The Sathya Sai Baba Debates, part three

Authors: Bon and Jed
Publisher: The NEURAL SURFER
Publication date: May 1997

E-mail David Christopher Lane directly at

I want to go back to the home base now.

From  Tue May 27 16:53:46 1997

Hi Jed,

Today I received  your recent  letter wherein you advised, "For some
reason, I am not receiving the letters in their completion.  Will you
resend this letter?"

Sorry to hear there is a problem with our correspondence. Since this is
the second time, maybe your postmaster should be advised? David is
getting his cc okay,  so  you can access copies of our letters (yours and
mine) online at his URL that is, if you can find them. (He is not exactly
helpful in making them easy to find.) But if  you don't  know how to
search the Web to find such materials, let me know and I will respond as
clearly as I can.

Speaking of that, I look forward to your replies, especially since  Lane
himself  thus far has not  addressed  any of  several direct questions.
There are, at last count,   I think more than nine different  addresses
now at  his site about Swami. Here are those  more or less showing  our 
discussion, taken from the link at my

1: Showing David's mind at play.
2: More of Dr. Lane's keen insight, none of which, however, is evidenced by him with specific references nor established facts.
3: Regarding Hislop. (By the way, Jed, I lunched with his widow and sister-in-law yesterday at her home-- did you know Jack? )
4: A letter of complaint from you, Jed.
5: Regarding my reply to that complaint, (Unfortunately, Dr. Lane did not link the complaint itself, so the reference may be unclear). In all these unlinked threads of his, what one might well notice, however, is that of all the questions I put to David, he has addressed none.
6:, Showing further commentary with you, Jed, and me and Hudoyo. Though Lane told me he has on file " dozens of letters" like yours, so far yours are the only ones the fellow thus far has posted online. I wonder if that is perhaps because you alone have used your real name or have proven legit? I say that because in Usenet more than one person has been found to have forged an identity just to mock Sai in public. Would that all who doubt him or dislike him had your integrity. At least you speak under your own name of your own experiences.
7: Chats before and after those listed above, as if Lane just tosses threads about like spaghetti, with no care for chronology! Since David seems to add new articles willy-nilly, the reader looking for more than those 7 conversations I mention may have to scroll back to his homepage, and then key through his myriad `points' . (There are at least two other threads about Sai , as I recall, one from an Australian.) Still, why David is cursing Sai online, using innuendo like a hammer to nail Swami, is odd, in that he once seemed to understand that the relationship of student and spiritual instructor is not exactly cut and dried or fixed in place like geometry. Here are quotes from a letter David is said to have written to Richard Pickett in 1986: "Rather the proof of mysticism is an experiential realization of a higher state of consciousness, which carries with it the same numinous weight that the waking state carries--namely they are both self-evident when they are experienced. Richard, I daresay that you don't go around trying to "prove" your existence to your friends or foes. Why not? Simple: your existence/awareness is self-evident and therefore does not need proof in order to "convince" you that you are really alive. So it is the same with mystics. When they are in that higher state they don't need to go around to the other higher beings trying to prove that they are having a transcendental encounter. It is self-evident: it is clear; it is vivid...Materialistic science will never prove mysticism; it can't. There is no "material" to mysticism..." Did your classes in philosophy at Fordham, consider that, Jed? At any rate, I find that Swami talks about it rather clearly, and it appears from the quote that Lane considered it too, once. Anyway, here is the part of my letter you did not receive. I revised it somewhat as I have thought more about it. (You can however see the original at David's page, which I linked above, if you wish, Jed). As I was saying in part one, your argument about why Swami did not use his "powers" instead of physical contact to effect a change in you, seems to me not to the point. After all, Jesus touched people to heal them (sometimes, as does Sai), and Jesus Himself accepted touches too, (ie, the baptism), rather than just announce ZAP He was anointed. So sometimes specific contact seems to be what is required for spiritual transmission, no matter how it seems to you or me. But I guess you know that Jesus Himself also took some heat from "critics" for `touching' His students, just as you have sought to fry Baba. Anyway, based solely on your description, your experience does not sound carnal, Jed-- despite David Lane's online screams of faggotry to the contrary. Besides, I recall Swami often reminds that *his* powers are not what counts-- it is us who must change ourselves, not be changed by any miracle he might do. That is why when you now imply your character could somehow have been changed any faster or better without Swami `touching you', it sounds, well, juvenile, in my view. I repeat, however, that I have no idea what Swami is doing when he puts ash on a person, be it on the forehead or on throat or on the crotch, but since you yourself describe the event as less than a steamy faggot-fest or a romantic seduction or a secret rendezvous, I do not see your experience in the very carnal way you do.( I am grateful you did not jazz it up with more lurid descriptions just to make yourself look more abused. More than a few online carpers have done that, you know. Exposing such fantasy was not hard, but did take some time, since such stories ever get more attention in the telling than in the proving, as David no doubt delights in noticing). Have you ever actually examined any mystical writings such as those by the desert fathers of the church , or any of Swami's more estoric teachings, say in the Vahinis, (much less put any of them into practice)? If you had done, surely this stuff about "why doesn't he just snap his fingers to effect change in me" would not have seemed a good argument to you. That "argument" [cough] is usually only brought up by those who have not realized, as David Lane put it, " the proof of mysticism is an experiential realization of a higher state of consciousness..." Surely with your knowledge of Swami's teaching and of Vedanta, you know that being touched by a realized being can provide a mystical transmission-- even if you think it is `odd.' Look at the touch Ramakrishna gave Naren. POW! He became Vivekananda. But even if you did not think Swami was realized, why didn't you just ask him, "WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN? WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS STUFF? WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO LEARN FROM THIS?" Yet you did not ask. I recall how you were given a last interview, and instead of asking good honest straight direct questions, you said you `gave Swami plenty of chances to talk to you.' Wow Jed, most folks look on the interview as THEIR chance to talk to him, not the other way around! Yet you `gave him the chance' to tell you what was going on, and you said he just had no clue. Yipes, but you sure were arrogant, Jed. To me you were playing the know-it-all, so it's no wonder then he was polite enough not to reveal your arrogance. You describe him as a clueless clown, apparently, as a dud who could not grok the mighty clarity of insights you now endured, and so you got what you asked for: a polite fellow saying good-bye and good luck, with no regrets, whom you mistook as a bozo. Your letter about that last interview is so clear a description of your arrogance and his kindness, that I am surprised you do not see it. You yourself explain why Swami played the role you assigned him, full tilt boogie. Thanks for posting it online. You have helped many readers now appreciate that in spiritual life, it is PERCEPTION that matters, perhaps even more than the event itself. (Even if that now sounds off the wall, please, later on, do think about that?) I realise his intentions when I see that he is not divine, and that he is human. You `realise'? Whoa dude! I think you had no clue as to his intentions or his status, since you still cling to justifying your perspective, no matter what the events as you describe them suggest to other readers. By that I mean you do not deliver facts free of bias, as a rule, but ever add innuendo, and since resentment is built into your bias, your anger and recrimination is not surprising. You invoked anger in Lane, too, since you both assume stuff with little or no specifics-- and both of you are now reacting based only on your own assumptions. I notice the *hearsay* and assumptions you present, Jed, as well as those facts you have specified. Nonetheless, I agree that Swami is human. Unlike you I find his human-ness, divine, but I also find your humanness divine. Our mutual distinct interpretations of that is what this is all about, you know. (This I realised when I saw him use sleight of hand, on occasions I've named in other letters on or soon to be on the web page, and when I realised he did not know my thoughts in occasions described in letters on the web page). I find that Swami has a knack of leading folks in his presence to conclude this and that, so I appreciate your conclusion, having endured similar things myself somewhat, ( and with a similar arrogance and impatience as yours). But you say Sai uses sleight of hand, then imply that is all he ever does. Ever see him actually create something without sleight of hand? At any rate, I find he is always more than he appears to be, and unlike you Jed, I know that who I think he is, in no way defines him-- if anything it defines me. So too, when you explain just who you think he is, it tells me more about you than about him. We don't wonder what the intentions are of someone we don't trust when he asks a youth to pull down his pants to touch him. I think you mean you did trust Baba-- so I look at how you viewed him then-- as a kind of spiritual doctor and sage, right? If someone were a nurse, would you wonder about the intentions when the nurse said, "lower your trousers"?? or if a shaman said `drop em'? See, I think you are painting this with a broad nasty brush now only so as to hide your responsibility. You chose to be there, and you did not say _no_ when he was `touching' you, and you did not even ask Swami for an explanation-- so why blame him for having done what just may have been to your benefit? You were his student, and so surely thought he was giving you some kind of anointment, or baptism, even if you did not understand it, even if you MIS-understood it, right? That you admit he was not horny and you were not erect, yet now claim it was only just petty carnal selfish desire on his part, seems self-serving of you Jed, in that nothing you have described sounds carnal, or self-serving, except you. Perhaps you are angry because you feel you went against your own conscience by allowing him to do that-- ok, but did he force you? Did he make you call yourself a devotee? Did he make you choose him as guru? Did he make you go into the interview room? Then who made you stand there and say nothing, TWICE? Why are you so angry for finding that out? Seeing it now does at least allow you to change, right? Then why be so `enraged at Sai and all his devotees'? Tell me, please, why you are so angry. I don't trust Sai Baba because I found he lies about his powers and who he is. You do not trust him now, but then you did, surely... so it is very intelligent of you *now* that you don't trust him to no longer call yourself his devotee. Had you examined him thoroughly BEFORE you called yourself his devotee, you could have avoided all this. After all, he does say, in plain words Jed, that you should check the guru out fully, before committing yourself to his program. You either did not check, or you bailed. Why blame him for that? I realise his intentions when I think about the time that it seemed very strange to me that Sai Baba was breathing very heavily as he pulled me close to hug and then kiss him. So you say. I sense you have not "realized his intentions" even now, mostly because you have never specified them. You apparently not only did not trust him then, not fully, or you did not love him. To you this may sound bizarre, but I know many folks who have been in your situation and then kissed him, and some who have wept in his arms like a child, and many who are grateful for his embrace. They love him. You say he was always kind, but imply that for you he was not kind, not fatherly, not divine-- only deceitfully carnal in your case. Ok, noted. (You were there, so of course you can say whatever you experienced. All I can do is note that you keep saying you know his intentions, but never specify.) Yet you also say he never gave you an erection nor swore you to secrecy nor promised you favors, so I do not see why you imply he was sly or deceitful or carnal. Unlike you I see what your words lead David Lane to proclaim: falsehood. Because of you, innuendo is spreading like wildfire among dry grass, so at least show the specifics, lest your `exposee' causes nothing but more confusion, not less, about Sai Baba, ok? Please, do start giving specifics, Jed. (I have asked you a lot of questions, I know, but I feel your answers will bring more to light than your feelings of anger and revenge). He turned his head for me to kiss him on the cheak, but it was nonethless very awkward to me, and I had never heard of and was not prepared for such situations. Thanks; that is specific and is very important, Jed. You mentioned awkwardness and the unexpected. That is a sign something important is happening, something that could generate insight, something that the personality has not incorporated, something in which there is no ego defence at hand. Now, Jed, please tell exactly how anyone can be be prepared for the unexpected? How? Why, by being honest. Had you been honest, you could have either said " whoa dude, no thanks", or kissed him as a father, or held him as your Lord, or at least asked what was going on. Instead you exampled exactly what he had said to you earlier : `you are very weak.' Remember when you were asked, "What do you want?" You replied, "I want you Swami." He said, `Here I am-- take me!' Your reaction of disgust shows that you did not understand. He was showing in plain view that *you* think he is just that little brown body. You mistake spirituality for bawdy consciousness. Your error about that is what this is all about, Jed, in my view. Nothing wrong with bawdy consciousness, nor with error, nor with being weak, you know. Finding that out is after all what leads one to exercise, diet, will, study, strength and insight. (In your case, it seems to have led to anger and recrimination instead, but hey, you might yet decide on another route, as you think things through.) Time will tell. Note please I am not saying that just anyone can goose you into enlightenment, (although that is David's snide argument). But since you once felt Sai Baba was not just anyone, you obviously submitted to his will as if to a spiritual doctor or a divine father figure, right? If you had then gone to the next step of the process, which is ASKING HIM TO EXPLAIN, you could have found out directly and exactly what `his real intentions were.' I see instead that you never asked, so am not surprised you are now assuming this and that instead. It is after all, just the process of self-justification at work, Jed. Sorry, but it is. Since you did not care for the process of sadhana, it is good you quit. Or rather, it seems you have not quit at all-- you just left the privacy of the classroom in a huff. Wow, big audience now. I was never erect with Sai Baba and I never ejaculated. I also did not check him out, and I'm glad I wasn't thinking to. I don't think that this is necessary to discern this situation. I think specifics like that are necessary Jed, since you have led countless readers to now conclude via your innuendo that Sai is a faggot who abuses his students in all-night orgies and who wanted nothing of you but to fondle your goods. You even imply Sai does all the service projects only to get little boys naked around him. Now since you yourself say you were not erect and did not climax and were not seduced, it sure looks like your claims about `his intentions', especially of orgies and abuse, NEED SPECIFICAS. Being imprecise is just a way of blaming him for what you do not wish to look at in yourself. (I am not saying you are gay. I am saying you are blaming him and will not look at why.) I disagree that Sai Baba has to have been "all hot and heavy pawning at the boy like some street hooker." The fact is that what his intentions were is not even necessary to pinoint Sai Baba's wrongdoing. Sai Baba exposed and touched a minor without the discression of his gaurdian. This is a crime. I wish I still had that innocence. I wish you had that innocence too. But still, since you have repeatedly implied that Sai is just a sexual predator who prestidigitates trinkets to lure you sexually , and yet counter that have shown that in your own case, he was not seducing you, not raping you, not threatening you, not paying you, not swearing you to secrecy, not inviting you back for secret rendezvous, not even giving you an erection-- when you say `the fact' of his intentions, it suggests you frankly have no fact at all as to WHY he was doing anything, much less a clue as to what *you* were doing standing there numbed and pantless. I think you are now speaking from anger, not clarity, Jed. As for touching a minor, a babysitter touches a minor without blame to change diapers, as does a doctor touch a patient without blame-- but should you say you nor Sai are not in either category, recall you yourself described yourself as his devotee, and so in effect you did give him permission to instruct you in spiritual education as he saw fit. Surely you agree that Baba in his role as GURU does act as babysitter and parent and as spiritual physician, and does so with persons of all ages. You surely know at least that, no matter what else you do not know about his teaching or his teaching style. You may say that rubbing ash on your privates is in no way spiritual, but look at yourself! It is apparently the most personal spiritual experience you have ever spoken of in pubic, and it is the basis of your every assumption in all the letters you post online. Ok, so you hate Sai Baba for making you think about that. Why? You have not said it in plain words, but to me it looks like you hate him because he broke your heart. I say in reply that is his job, Jed, as your spiritual teacher. It is only when the heart is broken, that arrogance erodes. Your letters show your arrogance, show you misunderstood his teaching, show you thought you were special. He broke your illusion. Welcome to the club, Jed. Surely you noticed that losing illusion is essential to maturation? The question of my consenting is more complicated. I would say that I did not consent, but I must admit that I didn't try to stop him. I agree, the question of consent is complicated. Were you just a child, a kid whose parents did not even know you had been studying with this guy for four years, a kid who never told the man you believed he was GOD? If so, maybe you are right. Then again, if you called yourself his devotee, if your folks knew you were there, if you asked him to teach you, if you went gladly, then maybe you did after all give him consent. However, that you did not understand the devotee/guru relationship entails consent, is clear. How come you did not know that? It is after all, part and parcel of his teaching, Jed. If you wish, I will quote him. (Did you read his books, Jed?) How is it you went through four years, with plenty of interviews, ample books at hand, with friends who knew Swami, yet with such misunderstanding of the guru-disciple relationship? Who is responsible for that, Jed? Me? Sai Baba did not ask if he could touch me, and I did not consent to taking my pants down. I didn't fight him off, which perhaps I should have, but that would have been sort of strange to see a boy running out of Sai Baba's room fighting him off. Sai did not ask, you say, but it is you who asked! You asked for interview, Jed. You asked to be a devotee. You asked on your own volition for him to teach you. You also did not say NO! When you request a meal, you really ought not then complain because food is served, you know. You say running out would have been strange. Surely not as strange as standing there with your pants around your ankles, clueless as to what he was doing or why you were allowing it. Besides, you said he manifested oil. How did he do that sleight of hand, Jed? Where did he hide the oil? Besides, why not run? why worry more about what people will think of you, then doing what you feel is right? Look, if you had grabbed your britches and run, at least you would not be so angry today. I think you did not run, not because `it would have looked strange' but because you simply had no clue of what to think or do. It was a zen moment. You were unable to process what it meant. GOOD! Please, look on it with care, not anger. Such moments are doors to freedom, Jed. You slammed it shut months later and are still running away screaming. Wanna open that door? The main point is that anyone that understands the guru devotee relationship knows that saying no to the guru is not an option. I disagree. I do understand the guru-devotee relationship, and so understand that saying no to the guru is ESSENTIAL. I said no and climbed a mountain. Why didn't you say no, Jed? I now understand you do not know that, and so again I ask how and where you got your mis-understanding? What has led you to say `there is no saying no to the guru'? Sai states over and over that aspirant MUST ASK QUESTIONS and certainly can say no. It is the student's job to present all his doubts, and the guru's job to remove those doubts. ONLY WHEN ALL DOUBTS ARE GONE is the devotee to be free of matters about yes and no. You seem to have misunderstood that, so I ask you: who told you other than as I have said? Where? When? Why did you accept it? Tell, please. To that extent, I certainly did not consent. Given the choice at the time, I would not have wanted Sai Baba to touch or expose me if it could have been avoided. Jed, in my opinion, you had choice, but not the presence of mind to use it. Perhaps now at least you will always have the presence of mind and the courage to do what you know is right, or to at least _say_ what you do or do not know or want. That is certainly an improvement, is it not? It seems to me this whole argument hinges on whether Sai Baba is divine or not. I disagree. First, this is not an argument. Secondly, Sai is as divine as you are, so that is not what this is about. This "hinges" rather on your idea of personal responsibility. You want to assign it to Sai, still. That is what this is about, Jed. If he is divine, I am completely discredited. If he is divine then his intentions could only be good and this fiasco is some lesson to me. That is called a strawman argument, Jed. Even if you are not divine, even if Sai is not divine, this fiasco is a lesson for you and for me and for everyone who bothers to really consider what it means, not what it `appears' to be about. For, I am certainly not divine and far too human. Why in the world you called yourself a devotee for four years is unclear, since devotees soon learn that being human is what spiritual life is all about. It is after all ONLY by being human, one can realize the divine. The dichotomy you posit is not part of Sai's teaching. (Did you embody anything that Swami teaches, Jed?. So far you seem to have misunderstood even his simple teachings, like EXAMINE THE GURU BEFORE ACCEPTING HIS AUTHORITY, and MAN IS GOD WITH DESIRE.) If Sai Baba is fallable, i.e. human, than my story should sound very suspicious. That is another strawman. Besides that, your story DOES sound very suspicious, in that a lot of it seems to be about you, not Sai Baba, and you offer no specifics to explain your conclusions. Perhaps on my final trip I had decided that Sai Baba was human and that is exactly what I saw. Gee, do you think so? Sorta like when you had decided he was divine, that was exactly what you saw? Why not just stop deciding, and see then who he looks like without any of your filters? Why not just stop blaming him, or praising him, and just see? Sai Baba is a teacher, a vehicle, an instrument, a guru, an avatar, a man, a unique figure, a friend, an enemy, an idea, a person, a focal point, a tool, a servant. Why pay more attention to him than to yourself, Jed? Please, do tell. This does not seem to me a very good argument. I may be convinced that a circle is square, but that does not make a circle square. Huh? You say you went through Fordham with a philosopher's stone around your neck? People ain't forms, Jed. If you think a fellow is a standup guy, you treat him differently than if you think he is a shyster. Your imagination about what GOD is led you to imagine things about Sai Baba. Your imagination about what GOD is not, led you to imagine things about Sai Baba. Why not just stop imagining, and see then who he looks like? This is similarly a question of truth. Yes, and thanks for allowing me to respond. So far however, it a question of truth in a way you have not yet specified, but please, keep going.
*+* ----------------------------------------------------------- From Tue May 27 21:46:36 1997 Bon, Much of what you are trying to do is discredit me. This shows me that something that I'm saying needs to be discredited with ad-homonym remarks. You are starting to assume much about who I am. You know nothing of my "most personal experience", for example. You have no idea what would alleviate my anger or even to what extent my anger effects me. When asked, I told Sai Baba that I wanted his love. I did not say "I want you". There are critical differences between the two. Please try to quote me correctly and use the quote within the same context that I write. Sai Baba claims to be that Atma, the reincarnation of Krishna. I am not divine in this way. My coming is not of historical signifigance like the coming of an Atma would be. Furthermore, anyone of this stature would understand how his actions would have looked in a western culture. If Sai were to have done what he did in the USA it would be considered pedophilia. The larger part of your argument is that I had accepted Sai Baba as my guru, that I was his devotee, and thus consented to his exposing and touching me. What else had I consented to? Receiving or giving oral sex, receiving or giving anal intercourse? Where is the line? What sort of sexual encounters had I consented to? Any? My belief is that within a religious relation one does not consent to any sexual relations. One perhaps consents to being told how to live one's life, or to even guidance on sexual issues, not, however, to encounters of a sexual nature. I think that I am trying to give a candid account of what happened to me. If you find this account biased there is little I can do. I think you find it diminished because I requote gossip, but that gossip meant little to me until I had a first hand experience, then it was easy to believe. In any event, my requoting of gossip, doesn't diminish the account of my first hand experience. The argument you are making is similar to assuming that a woman who wears a short skirt or acts sexually in a social setting should anticipate a sexual encounter. When such things happen, a woman's detractor says one of two things: 1. That it didn't happen. -You cannot, and do not seem to want to argue with me on this point. In some cases, (kissing) you tell of people who had the same experience. Several people have written to me who have had or known others with experiences like my own, only they have interpretted them differently, which brings me to the next point. 2. That the situation was not interpretted correctly. -My feeling is that the encounter was of a sexual nature. You can tell me that my interpretation was wrong, but you should consider how you would feel if your own son or daughter had a similar experiance, or the same thing happenned to you. (This is not a personal request, it's a personal argument). The experience was awkward and uncomfortable because it was of a sexual nature that you want to blame on be. I am telling you that it had nothing to do with me, and it is unlikely that you will believe me. Blaming a victim in a sexual situation is a spawning ground for abuse. Regards, Jed

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I want to go back to the home base now.