More on Sai Baba Indoctrination


Date: 04-30-02

By: Robert Priddy

Document date: 04-29-02



The form of indoctrination I call 'spiritual doublethink' requires that what the senses perceive and we normally interpret on the basis of our accumulated experience and common sense is pre-judged by the indoctrinated mind. Now, no one can wholly avoid interpreting what the senses tell us, according to each our experience and knowledge, however, spiritual doublethink involves pre-interpreting everything in terms of a supposed sphere of non-tangible reality. (For a fuller explanation, see under ‘Spiritual Doublethink’ at my website The well-trained mind does this to events before they are actually observed or investigated – according to some ‘spiritual’ doctrine that is set up to explain the true meaning and relationships of all that is. The SB teaching is one such doctrine, others are scientology, Mormonism, Shiite Islamic fundamentalism and so on.

When a person is not fully indoctrinated, or has unavoidably reached an impasse in trying to make the particular doctrine fit certain unavoidable facts, the mind conceives ways of re-interpreting them with some kind of positive ‘spin’, putting them in a different and rosier light – or as a last resort by simply ignoring them - so that the main body of doctrine still seems firm. Some would see this as creative spiritual seeking, others regard it as systematic self-deception. 

Looking at this more from the viewpoint of those beguiled by the doctrine, one has to have some sympathy for them. They are usually people who have sacrificed a great deal of their time and money, believing that their efforts are part of a divine plan that can only serve the good. Once they, and invariably their entire families, have made SB the No. 1 priority in their lives for many years, they find themselves mostly isolated from other people who do not share the same faith and have little by little become more and more encapsulated in the entire mental and emotional behavioural scheme for a devoted believer, unable to think beyond the doctrine they hear from all sides all the time, and themselves have usually preached for years. They spend much money and time commuting to their small apartments in one or another SB ashram and can soon by no means envisage a life without SB and the abstract promises he has made to them. It must certainly seem to them, whenever they might contemplate leaving, that they have nowhere else to go, no other life to live. This is the extent to which SB has dominated many followers. Such was the position of all of the four families of the young men murdered in SB’s apartment in 1993. The shock can only be imagined when they had to realise that SB was not looking after them at all, and they were excluded from all ashram activities and all hope of any recourse to justice!  

Giving any kind of airing to negative allegations that may cause doubt and distress is NOT recommended by SB, though he does on occasion refute imputations against himself and his various institutions. Even reporting or discussing anything negative about SB is taboo within his ashrams, colleges and various organisations. While it does reduce tensions and disharmony within the fold, it also makes for a kind of 'double-accounting' and Janus-faced behaviour by followers. It becomes repressive and unjust when conspiracies of silence and secrecy arise to cover up major injustices. For example, it has lead to wholly baseless attacks on victims of SB’s sexual molestations by Sai Organisation leaders in Denmark who evidently cannot stand the pressure against their pet beliefs without hitting back, and below the belt too!

The untruth now defended by the Sathya Sai Organisation should not have been allowed to fester so much for so long. I am convinced that any kind of supposed ‘spiritual truth’ that implies denial of well-investigated facts – or which flies away in the face of them - is strongly counter-productive to any genuine seekers.