to sexual abuse. Moreno countered by saying that the testimony of Zimmermann was unbelievable. The Pro-Sai campaigner invented a series of verbal diversions.

Avoiding the crux,  Moreno resorted to a puerile argument that Kevin Shepherd, a “strong Anti-New Age advocate” was citing the testimony of “a New Age follower against [Sathya] Sai Baba.” I was supposed to be “giving credence to New Age beliefs.” Moreno diverted attention from the basic issue by stating that Zimmermann was “a New Age follower of Ramtha.” This theme was further twisted into the erroneous statement that I was “willing to give credence to New Age beliefs by claiming that New Age followers are intelligent, honest, credible and reliable.”

What I actually wrote on this subject earlier that same year contradicts the Moreno tangent: 

“It is obvious that Zimmermann and other Western devotees were afflicted by concepts and syndromes deriving from the ‘miracle’ projection which Sathya Sai encouraged at their expense. Some of them could not think clearly in emerging from their predicament. Zimmermann expressed misapprehensions about such matters as ‘genital switch miracles,’ and became further distracted by Ramtha channelling…. The due evaluation (by Priddy) is completely ignored by Moreno, who indulges in the injurious subversion of context for which he is notorious amongst ex-devotees…. Diverse analysts have concluded that it is useless to compose responses to such a sectarian agent of misrepresentation. 

“Despite confusions in the reports of Zimmermann, that source does testify to sexual abuse and the common acceptance of this disparity at the Puttaparthi ashram of the guru. Zimmermann narrates a personal experience of oral sex with the guru, and says that the homosexual activities of Sathya Sai were well known to many ashram residents. Such details serve to confirm other accounts such as those of ex-devotee Conny Larsson.” 

In contrast, Moreno (alias Equalizer)  chose the superficial and duplicit strategy of emphasising his “New Age” lore. He presented this distraction in a manner which supposedly passed the final judgment, and much to my detriment. “This information is going to be very disillusioning to Kevin Shepherd’s readers and admirers (as few as they are).” 
Again the note of contemptuous dismissal. Of course, in such a Pro-Sai argument I only had a few readers, whereas Moreno was obviously claiming a much larger number, meaning devotees of Sathya Sai Baba who believed his distortions and libels. Zimmermann was only one of the many testifiers to abuse, and Moreno could not stop the passage of information. 
Another defector from Sathya Sai Baba was the American  therapist Elena A. Hartgering,  whose account includes the following

“Dr. [Michael] Goldstein and other officials in the [Sathya Sai] organisation are suppressing information, and attacking former devotees who have testified against Sai Baba. There is, for example, a letter from a woman in California which was sent to all [regional] Center presidents. In our center it was suppressed by the president and devotions coordinator because they were told to do so by the regional president…. Sai devotees resent the organisation being labelled a cult, yet these are clearly cult practices [of suppression] and mind control techniques.” 

A favoured argument of Moreno was that Sathya Sai Baba had never been convicted of any crime, and therefore allegations of abuse were irrelevant. This theme is evasive and misleading, in view of contextual data concerning the compromised Indian police, and the influence of prestigious devotees in Indian law courts. For instance, a report from the Indian rationalist Basava Premanand informs that a youth was murdered in 1987 after fleeing from being sexually abused by the guru of Puttaparthi. This victim was “murdered by burning in the [Sathya Sai Baba] College campus in daylight.” The contested police verdict was suicide. Other students at the College protested to the police, with the consequence that their parents were given a warning of  police action.
One of the many sexual abuse instances is graphically described in the statement of a fifteen year old victim (an American). Sordid details in such accounts have been known to shock sensitive readers.
Kevin R. D. Shepherd 
ENTRY no. 15 
Copyright © 2013 Kevin R. D. Shepherd. All Rights Reserved

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Conny Larsson and Sathya Sai Baba

Posted by robertpriddy on October 8, 2018

Conny Larsson
On a website, I reported an address given by ex-devotee Conny Larsson at a FECRIS conference in 2006. In this relevant talk, Larsson furnished information concerning sexual abuses achieved by his former guru Sathya Sai Baba (d. 2011). Equalizer (Gerald Joe Moreno) reacted to my report by accusing me of endorsing Larsson’s “new age” activities. I had not done anything of the sort. 
There followed a tiresome spate of Moreno web accusations about my supposed support for Larsson’s fashionable and exotic “workshop” roles. I was obliged to refute this apologist tactic in a new web article. That article described Moreno (Equalizer, SSS108) as an internet terrorist. 
The idiosyncratic reasoning of Gerald Joe Moreno preferred to assume that anyone who mentioned what an ex-devotee said was necessarily in agreement with all the thinking and behaviour of the other party. This was a very illogical exercise in attempted stigma, and patently ridiculous. Strongly visible on Google were blog idioms of Equalizer such as “Shepherd’s desperate and shameless justifications and cover-ups for psychic medium Conny Larsson.” All this amounted to an apologist recourse of superficial rhetoric. 

I have never been in contact with Larsson, and merely reported relevant details about which he knew at firsthand. Those details can be encapsulated here by his well known observation that the Puttaparthi ashram of Sathya Sai was the scene of “a paedophile ring.” Larsson himself was encouraged by the guru into a homosexual relationship (with Sathya Sai) for four years.

Larsson’s book Behind the Mask of the Clown is very revealing. He relates how Sathya Sai sexually molested him in a private interview, but wished him to keep quiet about the new relationship. Larsson eventually discovered that he was not the only one in this predicament; there were many others. The guru even paid sexually exploited students and devotees, evidently desiring their attention at this intimate and secretive level. Larsson even says that the four men who died in the notorious bedroom murders at the Puttaparthi ashram were victims of sexual abuse whom he had known personally (see excerpts).
Close analysts remarked that the “Larsson complex” of Moreno served as a distraction from the strong allegations of sexual abuse lodged against Sathya Sai Baba. In trying to divert attention from the numerous allegations of abuse, Moreno invented fantastic scenarios for critics. He described this ruse in terms of “exposing” the critics.
Kevin R. D. Shepherd 
ENTRY no. 19 
Copyright © 2014 Kevin R. D. Shepherd. All Rights Reserved.

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