2004 BBC Documentary: The Secret Swami – Sai Baba

2004 BBC Documentary: The Secret Swami – Sai Baba

Apr 25

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SECRET SWAMI
BBC Two
June 17, 2004

Original Link

It has been estimated that Sri Satya Sai Baba, India’s biggest spiritual leader, has up to 30 million devotees around the world.

But increasing numbers of former followers are alleging he has sexually abused them or their families. This World investigates.

Swamis, otherwise known as yogis or gurus, are the holy men of India, and part of ancient tradition.

Sai Baba, 78, is based in Puttaparthi, near Bangalore in southern India. His distinctive 1960s orange robes and Afro hairstyle make him instantly recognisable.

As the country’s biggest “God-man” — a human being who declares himself divine — he professes to be the reincarnation of a Hindu God-man from the 19th Century.

Sai Baba not only commands huge regular audiences at the local ashram (religious retreat) — where he performs countless “miracles” — he also boasts followers from more than 165 countries world-wide.

But as the This World team discovers as they travel from India to California, there are a number of former devotees who have turned away from his teachings, claiming he has ruined their lives.

Alaya, a former follower who claims he was sexually abused by the swami, says in the programme: “I remember him saying, if you don’t do what I say, your life will be filled with pain and suffering.”

In an intimate and powerful portrait, Alaya’s family talks openly about how they feel they were betrayed.

Back in India, there are serious questions to be asked of politicians, who seem to have continuously ignored the problem. Indeed, some would say, the correct position for these politicians appears to be at the feet of Sai Baba.

He certainly has friends in high places, and throughout the scandal, his popularity has remained intact.

Has this “God-man” been wrongly accused or does his status mean he is immune to criticism?

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RELATED LINKS:

Pulse on Sai Baba
• The Dark Side

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2 comments

  1. Marie Rhodes

    This was very insightful. Amazing how well done it was. So deeply sad for those who suffered by this man. I came across a book by him in the mid-sixties. Thought it was pretty amazing at the time. I was at the time deeply interested in Yoganada who I had become interested in when I was in High School. Later I became interested in Meher Baba whom I never met. My deepest and most profound experience in my life came from my visit to India in 1984 and 1986. The experience came from with in the tomb of Meher Baba. I can not find words to describe being one with GOD. Something very interesting happened while there. The person who had first told me about Meher Baba I had a very interesting experience from. He turned into CHRIST into pure golden light. Other people were with me and I seemed to be the only one who saw it. So my spiritiual journey has been finding the truth of that light within my self. Life it’s self is a spiritual journey. People have had experiences of a spiritual nature from me. I had no part so what ever in giving them that experience. So where do these experiences come from. I think God works though all of us in all kinds of ways. Kindness, Compassion, Love become more of who we are than than EGO needs in the world of illusion. In spite of what awful things this man as a man might have done he also did good. Many lives were made better because of him. Clean Water so precious brought to those who did not have it. Badly needed medical care was give in the form of hospitals. Faith makes ones spiritual life come alive with meaning.

  2. joe truth

    Sai Baba was a magician posing as a holy man …
    He was a true BULSHIT artist.

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