Category

Basava Premanand

Ullrich Zimmermann and Sathya Sai Baba

By | Basava Premanand, Equalizer, Gerald Joe Moreno, Michael Goldstein, Robert Priddy, Sathya Sai Organisation
Ullrich  Zimmermann
In October 2008, the Equalizer (Moreno) blog Kevin Shepherd Exposed reproduced the gist of earlier Moreno assertions about Ullrich Zimmermann. This ex-devotee had provided three lengthy online video interviews describing his relationship with Sathya Sai Baba (d.2011). 
Gerald Joe Moreno (Equalizer) opted to caricature my comment that Zimmermann had contributed “one of the most arresting testimonies of sexual abuse” in relation to Sathya Sai Baba. Critics say that Moreno was desperate to distract attention from the basic issue of abuse. 
Zimmermann was confused on many points by his indoctrination at an early age; he was only fourteen years old when he first contacted Sathya Sai in the ashram at Puttaparthi. An activity of sexual abuse is discernible in his reminiscences of the guru, accompanied by exaggerated references reflecting some devotee beliefs. Clinically, this sort of material is very evocative, and deemed important by psychiatrists and other specialists. 
The commentator Robert Priddy entitled his report Ex-Sai Devotee Speaks Out Convincingly, and in relation to sexual abuse. Moreno countered by saying that the testimony of Zimmermann was unbelievable. The Pro-Sai campaigner invented a series of verbal diversions. 
Avoiding the crux,  Moreno resorted to a puerile argument that Kevin Shepherd, a “strong Anti-New Age advocate” was citing the testimony of “a New Age follower against [Sathya] Sai Baba.” I was supposed to be “giving credence to New Age beliefs.” Moreno diverted attention from the basic issue by stating that Zimmermann was “a New Age follower of Ramtha.” This theme was further twisted into the erroneous statement that I was “willing to give credence to New Age beliefs by claiming that New Age followers are intelligent, honest, credible and reliable.” 
What I actually wrote on this subject earlier that same year contradicts the Moreno tangent: 

It is obvious that Zimmermann and other Western devotees were afflicted by concepts and syndromes deriving from the ‘miracle’ projection which Sathya Sai encouraged at their expense. Some of them could not think clearly in emerging from their predicament. Zimmermann expressed misapprehensions about such matters as ‘genital switch miracles,’ and became further distracted by Ramtha channelling…. The due evaluation (by Priddy) is completely ignored by Moreno, who indulges in the injurious subversion of context for which he is notorious amongst ex-devotees…. Diverse analysts have concluded that it is useless to compose responses to such a sectarian agent of misrepresentation. 

Despite confusions in the reports of Zimmermann, that source does testify to sexual abuse and the common acceptance of this disparity at the Puttaparthi ashram of the guru. Zimmermann narrates a personal experience of oral sex with the guru, and says that the homosexual activities of Sathya Sai were well known to many ashram residents. Such details serve to confirm other accounts such as those of ex-devotee Conny Larsson. 

In contrast, Moreno (alias Equalizer)  chose the superficial and duplicit strategy of emphasising his “New Age” lore. He presented this distraction in a manner which supposedly passed the final judgment, and much to my detriment. “This information is going to be very disillusioning to Kevin Shepherd’s readers and admirers (as few as they are).” 
Again the note of contemptuous dismissal. Of course, in such a Pro-Sai argument I only had a few readers, whereas Moreno was obviously claiming a much larger number, meaning devotees of Sathya Sai Baba who believed his distortions and libels. Zimmermann was only one of the many testifiers to abuse, and Moreno could not stop the passage of information. 
Another defector from Sathya Sai Baba was the American  therapist Elena A. Hartgering,  whose account includes the following

Dr. [Michael] Goldstein and other officials in the [Sathya Sai] organisation are suppressing information, and attacking former devotees who have testified against Sai Baba. There is, for example, a letter from a woman in California which was sent to all [regional] Center presidents. In our center it was suppressed by the president and devotions coordinator because they were told to do so by the regional president…. Sai devotees resent the organisation being labelled a cult, yet these are clearly cult practices [of suppression] and mind control techniques. 

A favoured argument of Moreno was that Sathya Sai Baba had never been convicted of any crime, and therefore allegations of abuse were irrelevant. This theme is evasive and misleading, in view of contextual data concerning the compromised Indian police, and the influence of prestigious devotees in Indian law courts. For instance, a report from the Indian rationalist Basava Premanand informs that a youth was murdered in 1987 after fleeing from being sexually abused by the guru of Puttaparthi. This victim was “murdered by burning in the [Sathya Sai Baba] College campus in daylight.” The contested police verdict was suicide. Other students at the College protested to the police, with the consequence that their parents were given a warning of  police action.
One of the many sexual abuse instances is graphically described in the statement of a fifteen year old victim (an American). Sordid details in such accounts have been known to shock sensitive readers.
Kevin R. D. Shepherd 
ENTRY no. 15 
Copyright © 2013 Kevin R. D. Shepherd. All Rights Reserved

BBC Secret Swami Documentary

By | Alaya Rahm, Basava Premanand, BBC, Gerald Joe Moreno, Isaac Tigrett, Sathya Sai Baba, Tanya Datta
BBC reporter Tanya Datta
In his attack on myself at saisathyasai.com in 2007, Gerald Joe Moreno blacklisted the BBC Secret Swami documentary of 2004. The title of the G. J. Moreno blog proclaimed accusingly: “Kevin (R. D.) Shepherd referenced the BBC Secret Swami Documentary.” This BBC programme has become so well known and applauded that his reservation may be considered an apologist feat.
The BBC investigated Sathya Sai Baba, and contributed some provocative insights, detailing both sides of the controversy about that guru. Yet Moreno (Equalizer) presented me as being in error for referring with approval to this documentary. He also misrepresented a court case occurring in California, which he associated with the BBC programme via the American ex-devotee Alaya Rahm, who testified to sexual abuse. According to Moreno, Alaya Rahm resorted to street drugs and alcohol, and therefore his testimony was invalid.
The one hour documentary featured the BBC reporter Tanya Datta,  who conducted varied interviews. The schedule covered basic components of the allegations made against Sathya Sai Baba, i.e., fake miracles, sexual abuse, and the bedroom murders.
An interview with the Rahm family (Alaya Rahm and his parents) was accompanied by clips of the guru at the Shiva-ratri festival, and performing a supposed miracle. The major Indian critic Basava Premanand was interviewed, and described how he had been investigating the guru since 1968. He and his colleagues were shown explaining how “miracles” could easily be performed in a deceptive manner, e.g., the materialisation of ash (vibhuti) and the ejection of a lingam (sacred object) from the guru’s mouth. The lingam could easily be concealed in a towel, and the ash could appear via sleight of hand.
A contrasting interview with the wealthy American devotee Isaac Tigrett disclosed his belief that the allegations of sexual abuse were probably true. “I believe there is truth to the rumours.” Yet Tigrett also said condoningly: “He [Sathya Sai Baba] could go out out and murder someone tomorrow, as I said, it’s not going to change my evolution.”
An American ex-devotee named Mark Roche was also filmed. He relayed the attempt of Sathya Sai to engage him in oral sex during the year 1976. The Rahm family (in America) referred to similar experiences (and there were many such testimonies from other victims).
In relation to the notorious murders of 1993, occurring at Puttaparthi ashram, the BBC interviewed the ex-Home Secretary for Andhra Pradesh, Veluyudhan P. B. Nair, who was in charge of the state police. He early discovered that the official police report of the controversial event was “riddled with lies and inconsistencies.” This commentator disputed the official version that police officers shot the four intruders in self-defence, and urged a verdict of “cold-blooded murder.” A cover-up is strongly implied.

According to Nair, “the killing of the boys was only to buy silence.” Basava Premanand insisted that the central government stopped an investigation of the murders to prevent “economic offences, sex offences” emerging into the light of day.

Such factors were not welcome to the polemical campaign of Gerald Joe Moreno (Equalizer), who strenuously denied all the negative reports as being an error of the “Anti-Sai” contingent.

See further the BBC Transcript. See also BBC Documentary and A Reflection.

Kevin R. D. Shepherd

ENTRY no. 8 

Copyright © 2013 Kevin R. D. Shepherd. All Rights Reserved.

Basava Premanand and Moreno Attack

By | Basava Premanand, Gerald Joe Moreno, Sathya Sai Baba
In his attack on Professor Tulasi Srinivas  (entry no. 2 on this blog), Gerald Joe Moreno correctly observed that the anthropologist cited the present writer as a “biographer of Shirdi Sai Baba” (Srinivas, Winged Faith, p. 354 note 24). Moreno was decidedly averse to this favourable reference; he insisted upon describing me as “a vanity self-publisher who admitted he is not an academic.”
An academic status is not necessary for a biographer, and the Moreno version of publishing is very much in question. Moreno himself was not an academic, and had no books to his credit. His phraseology is deceptive. I did not need to make any admission, never having posed as an academic.

Basava Premanand

 

In the same attack feature, Moreno identified me as “a malicious critic of Sathya Sai Baba who has ridiculously accused the Guru [capital G] of being ‘closely allied with terrorists’ and who fanatically accused Moreno [third person] of being an ‘internet hit man’ and an ‘internet terrorist’.” 

These remarks typically lacked context. Moreno had often been accused of fanaticism by victims. My reference to guru-related terrorism followed the reporting of Basava Premanand (1930-2009), the Indian rationalist and major critic of Sathya Sai Baba. Premanand opposed Sathya Sai for many years, contesting the supposedly miraculous feats of that famous guru. Premanand also referred to numerous murders and other problems which he associated closely with Sathya Sai. Many of the details here are unconfirmed, but it is legitimate (and even obligatory) to cite the output of the major Indian critic,  One is not necessarily being at all malicious in so doing. Amongst other matters, Premanand informed the BBC (quite credibly) that he had been attacked by violent pro-guru extremists.
I did indeed accuse Gerald Joe Moreno (alias Equalizer, SSS108) of being an internet terrorist, a phrase which appeared in the title of a web article composed in 2009. That description arose because of his continued hostility, despite my complaints commencing in 2007, complaints which had appeared on two websites of mine. One of those complaints related to the fact that Moreno had duplicated hostile and misleading accounts of myself (found on his website saisathyasai) on a blogspot cycle featuring the pseudonym of Equalizer (i.e., Moreno).
This belligerent excess in my direction was matched by similar gestures against ex-devotees. Many observers were prepared to credit my description of “internet terrorist.” Moreno had gained the reputation of a cyberstalker.
The Moreno output is classifiable in the basic sense implied by the phrase “hate campaign,” meaning attack blogs which exhibit vehement and distorted arguments frequently tending to libel. See Hate Campaign Blogs. Obsessive multi-entry blogs targeting  the same victim are an indication of strong antipathy. Gerald Joe Moreno (Equalizer) achieved nine of these inquisitions at blogspot, in addition to his deadly website saisathyasai.com, described by some victims as the portal to hell. Such treatment can easily arouse retaliation, which may be necessary for self-defence.
Equalizer (Moreno) resorted to an animation device on his blogspot attacks. This device declared a “Campaign to stop Anti-Sai Activist’s Abuse.” The word Abuse here alternated with Defamation, Libels, and Dishonesty. This verbalism reflected the attitude of Moreno that all allegations of abuse made against Sathya Sai Baba were hopelessly wrong, and therefore all condoning reference to those allegations was a crime. In Moreno language, any emphasis on allegations meant Dishonesty and Abuse.
In this perspective, the informants about abuse, including the ex-devotee victims of abuse, were despicable Anti-Sai Abusers. That was the basic gist of Moreno’s aggressive argument about the “Anti-Sai” contingent. This conceptual scheme was viewed by Moreno (Equalizer) as granting him the right to denigrate all critics, who were treated to vehemently contemptuous dismissals.
From 2004, Moreno became the major (though unofficial) web apologist for the Sathya Sai Organisation. His attack site demonstrated fervent “Pro-Sai” enthusiasm, and denounced critics of Sathya Sai Baba. Gerald Joe Moreno also maintained an extensive blog at sathyasaibaba.wordpress, which again exhibited the pseudonym of Equalizer, and rather deceptively claimed to mediate “love and spirituality.” 
Critics objected that the “love and spirituality” decodes to an intensive mode of hate campaign discernible across the spectrum of Moreno web activity. At blogspot.com, Moreno (Equalizer) specifically described his presentation in terms of a campaign against critics of Sathya Sai Baba. 
His strategy on Google Search aroused increasing resistance. Moreno continually accused his critics of “deception.” His entries on Google Search name listings (of his victims) became notorious for disparaging statements and aspersions which showed on those listings. See further Moreno and Ex-Devotees and Pro-Sai Detractors.

Kevin R. D. Shepherd

ENTRY no. 3 

Copyright © 2013 Kevin R. D. Shepherd. All Rights Reserved.

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