Friday, February 15, 2008

'Guru-Buster' Basava Premanand Busted Again!

Mr. Basava Premanand is known as the James Randi of the Indian sub-continent, which I regard as a compliment indeed.
--James Randi, 'Skeptic'

©2008Lisa De Witt

In the Nov 2007 Volume 20; No.07 (dated 15-11-2007) issue of his Indian Skeptic Magazine, Premanand tries to pass off a fraudulent black and white photo of Sathya Sai Baba with Idi Amin, who was born in 1925 and died in 2003. This tampered photo is eerily similar to one copyrighted and published in the online RadioSai Newsletter in February 2006 with the caption...Dr G Venkataraman (left) and Sri K. Chakravarthi with Swami after the ceremony.

It is obvious that Chakravarthi's image was replaced with Idi Amin who would actually be a year older than then 81 year old Sai Baba if Amin were still alive. The only time Sai Baba traveled to Uganda was in 1968 when he visited devotees, one of which was then Major General Idi Amin's doctor, a Dr. Patel. At that time, Sai Baba advised both Dr. Patel and a Dr. Gadhia to leave the country. A few years later Amin staged a coup and became dictator, eventually expelling all Asians and massacring countless civilians.

In February 2007, Robert Priddy had posted a color copy of the very same composite on his blog (Ref.) with an article about Idi Amin. In true paranoid form, the great intellectual giant Priddy ignorantly implies Sai Baba went to Uganda to hold 'secret meetings' with Amin to convince him to delay the expulsion of Asians when Amin was not even dictator yet! One can see Priddy's attempt to lie about and distort the well-documented accounts of both Patel and Gadhia as to Sai Baba's reason for visiting Uganda. On one hand, Priddy mocks devotees' stories about Amin and then tries to pass them off as being legitimate, showing his inability to discern between fact and fiction or gossip. Priddy also believes Ullrich Zimmermann
(Ref.), Keith Ord, Alaya Rahm and Neptune who claim to have seen Sai Baba's genitalia supernaturally morph from male to female! Far be it for Priddy to mock others for what he deems devotees' 'gullibility' when he cannot even resolve his own hypocrisy, contradictions, rationalizations and equivocations which point toward his own very deep-seated confusion. Like Barry Pittard, Priddy hides out on the internet where he can insulate himself from having to answer questions about these issues.

Basava Premanand has resorted in the November 2007 issue to publishing no less than nine articles either written by or about discredited anti-Sai extremist and apostate, Robert Priddy. The very shady British-born Priddy, whose legal birth name was Robin Crichton Priddy, wrote a pro-Sai Baba book published by Samuel Weiser in 1997, republished by Sai Towers in 1999-2000 (Ref.) and as far as I know is still being sold in the ashram bookstore to this day. In Source of the Dream Priddy claimed, among other miracles, that Sai Baba healed his very debilitating spinal abnormality in a series of dream operations. Priddy has since refused to answer my questions regarding his glaring contradictions. On Robert Priddy's website, he lists the initial date of publication of his pro-Sai Baba book, Source of the Dream as sometime in 1994 (1st ed., Bangalore - out of print)(Ref.). This is very important since Robert Priddy has also provided his alleged diary notes from March, 1994 in which he entered the following
about his chronic back problem:

SUNDAY 27/3/94 (Bhajan all day)
Afternoon darshan: Sat in chair at back. He came down to the last block and looked in my direction – but did not fixate gaze on me. [Same way?]
I had back problems again.

Below this entry, Priddy has tried recently to explain away his contradictory claim (which I have pressed him about) in his book, Source of the Dream that his back was healed by Sai Baba in a series of dream operations.

Priddy writes the following comment in blue below the above diary entry:

Comment: Once I had thought that Sai Baba had helped cure my spinal misalignment problems - caused by several falls from childhood onwards - especially though[sic] a dream. I later realised, when the problems returned and got worse, that it had just been some temporary placebo effect.

In a recent blog post, Priddy continues to dig his hole even deeper with the following statement (Ref.),

I should add that I have never received any kind of homosexual suggestion in my meetings with Sai Baba, nor in any of the several hundred dreams I have recorded in which he has figured prominently. Once he put his lips to my mouth, at which I felt disgust, but he instead seemed to such[sic] out of my spine something which was causing the spinal problems I suffered from since the age of 40-odd. It was made clear in the dream that it was not a kiss even, but some kind of therapy. Strangely, some years later I was with Sai leaders after a conference in Denmark when I told of this and the wife of the leader in Austria said she had experienced EXACTLY the same. She too had spinal problems after falling down a flight of stairs. I can’t explain this other than by the machinations of unconscious wish fulfillment of hoping to be cured, but I can say that there was no improvement in either of our conditions afterwards. (I was born with spina bifida okulta).

Apparently Priddy does not realize he just provided in written evidence his own admission that his back problem was not "cured" as he claims in his book which was also published that year and for which he received a disability pension in 1985. Thus, we are left to believe Priddy intentionally committed fraud in Source of the Dream when he claimed his back was healed by a series of dream operations.

In Source of the Dream Priddy claimed the following conversation took place between him and an Osteopath. This June 1987 event was apparently proceeded by a dream operation in November 1986.

Almost at once he claimed that neither of the two sets of my X rays from different years were mine, because in them the lower spine was in a much more serious condition than I proved to have when he examined it physically. It showed an excessive curvature and a lower vertebra that was badly and permanently displaced. He was even surprised that I was able to walk about with it! Without any comment whatsoever from me he remarked, ‘I would have staked my professional reputation that these X rays are not yours!’ However, my name was photographed into each one. He asked me what on earth I had been doing - how the great improvement in my spine was achieved. I told him I had hardly been able to walk much of the time, let alone exercise. He shook his head and said, most perplexed, that anyway there was simply no method or exercises he knew whereby I could have made the condition so much better...It was not until afterward that I remembered the dream of the operation ‘under anesthesia’ and the bandages on my thighs and mid-riff on either side of the crisis point in my lower spine! Before the ‘rat in the drum’ episode I had even been unable to walk about the house for long without having to lie down. Yet within a month I had gone to India, sitting on airplanes and walking for hours in a day without more than a few tensions! Though I had felt sure that Baba was helping me, I had not realized how radical a change this had required to my anatomy!(Source Of The Dream, 1999 ed.; “Enigmas of Suffering and Healing”; pp: 179, 181)

However, in April 1989, Narasimhan wrote in a letter to Priddy (Ref.),

As regards the dreams related by you they are certainly significant although it may not be easy to make out precisely what they mean in relation to the future.

I do hope that by Bhagavan's grace you will soon get over your spinal trouble. I presume you are making regular use of Swami's vibhuti.

Compounding this situation is the fact that Robert Priddy then went to another publisher, Samuel Weiser and had this claim republished in 1997! Then he had it republished again in 2000 by Sai Towers before he defected and only THEN began suspiciously retracting his claim of being healed when it served his agenda.

In acts of desperation and vindictiveness, Priddy has used his keyboard-dripping malice to spout many unverifiable and wholly unbelievable claims and outright lies such as one about me being banned from Wikipedia. Even after making a public retraction in 2006, Priddy used the pseudonym 'bandbox' to spread the same lie in 2007
(Ref.). Priddy is now also spreading this lie on his blog. Of course, Robert Priddy does not tell people that he and Barry Pittard were banned from both Digg and Netscape for their hate-filled diatribes. The ultra-devotee turned polemicist has recently penned a Baba-bashing book, End of the Dream, published by none other than the atheist Basava Premanand. Nothing like making money on both ends eh Robert? Priddy has posted the following document on his website showing he received 8%/10% royalties from over 2000 copies of his pro-Sai Baba book as late as 2002 (Ref.).

It is important to note that while Priddy bashes and trashes the Sai organisation on a daily basis, he continues to plug his book Source of the Dream at every opportunity yet has said absolutely nothing about the publishers who continue to publish his pro-Sai books! Apparently Priddy has done nothing to convince his publisher Samuel Weiser that his anti-Sai agenda is credible in any way. Nor does Priddy bash and trash Amazon who is selling his book:

In 2003 Robert Priddy scrubbed (Ref:1,Ref:2) his online autobiographical book Through Times' Lens after I found and posted an article he had written called The Psychedelic Experience. I was pointing out the high incidence of histories of drug and/or alcohol abuse in anti-Sai apostates such as Tal Brooke, Conny Larsson, Robert Priddy, Tony O'Clery and Mary Garden. I have since added mental illness, particularly schizophrenia (possibly drug or alcohol induced) and pathological lying (Ref.) to this observation after documenting the numerous lies of anti-Sai activists and suspicious accusations by several male accusers (Keith Ord, Ullrich Zimmermann, Alaya Rahm and Neptune) who claim Sai Baba's genitalia supernaturally morphed from male to female. Rationalists such as the atheist Premanand, who demand the highest ethical, scientific and legal standards from everyone but themselves, continually deride others for lacking in critical thinking skills. These self-appointed 'rationalist thought police' have remained totally mum about these utterly ridiculous claims and even endorse anti-Sai activists such as Conny Larsson, Barry Pittard, Robert Priddy and Sanjay Dadlani who for years have blatantly lied, harassed and intimidated others who have addressed their inconsistencies. In the anti-Sai group, lying seems to be an orally transmitted malady often accompanied by verbal diarrhea and other attention-seeking behaviors!

Premanand, who demands the Sai organisation "open their books" and even posted Sai Organisation Trust Deeds on his website, should open his own books to the general public so they can see just how much money Premanand has made propagandizing against Sai Baba and whether he has been funded
(Ref.) by CSICOP and its founder Paul Kurtz who also founded Prometheus Books so he could publish his own books in order to advance his atheistic views under the guise of Humanism. After all, it was Premanand who stated in his 1989 sceptic newsletter, "If Christianity cannot stand criticism and reason, then it is worthless." Perhaps Premanand should substitute the word "rationalism" for "Christianity" and see if he can follow his own advice.

When Premanand claimed he received a letter (Vol. 12 No. 4 August 1999 of Indian Skeptic) from a student alleging molestation, instead of turning that alleged information over to the police (the mandatory reporting the anti-Sais continually give only lip service to) so law enforcement could investigate, Premanand instead wrote a letter to the Vice Chancellor demanding the Vice Chancellor let him question students and then made money off of the alleged info by publishing numerous anti-Sai Baba articles in his skeptic newsletter (and even demanded that the Vice Chancellor put copies of his skeptic newsletter in the student's library)! When the Vice Chancellor did not respond to Premanand's letter Premanand wrote in his newsletter, "As no reply has been received we have to presume that the experiences of the student is correct which we are publishing “Betrayal by Sai Baba." It is necessary that the alleged abuse of the students by Sai Baba should be investigated by a neutral [as if Premanand is neutral!] committee by getting the addresses of the students who have studied in the Educational Institutions run by Sai Baba and if it is true take criminal proceedings."

Is this the behavior of a citizen who REALLY cares whether students are being molested? Premanand has done absolutely nothing to prove sexual abuse by Sai Baba. All Premanand has done is use the anonymous and suspicious info for years in his campaign to make money smearing Sai Baba. In other words, Premanand has taken the so-called rationalists for a ride on a circuitous journey leading straight back into Premanand's pocketbook. As they say in the investigative field, follow the money.

Why a school dropout like Premanand is fronting for an atheistic organisation which deceitfully claims 'scientific' investigations of the paranormal (something they do not even believe in) remains unknown. How can one 'scientifically' investigate something one does not believe in and, in fact, has a known bias against? And just when are the "rationalists" going to call Premanand on the carpet for his dishonest and tasteless tactics? Or are the 'white guys' like Randi and Kurtz content to let Premanand make a fool of himself in the name of racism, all the while laughing behind his back?