The Pain of Self Searching
From knkitts (Kyra Kitts) on:
Sathya Sai Baba Discussion Club, message 2500:
Date: 8/8/01 12:49 a.m.
Dear Sai Baba Devotees,
I think I can speak safely for the majority of ex-Sai Baba devotees from the basis of my own experience. Please bear such statements in mind before you jump into reactive anger rather than the compassionate "how can I help" mindset that the best words of Sai Baba convey.
I was as devoted as a devotee can get. Baba was on my mind and in my heart 24 hours a day. I lived my life for Swami. I asked very little of Swami other than to serve him. In short, I was you.
Then the inconsistencies began to appear that I tried to deny. At first I treated them as slanderous rumors. How could Baba behave in any other than a perfect way? Of course he was the great mirror of all negativity.
Then the inconsistencies grew larger and not so easy to brush off. Friends who came back from India with haunted looks in their eyes, men and women both. Before bhajans they'd say how extraordinary their visit to Baba had been, but their manner conveyed something different and unsettling. They didn't talk a lot.
My own trip to India was something that I looked forward to as the spiritual grace of a lifetime. Sam Sandweiss said to me at a Baba retreat in La Honda, California before I left, "your vision experience with Swami was extraordinary. Most people don't get something like that. Maybe Swami has some great plan for you."
So off to India I went, 5 months pregnant against the better advice of family, friends, and midwife. I was in the depths of that indescribably sweet and painful yearning to see my Baba. I also looked at my expectations relentlessly.
Like most spiritual seekers, I look at my inner garbage critically and honestly. At Puttaparthi I was emotional from pregnancy and nearness to Swami. I was a vulnerable and wide open book.
Here you may disagree with me, thinking me shallow and filthy, but so be it. What Sai Baba did to me during my interview was cruel, petty, and malicious. It took me years of agonizing to come to that realization.
I was in shock after the experience. If Baba had said these things to me, then I must be a reincarnation of Attila the Hun, at the least. I tried to rationalize his treatment of me. I began to wonder if I really was a pervert of some sort for the thoughts I'd had at Puttaparthi.
For awhile I convinced myself that this was the truth. Gradually my inner truth overcame my doubts. I had been treated unjustly and the mirror was a poor reflector. Satya, not Sai, prevailed.
When a friend at my center finally told me and one other woman about his repeated molestations as an adolescent by Sai Baba, the last of my doubts vanished. This same fellow was in Walter Cowan's room at the time of the alleged miracle. My friend said that nothing miraculous had ever happened, and that the story had been falsified.
This same fellow last I heard of him still attends Sai satsang, still trying to rationalize the abuse done to him by now over 40 years ago. His life was ruined by the molestations.
Dear friends, when you come to that hideously painful realization for yourselves, and I have no doubt it will come, please don't be afraid to reach out for help. If I'm reading your post I'll reply to you with kindness and compassion. I'll try and share with you what I was never given by others during my own healing process. My words come from my heart.
Blessings to all of you.
With deep love,
Answer from Loveandjyothi
Date: 8/8/01 9:36 a.m.
You can certainly speak for me anytime. You returned love for anger; gentleness for cruelty. You clearly understand the pain that this controversy is causing for everyone. The vast majority of devotees are kind, good, spiritual, compassionate people, though once a devotee becomes an ex-devotee usually communication is severed regardless of the length of the relationship. Most do not stoop to counter-attack. Those that do are probably hurting the most. Usually, the ex-devotee simply ceases to exist.
This really leaves the ex-devotee "high and dry." Not only has the focus of their soul, their spiritual existence, and their daily lives been destroyed, but an entire community of friends and sometimes even family has abandoned them. If sb was your life and for most he was, other friends and activities fell by the wayside. It is a wrenching experience. No wonder our devotee brothers and sisters continue to cling blindly to what they want to believe is truth.
I have the greatest difficulty, however, working up empathy for those organizational leaders who have known for years what is going on and stand by and do nothing, and continue to promote sb. There is ample documentation now that Hislop knew, Goldstein knows, and in India, almost the entire leadership must know. These people are somehow harder for me to forgive than sb himself. I see sb as a really sad, horrific sick who can't control himself. These folks are a different story, somehow. So many are in the health professions and know this pattern of behavior so well. Why can't they recognize it? How dare they deny it when so many lives are so deeply wounded by it?
It is no wonder you have such depth of compassion for those devotees that attack you. You learned from the master after the cruelty you experienced during your interview while five months pregnant. You are right that many of these current devotees will eventually become ex-devotees. The evidence is simply too overwhelming for anyone who chooses to explore it.
I am thankful there are good brave people like you who step forward with more verification of what has already been said, like the inconsistencies and inaccuracies in the reports of Walter Cowen's so-called resurrection, which actually never happened. These were the fables that drew us in, reported in all those glorious books extolling the myth of sb's powers.
Even more telling for me have been the continued, highly consistent incidents of molestation that keep surfacing from a wide variety of sources, including devotees themselves. In the recent television show in Argentina, aired last Sunday, the organization officials do not even deny anymore that sb touches male genitals. The incident you reported, from the devotee who was there when Walter allegedly died, is the oldest I know of.
Based on Tal's book, we know the abuse goes back more than thirty years. Usually, sexually predators start their careers very early on and continue until they die or their hormones are altered in some way. I am sure there must be other stories dating back forty years as well. It simply confirms what I have reluctantly and with great sadness, anguish actually, had to come to terms with: sb is a compulsive sexual predator who has probably molested thousands of young males.
Kyra you are a compassionate, solid, caring person. Thank you for sharing your story, as I am sure it still hurts after all these years. Thank you for reaching out to those who are still struggling in spite of the abuse heaped upon you. I hope I have the honor of meeting you some day Kyra. God Bless you.
Love and light to all,