This page began simply enough - I wanted to present the other side of the argument to the anti-Sai case; i.e. the argument in favour of Sathya Sai Baba, who at the time I still thought highly of. The page began when I innocently and perhaps naively uploaded an email letter that was more controversial then I realised. As a result I found myself embroiled in a war I never realised existed, between ex-devotees who have broken with Sathya Sai Baba over the sexual abuse claims, and two pro-Sai Baba ex-devotee critics, with each side attacking the other. I have in the course of this war, been accused (perhaps rightly) first by one side, then the other, of belonging to the enemy camp! I also do not claim that my account here is in any way that this is a definitive coverage, as I have only corresponded with a few people on each side, but really the whole affair is so ugly and has such a feeling of dirtiness about it that I was and am put off. You read things that are said, and things that have been reported to have been done, and you feel unclean. Literally.
Also, in the process of writing and revising this page, my initial high regard and strong sympathy for the two pro-Sai people came to be diminished by several things. Warning bells were first raised by excessive paranoia regarding Wikipedia, which they regard as completely biased against Sai Baba. Interestingly I have seen one guru critic, Geoff Falk, who has a chapter critical of Sai Baba in his on-line book, make a complaint in his blog about Wikipedia being too sympathetically biased towards gurus. (Geoff and I have since made up our differences, I am pleased to say. We still disagree, but no antagonism.)
Then as my understanding and personal research in this field developed, I began to be seriously put off by an excessively antagonistic attitude among both pro-Sai Baba sympathisers and ex-devotees; reading some of the of the archives one comes away with a sense of angry children yelling insults at each other; too often this is what these sort of things degenerate into, and I always avoid those forums. At the same time, my correspondence with ex-devotees provided a very different view on things than that of the two Sai Baba supporters described here. And this made me seriously consider what I had been told, because if one only hears one side of an argument it is easy to go along with it, but if one hears both sides then it is necessary to begfin thinking for oneself.
Once the Sai devotees saw that I was no longer just accepting their line, they became much more antagonistic towards me. And as my investigation continued, I noticed a quite astonishing attitude of slanderous behaviour on their part, in which genuine debate is replaced by muck raking and ad hominem attack, and extreme shadow project.
At the same time, I still constantly, even when criticising their position in a civilized manner, tried always to see the best in these people, and even in one case several times made spiritual and empathic overtures, which were rebuffed with anger and rage on his part.
For a long time I wanted to sit on the fence regarding this whole issue, much as I wanted to with Da Free John, another ambiguous guru with whom I have a long, if not as strong connection with.
But I came to realise, in both cases, that eventually one must come down from the fence and make a stand on the side that one's conscience dictates is right, yet at the same time maintaining sincerity towards both sides and avoiding any sort of shadow projection. No doubt many other very similar stories could be told regarding the antagonistism between devotees and ex-devotees of any abusive guru.
My foray into the underworld of certain Sai devotees has left me with a feeling of something pretty yuck. Originally I was put off by what I felt to be charges and counter charges made by both devotee vs ex-devotee. As I became more embroiled in the whole thing, and got to know the people on both sides better, I began to realise that all the ugliness was on one side. This was a degree of shadow projection that I have not seen associated with other guru movement I have investigated - not with Da and ex-Da community (despite some similarities of circumstance and claims), not with Andrew Cohen or Ken Wilber, not even with Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet. This is despite the fact that I have criticised their gurus far more than I have Sai Baba (with Sai Baba I am just relating what others have said). There seems to be a truly adverse element involved in the Sai phenomenon. The only currenlt active "new religion" movement so far with anything similar that I know of is Scientology (but most likely there are others).
Eventually though, as I edited and re-edited this page, while trying to retain the original context, the whole thing became too convoluted. With Sathya Sai Baba no longer alive, there seems little point in retaining it.
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