Robert Crichton Priddy
|Born||September 25, 1936 (1936-09-25) (age 74)
|Subjects||Sathya Sai Baba|
Robert Priddy (born 25 September 1936) is a British academic and author.
[রবার্ট প্রিডি ভক্ত হিসাবে সাঁইবাবার আশ্রমে যান এবং দীর্ঘ ১৭ বছর সেখানে উচ্চ পদে কাজ করেন। একেবারে ভেতর থেকে দেখেছেন ওখানকার আর্থিক দুর্ণীতি, হিসাবে স্বচ্ছতার অভাব, যৌন কেলেংকারী, এমনকি খুন—চাপা দেওয়ার চেষ্টা এইসব। শেষে মোহমুক্ত হয়ে পদত্যাগ করেন ২০০০ সালে। তারপর বিস্তারিত ভাবে লিখেছেন সেসব কথা, বিশ্লেষণ করেছেন এর মূল—ভারতে ধর্মীয় ঐতিহ্য, উন্মাদনা, একেবারে উচ্চ মহলে দুর্নীতি – এগুলোকেই প্রধানত দায়ী করেছেন দর্শন ও সমাজবিদ্যার এই পন্ডিত। নিচে দেওয়া হল তার লেখার কিছু অংশ ও পদত্যাগপত্রের কপি।]
RESEARCH INTO PSYCHOLOGICAL, SOCIAL AND PSYCHO-SPIRITUAL ENTRAPMENT FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE OF THE ‘SAI BABA CULT’
by Robert Priddy
From my former deep engagement in Sathya Sai Baba and his works, at least I have learned very much through personal experience about how the mind works and can project so much outwards, even when one is initially very critical-minded and well-versed in science and philosophy. Once the investigative plunge into belief is taken, an almost irreversible process starts… and then such human needs for greater meaning and purpose can be manipulated very subtly by people like Sathya Sai Baba, using all the tricks of Indian religious traditions accumulated through centuries, bolstered by blind followers and authoritarian-cultish organisations run by unscrupulous fanatics.
Having strong psychic faculties, accumulated charisma and over 60 years of being a guru and a centre of attention he has gathered some millions of followers who believe in him to greater or lesser degrees. His keenest followers project their prayers, longings, love, and beliefs onto him, and this concentration evidently generates many unusual ‘subjective’ phenomena (like ‘leelas’ and assumed ‘miracles’). To revere and direct intense longings to a thing or person is idol worship or idolisation, which is known to produce the most unusual subjective effects and life consequences throughout the history of human idolatry. Yet it increasingly becomes more evident that Sai Baba is far from being who and what he claims, that is God Incarnate (including the Father Who Sent Jesus) and that he practices fraud, deceits, lies, homosexual abuse and murder cover-up.
Had Sathya Sai Baba responded frankly and honestly to vital questions about his activities, or had his various officials carried out any investigation, there might have been some room left for doubt about the more serious accusations against him. However, the likelihood of this happening seems infinitesimal… not least after the major cover-up from the highest levels of the Indian power structure of murders in Sathya Sai Baba’s bedroom at night in 1993, and the extremely revealing BBC documentary ‘The Secret Swami’ in which the International Chairman of the Sathya Sai Organisation, Dr. M. Goldstein, was shown to be totally unwilling to entertain the idea of any kind of investigation of the many testimonies of sexual abuse by Sathya Sai Baba. An intensive cult of secrecy on all sensitive issues thereafter became yet more endemic to all Sai Baba’s ashrams and his ‘official’ organizations and bodies like the Sathya Sai Central Trust and the Prashanthi Council.
The opportunity of presenting the wide-ranging and detailed evidence and sworn affidavits by young men claiming sexual abuse by him never arises. Indians who were sexually abused risk their careers and even their lives (as the murders’ incident proves) if they were to stand up or raise a legal case within India against Sathya Sai Baba. The likelihood of fair treatment before the law is as nil after the Supreme Court threw out a petition against Sai Baba by Hari Sampath and attorney Kamini Jaswal in 2002. With such a powerful and protected person with such enormous funds behind him and being fully backed by a series of Indian Prime Ministers and Presidents, and most of the top judiciary figures, Sai Baba is effectively above the law. He has been declared an Indian ‘national treasure’ and the scandal which would descend on so many prominent people in India would evidently be too much, for it goes right to the heart of the Hindu-dominated Indian State. Sathya Sai Baba cannot be sued anywhere but in India, not least since the alleged crimes took place there and, further, he never leaves the country. For anyone who is not rich and has the energy and time, a lawsuit would be extremely demanding, well beyond the financial funding and socio-political influence of young persons in India. With the current state of corruption constantly being uncovered in the police, the judiciary and the government, any legal outcome is also highly uncertain. Before the many allegations of sexual crimes and of involvement in the execution of four followers in his bedroom and the subsequent cover-up, Sathya Sai Baba remains guiltily silent and evasive.
In this situation, the main recourse of victims and their helpers is presently the investigative international media. The first-hand directly-presented accounts of being sexually abused by Sai Baba by highly articulate young men in interview with highly-respected national broadcasters (Danish TV) were neither denied nor challenged by Sai Baba (or his chief minions). But the first-hand testimonies are also backed up by an ever-accumulating mass of circumstantial evidence, some of which is to be presented in concise form in the forthcoming texts. While the accused may escape justice in Indian courts, the moral court of humanity at large can at least examine the direct and corroborative evidence. The fact that UNESCO withdrew from a planned educational conference when they had investigated the matter and contacted some of the testifiers of sexual abuse speaks clearly. Likewise, the US State Department’s long-standing warning about visiting Sathya Sai Baba because of the allegations, and the reports in several major world newspapers and two national TV companies were based on deep investigation and not taken without examining their legal positions.
Devotees who cannot face the truth will doubtless continue to follow Sai Baba’s edicts like “See only the good” and “Hear no evil” – and other such clever self-defenses he has long inculcated, which we now see functions well to protect himself from their scrutiny. Sathya Sai Baba has claimed to be divinity and purity itself claiming that the only way to judge people’s words is by their actions, and that the validity of his entire teaching rests on his Divine Nature… but in view of the indubitable allegations, his greatest abuse becomes the abuse of people’s faith, not only in him but in what he teaches under his slogan “My Life is My Message” (which slogan he even plagiarized from Mahatma Gandhi).
Here is the main text of my letter of resignation from leadership in the Norwegian Sathya Sai Organization and the entire organization, as sent to the European Central Coordinator in 2000:-
After 17 years in the Organisation where I have had many contacts and been to a dozen meetings abroad & several large conferences, I find that so much that comes down the chain from the top officials is flawed, esp. in respect of Baba’s teachings, which I know through and through and have indexed very thoroughly and extensively during re-readings through those years.
I am not criticising any named person here. But money matters and projects are misrepresented, facts about itself and events that take place are clinically censored to cover-up all ills, while several leading people I have known to be honest-to-God devotees who did real seva on a huge scale were thrown out because of power and jealousy, that I do not wish to be part of advancing those sides of it. I have very sound evidence for all this, and have had countless discussion on all aspects of Baba and his work through 10 years with Sri V.K. Narasimhan, who himself corrected many of my mistaken impressions and opinions about Baba, the ashram, and also how the organisation is actually run and what has occurred in it… impressions that are widespread in the Sai movement outside India, at least.
Despite disillusionment with the way the Organisation is run generally, I nonetheless remained a member emeritus from 1999 until now, still hoping for improvements. Things have grown worse, if anything, so I have decided that it is best that I resign now.
signed 1/4/2000: Robert Priddy, Nesodden, Norway.