examine the guru


There are many possible replies to this material. It is not a matter of simply reducing any reply to considering the truth and falsity of any assertions about Sai Baba. The mode, manner, presentation and supporting evidence (and the lack of same) also ought be taken into consideration. The reply may also take into consideration communication and modes of conveying experience. How is the Truth communicated in ways that is verified in the life of the listener, the reader? These and other issues form some of the dimensions of reply.


The value of being confronted with a document of that sort is that it makes you think twice about your spiritual path, where you want to go, and how. You have to analyse what is it that you value in Sai Baba, what it is you have faith in, what validating experiences of that faith form your foundation and how you experience divinity. How do you continue to experience divinity?


Sai Baba is a GURU and as such he should be judged. There are requirements central to that task while others are peripheral. Those requirements are:


  • – The quality of the Teaching.
  • – The ability to transform others, to facilitate living in accordance with the teachings
  • – The capacity to lead others to the goal effectively.
  • – The example of Integrity.
  • – The effect on society at large


  • – The ability to attract people towards the spiritual path.
  • – To create ashrams or social works for the benefit of people.
  • – To write or cause to be written, books or other reference material on his teachings
  • – The numbers of persons transformed

We shall examine these facets of a Guru, as we would examine any other matter, using discrimination.

To break momentarily and examine GURU, a word which has the following meanings and associations (not from Sai Literature):

from Microsoft Encarta Dictionary:

gu-ru (plural gurus) noun

– Hindu or Sikh religious teacher: in Hinduism and Sikhism, a religious leader or teacher
– leader of religious group: a spiritual leader of or intellectual guide for a religious group or movement especially one being described as non-mainstream somebody influential: somebody who is prominent and influential in a specific field and sets a trend or starts a movement a meeting of the world’s software gurus
-individual’s revered teacher and counselor: a teacher or counselor in spiritual or intellectual matters who is especially revered and followed by an individual
[Early 17th century. From Sanskrit, « elder, teach]

The Columbia Encyclopedia: Sixth Edition. 2000:

guru (gu’ru, g’ru’) (KEY) , in Hinduism and Buddhism, spiritual teacher. The guru gives initiation into spiritual practice and instructs disciples, often maintaining a close relationship with them. Among the Sikhs (see Sikhism) the title guru was given to the 10 leaders of the community from Nanak (c.1469-c.1539), founder of Sikhism, to Govind Singh (1666-1708). Govind appointed no successor, declaring that the Granth (the Sikh scriptures) was the true guru.

In the Bloomsbury Thesaurus:

12 sage wise man (or woman), savant, academic, intellectual, highbrow, pundit, expert, genius, authority, consultant, counsellor, adviser, mentor, teacher, tutor, guru, Socrates, Nestor, Solon, Solomon, boffin (Inf), egghead (Inf), nobody’s fool (Inf), wise guy (Inf), know-all (Inf)

Again, from the Bloomsbury Thesaurus:

4 educator teacher, head teacher, … ….. ….. …mentor, adviser, authority, expert, pundit (or pandit), guru, mullah, maestro, docent (US), preacher, homilist

Finally, for some fuller sense of the situation-in-life of the traditional guru, in the Oxford Paperback Encyclopedia we read the entry for monastery:

monastery A community of monks living by prayer and labour in secluded, often remote, locations. Such communities, which are meant to further the communal and individual practice of asceticism, are common to most religions. Buddha founded a monastic order (sangha) and a code of discipline, which is still used and was spread by missionaries throughout Asia. The sangha, remains an important element in Theravada Buddhism, with well over 250,000 members despite the hostility of communist governments in China and elsewhere. In Hinduism monasticism takes the form of ashrams, or retreats, where the influence of a guru or holy man and practices, such as yoga, are important.

Quality of Teaching

From the above definitions it would seem reasonable to make the assertion that Sathya Sai Baba foots the bill as a guru simply in the function of teacher. The teaching period commenced from the opening of the Prasanthi Nilayam mandir, 23 November 1950.

Sathya Sai Baba has stated that he does not want devotion to himself or his person, what he wants is devotion to his teachings.

There are four stated components of the mission of Sathya Sai Baba, three of which are relevant to the assessment of Sai Baba as GURU and the quality of the teachings. They are:~

  • Dharmastaphana – the restoration of dharma (or righteousness)
  • Veda Vidwath – the fostering of the vedas
  • Veda Poshana – the fostering of the vedic scholars

These three components of the mission give rise to private talks, discourses, writings, interviews and guidance to devotees from all religious faiths and walks of life. The quality of the teachings is heightened by « sarva dharma« , that is to say, the teachings are not limited to Hinduism or Sanathana Dharma – the eternal righteousness that forms the core of Hinduism. It is a multi faith teaching that asserts without fear or favour that all faiths are pathways to the One True God. Festivals and Feast days of other religious traditions are observed; Buddha Wesak, Christmas, The Birthday of Mohammed, the Chinese New Year with Chinese Gods are also observed.

What does The Findings have to assert about 50 years of continuous teaching of this indisputable human truth that all religions are paths to the same goal?

Does The Findings dispute this?

If not, is there due and proper cause then, to depart from the teachings of Sai Baba?

In the West there is a little remarked upon aspect of Sai Baba’s mission, that is, the fostering of the Vedas and fostering of the Vedic scholars. It is generally regarded to be irrelevant in the Western world, which has been endowed with knowledge of the One God. The obscure byways of the Indian scriptures don’t seem to apply. The problem with this is that the entire universe rests upon Dharma, that is, right conduct, right action and righteousness. Dharma is something of a catch-all word that does not translate precisely into English. Dharma is the life breath of all the Indian scriptures. Moreover, it is the life-breath of all life–in all cultures, in all nations.

The principle of the Avatar and the principle of all human righteousness, as stated by Sage Vyasa and Sai Baba is:~

« Sathyam Vada, dharmam chara »

This translates to Speak truthfully, act righteously.

We now present central elements of the teachings of Sai Baba.

The Goal of Life

Realise Atmic Awareness:

You must have heard of people seeking moksha (liberation) and getting moksha; many may be under the impression that it is some rare honour that only a few secure or that it is some area like Paradise or a Colony of the Elect or a Height that some heroic souls alone can climb up to. No, moksha is something which all must achieve, whether they are heroic or not; even those who deny it have to end by realising it.

Struggle to realise Atma
to visualise God;
even failure in this struggle
is nobler
than the success
in other worldly affairs

Always have the meaning and purpose of life in view. And experience that purpose and that meaning. You are That; that is the truth. You and the Universal are One; you and the Absolute are One; you and the Eternal are One. You are not the Individual, the Particular, the Temporary. Feel this, know this. Act in conformity with this. Someone came to Ramana Maharishi and asked him thus: « Swami! I have been doing intense meditation for the last 18 years; but I have failed to realise the Ideal on which my meditation is concentrated. How many more years should I continue thus? » Ramana answered, « It is not a question of a certain number of years. You have continue meditation until the awareness that you are doing meditation disappears ». Forget the ego, let it melt and merge, with all its layers of consciousness.

We commenced this page by indicating dimensions of reply and by saying that Sai Baba is a GURU and as such he should be judged. There are requirements central to that task while others are peripheral. Those requirements are:

  • A. CENTRAL OR ESSENTIAL ~The quality of the Teaching.

We finish here after a preliminary overview of the goal of Sai Baba’s teachings, indicating that Sai Baba himself, fits a definition of GURU, and he himself is not the object of devotion as per his instruction.

Devotion to and practice of the teachings of Sai Baba pass the first hurdle in dimensions of this reply.

Go to the next Dimension of Reply

Snowballing and growing

The Snowballing Controversy

One may well say that Sai Baba is rapidly becoming a controversial guru. He is appearing in movies, videos, the print media, electronic print and electronic video media. All forms of human communication seem to engage in challenge, question and dispute about Sai Baba, his nature and his alleged activities.

The release of The Findings onto the Internet, and the campaign to contact persons involved in disputed activity with Sai Baba have widened the subject of original controversy (which specified many irregularities around Sai Baba, Is He Truly Who He Claims To Be?) and opened up for discussion what some persons regard as questionable activity between Sai Baba and devotees.

Dispute is grounded primarily in what humans expect with regard to behaviour of God-men, Divine Incarnations, Avatars of God, Holy Saints and like leaders of Humanity. Even Gandhi was not immune from charges of spoiling his celibacy.

A reality of controversy is being created in many quarters. Clearly there are assumptions about the nature of God, and these influence human expectation of how God behaves when he comes in a body, etc, etc,.

The West is largely permeated with the knowledge of the One True God. Let us go on to examine some of the thoughts the West has held about the Nature of God.

Click to examine the Western notion of the nature of God

the nature of God

controversy with God, a human – divine quarrel

« Man’s quarrel with God – I want to know WHY! »: in that, all of modern man is like the Old Testament Patriarch Job, who was stricken down as the result of a divine wager between God and Satan. His wife told him, « Curse God and die »; his friend told him his misfortunes were due one sin or another. Job sat on his dungheap and sued God to the universal courts of Justice: « I want to know why ». The Lord answered from the whirlwind, « Where wast thou on the day of Creation »… and so the endless story of man and God and dialogue continues from generation to generation. Job, who has been holding forth on matters he knows naught about, repents in dust and ashes. His faith is vindicated, and God restores all his former blessings to him. Job’s faith in God is vindicated, even though he courageously quarrels with God.

A likely story? Maybe. It is story that contains many archetypes of the human thought about the Divine in the West. Suffering and evil are the mystery of the human condition, and say nothing about God. God is above and beyond man, perfection, immutable, eternal, silent majesty, irreproachable. Out of the perfection of the First Cause, the Pure Being that contains no impurity, man receives an answer. God, infinite Good, made the world. Sin entered the world throught the action of man. Man experiences the consequences of sin. God is just, man is a miserable creature meriting his just punishments.

God. Divine dispenser of boon, prayer, miracle, materialization. God, Eternal justice and mercy. Theology and Philosophy of God turn God into ultimate being, ultimate perfection, ultimate purity. Eliminating all the varied content of human existence, the philosophers and theologians arrive at something called Highest Good, pure being. This is a paradox for created beings (Man) who are not the supreme fulness of pure being. God, pure being, is immutable, without change forever, omnipotent, infinite, eternal, One. Any divine incarnation would be unapproachable, irreproachable and utterly other to everyday human existence. This is the God of the Philosophers.

Every authentic religion, has, to some degree, the following characteristics:

  1. A sense of the holy or the sacred (a totally other power or force which at once overwhelms and fascinates us);
  2. Some self-conscious response to the expereience of the holy, i.e. faith;
  3. the articulation of that response in the form of beliefs;
  4. moral behaviour and ritual consistent with the perception of the holy
  5. the emergence of a community of shared perceptions, meanings, and values, with some form of rudimentary structure.

These five important points, along with the God of Job, and the God of the philosphers form a not-unreasoble foundation for controversy about how God SHOULD behave when a divine incarnation enters history…. like Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Rama, Zoroastrer, and, perhaps, prophetic leaders like Moses, Isaiah, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa.

Good, Evil, and GOD

Central to this controversy is the perennial question of Good and Evil. Do they exist? Is the law of Karma binding for one ane all? Are one or another of Godmen, Avatars, Divine Incarnations outside the universal laws of cause and effect, their acts beyond being categorised as good or evil? What, when, Jesus took a rope and fashioned a whip out of it and drove the moneychangers out of the temple? Was ths act good? Was Jesus bound by the laws of karma for each moneylender’s table and cash he tipped over? What of Krishna and Sisipula? When Sisipula had reached the limits of insults to Krishna the Sudarsan Chakra appeared and took off his head? Was this an evil act? Are Godmen and women, Avatars and Divine incarnations free from the dichotomy of judgement by humans? Are they bound, are they free? By what criteria shall you assess them?

Fake Materialisations?
Does Sai Baba Fake It?

Sai Baba materialising vibhuthi

Ability to Materialise since childhood

Ever since Sai Baba came under notice as a young boy pulling sweets out of a paper bag at school and distributing same to his friends, many have speculated about Sai Baba and his ability to materialise objects and where that ability comes from.

Witnesses tell since 1943

Sai Baba’s ability to materialise objects has not been doubted from 1943, when he was acclaimed an avatar, nor even before that declaration. In those early days, witnesses recorded materialisations of nectar called amrith, diamond rings, and many, many witnesses told stories of the materialisation of food, of flowers, garlands, idols of Ganesh, Shirdi Sai Baba, Krishna, Rama etc. Pendants, rosary beads, mangala sutra for marriages, photographs and portraits. All these materialisations were given to many, many early devotees, from Anjaneyulu, the Excise Inspector in Uravakonda, to Kamalamma and Subbamma, (his foster mothers), to Sakamma, one of the donors of the first ashram, to his mother, his father, childhood friends, and devotees. All witnessed a constant flow of materialisations. However, even in those days, there were doubters and critics.

In 1960, Sai Baba addressed doubters

Faith can grow only by long cultivation and careful attention. The old are haunted by the demon of doubt. I know there are many here who are afflicted by doubts. They think that I have hidden a vessel of amrith in a spot in the sands previously fixed and known to Me only. That is why I now asked some, from among those people themselves, to decide where we sit on these sands.

Kasturi suggested this morning that since the thousands who have come to see the amrithodbhava cannot get a close view on this flat river bed, a mound of sand be raised whereon I can sit. I did not agree because I knew these doubters would immediately infer that the amritha was hidden previously under the mound that was heaped up on purpose! This doubt is truly a component of the Rakshasa nature, for it eats into the vitals of Bhakthi. It clips the wings of joy, it dampens enthusiasm, it tarnishes hope.

Such men cannot attain the goal even at the end of a thousand births. Of course, when doubt assails you, welcome the chance to see and experience and clear the doubt. But do not later deny the very truth of which you were once convinced and listen again to the voice of hate or foolishness. Do not put faith in the words of men into whose hands you will not entrust your purse; as a matter of fact, it is the words of such men that are now leading many astray. Really, this is a pitiable state of things, isn’t it? [ 23 Nov 1960, Sathya Sai Speaks Vol 2]

Man of Miracles

Sathya Sai Baba has often said, Miracles are my visiting cards. It is largely through miracles and materialisations that Sai Baba becomes known to people – materialisations of vibhuti, and other substances on pictures of Sai Baba – these are well known phenomena that are mentioned in books and attract visitors to the ‘Man of Miracles‘ himself, Sai Baba.

Scientific Examination and Investigation

Associate Professor of Psychology at University of Iceland, para-psychologist Dr. Erlendur Haraldsson came to India several times to investigate Sathya Sai Baba’s paranormal powers.The result of his efforts over ten years is the book Miracles are My Visiting Cards. It has a scientific examination and analysis of miracle and materialisation stories. Of more interest is the interviews with the editor of an Indian Magazine, RK Karinjia and Sai Baba. The following extracts are taken from the 1994 publication, « God Lives in India » with permission of the publisher:

Magazine Editor Interviews Baba

Q: What is the significance of the Vibhuthi
and the trinkets that you materialise and gift to
people ? Is there any need for a God - man to
demonstrate such miracles which any magician can
conjure ?
Baba : So far as I am concerned, this is
evidence of my Divinity. It is not by any means an
exhibition of Divinity ...
Q: Still I do not understand why you should
materialise rings, bracelets, watches and those kind
of trinkets ?
Baba : Most people desire talismans symbolic
of my protection. So I provide them. When they are
in trouble they FEEL the grip of the ring,  bracelet or
watch to remember me and call me to their rescue
so that I can help them. On the other hand, if I give
them something that they cannot wear, they are likely
to store it and forget about it.
The  main thing  is that these trinkets or
talisman, by whatever name you call them give
people a sense of security and protection they need
in time of trouble or crisis and create a symbolic link
covering the long distances between them and
myself. When the devotees need me, these objects
flash the message as if by wireless and I instantly
come to their rescue.
Q: What about the Vibhuti materialised by
you? We would like to know its relevance because
your critics are trying to discredit you by sending
round  magicians who  produce exact replicas of
Baba: What I materialise is a manifestation of
Divinity with a potent significance as well as
symbolisation. It is symbolic of the cosmic, immortal
and infinite nature of all forms of God, Atma or the
Spirit - that is, what is left when everything worldly,
transient and changeable has burnt away...
...It is in order to press home this lesson that I
materialise ash for those who come to me with love
and devotion. Like the other materialisations, it also
acts as a talisman healing the sick and giving
protection to those who need it. It is the symbol of

The Phenomena of Materialisations:

It is pertinent to recall that not all materialisations occur in Prasanthi Nilayam, as a result of direct physical activity by the person of Sathya Sai Baba in his presence. What many critics and the evidence rendered very conveniently overlook is the multiple recorded materialisations and other phenomena in India and elsewhere in the world done by Sathya Sai Baba.

Phenomena materialised
by Sai Baba Personally
Phenomena materialised Elsewhere
Vibhuthi Vibhuti on Shrines
Vibhuti footsteps
Kumkum, Amrith,
Butter on pictures and idols
(Rosary beads)
Statues, Linghams,
Lingodbhava (Golden Lingham)
Pictures of Gods
Medallions, Diamonds,
Precious stones
Pictures of Gods
Letters taken at shrines
Food Vibhuti on letters offered at shrines
Wish Fulfilling tree
(many different fruits materialised)
Flowers falling, garlands move, garlands become larger
Water from ground
Water to Petrol
Writing on walls
live animals Vibhuti writing on pictures
Sacred Objects from the past
Precious Gems from the past
Wood from Cross of Christ

Examination of Materialisations

Materialisations and miracles immediately beckon the witness and the hearer toward the world of biblical miracles, the second coming of Christ, healers, miracle workers and gurus, with some overlay of magic, fakery and cult. It has elements of fascination that appeals to inner desire to believe that such manipulations of the seemingly resolute laws of nature might be true. And, if they are true, who or what is the doer of these miraculous acts? Innate fascination, desire, curiosity, all these elements are at play when people attend to the matter of materialisations and miracles. Any assessment that generates belief or is based on intangible elements of proof, will create controversy. Many people demand proofs for suspension of disbelief. Millions more see and see and see and do not enquire into the nature of any materialisations.

Conjured or Materialised,
Is He True Guru or Charlatan?

Discussion and evaluation of this topic ranges from disbelief, to doubt, to belief in Sathya Sai Baba as personal God, or Avatar, guru of all humanity.


The simple facts are so: Sai Baba moves his hand in the familiar circling motion, something appears from his downward facing hand. We shall name this a sign. The sign is evaluated. Signs tell a message and significance is drawn out of what is seen, heard, tasted, witnessed. One process of evaluation of the sign (be it a rosary, a ring, or a picture) is the Either-Or evaluation. This is the Open – Closed evaluation. It has no middle ground. Either Sai Baba is true God or true-guru or he is a fake, a conjuror, a magician. There is no room for further evidence or discussion. The door is open, or the door is closed. No further aspects around Sai Baba are admitted into consideration. Door opens and shuts on one criteria only.

Both this, and the other?

Other means of evaluation may be explored. One such means can include the material of the open – and shut method and assess that against additional evidence, and other useful criteria

The Vedas proclaim what is seen reflects the seer(Sai Baba has often told in his talks that everything is ‘reaction, reflection, resound’).

  • – Witnesses have to assess what they have seen and take that into their self-enquiry
  • – It is the duty of the Guru to expose doubt and draw it out
  • – The Bhagavad Gita speaks of creation as leela vinodi, ‘the play of the Lord’

The Both-And evaluation provides more options for exploration and assessment. Additional evidence may be considered. Evaluation is a process. There can be opportunity for self-appraisal vis-a-vis spiritual progress, analysis of Sathya Sai Baba and his action, and consideration of the purposes behind the phenomenon witnessed.

There is nothing gained by making lifetime decisions about the person or nature or role of Sathya Sai Baba on the basis of gossip or unverified second hand stories. Any decision based on second hand stories disposes of the unique human capacity of discrimination and the intellect. (Persons making such a decision act in self inflicted ignorance.)

The Vibhuti Pellet

Consider the reports of Sathya Sai Baba using a pellet of vibhuthi, crushing it between his fingers, and distributing it to devotees.

Recently, one devotee reported seeing a vibhuti pellet fall from Sai Baba’s hand in darshan, whilst he was walking around. No one else saw this. Later enquiry among those sitting either side of him and opposite him in darshan revealed that no other men present witnessed this. Only this one devotee saw it. The devotee is adamant and repeats « I saw the pellet fall ». He has no doubt about it. Who is the play for?

If we take the elements of the Both-And evaluation and combine it with the tableau of sign-signifier-significance, some useful extrapolations may be made:

Sign Signifier Significance
vibhuti pellet mind of the witness Exposes disbelief
(seen reflects the seer)
vibhuti on Sai Baba
picture overseas
Sathya Sai Baba Guru’s shakti not limited to ashram
diamond ring given to devotee is shown to be fake mind of the witness Witnesses have to assess what they have seen and take it into their self-enquiry
Sathya Sai Baba
obviously palms a ring
Sathya Sai Baba Baba is playing on devotee projections
(Guru’s task is to expose doubt)
Sathya Sai Baba changes a
3 stone ring into 1 stone ring
Sathya Sai Baba creation is leela vinodi,
the sport of the Lord
Sai Baba materialises article
used by Krishna
Sathya Sai Baba Guru has mastery of time and space
Film evidence shows a necklace is handed to Sathya Sai Baba Sathya Sai Baba Sathya Sai Baba provokes controversy about his nature and his actions

The Play of the Atma

The purpose of the Sai Incarnation is to show the path of blessedness to those who have forgotten that path. Complacency does not merit belief; doubt is not dissolved by closing a door arbitrarily and refusing to examine fact and experience further.

Controversy is a valid an instrument of divine self revelation just as glimpses of creation-ex-nihilo and the leela vinodi, the play of the Lord. If witnesses do not examine and assess both themselves and their own personal experience of the Guru, then no progress toward divinity is experienced, nor is divinity known.

We conclude that materialisation and the conjuror’s trick of trade may occur in the text and the context of the faith journey of an individual devotee as shown earlier on this page. We conclude both materialisation and obvious palm tricks may be employed by Sai Baba in his task as guru to rid the devotee of maya, illusion, laziness, lack of faith, disbelief, laziness and slothfulness along with uncritical acceptance of the stories of tale-bearers without proper enquiry.

Purport of Controversy

Sathya Sai Baba, in engaging in controversy, is challenging devotees and others to examine, evaluate, test and decide, as he has so often told in his discourses, that each and any who come to him ought do. As guru and guide, Sathya Sai Baba is providing the different means needed for individuals to progress toward divinity. That is his duty as guru.

So BOTH true materialisations and AND conjured materialisations may exist in the repertoire of Sai Baba and his materialisations, for the various reasons noted above. Perhaps Sai Baba wants devotees to examine the basis of their faith in HIM and his acts more critically. Perhaps some need the rude awakening and goad toward discrimination that controversy so conveniently provides. Perhaps Sai Baba is Bala Krishna from time to time, at play and illuminating devotees to lighten up and not take it all so seriously.

Keep in Mind

One must continually keep in mind that Sai Baba as told that the path toward divinity and God-realisation is different for each and every person, and no two persons get to the goal via the same path. So these controversies will have different functions for different devotees and other witnesses. The only valid assessment of the conjuror’s trick and fakery, if it is seen, is your own personal evaluation. What will be your basis of that evaluation?

A documented overview of the history and extent of the alleged sexual abuses by Sathya Sai Baba and the questions they raise.

The organised cover-up, rationalising and defense of pedophile activities: One thought of many devotees is surely whether all (or most of) the allegations of sexual activity, interference and abuse by Sai Baba of Puttaparthi are vicious falsehoods designed to smear Sathya Sai Baba and his associates and thus to challenge his popularity and influence. I shall shortly summarise some of the ramifications of attempts to counter these allegations. I agonised for a very long time over the matter and for a long time entertained most of the explanations that would seem to undermine them, but at length I knew that proper and wide investigation by me was unavoidable if I were to retain my self-respect.

My instinct was generally to take all kinds of public allegations of sexual abuse, corruption and major deceit with large pinches of salt, at least until the weight of evidence is incontrovertible. Eighteen years after first visiting Prashanthi Nilayam and engaging myself deeply in work as a follower of Sathya Sai Baba, I finally investigated the allegations of Sathya Sai Baba’s homosexuality, sexual abuse and involvements in other deceits (including murders) for several years. I turned every stone to find a way out of accepting the strong likelihood of the worst. Alas, what I have found leaves no way out of this.

Contrary to what I had hoped and even half-expected, the evidence has become more and more widespread and convincing, including reports of independent investigations by several persons whose integrity I trust, so that I have reached the position that the main allegations, at the very least, are true. Very serious accusations of sexual misdemeanor are increasingly proving – in my long-considered and often agonising judgement – to have such circumstantial weight and back-up as to be unavoidable.

That Sathya Sai Baba has never been brought to book and so far remains unconvicted for the crimes of which he has been accused is reportedly only due to the power he still exercises on and through politicians, backed by his considerable financial empire and very extensive cult in India . In this situation, which is very similar to that pertaining in the Roman Catholic world prior to the breakthrough for justice for some of the very many victims of sexual abuse and cover-up within it, one can but present the reports that have been made and the mass of circumstantial evidence and depositions by the many who claim to have been sexually molested by him. The process of publicising the need for legal accountability where the Prime Minister of India and a majority of politicians in power support cover-up and try to silence critics is long, but one where we may trust that the truth will eventually be investigated and the essential facts discovered.

The former Indian Prime Ministers Narasimha Rao and Atal Vihari Vajpayee among other Indian top politicians have denied in very public ways that Sai Baba is or ever could be guilty. This was backed up to the hilt with rabid accusations in the BBC documentary by another fanatical finger-pointing and hysterical Indian Minister, Murali Manohar Joshi. One may be pleased that he was firmly removed from his post as Minister of Human Resource Development by the India electorate. (Incidentally, his arrogance is ostensibly only matched by his ignorance of ‘human resouces’ which for him are based on Hindu astrology plus Sai Baba’s penny proverbs). He is a fairly typical representative of those Indian public know-alls who loudly refute that Sai Baba could ever harm anyone. He admitted that there have been no investigations by the Indian Government of the allegations against Sai Baba, and claimed that such were entirely unnecessary.

Prominent « Sai Baba VIPs » Dr. Michael Goldstein, Datuk Jegathesan, Thorbjørn Meyer, Jørgen Trygved and Jack Hawley among numerous others have claimed to know that Sai Baba is innocent of the sexual charges, as do nearly all who are still followers. Yet they are at apparent odds with one another and there is much confusion in the camp about what his physical actions are, what he actually does and why. Meyer and Trygved admit sexual oiling of male genitals by Sathya Sai Baba but fondly think it is only an age old Indian ceremony of anointing. Meanwhile Hawley denies any wrongdoing by Sathya Sai Baba whatever and Goldstein (a doctor of medicine who considers himself a « consummate professional »!), insists vehemently and finger-pointingly that Sathya Sai Baba is not above the law and could never conceivably do such things and thaty he can see just by looking at them that no boy near Sathya Sai Baba has ever been abused like that. Goldstein ‘knows in his heart’ etc. that it is entirely inappropriate to investigate at all. Compared to them, Isaac Tigrett is straightforward, at least, for he believes the allegations are true enough, laughs loudly and somewhat manically over it (on TV), while holding it does not bother him in the least! Then there is the Awle camp which admits the likelihood of all kinds of what normal people call sexual perversions and justifies them with a cooked-up divine theology of divine retribution!

However, the claims of all the power-brokers, corrupt politicians and bemused devotees are a wholly transparent deceit, because none of them have been able to monitor Sathya Sai Baba’s lifelong activities in more than a few dozen hours of interviews lasting an hour or so, plus the limited periods he is seen in public during darshans, festivals and such like. What do they ‘know’ about what he does in private interviews, or in his private rooms during both day and night? Only what they believe! Their belief in Baba’s purity is based entirely in the last instance on subjective imaginings and wishful thinking and supported by all manner of motives from loss of face, prestige, faith, friends, plus privileges and properties on trust to them from Sai Baba. Here one clearly sees the closed cultish nature of the Sai Organisation and movement as a whole, nonetheless a cult which includes a wide range of Indian and foreign professionals and public figures.

Numerous devotees have tried to rationalise the widely reported sexual abuses by Sathya Sai Baba by suggesting that the victims could themselves have been sexual abusers in a previous lifetime, and required this experience to put them on the straight and narrow. This is a mere idea and a naive and oversimplified view of the laws of retribution (karma) and shows just how hard devotees have to look for a way to save some faith in Sai Baba, whatever the facts are. Being sexually abused is more often itself a forerunner to becoming an abuser. Given that the reincarnation of sexual abusers took place, how did this qualify them for the supposed tremendous blessing of being close to the Avatar as Sai students and devotees? The cunning answer given by Sai Baba is that he allows ‘bad persons’ to stay close to him so he can keep track of them and correct them. Yet he affirms just as strongly that proximity to his holy personage is only a result of good actions, and even many lifetimes of it! None of this stands up to ordinary reason and smacks of desperately stamping out doubts that will just not lie down and die.

On top of it all, testimonies from young men abused by Sathya Sai Baba – not least Alaya Rahm on the BBC programme – of how Sathya Sai Baba would give them money after sex! The Rahms shows some of the banknotes received, along with various trashy ‘gold’ watches and other trinkets.

No speculations or accusations against the accusers have shown themselves to have any identifiable basis or substance, certainly not in respect of their allegations against Sai Baba for sexual interference and direct abuse. The former Chairman of the International Sai Organisation, Indulal Shah, has stated that they represent ‘vested interests’ (by which Sai people often mean Christian churches and the like) and Sathya Sai Baba announced in his infamous 2000 Christmas Discourse that his accusers were doing this for money. On such a day, Sai Baba piles on insults to injury against those whose faith and whose bodies he has desecrated and whose secrecy he has tried to purchase with money, large sums too in some cases. Not a shred of evidence has been put forward to support Sai Baba’s claims. They have massive financial resources and could discover any, if it were possible, but they do not. On the contrary, many of the staunchest devotees have vested financial and social interests in covering up all negative facts about Sathya Sai Baba. Many have said that envy, malice or even mental imbalance explains the allegations – and have mailed exposé activists they do not even know to accuse them of this and also of being paedophiles themselves (including the author of this) – but again without the remotest of evidence to back this. They simply do not seem to understand that some people stand up for unpopular, unavoidable truth and act on their consciences, whatever the cost may be.

Closing one’s eyes to facts in the real world is one way to postpone the pain of breaking all the other attachments and needs for more or less imagined spiritual blessings or rewards from Sathya Sai Baba nourished by those in the Sai movement. Sathya Sai Baba schools and colleges, especially in India, are inevitably under the gravest suspicion of supplying a steady stream of under-age boys for sexual purposes, not only to Sathya Sai Baba but to those masters and higher students who have been themselves turned into sexual abusers by Sathya Sai Baba himself or those homosexuals and even paedophiles who have come there attracted by the ‘precedence’ of Sathya Sai Baba’s sexual activities. Paedophile activity by anyone who is in the public gaze invariably involves the complicity of others, that is, a secret inner circle of paedophiles and victims who are threatened to silence. Experience is teaching the world that a major abuser cannot keep his activities secret and continue for many years without a circle of silenced ‘victims’, some of whom become active collaborators and abusers. Reports have been posted and supporting evidence accumulated about this delicate and dangerous subject to expose. This is a most likely, for many examples of such institutionalized abuse have been coming to light during recent decades. This has finally been proven in courts in many countries, especially the USA in recent times. Even the supposedly-infallible Pope was finally forced by the huge weight of public opinion developed through decades to admit and condemn as ‘evil’ the massive abuse of minors that has taken place in the Roman Catholic Church.

Was Sathya Sai Baba ever celibate? New evidence: Sathya Sai Baba had evidently burnt his bridges long ago and he could no longer take steps to avoid the consequences of his actions from puberty onwards. Sathya Sai Baba’s soul brother, Krishna, who shared his rooms for years in their teens, definitively told an interviewer in the 1970s that Sathya Sai Baba masturbated a lot during that period. He repeated this several times on two quite separate occasions. I first met this interviewer in India visiting Sai Baba in 1989 and he has visited and stayed with us fairly recently. When he told me of Krishna’s testimony, I was rather stunned that I had never considered that Sai Baba was not once full of testosterone too! Why would « the Divine Avatar » who says he never does a single thing for selfish reasons would need to masturbate like any other hormone driven teenager!

I do not make the name of the interviewer/author known here because he wished for anonymity. However, after consulting a psychologist friend and others, that I decided the information with which he was entrusted by Krishna (now deceased) in Madras is of too great importance to bury, considering what is at stake for so many in the turmoil of uncertainty or grief. Because he wishes to limit his interest to para-normal investigations, he would not speak up about the many allegations of homosexuality by Sai Baba he was faced with in India when conducting research there in the 1970s. Nevertheless, I consider such information scientifically interesting too, since sexual malpractices are so very common among those having so-called siddhi and tantric powers (on the authority of such a formative researcher as Mircea Eliade in his major work on Indian religious practices, Yoga, Immortality and Freedom). He has unfortunately withdrawn from public discussion of his position on the Sai phenomenon, which now looks decidedly shakier and unscientific as the video evidence of sleight of hand etc. emerges on an increasing scale. A book he published book well-known to Sai devotees is used by many to justify and defend their faith in Sai Baba and his divinity. However, he still occasionally visits Prashanthi Nilayam. (Incidentally I do have his testimony in his e-mails).

Though not checkable first-hand at the source, since Sathya Sai Baba’s (former) « soul brother » Krishna died some years ago, I have no reason to doubt this, for I knew my source as a reliable and honest man, however inconclusive and somewhat biassed I now regard his investigations to have been. I have the source documentation in my private keeping. The same person told me of other instances of being told that Sathya Sai Baba was homosexual and of talks with Mr. Kamini (once Sathya Sai Baba’s engineer and very close attendant until the 1970s) in which he made it quite evident that Sathya Sai Baba enjoyed many of his boys sexually!


Sathya Sai Baba’s teenage ‘soul brother’ Krishna & the sex allegations: This Krishna became a Christian and lived in Madras after leaving Sathya Sai Baba. Though he deceased some years ago, he was interviewed twice by my elderly friend. Krishna told him on two separate interviews (though unasked) that Sai Baba masturbated much during their time together. This bears out what any sensible person would assume, that Sathya Sai Baba was much under the thrall of his awakened sexuality by then:

In her book, « Other than You refuge there is none » (Anyatha Saranam Nasthi) the elderly Indian woman devotee, Smt. Vijaya Kumari, who was with Sathya Sai Baba already in the 1940s when Sathya Sai Baba was in his teens, we read about his relationship with the young man Krishna, with whom Sathya Sai Baba co-habited for years:

Krishna was very mild-mannered. He was not brisk, but very slow while walking. He was slim and fair, and of a sensitive temperament. Everyone would tease him saying that he should have been born a lady. While walking with him, Swami would stay very close to him. It showed how much Swami liked him. Looking at them both, we would playfully refer to them as Radha and Krishna. We do not know what merit accrued from previous lives it was that gave Krishna the privilege of staying upstairs in the company of Swami. Because Krishna was fond of bed coffee, Swami himself would make sure that the tray with coffee and biscuits was ready, and then wake him up. His meals also were with Swami. Making Krishna sit by His side serving him items from His own plate, Swami would watch over him very affectionately.
Who will have such rare fortune! Once Krishna had to go to Madras on some errand. Swami developed high fever. In His delirium, He would call out  » Krishna « . His fever subsided only after Krishna returned. This shows how much God loves His devotees”… (pps. 194-195)

Sathya Sai Baba’s advance precautions planted for his own protection have been publicised many times since his famous letter to his elder brother in the 1940s, in which he refutes any possible criticism of himself. That brother reportedly never believed his claims of pure divinity, but still thought of him as possessed, even though others have tried to present this brother as a fully signed-up devotee rather than a doubter of the full glory of his younger brother (who assumed the role of ‘Big Brother’ in fact). However, this elder brother evidently kept his distance from the whole Sai business even though he lived in Puttaparthi, where I saw him in 1985 shortly before he died. He is not known or reported to have attended a single public Sai event. The family considered Sathya Sai Baba possessed by a ‘Muslim spirit’ and put him through very punishing exorcisms, without success. Later they came to admire and worship him and the extended family benefitted greatly in material ways from his fame and wealth. The multi-millionaire property speculating younger brother Janakiram – banned for many years by Sathya from the ashram – nevertheless presented himself as a worshipper of his brother. However, he made many millions in property speculation in Puttaparthi and its environment (« beyond his wife’s wildest dreams », were the words of V.K. Narasimhan). Narasimhan also told me that Janaki Ramiah was a chief conspirator in blackmailing the police in executing cold-bloodedly by rifle young men armed only with knives during the 1993 murders episode! What he really believes is anyone’s guess… but he has now become the main power in the Central Trust. (Well, Sathya Sai Baba always claims to have nothing to do with money! And what a bare-faced lie! Several report how he even tries to silence his victims with money given to them in secrecy.)

Why can’t the ‘universal world teacher’ broach the subject of sexuality? In his interminable and highly-repetitive two-hours discourses at an average of at least two a week through about 45 years, Sathya Sai Baba has only mentioned the subject of sex briefly a few times, and then only in an indirect way. Since the sexual impulse is so fundamental and is the source of so many personal, social and other problems in the world, one might have expected some less fundamentalist and more enlightened talk about it from the supposed ‘world universal teacher’ than preaching monastic and repressive ideals, a parody of spiritual guidance to mankind. But he has nothing whatever to advise but abstention from sexual behaviour (i.e. words apparently not acted upon by him). The entire subject of sexuality is as close to taboo with him as one could get, except that he repeats the ancient Indian scriptural view advising total chastity by all before marriage, minimum indulgence during it, and chastity again from the age of 60. Sathya Sai Baba lists and condemns lust as one of the seven or cardinal sins, without explaining what kind of lust even, though he always claims to have no lust or any other bodily desire. Though he avoids subjects like birth control, condoms, AIDS and other sex-related issues like the plague (except sometimes perhaps in the privacy of the interview room or with close confidantes), he has once shown in public that he is far more Catholic than the present Pope. This failure to speak out openly on his real views is most noteworthy and can hardly be explained other than because he is unable to raise the subject frankly or talk about it in understandable fashion. One can understand better now why he always steers clear of such a touchy subject for him. His real views would probably awaken astonishment and would cause many to fall away from his movement and might also draw more attention to his own sexual proclivities and preferences.

Because Sathya Sai Baba seems unable to handle the subject frankly, his closest servitors also keep whatever they know of his real views secret. However, V. K. Narasimhan confided many such things to me and said, « Swami is extremely traditional » in his attitude to heterosexual sex. The attitude of a traditional Indian male chauvinist shines through Sathya Sai Baba’s behaviour at darshan and talks in interviews and in his discourses.

As to relations between men and men, who can say what he really thinks, seeing what it is so widely claimed that he really does? It is extraordinary too that, before the exposé of his abuse of minors and young men became a major issue for him, he seemed to consider it almost uncontroversial when, in a discourse some years ago, he related en passant how he shares his bedroom with young men and even boys… a fact for which he has never offered even the hint of a « spiritual » explanation. His apologists would doubtless claim that it is merely a part of the guru tradition, for devotees to massage the guru etc. When discussing with V.K. Narasimhan why Sathya Sai Baba would tell this in a public discourse when Tal Brooke had accused him of this years before, he asked me whether homosexual relations with younger men and boys (i.e. paedophilia) would be looked down on in the West. I assured him that it would be condemned outright. A strange silence ensued, which I recall now and wonder how naive I must have been then not even to consider to ask him outright whether Sai Baba was guilty or not!

That Sai Baba cannot admit to having had the sexual urge reflects the repressive mentality of double morals, especially about pubescent sexual urges. In contrast to this attitude, the great Sufi mystic and famous poet, Rumi, regarded sexual desires in youth as ‘letting one’s feathers grow out’, without which dangerous problems can be caused later. (The Essential Rumi, p. 64). This is definitely an enlightened attitude and is favoured by an increasing majority in most modern countries nowadays. (So much for the cherished belief that Sathya Sai Baba will rule the world, or his own deranged claim that the whole world will be in his organisation!). I have since found many grounds on which to consider that this kind of ‘letting sleeping dogs lie’ concerning homosexual paedophilia is far from being as uncommon in India as I formerly thought or hoped.

Nearly all Sai followers ‘follow’ Sathya Sai Baba in considering sexuality as something unmentionable, as if it were necessarily dirty… not least because Sathya Sai Baba has replied to those who have asked him if the allegations of his sexual activities are true by saying « Baba is pure »! This shows Sathya Sai Baba’s attitude clearly, ‘sex is impure!’ And there are degrees of dirt and depravity too, such as threatening a boy to cut off his penis or that he will get a life of pain and suffering if he does not do what he is told, as Alaya Rahm reports Sai Baba threatened him!

One asks: have only male devotees – and those of young, attractive appearance – inherited such merits from former lives that they can consort physically with Sathya Sai Baba now? In view of all the points made in the preceding, Sathya Sai Baba’s activities must surely be regarded for what they are described to be by dozens of young men? To try to explain them away by speculation about divine energies is just to try to sustain cherished illusions about Sathya Sai Baba and the spurious benefits or blessings he is supposedly to confer now or, more usually, later, later, later…

There is, however, growing awareness even in India that both hetero- and homo-sexual pedophile relations are very widely practiced there as elsewhere in the world, if not more so in such an atmosphere of the repressive Victorian mentality. Child marriage, though unlawful since British rule – amounting quite simply to paedophile sex – is still practiced underhand in India and is openly accepted by some. The subject is so taboo and so inflamed there, above all in ashrams and other religious communities, that it can only be discussed privately with persons one trusts, and then at considerable risk. However, it is apparently very widely known and is looked away from out of powerlessness before the threat of the issue.

Public Petition for Official Investigations of Sathya Sai Baba and His Worldwide Organization

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