Robert Priddy’s “Disempowerment” Article 06
A response to Robert Priddy’s “Disempowerment In Worshipping Gurus”: Article 06:
Referenced from: home.no.net/anir/Sai/enigma/dis6.htm
“Part Six - Fundamentalistic tenets & their psychological effects.The fuzziness and ambiguous elasticity of much of the ‘Sai teaching’, with its wide and inaccurate generalisations and many uncontrollable explanations, makes it too hard a task for most to master. His assertions in one place are trumped or contradicted by counter-assertions elsewhere. Matters he cannot explain he says are ‘beyond the human mind’ and can only be understood when the mind is killed off… or by God. Thus he avoids facing any difficult questions. The extenuated fabric of truths, half-truths and contradictions is very difficult to penetrate and see for what they are, especially for those who themselves are fully enrolled in the web of deceits. His teachings are so largely ‘black-or-white’, and so sweepingly generalising and lacking in nuances and depth, whether psychological or philosophical, that they amount to a mostly rigid religious fundamentalism. (See, as one example, his statements about what he calls demonic sins)”
My Response: Despite this tirade, against SSB and his teachings, Robert Priddy was a SSB devotee for 17 years who fully eulogized and praised SSB and his teaching. Robert Priddy saw no “religious fundamentalism”, no “fuzziness” and no “inaccurate generalisations” when he was devoted to SSB. After Robert Priddy morphed into an Anti-SSB Activist, all of a sudden, all these negative things were perceived. This can be directly attributed to Robert Priddy’s negative perceptions, projections and blame-mentality. Robert Priddy made a strong case that whatever good we see in SSB is due our projections on him. One can similarly make the case that whatever negativity we see in SSB, are also due to our projections on him. Robert Priddy says he is correct in his negative projections on SSB. However, devotees are incorrect for their positive projections on SSB. This points to Robert Priddy’s confusing, and oftentimes, wishy-washy observations.
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. However, here are some quotes from Robert Priddy and what he had to say about SSB’s teachings 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…His words - written or spoken - bear the force of conviction of certain knowledge, of totally self-confident omniscience, which can be observed in many different ways. Some of his declarations are entirely unprecedented in human history and are of such surpassing authority that they could surely not have been made by any ordinary human with such impunity.” These comments, by Robert Priddy, adequately refute his current position on SSB’s teachings. Despite claiming to have assiduously studied SSB’s teachings, Robert Priddy is now saying that all of his research was incorrect. This puts Robert Priddy in a tenuous position. Either Robert Priddy blatantly lied about SSB’s teachings or Robert Priddy is admitting he was brainwashed, gullible, naive, impressionable and unintelligent. Either way, Robert Priddy has solidly situated himself between a rock and a hard place.
“I feel sympathy for those apologists for SSB who are beginning to discover - as I had to do - that SSB’s teachings become problematical and turn out, in many vital respects, to be built on shifting sand. This is not least also due to the deceitful practices of SSB which make a mockery of his oft-quoted words (egs: ‘My Life is My Message’, as copied from Mahatma Gandhi via SSB’s advisor and his chief teacher of English etc., Prof. Kasturi and not least: ‘Hurt never, help ever’, while he indisputably allowed the execution of four devotees in his own bedroom and refused to give any evidence).”
My Response: It is intriguing that it took Robert Priddy 17 years of intense scrutiny of SSB, to arrive at the conclusion that SSB’s teaching are a facade. Once again (I know this is getting terribly redundant), Robert Priddy says that SSB “indisputably allowed the execution of four devotees in his own bedroom and refused to give any evidence”. Where is the proof? Let us not forget that these “four devotees” murdered 2 people and seriously stabbed 2 others! Robert Priddy just said that his claim is “indisputable”.
Let me sum up Robert Priddy’s “indisputable” proof: 1) Robert Priddy gathers a bulk of his “evidence” from unnamed people; 2) Robert Priddy attributes negative stories to V.K. Narasimhan after V.K.N. died. V.K.N. was a SSB devotee and remained so until his death. Robert Priddy chose to attribute these negative stories to V.K.N. after he died, effectively quashing all possibility of validating these alleged stories; 3) Robert Priddy shamelessly embellishes newspaper articles and attributes stories to people who never reported them; 4) Robert Priddy has fully admitted that the police destroyed the evidence, so the truth can never be factually known; 5) Robert Priddy fails to provide a scintilla of evidence that SSB was present during or after the shooting of the 4 assailants; 6) Robert Priddy divulges the fact that he had no idea where SSB was at, when the shootings took place (Robert Priddy gives us 2 possible places where SSB might have been), effectively countering his “indisputable” claim; 7) Robert Priddy makes a similar claim of “indisputable evidence”, in relation to an alleged story told to him by V.K. Narasimhan regarding “blackmail”, and similarly provides no proof or evidence and 8) Robert Priddy began investigating the murders 3 years after they happened and didn’t start penning his conspiracy theories until 2 years after that! Robert Priddy somehow found the “indisputable” proof that escaped every single investigating office and department!
Despite Robert Priddy’s hollow assertion of “indisputable proof”, Robert Priddy can’t even give us accurate details! I fully know, with what shallow standards, Robert Priddy accepts alleged facts as being “indisputable”! Click Here to view my article about Robert Priddy’s conspiracy theory against SSB and the 1993 murders. These are the “shifting sands” that Robert Priddy bases his “indisputable” claims upon.
“A mixed menu of conflicting teachings: As already briefly touched on, SSB asserts wholly incompatible doctrines about the same matters. Most people do not study the teachings enough to see this clearly, and so most people find something which already fits with their existing beliefs or prejudices. Any dispassionate overview of his teaching shows many glaring discrepancies…Some small examples: SSB speaks of human freedom in many places but also denies repeatedly elsewhere that we have any at all! Then he says we must act as if we have freedom, though it is an illusion… but again remarks that there is one thing he cannot do, and that is make people do good or act according to dharma! (Even though he claims he is omnipotent). He holds that the human will is partly free, then that there is no free will whatever, then again that free will only belongs to the mind & not the body… and so on. He says there is no good or bad whatever, but continually declaims what is bad and what is good, who is a ‘bad man’ and who a ‘good man’. He holds that absolutely everything is good, but also that bad only comes to being when one thinks something good! Above all, he maintains that neither good nor evil exist.”
My Response: SSB’s talks from different viewpoints and Robert Priddy’s points of contention are vast oversimplifications of what SSB actually tries to convey. From a worldly, mental and spiritual viewpoint, good and evil exist, as do freedom and bondage. However, SSB often talks about the mental state of one who is enlightened, or situated in non-duality, and how, in that state, one does not perceive good or evil and one realizes that all action leads to some sort of bondage. Even in the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna tried talking about the “action in inaction and the inaction in action”. Conflicting thoughts indeed. However, one must reference these perceived conflicting points in context to the actual discourse, or story being told.
For example, let us look at the concept of free will. SSB does not argue so much against our freedom to make choices as he does about the word “free”. One who is “free” is not bound. SSB takes the position (in my own understanding of his teachings) that “free will” is not truly “free”, because it is bound to our responsibility and accountability in making a choice. Although we are free to choose and act, our choices and actions do not confer freedom. To the contrary, they generate reactions, repercussions, responsibility and accountability. One can freely choose to lie. Although one freely makes this choice, one is accountable and responsible for that lie, and will have to suffer the reactions and repercussions of that choice, freely made. No matter what decisions or choices we make, we are inevitably bound in our responsibility and accountability for these decisions and choices. This is an inescapable reality. In this light, free will is not truly free. If one fixates, one can see contradictions anywhere. Apparently, Robert Priddy is fixating.
“He says the only way to liberation is repeating the name or worship of a divine form, then that is said to be futile and only selfless service of others can succeed, then neither of these are any use whatever, for it depends wholly on God’s grace, then it depends entirely on one’s own actions, on self-realisation through discrimination and then again on various other absolute but indescribable requirements. He holds, too, that every word proves that whatever it represents exists… using as his example the ‘God’. But no trained philosopher can agree, since very many words do not represent existents of any kind!”
My Response: SSB is considered a world teacher who must affirm the different paths, belief systems and religions, without creating conflict by espousing the superiority of one religion or belief system over another. Consequently, SSB does say that there are many ways to God or Truth. SSB is simply affirming and encouraging different people, of differing religious and spiritual persuasions, to continue along their chosen paths with his approval and blessings. After all, these people are coming to SSB and value his opinion regarding their belief systems. This accounts for the reason why SSB may talk about realising God through Love, at another time talk about realising God through Wisdom, at another time talk about realising God through Selfless Service, and yet, at another time talk about realising God through Meditation, etc. The truth is that because of differing mentalities and temperaments, not everyone can follow the same path. Anyone with common sense knows this. SSB knows this and that is why SSB advises people along all these different paths, so that they will follow the one that best suits their mentality and temperament. If SSB espoused only one path, Robert Priddy would be gnashing his teeth and bellowing that SSB is a dictator whose fundamentalist teachings are narrow and restrictive! Either way, SSB’s teachings will never be seen as bona fide, in the newly formed myopia of Robert Priddy. If SSB’s teaching are a source of such negativity and consternation for Robert Priddy, why doesn’t he simply ignore SSB and move on with his life? The fact that Robert Priddy obsessively dwells, and fixates, on SSB’s teaching in a negative way, proves that Robert Priddy is biased and his motives in critiquing SSB are due to vindictiveness.
Robert Priddy also discussed his opinion regarding SSB’s preaching about many paths to God. Robert Priddy said in Source Of The Dream (page 221; Chapter: Understanding Baba’s Teachings), “Baba makes clear that no system of thought can ever grasp or contain the whole truth about God or existence. Presumably this is why he does not preach any single system or doctrine, preferring to encompass all faiths and valid philosophies, restating their essentials or universal truths in his discourses. In philosopy, many examples crop up of how reason itself causes apparent contradictions, especially when aplied to first and last things, which ultimately teaches only that there are many different possible approaches. Baba is ever approaching the same questions from various avenues and providing apparently new and surprising answers.” Once again, Robert Priddy refutes his current position with his past words. Robert Priddy tries to say that SSB’s teachings are one way, when in fact they are quite another way!
“His discourses even contradict themselves with the same breath at times! He repeatedly advises one thing to others and yet does another himself, for example: avoiding name and fame, wasting resources like money, observing chastity, speaking truthfully, not allowing violence and so on. (He breaks every one of these ideals). Literally scores of examples can be given, and have been, not least in my recorded observations! Since the world-wide exposure of SSB’s sexual molestations of young men drew attention to some of the many and deep contradictions of his words and behaviour that took off around 2000, he said he would stop letting people allow the touching and kissing of his feet so they should not feel any difference between themselves and him. However, this he has evidently not done and the differences are truly glaring as regards the luxuries and service he enjoys at every turn.”
My Response: Robert Priddy is repeating the same type of argument made by Brian Steel. First, Robert Priddy and Brian Steel both believe that SSB’s English discourses have been heavily edited, to the point that what one reads (in the English translations), is not what SSB literally said in Telugu, nor are the English translations accurate representations to SSB’s actual words. Then, Robert Priddy and Brian Steel flip-flop and attribute contradictions and discrepancies, in these very same heavily edited English discourses, directly to SSB, saying that SSB is fallible because those were his actual and literal words! Click Here to read my open critique of Brian Steel (that also applies to Robert Priddy) and the faulty reasoning used against the English translations to SSB’s Telugu discourses.
“He calls human birth a tremendous gift, and claims to be the giver himself! Yet he also speaks of it as the one thing to avoid as it simply begins ‘a life sentence’. One of his sayings is, ‘Life is a prison’, another is “Life is love, enjoy it.’ So he can hardly claim to be such a consistent teacher! It seems from what he says about himself that he is ever in bliss, nothing troubles him or gets to him in any way… which would mean that his own birth would be no such burden to him. But then he claims to be the exception to everything, every rule, all reason etc. He has even insisted that he has no real idea what suffering is because he is ever the same, totally untouched by it! So if this were true, would he not have much more reason to be grateful than anyone else?”
My Response: Once again, one must reference SSB’s actual discourses to understand what SSB was trying to convey. Taking a sentence here and a sentence there and saying they are contradictory is misleading. If one wants to talk contradictions, one need go further than Robert Priddy’s own words, in which he praises SSB devotees, then blatantly and categorically bashes them. Robert Priddy also uses concepts and ideas against SSB devotees, which are perfectly applicable to his Anti-SSB coterie! Robert Priddy also acknowledges SSB’s genuine and positive powers, but then says that SSB is a lousy, fraud magician! Robert Priddy is hardly consistent himself! No wonder he sees inconsistency everywhere! Once again, instead of Robert Priddy being constructive, he is being destructive. I think people are intelligent enough to form their own ideas and conclusions about SSB’s teachings, without having Robert Priddy desperately trying to convince people of what escaped his awareness, for 17 years, when he was a SSB devotee!
“He says one should on no account make publicity for ‘his’ hospital service projects, meanwhile speaking of how great exactly these projects are through loudspeakers so that thousands can hear him, and is captured on film too, and also recorded so it can be sent on the Sai radio station world-wide. He knows full well that what he says will be printed and published on the web too. Complete opposition between word and action!”
My Response: This sad comment, from Robert Priddy, shows how pathetic and desperate he truly is, to bash SSB at any cost. Even at the cost of appearing like a fanatic and obsessed person. I guess SSB is not allowed to speak, at all, in public, about his Hospital projects. Despite the hospital projects benefiting the poorest of India’s population, Robert Priddy does not want anyone (including the poor in need of the services) to know about it, because the hospital projects should not be made public! There is a difference between making things public and soliciting publicity.
“The near-impenetrable labyrinth of mirrors: There are numerous ways in which Sai Baba confounds people. Perhaps the most important of which is that he claims (as being the Godhead) that he draws a veil of unknowing over us by his power of Maya (or ‘Illusion’). Note that this is essentially just what any deceiver aims to do! Literature from the pens of hundreds of devotees describe very many instances of SSB’s ability to confuse and mystify them. He is admittedly in possession of some inexplicable ‘psychic powers’, communicating to people in unusual ways, through dreams, synchronicities and through the appearance of vibuthi and other ‘holy’ substances on his pictures (scientifically uninvestigated and hence an unexplained phenomenon of uncertain cause, so one cannot even therefore exclude fraud). The huge SSB hagiographic literature is choc-a-bloc with examples of SSB’s alleged ‘maya’ power. Many of these accounts attribute things to the mystical powers of SSB which are only subjectively confirmed…such as by his simply agreeing about them when he is asked whether he was the cause of this or that…whether he saved them from illnesses, accidents or other ills. Obviously, it is so easy to say ‘yes’… it costs so little.”
My Response: Although it is true that the stories surrounding SSB’s powers and alleged ways of communication, with his devotees, are prolific and eclectic, let us not forget that, to this day, Robert Priddy affirms that SSB has genuine, paranormal powers! Robert Priddy has said, “Some of what I experienced of SSB’s extraordinary and positive powers through many years is undeniable, even after the most rigorous skeptical investigations, and I do not regard him as any ordinary human being.” Robert Priddy has also said, “I was drawn to visit SSB through a number of indisputable para-normal events.” Robert Priddy admits to experiencing “indisputable para-normal events” and “extraordinary and positive powers” in relation to SSB. However, Robert Priddy flip-flops (again) and suggests that all of the miraculous manifestations and experiences of SSB devotees are somehow fraudulent, subjective and unreal! Of course, I do not expect Robert Priddy to keep these comments on the internet much longer, considering that he is deleting many of his personal pages, at a fast rate, in order to prevent the general public from knowing about his past beliefs and experiences, including his drug years.
“From SSB’s claim to be God Almighty he continues to say that all he does is to engage in ‘divine play’ (leela), a mischievous-seeming sport by which he both entertains and educates us (often causing illness, suffering even disaster and sudden death in some recorded cases, for the edification of all!). When someone is killed in the ashram by an accident (as in the 1990 Museum dome collapse deaths or a fatal road accident in which students of his were killed) , or murdered there (as on several separate occasions, the biggest being 6 killings in his rooms in 1993), this is taken equally as a part of the ‘divine drama’ whereby he teaches and tests. According to this claims and all the mythology developed around it, anything can be interpreted in almost any way, for we can never know’ the inscrutable ways of God’. Sai Baba has practiced this typically Indian ’spiritual smoke and mirrors’ teaching more ably than most ’spiritual masters’ and is indeed masterful at not saying what one expects or by turning things around in every which way so as to suit every occasion and avoid giving answers that would give himself away.”
My Response: Robert Priddy has serious issues with SSB devotees dying in tragic circumstances. Although such cases are indeed tragic and sad, one must remember that people from all religions and spiritual backgrounds die in similar tragic ways. Despite this fact, no one is blaming Jesus, Allah, Krishna, Shiva or Buddha about these tragic accidents. However, when it comes to SSB, everything is SSB’s fault. It is a well-known fact that many of Jesus followers, in the early days of Christianity, were martyred. Jesus did not save them. They died horrific, blood-curdling deaths, yet everyone praises their faith and devotion and no one blames or castigates Jesus or God at all! However, whenever a SSB devotee dies, Anti-SSB Activists are quick to blame SSB! The grim reality is that everyone dies, accidents happen and tragedies occur. This grim reality is seen all over the world, affecting all people regardless of religion, culture, ethnicity, gender, age or devotion to SSB. This is just a fact, and Robert Priddy needs to look beyond his blinders to acknowledge this fact. Robert Priddy repeatedly, like a parrot and broken record, keeps trying to hammer away at the 1993 murders. I think I have repeated myself enough about this topic. Click Here to view my article about Robert Priddy’s conspiracy theory, about the 1993 murders, and his shameless embellishing, lies and misrepresentations of facts.
“SSB is known usually to throw every serious query back onto the questioner and thus to avert criticism, avoiding explaining himself by putting the burden back onto his devotees. Apportioning absolutely all blame for anything not perfect to others, he presents himself as totally faultless. His converts always put any errors, misunderstandings or blemishes down to themselves rather than to him, for it is taboo to suspect him of anything and itis thought it might bring the wrath of God down.”
My Response: That SSB forces the questioner to look for the truth, is actually commendable. If SSB puts the query back to the questioner, than SSB is encouraging that questioner to think for himself or herself. This would refute Robert Priddy’s contention that SSB brainwashes people. If SSB encourages people to reflect, contemplate and find answers themselves, Robert Priddy finds fault in this. However, Robert Priddy finds fault in the opposite method as well. A no win situation.
Funny enough, here, we have Robert Priddy saying that SSB’s “converts” put “any errors, misunderstandings or blemishes down to themselves rather than to him (SSB)”. What is amusing about this is that if a “convert” puts the blame on SSB, they would be “projecting” the negative! Robert Priddy has already made a strong case about “projections” and whatever positive or negative things that we see in SSB, can be directly traced to ourselves. However, Robert Priddy is criticizing SSB for saying exactly the same thing! That whatever positive or negative things we see, can be directly traced to ourselves! Using Robert Priddy’s previous logic, in his “projection” article, all of the negativity that Robert Priddy sees, is simply a projection from his own mind!
“SSB employs veiled statements which tend to encourage vacillation and self-doubting in most of his humble followers. The many challenges to common sense that his ambiguous language invites to excuse or conceal his observable behaviour helps him maintain some semblance of credibility. One must grant him that he is most unusually clever at creating these false appearances. So his followers speculate constantly over far-fetched explanations, whereby any words can be suggested as meaning almost anything by scouring the whole of their memory for some linking event or other possible connection. I have done it myself earlier, but will no longer now! It is amazing what ingenious thoughts the concentrated mind can wring out of any words he utters, and not least out of the all-embracingly vague and unverifiable ’spiritual truths’ that make up the key part of the teachings. Many just give up all efforts to understand any of it and just ’surrender’ all reason out of mental and spiritual exhaustion. They then become life prisoners of their own self-defeat.”
My Response: Here, we have Robert Priddy calling SSB devotees, “humble followers”. This directly contradicts Robert Priddy’s numerous comments, about SSB devotees, in his previous 5 Disempowerment Articles. Robert Priddy is also acknowledging that he saw SSB’s words in such a way that he scoured the “whole of his memory for some linking event or other possible connection”. Robert Priddy’s comments reveal his turmoiled, self-defeating and desperate mental state when he was a SSB devotee. Robert Priddy can only speak for himself. He thinks that since he was so turmoiled, that others must be as well. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
“The movement around SB interprets everything doubtful so as to make it seem wise, even at the cost of all common sense and reason. The whole teaching is built upon on the assumption of SSB’s ‘divine infallibility’ (supposedly far greater than any Pope’s) which may not be questioned and which generates a self-reproducing system of delusions, of preconceptions and subtle discriminations against those who reject it.”
My Response: The movement around Anti-SSB Activists interprets everything doubtful so as to make it seem wise, even at the cost of common sense and reason!
I have questioned SSB’s teachings, and so have others I have met. People are not as gullible as Robert Priddy. After all, Robert Priddy fully acknowledged that he accepted SSB as the Supreme, All-Knowing, All-Powerful God simply because it was a “bottom line belief” required of SSB devotees! That Robert Priddy failed to question SSB’s teachings, in the 17 years he was a devotee, is not SSB’s fault. It is Robert Priddy’s fault. Once again, this is Robert Priddy’s blame-mentality and refusal to accept responsibility for his actions and choices.
“Nullification and ‘casting into outer darkness’: Who most needs a religion? Experience shows that it need not be only good persons seeking the truth and wishing to serve and advance society or who feel that they recognise a worthwhile teaching. Religion is also for those who feel spiritually weak or without sufficient faith in themselves, who doubt but hope that they may have a ‘divine spark’ in them. Religions may cater to those who lack spirituality in their daily lives, and ideally perhaps for those who need to be taught basic morals, not least also to ‘fundamentalists’ and extremists of all kinds who are looking for a motive to carry out terrorist or other such acts. Therefore, religious movements attract those who have strong, unsatisfied social and emotional needs. It is a desire to belong somewhere, but often also the wish to preach to and teach others, as well as use religion as a vehicle to impose their will.”
My Response: Once again, Robert Priddy is bashing billions of people who adhere to the tenets of their chosen religious persuasions. Robert Priddy is suggesting that people who choose to follow their own religion, do so because they are “spiritually weak or without sufficient faith in themselves”. I think many people would disagree and affirm that they follow their own religion out of the strength of their own convictions. It is also important to point out that those who do not belong to a religion, and who consider themselves free thinkers or atheists, can also be “without sufficient faith in themselves”. It is undeniable that one does not need to have religion to be a fundamentalist or extremist. Stalin was a fundamentalist and extremist atheist. Also, Robert Priddy says that religious movements “attract those who have strong, unsatisfied social and emotional needs…a desire to belong somewhere, but often a wish to preach to and teach others”! I guess this was why Robert Priddy was attracted to the SSB religious movement to begin with! And oddly enough, Robert Priddy still seems to suggest that he has unsatisfied social and emotional needs. And (it should be obvious by now), Robert Priddy has a strong and relentless desire to “preach to and teach others” and uses his disaffection with SSB to “impose his will” on the reader through numerous Anti-SSB propaganda articles. I cannot overemphasize that Robert Priddy is making a strong case against God, Religion and Spirituality. Robert Priddy positions himself as one who is superior to others, and who feels he can advise the “misguided” billions of people who find fulfillment, joy, celebration, meaning, faith and conviction in their own chosen beliefs, spiritual paths and religions.
““People don’t leave sb because that would be leaving the call of ‘God’ and they have the fear of their life being nullified….”, Tony O’Clery. (15 years at Vancouver Centre, former Sai Org. official - Secretary in the mid-80s)”
My Response: This is simply untrue. As I have stated before, very few people see SSB as God. Most see him as a holy man, saint, sage, guru or avatar. This comment also contradicts Robert Priddy’s assertion that SSB devotees leave SSB all the time and have a high turn over rate.
“Attempts to convert others to a religious belief often fail to respect divergent opinions or the integrity of those who hold them because they are unwilling to enter into genuine dialogue, which requires hearing both sides of the matter and not least, self-reflection. Those who pretend to some kind of spiritual and moral leadership tend to talk down to others, lack genuine self-irony/ Such lack of self-reflection is seen widely in the Sai movement when speakers and writers almost only parrot SSB and so hide themselves behind his perceived name, fame and power. That kind of behaviour is what necessitates the present author’s questioning of this doctrine and practice which shuns most pointed questions in public discussion and allows no critical examination.”
My Response: This is amusing. Click Here to view my email correspondence with Robert Priddy and see if Robert Priddy practices what he preaches in regards to entering into a “genuine dialogue, which requires hearing both sides of the matter and not least, self-reflection”. Robert Priddy simply does not practice what he preaches. He loves to jab his finger in all sorts of unholy places and hurl insults and criticisms; however, Robert Priddy lacks the integrity and open-mindedness for anyone to take him seriously (other than those Anti-SSB Activists who indulge in this same reprehensible behavior). Robert Priddy also “talks down to others, lacks genuine self-irony and lacks self-reflection”. Robert Priddy also has the audacity to say that these very behaviors (that Robert Priddy fully engages in) are the reason why he is writing against SSB. Well, this “kind of behavior is what necessitates the present author’s (me) questioning” of Robert Priddy’s practices, which “shun most pointed questions in public discussion and allows no critical examination”!
“SSB talks a lot about gratitude, how important it is to be grateful to God… that even dogs show more gratitude than men and so on. He clearly expects, too, that one should be everlastingly grateful to him for anything he might do or seem to do for us… and even for one’s personal existence! Yet he only expresses gratitude to followers most sparingly, and chiefly to those who he has chosen to execute his wishes or to donors of very large sums of money. I have been grateful to SSB in that he has appeared to give me various kinds of support, and I have shown it in action in various ways, including writing many articles for his journal, a book praising him and making what were, for me, major financial contributions. But I am most ungrateful for his heinous deception, misuse of funds, fraud and other yet worse things he is known to have done. He has not asked the forgiveness of anyone for anything, nor is it likely that he has stopped doing wrong things. What Divine Person would ever speak or act like him?”
My Response: Robert Priddy is giving us more insights into what motivates and feeds his anger.
“Getting off the Hook at the End of the Long Line: One of the most common and overrated occurrences among Sai followers is the ‘first glance’ they receive from SSB. Prior to this they will mostly have read much about him, have prayed to him, have even begged and importuned privately for blessings or boons! They will have built up a tremendous expectation and hope, while suppressing anxiety that their hopes even of being noticed may be dashed. They mostly travel far and at much expense to see him, and wait for almost innumerable hours either standing in queues (esp. if an invalid!) or seated humbly on the ground in long lines waiting to get into the darshan area.”
My Response: Of course, Robert Priddy’s judgmental observations about the “first glance” never applied to me. The overwhelming majority of people, who go to see SSB, are very well aware of the fact that one must wait in long lines, hours at a time, in order to see SSB. Consequently, waiting in lines for hours at a time, for SSB’s darshan, is something people willingly endure and undertake.
“Few are noticed by him at first, in many cases it takes weeks… many other are never even looked at by him during a long stay. Imagine, therefore, the relief and intensity of the experience when his glance happens to catch yours! He is able to look quite penetratingly at people (this is not so unusual, but becomes invested with utter significance to those who more or less believe in advance that he is God, or at least a very holy person). Add to this the fact that there are a number of very unusual people about - not least Indian yogis, nagas and Tantrics, whose looks can variously seem like ‘burning embers’ or some inexplicable intensity like fire or bliss. Though I have never seen any such look from SSB such things are definitely possible (as I have experienced with others). SSB is extremely psychically sensitive to people and can respond to their feelings and thoughts with many and varied expressions. This is enough for most followers who remain deprived of any closer contact than what one can get at the brief darshan… especially for Westerners, who are mostly inexperienced concerning even mild paranormal phenomena. It is very difficult for anyone who has not gone deeply into the SSB phenomenon, teaching and movement for many years, to have any genuine picture of how things are likely to develop in one’s life. This is one chief reason for me to write at length about the range of experiences that are likely to befall many - if not all - devotees. Another reason is to communicate with those who have their own experiences and - like anyone who has given a chunk of their lives to this cult - are still reintegrating their lives after the great disaffection.”
My Response: Was Robert Priddy so captivated by SSB simply by a glance? Is it possible for people to become SSB devotees, who accept him as God, simply because of a glance? Apparently so! At least, according to Robert Priddy. Robert Priddy also says that SSB is “psychically sensitive to people and can respond to their feelings and thoughts with many and varied expressions”. This is very confusing because Robert Priddy has said that SSB is a lousy, fraud magician who fakes miracles and materializations. Nevertheless, Robert Priddy then professes that SSB has genuine paranormal powers, can materialize apports and is psychically sensitive to people! Robert Priddy has said, “Nonetheless, it will surely surprise some that I am am still almost certain - on the basis of extended personal observation - that SSB can and does carry out apports, which therefore can appear as materialisations from nothing.” For those who may not be familiar with the concept of apports, an apport is when an known, 3-D object is dematerialised from one place, in time, and re-materialized by a medium, yogi or guru. The fact that Robert Priddy cannot take a solid position on SSB’s powers is very amusing, and only serves to leave the door, just enough open, to rightly say that Robert Priddy might be entirely wrong about SSB. One cannot say that magicians can duplicate SSB’s materializations and, at the same time, say that SSB is genuinely materializing things exactly like magicians, minus the illusion! One cannot say that SSB is a lousy, fraud magician and, at the same time, profess that SSB has genuine and positive paranormal powers! However, this is exactly what Robert Priddy is saying.
“Here is some of various positive feedback received about my descriptions of the cultish conspiracy, sent by a lady whose name I do not make known:-”
My Response: This is an amusing letter from (you guessed it) another anonymous person. Strangely enough, Robert Priddy has called people, who do not divulge their full names “cowardly creatures”.
“I have just finished reading part 4 of your very inspiring article: Personal disempowerment in worshipping gurus. What you say is so true. I went to see sai baba 5 times in the 15 years I was a devotee and I never got an interview - no attention. Only twice he took my letters. I remember thinking “I’ve come halfway around the world to see God (from central Canada you can go either west or east to reach India - same distance) and at great expense, and I don’t even get a look, I also remember that I never felt happy while at the ashram. I thought there was something wrong with me, I was in the presence of God and yet I felt miserable. The ashram would never give me a private room so I had to stay at a hotel in the village: no linen, primitive toilet, bugs, heat, noise. At darshan the sevadals were so unfriendly and hostile, I kept thinking, where is the love? Sai Baba kept preaching love, love, love, but I never felt it there. During my last stay I was visited by two burly police officers. They spoke no English but the hotel owner told me they wished to see my passport. They scrutinized my passport for a few minutes, talking amongst themselves and making notes on a clipboard. I just sat there trying not to look frightened. I was never told what that was all about. Were they concerned because I was a woman in her seventies travelling alone? It took a lot of struggling to get over the resentment of being duped by such a powerful organization with a psychopath leader. But finally, I feel so free. I don’t need a guru to teach me how to love. I have the knowledge and power within me. Keep writing, you have helped me a lot.””
My Response: Apparently, this woman’s devotion was based on the hope of receiving personal attention from SSB. The reasons why this woman did not feel happy, at SSB’s ashram, was due to not receiving a personal room in the ashram, having no linen, using primitive toilets, weather issues, bugs, noise and the unfriendly attitude of the Seva Dals! This person claimed she believed SSB was God. Despite this lukewarm lip service to SSB’s God-hood, she refutes SSB’s God-hood, not directly because of SSB himself, but mostly due to circumstantial things like living quarters, attention, toilets, weather, bugs and noise! It’s amusing to note that this woman would have maintained her devotion to SSB if she had a room to herself with linens, a western toilet, pleasant and temperate weather, no bugs, no noise and if the Seva Dals were more friendly!
The police check all foreigners’ passports. Anyone who registers into a hotel, must either go to the police station and show the police one’s passport, or the police will visit one’s room and make the necessary inspection. In India, the police hold much more power than the police in other countries.
SSB has also been highly critical of the seva dals and workers at his ashram (which Robert Priddy has pointed out in no uncertain terms) for not practicing the love he preaches.
Also, do not expect Robert Priddy to bash this woman for “projecting” the positive onto him! Robert Priddy bashes SSB devotees for “projecting” the positive onto SSB. However, when this woman “projects the positive” onto Robert Priddy, he likes it!
“The problems that are inherent to SSB’s sphere tend at some point to boil over for very many people… an uncounted mass who once got involved but who simply slip away and are seldom heard of again. The number of defectors must be well over a million, judging by how many can have visited through the decades (several millions). The frequent falling away after some time has even been mentioned by SSB in a discourse: “I have been asked often why some persons who have associated themselves with Prashanthi Nilayam for years leave off and do not appear again!” (Sathya Sai Speaks. Vol. 11, p. 86). Of course, his fatuous answer to this puts the blame on them all, the great ‘Sai lie’ all over again. It is only designed to direct attention well away from his own failings and the sheer boredom of his discourse, the boasting falsities, the cover-ups, and other much worse things.”
My Response: I think Robert Priddy’s reference to SSB’s “sheer boredom of his discourses” has rubbed off on Robert Priddy’s “sheer boredom of his writings”. As one can see, Robert Priddy is still very hurt about his encounter with SSB. Instead of practicing the self-empowerment he preaches, he wallows in negativity and seems to be trying to affirm some sort of self-empowerment that he lacks. If “self empowerment” is negatively criticizing SSB’s every action and word, then Robert Priddy is highly self empowered! To me, Self Empowerment is a positive thing, not a negative thing. Perhaps, since these articles are entitled “Personal Disempowerment in Worshipping Gurus”, Robert Priddy is actually revealing his disempowerment, instead of affirming his empowerment. It is clear that Robert Priddy still feels disempowered and is thereby reacting very negatively to everything that SSB does or says, trying to fill the void in his life by lashing out viciously. It is my sincere hope that Robert Priddy finds Positive, Self Empowerment in his life and finds the courage to move forward with his life, instead of stagnating in it. It will be a glorious day when Robert Priddy gives up his dark and negative side and uses his skills and talents constructively, not destructively.