Robert Priddy’s “Disempowerment” Article 04
A response to Robert Priddy’s “Disempowerment In Worshipping Gurus”: Article 04:
Referenced from: home.no.net/anir/Sai/enigma/dis4.htm
“Part Four - Misunderstood Self-denialTo belong to the Sai movement socially involves, for most followers, the gradual integration into a self-reinforcing belief system and way of life which tend strongly to alienate many former friends and social connections. One’s activities as a social being and a citizen tend to narrow down, then fade away. One talks a different language to other people, so to speak (i.e. Prashanthi-speak) and withdraws into a cocoon of beliefs and behaviours which are foreign to the world, but which lead nowhere but into further dependency on SSB and all things connected to him… and this is sustained mentally and emotionally over long periods in one’s home country too. That is the primary reason why there are Sai centers and groups.”
My Response: This is simply untrue. Robert Priddy is being completely disingenuous. Most SSB devotees work in society and live normal, productive lives. Of course, there are always people who become fanatics, isolate themselves and withdraw their involvement from society. These types of people are found all over the world, in all the world religions and are not unique to SSB.
I do not know what Robert Priddy means when he says “Prashanti-speak”. Obviously, Robert Priddy learned that type of language and used it, as he is familiar with it. I am not familiar with it nor do I know anyone else who is familiar with “Prashanti speak”. Perhaps Robert Priddy is referring to the common phrase “Sai Ram”, which can be a phrase of greeting, departure, gratitude, exclamation and reprobation, based on the tone and enunciation of that phrase. That is the only “Prashanti speak” I know of. Hardly enough to qualify as a “different language”.
That people, who are devoted to SSB, join groups and attend centers is no different than people who visit Jerusalem and return home and join groups and churches to support their faith in their own chosen spiritual or religious paths. This shows how Robert Priddy desperately wants to attack everything, and anything, associated with SSB, despite its application to other people of different religious persuasions.
“Surrender to the guru and his version of everything: ‘Good devotees’, surrender their independence in following the many rules (explicit and unspoken) which are either taught directly by SSB - or which some officials have brought into effect in his organisation or various institutions. This has inevitable effects on long-term self-confidence, for one becomes part of a social minority, inevitably seen as a religious sect. One denies that it is sectarian with much talk of ‘universality, but this is not put into practice, for the Sai organisation is very exclusive of other denominations and is not allowed by SSB to cooperate with any other organisations. Moreover, since the many and weighty public allegations of sexual abuse and other crimes emerged, the entire movement increasingly exhibits the characteristics of a closed cult. So devotees are yet more marginalised socially now, especially those living outside India.”
My Response: Following the rules, guidelines and commandments of one’s chosen faith is a type of “surrender”. However, many people choose to follow the tenets and disciplines of their chosen spiritual and religious paths because that is what they want to do. Whether or not it “inevitably effects on long-term self-confidence” is not for Robert Priddy to say of others. Perhaps that is what he experienced. Nevertheless, Robert Priddy is talking as some sort of analyst who is making numerous blanket statements about millions of people he has never met. This type of judgmental behavior points directly at Robert Priddy’s closed, one-sided and fanatic viewpoints.
“Those who have been hooked through the unusual powers and charming flatteries of SSB, through the ’stories galore’ - or his very clever (but at bottom mostly platitudinous) teachings - experience self-satisfaction, it is true. This tends to wane through time and by wear and tear with society at large. The inflation of selfhood (often sheer ego-trip) felt at the outset by those who feel they receive the attention or blessings of an almighty being, later becomes rather threadbare. Outwardly, there is pressure to keep a positive and happy outlook, at least to ’save face’. Yet the majority of followers turn out to accept and labour under a much reduced autonomy in many matters. Acceptable opinions are prescribed implicitly throughout the movement and those who move too far beyond the limits find themselves suddenly ejected without a second thought for them from anyone. Severe depression has often been the consequence, and numerous suicides are known about too… though no systematic information has been gathered by anyone due to difficulties in tracing them (instead, the ashrams and organisation ignore or cover up all such instances.”
My Response: Robert Priddy was one of these people who were “hooked through the unusual powers and charming flatteries of SSB, through ’stories galore’ – or his very clever (but at bottom mostly platitudinous) teaching “. Not only that, but Robert Priddy wrote a book eulogizing SSB and believed, advocated for, preached and spread stories about SSB’s “unusual powers” and “platitudinous teachings”! Robert Priddy is basically divulging the “ego trip” that he went through when he was a devotee of SSB. As discussed here, and elsewhere, many devotees of SSB feel that they get very little attention from SSB. Robert Priddy has obviously went through a severe depression as well.
I have pointed out before, people who are Christians commit suicide (at higher rates than Hindu’s), yet, do we blame Jesus? No one blames Jesus when Christians commit suicide. However, when a devotee (or alleged devotee) of SSB commits suicide, all of a sudden, it’s SSB’s fault! Also, if there is no systematic information regarding suicides, how does Robert Priddy know there are many instances of them? Especially when the organization “ignores or covers up all such instances”? More unsubstantiated claims from Robert Priddy.
“Double Accounting: In order for committed members of the Sai movement to keep up a minimum of necessary social contact, they often take recourse to a kind of ‘double life’, not letting people know what they believe about SSB or the depth of their involvement. The Sai movement has developed what may be called its own ‘culture of double-accounting’. The one account contains (often quite precise) directions about what to say outwardly in answer to questions etc., and the other contains what people really think about them. Such double-accounting is not an uncommon feature of social institutions which are under cross-pressures from within and without. Sects and cults almost invariably develop some form or another, and even political parties, ministries and governments with something vital to hide can be affected by it.”
My Response: I wonder if this is what Robert Priddy believed and practiced. I have not met one single person who professed being a SSB devotee who kept that information private from others. As with any religion, people express and celebrate their religious views in groups or churches and may not necessarily do so in public or at work. However, when questioned (or if brought up in a discussion) most people are quite candid about their beliefs. This applies not only to SSB devotees, but adherents of other faiths as well. I have never heard of any “directions” in answering questions about SSB.
It is also true that many Anti-SSB Activists, who are ex-devotees of SSB, do not publicly divulge this information. They do so in secret or in association with other ex-devotees. I guess this behavior is indicative of Anti-SSB Activists being a cult as well. After all, if Robert Priddy sets the standard, we should apply that standard, equally, to all.
“The Sai movement - including the closely regulated and much more limited Sai Organisation and institutions founded in SSB’s name in India and elsewhere - are infused by a special variant of such a double-accounting sub-culture. It is understood that the world at large would ridicule the excessive and ridiculous SSB’s claims to Godhood which all must accept. This and many other fantastic claims by SSB have increasingly to be kept largely ‘on the closed account’, not least also because the entire undertaking has come under critical scrutiny due to many and weighty allegations of criminal behaviour by SSB himself.”
My Response: I believe it is fair to say that many would disagree about SSB’s “Godhood” due to their own personal spiritual, religious or scientific viewpoints. Having said that, SSB has millions of devotees. What is amusing about this is that Robert Priddy accepted SSB as God Almighty and preached about (and advocated for) SSB’s divinity and Godhood. Now, however, Robert Priddy is preaching, and advocating against SSB’s Godhood. Talk about not being able to make up one’s mind!
Once again, if there are “weighty allegations”, why hasn’t anyone filed a criminal, court case against SSB for alleged improprieties? Why hasn’t anyone even tried?
“The Sai movement is held together by numerous illusions that persist within the fold and which are carefully protected against reality by its leaders and officials. (Apart from those financially dependent on it or otherwise have something to lose if it collapses). In all matters of any real significance (as well as in absurd time-wasting or otherwise futile activities which are part of all Sai routines at ashrams etc.), one simply has to do what one is told. How far followers actually do this when not under observations is doubtful, for many pay lip-service to the accepted precepts and taboos, but covertly do what suits them (probably on account of psychological necessity). This helps explain the atmosphere of inauthenticity (gushing talk, the Polyanna attitude, religious hyperbole etc.) and double morals that so clearly mark out members of most religious sects. This is largely because, for a big majority of followers, the one thing that matters above all else is as close contact as possible with ‘Swami’. The battle for his attention, for the best places and more important roles is very often relentless.”
My Response: The Anti-Sai movement is held together by numerous illusions that persist within the fold and which are carefully protected from factual inconsistencies and pertinent questions by its leaders and primary propagandists.
If Robert Priddy was aware of all of this deception, at SSB’s ashram, why was he a devotee for 17 years? If Robert Priddy had doubts about devotees accepting SSB’s precepts and taboos, and knew that devotees “covertly” did what suits them, living in an atmosphere of “inauthenticity (gushing talk, the Polyanna Attitude, religious hyperbole, etc.) and double morals that so clearly mark out members of most religious sects”, why did Robert Priddy stay devoted to SSB? One can only wonder if Robert Priddy also engaged in “double morals”, as he was one of these members of the SSB sect, whose behavior clearly marked them out!
Once again, we have Robert Priddy bashing SSB devotees, but at the same time, Robert Priddy is voicing his innocence and morality when he was a SSB devotee. Robert Priddy’s “holier than thou” attitude undermines his critiques on SSB devotees. Unless, of course, Robert Priddy is admitting that he engaged in the same immoral and artificial behavior when he was a devotee? If Robert Priddy maintained his morality and sincerity when he was a SSB devotee, why is it that other SSB devotees are not given that same benefit of the doubt?
“Self confidence versus denial of selfhood: The gradual creeping inward self-depreciation (misnamed as ‘limiting the ego’, or ’surrender of the self’) is well known from many religious movements, but it’s nature as dependence and loss of self-determination is very difficult for supporters (i.e. its victims) to recognise. It usually comes of living mostly within a limited circle of people, trying to follow strictly moralistic ideals and overly self-denying precepts. The monastic-type of detachment from worldly things may be less troublesome to more elderly persons who have already lived themselves out in an engaged and active life in the world with broad experience, for they are often less affected by the desires and life-seeking tendencies that are only natural and necessary to real health in younger persons. But for anyone whose life’s meridian is not well passed and who is not psychologically very robust, the SSB doctrine will in most cases hinder personal growth (IF it is possible for one to adhere to it to any large extent). A main reason for this lies in the feeling of impotence instilled by SSB’s constant talking-down of and to people today… and his corresponding admonitions to focus on him alone. He teaches that everything stems from him, the creator of the universe from whom only good things come! (Yet he also says, conflictingly as usual, “everything that happens comes from God”). His insistence on the super-importance of concentration on his name, his form and his person (in actual practice at endless darshans etc.) works effectively as an opiate that dulls personal reflection and living self-awareness, which is instead the basis of genuine spiritual growth.”
My Response: Robert Priddy begins this paragraph by making valid points. However, Robert Priddy quickly descends into inaccuracies when he starts talking about SSB. As a matter of fact, Robert Priddy is a fantastic web-weaver who weaves together a delicate blend of truths and untruths, hoping to beguile those who do not have the intellectual independence and free thought to question his hyperbole and misrepresentations.
SSB does not demand or insist that people concentrate on his name, form or person. The reason why SSB gives “endless darshans”, is for the benefit of his devotees who are devoted to his name, form and person! This is just so basic and common sense, I simply can’t help to wonder why no one has questioned Robert Priddy’s obsessive nitpicking and shallow observations. Every world religion teaches that one must focus on their chosen savior’s name, form and person. This type of religious behavior is not limited to SSB or his followers.
“Modern psychology has developed and tested against experience many conceptual devices for tracing the multiplicity of personality traits, the growth of the ego and the influences operative on emotional and mental conditions of all kinds. SSB hardly ever refers to any of these discoveries and is very evidently not conversant with their theories or terminologies. Though claiming to be in complete touch with the psyche of anyone, knowing it in and out, his discourses repeatedly demonstrate that he suffers from many of the most common fallacies about nature of the human mind and psyche, and this shines through even his words have been heavily edited and sanitised as far as reasonable by editors who are rather more knowledgeable.”
My Response: Robert Priddy is making the same case the Brian Steel makes. Robert Priddy is saying that SSB’s words have been “heavily edited and sanitised”, however, despite this claim, Robert Priddy believes that these very same “heavily edited and sanitised” discourses, accurately reflect SSB’s literal words! Click Here to view my page about the inherent problems with Robert Priddy and Brian Steel’s position on SSB’s discourses.
“In brief, one may say that his teachings on psychic development and spiritual behaviour rely wholly on Indian religious tradition and are primitively fundamentalistic, set in black-and-white terms with an iconography and ideology of ‘gods versus demons’, a world view applied ad lib to the present almost without nuance or proper factual basis. He almost always (and I do mean almost invariably!) speaks in the most sweeping terms and is prone to almost hair-raising over-generalisations about the nature of people, governments, world conditions and on any number of issues. The degree of exaggeration and factual inaccuracy is quite extraordinary for a supposedly intelligent teacher!”
My Response: Where was Robert Priddy, during the entire 17 years when he was a devotee of SSB? Despite SSB’s “primitively fundamentalist” world view and unintelligent exaggerations, Robert Priddy believed and eulogised SSB as God incarnate! This does not speak well for Robert Priddy’s intelligence!
“SSB’s recipe for anti-living: I have shown something of how Sathya Sai Baba’s directions for living are so demandingly puritanical and excessively idealistic that most of his followers seem to end up living a virtual non-life. There is much more in his recipe to break down not only the objectionable egoism of morally primitive persons, but the entire personality structure of a democratic and effective civil citizen. One can meet many such cases (especially foreigners) who reside at the ashrams but are doing no work, no ‘active service’. Often they are virtually just existing in limbo, coping only with the constant daily problems of subsistence there, and waiting for grace and blessings to fall into their laps. Some have said this to me quite openly!”
My Response: I think I have adequately shown how Anti-SSB Activists are living a “virtual non-life”. I guess Robert Priddy was one of these “morally primitive persons” whose “entire personality structure of a democratic and effective civil citizen” was broken down by SSB! Once again, notice how Robert Priddy bashes SSB devotees, but distances himself, with his “holier than thou” attitude, by saying his intelligence, morality and virtue remained intact and unscathed when he was a SSB devotee for 17 years, but other SSB devotees have succumbed to primitive, unintelligent and puritanical ideologies!
“If you manage to get rid of most or all of your personal desires, as SSB insists everyone should immediately or - failing that - as soon as possible, then existence loses much of its meaning (let alone charm) and the desire to live is itself seriously weakened in the process. It is hardly surprising that constant Sai devotees, esp. single foreign ladies at the ashram, tend to be suicidal. One such a suicide took place while we were visiting in 1990 (covered up by the PN officials immediately).This resulted in the ashram accommodation office not allowing any woman to have an apartment on her own. Various other suicides of disappointed devotees are documented elsewhere, including one involving most members of a large Indian family. There are numerous reports of suicides, of which not more than a handful have reached the press in any country. The ashram authorities enforce immediate damage limitation precautions as soon as anything untoward happens there and very short shrift is given to anyone who persists in inquiries. In this respect, the SSB ashrams are indistinguishable from totalitarian mini-states.”
My Response: Amazing how Robert Priddy has found out about all of these alleged suicides when the PN officals “covered it up” and SSB’s ashram is a “totalitarian mini-state”! It is true that a few SSB devotees have committed suicide at Puttaparthi or Bangalore. However, when one looks closer at the lives of these people, one can clearly see that they are very disturbed individuals who would have, more than likely, killed themselves anyway, despite their association with SSB. I have discussed this in my Witnesses 3 Section. In that section, there were 3 people who killed themselves who were said to be SSB devotees (Andrew Richardson, Michael Pender and Aran Edwards). Andrew Richardson was not a SSB devotee. He simply visited SSB’s ashram before committing suicide. His suicide letter divulged a very, very disturbed psyche. Nor did Andrew profess any devotion to SSB. Michael Pender was HIV+ and had a history of severe depression. He was homeless for some time as well. Aran Edwards never saw SSB but was very mentally unstable, by David Bailey’s own admission. However, David Bailey convinced Aran that SSB was taking care of him. Then David Bailey convinced Aran to write letters to SSB. After convincing poor Aran to write letters to SSB, David Bailey tells Aran that SSB does not read letters, including Aran’s! In that distraught state, Aran killed himself. But no one faults David Bailey! Instead, they blame SSB. Again, Christians commit suicide. Do we blame Jesus?
“One SSB follower, Mr. Kanheia Jee , a retired Indian army major who had become more or less socially and mentally trapped for 30 years and more as Head of the Administration at Vidyagiri in Prashanti Nilayam together with his leading Seva Dal worker and wife (Mrs. Caveri), put it very succinctly: ‘If you try to do even half of what Baba says you should, you’ll go stark raving mad!’”
My Response: I already know how Robert Priddy embellishes and exaggerates quotes from others. Consequently, I withhold judgment as to the authenticity of this quote, attributed to Mr. Kanheia Jee.
“The SSB doctrine is backed up by social works and much positive teaching, which appeals to people with the best of intentions, people who have no chance of finding out what really goes on because they are held at arm’s length by the guru about 99% of the time. Add to the above the teaching that no one can ever be anything better than a servant of the Lord (i.e. SSB himself!) and to work for him selflessly in total obedience to his all-powerful will. One hopes that all this is for the best, for one’s own good and that of the world. But this is a teaching that, once adopted, allows for complete manipulation into doing what he says - or what at least he is said by his minions to have said. The self-contradictions come thick and fast. In short, a wholly unconvincing and non-specific teaching to any discerning mind who has had the time and opportunity to look at it closely.”
My Response: Once again, Robert Priddy is admitting that he did not have a “discerning mind” and was “completely manipulated” by SSB and his “minions”. Oddly enough, Robert Priddy was devoted to SSB for 17 years and was one of SSB’s “minions” who (if we are to believe Robert Priddy) lied and manipulated others into complicity with SSB’s “unconvincing and non-specific” teachings! If SSB’s teachings are so “unconvincing and non specific”, why did Robert Priddy praise and practice SSB’s teachings? Robert Priddy even wrote a book eulogizing SSB and praised SSB’s teaching in his many articles in Sanathana Sarathi!
Robert Priddy devoted a full chapter entitled Understanding Baba’s Teachings in his book, Source Of The Dream. Robert Priddy claimed that he spent “many years” studying SSB’s teachings. At that time, Robert Priddy had nothing but praise about SSB’s teachings and even made an index titled Back to the Source that contained 18,000 “separately-detailed entries”! To formulate an index with Eighteen Thousand Separately-Detailed Entries would require vast study and research into SSB’s teachings. Robert Priddy now talks about SSB’s teachings as if they are primitive, unintelligent gibberish. Despite Robert Priddy’s scathing critiques about SSB’s teaching, here are some quotes, from Robert Priddy, in Chapter 22 of Source Of The Dream: “It is truly impressive how, wherever Sathya Sai Baba has spoken and whatever his audience, his vision has always had a one-pointed focus…Unlike other major educators or spiritual masters whose lives are known from youth, Sai Baba has never had to modify any tenets of his public teachings or to develop them through time. Such confident consistency is truly striking…Baba’s way of teaching is unique and uncommonly attractive, in its dealings with everything from everyday problems to the deeply mysterious, from the most serious questions of life to the humorous. No one to my knowledge gives such directly simple, yet deceptively deep and subtle, answers to the most enigmatic of questions, nor does so in more straightforward and powerfully-convincing ways than does Baba…No spiritually-interested person who reads Sai discourses or writings can fail to be impressed by the clarity and simplicity of these teachings, which bear comparison with any known higher spiritual teaching…Some insights surpass those to be found in any scripture or comparable work known, at least, to the present writer…”! So, was Robert Priddy lying when he wrote his book…or is he lying now?
“Looked at in sane social terms, these attitudes develop the basis for despotism and repression, ignorance and weakening of the individual human spirit to stand up for what is right and true. There is no more ingenious way of taking away people’s freedom than teaching them that they cannot control their fates except by prayer to him, that only God is free and decides all in his inscrutable way. It is despicable! Thus making people obey and censor themselves entirely so as to give up more and more autonomy and all normal rights, while it works as the subtlest known means of gaining power, fame and wealth by SSB and his men.”
My Response: Okay…So is Robert Priddy saying that because he was a devotee for 17 years that he developed an attitude of “despotism and repression, ignorance and weakening of the human spirit to stand up for what is right and true”? There are many Anti-SSB Activists who say that Robert Priddy is a strong character that stands up for what he believes. If this is true, then apparently, SSB does not foster devotees who develop the type of attitude that Robert Priddy is trying to attribute to them! Once again, Robert Priddy is attacking SSB devotees because they won’t accept his point of view and his negativity.
“Manipulating vulnerable consciousness: Though his extremely puritan moralism and demands for massive self-denial, SSB develops a ‘vulnerable consciousness’ in many people, particularly those who are vulnerable from before for reasons of self-confidence, social discrimination, personality problems etc. His doctrines lay much weight on ideas which are nothing short of self-destructive, though they go under the emotively acceptable label ‘removal or destruction of the ego’ . Even while he outwardly says some positive, supportive things about how to relate to oneself, they are mostly tied up with expectations of a (better) life in the hereafter. Meanwhile, he asserts all kinds of things which mainly bring a person down, cause them to feel low self esteem or reduced worth… the typical self-denigrations of fundamentalist religion and extreme sects. It is not surprising that suicides are not uncommon among Sai followers, especially young men, adult single women, and even some whole families! The unrealistic expectations that Sathya Sai’s teaching and promises induce in people are constantly being disappointed, which can be crushing to those who have developed a ‘vulnerable consciousness’. They have been unable to develop the rationalisations or bear the inevitable blows of fate that can follow upon sacrificing themselves, their time, money and relationships in the attempt to follow the teachings and gain the ever-elusive ’spiritual rewards’. This pathetic situation awakens sympathy in anyone who is sensitive enough to recognise it for what it is, and not least it entrenches determination in us to expose the fraudulence practiced on devotees and anyone else who may be lured into the cult by signs, wonders and trickery.”
My Response: If it is true that, “SSB develops a ‘vulnerable consciousness’ in many people, particularly those who are vulnerable from before for reasons of self-confidence, social discrimination, personality problems etc.”, then I guess Robert Priddy is acknowledging, once again, that he had a “vulnerable consciousness” due to his deficits in “self-confidence, social discrimination and personality problems”. After all, if SSB devotees so vulnerable, and gullible, Robert Priddy surely was one of these as well, considering he was a devotee for 17 years!
Perhaps Robert Priddy can give us proof of all of the suicides that are “not uncommon” around SSB? Robert Priddy can’t give us proof. After all, the Ashram is a totalitarian regime that covers everything up and hides the truth from the whole world, except for Robert Priddy and his bandit of Anti-SSB Activists! Also, Robert Priddy, in true deceptive form, alludes that “whole families” (plural) of SSB devotees have killed themselves. In fact, I have only read about one family that killed themselves due to the death of their daughter. The family also left a suicide note and did not blame SSB. As a matter of fact, they maintained their devotion, but could not live with the grief of losing their daughter. This is a classic example of Robert Priddy’s deceptive misrepresentations.
“I have observed how SSB has caused a number of unfortunate persons to come to mistrust their own senses and feelings, so that some come to hate themselves and even their own lives. Having been led into an almost completely passive existence of waiting, waiting with folded hands for the guru who never really has more than a few minutes for each person, if that, some devotees are only hoping for an end to it all. This can be seen most clearly among certain residents of his ashram, both native and foreign. Often having donated much of their wealth to SSB, they take up ashram residence and many come to be completely dependent on it. Woe betide those who get on the wrong side of the imperious ashram leadership or of SSB himself!! This becomes a trap, so that some HAVE to keep believing whatever they discover, or else their entire means of living and social network will be lost. Much the same applies to very many who do not go to live in India, but who slowly become cut off from other than Sai followers and who have no alternatives within their own environment.”
My Response: One has to ask him/her self, if this is true, why did Robert Priddy maintain his devotion to SSB for 17 years? Oddly enough, before Robert Priddy became a SSB apostate, Robert Priddy had nothing but praise and good things to say about SSB and his teachings. Now, after Robert Priddy’s disaffection, Robert Priddy has nothing but condemnation and bad things to say about SSB and his teachings! How can anyone believe Robert Priddy? Today, he may be your friend and say good things about you…but tomorrow, who knows what side of the fence you will be on. I guess the only neutral evidence that SSB does, indeed, create mean-spirited, negative and insincere devotees is by looking at Robert Priddy and seeing him as a product of SSB’s teachings.
“Sai’s puritanical rejections of women and marriage: - SSB’s puritanism is further complicated by many signs of his dislike and even hatred of women (misogyny) and of marriage (misogamy), which has been mentioned through the years in various ways by many devotees (not only by ex-devotees!). It is visible in his avoidance of women at many darshans, the minimal time he spends on their side and the infrequency of his talking to them. This he cleverly explains away merely by saying that he gives women equal attention in reality. He suggests that they receive extra attention on an astral or subtle level. The literature does NOT bear this out, as accounts of such contacts (dreams, visions, leelas etc.) by males is overwhelmingly much greater than by women.”
My Response: Robert Priddy is trying to pick up on a negative vein and suck as much blood from it, as he can. However, most of this disinformation comes from Robert Priddy’s bitter and angry reflections that he never contemplated until after he became “defrauded” (his word) by SSB. It was only after Robert Priddy became openly vindictive towards SSB, did Robert Priddy all of a sudden see SSB as being a misogynist and a misogamist. If SSB spent more time with women, people would be blaming him of inappropriate behavior! I have met many women who have had numerous experiences with SSB. In my own discussions with women who are devotees, I have seen that women have more experiences with SSB than do men. That has been my experience. Obviously, Robert Priddy’s experience has been different.
“SSB’s misogyny comes clearly to expression in interviews where he not only makes fun about marriage and of married couples, but makes fun of marriage and family in a number of deprecating ways. Some of his well-known derogatory comments to married people are:’Marriage is 23 hours of problems, 1 hour happiness’ (or sometimes he says only 5 minutes happiness);
‘Marriage is a sickness’; ‘One man is alone walks on two feet, when married he walks on four, then children come and after a while he needs to crawl’;
‘The real marriage is with God’; ‘First man has 2 legs, he gets marries and becomes an animal with 4 legs. They get one child, a six-legged scorpion, then another, an 8-legged cockroach.’ (Note SSB has even reportedly told those on whom he practices sexual molestation that they are married to him etc. I have heard this said by several male devotees!)”
My Response: SSB is not anti-marriage. As a matter of fact, SSB often sponsors and attends mass marriages and marriages of his devotees. At whitefield, it was a common sight to see SSB marrying couples. SSB often encourages his students to get married before going abroad for international studies. On the occasions of SSB’s birthday, there are almost always mass marriages that SSB sponsors. Although SSB did say the quotes that Robert Priddy attributed to him, SSB has encouraged and promoted marriage far more than he has discouraged it! Robert Priddy also fails to divulge the fact that SSB praises women and says that the entire fabric and character of a society is due entirely to the fabric and character of mothers. Robert Priddy would like to give the impression that SSB is a misogynist, however, that is not backed up with any of SSB’s own words. This is Robert Priddy’s negative perception. If SSB was truly a misogynist, or a misogamist, why was Robert Priddy devoted to SSB and why did Robert Priddy stay married to his wife? This attack, against SSB, about marriage, is a newfound realization from Robert Priddy. Even David Bailey, a well-known Anti-SSB Activist, was married by SSB.
“Further than this, however, there are many reports in books by devotees - and on the internet and ex-devotees - on how SSB tries to break up male-female relationships, especially between young men and women. He also very regularly tries to sow strife between man and wife - in almost every interview he brings up negative things he supposes occur between a man and his wife. There are literally dozens of instances of which one can read in books about him. I have heard him do this and he even tried it on me by saying, “Your wife is angry with you”, which we now agree was a wholly unfounded claim. (I replied “Not so bad, swami”, to which he countered ‘Not so good’. This again shows how he hates to lose in any encounter and can’t tolerate any discussion or give and proper explanation). But such is his reputation in the Sai movement that every word must be taken as God’s truth. He has even called a young German man ‘a Hitler’ for not rejecting the poor woman who was entirely devoted to the fellow. This couple escaped with their lives after being warned by some undisclosed insider at the ashram, as related on the Internet and in an affidavit by one of the many victims of SSB’s sexual approaches, Mr. Jens Sethi. They fled and were nearly caught before they got out of India, all of which they reported to the German Embassy in Delhi and they later laid a formal charge against SSB with the German police. (Apropos the credibility of this, I am in contact with a Danish man who told me how his life was also in jeopardy at the ashram and who was saved by an Indian, a former security officer there. The number of missing persons from India and abroad who disappeared while visiting the ashrams is not recorded, for such incidents are hushed up immediately by all means at the disposal of the Central Trust, but about a dozen such cases have been reported either in the press or by the sceptic, Mr. B. Premanand of Podanur, Tamil Nadu.)”
My Response: As with any marriage, there are always problems, disputes and disagreements. If SSB points these things out, SSB is creating rifts. If SSB does not point these things out, SSB is not all knowing. This is a no win situation. There are also times when SSB tells people to not get involved with each other. However, the fact remains that SSB marries many people and also sponsors mass marriages. Consequently, Robert Priddy’s claim, of SSB causing rifts in marriages, is suspect.
Also, in order to maintain accuracy (something alien to Robert Priddy), Robert Priddy is giving a misleading account about what Jens Sethu said about SSB, in regards to the Hitler statement. SSB did not call Jens “a Hitler” for not rejecting his wife. According to Jens Sethu, “At the end of 1996 I returned to India and got an interview on 4th December. In the interview he said, ‘Where are you from?’ When I told him I was from Germany, he responded ‘You are also a Hitler!’ Shocked, I thought to myself, ‘He is not very kind is he?’” The alleged story of SSB telling Jens to separate from his wife, occurred in January of 1996, not in December of 1996. It is also important to point out that Jens Sethu account is very doubtful. According to Jens Sethu, SSB called his wife, by herself, into the private interview room. SSB has never called a woman, by herself, into the private interview room! Ever! Click Here to view my page about the critical discrepancies in Jens Sethi’s testimony against Sathya Sai Baba.
Also, Robert Priddy talks about “missing persons” that are “hushed up”. Robert Priddy says that there are about a dozen of such cases reported by the press and Basava Premanand. On ExBaba.com, there is only one documented case of a missing person. The man left Puttaparthi, after withdrawing money from a bank, and was not seen again. There was no foul play suspected by SSB or the Ashram in any way. Regarding Basava Premanand, he is a tabloid-cynic of the worst order who propagates lies, deceit and conspiracy theories faster than breeding mosquitoes. I have discussed Basava Premanand’s pathetic conspiracy theory about the 1993 murders in my Murders Section. Despite many claims, made by Basava Premanand, he fails to make public the “hundreds of records” that he claims he has about SSB “destroying” people!
Referenced from this page: http://home.hetnet.nl/~ex_baba/engels/murders/murdersbefore1993.html Here is one (out of many) of Premanand’s ludicrous claims: Premanand alleges that after SSB had a Mr. Venkatamuni “done away” with, in Madurai, in an Air Conditioned Room, SSB managed to get Madurai doctors to issue death certificates for Mr. Venkatamuni. After obtaining the death certificates, SSB had Mr. Venkatamuni’s corpse transported from Madurai to Madras (444 km / 276 miles), where, upon the corpse’s arrival, SSB put Mr. Venkatamuni’s corpse in his (SSB’s) own car, and transported the corpse to a crematorium, where Mr. Venkatamuni was cremated so that the police would not investigate it! Then, somehow after getting the Madurai doctors to issue fake death certificates, SSB also had the doctors killed as well!
Basava Premanand does not divulge, for some mysterious reason: 1) Mr. Venkatamuni’s full name; 2) the death certificate obtained in Madurai; 3) the doctor(s) name(s) who issued the death certificate; 4) the time of the alleged assassination; 5) the date of the alleged assassination; 6) the circumstances of the alleged assassination; 7) the name of the hotel/building where the alleged assassination took place; 8) witness names at the hotel/building where the alleged assassination took place; 9) police reports about the death at the hotel/building; 10) hospital records; 11) the paperwork for transporting a corpse from Madurai to Madras; 12) witness names who saw SSB put Mr. Venkatamuni’s corpse in his car; 13) the date SSB allegedly put Mr. Venkatamuni’s corpse in his car; 14) the name of the crematorium; 15) the place of the crematorium; 16) crematorium paperwork; 17) the reason why SSB allegedly had Mr. Venkatumi killed to begin with; 18) why the person who allegedly witnessed these things did not report it to the police; 19) the time of the doctors deaths; 20) the date of the doctors deaths; 21) the circumstances of the doctors deaths; 22) the names of the doctors; 23) the death certificates of the doctors; 24) witnesses regarding the doctors’ deaths; 25) the names of the new doctors who covered up the deceased doctors deaths (opening another round of questions); or 26) any sort of circumstantial evidence! But we must believe Basava Premanand because he is a “rationalist and amateur magician” who has no formal education and who repeatedly exposed himself to toxic mercury while trying to create aluminum oxide ash-vibuthi (which can cause psychological disturbances, as mercury is a poison)! But we must believe Basava Premanand because he is a “rationalist and amateur magician” who has no formal education and who repeatedly exposed himself to toxic mercury while trying to create aluminum oxide ash-vibuthi (which can cause psychological disturbances, as mercury is a poison)! It is of little wonder that Robert Priddy believes Basava Premanand, considering that Robert Priddy resorts to the same sort of unsubstaniated stories to form his speculations and conspiracy theories.
Basava Premanand also has a newspaper clipping fetish, and clips newspaper articles and uses them as proof, evidence and factual information against SSB! Premanand completely discards newspaper reporters (material witnesses) who uncover “evidence”, in place of newspaper clippings! Oh, that sounds like a rational thing to do!