This recently deceased Indian Guru was said to have up to 50 million followers, who referred to him as ‘God on Earth’. He was most well known for his miraculous manifestations of holy ash, as well as jewelry and precious objects, and claimed to be a reincarnation of Sai Baba of Shirdi. India’s president and prime minister both attended his last birthday party.
However, for the last forty years there has also been a growing tide of accusations against Sai Baba, primarily that he sexually abused many young boys under his care. He has also been accused of faking his manifestations, money laundering, and murder.
Had Sathya Sai Baba – plus his various officials – opened up to genuinely independent investigation and responded frankly and honestly to vital questions about his activities, there might have been some room left for doubt about the more serious accusations against him. However, the likelihood of this happening is absolutely minimal… not least after the major cover-up from the highest levels of the Indian power structure of murders in Sathya Sai Baba’s bedroom at night in 1993, the documented and undenied presence there of an underage male student at the time, and the intensive cult of secrecy which has often been shown to be endemic to all Sathya Sai Baba’s ashrams and official bodies.
The one great fear of all those implicated in the cover-up – and of a great many of the devotees – is that this matter will successfully be brought to court. Even outside India, any court case connected to Sathya Sai Baba could open the opportunity of presenting the wide-ranging and detailed evidence and sworn affidavits by young men claiming sexual abuse by him. However, for Indians who were so misused to stand up or raise a legal case is beyond their means and the risks that can be taken. Against such a powerful and protected person with such enormous funds behind him and being fully backed by Prime Ministers, other heads of state and many rich and powerful persons in many countries of the world, is demanding above and beyond the financial funding and socio-political influence of these younger persons in India. Before the many allegations of sexual crimes, Sathya Sai Baba remains guiltily silent and evasive. Though his guilt is not formally proven in court, nor is his innocence.
In this situation, the main recourse of victims and their helpers is presently the investigative international media. The first-hand directly-presented accounts of being sexually abused by Sai Baba by highly articulate young men in interview with highly-respected national broadcasters (Danish TV) were neither denied nor challenged by Sai Baba (or his chief minions). This fact itself speaks a loud and clear ‘message’. Further, these brave persons who spoke out cannot bring Sai Baba to court because he stays well out of harm’s way in India, where he has demonstrated that he exercises decisive influence over the judiciary and government. But the first-hand testimonies are also backed up by an ever-accumulating mass of circumstantial evidence, some of which is to be presented in concise form in the forthcoming texts. While the accused hides away in absentia and safe from Indian courts, the court of humanity at large has now sufficient direct and corroborative evidence to make up its mind on the matter.
Devotees who cannot face the truth will doubtless continue to follow Sathya Sai Baba’s edicts like”See only the good” and “Hear no evil” – and other such clever self-defences Sai Baba has long inculcated in them, which we now see functions well to protect himself from their scrutiny. However, it taxes the imagination to see how anyone can follow such impossible fact-defying edicts permanently without becoming deeply stuck in a web of untruth and hypocrisy, at the least where Sathya Sai Baba is involved.
Sathya Sai Baba has claimed to be divinity and purity itself claiming that the only way to judge people’s words is by their actions, and that the validity of his entire teaching rests on his Divine Nature… but in view of the indubitable allegations, his greatest abuse becomes the abuse of people’s faith, not only in him but in what he teaches under his slogan “My Life is My Message” (which he also plagiarised from Mahatma Gandhi).
A long history of reports through decades: In various interviews stretching over several decades, Sathya Sai Baba (Sathya Sai Baba) has informed of a coming huge scandal about him, which clever bit of precautionary ‘fall-back’ against the day it actually came has since deceived many into doubting and/or ignoring the mass of facts and credible, courageously-published accounts. If, as very widely reported, he engaged in constant sexual activity, he then would certainly have realised that even he, with his very secretive and power-wielding confederates, could most likely not keep it a secret for ever. Thus, he would have tried to prepare the ground against the day it came out, so as not to lose too much prestige, or too many followers and donors as a result. It has actually come out on a number of occasions in different parts of the world, at least since the 1970s.
One major question about what are alleged by Sai followers to be ‘rumours’ about his homosexual activities remains: How could such allegations arise from so many countries and individuals over decades, independent of one another, and backed up by many written accounts and signed affidavits by alleged victims, and by television interviews with such victims made by reputed national broadcasters who investigated the matter? By examining in some detail the history of these allegations, one can better decide whether or not these instances can be a case of ‘no smoke without fire’.
Due to the general difficulties prior to the 1990s web revolution of locating or contacting other ex-devotees spread around the world, the scandals that broke remained fairly local and did not become widely known, especially throughout the Sai movement, which is systematically compartmentalised precisely so as to maintain intternal control and censorship on all dissent of any kind. Accounts of Sai Baba being a homosexual and paedophile have circulated in diverse circles in India during the 1970s (to be summarised here later). His predilection for homosexual relations was reportedly widely known in Puttaparthi when he shared his rooms with a young man called Krishna (they were called ‘Radha-Krishna’ where they went together everywhere hand in hand, according to the long-term worshipper Vijayamma). Mrs. Bitten Nelson of Denmark firmly indicated what has been known all along to many villagers, none of whom dare say a word about it due to the huge power wielded threateningly by the Sai Baba camp.
The scandals about sexual abuse of male students among Malaysian devotees around 1980 which caused resignations from the Org. in Malaysia, apparently was very little known in the West. The following information was sent to me by a person who wishes to remain anonymous, having distanced himself socially from all connection with Sai Baba.
When I became aware of Sai Baba’s activities on some male Malaysian students studying at the Sai institutions in Whitefield and Puttaparthi, I carried out my own inquiries and dropped out from that movement. So did many devotees in Malaysia f these male students, I am unable to reveal their identities. It is not fair to them. I remember having advised them in 1980 to keep their identities confidential and not be overzealous since they have lives to lead and they should forget about what had happened to them. An American boy, Terry Scott, who was a contemporary of these Malaysian students, left the Sai College together with the rest of the Malaysians. There were many devotees who left the cult. Those holding office in Sai organisations in Malaysia did not do so but quite a number of them may have quietly slipped out of the cult.
Barry Pittard also writes of another former Australian devotee, Connie R. of Cooma, in the State of New South Wales , who visited a Malaysian devotee family during a stopover to India .She said that she heard a disturbingly authentic cassette tape of an Indian Malaysian boy’s account of sexual molestation by Sathya Sai Baba. The boy had attended the Sathya Sai college at Whitefield, where Pittard had taught for two years. Horrified, his parents had withdrawn him from that institution. Convinced of the truthfulness of the account by the boy and by the family, and deeply disgusted, Connie R. cancelled her trip.
Likewise, a scandal about sexual abuse of a Greek boy in the Sai College in Greece and similar accounts in Yugoslavia in the 1980s did not reach or affect other countries in Europe . Meanwhile, a major scandal arose independently in the USA in the early 1980s about which the leader of the US Sai organisation, Dr. John Hislop, wrote letters to leaders in the Sai Org. there advising them to suppress the facts as unconfirmed. Again, in France and Belgium around 1990, there was apparently much talk about Sai Baba being a homosexual, which only seeped through to some followers in a few other countries. Only when the Internet provided the means for communication between alleging victims spread and isolated here and there, did the world-wide exposé of Sathya Sai Baba’s various activities begin to come together from 1999 onwards.
As long ago as the 1970s, Sathya Sai Baba told two ‘old-timer’ American devotees (one was ‘Vidya’, a lady known to many followers and the other a long-term US resident of Prashanthi Nilayam) that the day would come when the number of devotees would dwindle to very few. (This did not happen, however, until after his death in 2011). He also told other interviewees similar things now and again, such as that “a great scandal is coming”. By the 1980s, when Tal Brooke published his first whistle-blowing book on the sexual abuses of students and foreign young men (Avatar of the Night), Sathya Sai Baba would most likely have read the increasing signs – or been advised by some of those relatively few Indians who do not turn a blind eye to such practices – that it would eventually lead to his exposure. His warnings of coming scandal went on until the late 1990s in interviews, such as when, for David Jevons was present (as he posted on his website). (However, some time after the above was posted, David Jevons deleted this from his website! This is typical, damage limitation by trying to bury all acknowledgment of any whiff of scandal they previously mentioned around Sai Baba).
A most lucid comment on these “predictions” came from Mr. John Bright, whose account of being sexually molested by Sathya Sai Baba is found on various websites, referring to what the British ‘psychic’ Craig Hamilton-Parker (a believer in Sai Baba) had replied to him on his website as follows:-
…you mentioned that Sai Baba told a woman in an interview that she would be able to get an interview whenever she wanted in the future because devotees would be leaving him in droves. (When I was in India I heard something along similar lines). You seem to use this as evidence of Sai Baba’s omniscience as well as a way to discredit these stories of sexual molestation. I will simply say this; if you were a molester in Sai Baba’s position and you knew that the word was getting out or was likely to get out and that people were talking, what better way to cover your tracks and conduct damage control than to say such things?
He is killing two birds with one stone – he creates the illusion that his knowledge is born of omniscience when it comes to pass and at the same time he discredits these stories of sexual molestation. His prediction comes not from omniscience but from the knowledge of what he is doing to young men in his private interview room and the knowledge that it is leaking out.
The cover-up of allegations about Sathya Sai Baba’s sexual behaviour: The ‘fully paid-up’ believer clings to ideas like ‘if he had wanted it otherwise, Sathya Sai Baba would have taken steps to avoid it’, or ‘it must have been part of some predestined plan to sort the grain from the chaff’ (read, “good from bad persons”) – a favourite quote from an Sathya Sai Baba sixtieth birthday discourse which was as long ago as 1985. But separating ‘chaff from grain’ in fact equally signifies removing ‘the sensible people from fully gullible believers’. It is believed in Sai circles that “the grain” are those who plug their ears, willingly stick their heads in the sand and believe firmly in Sathya Sai Baba, despite any evidence of his wrong-doings that may come forth! For my part, I wish to be counted among those who act on their conscience for the sake of the good of society (i.e. dharma) by facing up to the mass of information, investigating it thoroughly and so promulgating the truth of the matter as far as it is known… at least until yet more thoroughgoing and fair investigations should be conducted in the public sphere by an independent court.
During Christmas 2000, however, Sathya Sai Baba did rail in public at his accusers as ‘thousands of Judases’, meanwhile beating his rostrum angrily and also calling them demonic and saying they spread scandal about him for money. He gave no details or any evidence of payments or who had made them, and none has ever been made public anywhere. On past experience, he could be confident that his word would never be questioned or doubted by his devotees. In a later discourse he spoke of his critics as “demons without the spark of divinity”. This is a major turnaround, since he has previously repeatedly held in many discourses that the spark of divinity is in all living beings and in a higher potency in all human beings. Now some of us are apparently not human beings, but demons! He has thus changed his former attractive teachings about his universal compassion and love for everyone! His new tack is transparently an angry threat (even though he claims to be totally pure and hence free of any anger, and that he merely pretends to be angry when he deems it suitable). Apparently, spiteful anger had already (in his Christmas 2000 discourse) got the better of him at his being fully found out and challenged.
Months later Sathya Sai Baba repeated his warning to devotees: “If you listen to bad speeches, don’t repeat them to anybody. Absolutely never tell it to anybody. You have to pay the greatest attention to this argument. You may have heard some things by chance. Forget to have heard them. Don’t tell to your friends, don’t disturb their mind.” (From a speech of 15 May 2000 , personal translation by Achary, who also asks,” is this “Divine Transparency?”
‘The Findings’ by David Bailey – once the top favourite foreign devotee – released the floodgates for testimonies: The latest and most decisive phase of the exposé so far took off with the publication in 1999 of ‘The Findings’ by David Bailey, one of Sathya Sai Baba’s closest ever devotees (over 100 interviews within a few years only). As he lectured about Sathya Sai Baba around the globe, David Bailey was eventually so inundated with reports from parents of abused sons and of sexual molestations from students who he taught music at Sathya Sai Baba’s colleges that he began to investigate with an open mind. He began to discover various kinds of fraud by Sai Baba (valueless synthetic stones given as ‘diamonds’ in rings etc.) and in various of his projects (especially the much-trumpeted Rayalaseema Water Project). He has since withdrawn from actively exposing further, for not only had he made his decisive contribution, but he understandably must have wanted to rest from the abusive and defamatory reactions and threats that poured in on him from Sai devotees. Yet his discoveries set off a chain-reaction among those who describe how they have been abused, defrauded and otherwise seriously maltreated by Sathya Sai Baba.
Therefore, for all his claimed ‘divine prescience’, Sathya Sai Baba had evidently not reckoned with David Bailey and his wife Faye, whose report on his wide-ranging investigations called his bluff in grand fashion. His findings were reported widely in the media. Comdot Free Information Exchange summed it up:
Well-regarded former disciple, musician David Bailey and his wife went public with accounts of their experiences from spending three years as two of the guru’s closest disciples. This prompted the release of yet more material from former devotees around the world.
Response to these claims from Sai Baba’s ashram appears so feeble that to many it would seem an admission of his guilt. It is said that sources close to the guru claimed that as “a living incarnation of God”, Sai Baba could do what he pleases and it is not appropriate for mortals to question his activities.
“Faye’s own son had been kissed repeatedly on his cheeks and the corners of his mouth when alone in the inner room with Sai Baba, and also sexually touched. And when it was obvious to Sai Baba that this behaviour was unwelcome, he began berating the young man in subsequent interviews with Faye, calling him ‘Mad dog! Hard hearted!’ and so on. At the time this seemed incongruous; it was only after we began travelling the world that the inconceivable and incomprehensible began to make itself clear.
When I asked various co-ordinators about these many disturbing incidents reported to me in our travels, I was told that Swami was ‘raising kundalini’. I questioned this in my mind. If he was capable of doing anything, why did he have to physically touch the boys, especially when they were unwilling? And what about when he had them actively engage in sex to him? It seems that an ongoing, serious and untenable infringement of basic human rights is being scurrilously perpetrated, in the name of ‘divinity’.”Also see this quote: “On my last visit to Puttaparthi, a male student came and asked me for help, on behalf of some of his fellow students, because they were desperately in need of someone to stop Swami sexually abusing them. I was told how Sai Baba had for years been demanding that these particular boys have oral sex, and group sex for his pleasure. Their details matched what I had already been told so many times round the world. I asked him if this was an acceptable practice in India, and his look of horror as he denied it, spoke volumes. Then he asked me a question I couldn’t answer. ‘Sir, why do you think ex-students tried to kill him in ’93 …?’ (!!!)
So-called “Sai devotees” have tried to drag Bailey’s name through the mud as a condemned paedophile in prison and even spread the story that he hanged himself in his cell. These are the depths to which many have sunk to preserve their false faith. Of course, these allegations are totally incorrect and David Bailey is alive and well, living in France. In an e-mail of 2006 he informed me that he no longer wishes to be active in the exposure of Sathya Sai Baba. Incidentally, he is not the owner of the David Bailey music website, as I once mistakenly assumed. His reluctance to continue in the crucial role he once held in revealing the truth about Sathya Sai Baba is most understandable considering the massive consequences his involvement had (losing teaching position at a private school where a British royal prince was taught). His subsequent defection from Sai Baba also made him the victim of massive libel and lies spread against him throughout the Sai movement and on the Internet. One particularly mad and vituperative mail by a rich Australian female devotee, Millie Phillips was circulated widely.
Neither had Sathya Sai Baba reckoned with the outspokenness of another of his (former) favourites, Dr. Bhatia, who he had made Head of Blood Transfusion at his Super-speciality Hospital and who was a chosen lecturer at the ashram for years. Dr. Bhatia really spilt the beans, telling of his having himself been the beloved sexual partner of Sathya Sai Baba for years, and was in the position to know and tell of massive sexual exploitation by Sathya Sai Baba of students, including a report on the physically-injurious anal rape of a minor, a boy student, with which he personally confronted Sathya Sai Baba. was cast into the figurative ‘outer darkness’ and was threatened by Sai Baba personally. This led to his immediate sacking from his position as head of the Blood Bank at Sathya Sai Baba’s hospital in Puttaparthi and total banishment from the ashrams and all Sai Baba institutions (as published in Sanathana Sarathi). His subsequent revelations to the press, including the UK Sunday Telegraph, revealed that Baba was a major paedophile and daily sex abuser of groups of his students. He was excommunicated by the ashram, which always eschewed the slightest suggestion of publicity about its inner intrigues and cover-ups. His expulsion was announced, without revealing anything about why or what he had done or said, by an official notice in Sai Baba’s journal, Sanathana Sarathi.
Source now deleted from thoughts memories net/saisdarkside.htm- formerly also posted on FORUM SEKTY.NET & then in ‘THE FINDINGS’ by Faye & David BAILEY:-
E-mail which first warned of the matter:-
Source : Name withheld at request. (Available for investigation by authority)
Subject : DR BHATIA (HEAD OF SSH BLOOD BANK) (see images). WHY DID HE LEAVE?
Regarding the notice of expulsion of Dr Bhatia in the Sanathana Sarathi magazine, please note : Three young students from Sai Baba’s junior male college were called for interview. One of them, a seven year old boy student, came out of the private interview room crying. He continued to cry for two days, and was unable to eat or study. That evening Dr Bhatia, on duty in the children’s canteen, was asked to find the cause of the child’s distress. He questioned and then examined the child, and found that he had been sexually penetrated, via his anus. The child was taken to Bangalore and re-examined. A second medical opinion confirmed sexual abuse. Dr Bhatia had been involved in sexual activity with Sai Baba for six years, believing that he was serving divinity.
He went to Sai Baba : – Why do you do this to such a young child when you have all of us adults and the older students to play with?
Sai Baba’s reply : – Don’t bargain with God!
Soon after, five men went to Dr Bhatia’s home, threatening his life with knives. He made his escape by car, fleeing to Delhi. Once there Dr Bhatia was unable to practice medicine because he had left all his personal papers behind in Puttaparthi. He wrote asking for them. They have not yet been released. However, the doctor now practices at a Delhi hospital.
A promisory agreement has been offered from Puttaparthi, that Dr Bhatia’s personal belongings will be released to him on the proviso that : he remain mute about the happenings concerning the little boy student he does not make any legal claims against the Super Speciality Hospital he keeps his sexual relationship with Sai Baba a secret.
A rumour given out for his ‘dismissal’ was that he was caught selling blood, another that he was having an affair within the ashram, and yet another claiming jealousy between departmental heads at the hospital.
I offer this for the sake of truth.
[NOTE – Subsequently it was confirmed that this boy was NOT 7 years old but was a 7th Grade student – in other words, up to 14 years old, but still a minor. This came to light through Stephen Carthew’s discussions with Dr. Bhatia after he had been sacked from his position as head of Sai Baba’s Blood Bank and banned from the ashram totally.]
These reports brought the allegations to massive prominence because of the former closeness of Bailey and Bhatia to Sai Baba. However, for years before this the well-known Indian rationalist Basava Premanand had tried with very limited public success to warn the nation of the sexual abuse issue, among other criminal counts. He wrote an article ‘The True Story of Life in the Sri Sathya Sai Hostel for Boys’, summing up the situation and posted it on the internet to assist in the exposé there. Premanand has also detailed further information he had at the time in an article in the ‘Indian Sceptic’ magazine and on the Internet.
These reports were but three of many more who have very bravely published their highly credible accounts on the internet and have signed sworn affidavits to that effect. A certain young man from Sweden known to many of us in Scandinavia as ‘the golden boy’, and the then-underage ‘Sam Young’ (Alaya Rahm) – the son of Al Rahm, regional leader in the Sai Organisation in USA, were both shattered by their predicaments when, as favourite boys, Sathya Sai Baba abused both their trust and their bodies very much against their will. But they very bravely dared to speak out. The long-term devotee who was close to Sathya Sai Baba for decades (too close, he came to understand), Conny Larsson, stood forth with exceptional courage and told of how Sathya Sai Baba misused him sexually in very base ways, which Larsson believed to be some kind of divine healing from his terrible childhood sex abuse by his father’s male friend. Since he recovered from the terrible disillusionment, Conny Larsson has courageously and tirelessly campaigned on TV around the world with regard only for bringing out the truth about Sai Baba and he is soon to publish a new and exceptional book in which he tells of his experiences with Sai Baba most credibly.
One of the most shocking revelations in his book is how Conny Larsson came to realise why two of his patients committed suicide. At different times, Conny took along in his groups to India two young men, hoping they may be healed of problems relating to their drug dependency and inspired by Sai Baba to follow his values etc. However, he describes how he realised too late that they had been sexually abused by Sai Baba (the description he gives of events he witnessed is very convincing) and how he became convinced that that this led to their suicides. This is also why Conny makes such efforts to bring his transformed understanding of Sai Baba and the cult to the widest possible public.
Sathya Sai Baba’s prediction that “a great scandal is coming” only got devotees asking why he would not have taken steps to avoid it, and to conclude that the scandal must have been designed by him somehow as part of his wonderful plan for the world and humanity. For example, Millie Phillips, a rich donor and long-term follower from Australia , told David Bailey in a widely circulated and often vituperative e-mail that he was just an instrument of Sathya Sai Baba’s will. (These so-called ‘Sai devotees’ soon turn nasty if their faith is put in question, it seems). If it was Sathya Sai Baba’s will, then – on this assumption – he would have exposed himself beyond reasonable doubt as an active homosexual, a fraud and a liar who has not cleared himself of the suspicion that he condoned four executions in his own bedroom (in 1993). This took place without any court examination of the incident – or even the slightest police questioning of Sathya Sai Baba who was present when the intruders killed his attendants and who remained close by throughout the whole episode – just shows how totally defenceless any Sathya Sai Baba victim in India is. How then could he at the same time possibly be the truthful, all-good, non-violent example upon which he claims a teaching depends for its credibility? The insurmountable fact is, Sathya Sai Baba has been exposed as not being what he claims to be in many different respects, and not least in world media. It seems most likely that Sathya Sai Baba’s repeated vague predictions were an on-going attempt to limit this damage and not lose all his followers (plus their financial and other support).
The editor of the famous magazine Nexus, Duncan Roads wrote the following:
I had heard the many rumours about Sai Baba’s sexual impropriety over the years, and like many, dismissed them as disgruntled devotees. Later on, I actually took those attacks as ‘evidence’ that Sai Baba was growing in influence, and that this was the ’system’ attacking him.
Unlike Sai Baba believers, I have an open mind, one which allows me to read and listen to things that Sai Baba believers refuse even to allow into their consciousness. I read some of the more recent testimonies, and decided to investigate for once and for all to put an end to the rumours.
I ended up speaking to many victims, parents of victims, former Sai Baba centre ‘leaders’ and some respected ‘figureheads’ from the movement. All confirmed the same pattern of abuse and sexual misconduct.
I did not want to believe any of these testimonies, but I also had to be true to what I was uncovering. Sai Baba is, and has, been involved in sexual misconduct with boys and young men. The effects of this misconduct has caused unestimatable damage within many many families, including suicides.
Deceptions and failed prophesies revealed.. take your pick! Finally, since Sathya Sai Baba is widely known and seen now to use sleight of hand trickery as part of his repertoire, and to lie about the objects he gives away. I have proved fully that he did with an alleged ‘green diamond’ he gave me in expectation of a large financial donation I had offered, see my detailed account with photographs of the assay done by Queen Margarethe of Denmark’s official jeweller. Sai Baba must have known the day of accounting for such repeated fraudulence on such a scale would be coming sometime. Hence the occasional warnings through the years about the ‘great scandal’. It was quite a sure bet.
In the 1980s, when the flow of foreign visitors to Prashanthi Nilayam had increased considerably, Sathya Sai Baba himself, (and, following him, his staff and Sathya Sai Organisation leaders) frequently warned foreigners not to have close contact with residents or other locals, but instead to concentrate on their own spiritual practice and keep to themselves. Likewise he regularly instructed ashram residents only to have necessary contacts with foreigners. He sometimes warned that personal friendships between Westerners and Indians, especially men and women, could lead to serious problems for those involved. The heads of the ashram at that time (Kutumba Rao and Chiranjiva Rao) carried out regular surveillance of persons who mixed too freely with certain talkative residents, and were especially vigilant in suppressing such contacts after the brutal gate-keeper Kumar was murdered inside the ashram in February 1987. In hindsight, quite other reasons for the cult of secrecy that this actually implied are evident. Sathya Sai Baba would have presumably wanted to ensure that such matters – known to many residents and locals, not least his sexual activities with boys and young men – should not become known to visitors and thus stem their flow.
Strong circumstantial and corroborative evidence: The first question is ‘what is hearsay‘? There is a crucial difference between someone who gives a first-hand report of being sexually abused and reports which are at a second or third remove. The former is not ‘hearsay’ but evidence. Neither are second-hand reports hearsay, if based accurately on first-hand reports – and especially when they are investigated soundly as to the credibility of the original report and the person reporting. So hearsay evidence is usually vague, sloppy reports based on something of uncertain origin which the person telling it has not investigated, and such reports give rise to ‘rumour’.
It is of importance too to realise that there can be both ‘negative’ and ‘positive’ hearsay or rumours. Some people believe in all hearsay which is positive and build up an unfounded view of a matter, while others do the same on the basis of negative hearsay. Where Sai devotees are concerned, a very great amount of what they believe is based on ‘positive hearsay’, as anyone who has circulated in the movement for a few years will doubtless know. The secrecy about Sathya Sai Baba, what he says and does in private, and the care taken about who one tells what, all contribute to the multiplication of hearsay. Since negative thoughts or words are strongly discouraged by Sathya Sai Baba and his followers, ‘positive hearsay’ rules the roost in the movement and organisation.
The allegations form what is known to various legal systems as ‘circumstantial evidence’, or ‘indications of presumptive guilt’. These indications must corroborate the main allegation(s), that is… confirming them formally by evidence. Courts in Scandinavia , for example, can convict without concrete evidence but on the balance of probabilities, if the ‘indications of guilt’ are strong enough. This means that the allegations need not be judged as proved ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’. This ensures that crimes of such a nature that they can be extremely difficult or impossible to prove definitively – not least sexual abuse – can be prosecuted, and indeed have been prosecuted successfully. (Conviction without conclusive or decisive physical forensic evidence is accepted in varying degrees in other European legal systems which reflect Napoleonic rather than British law). Such indications of guilt include testimony which is subjected to thorough investigation, involving diverse documentation and cross-questioning. In cases such as sexual abuse, circumstantial and corroborative evidence, including personal testimony, is most often all that can be required for a judgement.
Most of the allegations that have been levied at Sathya Sai Baba by alleging victims of sexual abuse are written statements open to a considerable degree of factual checking of details given by persons who have been contacted by writing, phoning and personal meetings. Some have also given filmed interviews. Accounts of sexual abuse are obviously second-hand (unless one was personally involved). This, of course, does not mean that such accounts are ‘rumours’, as they are called by those who want excuses for not considering them. There can be no ‘smoking gun’, no ‘corpse’ in such cases. The facts can very seldom be proven by physical evidence such as forensic data, audio, visual recordings etc. – and then mostly only in quite exceptional circumstances. Therefore, no one can fairly assume that reports from people – whether first-hand victims or at second-hand via a friend etc. – are baseless. Unconfirmed assertions are the unavoidable first step in uncovering nearly all sexual abuse. The huge obstacles faced by its victims individually – whether personal, social, financial or a combination of these – are by now well-known and in addition to all that comes the emotional upheaval and threats to stop the victims from telling. Increasing worldwide experience shows that the road to conviction and imprisonment of abusers is exceptionally long and relatively very few paedophiles are brought that far anyhow. It almost always must begin with allegations coming into the public sphere (often indirectly or anonymously so as to protect the victims).
Many remain in danger of being discriminated, harassed, persecuted, attacked or worse by the original perpetrators of the abuse (or by others who are complicit in such abuse, such as in a ‘paedophile circle’). This applies to a high degree in India where Sathya Sai Baba has demonstrated to the full that he exercises virtual control of the judiciary and government on all matters concerning his own reputation. Various anonymous Indian ex-students have mailed exposé workers and our websites, or have posted on bulletin boards, that their careers, their families and sometimes even the lives of any who were to stand forth with full name in public would be in jeopardy. Quite apart from this, it can take many years – up to decades – for victims to come to terms with their experiences, while it is highly likely that many never do so enough to speak out. For it requires a robust personality to take the criticism, suspicions and threats which are so often met, including the ever-present likelihood of lurid and inaccurate ‘tabloid media’ coverage.
As an example of how some critics have been met by Sai officials, the European Central Coordinator of the Sathya Sai Organization, Thorbjørn Meyer, and at least two of his Danish collaborators followed Sai Baba’s cue and maligned as a paedophile one of the victims of some of Sathya Sai Baba’s worst sexual and psychic abuse, including oral sex etc., namely Conny Larsson of Sweden. This was an untrue and tendentious defamation, quite evidently to divert attention from their Lord and Master by accusing his critics of the very thing for which they accuse him. No less than the Swedish Government, which still finances Conny Larsson’s therapeutic institution for criminals and drug addicts, has investigated these allegations and found them to be baseless. Further, these allegations were investigated and firmly refuted in public by the thorough investigations of the Danish journalist, Øjvind Kyrø (also maker of the hour-long Danish National TV film documentary ‘Seduced by Sai Baba’). However, the Danish defamers have so far failed to withdraw their baseless, serious charges. The arch-instigator, Thorbjørn Meyer, has for about 25 years been the top man responsible for Sathya Sai Baba’s Education in Human Values in Europe, but one wonders what values he lives by himself.
This episode should suffice to demonstrate to any independent observer the level of integrity of these VIPs in the Sai organisation who preach “human values” and “love in action”. On National Danish TV, the Sai devotee Mr. Peter Pruzan – an economist now involved in ‘leadership and values’ at the Copenhagen Business School – accused without giving a shred of evidence those victims who described Sathya Sai Baba’s sexual abuse of them, of being deluded as to their own experiences. He is no psychologist, of course, but a businessman. One can only put all this denial of directly reported facts down to minds having been so thoroughly manipulated through their half-understood experiences with Sathya Sai Baba and all that follows from having resigned both their freedom and responsibility to such a deceitful guru.
The case against Sai Baba is no one-off affair, for it involves dozens of open allegations – many backed up by signed affidavits – plus a time span involving decades and a spread across the continents. Members of the JuST group like myself have been very cautious about forwarding allegations until we made extensive investigations. We have eventually had to conclude from the evidence that this cannot be other than a case of ‘no smoke without fire’.
Sai Baba knew he would some day be caught out, saying, “A great scandal is coming”: There are many cogent reasons to question Sathya Sai Baba’s prediction that “a great scandal is coming” as a sign of his alleged divine knowledge of the future, which devotees repeat to one another almost like a self-protective mantra. It is as worthless as many other unfulfilled predictions and promises he has made through the years. Many of these I followed up assiduously and found them very largely wanting when compared with what actually occurred. Most of his ‘wild guesses’ have been exposed fairly widely by his critics, and even by somewhat outspoken devotees, such as Ra. Ganapati in the up-dated second volume of his otherwise excessively fanciful ‘Baba: Satya Sai‘ biography! Anyone who realised some of the extent of Sathya Sai Baba’s deception, plus his alleged sexual and other unprosecuted crimes, might easily have predicted the same.
I have heard any number of Sathya Sai Baba’s predictions (often straight after interviews) and they are quite simply proven wrong by events, though sometimes can seem roughly right if one struggles hard to make something or other fit them! So far to my knowledge nearly all have been unfulfilled. Sometimes his vague and general ‘predictions for the year’ made annually at the Yugadi festival are roughly right, if one struggles hard to make them fit something or other! One small example is his saying that there would be much volcanic activity, floods and theft in the coming year. Some seem to come about through the luck of the draw. To predict, as Sathya Sai Baba did in his youth, his own coming fame and riches has been done by very many, though only few may have achieved it. So nothing very extraordinary that he did so.
However, he told various persons known to me that the ashram was to be almost empty in 2000 (i.e. 10 years after he told people we knew, and as long ago as the 1970s (incl. the long-term US resident of PN, known to all as Michelle) and as recently as 1992 to friends of mine. I’m sorry to say that this also did not come true. He predicted a major worldwide airline failure over several days in 1998 due to changing earth magnetism spoiling the compasses (but they no longer use magnetic compasses). He also told students in 1990 that the PN ashram would stretch as far as Dharmavaram (the nearest town with a railway station) before the millennium! That is about 40 miles or so! Yet the ashram has not expanded beyond its area since then until 2004. He told people I met at Whitefield that he would be using PN mostly “only as an office” by 1998, and would live mainly there in ‘Brindavan’, Whitefield, but this of course has not happened. (They offered me to come in on an exclusive bungalow scheme they started there). The list goes on and on…
By 2002, some further major media exposures based on global investigations with abused ex-followers were made. ‘The Sunday Telegraph’ of Britain published “Divine Downfall” in October 2002, a well-researched article by the UK author and journalist, Mick Brown, reporting interviews with a sexually-abused minor and one of Sathya Sai Baba’s closest associates and sexual partners, Dr. N. Bhatia, formerly employed in the Sathya Sai Baba Super-Speciality hospital. An important critical front page article also appeared in the nationwide India ‘Today’ magazine called “A God accused” on 4 December, 2000.