By Sebastian Engelbarts
In August and September of 2009 I went to India. I have been travelling to India 12 times since 1990. The first few trips my only goal was to go to Sai Baba. Later I also travelled to other places, all over India. All in all, I think I have spent at least one year in Prashanti Nilayam, spread over those almost 20 years.
At age 14 in 1975, I was initiated in Transcendental Meditation (TM), from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. I did the advanced course, called Siddhi Course, at age 17.
Though they still tell you that TM will bring you enlightenment, I am certain that it doesn’t. But in the beginning I eagerly believed that at age 21, I would be enlightened. I meditated regularly in the beginning years, TM brings you a lot of inner peace, but there is a lack of evaluating your experiences and life. To me it was a sort of wild growth. Being raised with TM, reading books of Rajneesh, Yogananda and all the books that come on your path, I was already being indoctrinated with the Indian way of looking at saints and sages, i.e. with reference, but without sound research and reasoning. This was because of my age, I guess.
So from age 21 (1982) up to 1990, I was struggling my way through life. At the end of 1989, a friend of mine told me to go and see Sathya Sai Baba. I knew nothing about him, I only knew what he looked like, because somewhere down the years I saw a picture of him and remembered his name. He also gave me a picture of swami that had a text saying “No one can come to me unless it’s my will”. So this was my second conditioning. I prayed to Sai Baba to please let me come and I promised I would stay for 3 months.
So early 1990 I went to India. Once in the ashram I was immediately caught by his books, all telling about the satpoorna (full) avatar. I remember that I thought ‘if this would only be true, how fortunate am I and the people here in the ashram: An accumulation of many lives of hard spiritual work, now we are here in the presence of God himself.’ And here it seemed they had rules and regulations, I was missing in TM, and with love as its core.
I wasn’t particularly proud of myself, for all the things I had done wrong for the past few years. So trying to make up for it, I lined up everyday, but always hid behind someone else, because he could see right through me, I thought.
Six weeks passed and I had made a lot of western friends, as in the beginning I would walk up to anybody I saw going in for interview. So I heard a lot of amazing stories, saw all kinds of rings, necklaces etc.
I was in a Dutch group hoping for an interview and we got one after six weeks. But just some days before, a Swiss girl, who I thought was well balanced, she was a nurse and wasn’t much a person of outer appearance, had an interview with a Swiss group. She told me that Sai Baba scolded her for not dressing up properly, although all parts of her body were covered according to the rules. The only thing I saw was that she was wearing wide pants instead of a sari and the colours had faded from all the washing. She was devastated and so was I for her.
One or two days previous to our interview, an Argentinean group had an interview. A guy called R., was constantly harassing Sai Baba for interviews and successfully, as I saw Argentineans getting a lot of interviews, thanks to him. I think he was gay (I could not make it out, but one of the Argentinean girls told me), so I won’t mention his name, but I think it is important for the rest of the story.
So the Argentineans all walked up to the veranda, preparing for the interview. One Argentinean woman was not paying attention and only after somebody told her, she walked towards the veranda. Swami, by then, had finished his walkabout (darshan) and saw her walking towards the veranda. Then in a very cruel way he said to her ‘kssjjjt’, as if he was chasing away a dog. The woman, between 30 and 40 years of age, was shocked and walked back in disbelief. As she was walking back, you saw she was doubting whether this was meant for her, so she turned around and walked towards the veranda again. Then swami repeated his “ksssjjjt’ and she walked out crying. I was thinking to myself, that if he would do that to me, I would instantly drop dead on the spot, unable to bear something like that.
So, once in my room, I prayed to him not to chase me away like that, if we had an interview, but instead for him to treat me like he was my father. I was also asked, previously to the interview, by a lot of western guys to come with them to Goa. It was tempting, but I promised swami I would stay for 3 months. So I also prayed he would give me an answer as to whether I could go or not.
So, then finally after six weeks we got the interview. I was shaking and as I sat down on the veranda, I did not look at him, pretending not to see him in case he was going to chase me away. Once in the interview room I found myself sitting very near to swami, only an older Indian Dutchman in front of me. At least I had someone to hide behind a little, as he was not very tall. From what I have been reading lately on exbaba.com, he has the habit of walking to the fan, turning it on, as if making it comfortable, but also to take 2 vibhuti pills (‘holy ash’) , that are put there by one of his inner circle. He did the same thing at the beginning of the interview. He was already sitting and instead of asking the person sitting under the switch, he himself got up and turned it on. Walking back he materialized vibhuti twice, as there were a lot of women. All in all I estimated the gathering to consist of about 40 people; a Dutch group, a Swedish group and several Indians. Later on I started seeing that he has more of such routines.
After distributing vibhuti only to the women, he sat down. Then he shifted the attention to the back (one of his routines), asking a woman about her sight. She said she was happy with what she still could see. It turned out she had only about 15% sight in both her eyes. I never noticed. But he knew or was it a lucky guess or had he watched them while they were going in?
She was in my group for 2 weeks, but I couldn’t tell and she was always walking hand in hand with a girl friend. So swami ‘knew’ and ‘materialized’ a lingam. Explaining that it was the universe etc. He then, very proudly, showed it to everybody and said it had identical sides, that nowhere in nature this could be found, only God can make this. He gave it to her and told her to put it in a glass of water and drink the water daily.
Somehow this is contradictory to what he tells, that god doesn’t go against his own laws, yet for an ardent devotee who deserves it, he will make it out of nothing. Otherwise he would transfer it from somewhere. He obviously violated his own law, because he said that nowhere in nature it could be found. So he must have created it from nothing. Why, was she that special? Maybe, I don’t know.
Then again he shifted the attention to the back, asking a young Indian boy about his stomach. The boy said that he had no problems with his stomach. Swami said ‘yes, yes, not good’ and materialized a golden ring with a diamond. He explained that the diamond stood for ‘die mind’. He then called the boy to the front and placed it on his finger. It fitted and swami said ‘See, swami always makes perfect fit’. As I read more stories, this isn’t always the case, to put it mildly. Didn’t he know the stomach was ok, or didn’t the boy know about his bad stomach? Then turning to me, he said “what do you want?’ I said ‘just your blessing’ and he hit me on the head quite firmly.
Why did he shift attention all the way to the back, so that everybody would look around? Did they just happened to sit there, or did he need some time to grab behind his cushion?
The old Indian-Dutch man in front of me was so incredibly excited, that he couldn’t keep quiet. Sai Baba several times told him to shut up and otherwise didn’t pay attention to him at all.
Then swami got up and opened the door to his private interview room and invited all of us in. As I had already been sitting in the front and as I was one of the first to enter the private interview room, I thought about letting others sit in front instead. So I entered, made a left turn to go and sit against the wall, away from his chair. He suddenly turned around and said “No, no, you come”. He took me by the hand as he walked towards his chair. He held my hand while sitting down and placed his right foot exactly on my penis and pushed me down, all the while keeping his foot there, till I was sitting. He held my hand, stroked my arm, ran his fingers through my hair, pulled my nose and my cheeks. I wasn’t shocked, but I knew it was not an accident, that he placed his foot there. So this was going through my mind and also I felt awkward and embarrassed sitting there at his feet, him caressing me, while others were sitting at least 2 meters from him. He was treating me like a father, wasn’t he? Fond of his son.
I was also thinking, ‘shouldn’t I be feeling something, sitting here hand-in-hand with the lord of the universe’? He was talking away, while I was feeling embarrassed. Why did I have this good fortune? I didn’t live an exemplary life, on the contrary. As I was pondering about what was going on, he turned to me and said, “Where is your wife?” I said in Holland. He said, “Is it your wife or your girlfriend?” I said ‘it is my girlfriend’. He said “Not good, two boyfriends, but she has got only one heart”. And it was true. Just before I left for India, I found out that my girlfriend, since I was a mess, was seeing a former boyfriend. But why these questions? Was he checking me out if I was available or did he know? What was the importance whether she was my wife or not? Did he know or did he guess, since I was not wearing a wedding ring? Did he know she was seeing her old boyfriend or was he trying to put doubts in my mind? To me it seemed later that it is one of his routines to ask questions, so it doesn’t matter what answer comes, yes, no, maybe. Your mind always finds a way to fit it in somewhere, thinking that it is that, what he is referring to. Then he talked away again and again turning to me saying “Time waste, money waste, too many women”. I thought to myself, time waste is correct, money waste also. From my viewpoint it was true, from his viewpoint it is true for all westerners. You’re supposed to think of God 24/7, if not, it’s time waste. Money waste is also true for all westerners, since he says you need only one pair of shoes. All westerners have more than one pair of shoes.
But then ‘too many women?’ That was not true. I was sort of a handsome guy, but I was, until then, not so much interested in women. I was too busy sorting out life. If I look back, at the time I was with Baba, I was 29, looking younger, there were enough women who were interested in me. I let almost all of them pass by. So this, about too many women, was puzzling to me. But isn’t sex quite normal in the west and for sort of a handsome guy, already living for 29 years, I could have had enough sex. But I wasn’t that much interested. A few years later I made up for this, so I was telling myself that it was that what he was referring to. That I would have a lot of women in the future. The mind can bend everything in any direction, if you’re not facing the facts.
After sitting like this for maybe 20 minutes, Sai Baba took us back to the first interview room and now as I was leaving the room as the last person, again I was sitting in front of swami, as his chair is near to the door.
He then asked if there were any questions. One Swedish boy told swami that he had an accident with his motorbike. Swami immediately reacted, saying “Yes, yes, I know. Terrible accident, but I was there, I saved you”. Did he? Then why didn’t he avoid the plane crash at Bangalore airport in February 1990. It was a plane from Indian Airlines, a domestic flight from Bombay, in which there were several devotees, who died.
I can recall an interview somebody told me about. When I asked about it, the guy told me that there was an old Indian man, grief stricken, as he had sent his son to ask Baba some things. He was in the plane that crashed and when he asked Baba about it, he said “don’t worry he is with me now and he’s fine”. So, if you don’t die, he saved you and if you die, nobody has to worry, because he is with swami now. It’s that simple.
Anyway, about the Swedish boy. He had been in the hospital for 10 months and he had undergone multiple surgeries. They were planning more surgeries, but gave him a break, so he could recover first. He asked swami whether he should have more surgeries and swami said “No, no, I will take care of you”. I have met the guy several times since. In the beginning he was accessible, although difficult. But after a few years he didn’t talk to anybody anymore. He looked extremely unhappy, depressed, and angry. I think after ’98 I haven’t seen him again.
After he finished the conversation with the Swedish boy, he told the group that he would be leaving for Brindavan and asked if we were all coming with him. Then he looked at me specifically and said “Are you coming with swami to Brindavan, it’s such an opportunity for you to be with swami”. So here was the answer. I wasn’t supposed to go to Goa, but to stay with him. He knew about my promise, didn’t he? Or was it for some other reason. Before leaving the interview, a lot of people took out a picture and swami wrote on it ‘With love, Baba’.
As I didn’t have a picture of swami, I took out a picture from my money belt. It was a picture of my son, who was 3 years old. I gave it to swami upside down, but somehow he saw, probably because of the photographic paper, that it was different. He turned it around and as he saw it wasn’t a picture of himself, he threw it on the floor before me in a kind of angry way. He could have given it back in a decent way as I was only sitting 1 meter in front of him. Why did he reject it this way, rejecting my son like that? Was this the same man, who just before, had overwhelmed me with his love? The days after the interview I was drained of energy, depressed, feeling nothing had changed.
A lot of Dutch people were going home, so we decided to form an international group and went to Brindavan. There were Swiss, Australian, British, German and Dutch in our group.
In our group was a British guy, called Keith. His story is also on the Internet (http://188.8.131.52/rvdsandt/ex-baba/engels/witnesses/keith.html). He had told me that he had come to Sai Baba to find out what had happened between his boyfriend and Sai Baba in 1989, who had several interviews with swami but on returning home to the UK, he committed suicide. During my stay in Puttaparthi, I hung out with Keith a very handsome, beautifully built, dark skinned young man. We lined up together and one time we were in row 8 somewhere, as swami walked by. He looked at Keith and then at me and again at Keith and called him in for an interview. Afterwards Keith told me that swami had no time for him now, but he would have another interview soon.
I was puzzled as to why swami invited Keith instead of me or the both of us, for he looked some time at the both of us. It started to dawn on me that it looked like swami had a very good eye for gay man. I started paying attention to this and over several years found out that when he singled out men, a lot of times they were gay. After the interviews to these men, I went up to them asking about the interview. On many occasions they had been given rings, a lot of times a silver ring with an enamel portrait of swami. Keith had one.
I realize that it could be a coincidence: that it just happened by chance when I was around.
Anyway, after maybe two weeks while we were in Brindavan, the international group got an interview along with a Dutch group. Alexandra Nagel was in that interview, as well as Keith.
I don’t know how it happened, but again I was sitting right in front of swami. I wasn’t doing it on purpose as my mind was blank of any elation. In this interview men and women were not sitting separately and swami didn’t distribute vibhuti.
Swami again started off with shifting the attention to the back by asking an old Dutch lady, who was over 80, how her legs were. As she didn’t understand English, somebody had to translate it for her and as she answered the translator back and he was ready to give swami the answer, he was already involved in a conversation with us young boys in the front. I thought to myself that it wasn’t very decent, he seemed not at all interested in her answer. So the translator never gave her answer. I thought to myself, here they are, two ladies well over their eighties, very religious. They were raised as Christians, but it could never satisfy their needs. Then they read a book about Sai Baba and found what they were missing. Their children paid for their tickets and they came together with a Dutch group. Here they are in the interview room, being asked a question, but never being able to answer it. Incredible. Did he again need some time to grab behind his cushion, by shifting the attention to the back?
He said to a Dutch guy next to me ‘Oh! You have a ring, let me see. Oh! Picture of swami, how nice. Give it to me.’ But the ring had been given to the guy by swami in a previous interview, why did he act so surprised? Was it because on the market you could buy the same rings and he didn’t remember the guy anymore after seeing so many people every day? Anyway, by then I had read many stories about how he changes rings. So I thought, now I will be witnessing one. He took the ring and I was focused on his hands. To my utter astonishment he buried the ring in his right palm, leaned forward, shuffled his right hand behind his left arm, almost entirely against the left side of the chair and kept his hand there for a while. I could not see his right hand anymore as he was leaning forward towards the guy, who was sitting, seen from his side, on the left. And his left arm was also blocking his right hand. Now I was completely crazed. Here I am sitting, one meter in front of swami, an opportunity of a lifetime event and now he starts playing tricks on me. Finally he drew back his hand and kept it in front of us, but still covering it in his palm, he blew three times on his hand and out came a golden ring with three diamonds. He asked the guy if he wanted the ring twice. The guy responded twice ‘whatever you want swami’. Then he put down his hand again, but I didn’t pay attention anymore, as I was too much in my head. He again blew three times on his hand and out came the same old ring.
After all this, swami stood up and called a 26 year good looking guy from the UK into his private room, behind a curtain. Don’t remember his name. From where I was sitting, I could peak through the curtain. Swami was facing my way and the guy was standing with his back towards me. I saw them standing close together, but could not see what was happening. Swami looked at me, knew I could see them, but he wasn’t bothered by it. When the guy came out, he called me in. I kneeled before him and he put his hand on my shoulder. He asked when I would be leaving and that he would see me again before I was going. This never happened.
Once the interview was over, we all wanted to know what swami had said to the English guy, but he remained silent for three days, only talking to his girlfriend. Finally after 3 days, he came out with the story. Swami had asked him to lower his pants and as he hesitated, swami told him not to worry as he created him. So he lowered his pants and swami oiled his genitals. At this certain point, he was ok with it, because swami had probably healed him.
One year later I went back to India and I ran in to Hari from Australia, who was also in our international group, the previous year. Hari told me about Keith who had several interviews in private and that in one interview swami took his hand and put it between swami’s legs and Keith felt female genitalia. Than he had to do padnamaskar (touch his feet) and as he got up, swami again took his hand and Keith felt an erected penis. I don’t know if anything more had happened, but Hari told me that whenever Keith went for darshan afterwards, he held up his necklace with a cross on it, whenever swami walked by. He thought swami was some sort of devil; Ravana.
By this time I was really getting worried, as evidence was mounting and was told by people with whom I was sharing rooms, lining up and spending my days with. What to do?
I found out that Hislop was in the ashram. I read some of his books and knew he was close to swami. He also used to be the first TM teacher in the US way back in the sixties, before he met Sai Baba. Maharishi had spent some time at his home in the US. One day I saw him in the southern canteen, I walked up to him and asked him whether I could ask him some questions. “Of course”, he said, “Shoot.” So I asked him about all the confessions of the rituals regarding the oiling of male genitalia, swami’s transformation from female to male etc. He obviously hadn’t expected these questions, so he became quite uncomfortable. He didn’t answer my questions, but stated the following, “There is no doubt in my mind that swami is divine.” I asked him what swami thought of Maharishi and TM and the Siddhi Course. He said that swami told several people to stop this meditation. Swami also told a couple who had learned how to teach other people TM that they should stop as they were not able to teach meditation. And that the Siddhi Course was children playing with fire. But the same swami tells people in interviews not to go to any other gurus, and why go to these human gurus if you can have God as your guru, thus referring to himself. The other ones were money gurus and he was not. Now we know better.
On that same trip, we went to Brindavan before going to Kodaikanal. In Brindavan in a weekend at morning darshan, there was an Indian couple. Their baby was very ill, it seemed lifeless. Everybody was upset and eagerly waiting for swami to help them out. As swami came out, he totally ignored the pleas of the couple and of all the other devotees who wanted him to help them out. The couple stayed all day and in the evening darshan he again completely ignored them and went back to his living quarters. I don’t exactly know what happened to the couple. But I do know that there was a interview for all the westerners some days later, where he told a story about a mayor and a lawyer, who were in full control of a village and they ripped people off and disowned people from their property. It seemed that he was referring to the woman and the child in a previous life and that their suffering was self-inflicted. But that we, mere humans, could not oversee the whole picture but he could, so he was not moved by their despair. What grandeur!
We went to Kodaikanal, where again all the westerners were called in for interview. He scolded us for sleeping around, man and women sharing rooms. That he disapproved of all such things. But since there was no accommodation other than hotels, private homes, of course people who knew each other shared rooms, to cut down the costs. Prices were high, when swami was around. Even I shared rooms with women and men, but it was not a sexual thing at all. Maybe some people slept around. But what a generalisation and again a putting down of sincere seekers.
In1992 I went to Puttaparthi again, but I wasn’t able to line up anymore. I kept to myself and didn’t return before 1997.
At home I tried to live up to his rules, but I found it completely impossible. I went to groups, singing bhajans, but after 3 times of bhajans, I was fed up. We in the west have such beautiful classical and modern music. Do we have to end up singing these simple songs, about myriad aspects of God, over and over again? I didn’t like them and compared to western music it was utterly boring. I also couldn’t stand all the stories that were told during these meetings, but from people lacking experiences, just parroting stories.
However, after I left in 1992, I started a company and it rocketed sky-high for several years. Of course we, by then my wife and I, having 2 children, dedicated this to swami. So, we were trying in this way to help people. But in 1996 my wife left me, for she had married her first real boyfriend. She wanted some more experiences. My whole world collapsed. I found myself in an isolated position, as her father and her new boyfriend were working in our company and turned against me. So again being a complete mess I went to India in 1997. By that time I was really angry with swami for destroying my life. If you take one step towards me, I will take a hundred steps towards you. I took hundreds of steps, drove hundreds of kilometers, flew thousand kilometers to him, but still not a single step did he take towards me.
He claims: “If you shed one tear for me, I will wipe a hundred from your cheeks.” I’ve shed thousands of tears, not one was wiped of my cheek. “No leaf will fall from a tree, unless it’s my will.” So ruining my life happens because of his will. Thank you very much.
If he asks you a question, no answer will do, you’re always wrong. Even if he asks you the same question the next day and you repeat his answer to the question, he comes up with a different answer. You’re always wrong, everything you do is wrong. He is constantly putting you down and saying that he is the sole solution. You become dependent, depressed and insecure. Though in your prayers you don’t ask for wealth, but for a good heart, character etc. nothing happens. You wait and wait and wait, but nothing is going to happen.
For women it’s even harder, he most of the time completely ignores them. Using phrases like “Wife, knife”. WIFE meaning, “Worries Invited For Ever.”
But still I was doubting myself, so here I was again in Puttaparthi in 1997, looking at this clown in his orange robe. After 2 days I told swami in my mind that if he would not let me meet people I know, I would leave. For I knew nobody anymore. So what happened, I met the beautiful family that I also met in 1990. Swami’s grace or coincidence? This family looked to me like the perfect Sai family. They were leading a centre, wrote and played their own bhajans. They came for the ultimate proof, that Sai Baba was what he and the parrots said he was. This was the family which the BBC documentary “The Secret Swami” is largely about. I saw them getting interviews, I saw most of the rings, necklaces, earrings, watches. But I never really knew how it ended, because I left before they did. After seeing the movie, I realised that they had their ultimate proof, but in what a sad way. They were so nice and willing to do anything for swami and he destroyed them. I am fully convinced of the integrity of this family.
From ’97 till 2002 I went back to Puttaparthi once or twice a year. Every time I was there, I thought ‘what am I doing here?’. I hardly lined up to get to be at his ‘darshan’ and when I did, all the time I would see his vibhuti routine. Coming out from his living quarters, he was always lifting his robe a little with his left hand, so he could keep his hand closed. Then he takes letters with his right hand and puts them in his left hand. Then he walks on, but now without holding his robe, because now he has the letters in his left hand and uses them to keep his hand closed. He walks over to someone and you can see his right hand going to his left, to take the vibhuti pill from underneath the letters, but he always manages to distract people, so they look at his face. Unless you know. When he transfers the vibhuti, you can see the fingers of his right hand are closed together and very soon he materializes vibhuti. After this, as he walks on, the fingers of his right are spread open, because he doesn’t have to hide the vibhuti pill anymore
Once, as I was sitting in the front row, he accidentally dropped one pill in front of me. Immediately he placed his foot on it to crush it and looked at me with a big smile. As he moved on, the Indians got up to pick some of it and put it on their forehead.
At that time I also thought, why aren’t we hearing anymore about the water projects and of more seva (service) projects. But instead we see him spending a lot of money on the hundreds of festivals. Not for his sake of course, but out of his love for the people that are gathered around him. This was not very motivating to people who were willing to do seva and spend their money and time to the sick and needy.
In 2009, on my last visit, I stayed in Puttaparthi for about 10 days, outside of the ashram. I only once walked in and sat down on the mandir ‘temple compound’. Swami was sitting there in his wheelchair. After 2 minutes, I got up and left. Was this the same swami, who said that one day we would only see him as an orange spot in the far distance, for there would be vast crowds? Was this the swami that would live till 96 years of age? Was this the avatar who said that it was not in his nature to fail his mission, which is to restore Dharma and that nobody could stop him?
Finally somebody outside told me a little about what had happened to ‘the perfect sai family’ I met in ’90 and ’97. Once home I finally went to the site exbaba.com which I had been avoiding since swami’s outrage in 2000, where he told his followers “Not internet but innernet” about the liars and that we ought not to talk about these things. I saw the movie ‘The Secret Swami’. I read a lot of articles and finally everything fell in place. I had been stubbornly ignoring all the signals for the past 20 years. I can tell so much more, but I will end here. For I think swami is not capable of his sexual misbehaviour any more and I would not be surprised if he were to die soon.
My final conclusion. I don’t believe swami is omniscient, omnipotent nor omnipresent. He is clever and cunning and has a good eye for deceiving people. He mostly asks questions and it doesn’t matter what answer you give, he will end up saying ‘I know’. I’ve seen so many materialisations, but the ones I saw from close by, were all fake ones. As were the so-called diamonds. I’ve seen diamond rings with scratches from the concrete, as people were getting up. Only diamonds can scratch diamonds, not concrete or sand or whatever.
Before any materialization, he shifts the attention away from him and his hands. It seems to me that he hates women and mostly ignores them, treats them badly and talks bad about them. Indeed he is only interested in younger males and they get a lot of attention in interviews and he is abusing them. I think he has a good eye for gay men. I think villagers know about these things and there are not many that believe in him. But they keep quiet out of fear for the police and because the westerners are their source of income. I believe he is somehow connected to the murders and if he were omniwhatever, he would have foreseen it and could have set an example of ‘love thy enemy’. How can any devotee ever think that the murders were part of his Divine Play (i.e. leelas!). But many of us, including myself, always find some satisfying inner answer. Again, the mind can do it all.
At the beginning of my first trip, I met two Italian boys, somewhere in their mid-twenties. One boy was called Francesco and he was a very good looking boy. He told us about his private interviews with Sai Baba. In one of his private interviews Baba gave him an amount of money. By now, we all know why. Obviously to keep him silent, because we, mere mortals, would not understand. In one of his interviews swami said to the boy that he had been Saint Francis of Assisi in a previous life.
On my second trip, one year later, Francesco was still hanging around and had met an Indian girl from Singapore. When the Singapore group got an interview, the girl told swami that she had met a boy and that she asked swami whether if he was fit for her. Swami asked for the boys name and she said it was Francesco. Then swami in a loud voice said ‘no, he is worse than a dog’. Many times swami says that dogs at least have reason and season. So being worse than a dog means, having sex without reason and season. Does Sai Baba have reason and season, while taking advantage of young boys? You can judge.
After my last visit (2009), I started reading everything I could find on the internet and after seeing ‘the secret swami’, I was fully convinced that I had been deluded, for the past 20 years. I have to say I was a willing victim, in denial of all criticism and my own experiences and observations.
However, one thing was still bothering me. Somewhere between 1997 and the year 2000, I met a family, who wish to stay anonymous. Their daughter had become very ill in India. Being completely dehydrated, the parents feared for her life. While the mother was staying in their apartment inside the ashram, the father and son went for morning darshan. They were sitting in the front line, opposite to where I was sitting. As swami walked by, the son told him, that his sister was very sick. Swami walked on, but 5 metres further he stopped and summoned the boy to come forward. He materialised vibhuti and gave it to the boy. They brought it to the girl.
In the afternoon darshan, again they were sitting in front line and again I had a clear view of them. As swami came out, he walked straight up to them and asked about the girl. She wasn’t any better. He then materialised, as the father told me, something that looked like a tablet, not vibhuti. They gave it to the girl and she got a little better.
By at that time I was about to leave for home and in my mind swami performed a miracle, by curing the girl. In my mind, I was completely convinced he had healed her. However, I never had any contact anymore with the family, so I couldn’t check the details.
So after reading on the Internet the testimonials of ex-devotees and watching all the movies of the testimonies I could find, it became clear to me, that I never ever had seen any miracle. By now I convinced that swami had no powers whatsoever, at least he did not have them during those 20 years I was there.
But there was still this memory about the girl that got healed. Through sending e-mails to several people, I got hold of the father and I asked, if he could clarify me on this point. He then told me that the girl got a little better, but at home they had to contact a regular doctor, for her full recovery. I asked the father what he thought about the whole act. He had come to the same conclusion as I had, even though I had not told him mine, because in no way I wanted to influence his insight. Only afterwards I told him of the fact that I had come to the same conclusion.
Our conclusion; as swami walked past the boy, who told him about his sister, he had to walk a little further, for he hadn’t yet transferred the vibhuti tablet from his left to his right hand and when he had done so, he called the boy forward. In the evening darshan, as he walked straight towards them, he had pharmaceutical tablet, probably from one of his doctors and he wanted to get rid of it as soon as possible. It didn’t heal the girl, it just helped her to get back home and visit a regular doctor. The family, throughout the years was witness to a lot of fake materialisations. They considered it a test of their faith. But after this incident however, they lost all faith and interest in swami and have moved on since, with a life without swami.
So far for the lord’s healing powers.
I thank everyone who came forward with stories and movies. I am specially thankful for ‘The Secret Swami’ as that movie finally opened my eyes. I wish all of them well. I remember the phrase of the son in the movie saying ‘any life is better than a life with Sai Baba’. And what about Baba’s saying ‘No one can fathom my grandeur’. Grandeur of what? The cheating, the molestations, the murders, the money wasted? I don’t want to fathom such grandeur.
(Sebastian Engelbarts, Holland)