My Life As Sathya Sai Baba's Prophecy (Part 6) - Final -
My Life As Sathya Sai Baba's Prophecy, Part 6 (Final)
- by Satya Purcell
Now is my way clear, now is the meaning plain:
Temptation shall not come in this kind again.
The last temptation is the greatest treason:
To do the right deed for the wrong reason
- from T.S. Eliot's play, Murder In The Cathedral
Murder in the 'Cathedral'! (Or Sai Baba's Mandir)
Let us even leave aside the reports from within our group, and from direct Sai Baba student accounts, of Sai Baba sexually molesting boys and youths, and the deceitful pretenses of materializing gifts, said to be formed out of what he calls his 'Sankalpa' - that is God's direct and incarnate Will. There came a still more terrible day - and a horror that too easily can haunt the human mind forever!
There were six killings in Sai Baba's very sanctum sanctorum - his Puttaparthi mandir (temple) that is the focus of worship for millions of devotees around the world. Some good people present, convinced that there had been a huge cover-up, including devotees being told not to speak of the events, quitted the Sathya Sai Organization. It is the culture of cover-up in matters both great and small that will surely be the undoing of the Sathya Sai Organization. In many ways, the world moves towards far greater accountability. Corporations, governments, religious and secular institutions have put in strict place policies concerning various types of abuse and harassment. Increasingly educated publics are rising up against corruption and its concealment. The shameless men of the Sai Organization (and the small handful of women like Phyllis Krystal and Bernice Mead permitted near the top of Sai Baba's heirarchy) be the shame of their own children, friends and colleagues, who will not be so easily gulled as those who are head over heels in love with Sai Baba.
Just before Sunrise the day after our last interview with Sai Baba, David Campbell from New York whispered to me, "Sathya! Wake up!" In the dark room, I forced my eyes open to see David. "There was a murder in the Mandir last night," he said. I was wide awake. David, and I walked down to the darshan compound, just as the sun was coming up. David explained to me what he had heard up to that point. All we knew was that some former students tried to get in to see Sai Baba, were denied access and that they killed a couple of Sai Baba's attendants with large knives, someone had sounded the alarm, the police came over immediately, lined the perpetrators up inside upstairs above the mandir (temple) and, after awhile, shot them dead. (See in Resource list below a video clip of former Home Secretary of Sai Baba's State of Andhra, South India, V.P.Nair, commenting to BBC cameras in The Secret Swami, where he says that the police killings of Sai Baba's students were "absolute cold blooded murder").
There were people in the compound washing the white cement and sweeping the water toward the perimeter. As the water got closer to me I could see it was pink with the blood of those who had earlier been slain. One of the sweepers pushed the water right up to my bare feet and I had to quickly step back to avoid getting my feet wet with this bloody water. I remember thinking that there must have been a lot of blood for the water to still be pink by the time it reached me. As others started to gather around the compound, the evidence disappeared. Within several minutes, all that was left was wet ground. Some devotees -suddenly more like souvenir hunters than spiritual pilgrims - picked up pieces of the wall that had fallen to the ground from ricocheting bullets. Even though I was confused at that time about Sai Baba and the status of my own faith, I certainly knew that I did not want a piece of that wall as a 'spiritual' souvenir from my trip to India. It was a piece of murder. It was a piece of grand duplicity, that, with lightning speed, stole away even the opportunity for a trial. As if pronouncing an edict from an Emperor, Sai Baba's head man in India, Indulal Shah, summarily told the Press that there would be no investigation. It was incredible among those of us brought up to respect democracy. How could India ever gain respect among the democratically advanced countries when it, even for a moment, tolerated such a gross outrage as this?! The crime scene had not been secured, an absolute fundament of proper police procedure. Hours after their prompt arrival, the police had rounded up these former students inside the mandir - the place where worshippers sing to God - and shot them dead. Some investigation! It made the stomach sick, even more than the presence of swilling blood.
For those of us present on that grisly June 6, 1993, the words of V.P.B. Nair in The Secret Swami in 2004 had an extra chill. Granted that those whom the police shot dead had apparently killed Sai Baba's cook and driver, but they were shot before they could tell the world why, and there are the gravest questions about the long lapse of time between the arrival of the police who did the shooting and the shooting itself. After my experiences with Sathya Sai Baba, and having it fortified by my contact with highly credible people over the years who have harrowing first-hand testimony, I have no doubt that he did not want their story to be told.
Only a properly conducted investigation would have dispelled the view that has been shared by many - that Sai Baba, who was well in command after the first confusion of events, did what many wealthy and politically powerful criminals do. He had them killed!
I carry the name of one of the biggest spiritual frauds of all time, given to me by him when I was a child. I am not a baby now, and will not be silenced - even though knowing that to be a former devotee who speaks out is necessarily to attract extreme vilification, distortion and slander. On the other hand, I know that these calumnies do not come from most Sai Baba devotees, who are very often kindly people indeed, who sincerly and daily work at their spiritual upliftment and of the society around them. It is terribly sad that they are in the hands of Sai Baba's closed circle of leaders who have, for many years, manipulated information and suppressed genuine and responsible attempts within the Sathya Sai Organization to look at the allegations in a truthful, fearless way. If these attempt had succeeded, it is difficult to see how there could ever have been television documentaries like the BBC's 'The Secret Swami', DR's 'Seduced', ATUL Television's 'Divine Sin', and researched stories in leading newspapers in different parts of the world.
Those few Sai-devotees who have heard my story usually think that Sai Baba made us young men - who were supposed to be under the protection of the very questionable Hal Honig of Manhattan, New York, leave his path on purpose. They think that there is a divine reason for why he wanted us to doubt him. That would have been easier for me to believe than to accept that my life's devotion was for a fake. There are now many former devotees around the world, some of whom I have known most of my life. They have felt deeply betrayed by Sai Baba and those of his leaders who have kept our accounts from their general membership. They are shunned by Sai devotees and yet stand high among all who know them beyond. Most former devotees seem to me to have gotten on with life, being good parents, working hard in their jobs, and finding other outlets for their service to needier members of society, and other spiritually uplifting involvements. Not all the good works done in his name should be allowed to obsure his accountability before the law. If we are prepared to accept praise for our good deeds, why should we try to elude censure for any wrongdoings? When I think of the many beautiful Indian people I have met over the years, it hurts my heart to think that they are under the control of such corrupt leaders, whose actions in supporting Sai Baba can only invite enduring shame for that otherwise great country.
Yes, for sure, it would have been easier to have remained under the spell. My own father, Gary Purcell, stopped believing in Sai Baba when I was just a child. He told me that he saw Sai Baba's phony 'miracles'. My mother, the late Sharon Purcell, like so many Sai devotees went for over thirty years heedless of any accounts questioning of Sai Baba, whom she loved, adored and served faithfully alongside some of the historic members of the Sai movement, like my godparents the late Elsie and Walter Cowan, who were among the first multi millionaire financial supporters of Sai Baba, and the late Dr Jack Hislop, Sai Baba's foremost leader in the West. Dad said that on various occasions he saw trinkets Sai Baba materialized before he materialized them, and observed how Sai Baba hid things in, for example, the sides of his chair. Many devotees have now spotted these deceits, but remain deceived about the nature of them, failing to consider how he, who says that his gifts are divinely manifested. One day Sai Baba asked someone to open a window and everyone was watching the person cross to it. My father watched Sai Baba instead, noticing him take a trinket out from the side of his chair. Seeing that my father saw him do it, Sai Baba winked at him, then pretended to materialize the jewel. I shamefully regret that for many years I assumed Sai Baba had a reason for why he "let" my dad see his magic tricks while others saw only miracles. I formerly justified Sai Baba's actions as being just what my father needed for his own spiritual growth. Therefore, I perfectly understand that there will be those who read this story and, not wanting to believe it or to vigorously question their own assumptions and belief system, will find ways to rationalize and justify Sai Baba's actions. The truth is hard. I know because I carry it as my name.
But there is life after Sathya Sai Baba and it is better than I could ever have imagined. Maybe a higher power fulfilled Sai Baba's silly prophesy that an American named Sathya would be born. Maybe Truth itself ensured that I was born just so I could inform other sincere enquirers that "Bhagavan" (which means - God) Sri Sathya Sai Baba is a liar, deeply involved in murder, sexual molestation including of those whom I have every good reason to trust and believe, and the shocking cover-up not only by the ashram but by one Indian government after another.
Oh, let me not exclude, since I have been a keen amateur magician and member of the International Magician's Society that, all the while, though a conman of genius, Sai Baba carries off his master act despite being a really bad magician. How ironic!
In the name of truth I sincerely swear that this writing is true and accurate to the best of my knowledge and memory. May all seekers find their fulfillment. Sathya (Satya) Sai Purcell. Piece originally written by July 4, 2004.
Note: Satya Purcell is today known as Satya and Satch. Sathya Sai and Sathya are names that are yielded to Satya for practical purposes as he grew up in an American school, etc., where the "thya" form was bothersome. He relates that when among devotees, he was happy to bear the name Sathya and felt deeply honored to bear the name given to him by the one he and they regarded as the Divine incarnate on earth.
Further Resources, including still further Links
Barry Pittard's contextualising comments on this series from Satya (Sathya, Satch) Purcell series, with added resource links, are found at:
Film clip of former Andhra Pradesh Home Minister V.P.B. Nair - telling BBC cameras that the police killings in Sai Baba's bedroom on June 6, 1993, were "absolute cold blooded murder"
Transcript of the BBC's The Secret Swami
Sathya Sai Baba Bedroom Murders.
Former leader of Norwegian Sathya Sai Organization and retired academic, University of Oslo, looks at the killings. His Wikpedia resumé is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Priddy
Arts/Teaching/Drama post-graduate, commenced informal teaching with drama, and then, including taking over Principal Narendra's third year lectures, lectured in English at all levels of the three-year degree Course (1978-79) at the Sri Sathya Sai College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Whitefield, via Bangalore, South India. Innovated what was known as the 'Small Library' project, which brought him into unusually wide contact with boys from many backgrounds and classes from virtually all-India. Co-edited with valued colleague P.K. Mohanty an issue of the College magazine, which boys from across the campus turned into a huge best-seller. (With such fond memories, ex-students and staff are most welcome to contact Barry Pittard at: bpittard (at) optusnet.com.au. Strictest confidentiality is assured. Or phone or video conference contact can be arranged)
Indian Ex Top Official Dogs Sai Baba On BBC. "Cold-blooded Murder"
Serial Sex Molestation and Bedroom Killings. But Much More