At enlightened-spirituality.org/Sathya_Sai_Baba_my_concerns.html, Timothy Conway published a particularly confrontational response to a letter that Jack Hawley wrote in December 2000 about the Sai Controversy. This webpage contains my response to Timothy Conway’s critique of Jack Hawley’s letter.
Letter From Jack Hawley Ph.D About The Sai Controversy:
WE DON’T KNOW!
“Unless you brighten your vision with Love, you cannot see the Truth.” – Sathya Sai Baba
Every decade or so negative rumors arise here in Prasanthi. It seems to be a Western thing. Indians just ignore them. Many things arise here that shake spiritual aspirants to their roots. This latest round of hearsay seems more virulent because e-mail now transmits gossipy rumors to the whole world in the blink of an eye. Hysteria rises with the rumors. People face a crisis of faith. Some of them leave, some stay. How one fares in this crisis depends on one’s “capacity” (an important spiritual term for the strength of one’s faith and love).
The big question, of course, is “is it true?” And the truth is that we (all of us) don’t know! Many think they know, but they don’t really know. But I do — at least I know some things (as I’m sure many others do also). I will not talk about all I know, but I can say this: It is NOT what some minds have leaped to.
It is the worldly function of the mind to reach conclusions. When the mind doesn’t know the answer to a question it becomes psychologically distressed. Then it grabs at answers and stretches for concepts that might help it feel better. It readily accepts simplistic analogies, buzz words, and labels — anything that alleviates its puzzled state. Most of the “answers” it comes up with are wrong, but the mind doesn’t care! Worse yet, once it latches onto an “answer,” the mind stops receiving new information. In effect it says, “Sorry, this issue is closed. I will no longer accept anything that could upset my tenuous equilibrium.”
Regarding the recent rumors:
- They are definitely not “the truth” as people so carelessly use the term truth (They may seem “true” to some, but they are not “The Truth.”)
- They are also not any of the other modern, quick-stick labels aimed at grabbing our attention, frightening us, and disgusting us.
- What is (or is not) happening at Prasanthi Nilayam is unrelated to current worldly level buzz words and ideas to which the mind so quickly leaps. This is not about a “character flaw” in a mere old man, for example; it has nothing to do with analysis or the so-called “medical model,” or with “scientific” thinking. (The mind sees, or even creates, what it looks for. In this sex and violence obsessed Kali Yuga [era] of today, the mind leaps to obsessive conclusions. Unable to truly understand, yet ever ready to leap, the mind shrouds Divinity with worldly illusions and comes up with wrong conclusions.)
- What is happening here in Prasanthi is beyond the meager human mind and its ability to “figure out.” It is beyond maya (mind-created illusion). Many things happen here that involve deep, mysterious energies, far beyond what our minds can grasp.
We do have some quite clear hints about what’s happening here:
- It has to do with Love so deep, so Divine that nothing can stand in its way — not even the threat of misunderstanding or calumny.
- It has to do with healing, not harming.
- It has to do with the Avatar’s mission here on earth (which, of course, has to fit this crazy Kali age).
- It has to do with the purity of our own minds, not someone else’s. The impurity is not in the Avatar, who is purity itself, it’s in the world, in our minds. Few of us can see Divinity, and fewer yet understand it.
Those who go into their hearts for answers during these crises of faith fare better. Those who go into their minds and seek answers outside, struggle the hardest and ache most.
12/2000, Jack Hawley, Prasanthi Nilayam
My Comments About Timothy Conway’s Critique Of Dr. Jack Hawley’s Letter: Hawley’s comments are in blue, Conway’s are in light grey and my response follows.
Timothy Conway: Allow me here to critique Hawley’s fine-sounding essay on an extensive, point-by-point basis, because there are so many violations of logic and acceptable use of language, as well as problems with the specific content in what he states. I will identify his writing with “JH:” and italicize them, and preface my comments with “TC:” and use regular font, with occasional italicization and boldfacing for emphasis.
To begin with, Mr. Hawley’s opening quote from Baba implies that those who are authentically living in Divine Love will see the Truth as Hawley and Baba want people to see it. It is apparently inconceivable to Mr. Hawley that mature, longtime spiritual aspirants could be living in Love, aware of the Divine Truth (e.g., God is seated in the hearts of all beings; only God ultimately, nondually exists; etc.), and yet disagree with Hawley over the meaning and lawfulness of Baba’s sexual activities and other improprieties.
My Response: Allow me to critique Timothy Conway’s extreme and unfounded responses to Jack Hawley’s letter on a point-by-point basis because there are many “violations of logic”, unacceptable use of language, as well as serious “problems with the specific content in what he states”.
To Date: Sathya Sai Baba has never (ever) been formally charged with any crime, sexual or otherwise. Ex-Devotees wage vicious smear and hate campaigns against Sai Baba on the internet because they have failed to make any leeway against him in a court of law in India. After 10+ years, not even one alleged victim has been able to obtain legal representation despite the offer of free “world-class legal resources” from ex-devotees and despite the lucrative prospect of a successful suit against Sai Baba in India (where the guru’s “empire” is alleged to be worth billions of dollars). Therefore, Timothy Conway’s accusations of “Baba’s sexual activities and other improprieties” are not supported with credible, verifiable or legal documentation.
JH: Every decade or so negative rumors arise here in Prasanthi.
TC: This is typical of the obfuscation (fog) technique that Mr. Hawley perpetrates throughout his essay. The truth is that rumors about sexual improprieties by Baba have been circulating among residents and visitors to the ashram since at least 1980, when I first got the most remote whiff of them. They began to come into clearer focus and wider distribution with the publication of Tal Brooke’s “Avatar of Night” book in 1982, reprinted in 1984. And the stories (“rumors”) have been circulating throughout the 1980s and 1990s, especially since 1995 with the widespread advent of the Internet. The stories undoubtedly go back in oral story-telling form and certain persons’ private notes to the early 1970s, when the alleged activities in Tal Brooke’s book are declared to have taken place.
My Response: Robert Taliaferro Brooke (an extreme fundamentalist and evangelical Christian) was the first person to make accusations of sexual impropriety against Sai Baba. Tal Brooke published his first Anti-Sai book in 1976 under the title “Lord Of The Air”. It was 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. Timothy Conway was not aware that Tal Brooke originally published his Anti-Sai book in 1976 and displayed continued ignorance (in his email correspondence with me) about the book’s original publication date.
99% of the allegations and rumors circulating against Sathya Sai Baba can be directly traced to Tal Brooke and his religiously-fueled Anti-Sai propaganda, which started in 1976 and continues to the present day through expensive internet ad campaigns soliciting his Anti-Sai book.
Tal Brooke purposely exaggerated when he claimed he was Sai Baba’s number one Western follower (at best, a dubious and subjective claim). Those who met Tal Brooke in the early 70’s at Sai Baba’s ashram immediately recognized him as a fanatic Christian (contrary to his claim that he converted to Christianity post-Sai Baba). Tal Brooke wrote that Sai Baba is a hermaphrodite based on an alleged story related to him by an unidentified person named “Surya Das” who in turn related a story told to him by another unidentified man named “Patrick”. It was alleged that “Patrick” claimed he had coital (vaginal) sex with Sathya Sai Baba. Because of “Patrick’s” alleged story, Tal Brooke perpetuated the idea that Sathya Sai Baba is a hermaphrodite. The only problem with all of Tal Brooke’s tall-stories is that none of the alleged witnesses he cited (who have never been identified as real people) have ever come forward in 30+ years to corroborate his stories.
The scholar Lawrence A. Bapp wrote in his book “Redemptive Encounters – Three Modern Studies In The Hindu Tradition” (which was critical of Sai Baba), “The animus of Brooke’s book (1979) is too strong for one to have much confidence in its accuracy.”
It is also perplexing that Timothy Conway (a true-believer in Gurus, Enlightened Masters, Mystics, Hinduism and Eastern Philosophy) cited Tal Brooke as an authority and reference against Sai Baba. In Tal Brooke’s book “Riders Of The Cosmic Circuit, The Dark Side of Superconsciousness”, he attacked Hinduism, suggested that enlightenment is an evil path and that God-Men and Gurus are in a state of perfect demon-possession. Therefore, Timothy Conway’s reference to Tal Brooke has amusing repercussions against him, his beliefs and his advocacy of Gurus, Enlightened Masters, Mystics, Hinduism and Eastern Philosophy.
One could similarly cite Tal Brooke as an authority and reference against Timothy Conway’s promotion of demon-possessed God-Men and Gurus and the evil paths of enlightenment they promote through sinful Eastern Philosophies. Since Tal Brooke heavily relied on subjective, fanatic and religiously-based arguments to draw his conclusions that Gurus are in a state of perfect demon possession and that enlightenment is an evil path leading to Satan, what does this say about the integrity and objectivity of his claims against Sai Baba?
How all this information about Tal Brooke escaped Ph.D researcher Conway is unknown.
JH: It seems to be a Western thing. Indians just ignore them.
TC: This is patently untrue. Yes, Westerners have talked more openly about these things, because of our more psychologized culture, influenced in recent decades by “truth-telling” approach of the Recovery movement, the Oprah Winfrey show, the John Bradshaw work, and also the “tell-all” approach of the tabloid newspapers, sensationalist celebrity autobiographies, Jerry Springer show, and other brutally explicit venues.
But India is now openly talking about Baba’s improprieties: just read the 3-part series published in Dec. 2000 in the widely read India Today newspaper, and read the several articles exposing Sai and the organization in other Indian newspapers and magazines. (Note: many of these articles are available at the website www.exbaba.com.)
Evidently Baba’s improprieties around sexual activity and faked materializations have been an “open secret” discussed among his college boys for some time, as related in “SATHYA SAI BABA: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY,” posted to the Internet in 1993 on the discussion site soc.culture.tamil [see www.exbaba.com] by Meenakshi Srikanth, a former student at the Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Whitefield campus. (Meenakshi’s piece only became more widely known as part of “The Findings” compilation presented in July 2000 by David and Faye Bailey, posted at www.exbaba.com.)
My Response: REGARDING INDIA TODAY: Did Timothy Conway read the India Today article? It appears he did not. For starters, India Today is not a “newspaper” (as erroneously stated by Conway). India Today is a news-weekly magazine. What Timothy Conway conveniently forgot to mention is that the India Today article was entirely slanted with an Anti-Sai viewpoint and was the direct result of unremitting propaganda from Ex-Devotees.
Hari Sampath (an Ex-Devotee) boasted:
“I had initiated and organized about 70 % of the major media stories on Sai Baba , including The Times, India Today, the Danish documentary, Salon.com and several others.”
Barry Pittard (an Ex-Devotee) boasted:
“In 2000, I was a member of a small international group of former devotees which ran a number of potent exposure operations. In one of these, we got a 10-page cover story (December 4, 2000) in the prestigious mass circulation weekly magazine India Today.”
Ex-Devotees have similarly boasted that they accomplished various negative media against Sai Baba by waging unremitting “e-bombing” campaigns (flooding various media agencies and organizations on a day-to-day basis with hundreds to thousands of emails containing Anti-Sai propaganda). Even India Today reported this behavior and said, “In the US, disillusioned devotees are ‘e-bombing’ Foreign Secretary Madeleine Albright’s office every day.”
REGARDING MEENAKSHI SRIKANTH: Shri Unni Krishnan was a student at the Sri Sathya Sai Institute Of Higher Learning and personally knew all the details regarding See: Meenakshi Srikanth. Meenakshisundaram Srikanth was expelled from the Institute in 1989 during the final year of his Bachelors degree. Several other students in Meenakshi’s circle of friends were permanently expelled for propagating defamatory rumors and gossip against Sathya Sai Baba (mostly taken from Tal Brooke and Basava Premanand). After Meenakshi Srikanth tearfully pleaded not be expelled, the Institute authorities allowed him to complete his degree (so that his career prospects would not be jeopardized and his parents would not be shamed) under the agreement that he would cease talking ill of Sathya Sai Baba. Meenakshi agreed. Meenakshi Srikanth was provided three years of quality education free of cost at Sai Baba’s College.
After Meenakshi Srikanth graduated from Sai Baba’s institute, he vengefully wrote his articles against Sai Baba and purposely withheld the fact that he had been expelled for spreading the very same rumors and gossip he decided to repeat on the internet. Meenakshi Srikanth now lives a prosperous life in Virginia with his family due to the free education and Bachelor’s degree he received at Sai Baba’s College (which opened the door for him to receive further studies in the USA). In a clarificatory post, Meenakshi Srikanth admitted that he was expelled from the Institute on Republic day 1989 and was taken back into the institute the next day. Meenakshi Srikanth withheld this information because he felt it was not his “motive” and “felt it was irrelevant to the discussion”.
All of Meenakshi Srikanth’s allegations against Sai Baba were based on rumor, gossip, hearsay and unsupported and unverifiable second-hand stories. Meenakshi was never sexually abused but he interpreted everything students said about their interviews with a perverse sexual slant (which Ex-Devotees are notorious for doing).
Although Meenakshi Srikanth originally made his posts on the soc.culture.tamil group in 1993, they were actually published on and referenced to rense.com in 2000 (because Said Afshin Khorramshahgol’s website was deleted for some unknown reason). David Bailey (author of The Findings) contacted Jeff Rense and had him post Meenakshi’s story on his rense.com website (Ref). Rense.com is a website that celebrates Ernst Zundel (calling him a “modern day Galileo”). Ernst Zundel had run Samisdat Publishers, one of the largest distributors of Nazi and neo-Nazi propaganda and memorabilia in the world. Why David Bailey would contact a purported Anti-Semite to push Anti-Sai material is unclear. Probably for the same reason why Tony O’Clery had David Icke post The Findings on his conspiracy and paranoia website. For those who do not know, David Icke believes in a secret society called the “Illuminati”, which is composed of shape-shifting reptilian-hominoid aliens from another planet that suck blood from babies. David Icke believes that George W. Bush, Condoleeza Rice, Queen Elizabeth II, Kris Kristofferson and
Boxcar Willie (among others) are reptilian-hominoid shape-shifters from another planet. Call it coincidence, but white supremacists also posted their propaganda in a Sathya Sai Baba Yahoo Group (Ref).
Timothy Conway blindly believed Meenakshi Srikanth’s story without even properly researching it and used his hearsay “grudge” stories as “evidence” that many Sai Students secretly know about allegations of sexual impropriety and faked materializations (which was inadvertently refuted by Reinier Van Der Sandt, a caustic critic of Sai Baba). It is exactly this type of shabby research and gullibility that reflects so badly on Dr. Timothy Conway.
JH: Many things arise here that shake spiritual aspirants to their roots.
TC: Aspirants need to be shaken at their roots. It’s called radical (“at the root”) transformation. We need to be shaken up so much at our egoic roots that these ego tendencies fall off and we are free in God, our original Identity as Spirit. Yes, this news about Sathya Sai is shattering, but we need to be shattered to a certain extent.
All sacred mystical traditions speak of this need for ego death, for undergoing what St. John of the Cross (Juan de al Cruz) called the “Dark Night of the Soul,” wherein, as Juan puts it, one is completely un-made and re-made in God. Zen and Vajrayana [Buddhist] masters speak all the time about the need for this ego-death. And for the illustrious Advaita Vedanta [Hindu] masters, this is none other than the “manonasa” or death of the egoic mind that is called for so that the Atman [God-Self] can shine clearly, without egocentric delusion.
Having one’s exclusive, one-sided views about Sathya Sai exploded with revelations that his behavior is not so seemly can have a most liberating effect, if not resulting in perfect “death of the ego-mind.” Some have even thought that the revelations about Baba are specifically, divinely intended to shake people up, to wean them from their attachment to the name and form of Sathya Sai.
My Response: Strange enough, it appears that Timothy Conway just made a strong argument why Sai Baba might act in ways that would disenfranchise and disillusion various individuals. As Paul William Roberts pointed out in his book “Empire Of The Soul” (which contained positive accounts with Sai Baba in the early 70’s), the perverse and baffling actions of many Zen masters and spiritual teachers tend to defy our expectations for them. They may act in ways that can be deliberately off-putting (the alcoholism of Chogyam Trungpa) or repugnantly antisocial (the cruel humor of George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff). Roberts stated that our own expectations for spiritual teachers are yet more conditioned baggage from which their teachings and actions are designed to liberate us. Therefore, this particular response from Timothy Conway seems to hold validity among various thinkers and philosophers.
JH: This latest round of hearsay seems more virulent because e-mail now transmits gossipy rumors to the whole world in the blink of an eye.
TC: The use of the word “hearsay” is strategically used to minimize the authenticity of molested victims’ accounts of what Baba has done to them. We should realize that, strictly speaking, everything you have ever heard about Baba outside your own direct experience is also “hearsay,” that is, second-hand information. This includes the official 4-volume biography by [Prof. N.] Kasturi, everything that is published in Sanathana Sarathi [the official journal of the SSB organization], everything that your friends tell you at Sai Centers after they return from India, etc.
Obviously, some forms of hearsay are more reliable, some are not. Many of Baba’s victims have been willing to sign legal affidavits about their unsavory experiences, giving their accounts much more reliability than many of the “beautiful” stories you’ve heard about Sai.
Mr. Hawley also uses the phrase “gossipy rumors” — another tactic that, deliberately or not, marginalizes and minimizes the heart-wrenching accounts of Baba’s sexual abuse and deceitful manipulation told by victims or their anguished family members. Hawley is verging on the use of an ancient, sinister debate strategy employed by those of little integrity: attack the person, not the person’s legitimate viewpoint. Hence this low-level tactic is called “ad hominem” — attack the man (e.g., as a “gossip”) rather than address his legitimate concerns and grievances.
My Response: It is completely true that most of the allegations against Sathya Sai Baba are based on hearsay, “gossipy rumors”, second-hand stories and anonymous accounts. Many sexual abuse allegations have obviously been faked by mentally unstable defamers of Sai Baba (such as UsedByBaba, Tony O’Clery, Sanjay Dadlani and Barbara Dent). It is also true that the allegations against Sathya Sai Baba are primarily disseminated by non-victims who were never sexually abused themselves and who never witnessed an incident of alleged molestation themselves. Therefore, the observations and arguments made by ex-devotees for alleged victims are entirely hearsay, speculative and could never be used in a court of law.
Timothy Conway attempted to con readers into thinking that there are “signed legal affidavits” against Sathya Sai Baba. This claim is wholly unsubstantiated and based (ironically) on “gossipy rumors” that Conway blindly believed. As a matter of fact, Timothy Conway fully acknowledged to me (via e-mail) that he never saw an alleged affidavit for himself but blindly believed the “affidavits” claim based on information relayed to him by the late Glen Meloy. Then (in a subsequent email) Timothy Conway flip-flopped, changed his story and said he based his “affidavits” claim on the India Today article (which stated that Jens Sethi and Hans de Kraker submitted “signed affidavits” to them).
India Today’s relevant extract from Jens & Gurprit Sethi’s account was duplicated (verbatim) from their signed letter to David Bailey (who, since the year 2000, never referred to Sethi’s story as an “affidavit”). Jens & Gurprit Sethi’s signed letter to David Bailey was deceptively called a “signed affidavit” by India Today even though no Anti-Sai Activist ever specifically referred to Sethi’s story as an “affidavit”. India Today’s relevant extract from Hans de Kraker’s account was actually taken (verbatim) from a private letter he wrote to the French journalist Virginie Saurel. Hans de Kraker told me (via e-mail) that much of his private correspondence was made public without his permission. Hans de Kraker’s signed letter to Virginie Saurel was deceptively called a “signed affidavit” by India Today even though no Anti-Sai Activist ever specifically referred to Kraker’s letter as an “affidavit”. Even Michelle Goldberg (who cited the same letter in her salon.com article) did not refer to the letter as an “affidavit”. Therefore, Jens & Gurprit Sethi and Hans de Kraker’s signed letters were not actual “signed affidavits” sworn before a notary as fraudulently claimed by India Today (who were working exclusively in collaboration with critics and Ex-Devotees). Furthermore, Jens Sethi and Hans de Kraker were both adults (not minors) when they had their first alleged encounters with Sai Baba.
Ex-Devotees have revealed that they cannot distinguish between affidavits (which are sworn before a notary or other officer authorized to administer an oath) and stories that were never sworn before a notary or other authorized officer (Ref). Even Robert Priddy said that abuse stories were “recorded in various of the affidavits on the internet” (totally confusing online stories with affidavits). Timothy Conway never saw the alleged affidavits (with a stamp from a notary or signature from an authorized officer) for himself even though he had the audacity to claim the alleged “affidavits” were signed, legal and in existence.
It is very perplexing why Ex-Devotees would continually make reference to “affidavits” when they and alleged victims have never initiated any kind of legal action against Sathya Sai Baba in the past 10+ years. It appears that Ex-Devotees are attempting to legitimize their smear-campaigns with disinformation in a brazen attempt to deceive the general public.
After several years of silence, Hari Sampath (using his known Yahoo name of “delta_108”) came out of hiding on August 2nd 2007 and I was able to directly question him about the alleged “affidavit” claims, which originated from him (Reference). Although Hari Sampath expressed a willingness to answer my questions in “half an hour” (Reference), he instead chose to flee the group and went back into hiding. It is important to note that all of these “affidavit” claims aga
inst Sathya Sai Baba originated with Hari Sampath and were later passed to Ojvind Kyro, Glen Meloy, Robert Priddy, et al. Despite this fact, Mr. Sampath could not answer basic questions about the alleged affidavits he worked so hard to obtain and chose instead to hide rather than give answers. These are the types of deceivers that have misled so many people about Sai Baba and the Sai Controversy for so many years.
Despite six non-anonymous and alleged victims being very vocal on the internet and though various media, all of them never filed a basic police complaint against Sai Baba in India and all of them refused Barry Pittard’s offer of free “world-class legal resources”. Alleged victims can no longer file a court case against Sathya Sai Baba because the Indian statute of limitations has expired for them (the allegations are many years old). Alleged victim’s highly questionable tactics and defenses are very unusual and their unique approach to addressing their alleged abuse (through selective and one-way venues rather than legal venues) is highly indicative of deceit.
Although Timothy Conway hypocritically castigated Jack Hawley for ad hominem attacks, he fully engaged in them with bitter, deep-seated ill will. Timothy Conway, with his holier-than-thou facade, miserably fails to practice the precept he can often be seen advising others to follow.
JH: Hysteria rises with the rumors.
TC: Yes, there is a tiny amount of “hysteria” with a few hysteria-prone devotees. But, again, we have here a strategy by Hawley to paint with a broad brush of “hysteria” all those who are deeply concerned about the ethics of Baba’s repeated acts of child molestation, rape, deceit, payment for sexual favors, etc. This strategy is an affront to all decent people who want to know the truth about what is happening, and who have a compassionate empathy for those who are being traumatized by Baba’s behavior.
My Response: The “hysteria” belongs wholly to Anti-Sai Activists who purposely and maliciously distort facts with gutter untruths and deceptively use words like “pedophile”, “witnesses”, “testimonies”, “testified”, “charged”, “affidavits”, etc., although no court cases have ever been filed against Sai Baba in India, nor has he ever been formally charged with any crime (Ref).
Like a person suffering from “hysteria”, Timothy Conway had the effrontery to claim that Sathya Sai Baba engaged in “repeated acts of child molestation, rape, deceit, payment for sexual favors, etc.” based solely on stories he heard and read and blindly believed.
To Date: Not even one parent has claimed that Sathya Sai Baba molested his/her “child” or that Sathya Sai Baba engaged in acts of pedophilia. Therefore, the claims of “child molestation” are wholly unsubstantiated and are entirely rumor, gossip and unverifiable hearsay. Not even one Anti-Sai media organization or journalist has ever been able to independently confirm even one case of alleged pedophilia against Sai Baba in the past 10+ years. These are the type of gutter and poorly researched accusations that Timothy Conway must resort to in order to make his lamentable arguments against Sai Baba.
Timothy Conway told me (via e-mail) that his comments pertaining to “repeated acts” of “rape” were based on the stories of Dr. Bhatia, Terry Gallagher, Meenakshi Srikanth, Alaya Rahm and some stories related in Sai-related books:
- An anonymous account in The Findings (dubiously attributed to Dr. Bhatia) claimed Sai Baba raped a 7 year-old boy (since proven to be a ridiculous lie). Although the story alleged that the 7 year-old rape victim was examined by a doctor in Bangalore (whom allegedly confirmed the “rape”) the doctor did absolutely nothing about it, thereby engaging in an illegal cover-up by purposely failing to file a police complaint, which he would have been ethically and legally mandated to do (had it actually happened).
- Terry Gallagher claimed that Sai Baba raped children “as young as seven”, which was erroneously taken from the fraudulent story anonymously attributed to Dr. Bhatia (as described above).
- Meenakshi Srikanth (a person who leeched his Bachelors Degree off of Sathya Sai Baba’s generosity) relayed unsubstantiated, unverifiable and highly questionable stories of alleged and inferred abuse although he was never molested himself or witnessed an incident of alleged molestation himself. Srikanth repeated rumors mostly taken from Tal Brooke and Basava Premanand and inferred sexual activity sheerly through speculation, assumption and the word of others.
- Alaya Rahm claimed that Sathya Sai Baba allegedly attempted to forcibly rape him when Sathya Sai Baba was 70-72 years old and Alaya was 18-20 years old. Sathya Sai Baba is 5’2” tall and weighs a mere 108lbs. Contrast this with (at that time) Alaya Rahm being 6’6” tall and being height/weight proportional and in good health. Anti-Sai Activists often stated that Sathya Sai Baba suffered from frail health, stumbled often when he walked, had thinning hair, broke bones going back to 1988 and allegedly suffered several heart attacks. This is the type of frail person who allegedly has the libido of a teenager and the strength of a giant to subdue a healthy 6’6” tall basketball player in the prime of his youth. Needless to say, pivotal information has since been brought to light with Alaya Rahm’s Failed & Self-Dismissed Lawsuit.
- Timothy Conway alleged that various biographers mentioned (in Sai-related books) that Sai Students spent the night with Sai Baba in the Mandir. Although these unnamed and unsourced biographers never wrote anything even remotely alluding to sexual impropriety (no Sai-related book ever made such a claim), Timothy Conway erroneously viewed this as evidence of “repeated acts” of “rape”. This type of perverted and sexually-deviant reasoning speaks volumes about Timothy Conway and his bizarre sexual focus. Timothy Conway, like other Ex-Devotees, maliciously accused Sai Baba of “repeated acts” of “rape” based solely on speculation and perverse sexual inferences not rooted in fact.
Timothy Conway told me (via e-mail) that his comments pertaining to “repeated acts” of “payment for sexual favors” were based on the stories of Conny Larsson, Alaya Rahm, Meenakshi Srikanth, Jens Sethi and David Bailey:
- Conny Larsson alleged that from 1991 – 1999, he talked to about 25 “victims” who were paid or bribed with money for sex by Sai Baba. Needless to say, Conny Larsson (a psychotherapist turned psychic medium) did absolutely nothing about these alleged criminal acts. Conny Larsson even implied that he was a pimp for Sai Baba (supplying him with foreign men for sexual purposes), which would mean (of course) that Conny Larsson would be an accomplice in crime if these allegations were true and he would be directly responsible for the sexual abuse of alleged victims due to his two decades of silence (despite his moral and ethical responsibilities as a professional psychotherapist).
After Conny Larsson saw a psychotherapist who deprogrammed him, he regained 39 year-old lost memories of being sexually abused as a child (which he claimed was the reason for his bi-sexuality) and realized (at the same time) that Sai Baba was a fraud and a molester. Just a few months prior to this deprogramming, Conny Larsson was sobbing uncontrollably and praising Sai Baba as God incarnate at a Sai Retreat in the USA (Ref).
Conny Larsson is not credible because he continually changes his stories, progressing from
fairly innocuous claims to highly defamatory and criminal ones. For example, Conny is now claiming (with no proof) that Sai Baba’s vibuthi is made from the ash of burned human bodies. Conny believes (again, with no proof) that Sai Baba runs pedophile and people trafficking rings by shipping Negros from New York’s ghettos to India for sexual purposes. Conny even claimed that Sai Baba’s airport was built specifically for human trafficking. Conny falsely said that the brass railings in the mandir compound are made of gold. It goes without mention that these totally unbelievable and criminal accusations have never (ever) been substantiated by any credible media or legal organization. Consequently, Conny Larsson’s claims are fraudulent and without merit.
Conny Larsson recently accused Maharishi Mahesh Yogi of sexual impropriety although he never mentioned one word about it in 30+ years (Ref). Conny Larsson (who had been seeing psychotherapists since the age of 12) is not credible and his ridiculous claims are totally unsubstantiated, unverifiable and grow more and more exaggerated with the passage of time. Bjorn Sandstrom said that Conny’s penchant for exaggerations was well known even when Conny was a Sai Devotee.
- Al Rahm personally told me that Sai Baba gave $1,000 to Alaya to give to his mother (Marisa Rahm) to purchase food, saris, rent, etc. Al and Marisa Rahm stated (in audio-taped talks at Sai Retreats) that they had financial hardships and Sai Baba assured them he would help (and he did). Al Rahm claimed that Sai Baba gave $3,000 dollars to Alaya. Lewis Kreydick testified in his sworn and videotaped deposition that Alaya showed him $300 given to him by Sai Baba (not $3,000, as exaggerated by Al Rahm). According to Kreydick, Alaya told him that Sai Baba gave him the money as spending money and Alaya used it for exactly that purpose. Alaya showed Al and Marisa Rahm all the money that Sai Baba gave him and even told Lewis Kreydick about it. At that time, Alaya apparently had nothing to hide and he and his parents saw nothing wrong with the money they were given (they willingly accepted the money and spent it). Years later, the story was changed.
- Jens Sethi claimed that an un-named Rwandan soldier was given gifts for sex by Sai Baba. Sethi’s story is unsubstantiated, unverifiable and is sourced to an anonymous person.
- Meenakshi Srikanth’s story about “Nandan” is unsubstantiated, unverifiable and is sourced to an anonymous person. Srikanth even claimed that Sai Baba had “Nandan” open envelopes containing money in public for everyone to see. Why would Sai Baba give money to “Nandan” in public if he had something to hide?
- David Bailey was never sexually abused himself and he never claimed to have witnessed an incident of alleged sexual abuse himself. Therefore, how did David Bailey know that Sai Baba was offering various individuals money in exchange for sexual favors? David Bailey made this speculation only after he defected from Sai Baba. Why would Sai Baba give money to various individuals in front of David Bailey if he had something to hide?
It is also important to point out that Sai Baba is known to give money to male and female devotees in need. Even Hilda Charlton wrote about money given to her by Sai Baba (Ref).
Timothy Conway blindly makes his case based on allegations he read and believed but never properly researched or verified for himself. Timothy Conway’s “strategy” is to affront all decent people who want to know the truth about the allegations without rumor-mongering, speculations and exaggerations. Timothy Conway’s “compassionate empathy” was so great that he completely ignored the heart-wrenching pleas of alleged victims (who said they were willing to testify against Sai Baba) and refused to do the ethical thing and help them file a court case in India. It certainly appears that Timothy Conway’s “compassionate empathy” was lip service only.
JH: People face a crisis of faith.
TC: In the present case, if people’s faith has become an idolatrous worship of the name and form of Sai (in the same manner that esteemed philosophers, theologians and religion historians like John Hick, John Cobb, Jr., and Wilfred Cantwell Smith have accused too many Christians of idolizing the historic person of Jesus of Nazareth), then this idolatrous faith needs to be smashed open in a “crisis” that will free such persons from their idolatry and liberate them into the worship of the true, transcendent, formless God.
Now, I am aware that the formless, transpersonal, transcendent God can take a personal form — this is India’s doctrine of the Avatar, and Christianity’s idea of the Divine Incarnation of the Son. And faith in the Avatar or Divine Incarnation can be legitimate if it does not descend into narrow-minded sectarianism (always a danger for those religious-spiritual groups that worship a specific form of the Divine).
But if Sathya Sai Baba is acting in ways that seriously violate traditionally accepted notions of Dharma, Ahimsa, Prema and Satya (Righteousness, Nonviolence, Love and Truth), then our faith in Baba as “the avatar [DIvine Incarnation] of the age” needs to go through a crisis and get undone and transformed, refocused onto the formless Divine.
My Response: Although Timothy Conway is a promoter of Hinduism, the Vedas, Gurus and the concept of Avatars, he is completely ignorant about the fact that Avatars do not live and act in the traditionally accepted norms of Sathya, Dharma, Shanti, Prema and Ahima (Truth, Righteousness, Peace, Love and Non-Violence). A few examples:
- Parasurama, the ax-wielding Avatar, was said to have slaughtered every adult Kshatriya on Earth twenty-one times (filling five lakes with blood) because he was filled with revenge at his father’s murder.
- Lord Rama was said to have slaughtered millions of human-like demons during his lifetime. Rama exiled his wife Sita (while she five months pregnant with twins) into a forest simply because someone overheard an intemperate washerman say that Rama took back his wife after she lived in the house of another man (i.e., Ravana). Rama felt that his dharma might be stained, so he exiled his pregnant wife to the forest despite her trial by fire that proved her innocence.
- It is alleged that the Kurukshetra War (a war that if true would be the bloodiest war in recorded history) resulted from Lord Krishna’s failed peace mission with the Kauravas. It is said that literally millions of men died within a period of 18 days (leaving innumerable wives widowed and children orphaned) and that rivers of blood flowed the carnage. Lord Krishna (a Purna Avatar) even stated in the Gita that the Kurukshetra war was a door to heaven. During the lifetime of Lord Krishna, there were allegedly numerous instances of violence, curses, demon-attacks, etc., that resulted in the deaths of many people, children and even babies (as in the case of Kamsa where he bludgeoned babies in anticipation of Lord Krishna’s birth). Krishna’s escapades with the Gopis are clearly sexual and have been immortalized in erotic painting and art. Krishna had a habit of stealing as a child and was even nic-named the “butter thief” and he often lied to Mother Yoshoda. Lord Krishna is alleged to have lived in incest with his sister Subhadra (sharing her with his brother Balarama). The Rig Veda mentioned that the “Vedic Pushan is the lover of his sister” (Rig Veda – Book 6, Hymn 55:4). There are stories about how Lord Krishna’s 16,000 drunken wives (yes, all allegedly married to one person) were ready to commit incest with Krishna’s son, Samba. As a result of this incident, Lord Krishna cursed Samba to be afflicted with leprosy and cursed his 16,000 wives to be carried off by barbarians after his death (which allegedly happened right before Arjuna’s eyes). Lord Krishna also willed the destruction of his family and accepted a curse that forced the Yadhava Clan to slaughter themselves in an orgy of bloodlust. Sri Krishna even beheaded Sisupala in public.
Needless to say, devotees interpret these strange and highly questionable incidents as being part of God’s inscrutable lila or play and eulogize these lilas through song, dance and art. Devotees argue that ordinary humans cannot fathom or plumb the depths of the Avatar. The Avatar is alleged to see past, present and future and his actions (no matter how seeming immoral or criminal) are alleged to ultimately serve a dharmic purpose. Even the numerous atrocities that God commanded in the Old Testament (including the coveting of virgins and the slaughter of pregnant women and children) are excused and explained away. Avatars (whose powers distinguish them from ordinary humans) do not always abide by the traditionally accepted norms of Sathya, Dharma, Shanti, Prema and Ahimsa. Therefore, Timothy Conway’s arguments are hypocritical and self-serving because he is a promoter of Avatars, Gurus and Hindu scriptures. Whatever justifications Timothy Conway may make for Avatars could similarly be applied to Sai Baba by his devotees.
JH: Some of them [those following Sai] leave, some stay.
TC: I would comment that there are any number of motives, some mature and some immature, why certain people leave Baba, and there are any number of motives, mature and immature, why certain people stay. We need to look at the maturity of the motive — not the bare fact that “some leave, some stay.”
So, for instance, someone who has sold all her possessions and bought or rented a home outside Prashanti Nilayam and is now 80 years old might not have the financial means to re-locate somewhere else. She might continue to spend time at the ashram canteen or darshan grounds simply because so many old friends are there and also in a spirit of gratitude for the many beautiful experiences brought by her association with Baba. Yet she might also feel the need to strongly critique Baba’s behavior among her acquaintances and call for realization of the Divine Inner Guru. In that respect, she might be staying at Prashanti yet will have maturely “left Baba.”
On the other hand, some persons may “stay” with Baba, either at Prashanti or at their local Sai Center, merely because they refuse to believe the accounts about Baba’s sexual improprieties or apologetically rationalize them away with high-flown mental gymnastics. These persons don’t have the requisite maturity to grow up and face the ethical implications of what Baba is doing to innocent youth.
Then again, there may be people who run away from Baba and become obsessive critics of Sai, because they suffer from a reactionary, immature sense of ego-betrayal, and act in puerile fashion like a jilted teen lover—filled with vitriolic rage.
My Response: Dr. Conway’s reference to an 80 year-old woman pertains to Jeanette Ramsey, whose story he misrepresented with incomplete facts. Even as recently as 2005 (the last time I was in India), Jeanette Ramsey was still praising Sai Baba, carried pictures of him and occasionally attended darshans. Mrs. Ramsey is a staunch practitioner and promoter of amaroli (urine therapy). Therefore, it is not completely clear if Jeanette Ramsey “maturely“ left Sai Baba (as Timothy Conway would like for others to believe) or she immaturely feigns devotion and lies to others about her devotee status.
It is amusing that Timothy Conway distinguishes himself from Ex-Devotees who “suffer from a reactionary, immature sense of ego-betrayal, and act in puerile fashion like a jilted teen lover—filled with vitriolic rage”. I think Timothy Conway’s responses on this page fully support the perception that he is suffering “from a reactionary, immature sense of ego-betrayal, and acts in a puerile fashion like a jilted teen lover—filled with vitriolic rage”. My webpages about Ex-Devotees fully documents their reactionary, immature and vitriolic smear campaigns against Sai Baba.
JH: How one fares in this crisis depends on one’s “capacity” (an important spiritual term for the strength of one’s faith and love).
TC: I agree. But beware Hawley’s unstated implication that those who stay with Baba have some greater spiritual capacity than those who move beyond the name/form of Sathya Sai.
My Response: Timothy Conway obsessively attempts to convince others about moving beyond the “name and form” of Sai Baba to the “formless God”, “formless Divine”, “Divine Inner Guru” etc. What is so hypocritical about Conway’s rants is that he thoroughly promotes (in published books) and believes in numerous “names and forms” belonging to various Gurus and spiritual personalities.
As a matter of fact, Timothy Conway is a disciple of Nisargadatta Maharaj and rants and raves about the “names and forms” of Jesus, Buddha, Ramana Maharshi, Shirdi Sai Baba, Ramakrishna, Meher Baba, Nityananda, the 14th Dalai Lama and 16th Karmapa, Padre Pio, Gemma Galgani, Maria Esperanza, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Hsuan-hua, Taungpulu Sayadaw, Ajahn Chah, Cheng Yen, Sheikh al-Alawi, Anasuya Devi, Anandamayi Ma, Amritanandamayi (Amma), Narayana Guru, Yoga Swami, Brahmajna Ma, Swami Gnanananda, Annamalai Swami, Hsu Yun, Hsuan Hua, Harada Roshi, Thich Nhat Hanh, Ajahn Chah, Shaykh al-Alawi, Thomas Merton, Henri Le Saux (Abhishiktananda), Seraphim of Sarov, Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneersohn and “several thousand other sages, saints, adepts, prophets and incarnations”.
Isn’t it strange (and hypocritical) that for someone who ceaselessly attempts to advise others on moving beyond the “name and form” of Sai Baba, he promotes, eulogizes and is devoted to the “names and forms” of others?
JH: The big question, of course, is “is it true?” And the truth is that we (all of us) don’t know! Many think they know, but they don’t really know. But I do — at least I know some things (as I’m sure many others do also). I will not talk about all I know, but I can say this: It is NOT what some minds have leaped to.
TC: Notice that Hawley, in his characteristic evasiveness in this essay, never identifies the reference for “it” in his posed question, “is it true?” This is his way of covering up and keeping the lid on the serious allegations that are being made about Baba’s sexual behavior (and perhaps Baba’s alleged trickery is also referred to here — though I think the reference is primarily to Baba’s sexual activities). Nowhere in his essay does he mention any specific behavior about which the “rumors” are arising.
Next, Hawley engages us in some fancy-dancy epistemology: how do we ever know what we claim to know? Yes, epistemological concerns are valid in many areas of life, and ultimately one can make a great case for skepticism when it comes to existential truth claims. (See, for example, the ancient Buddhist master Nagarjuna’s Madhyamika Buddhist movement, basis for the Ch’an/Zen/Son Buddhist tradition of China/Japan/Korea — which urged that we refrain from fixed positions and rigid mental views, and instead abide in the “non-dwelling,” “no position,” “don’t-know” Zen mind. A similar position developed in certain Western schools of mysticism, such as advocated by the medieval British Christian author of the famous treatise “The Cloud of Unknowing.”)
But within our human society’s conventions, when we have sworn affidavits by individuals who are willing to go on record and say (and be willing to say in a court of law) that Baba has molested them as minors, and inappropriately touched their genitals (it is ALWAYS INAPPROPRIATE for an adult to touch the genitals of a minor EXCEPT IN A LICENSED, CONSENSUAL MEDICAL SITUATION) — then this evasive epistemological smokescreen put up by Hawley is unconscionable behavior. It serves as part of a cover-up, an unlawful, prosecutable conspiracy of silence.
Mr. Hawley appears to be ignorant of the fact that in most civilized countries there are “mandated reporting” rules holding that adults who know of the sexual molestation of minors MUST report these allegations to the authorities and to any persons who might become victims of this molestation behavior. Hawley’s cover-up makes him an accomplice in the sexual molestation crimes committed by Baba.
Notice here, too, the presumptuous conceit displayed by Hawley in his assertion: “Many think they know, but they don’t really know. But I do — at least I know some things (as I’m sure many others do also). I will not talk about all I know, but I can say this: It is NOT what some minds have leaped to.”
In making this statement, Hawley presumes to know more than those who disagree with him — that is, he tacitly claims to know the real meaning of Baba’s behavior. And this presumptuous attitude he maintains throughout the rest of his essay.
On this point, we should remember that numerous longtime Sai devotees have left Sathya Sai, explicitly or ostensibly over the inappropriate sexual activity by Baba. These longtime close observers obviously perceived a different meaning for Baba’s behavior than the meaning Hawley attributes to this behavior. Hawley thinks Sai’s behavior is evidence of the Divine. Former devotees apparently think otherwise. In short, there are different interpretations for this sexual behavior, and Hawley presumes to have the only legitimate interpretation.
Incidentally, I am not presuming, in my critique of Sai’s sexual activities with children and unconsenting young men as “criminal,” to have the only legitimate interpretation, either. I have sometimes thought that Sai is lustfully “taking on” (on a psychic level) the lust of humanity to clear our sexual karma. But the conventions of our society’s laws must take precedence over our metaphysical rationalizations about Sai’s molesting of children.
My Response: It is completely true that Jack Hawley never mentioned any particulars about the rumors he addressed in his letter. Such being the case, it is be noted that Timothy Conway speculated, assumed and jumped to conclusions a priori as to what he thought Jack Hawley might have been referring to in his letter. Apparently, Timothy Conway never sought clarification from Jack Hawley first-hand and simply responded to his letter, basing his arguments on paranoia and highly subjective inferences. After forming his conspiracy theory (based on self-admitted and reckless speculations), Timothy Conway shamelessly and criminally accused Jack Hawley of being an “accomplice in sexual molestation crimes”. This type of illogic and irrationality is highly indicative of an extremist who relies on straw man fallacies to win an illusionary point. Using Timothy Conway’s logic, alleged victim’s parents are “accomplices in sexual molestation crimes” and failed in their legal duty of “mandated reporting” because there are no known “child molestation” charges, court cases or basic police complaints filed against Sai Baba in India.
Timothy Conway again resorted to his faulty “sworn affidavits” argument. This time around, however, Timothy Conway exaggerated and claimed that alleged victims were willing to go on record (even in a court of law) and say that Sai Baba molested them as minors. Where did Timothy Conway get this information from? Although Timothy Conway told me he got his “sworn affidavits” information from the India Today article and Glen Meloy (on whose word he blindly accepted), it is peculiar that Jens Sethi and Hans de Kraker were adults when they had their alleged unsavory experiences with Sai Baba (not “minors” as spuriously alleged by Conway). No one has been able to produce even one affidavit from any alleged victim. In 10+ years, no alleged victim has ever filed a court case against Sai Baba in India, thus refuting the claim that alleged victims said (and where did they make that claim to begin with?) they would testify in a court of law that they were “molested as minors”. As discussed earlier, Timothy Conway’s unsupported claims of “child molestation” have been refuted in my article entitled False Pedophile Allegations Against Sathya Sai Baba.
The main thrusts to Timothy Conway’s arguments are based on stories and Anti-Sai propaganda that he read and blindly believed. It goes without mention that Timothy Conway is a very gullible individual who is willing to go to unreasonable and unsound extremes to explain away valid questions regarding alleged victims. For example, several alleged victims claimed that while they were being molested by Sai Baba in the private interview room, he made “loud moaning sounds”, “loud noises”, “loud voices”, “loud, wi
ld voices”, etc., while people in the adjacent room heard absolutely nothing (although the private and main interview rooms are separated by a door covered with a cloth curtain only). It is completely true that Sathya Sai Baba can be heard whispering to devotees in the private interview room from the adjacent room. I have experienced this first-hand, as have numerous others. If Sathya Sai Baba made any sort of “loud” moaning sounds, people in the adjacent room would have heard it.
Attempting to refute these facts, Timothy Conway first attempted to change the words of alleged victims by claiming what they really meant was “very soft moaning sounds, inaudible beyond the curtains or walls”. Then Timothy Conway attempted to argue that if Sai Baba possesses paranormal powers, he could easily “warp spacetime” by creating an “insular interdimensional environment” where he could engage in abuse without easy detection. Attempting to bolster this asinine argument, Timothy Conway argued that people who are abducted by aliens and who experience the “missing time” phenomenon, have been lifted, transported and relocated to other areas without their spouses being aware of anything amiss. That’s right, Timothy Conway believes that it is possible that Sai Baba molested alleged victims on another dimension, which is why it is so difficult for them to prove their allegations and why there is an abysmal lack of witnesses supporting their claims (Ref: Conway Email No. 10).
Similarly, Timothy Conway believed and endorsed the alleged experiences of Shirlи Klein-Carsh, a so-called “Indigo” (an alleged extraterrestrial alien that voluntarily incarnates on Earth) who claimed she was psychologically, spiritually and artistically guided by a cleverly disguised alien from Sirius (the star in the constellation of Canis Major) who worked as an electronics repairman in a second-hand shop (Ref).
Timothy Conway is a true believer and promoter of Gurus , Mystics , Enlightened Masters , psychics   , levitation , bi-location , miracles , remote-viewing , elementals, meditation  , paranormal powers , aliens  , rebirth  , reincarnation  , karma , oracles , I-Ching , sensitives  , channelers  , astrology , astrologists , palm-reading , non-duality , etc. (the list goes on and on).
Timothy Conway is also of the opinion that Sathya Sai Baba has/had genuine paranormal powers, but explains away these powers as:
- Sai Baba being a “contaminated channel” for the postmortem influence and powers of Shirdi Sai Baba (who died in 1918).
- Sai Baba being a “highly adept but fallen yogi”.
- Sai Baba being assisted by “elemental spirits” or other entities from interdimensional planes. Timothy Conway said, “No joke: it’s a very old, worldwide knowledge that one can derive certain powers by contacting such entities.” (Ref: Conway Email No. 8).
Timothy Conway even suggested that there is a spiritual reason behind these allegations and said:
“I have sometimes thought that Sai is lustfully ‘taking on’ (on
a psychic level) the lust of humanity to clear our sexual karma.”
In the past, Timothy Conway made this same argument:
“Now, a purna avatar would, it seems, incarnate the totality of God, including the polarity play of light-dark, purity-mischief, unattachment-lust, and so on. This is a disturbing concept, but perhaps quite applicable to Baba’s controversial activity. Moreover, the sexual activity, which we now know to apparently involve considerable lust, might be Baba’s way of transmuting the very heavy sexual energy among humanity at this time on the planet.” (This comment, taken from the Sai Critic, has been confirmed by Conway to be his actual words)
Therefore, Timothy Conway’s shabby and conspiratorial arguments (via speculations, assumptions and straw-man fallacies) are indicative of his “presumptuous attitude” and “presumptuous conceit” (tones he maintains throughout the rest of his responses).
JH: It is the worldly function of the mind to reach conclusions.
TC: Notice that Baba in his many recorded and published speeches and conversations also frequently employs the mind to “reach conclusions.” So did the Buddha, Shankara, Ramana Maharshi, and other luminaries. Hawley wants to imply with his wording that only “worldly” people will come to conclusions–for instance, conclusions that Baba’s behavior is inappropriate. Hawley then follows with some standard insights about how the mind often needs to function:
My Response: Jack Hawley’s sentence is qualified and understood in the context of the paragraph to which it belonged.
JH: When the mind doesn’t know the answer to a question it becomes psychologically distressed. Then it grabs at answers and stretches for concepts that might help it feel better. It readily accepts simplistic analogies, buzz words, and labels — anything that alleviates its puzzled state. Most of the “answers” it comes up with are wrong, but the mind doesn’t care! Worse yet, once it latches onto an “answer,” the mind stops receiving new information. In effect it says, “Sorry, this issue is closed. I will no longer accept anything that could upset my tenuous equilibrium.”
TC: This is all quite true. But please notice that the syndrome of premature, inaccurate concluding is exactly typical of the many “true-believer” Sai devotees who, in their psychological attempt to alleviate anxiety in their “crisis of faith,” engage in pathological denial or rationalization that “Baba’s sexual activity is divine.” These devotees are engaging in the same “premature concluding” by the “worldly mind.”
It is just these true-believer Sai devotees who, to use Hawley’s own terminology, are terribly “distressed” by hearing the news of Baba’s molestation of children and promiscuous homosexual activities and deceit, and who are now “grabbing at answers” from people like Hawley and others who have written apologetic materials that rationalize away the serious moral and legal implications of Baba’s acts. These devotees are accepting the “simplistic analogies” (“Baba is raising the boys’ kundalini [spiritual energy],” “purifying their karma,” etc.) and “buzz words” (“Baba is the avatar, and everything the avatar does is for a greater purpose,” etc.) so as to alleviate these devotees’ “puzzled state.” And now these devotees, having “latched onto an answer,” “stop receiving new information” and, in effect, say: “Sorry this issue is closed. I will no longer accept anything that could upset my tenuous equilibrium [as a staunch Sai devotee].”
In short, Hawley’s critical analysis can be turned right back to apply to him and to other true-believer Sai devotees.
My Response: Instead of critiquing Jack Hawley words, Timothy Conway made irrelevant and unsourced arguments against Sai Baba and Sai Devotees.
The fact of the matter remains that many Sai Devotees do not believe the allegations against Sathya Sai Baba based on rational, intellectual, factual and common sense observations. No need to resort to “divinity” claims or “true believer” claims (like Conway can often be seen engaging in himself). Some of these rational, intellectual, factual and common-sense observations are:
- Alleged victims have never (ever) filed a basic police complaint against Sai Baba in India for alleged improprieties.
- Alleged victims have never (ever) filed a court case against Sai Baba in India for alleged improprieties.
- Sathya Sai Baba has never (ever) been formally charged with any crime, sexual or otherwise.
- Alleged victims contradictory stories, questionable claims, revealing personal comments and internet behavior strongly argue that they are not credible.
- Although it is claimed that alleged victims filed “affidavits” and were willing to testify in a court of law in India against Sai Baba, they have never been able to obtain the representation of a lawyer despite:
- The lucrative prospect of a successful suit.
- The offer of free “world-class legal resources” from Ex-Devotees.
- Ex-Devotees constant claims that they are in correspondence with international lawyers.
- Several alleged victims dubiously claimed that Sathya Sai Baba literally and miraculously transformed his penis into a vagina (and vice-versa) with a snap of his fingers (Ref).
- Alleged victims stories and accounts are often repeated, clarified, explained, changed, furthered and argued by non-victims who were never abused themselves and who never witnessed an incident of alleged abuse themselves. Even going back to 2001, Anti-Sai sympathizers rightly questioned the hearsay allegations against Sai Baba (Ref).
- Some of the most vocal voices in the Anti-Sai Movement (i.e., Robert Priddy, Barry Pittard, Sanjay Dadlani, Tony O’Clery, Conny Larsson and R.F.J. Sandt) have obsessively resorted to deceit, gutter tactics, defamations, blatant misrepresentation of facts, hostility and outright prevarication. This type of shocking and very disturbing behavior has effectively negated critic’s self-professed and alleged credibility.
- All of the negative media against Sai Baba was the result of critic’s behind-the-scenes subterfuge, unremitting propaganda and “e-bombing campaigns”. Critics even boasted on Anti-Sai websites how they were responsible for and involved with various negative media exposures against Sai Baba.
- Anti-Sai Activists have waged extensive and unremitting smear campaigns on the internet through hundreds of websites and on thousands of webpages (Ref), even utilizing a fraudulent Sai Petition to further their hateful objectives.
- Several critics of Sai Baba (i.e., Robert Priddy, Sanjay Dadlani, Tony O’Clery, UsedByBaba, Barbara Dent and R.F.J. Sandt) have used numerous incognito internet names, attempting to pass themselves off as various individuals, including Pro-Sai activists. This type of fully documented behavior (Refs: 01 – 02) strongly argues that many of the allegations against Sai Baba may be entirely fabricated by mentally unsound people whose primary goal is to deceive.
Sai Devotees are not the only ones who are “true believers”. Timothy Conway himself is an extreme “true believer”, as are many critics of Sai Baba (Ref).
JH: Regarding the recent rumors…
TC: Again notice Hawley’s misuse of language here. He talks of “recent” rumors when these stories of sexual behavior (albeit nearly all of them involve young men; the stories about minors are more recent) have been around for at least 20 years in print [most prominently, Tal Brooke's book in its different editions], and at least another decade in oral story-telling form [i.e., among Brooke and his interviewees]. And his use of the term “rumors” can no longer apply when victims are legally swearing to signed affidavits in print. (For example, the India Today publication has reproduced these affidavits).
We have reached the stage wherein the controversial Sai activity is no longer a matter of “rumors,” but differing truth-claims, and these need to be adjudicated, either by a monumental mediation session or by legal proceedings in a court of law.
My Response: Tal Brooke’s stories are “rumors” and hearsay. In 30+ years, not even one person has come forward to corroborate Tal Brooke’s tall stories. I have already discussed Tal Brooke in-depth earlier on this page.
Timothy Conway again cited the fraudulent “affidavits” claim made in India Today (which I already discussed and refuted in-depth earlier on this page). As one can see, the foundational arguments that Timothy Conway parrots like an automaton against Sai Baba (i.e., affidavits, child-molestation and Tal Brooke), are poorly researched, inherently flawed and are not backed up with credible or verifiable documentation.
Although Ex-Devotees claim (even to the present day) that they are seeking to bring Sai Baba to “justice”, alleged victims have not been willing to cooperate with them. Therefore, Ex-Devotees have resorted to malicious smear and hate campaigns where they act as prosecutors, judge and jury.
Timothy Conway’s outrage and ethical sensitivities are invoked for theatrical effect only. Dr. Conway has not assisted any alleged victim to file a court case against Sai Baba in India or obtain access to legal representation (probably because Dr. Conway never met any of the alleged victims whose cases he cited, argued for and defended).
JH: 1. They are definitely not “the truth” as people so carelessly use the term truth (They may seem “true” to some, but they are not “The Truth.”)
TC: This is more epistemological fancy-dancing. The ultimate “Truth” with a capital “T” is, of course, what the Vedanta and Buddhist traditions refer to as pertaining to the level of paramartha (“supreme Truth” or “absolute Reality”). On this “absolute” or “ultimate” or “supreme” Truth level, we have mystical declarations like “God (Brahman, Dharmakaya) alone IS.” “Phenomena and selves are not real.” And so on.
In contrast, phenomena and personality-selves pertain to the conventional or relative or worldly level, called by Hindu Vedantins the vyavaharika level, what the Buddhists term the samvriti level. This is the level of conventional “truth” with a small-case “t.”
As I have repeatedly pointed out in my response to the views of Sai devotee Ram Das Awle [author of a manuscript for an upcoming book which, in part, contains an apology for Baba’s behavior], all great spiritual masters urge us not to mix up these two levels. Yes, “it’s all one!” on the absolute paramartha level, but, as the enlightened Zen masters say, enlightenment is ultimately about “chopping wood, carrying water,” and, to quote a hadith of Muhammad: “Trust in God but tie up your camel!” When Hindu masters describe the need for observing the yamas and niyamas (the moral “do’s and don’ts”), they are talking on this conventional level.
Hawley apparently wants us to keep exclusively focused on the paramartha level that “God alone is” and to hold onto the lofty opinion that Sathya Sai Baba is the pure expression of God. But Mr. Hawley should be aware that we can operate from the ultimate Truth-context that God alone is while honoring the conventional ethical truth that molesting children and lying about sexual activity is completely inappropriate.
My Response: Ram Das Awle has not published a book. Nor has he ever made an “apology” for Sai Baba’s alleged behavior. When I directly questioned Timothy Conway (via e-mail) about Awle’s alleged “apology”, he responded:
“In that context, I meant that word ‘apology’ in the sense of definition #1 in Merriam-Webster: ‘a formal justification; defense,’ not the sense of ‘expressing regret, conceding wrong.’ This is a legitimate use of the word.”
Timothy Conway’s clarification is woefully inadequate and is indicative of the very same “misuse of language” that he accused Jack Hawley of engaging in. Consequently, Ram Das Awle never made an “apology” (as it is generally understood) for Sai Baba’s alleged behavior. Timothy Conway used the term “apology” in the literary and outdated sense of the word (e.g. “Plato’s Apology”).
Jack Hawley said nothing about being “exclusively focused on the paramartha level that ‘God alone is’ and to hold onto the lofty opinion that Sathya Sai Baba is the pure expression of God”. Once again, Timothy Conway put words into Jack Hawley’s mouth and then criticized those words as if Jack Hawley actually said them. He didn’t.
Timothy Conway again mentioned the fraudulent “child molestation” claims (which I already discussed and refuted in-depth earlier on this page). Timothy Conway blithely tosses around serious and criminal allegations of “child molestation” and thinks it is entirely “appropriate”.
JH: 2. They are also not any of the other modern, quick-stick labels aimed at grabbing our attention, frightening us, and disgusting us.
TC: I have no clear idea of what Hawley is talking about when he speaks of “modern, quick-stick labels.” Is he implying that the term “child molestation” or “sexual predatory behavior” is inappropriate for describing the acts by Baba told in the sworn affidavits? If so, then Hawley needs to openly argue and prove his case. These vague words of his do not suffice.
My Response: It is obvious that Timothy Conway had “no clear idea” what Jack Hawley meant. Perhaps because Jack Hawley’s letter was not intended for Timothy Conway. It was intended for certain Sai Devotees only. Although Timothy Conway had “no clear idea” what Jack Hawley talked about or referred to in his letter, he had the audacity to accuse Hawley of saying things he never did.
Timothy Conway’s strategy is one of blatant deceit. First Timothy Conway made erroneous inferences and speculations about what he thought Jack Hawley might have referred to. Secondly, Timothy Conway worked himself up into a self-righteous frenzy and offered counter-arguments to his erroneously attributed inferences and speculations. Then Timothy Conway viciously attacked Jack Hawley based wholly on the premise that his inferences and speculations were what Jack Hawley really and truly meant to say (but didn’t). Once again, this type of illogic and irrationality is highly indicative of an extremist who relies on straw man fallacies to win illusionary points.
Timothy Conway again cited the fraudulent “affidavits” claim made in India Today (which I already discussed and refuted in-depth earlier on this page). Timothy Conway again mentioned the fraudulent “child molestation” claims (which I already discussed and refuted in-depth earlier on this page). As one can see, the foundational arguments that Timothy Conway parrots like an automaton against Sai Baba are poorly researched, inherently flawed and are not backed up with credible or verifiable documentation.
JH: 3. What is (or is not) happening at Prasanthi Nilayam is unrelated to current worldly level buzz words and ideas to which the mind so quickly leaps. This is not about a “character flaw” in a mere old man, for example; it has nothing to do with analysis or the so-called “medical model,” or with “scientific” thinking. (The mind sees, or even creates, what it looks for. In this sex and violence obsessed Kali Yuga [era] of today, the mind leaps to obsessive conclusions. Unable to truly understand, yet ever ready to leap, the mind shrouds Divinity with worldly illusions and comes up with wrong conclusions.)
TC: Again, Hawley is so terribly vague about the behavior to which he is referring. Basically, he seems to be criticizing any and all attempts to understand more fully what Baba is doing and why. And notice his use of the phrase “obsessive conclusions” as if those mature persons who are trying to uncover Baba’s and the Sai officers’ unethical activities are pathologically “obsessive.”
I would state that it is decades-long denial and rationalization about Sai that are indicative of pathological obsession on the part of senior Sai devotees, not the quest for truth concerning these inappropriate activities. The latter is commendable, the former is not.
My Response: If Jack Hawley is so “terribly vague”, how did Timothy Conway know what he talked about and referred to in his letter? The only person who made “obsessive conclusions” was Timothy Conway (as evidenced by his broken-record-syndrome in parroting the same claims over and over again ad nauseam). Timothy Conway based his “decades-long denial and rationalization” argument on Tal Brooke (who made his allegations in the mid 70’s). Tal Brooke, in my opinion, is not credible (an opinion shared by the critical scholar Lawrence A. Bapp) and it is not surprising that people dismissed Tal Brooke and his tall stories as religiously-fueled and self-serving propaganda. I think Sai Devotees need not offer any rationalizations or explanations when Sathya Sai Baba has never (ever) been formally charged with any crime, sexual or otherwise. Alleged victims have not even attempted (in 10+ years) to file a basic police complaint against the guru in India. These are facts whereas Timothy Conway’s subjective arguments and speculations are not.
JH: 4. What is happening here in Prasanthi is beyond the meager human mind and its ability to “figure out.” It is beyond maya (mind-created illusion). Many things happen here that involve deep, mysterious energies, far beyond what our minds can grasp.
TC: I am willing to grant that “what is happening here in Prasanthi,” specifically, the many beautiful deeds of Baba and the astounding synchronicities and healings that happen are, truly, “beyond the meager human mind and its ability to ‘figure out.’” I remain convinced that there are paranormal miracles (wondrous anomalies), and “deep, mysterious energies,” perhaps involving multi-dimensional physics and paranormal or supra-normal power, that are occurring around and through the personality of Sathya Sai Baba.
We should also be aware that these energies and powers could be coming from Sai Baba of Shirdi and/or the Divine Absolute, while the figure of Sathya Narayana Raju (born in 1926 in Andhra Pradesh state) is merely a vehicle or instrument for these powers and energies, and that the Sathya Narayana personality has an unfinished shadow side involving an addiction to sex with young men and boys, and is willing to use trickery to fake certain “materializations.” [His longtime centimillionaire VIP devotee, Isaac Tigrett, has witnessed and verbally confirmed this fakery of “materializations”; regarding the allegations of sexual molestation of male youth, Tigrett has told an interviewer, “I believe there is truth to the rumours.”]
Alternately, Sathya Sai could be an amazingly accomplished but fallen yogi (yogabhrashta) who represents a mixture of wonderful powers and altruistic intentions along with less savory aspects — such as lustful desire, fear of being exposed, etc.
My Response: Timothy Conway’s comments are amusing, insightful and rather perplexing. For example, Timothy Conway had the following to say about Sathya Sai Baba’s alleged paranormal abilities:
- Timothy Conway: “ I remain convinced that there are paranormal miracles (wondrous anomalies), and ‘deep, mysterious energies,’ perhaps involving multi-dimensional physics and paranormal or supra-normal power, that are occurring around and through the personality of Sathya Sai Baba.”
- Timothy Conway: “Sathya Sai could be an amazingly accomplished but fallen yogi (yogabhrashta)…”
- Timothy Conway: “We should also be aware that these energies and powers could be coming from Sai Baba of Shirdi and/or the Divine Absolute…”
- Timothy Conway: “Perhaps he is just a highly adept but fallen yogi or an inter-dimensionally powerful but contaminated ‘channel’ for the former Sai Baba of Shirdi (d.1918).”
- Timothy Conway: “the powers of someone who has some ‘elemental spirits’ or other entities helping him from interdimensional planes? (–no joke: it’s a very old, worldwide knowledge that one can derive certain powers by contacting such entities).” Ref: Conway Email No. 8.
- Timothy Conway: “Now, a purna avatar would, it seems, incarnate the totality of God, including the polarity play of light-dark, purity-mischief, unattachment-lust, and so on. This is a disturbing concept, but perhaps quite applicable to Baba’s controversial activity. Moreover, the sexual activity, which we now know to apparently involve considerable lust, might be Baba’s way of transmuting the very heavy sexual energy among humanity at this time on the planet.”
- Timothy Conway: “I have sometimes thought that Sai is lustfully ‘taking on’ (on a psychic level) the lust of humanity to clear our sexual karma.”
- Timothy Conway: “I grant that much or most of Baba’s spectacular mission has been about teaching and demonstrating Love.”
- Timothy Conway: “I do believe that there has been an astonishing amount of genuine goodness, compassion and spiritual upliftment in and around Baba.”
Therefore, Timothy Conway is in the same boat as Jack Hawley regarding “We Don’t Know”. Timothy Conway leaves the door open just enough to compromise all his arguments against Sathya Sai Baba. There are no known historical (or mythological) figures who have ever displayed (while alive) the alleged and profuse manifestations attributed to Sathya Sai Baba around the globe. Even Robert Priddy and Barry Pittard (two of the most vocal Ex-Devotees) have fully conceded that Sathya Sai Baba does possess genuine paranormal powers (Ref).
The following links contain a small sampling of pictures to alleged manifestations and materializations typically associated with the name and form of Sathya Sai Baba:
- Sai Baba Manifestations At Sai Sruti Temple in Harrow, Middlesex, UK
- Sathya Sai Baba Vibhuti Manifestations in a Devotee’s House in London
- Satya Sai Baba Vibuthi Manifestations In Bali, Indonesia
- Sai Baba Manifestations In Colusa, California
- Sai Baba Manifestations At Sri Ragnapatnam, Mysore, India
- Sai Baba Gallery Of Miracles
- Sai Sruti’s Sai Baba Miracle Photos Galleries
Timothy Conway’s comments about Isaac Tigrett are pathologically one-sided. Although it is true that Isaac Tigrett claimed he saw fake materializations, it is also true that he claimed he saw genuine materializations. Isaac Tigrett claimed that when he fell asleep behind the wheel of his Porsche and drove off a 300 – 400 foot canyon cliff drop, Sathya Sai Baba appeared beside him and embraced him. Tigrett said that although the car was completely destroyed (the doors, roll bar and engine had been ripped from the frame of the car), he walked away from the accident without a scratch.
It is true that Isaac Tigrett said (in the BBC Documentary Secret Swami) that he believed there was truth to the rumors against Sai Baba. However, Isaac Tigrett further clarified his answer by saying there was “probably” truth to the rumors (see 10.54.25 and 10.54.47 on the Secret Swami transcript). Isaac Tigrett was very good friends with the Rahms and I am sure he blindly believed them when they told him Alaya claimed he was molested. In light of Alaya Rahm’s failed lawsuit (which revealed purposely suppressed information about Alaya), I am sure Isaac Tigrett would not take the same position he took on the BBC documentary. As a matter of fact, even I was under the impression (for many years) that Alaya Rahm was sexually abused. Many factual inconsistencies in Alaya’s accounts, along with pivotal information revealed in his failed lawsuit, have since changed my opinion about the truthfulness of Alaya Rahm’s claims.
JH: We do have some quite clear hints about what’s happening here: It has to do with Love so deep, so Divine that nothing can stand in its way — not even the threat of misunderstanding or calumny.
TC: Again, I grant that much or most of Baba’s spectacular mission has been about teaching and demonstrating Love. And I am aware that numerous great spiritual masters of different religious traditions, especially those who embody the “Divine Trickster” or “Holy Fool” archetype, have behaved in ways that are mystifying, shocking, and unconventional. Thus, such masters have been misunderstood and made the target for calumny.
But calumny means “false and malicious accusation,” and in the present case, with numerous accounts of Baba molesting male youth against their will, it would seem that the charges against Baba are neither false nor malicious. These charges are simply the cry of anguished devotees attempting to protect young men and boys from behavior that can have a deeply traumatic effect upon their sensitive psyches.
My Response: Most of the “charges” against Sathya Sai Baba are false and malicious accusations. Ex-Devotees are notorious for their potty mouths, perversions and prevarications. Ex-Devotee’s malicious attacks, gutter untruths and self-serving hypocrisy are too voluminous to include in this section. However, relevant webpages fully exposing them can be found on my Anti-Sai Activists Exposed Index. Therefore, Timothy Conway’s comments that the allegations against Sai Baba are far removed from calumny are patently false.
All of the “charges” against Sai Baba have never been substantiated through legal venues. Despite serious and criminal allegations of sexual molestation, rape, murder, international racketeering, money laundering, pedophile rings, people-trafficking rings, affiliation with terrorists, drug cartels, smuggling of outdated weapons to third world countries, mafia-associations, assassinations, spies, etc., Sathya Sai Baba and the Sai Organization have never (ever) been formally charged with any crime. Why is it that no one can provide verifiable information or documentation to back-up any of these criminal allegations made exclusively by Ex-Devotees, Indian rationalists and Indian atheists? That is the question that everyone should be asking (including Timothy Conway).
Timothy Conway again mentioned fraudulent claims of abuse against “boys” (which I already discussed and refuted in-depth earlier on this page).
JH: It has to do with healing, not harming.
TC: In light of my comment in the previous paragraph, this claim by Hawley and by other true-believing Sai devotees needs to be proven and not just stated. HOW, SPECIFICALLY, HAS BABA HEALED ANYONE by touching their genitals, performing oral sex upon them, requiring them to perform oral sex upon him, masturbating them, having them masturbate him, threatening them or their parents to keep quiet, and, finally, paying them for sexual favors? Pray tell, HOW, EXACTLY, IS ANY OF THIS BEHAVIOR “HEALING”? Let’s hear specific, clear-cut explanations from Baba and accomplished holistic health practitioners on the dynamics of this “healing” activity, not vague statements and excuses.
But no, I submit that the deep feelings of shame, guilt, betrayal, confusion, anger, sadness, numbness, and fear reported by these young men and boys are clearcut evidence of psychological HARM, not healing.
They are being abused by an elder whom they and their parents have trusted as Guru, God, and spiritual Father-Mother Sai. And this terrible abuse and breaking of a sacred trust results in pain and trauma, not “healing.”
I find this particular statement by Hawley to be unconscionably ill-informed, presumptuous, and just plain wrong-headed and cruel-hearted. Maybe he doesn’t intend to be cruel, but that is the psychological effect that his words will undoubtedly have upon the victims of Baba’s sexual predatory behavior.
I would respectfully hypothesize that if any of Jack Hawley’s children (I do not know whether, in fact, he has children) were being sexually abused by Baba, they would not appreciate hearing these words from their father. Mr. Hawley should empathetically put himself in the shoes of those hundreds of molested youth and their family members and he will see that such statements (“It has to do with healing, not harming,” etc.) are woefully inappropriate responses to the present crisis.
My Response: Timothy Conway’s hauteur is repulsive and mind-boggling. Although Jack Hawley said absolutely nothing about sexual abuse (directly, indirectly or otherwise), Timothy Conway took off on a rabid rant, pointing fingers, flaring nostrils, foaming-at-the-mouth and shrieking that Jack Hawley was somehow attempting to justify sexual abuse.
Timothy Conway’s behavior is embarrassing and he should issue an apology to Jack Hawley. Timothy Conway’s gutter tactics and immature finger pointing seem to be aimed at influencing and inciting susceptible purveyors of malice and hatred. I have already pointed out (several times) Timothy Conway’s nasty habit of putting words into Jack Hawley’s mouth and then criticizing those words as if Jack Hawley actually said them. Therefore, Timothy Conway’s traducements against Jack Hawley are worthy of a good flush down the toilet so that they can return to the gutter from which they came.
Timothy Conway resorted to more exaggerations when he claimed that there are “hundreds of molested youth”. As pointed out earlier, all of these “hundreds of molested youth’s” family members would be “accomplices in sexual molestation crimes” and failed in their legal duty of “mandated reporting” because there are no known “child molestation” charges, court cases or basic police complaints filed against Sai Baba in India. Timothy Conway cannot factually back up any of his “child molestation” claims with credible and verifiable references, sources or documentation.
It is as if Timothy Conway was trapped in a Snow White cartoon where he spoke to a magic mirror and imagined all sorts of scenes and sights. After being carried away by his fervid imaginations, Timothy Conway attributed his mind-created illusions, mirages and self-induced deceptions to Jack Hawley.
JH: It has to do with the Avatar’s [Divine Incarnation's] mission here on earth (which, of course, has to fit this crazy Kali age).
TC: This explanation by Hawley is no explanation at all. First, it begs the question of whether Sathya Sai Baba is truly an Avatar of the purely divine kind, not just an avatar in the sense that we are all avatars (Divine manifestations). [Elena Hartgering reminds us that this method of defending SSB by appealing to the idea that "Sai Baba is God" is guilty of the fallacy of presumption.]
Second, Hawley presumes to know something of what an avatar’s mission would be. Now, according Krishna’s alleged instructions in the Bhagavad Gita [an ancient, authoritative text of Hindu Vedanta], Vishnu’s avatar (God’s special Incarnation) occurs “from age to age” to “restore Dharma (righteousness or virtue) and destroy adharma (non-virtue).”
It has to be demonstrated that Sathya Sai’s sexual predatory behavior — apparently involving hundreds, maybe even more than a thousand young men and boys — is “restoring Dharma.” Rather, it strikes an increasing number of us worldwide as indicative of nonvirtuous, adharmic behavior by someone who is either not fully Divine (e.g., someone who is a blend of Divine light and dark energies) or else is a “fallen yogi.” (Some nasty naysayers want to say that Baba is actually nothing more than an evil force on the planet, a master of occult powers who masquerades, like the legendary Lucifer, as a being of light and goodness. I don’t accept this analysis of “Baba-as-consummate-evil.” I do believe that there has been an astonishing amount of genuine goodness, compassion and spiritual upliftment in and around Baba.)
Finally, I would remark that Ramakrishna, Sai Baba of Shirdi, Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Anandamayi Ma, Meher Baba, Anasuya Devi, Devaraha Baba, Ammachi Amritanandamayi and numerous other highly impressive Avatars/Mahatmas have lived out their mission in the modern “crazy Kali age” and have not needed to resort to such illegal/criminal behaviors to enlighten and edify millions of people.
My Response: Although there is absolutely no proof that Sathya Sai Baba is a “sexual predator” or that he molested “hundreds, maybe even more than a thousand young men and boys”, Timothy Conway had the temerity to pass off his absurd estimations and blind guesses as the truth to unsuspecting readers. It is exactly statements like these that thoroughly compromise Timothy Conway’s credibility. Timothy Conway is a true believer who also thinks it is possible that Sai Baba can transport alleged victims to alternate dimensions to molest them (like aliens are alleged to do through abductions). Therefore, Timothy Conway will resort to any and all excuses to justify his arguments against Sai Baba.
Muktananda, Gurumayi, Ramakrishna (who was accused of being a homosexual and a child molester by Jeffrey Kripal: Ref), Neem Karoli Baba, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Chogyam Trunpa, Yogi Bhajan, Swami Satchidananda, Dalai Lama (see “Stripping the Gurus”), Sri Chinmoy, Mother Teresa (John M. Swomley wrote a highly critical book about her), Meher Baba (who was/is often attacked by Christian Fundamentalists as a deceiver and false messiah), Yogananda, Jiddu Krishnamurthi, Swami Premananda, Jesus, Mohammad, Ammachi (quite a few people have leveled numerous allegations against her) and others have been embroiled in controversy (including allegations of sexual impropriety). It seems to me that Timothy Conway has a self-serving, belief-preserving habit of naming only those gurus who do not seem to have controversies surrounding them and uphold them as life-savers to keep his faith afloat.
As stated numerous times before, Sathya Sai Baba has never (ever) been formally charged with any crime, sexual or otherwise. Alleged victims have not even tried to file a court case against Sai Baba in India. Therefore, Timothy Conway’s references to “illegal/criminal behaviors” are personal and subjective opinions based on disastrously ill-formed arguments.
JH: It has to do with the purity of our own minds, not someone else’s. The impurity is not in the Avatar, who is purity itself, it’s in the world, in our minds.
TC: This statement from Hawley sounds impressive, but is dangerous propaganda and heartlessly unfeeling as well. The Nazi movement arose with the conceit that it was a Divine movement to restore the “purity” of the human race and the homeland. The Nazis developed an elaborate metaphysics, theology and mythology to rationalize the decimation of Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, the disabled and other “undesirables” as a great good for the commonweal. Anyone who disagreed with the “purity” of Nazi intentions was considered an obstacle, someone to be re-educated with Nazi propaganda or else eliminated as another undesirable.
For Hawley to suggest that anyone who has simple questions, ethical reservations or moral judgments about Baba’s sexual behavior is the one who is impure, not Baba, is being terribly disrespectful. Worse, his words serve as dangerous propaganda aiming (consciously or unconsciously) to manipulate people into compliant, obedient submission and “groupthink.” This is the type of slavish thinking that goes on in dysfunctional, dangerous cults like Scientology, the tragically-defunct People’s Temple sect headed by Jim Jones, and numerous other spiritual movements gone terribly wrong.
We must remember that, according to [Prof. N.] Kasturi’s biographical literature about Baba and translations of his discourses, Sathya Sai has himself long been a critic of impurity and hypocrisy and evil masquerading as good. Given that Baba has no qualms about preaching in moralist terms, we have every right to ask about his own morality when it comes to his sexual behavior with children and non-consenting young adults.
Again, notice that Hawley has presumptuously “begged the question” in implicitly identifying Sathya Sai Baba as the utterly pure, Divine Avatar. At this point in time, anyone who wishes to state this claim must back it up and demonstrate HOW/WHY AN AVATAR WOULD NEED TO MOLEST CHILDREN AND YOUNG MEN AGAINST THEIR WILL. A standard feature of dangerously dysfunctional cults is to allow the leader to get away with behaviors that are not allowed for the rank and file membership—in short, a double standard. Unless the Sai movement is advocating sex with children—something that I don’t ever recall being part of the guidelines for centers or the Ninefold Daily Conduct rules given by Baba—then sexual activity by Baba with children is not allowable by him or by anyone else.
We must remember, too, that, if Baba’s sexual activities with young men and boys is so “pure” and such a necessary part of his Divine mission, then WHY IN HEAVEN IS HE NOT ALSO ENGAGING IN THIS ACTIVITY WITH YOUNG WOMEN AND GIRLS? Why is the female sex being consistently deprived of his “healing Grace” in this form? Is this not misogynous prejudice against female devotees?
Incidentally, though I am strictly heterosexual, I am not homophobic, and I would have no problem with Sathya Sai if he were to come out of the closet, and, in an open manner (none of this terrible secrecy), commit himself to a homosexual lover in a monogamous relationship, perhaps even getting married in a beautiful ceremony at Prashanti Nilayam. [Unfortunately, homosexuality is by law illegal in India, any homosexual behavior, even between consenting adults, a punishable crime.]
As it is, one day soon we are likely to see members of the international group Human Rights Watch or some other group, deeply concerned about ongoing violations of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), demonstrating outside Prashanti with banners and signs saying: “STOP MOLESTING MINORS!” “WHAT IS REALLY GOING ON WITHIN THE PRIVATE INTTERVIEW ROOM?!”
At this point, I think that longtime Sai devotees should demand that the entry to Sai’s private interview room be kept open and that a chaperon be present on all occasions when Sai is in the company of male youth. I also think that Sai should stop wearing the ochre robe, symbol of celibate renunciation, and drop the renunciate title “Swami.” Given the serious allegations, these steps are not too much to ask.
My Response: Just when one thought Timothy Conway’s fanatic misrepresentation of Jack Hawley’s letter could not get any worse, it does. This time around, Timothy Conway (who often blathers about “love”, “righteousness”, “God”, “peace” and “non-violence”) compared Jack Hawley to the Nazis. Anyone who disagrees with the Gospel According To Conway is considered an “undesirable” who needs to be silenced with propaganda and brainwashed with select “abuse” mantras and jargon-filled excuses.
Timothy Conway is a promoter and believer in Avatars. How would Timothy Conway defend Lord Krishna’s untruths, theft, murder, a beheading, curses, the destruction of his own clan, the pillaging of his 16,000 wives, cursing his own son with leprosy, a failed mediation attempt that resulted in (if true) the bloodiest war in recorded history, perceived sexual improprieties with the Gopis, etc.? Those who believe in the concept of Avatars can often be seen making excuses and explaining away perceived improprieties based on the powers and opulences manifested by these incarnations. Does this mean the saints, siddhas, sages and scholars that promote the Sri Krishna Avatar are like “Nazis”? Judging from Timothy Conway’s arguments against Jack Hawley, the answer appears to be “yes”. Needless to say, this “Nazi” comparison does not argue well for Timothy Conway’s belief in Avatars (many of whom have atrocities associated with them).
Therefore, when Jack Hawley said:
“It has to do with the purity of our own minds, not someone else’s. The impurity is not in the Avatar, who is purity itself, it’s in the world, in our minds”
Jack Hawley simply reiterated a belief and teaching prevalent throughout India and in Hinduism. If Jack Hawley’s comments above are indicative of “Nazi propaganda”, “groupthink”, “dysfunctional and dangerous cults”, etc., then Timothy Conway is accusing Hindu scriptures, Vedic scholars and various gurus of the very same thing because they state that Avatars are not blemished with impurity despite the questionability of their actions.
Timothy Conway again mentioned fraudulent claims of abuse against “minors”, “children” and “male youth” (which I already discussed and refuted in-depth earlier on this page). One can only wonder why Timothy Conway spent so much time attacking non-abusers (i.e., Sai Devotees) instead of addressing “hundreds” and possibly “thousands” of alleged victims and their mothers and fathers who have all (without exception) refused to do the “moral” and “ethical” thing by taking legal action against Sai Baba in a court of law in India. The alleged parents to t
hese alleged “minors”, “children” and “male youth” have all failed in their legal duty of “mandated reporting” and are thereby (according to Timothy Conway) “accomplices in sexual molestation crimes”.
No human rights group has ever come forward to protest against Sai Baba. Unesco expressed regret about their past position against Sai Baba (which was accomplished through an unremitting “e-bombing” campaign from Ex-Devotees). The US Department of State removed all indirect references to Sathya Sai Baba from their official website (which Ex-Devotees similarly boasted on accomplishing themselves). It certainly seems that those who have subsequently looked closer at the allegations against Sai Baba realized they were duped by Anti-Sai propaganda.
As Sai Devotees know well, the private interview room door is covered with a cloth curtain only when Sai Baba is in there with selected individuals. There are even wide gaps on the sides of the curtain that allow people to look directly into the private interview room when Sai Baba is in there. Timothy Conway’s comments are all based on Anti-Sai propaganda that he read and blindly believed (as he blindly believes that Sai Baba can possibly molest people on alternate dimensions, which he compared to alien abductions).
JH: Few of us can see Divinity, and fewer yet understand it.
TC: I agree. But we can certainly see, understand, and agree that molesting children is, as most cultures have understood and agreed, WRONG and, in our society, criminal. Do I need to repeat it? It is ALWAYS INAPPROPRIATE for an adult to touch the genitals of a minor EXCEPT IN A LICENSED, CONSENSUAL MEDICAL SITUATION.
Yes, on some plane of existence and from a certain human spiritual viewpoint, Baba may be God. But his molesting of minors and deceitfully trying to cover it up is, within our conventions of Indian and American society, criminal activity. And cover-up behavior by longtime devotees in positions of authority within the Sai organization is also criminal activity.
My Response: Since Jack Hawley said nothing about allegations of sexual abuse, Timothy Conway’s inferences and speculations are moot.
Timothy Conway again mentioned fraudulent claims of abuse against “minors” and “children” (which I already discussed and refuted in-depth earlier on this page).
No one has ever been able to prove any sort of inappropriate behavior against Sai Baba. Alleged victims and their families have not filed any basic police complaints or court cases against Sai Baba in India. Ex-Devotees, critics, skeptics and naysayers alike (including Timothy Conway) have not assisted alleged victims to file basic police complaints or court cases against Sai Baba in India. So who exactly is guilty of “cover ups”? Certainly not Sai Devotees.
Timothy Conway demands a certain standard of behavior and accountability from Sai Devotees yet miserably fails to demand a certain standard of behavior and accountability from alleged victims and their families (especially from the “hundreds” and possibly “thousands” of alleged mothers and fathers of abused “minors” and “children” who have all apparently refused to take action against Sai Baba).
JH: Those who go into their hearts for answers during these crises of faith fare better. Those who go into their minds and seek answers outside, struggle the hardest and ache most.
TC: Hawley here shows his enslavement to “either-or” thinking conditioned by Aristotle’s ancient binary logic. He implies that genuinely mature devotees live (only) in their hearts and thereby find peace and “fare better,” while other devotees live (only) in their minds and are caught in the “seeking” syndrome, and therefore must “struggle” and ache.
I would submit that what the world needs today are spiritual practitioners who live from both their deeply-feeling hearts and their clearly-thinking minds. Lord save us from the heartless or the mindless.
As for Hawley’s comments about “struggle” and “ache,” I would remark that certainly a pseudo-bliss and false contentment can result from denial and rationalization about that which disturbs. And certainly many illustrious advocates of social justice, like Mohandas Gandhi and Dorothy Day and Martin Luther King and Archbishop Oscar Romero and Nelson Mandela (to name just a few 20th-century heroes), have “ached” deeply and “struggled” hard–and yes, even died–in their tireless quest to remedy wrongs and enact justice.
But which path would you prefer? “Ignorance is bliss” or “No pain, no gain”? In the present case, the latter path is far more indicative of a mature spirituality.
In closing, I reiterate my heartfelt salutations to Mr. Hawley for his dedication as a spiritual aspirant and his eloquent attempts (e.g., with his books and talks) to bring a deep spirituality into our lives. And, again, I have nothing against him personally.
But I do believe he should publicly revoke his “WE DON’T KNOW!” defense of Sai and join with those of us who ask for some kind of accountability and amends-making from Sathya Sai Baba and the Sai Organization leadership. Some straightforward explanations about Sai’s behavior and a policy of keeping the private interview room open would constitute a good start.
No matter how much time and energy Jack Hawley has invested in his position as a Sai devotee, he surely has the “capacity,” like many of us longtime devotees, to move beyond a public allegiance to the name and form of Sathya Sai into a deeper spirituality not mired in idolatrous identification, denials and rationalizations.
The true experience of God is so much more glorious and sublime…
May all beings be authentically happy, peaceful and liberated in awakening to the Truth, Beauty and Goodness of God.
My Response: The following observations can be reliably ascertained and drawn-out from Jack Hawley’s letter:
- The “hearsay” and “rumors”
- Hawley made no mention to any specific rumor.
- Hawley made no mention to sexual abuse.
- Hawley made no mention to child molestation.
- Hawley made no mention to genitals.
- Hawley made no mention to children, kids or males.
- Hawley said that “we” (apparently referring to himself and others he talked to) did not know if the rumors were true.
that Hawley mentioned in his letter were being spread by e-mail. Hawley made no mention to webpages or websites (which are critic’s primary venues for Anti-Sai information).
According to Timothy Conway (who attempted to pass off his frenzied speculations as Holy Writ), Jack Hawley did refer to sexual abuse allegations, child molestation, genitals and male boys. Where exactly did Timothy Conway get this information from? He most certainly did not get it from Jack Hawley’s letter.
Timothy Conway shamelessly and recklessly jumped to conclusions about what he thought Jack Hawley might have referred to. After engaging in this intellectually dishonest behavior, Timothy Conway then had the audacity to pass off his speculations and assumptions as Jack Hawley intended words.
Although Timothy Conway would have made some convincing arguments had Sai Baba been convicted of a crime, the fact of the matter remains that Sai Baba has never (ever) been convicted of any crime, sexual or otherwise. Period.
Timothy Conway’s numerous conflicting viewpoints about Sai Baba is evidence enough that he does not know any more than Jack Hawley did about the rumors pertaining to Sai Baba. Timothy Conway should demand accountability and amends-making from all of the alleged “hundreds” to possibly “thousands” of mothers and fathers who (without exception) have never filed a basic police complaint or court case against Sai Baba in India, thus failing in their legal duty of “mandated reporting” and (according to Timothy Conway) making them “accomplices in sexual molestation crimes”. The reason why no parent has ever made a formal complaint against Sai Baba is most likely due to the fact that no children were ever abused.
Timothy Conway’s foundational arguments (i.e., “child molestation”, “affidavits” and “Tal Brooke”) have all been shown to be without credible basis. Timothy Conway’s intemperate, feral and passive-aggressive attacks against Jack Hawley have similarly been shown to be without credible basis. However, there is no winning a point with Timothy Conway. He will resort (like a true believer) to any and all excuses (including ridiculous alien abduction comparisons) to justify his arguments and beliefs about Sai Baba.
Timothy Conway should immediately put into practice his precept of relinquishing “idolatrous identification” and stop the publication of his two books (due in Winter of 2008) which glorifies, eulogizes and promotes the names and forms (i.e., “idolatrous identification”) of Gurus, God-Men and Avatars (including Sri Ramakrishna, Shirdi Sai Baba, Meher Baba, Amritanandamayi Ma, Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Narayana Guru, Yoga Swami, Brahmajna Ma, Anandamayi Ma and many more). After all, “The true experience of God is so much more glorious and sublime…”
As the Sai Critic pointed out:
“We have shown that Conway is simply not interested in the real facts of this matter and certainly not interested in arriving at any unbiased, independent, analysis of Jack Hawley’s note. He is a poor critic, out of his depth.” (Ref)
- Timothy Conway Deception