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 the ‘self-development’ Category

Understanding religion – the origins and persistence of such diverse beliefs

Posted by robertpriddy on February 6, 2016

The Origins and Persistence of Religious Belief and Faith in God Wonder and awe at existence, at the world early humankind lived in and not least at ‘the heavens’ are common to us all and there is evidence that neolithic humans also had the capacity and the time for this. The human condition of not knowing the whys, hows and wherefores of being pertains even today, though is doubtless not so overwhelming as it once was. This awe cannot have been insulated from fear, which is so closely related to ignorance.

Otherworldliness and futile escapism It is almost unavoidable that a person  – even if not brought up to some religious faith and even well-educated in the relevant sciences – will sooner or later become interested in age-long traditions of many kinds that try to prepare those who aspire to greater understanding and realization of their own potentialities…

Can religion and ideologies lead to cognitive disorder? Religious faith depends upon a system of beliefs, not proven facts and certainly not scientifically verifiable facts. It depends on much more than belief as such. The influences of parents and the mental and emotional imprinting to which their children are subjected forms a basis – naive childhood acceptance of beliefs.

The agnosticism vs. atheism issue and and secularism Some key distinctions for the science-religion debates: If ‘atheism’ means “100% certainty or conviction that there is no god or cosmic intelligence which created or sustains the universe” then there must be few who can – on proper reflection – subscribe to its literal sense. To do so it to become a rigid know-all…

Religion as ’emulation of the adult by the child’ Religion is the encystment of past beliefs: mythology, which is guesswork, the assumptions of trust in the universe, those pronouncements which men have made in search of personal power, all of it mingled with shreds of enlightenment. And always the ultimate unspoken commandment is “Thou shalt not question!” But we question.

The brain as a belief machine Much has been discovered in recent times about how beliefs are formed, what conditions the process – especially through neurological studies.  I recommend the following work as an important contribution to the subject The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies—How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths. By Michael Shermer.

The ‘Labyrinth fallacy’ in extensive belief systems  There are systems of thought and belief which are seldom easily recognised as being a convoluted circular ‘labyrinth’ of ideas. The logical fallacy involved is circularity or self-contradiction, but this is not easily detected because of the complexity and extended nature of the particular idea-system or ‘labyrinthine’ doctrine. Wherever there is a vast collection of thoughts, ideas, beliefs and practices which are based on speculative reasoning and unlikely assumptions, one can become lost to oneself.

Ten Reasons why unbelievers dislike religion Among the restrictions common to most mainstream religions are certain human values which are not recognised, causing the rejection of religion by those who lean towards modern humanitarianism, fairness and equality, avoidance of ideological conflict and and scientifically sound decisions.

The crucial ‘test of faith’ in religions, sects and cults Tests of faith are a part of all traditional religious views and doctrines and are invariably supportive of a priesthood, guru, church or religion. They are a very subtle means of manipulating the minds of guru-followers developed over many centuries, often embroiling people in mental networks of uncertainties and striving, which most likely bear no other fruits than keeping the ‘spiritual master’ in his fortunate, revered and comfortable position.

Posted in Cults, Faith, Religion, Sathya Sai Baba, self-development, World religions | Leave a Comment »

Selfhood and self-confidence in Sai Baba’s teaching

Posted by robertpriddy on April 7, 2010

Self confidence versus denial of selfhood: Due to the use of a very ambiguous word – ‘ego’ – which is held in most Eastern-influenced ‘spiritual ways’  to be the cause of virtually all the ills of humankind, people subject themselves to doctrines which can only undermine true self-confidence. The human ego can refer to the what results from the development of an independent, secure and self-sufficient personality or contrariwise to the unmitigated selfishness of people who put their desires and interests before almost all else. True self-confidence belongs to the well-rounded and balanced personality or ego-identity and not at all to the selfish egomaniac. Preaching about the need to ‘kill the ego’ or ‘surrender of the self’ is well-known from many religious movements – due to the misunderstanding about what ‘ego’ means. If the word refers only to the possessive and self-seeking “me and mine” aspect of a person, to try to help people limit and contain this is acceptable. However, this goal is all too often connected to the subjugation of people under authoritarian gurus, church or other spiritual organizations and cults. One aim in preaching ‘surrender of the ego’ is the humbling of people – such as before a supposed perfect God, or – what is yet worse – ‘holy’ representatives of this or that deity in the form of gurus, swamis and priesthoods of all kinds. This submission to authority figures as superior figures is also a form of dependency – a ‘spiritual crutch’ – and involves the gradual loss of self-determination and a creeping inward self-depreciation or inferiority which are very difficult for its victims to recognise. It usually comes along with living mostly within a belief community or limited circle of more or less like-minded people, trying to follow strictly moralistic ideals and overly self-denying precepts.

“A particular form of seduction that the group participates in with those flirting with joining is similar to sexual conquest. The group pours an enormous amount of focused energy and attention into potential recruits until they surrender to the group’s authority, which of course has the guru and his belief system at its center. When someone does surrender, everyone celebrates the new bonding. This is a bit like a new marriage, and for the recruit, it is the honeymoon phase. This lasts as long as it does, and then the focus of the group shifts elsewhere. (This also happens in romantic love, for after the conquest the wooer’s interest and focus often move somewhere else.) When the honeymoon is over, the new converts must shift roles – from being the wooed to being the wooer.” (from ‘The Guru Papers’ by Joel Kramer and Diane Alstead  p.79)

Those who experience a conversion to a divinity, sect, doctrine, guru and so on often seem to get a surge of self-confidence, one which may last for years until the lifestyle and beliefs become habitual and worn. This is often seen in keen missionaries and promulgators of their faith. The apparent self-confidence is however based not least on the strength of belief in a kind of superiority derived from having joined the community of the saved, the holy, or perhaps the prospective saints. This is hardly the result of a secure and balanced personality, it is rather pseudo-self-confidence which is frequently recognisable in signs that it is an adopted role rather than an expression of genuine insight and knowledge. Such people usually come across as too over-emphatically convinced, too masterful, patronizing or otherwise semi-fanatical in their opinions and approaches to other people.

The monastic type of detachment from worldly things may be less troublesome to more elderly persons who have already lived themselves out in an engaged and active life in the world with broad experience, for they are often less affected by the desires and life-seeking tendencies that are only natural and indeed necessary to real health and personal security in younger persons. But for anyone whose life’s meridian is not well passed and who is not psychologically very robust, the Sathya Sai Baba doctrine will in most cases hinder personal growth (IF it is possible for one to adhere to it to any large extent). A main reason for this lies in the feeling of impotence instilled by Sathya Sai Baba’s constant talking-down of people as imperfect (sometimes he calls people worse than dogs, or cawing crows etc.)… and his corresponding admonitions to focus all ones thoughts and desires on him alone. He teaches that everything stems from him, the creator of the universe from whom only good things come! Yet he also says, conflicting as usual, “everything that happens comes from God”, think about that!. His insistence on the super-importance of concentration on repeating his name, inwardly worshipping his form (and his person in actual practice at endless darshan sessions etc.) works effectively as an opiate that dulls personal reflection and living self-awareness, which is the true basis of genuine self-confidence and personality growth.

Modern psychology has developed and tested against experience many conceptual devices for tracing the multiplicity of personality traits, the growth of the ego and the influences operative on emotional and mental conditions of all kinds.  Sai Baba hardly ever refers to any of these discoveries and is very evidently not conversant with their theories or terminologies.  Though claiming to be in complete touch with the psyche of anyone, knowing it in and out,  his discourses repeatedly demonstrate that he suffers from many of the most common fallacies about nature of the human mind and psyche,  and this shines through even his words have been heavily edited and sanitized as far as reasonable by editors who are rather more knowledgeable.

In brief,  one may say that his teachings on psychic development and spiritual behaviour rely wholly on Indian religious tradition and are primitively fundamentalist, set in black-and-white terms with an iconography and ideology of  ‘gods versus demons’, a world view applied ad lib to the present almost without nuance or proper factual basis.  He almost always speaks in the most sweeping terms and is prone to almost hair-raising over-generalisation about the nature of people, governments, world conditions and on any number of issues.  The degree of exaggeration and factual inaccuracy is quite extraordinary for a supposedly intelligent teacher!

Sathya Sai Baba’s recipe for  anti-living: I have shown something of how Sathya Sai Baba’s directions for living are so demandingly puritanical and unrealistically idealistic that most of his followers seem to end up living a virtual non-life.  There is much more in his recipe to break down not only the objectionable egoism of morally primitive persons, but the entire personality structure of a democratic and effective civil citizen. One can meet many such cases (especially foreigners) who reside at the ashrams but are doing no work, no ‘active service’. Often they are virtually just existing in limbo, coping only with the constant daily problems of subsistence there, and waiting for grace and blessings to fall into their laps. Some have said this to me quite openly!

If you manage to get rid of most or all of your personal desires,  as Sai Baba insists everyone should immediately or – failing that – as soon as possible, then existence loses much of its meaning (let alone charm) and the desire to live is itself seriously weakened in the process. It is hardly surprising that constant Sai devotees, esp. single foreign ladies at the ashram,  tend to be suicidal.   One such a suicide took place while we were visiting in 1990 (covered up by the PN officials immediately).This resulted in the ashram accommodation office not allowing any woman  to have an apartment on her own.  Various other suicides of disappointed devotees are documented elsewhere, including one involving most members of a large Indian family. There are numerous reports of suicides, of which not more than a handful have reached the press in any country. The ashram authorities enforce immediate damage limitation precautions as soon as anything untoward happens there and very short shrift is given to anyone who persists in inquiries. In this respect, the Sai Baba ashrams are indistinguishable from totalitarian mini-states.

One Sai Baba follower, Mr. Kanheia Jee , a retired Indian army major who had become more or less socially and mentally trapped for 30 years and more as Head of the Administration at Vidyagiri in Prashanti Nilayam together with his leading Seva Dal worker and wife (Mrs. Caveri),  put it very succinctly:  “If you try to do even half of what Baba says you should,  you’ll go stark raving mad!” Looked at in sane social terms, these attitudes develop the basis for despotism and repression,  ignorance and weakening of the individual human spirit to stand up for what is right and true.  There is no more ingenious way of taking away people’s freedom than teaching them that they cannot control their fates except by prayer to him,  that only God is free and decides all in his inscrutable way.  It is despicable!  Thus making people obey and censor themselves entirely so as to give up more and more autonomy and all normal rights,  while it works as the subtlest known means of gaining power, fame and wealth by Sai Baba and his men.

Manipulating vulnerable consciousness: Though his extremely puritan moralism and demands for massive self-denial, Sai Baba develops a ‘vulnerable consciousness’ in many people, particularly those who are vulnerable from before for reasons of repressive childhoods, social discrimination, personality problems etc. His doctrines lay much weight on ideas which are nothing short of self-destructive, though they go under the emotively acceptable label ‘removal or destruction of the ego’ . Even while he outwardly says some positive,  supportive things about how to relate to oneself,  they are mostly tied up with expectations of a (better)  life in the hereafter.  Meanwhile,  he asserts all kinds of things which mainly bring a person down, cause them to feel low self-esteem or reduced worth…  the typical self-denigration spread by all fundamentalist sin-oriented religion and sects.


Projecting one’s whole autonomy onto Sathya Sai Baba
…  the enthusiasm wears off after the famous ‘honeymoon‘ period is past. Such phenomena are well known…

See more on disempowerment in worshipping gurus and cult entrapment here:

Posted in Gurus, Indoctrination, Mind control, New Age, Personality Cult, self-development, Surrender | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Creative thinking and living

Posted by robertpriddy on August 8, 2009

It is held by some that a persons’ minds and attitudes reflect the environment in which they are brought up and live. That is no doubt true of many who have not yet developed due to lack of education (or mal-education) and the means to enlighten themselves through travel or experience, and of those who remain in a narrow social setting (such as a sect or cult). However, as soon as a person has some wider life and reaches a certain level of maturity, the mind-set will have developed in at least some unique ways, to whatever degree and whether for better or worse. A mind that largely reflects its social surroundings like some kind of mirror – a conventional, passive receptor of what others think or do – is still under the sway of the herd. People who join religious sects and cults can often relinquish their own understanding in favour of faith in some other-worldly belief system that taught by a guru. They risk the complete surrender of their minds and lives to their guru. Take as a telling example, what is required by the ‘teaching’ of Sathya Sai Baba as analysed in many of the previous blogs on this site. This limits their creativity greatly, as is seen in their parrot-like writings and speeches where no new ideas or anything outside the scope of Sai Baba’s endorsed ideas occurs.

Lack of creativity is associated with narrow, unimaginative thinking and hence with provincialism, both literal and figurative, whereas ‘travel broadens the mind’. The person who has changed environments, lived in at least two different societies (or within it in different social classes and sub-cultures) has looked over the proverbial fence. This helps develop less one-sided attitudes and leads to more nuanced and inclusive thinking than that of those who stick at home. In former times, the practice of making pilgrimages was a wise expedient against local and national chauvinism, helping a person’s horizons to expand. This is almost a prerequisite of creativity nowadays… to have a sense of the multicultural world. Of course, to travel in itself is no solution, for the gaping tourist can be its end product. Yet even to gape can be better than being a know-all whose mind is made up in advance.

Any healthy person’s mind is a self-adjusting system that naturally develops more complexity. This is the key to personal development and a prerequisite of individual autonomy. It gradually rejects wrong information and discredits incorrect ideas through two processes. Ideas about the world or universe we live in are adjusted according to experiences or ‘feedback from the environment’. Ideas about the cosmos that we are partakers in, which thus obviously includes ideas about ourselves, are corrected according to reflection and intuition… in short, the mind feeding upon the ‘inner source’ of its own inspiration. In both cases, the progressive rejection of false ideas is a prerequisite of ‘creative’ thinking. Often the major creative step takes place with the removal of untrue ideas in the form of false impressions, wrong judgments, misinterpretations – which have entered the mind through a poor environment, unquestioning traditional acceptance, incorrect training, wrong education and so forth.

The combination of these two processes of outward and inward observation respectively to develop knowledge and insight produces the development of the intelligence and the growth of understanding. The one does not work well for growth without the other. Too much inward observation (reflection, meditation creative fantasy) makes one vulnerable to ideas, ideologies and systems of thought or religion which are over-speculative and unreliable for life guidance unless constantly informed – and preferably overshadowed – by investigation of the basis of one’s ideas in the real world. This combination results in more realistic and hence lasting creativity.

See further on this general theme Self-awareness in psychological understanding

and Origin and Nature of the Human Mind

and The Human Faculty of Understanding

Posted in Cults, Faith, Gurus, Sathya Sai Baba, self-development | Leave a Comment »