Bad Faith Business
From: "NOTICIAS" (Argeantinean Magazine) SIN 0328 - 4298 Year XXI No. 1286 August 17, 2001.
By Juan Alonso
The same mystic Indian who promotes being moral, has been accused by ex devotees of abusing minors and performing false miracles. Tricks of the master.
In his temple in India, Sai Baba teaches his moral values. His followers say that there he performs miracles: materializes objects, heals the sick and manifests food from thin air.
For some, faith is a path. A book. An olive tree that bears fruit. For others it is a spasm. A trembling before breathing. Some carry their faith like a partner and nurture themselves from that body in order to breathe. Sometimes faith faces reality and people become unstable: they feel that truth is not infinite. That even the holiest of mortals can have a reneger, a doubt, an uncontrollable desire.
Maybe that is what happened to Sathyanarayana Raju (75), better known as Sai Baba. He describes himself as an avatar, a divine incarnation on the Earth. He believes Himself to be God. But a group of ex followers accused him of sexual harassment and abuse of minors. According to them, Sai Baba has fondled the sex organs of several adolescent young men in order to masturbate them or perform oral sex. Baba embraced me again, pulling me in strongly, his nudging pelvis stopped. Suddenly a hand unzipped my fly and went inside. Babas hips began to shift while his hand squeezed me. His breathing became more rapid and agitated. Baba showed all the signs of desire, wrote Tal Brooke in his book Lord of the Air. Brooke was on of the avatars closest followers. His book was banned in India.
Another one of the accusers is Jeff Young, of the Sai Organization in Southern USA. Young claims that his 16 year old son Sam was sexually abused by the man with the Afro hairdo. Sam was studying in India in one of the schools run by the Sai Organization. According to the father, Baba used to fondle his penis and would become angry because he couldnt have an erection.
The person responsible for the Sai Organization in Holland, Win Goedbloed, has an explanation for this supposed behavior by Baba. Sai is visited by sexually frustrated people. And he is breaking this obsession of theirs by opening a point of energy between the anus and the penis so that the Kundalini energy can flow. Goedbloed does not make clear what Kundalini is.
Sai Baba says that everyone is God and that one can become a better person day by day. He has 150 million followers in the world (one hundred thousand of them in Argentina). Businessmen, actors, psychologists, NASA scientists, presidents, Buddhists, priests, prime ministers and house wives all go to visit him in India, they are all craving for something. The founder of the Hard Rock Café restaurants chain, Isaac Tigrett, made a donation of 60 million dollars to Baba so that he could build a hospital.
The Argentinean followers of the master are deeply hurt. Last Sunday the 12th, the Azul TV program Zona de Investigación broadcasted some testimonies that incriminate Sai Baba. Leonardo Gutter (49), a businessman, responsible for the Sai Organization in Latin America tried to file a suit against the channel, but he says Sai Baba didnt allow me. Sai Baba devotees are not ready to disavow their spiritual master. But who is Sai Baba?
Is Sai Baba God to all of you?
On May 23, 1940, Sathyanarayana Raju, hardly 13 years old, announced himself to the world as the divine reincarnation of an India saint that had passed on eight years before: Shirdi Sai Baba, born in 1835. Shirdi Sai knew the day and year that he was going to die. He even had the pleasure of foretelling that he would reincarnate in a young man, who is no other than Raju, the actual Sai Baba. And, as if it were the plot of a science fiction novel, Sai Baba has also foretold that he would die at age 96 in 2022 (in order to reincarnate in yet another body eight years later). His words are clear: Had I come as a simple human being, you would have had no respect for my teachings and you would have not followed that which is for your own good. So I came in human form with superhuman powers and wisdom. This is a human form in which all of the divine entity, all divine principles, that is, all forms attributed to God by man are manifested. Thus he assures us.
How could a man prove that, in all reality, he is God? Sai Baba says that he materializes objects since he was a little boy.
His followers swear that he makes watches, rings, pearl necklaces and even food from nothing. I myself saw how Sai Baba materialized a four and a half feet long pearl necklace right in front of my eyes, says Gutter. And he adds, once he materialized a small pile of an oily paste from which 90 people ate and it was never finished. He said that he himself traveled for the first time to India with a double fracture of the bridge of his nose and that Sai Baba healed him. I was suffering from terrible pain, he touched me and immediately the bones sealed and he even took away my jet lag. He nonchalantly relates.
Sai Baba teaches with some precepts: among these, there is emphasis on love (prema), truth (sathya), peace (shanti) and non violence (ahimsa). He says he is not a sectarian: he preaches that all the religions of the world can be a good road to God. For his devotees, he himself is God. In his abode (Ashram) in Puttaparthi , the gathering point of pilgrims from all over the world that visit him daily, he constructed a monument with the symbols of Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, the Islam, Taoism and Zoroastrianism.
Sai Baba built a multi million dollar hospital in India.
Part of the money was donated by the former owner of the Hard Rock Cafe chain.
The journalist and author Martín Caparrós says in his book about Sai Baba: The important thing is not if Sai Baba touched this or that other boys pecker. Nor is it important if he makes things appear from nowhere, what is really alarming and curious is that this man believes himself to be God and thousands of people believe in him.
I traveled to India twice and I met the master. A young man from La Plata traveled with me and he had sexual relations with Dutch and German girls in the Ashram. He told me that Sai Baba grabbed him firmly by his testicles and told him that he had to change his life, get married and love only one woman. Sai Baba has the ability to know ones life, said this believer who prefers to remain anonymous.
Those who are more skeptical see Sai Baba as a kind of David Copperfield. The illusionist Enrique Marquez insists that Sai Baba is a master of deceit (see photo). The truth is that Baba is a parallel political power in India, the worlds fifth nuclear power. There, Sai Baba knows how to use his influence: he built two luxurious hospitals, he accomplished a job that gave running water to more than 3 million Indians and he runs hundreds of schools and universities spread throughout his country, Africa and Thailand. But not all is praises: UNESCO withdrew its backing when news of the sexual scandals built around him were found out.
POWER AND ASHES
Shirley Pike was a very active Sai Baba devotee. She says that in April of last year she heard via e-mail about Babas inappropriate sexual conduct and she decided to do some investigating on her own. She wrote to those who were mentioned and reconfirmed their statements. Pike resigned from her office as responsible for the Sai Organization in the North Central Region of the United States.
Since then, the inauguration of a Sai School in Connecticut was prevented. In Sweden, the central group closed its doors. And the schools with teachers who graduated in Puttaparthi had to migrate to Thailand, where the teachings of Sai Baba were incorporated to the official educational system. In England, the Alsagar College, that forms part of the Metropolitan University of Manchester, took away the permit to use their facilities for the Sathya Sai Organization spiritual retreats. The Daily Telegraph, London, India Today, The Age of Australia, The Ottawa Citizen in Canada, Trouw in Holland are some of the worlds printed media that has dedicated space to the Sai Baba phenomenon.
But the faithful are not bothered by the scandals. They fully trust this man in the orange robe and the soft smile that walks among them making holy ashes from thin air.