Smear campaigns against Hindu Gurus: Presumed guilty until proven innocent?

Smear campaigns against Hindu Gurus: Presumed guilty until proven innocent?
Hindu Voice UK, July 2009

Is it not strange that for many Guru’s, Rishi’s or Seer’s that have emerged from India, there has always been attacks on them. These have come in the guise of slander, misquotes, false allegations and smear campaigns. Why is it the vast majority of these have been orchestrated by westerners? Why do we as Hindus read, hear, accept or turn a blind eye these?

The fact that we are born in the west or we are raised to admire the west may be a reason. There are many who give a lot of credit to anyone from the west, and there are many who believe in the old statement “Where there is fire there is smoke”. Let us start with the historical case of Vivekananda the great philosopher & teacher.

When Vivekananda went to Chicago in 1893 to speak at the parliament of the worlds religions in Chicago, he was ridiculed by members of other faiths. This was not because of what he said, but because of everyone’s lack of knowledge of Hinduism and their preconceptions of a faith based in mythology with worshipping of animals and nature. Indeed when the Gita was placed on the table, members of the other faiths starting placing their holy books on top of the Gita with each stating the Gita is nothing compared with their book. This resulted in a Vivekananda showing that the Gita is the foundation the ocean of knowledge. Remove this and all other texts will collapse. This incident and subsequent attempts to frame Vivekananda by the church during his maiden US voyage because of his mass appeal; showed the anti Hindu guru stance was taken by many over 100 years ago. This approach was also accepted by many and not challenged.

Let us now take the current case with Sathya Sai Baba. Many have heard of Sai Baba as the guru or Avatar who has performed untold miracles from childhood. Indeed you will find many who have seen or benefited from the miracles throughout the world. To be sceptic is in our nature, we must all enquire & experience. However, if allegations are proclaimed by people with ulterior motives, then the sceptics will often believe the rumours.

Over 90% of anti Sai allegations can be attributed to Tal Brook (Robert Taliaferro Brooke), who as a westerner was often seen at Sai Baba’s ashram in the 1970s. He proclaimed he was Sai Baba’s number one western follower. He started the sexual allegations campaign, which initiated from him talking to an unidentified man Surya Das who was told by another unidentified man ‘Patrick’ who had apparently had physical relations with Sai Baba. No one else has met these individuals.

Why did Tal Brooke go to India? He stated that spirit guides, and belief in “psychic stuff” brought him to India and to Sai Baba. Why did he suddenly stop his pro Sai Baba work whilst at the Ashram titled “The Amazing Advent”? Which Incidentally Sai Baba refused to bless. Why did he leave the ashram & circulate his anti Sai Baba rumours soon afterwards? Because he stated he had demonic encounters, hearing voices of spirits, out of body experiences, but acknowledged that Sai Baba had Christ like powers that baffled top scientists. In 1976 Tal Brook published an anti Sai book titled “Lord of the Air”*. In the book and in subsequent years he has attacked Sai Baba & Hinduism, suggesting that enlightenment is an evil path to Satan and that God-Men and Gurus are in a state of perfect demon possession. He believes that Sai Baba embodies a “timeless, demonic presence“. What does this say about the integrity and objectivity of his claims against Sai Baba?

What is also missing is the story of his constant high usage of drugs while at university & India, and his drug induced hallucinations of being self-realized. Other Americans recognised him as a fanatic Christian at the ashram, which is contrary to his claim of becoming a Christian post Sai Baba. He was a member of the Neo-American Church founded by Arthur Kleps (a follower of LSD guru Timothy Leary). Kleps was alleged to be anti-Semitic by the Dutch police who expelled him from Holland. Tal Brooke has denounced Hollywood as being anti Christ, and his smear campaign has lasted 30 years with multiple books and now with expensive internet ad campaigns.

Tal Brooke’s rumours and books led to many copy cat accusers, most of whom who had had a dubious past, but not once has there been any proof. The recent most famous example is of Alaya Rahm who in the 1990s as a young man told he had sexual encounters with Sai Baba. The western media jumped on this, and even the BBC produced a programme which effectively made Sathya Sai Baba appear guilty. However Alaya Rahm (and others) had many opportunities to file a police or court case anywhere in India, this has never occurred. A lawsuit was created in the Superior Court of California on January 6, 2005 (Case No. 05cc01931). But realising expose was high he refused to go to court. No other alleged victim came forward to testify in support of his allegations, though anti-Sai activists claimed there were many alleged US victims. Amazing some eminent western Hindus have often joined the anti-Sai crusade with enthusiasm, which has often led to more people accepting the false accusations.

Such examples and more (e.g. on Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Maharishi Mahesh) show that when anti Guru Statements are made, everyone takes notice. On an international stage, as Hindus we have never done our own research on to try and prove that the Gurus may well be innocent. Worse, when the allegations are proved to be incorrect, we have not been able to use that opportunity to publicise that nationally or internationally.

*Republished in 1979 as “Sai Baba, Lord Of The Air”, renamed “Avatar of Night” in 1982 with a reprint in 1984, was renamed “Lord Of The Air: Tales of a Modern Antichrist” in 1990 and reprinted again as “Avatar of Night” in 1999.

Hindu Voice Reference

Secret Swami & Sathya Sai Baba

Indian Swami Sathya Sai Baba

– Bill Aitken’s Opinion About The “Secret Swami” Program:
Not only has the repeatedly been accused of bias, Bill Aitken (an expert in comparative religion and a travel writer) said about their program against Sathya Sai Baba:

“The latest in these so called exposes is a BBC documentary whose agenda was so predetermined to denigrate Baba that it stooped to the unethical use of a spy camera. In a last farcical gesture, the producer hired some roadside entertainers to attempt to simulate Baba’s chamatkar. The result is so ludicrous that it leaves the viewer wondering as to who is funding this bizarre display of hostile reporting. The BBC is ultimately governed by the Anglican establishment, and churches in the west are losing out financially to the appeal of the Sai Baba movement. As a commercial broadcaster, the BBC’s opting for sleaze would have the dual advantage of discrediting a rival as well as getting good audience rating. The Church of England can have no objection to programmes that weaken perceived threats—like the papacy or Hindu holy men—to its (declining) influence in the world. Posing as a lion in Asia, the BBC is a mouse in Britain. It dare not criticise public icons like the Queen, who happens to be the supremo of the Anglican church.” (Reference)

“Secret Swami” Discussed In The Asian Voice:
In an interview with an Asian Voice correspondent, Mr Ashok Bhagani (a trustee of the Sai Organisation in the UK) said that he believed the allegations in the Secret Swami BBC documentary were completely factless and baseless and have never been proved. Mr Bhagani also stated that when devotees are selected by Baba for a private interview, there is always someone else present in the room, and this is especially the case when women and children meet him (Reference).

Navin Patel, a biochemistry student at the Sathya Sai Arts College in Bangalore during the 1970s, told Asian Voice that he visited Baba’s ashram many times and studied at Baba’s college long enough to know the allegations were untrue. Patel claimed the ‘secret Swami’BBC documentary was very misleading and was based on only two westerners who had their own monetary agendas. Patel expressed the opinion that western journalists were bashing Baba collectively (Reference).

– Tanya Datta & Dr Murli Manohar Joshi In “Secret Swami” Programme:
In the “Secret Swami” documentary, Tanya Datta queried Dr Murli Manohar Joshi about an official letter (released to the general public in December 2001) signed by A.B. Vajpayee (the then Prime Minister of India), P.N. Bhagawati (Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India), Ranganath Mishra (Chair Person, National Human Rights Commissioner of India and Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India), Najma Heptulla (President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union; UNDP Distinguished Human Development Ambassador) and Shivraj V. Patil (Member of Parliament, India; Formerly of the Lok Sabda & Union Minister) in which they all called the allegations against the Indian guru Satya Sai Baba “wild, reckless and concocted allegations made by certain vested interests” and that they “unequivocally condemned” the allegations as “baseless and malicious” (Reference).

– Suppressing Anti-Guru Bias In The “Secret Swami” Documentary:
Interesting enough, Khushwant Singh (an Indian Journalist consulted in the Secret Swami programme) stated in the GuruBusters video that he holds Anti-Guru and Rationalist views. Mr Singh said, “What you cannot prove by your reason, we reject…I reject God…I can only be wishful and say I hope that rationalism will thrive in this country as it has in some others.” For some mysterious reason, Mr Singh’s Anti-Guru and Rationalist views were not divulged in the Secret Swami programme.

– An Open Admission Of Bias About The “Secret Swami” Video:
Within the past 5-6 months, Andries Krugers Dagneaux (former webmaster and current “Main Representative, Supervisor and Contact” for the largest Anti-Sai Site on the internet, Reference) made several very disturbing claims that Michelle Goldberg (from, the Danish Radio (which produced the Seduced documentary), Tanya Datta (correspondent for the BBC in the production of the Secret Swami programme) and the BBC itself accepted, promoted the views of and were sympathetic with Anti-Sai Activists: Reference! It is true that Tanya Datta wrote an article promoting the Secret Swami programme in exclusive association with Basava Premanand (an atheist and long term critic & skeptic of Sathya Sai Baba since 1968). Tanya Datta also worked in close association with Premanand prior to the making of the Secret Swami programme.

– Pertaining To “Secret Swami” Witness, Mark Roche:
Mark Roche claimed in the Secret Swami documentary that he was allegedly abused once in 1976 (when he was approximately 25 years old) and maintained his devotion as a devotee to 1994 (for a period of 15 years). Strangely enough, Roche spent several weeks with Robert Priddy in 1994 and never gave any indication that he was upset with Baba or that anything was wrong. Mark Roche’s testimony came from “out of the blue” and he has neither filed a basic police complaint, court case or even a written testimony about his alleged experiences with Sathya Sai Baba (Reference).

– Pertaining To “Secret Swami” Witness, Alaya Rahm:
According to Alexandra Nagel (in her paper “Shiva Shaki”), Alaya Rahm (the prime interviewee on the Secret Swami) claimed that “on two different occasions” Sathya Sai Baba turned his penis into a vagina or made his penis disappear and then reappear. Nagel said that she personally talked to Alaya Rahm (then using the pseudonym “Sam Young”) and she obtained this first-hand testimony from him. Needless to say, nowhere else do we read this incredible (and simply unbelievable) claim from Alaya about Baba making his penis disappear and then reappear. Why not?

The testimonies of Alaya Rahm are sanitized versions of what Alaya actually encountered with Baba. In Alaya’s testimonies, Sathya Sai Baba is depicted as a human, with no paranormal powers, who is forcing Alaya into having sex with him. However, factor in the accounts that Alaya Rahm gave to Alexandra Nagel where Baba literally went from having male genitals to female genitals and things begin to appear quite different. Of course, by adding the information that Alaya gave to Nagel, many would doubt Alaya’s testimonies. Perhaps that’s why it was never mentioned. However, factoring in the miraculous genitalia change, if it were true (and why would Alaya lie about it?), one could most certainly reason that since Baba has the miraculous ability to literally change from one gender to another, his actions, no matter how sexual, cannot be equated with those of a normal human being. This is not making an excuse for what happened to Alaya. It is simply a very valid observation based on the miraculous, physical transformation that Alaya attributed to SSB, but did not discuss in his public testimonies. Some have attributed this “genitalia switch” to Baba being a hermaphrodite. However, if we are to truly believe the accounts made by Alaya, Sathya Sai Baba had a fully functional penis as Alaya claimed he saw it.

As a matter of fact, Keith Ord gave a very compelling sexual encounter with Sathya Sai Baba that Anti-Sai Sites refuse to list in their sexual abuse section. Why? Because Keith Ord talked about Sathya Sai Baba literally morphing his penis into a vagina! Keith Ord specifically said that Baba was not a hermaphrodite, but that Baba literally changed his penis into a vagina. Of course, this claim makes Keith Ord’s alleged sexual encounter with Baba sound crazy, which is why it is not listed under ExBaba’s sexual abuse section. Furthermore, David Bailey accepted Keith Ord’s story, but snipped out the “penis turned vagina” section because Bailey knew it would cast serious doubt on Keith Ord’s credibility. If Keith Ord’s testimony is seen as being unbelievable (because of the “genital switch” story), why is Alaya Rahm’s not seen as being the same?

Consequently, we are presented with the possiblities that either Alaya Rham lied about his experiences or Sathya Sai Baba has the miraculous ability to change his gender at will. Which scenario sounds more plausible?

In “Response To Form Interrogatories” in Alaya Rahm’s self-dismissed lawsuit against the Sathya Sai Baba Society (Form Interrogatory No. 6.3, Set One) Alaya Rahm fully admitted that he had been a daily user of illegal street drugs and alcohol since at least 1999 – 2005. Consequently, during Alaya Rahm’s “Divine Downfall” and India Today Anti-Sai interviews and during the filming of the BBC Documentary “Secret Swami” and the “Seduced By Sai Baba” Danish Documentary, Alaya Rahm was under the influence of illegal street drugs and alcohol while relating his alleged sexual encounters with Sathya Sai Baba. This crucial information wholly undermines Alaya Rahm’s credibility and irreparably compromises the integrity of his claims. Needless to say, this information has been purposely suppressed from the general public by Anti-Sai Activists, the Rahm Family and the media (Ref).



Secret Swami Interviewee A Decade-Long Daily User Of Illegal Street Drugs & Alcohol

Secret Swami Interviewee A Decade-Long Daily User Of Illegal Street Drugs & Alcohol

In “Response To Form Interrogatories” in Alaya Rahm’s self-dismissed lawsuit against the Sathya Sai Baba Society (Form Interrogatory No. 6.3, Set One) Alaya Rahm fully admitted that he had been a daily user of illegal street drugs and alcohol from 1995 – 2005. Consequently, during Alaya Rahm’s “Divine Downfall” and India Today Anti-Sai interviews and during the filming of the BBC Documentary “Secret Swami” and the “Seduced By Sai Baba” Danish Documentary, Alaya Rahm was under the influence of illegal street drugs and alcohol while relating his alleged sexual encounters with Sathya Sai Baba. This crucial information wholly undermines Alaya Rahm’s credibility and irreparably compromises the integrity of his claims. Needless to say, Alaya Rahm’s alcoholism and drug addiction have been purposely suppressed from the general public by Anti-Sai Activists, the Rahm Family and the media.

The Big Question: Is A Decade-Long Daily User Of Illegal Street Drugs And Alcohol Credible?

You be the judge:

Alaya Rahm In The Secret Swami Program
Alaya Rahm In The Secret Swami Program

Following In The Moral & Ethical Footsteps Of Ex-Devotees:
During the filming of the Secret Swami documentary, Dr. Michael Goldstein was secretly filmed in the privacy of his home by BBC Interviewers who subjected him to a series of questions in a clearly confrontational tone of voice. Although Goldstein was composed for the majority of the interview, he answered one question with great emotion and Anti-Sai Activists (instead of portraying him in a balanced and fair way) carefully clipped specific movie frames from the Secret Swami Program and made self-serving pictures of him that are widely distributed on Anti-Sai websites and blogs, along with their typical slurs and misleading comments. See for yourself: 0102030405.

The BBC Interviewers demanded from Goldstein that Sai Baba be subjected to a “proper legal process or a legalistic process”. However, the BBC Interviewers never asked Alaya Rahm or his family why they failed to resort to a “proper legal process or a legalistic process” in India against Sai Baba. Why should have Goldstein or the Sai Organization initiated a legal or legalistic inquiry into Alaya Rahm’s allegations when Alaya himself never filed a basic police complaint or court case against Sai Baba in India?

Therefore, since Ex-Devotees (who can often be seen boasting that they are rational, reasonable, moral, ethical, sensitive, honest, law-abiding and decent individuals) feel they can take picture frames from the Secret Swami Program and broadcast them on the internet, I see no reason why I cannot follow in their footsteps and do the same thing. Consequently, this webpage is the direct result of Ex-Devotee’s online behavior.

Referenced From SaiSathyaSai