The authoritarian cultist 'fortress mentality' and anonymous attacks on critics

Date: 12-12-06

Remarkably, there are very few devotees of Sathya Sai Baba who choose to sign up with their full names or contact details when they post on bulletin boards. Hundreds of Sai Baba supporters have submitted negative threatening or vile comments to the Guestbook of or sent in mailforms without daring to reveal their names or even to use valid e-mail addresses. (At least half of all such postings have reportedly been rejected by the webmaster). Likewise, the great majority of devotees who have mailed to exposť activists gave no name - or used only a first name (possibly bogus) - and they often sent from anonymous (cloaked) IPs. Most often these e-mailers use most unmannerly language as if in defiance of their own guru Sai Baba 's repeated demand that one should never slander, criticise or speak harshly to anyone! Which teaching, incidentally, he is himself notorious for NOT observing , especially in private interviews and even nowadays in public discourses!

Sai officials and adherents who retire to the shades

Those leaders and devotees whose names are known mostly put themselves forward before Sathya Sai Baba’s many alleged crimes were commonly known and before it was realised that – once shown the Internet – all information given can be indelibly and permanently recorded, not least by others. Today those supporters of the insupportable (i.e. Sai Baba’s megalomaniac claims etc.) have become very shy of any personal publicity which can identify them! Even many Sai-promoting website owners fail to give their correct names or any contact details. Every one of the hundred or more Sai Baba discussion groups is moderated rigorously to exclude any posting which is remotely critical of Sai Baba! (This fact can be checked by anyone who cares to view them or join up!). That no devotees anywhere dare enter any discussion which is not entirely in praise of Sathya Sai Baba says a great deal about the censorship and fear of openness, and further proves that this is an authoritarian cult.

Since the exposure of Sathya Sai Baba by many critics and alleging victims of his sexual abuses on the Internet began around 2000, his whole movement has closed ranks and turned in on itself ever more noticeably. Yet for many years before that, the Sathya Sai Organisation was already secretive and legally unaccountable, increasingly hiding the contact details of its members and remaining legally unincorporated in most countries (thus to stay unaccountable in any way), along with other concealment. The stigma of public association with Sathya Sai Baba is causing more and more of his organisation office-bearers and members to conceal their identities and e-mail addresses on the Internet and in the media. This mounting evidence of the clearly cultist behaviour of Sai Baba followers is encouraging for the future of the exposť.

Glaring Publicity and Silence on Issues

In earlier years, many Sai Baba devotees strictly followed his advice not to engage in publicity for him. He claimed his success was ensured without the need for any publicity whatever, and he banned all such. All that has now changed! Meanwhile, he continued to blare out in discourses (relayed in print, film and other media) pronouncements of his own marvellous deeds as exceeding anything ever done by anyone on earth. Eventually, his leaders took his own lead and began lavish publicity events around the world. When the scandals broke onto the Internet in 2000, he pronounced in 2000 that no followers should use the Internet. Sai Baba's thus made a divine faux pas (since he always claims omniscience and omnipotence). A very large number of insubordinate devotees soon ignored this edict by the infallible Creator of the Universe, and he has since accepted and financed websites and radio stations on a large scale as a necessary supplement to his propaganda machine.

Sai devotee websites and bulletin boards are even more censorious and unquestioning than the Sai discussion groups, and no genuine thinking or the mildest hint of criticism is ever voiced. This further testifies to the fear of public scrutiny. Only after six years of silence did the official Sai apparatus - falsely imagining that they had won in a US court case - take the chance of dealing with the allegations in an article posted on the official Radio Sai website by the second-in-command of the Prashanthi Council,  Dr. G. Venkataraman. He has since been answered very thoroughly and fully rebutted with complete documentation. See also the true statement of the facts about the lawsuit of Alaya Rahm by the International Just Group, the Rahm family and their lawyer, which clearly shows that Venkataraman has tried in his posting on the Prashanthi website roundly to deceive the public as to what occurred.

Any candour would need to look at the seriousness of the crimes being alleged, and at the almost endless string of wholly absurd and false claims made by their founder about himself. Only at Sathya Sai Organisation meetings can members feel safety in numbers and be shielded from awkward questions and commonsense concerns, all sharing and reinforcing the same (often false) beliefs and hosting the same disinformation, which they therefore can never have examined intelligently or independently.

Defenders who shrink away from any discussion

It is a notable fact that but a handful of devotees - except those who live within the cocoon of the ashram and its catchall belief system - have stepped forth to defend Sathya Sai Baba against the many and cogent criticisms on the web. The reason is evidently that they cannot show that his critics are wrong about his absurd claims and beliefs, impossible predictions, self-contradictions and frequent outright lies. These are largely documented - and undisputedly so from his own published discourse - and otherwise from reliable and cross-checked sources. However convinced the most gullible believers are, all but the very rashest of them shrink back from openly informing the public of many of the most incredible pronouncements of their self-appointed ‘God the Father of Christ’, who also claims to be a reincarnation of the Lord Krishna and who stated he will in this incarnation lift “a whole mountain range” to avert a major catastrophe for his devotees! (See here)  In discourses, Sai Baba has made numerous extremely peculiar and fantastic claims. For example, when he could not walk properly he spoke repeatedly of having magnetic feet which attract not only the whole world but the physical earth so strongly [a howling absurdity]; whereas the real cause was a failing hip joint! Captured on the BBC film ‘The Secret Swami’ producing a golden lingam by sleight-of-hand from a towel, and stating that it weighed three tons this being the cause of his collapsing! The table he put it on did not collapse! These are just a few of his many mega-maniacal claims, accepted by virtually all of his declared followers as Divine Truths, but which completely destroy his credibility as an“all-knowing Divinity”!  

Devotees and politicians who are followers also try their utmost to ignore and/or suppress the many serious allegations against Sathya Sai Baba of homosexual abuses from around the world and the well-known facts about unsolved cold-blooded shootings in June 1993 of four young men in his bedroom. These extremely awkward facts obviously cramp the style of many proselytising ventures and detract seriously from any public acceptability among most of the world’s population, despite his claim that the whole world will come to him soon! Such matters have to be carefully avoided in their public meetings, where they are bound to present Sai Baba only as a doer of good works and an example of nothing but pure and unbounded love, or at most as the greatest Divine Incarnation and miracle worker who has ever lived!

The Dilemma in Worshipping a God of Megalomaniac Claims

It is increasingly damaging for one's reputation in the world (at least outside of India) as a person of common sense or educated intelligence to be further associated with Sathya Sai Baba in any way other than critically. In India, PMs and Presidents, Ministers, Supreme and High Court judges, magistrates plus the armed services and police from top to bottom are followers of this power-broking moneybags who claims to be The Deity of All Deities and The Creator of the Universe Incarnate at whose feet all prayers to any God eventually arrive! Believe it or not, but all devout followers are required to believe it fully, and they do! It is hardly therefore at all surprising that the vast majority of those disaffected from Sai Baba – especially those who must live in India - try to keep a low profile or stay anonymous. Most persons who contact the exposť through its various websites and e-mail addresses - and there are many hundreds of them - do not wish their names to be posted. A mass of extremely revealing materials are not publicly referenced, including accounts by close students (known as “form boys” and “chics”) of Sai Baba’s sexual abuses and major fraudulence. These cases are investigated carefully for genuineness without giving away their identities, recorded and then archived for possible future reference, within the bounds of strict permission obtained from primary informants, when the time is ripe. A large majority of those who have contacted exposť workers say they want to forget and 'move on' with their lives.

Meanwhile, many of those who have reported their shocking experience or their parents and supporters have been ostracised totally by devotees and Sai officials who for years called them 'brothers and sisters' and knew the integrity of those in many countries who have, for reasons of moral principle, left the Sai Organisation.

By Robert Priddy

Postscript about a slanderer: The public image of both devotees and the Sai Organisation has been badly tarnished on the Internet by concerted defamation attempts mostly by one person in defense of Sai Baba (the few who may be interested may also check out these web pages about him: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8). His massive full-time efforts over the last three years have done much to exhibit and reinforce the cultist secrecy of the Sai Organisation and movement and - fearing association with this level of immorality - to scare off more reasonable devotees from defending their guru. His frequent appearance on Google pages relating to Sai Baba helps ensure that the existence of the many negative issues surrounding Sai Baba are constantly noted, boosting attention to them - even though he dares not make any links to exposť webpages (where his every point is soon seen to be flimsy or contrived). This activity has filled the glaring vacancy left by the Organisation's inability through six years to confront in public a single one of the wide range of reasonable and well-founded criticisms against their guru and his movement.

Lacking reasonable arguments or documentation, one make note how that individual resorts to lowbrow logical fallacies, (constant ad hominem argumentation and endless slander) and makes many untrue statements, meanwhile confusing the issues with tendentious side-issues and irrelevant details. All critics are regularly called liars without any (other than willfully distorted) evidence, for ‘to lie’ means ‘to deceive willfully’. Even insignificant factual errors are always held to be ”lies” by him and his two fanatical pro-Sai  activists, who also are behind the appearance of the names of active Sai critics on porn websites, copied and displayed prominently in a transparent attempt to stick mud to the exposť. He is employed full-time at this activity, besides his three extensive slanderous websites, he runs numerous blogs each aimed separately against a list of prominent critics of Sai Baba using 'copycat' stalking techniques (see here), using much bogus 'evidence', manipulated photos and childish taunts. He posts constant attacks on any forum he can enter, being backed up in this by two most fanciful fanatics - two ignominious pro-Sai mailers who use crude verbal aggression on bulletin boards relating to Sai Baba. Given that he has links all the way to the top of the Sathya Sai Baba leadership, this harassment speaks of the methods of a secretive and unaccountable cult which avoids issues and cannot defend itself either rationally but descends to 'dirty tricks'.

One would ask who among the supposed "tens of millions" of Sai followers would wish to be associated - even remotely - with slanderers and worse who exemplify almost everything a devotee should not be or do? Especially when this individual for several years himself stated on his website that he believed Sai Baba to be a sexual abuser yet defended him daily in everything nonetheless, while claiming he was not even a follower of Sai Baba! Until he found a contrived reason to escape his crushing self-contradiction and his fanatical defense of the indefensible (sexual abuse) when the Rahm sex abuse court case was dropped because there was no incorporated Sai organisation in US to sue!

Which spiritual person - or which genuine Sai follower - with any sense of decency or self-respect wishes to support this confused fanatic and thereby expose themselves to his clinging attentions and endorsements? There are alleged to be millions of Sai devotees worldwide, but a check on Google reveals only a tiny handful who in any way endorse this unconscionable campaign. Since it serves to advertise Sai fanaticism like a sore thumb, it rubs off on all decent Sai devotees [and there are many such] who have to suffer the humiliation of being associated in the public mind with such a slanderer. However, none of them dare to speak out... 

Robert Priddy