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A glaring example of how the Sathya Sai Organisation suppresses freedom of speech and accountability through secret top-down decisions and destruction of evidence is clearly demonstrated by a number of letters from its US leader in 1981, Dr, John Hislop. This has been continued and even strengthened under the present International Chairman and US leader, Dr. Michael Goldstein, as exposed on BBC TV.

Date: 02-28-05

By: Robert Priddy

The first main scandal about Sathya Sai Baba's homosexual abuses in the West was effectively covered up by the Sathya Sai Organisation, not least due to the lack of any organisational means of the injured parties for publicising the facts. This was nearly a decade before the international exposure took off due to the Internet link-up that made it far easier for the disaffected who left or were thrown out of the Organisation and the ashrams to inform one another. It is educative again to see the manner in which the Sathya Sai organisation at that time handled the complaints they received, and not least that Phyllis Krystal, Michael Goldstein were even then active parties to the whole affair. The typed letters, sent by Dr. John Hislop (President of the US Sai Org.) only to top office-bearers in the Organisation and later rigorously suppressed by them, were not all destroyed. They have been scanned here so that devotees may see they are certainly no invention of exposť activists. The first Hislop letter speaks of a complaint received by letter from Mrs. (Diana) Payne. This was but one of a number of like complaints to Hislop before or around that time from different devotees in the USA of being abused by Sai Baba, including Mark Roche (who went to India with Hislop and the Cowans). It was also the time when the scandal arose quite separately in Malaysia, where numerous persons left the Organisation and Malaysian students left Sai Baba's colleges for the same reason.
An analysis of Hislop's letter follows after the text.

Downright crazy" sends a clear prejudicial, negative signal. Hislop wants to discredit the accusers, and he referred to their accounts 'false stories' even though admitting he can give no explanation as to why they asserted what they did. All too ready to cling to any shred of a reason, Hislop writes urgently to the accused ( i.e. Sai Baba) to explain why people accuse him falsely. With this kind of non-investigation, Hislop was unfit for any public office. But from the whole tone of the letter, anyone can see that he chose to believe what suits him best, nothing less, and to use the Organisation further to propagate this untested belief. Throughout, he is more concerned about preserving faith and holding together the organisation which he heads than serving the truth. This lack of open-mindedness in a person who heads an Organisation of such size and such pure pretentions is nothing short of a betrayal of person he knew well to be upright and honest, and thus a betrayal of all followers. Self-defeatingly, however, he points out that "Gov't leaders are Swami's strong devotees", which also means that they were all too willing to exert their influence to cover up and save face. Hislop marks himself out as a determined victim of the 'true believer' syndrome with a prejudiced mind.

Hislop gives no consideration to the fact that "such a situation could exist" for decades (as it did in the Catholic Church and other large organisations) without the victims or their families being able to adjust to it and to mobilise efforts to indict such a powerful person in India in an Indian court. The natural inclination is to want to forget the whole matter and not to have further trouble, heartache and upset from it... not least not to make themselves a target for the suspicions of 'craziness' as thrown upon them by Hislop and Co. (not the most dharmic action!), but also the vilifications of blind faith devotees.

to be continued...


Please read the extra article from Reidun Priddy:

February 2005

28: Reaction to the letter of Dr. John Hislop