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Tulasi Srinivas ‘Winged Faith: Rethinking Globalization and Religious Pluralism through the Sathya Sai Movement
Posted June 30, 2010on:
Tulasi Srinivas ‘Winged Faith: Rethinking Globalization and Religious Pluralism through the Sathya Sai Movement’
Tulasi Srinivas is an assistant professor of anthropology at Emerson College and is the author of the book “Winged Faith: Rethinking Globalization and Religious Pluralism through the Sathya Sai Movement” (448 pages, 18 illlus., ISBN: 978-0-231-14933-4). Tulasi Srinivas’ book “Winged Faith” has been publicized on the internet and through Columbia University Press with the following summary:
The Sathya Sai global civil religious movement incorporates Hindu and Muslim practices, Buddhist, Christian, and Zoroastrian influences, and “New Age”-style rituals and beliefs. Shri Sathya Sai Baba, its charismatic and controversial leader, attracts several million adherents from various national, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. In a dynamic account of the Sathya Sai movement’s explosive growth, Winged Faith argues for a rethinking of globalization and the politics of identity in a religiously plural world.
This study considers a new kind of cosmopolitanism located in an alternate understanding of difference and contestation. It considers how acts of “sacred spectating” and illusion, “moral stakeholding” and the problems of community are debated and experienced. A thrilling study of a transcultural and transurban phenomenon that questions narratives of self and being, circuits of sacred mobility, and the politics of affect, Winged Faith suggests new methods for discussing religion in a globalizing world and introduces readers to an easily critiqued yet not fully understood community. (Reference)
Prior to the publication of “Winged Faith”, Tulasi Srinivas presented her research on the Sathya Sai movement in a lecture and two abstracts entitled:
- “The Body, Sex and the Democratization of Transparency: Rethinking Religion and Globalization through the Sathya Sai Movement”
- “The Truant Ascetic: Transcendence and Escape in the Transnational Sathya Sai Movement”
- “Building Faith: Religious Pluralism, Pedagogical Urbanism, and Governance in the Sathya Sai Sacred City”
As one can see, a more ‘neutral’ title was chosen for Tulasi Srinivas’ book.
For those unfamiliar with Sathya Sai Baba, it would appear that Tulasi Srinivas’ convoluted observations about the Sathya Sai movement are well thought out, impartial and well researched. For those who are familiar with Sathya Sai Baba, however, Tulasi Srinivas’ book “Winged Faith” is poorly researched, highly biased and heavily relies on “former followers” ‘anti’ internet material against the Guru.
To obtain a better understanding of the flaws and failings in Tulasi Srinivas’ book “Winged Faith”, it is best to read the “Notes” section first and then see how Tulasi Srinivas attempted to further and formulate various arguments using those notes.
The ‘Notes’ Section In ‘Winged Faith’ By Tulasi Srinivas
The “Notes” section in “Winged Faith” is very important because it reveals how poorly Tulasi Srinivas researched her information about the Sathya Sai movement, especially in relation to the controversial material about the Guru. Tulasi Srinivas conducted her research into the Sathya Sai movement from early 2001 through late 2009, interviewed Sathya Sai devotees, communicated with former followers of Sathya Sai Baba, made trips to Sathya Sai Baba’s ashram, attended various Sai Centers and made various updates to her book before its 2010 publication.
In the “Acknowledgements” section in her book (ix, x), Tulasi Srinivas said she presented portions of “Winged Faith” to the American Anthropological Association meetings in 2004 and 2005, the South Asia meetings at Madison, Wisconsin in 2004, the Society for Psychological Anthropology meetings in 2005, the American Academy of Arts and Science, the Institute for Religion and Culture at the University of Virginia and the Institute for Human Sciences, Vienna, in 2001.
Consequently, Tulasi Srinivas is no novice to the topic of Sathya Sai Baba and her tattered research cannot be attributed to unfamiliarity with the Sathya Sai movement. The following references were taken from the “Notes” section in “Winged Faith” with critiques and comments made by Gerald Moreno.
Notes; “Secrecy, Ambiguity, Truth, And Power”; Reference 74; Page 373: Tulasi Srinivas claimed the link http://www.saibaba-aclearview.com/contents1.html was removed from the internet. The link, however, is operable and was never removed from the internet.
Notes; “Secrecy, Ambiguity, Truth, And Power”; Reference 48; Page 372: Tulasi Srinivas stated that Joe ‘Gerald’ Moreno is a “devotee” of Sathya Sai Baba. Moreno is not a “devotee” of Sathya Sai Baba and this information was published on Moreno’s official FAQs Page in early 2005 (just after Moreno first got involved in the Sathya Sai controversy and created a FAQs page). It remains unknown where Tulasi Srinivas obtained her disinformation about Moreno being a “devotee” of Sathya Sai Baba.
Although Moreno runs the largest internet websites exposing the many smear campaigns waged against Sathya Sai Baba by critics and ex-devotees, Tulasi Srinivas never attempted to contact Moreno even once although she cited links to his websites. This glaring fact would seem to imply that Tulasi Srinivas was keener on obtaining ‘anti’ material from former followers rather than obtaining ‘pro’ material from Moreno.
Notes; “Secrecy, Ambiguity, Truth, And Power”; Reference 33; Page 371: Tulasi Srinivas selectively referred to Keith Ord’s allegations of “hugging and genital fondling” against Sathya Sai Baba. However, all other relevant information and details about Keith Ord’s allegations were purposely withheld.
In 1992, Keith Ord (who is openly a homosexual) was interviewed by a Dutch journalist named Piet van der Eijk for an article entitled “De Wonderdoener”. Keith Ord personally claimed that Sathya Sai Baba literally and miraculously transmogrified his penis into a vagina by clapping his hands over his head! Keith Ord made it very clear that Sathya Sai Baba was not a “hermaphrodite”, but that the Guru literally and miraculously turned his penis into a vagina by clapping his hands.
Although Keith Ord talked to Alexandra Nagel about the alleged events in his private interviews with the Guru, he never told her about the amazing (and quite frankly unbelievable) ‘penis-turned-vagina’ miracle that he related to Piet van der Eijk.
If Tulasi Srinivas revealed this information about Keith Ord to her colleagues and students, there is little doubt they would all laugh her out of Emerson College. It is safe to say that academics, scholars, college students and general readers would not likely accept Keith Ord as a credible and reliable reference in relation to Sathya Sai Baba and the Sathya Sai movement.
Of course, the question remains: Why did Tulasi Srinivas accept Keith Ord as a credible and reliable reference in relation to Sathya Sai Baba and the Sathya Sai movement?
Notes; “Secrecy, Ambiguity, Truth, And Power”; Reference 28; Page 371: Tulasi Srinivas claimed that Sathya ‘Satch’ Purcell alleged he was “sexually abused” by Sathya Sai Baba. However, all other relevant information and details about Sathya ‘Satch’ Purcell’s allegations were purposely withheld.
Satch Purcell (real name “Sathya Sai Purcell”) claimed after fourteen years of silence that Sathya Sai Baba “covertly grasped” his groin in the presence of his mother while entering the interview room at the Guru’s ashram. Needless to say, Sharon Purcell (Satch’s mother) never mentioned (in her letters to Glen Meloy) that her own son was inappropriately touched by Sathya Sai Baba (nor were any other ex-devotees aware of this information). Satch Purcell kept his allegation a secret for fourteen years until after the death of his mother (even though she was vehemently opposed to the Guru).
Satch Purcell’s entire “sexual abuse” allegation against Sathya Sai Baba is comprised of the following one sentence: “As I stepped into the room, Sai Baba held the door open and pressed his other hand firmly into my groin area and in a very concealed way.” So “concealed”, in fact, Satch Purcell’s mother did not see the event even though she was standing right behind him. The alleged contact only lasted a few seconds and this one sentence documents the entire act of alleged “sexual abuse” that Tulasi Srinivas mentioned in her book.
It remains unclear how many people would actually consider the alleged account of Satch Purcell to be “sexual abuse”. Is this information irrelevant to the allegations against Sathya Sai Baba? Tulasi Srinivas seems to think so as she purposely withheld this information from her readers.
Notes; “Secrecy, Ambiguity, Truth, And Power”; Reference 28; Page 371: Tulasi Srinivas claimed that Ullrich Zimmermann alleged he was “sexually abused” by Sathya Sai Baba. However, all other relevant information and details about Ullrich Zimmermann’s allegations were purposely withheld.
Ullrich Zimmermann is a New Age follower of Ramtha (an alleged 36,000 year-old entity as channeled through the psychic medium JZ Knight). Ullrich Zimmermann originally recalled his alleged experiences with Sathya Sai Baba while drunk at a Ramtha wine ceremony and after the 36,000 year-old entity commanded him through JZ Knight to “teach Sai Baba a lesson”. Ullrich Zimmermann described his experiences with Sathya Sai Baba as “white tantra” and explicitly stated (several times) that he was NOT sexually abused and his experiences were an “honor” conferred upon him!
Ullrich Zimmermann also claimed that Sathya Sai Baba instantaneously cured him of a long-term breathing ailment by materializing oil and applying it to his chest along the “kundalini line”.
And to top it all off, Ullrich Zimmermann actually claimed that Sathya Sai Baba literally and miraculously transmogrified his penis into a vagina (and vice versa) twice simply by snapping his fingers! In addition, Zimmermann also claimed he saw a flash of white light fly out the Guru’s penis! These are the ludicrous (and quite frankly unbelievable) stories that Tulasi Srinivas apparently needed to withhold from her readers so that her smears against Sathya Sai Baba would be more believable.
Furthermore, Robert Priddy (a former follower heavily referenced by Tulasi Srinivas in her book “Winged Faith”) alleged that people who believe in psychics and channelers belong to the “lunatic fringe” seen in cults, ashrams and new religious movements (Ref).
If Tulasi Srinivas revealed this information about Ullrich Zimmermann to her colleagues and students, there is little doubt they would all laugh her out of Emerson College. It is safe to say that academics, scholars, college students and general readers would not likely accept Ullrich Zimmermann as a credible and reliable reference in relation to Sathya Sai Baba and the Sathya Sai movement.
Of course, the question remains: Why did Tulasi Srinivas accept Ullrich Zimmermann as a credible and reliable reference in relation to Sathya Sai Baba and the Sathya Sai movement?
Notes; “Secrecy, Ambiguity, Truth, And Power”; Reference 28; Page 371: Tulasi Srinivas stated that “Ulrich Zimmermann’s account was originally videotaped and put on YouTube in mid-2006 but was removed two months later”. Actually, Ullrich Zimmermann’s accounts were first released in December 2006 on Blip.tv and in January 2007 on YouTube and they are still online and have never been removed from the internet (Refs: 01 – 02). It would appear that Tulasi Srinivas failed to update this information from 2006 although her book was published in 2010.
Notes; “Illusion, Play, And Work In A Moral Community”; Reference 17; Page 364: Tulasi Srinivas cited Moreno’s website but misspelled his “saisathyasai.com” domain as “sathyasai.com”.
The correct link is:
Tulasi Srinivas published the link as:
Since Tulasi Srinivas double-checked the links she published in her book (even claiming that various links were removed from the internet), one is left to wonder why she misspelled the link to Moreno’s webpage about Robert Priddy. Would it have to do with the fact that Tulasi Srinivas heavily relied on Robert Priddy’s ‘anti’ material against Sathya Sai Baba?
Robert Priddy (a caustic critic and defamer of Sathya Sai Baba who once hailed the Guru as God Incarnate) is an LSD Advocate who has falsely and fraudulently libeled Gerald Moreno as being “molested sexually” by Sathya Sai Baba (Refs: 01 – 02 – 03 – 04 – 05). Robert Priddy also endorses and allies himself with Reinier van der Sandt, the ExBaba webmaster who has similarly libeled Gerald Moreno as being sexually abused by Sathya Sai Baba. If Robert Priddy has the temerity to publicly disperse falsified and fraudulent “sexual molestation” libels against Gerald Joe Moreno, what other falsified and fraudulent “sexual molestation” libels is Robert Priddy peddling against Sathya Sai Baba? Even more disturbing is Robert Priddy’s brazen acts of screencap fraud, pseudo-moralism, DMCA deceit, disgusting lie about Joy Thomas, ridiculous proxy IP accusations, fraudulently impersonating an official Sathya Sai Organization domain, and the laughable Sheila-Waring lie.
This is the type of con artist that Tulasi Srinivas deemed credible and reliable enough to cite in her book “Winged Faith” against Sathya Sai Baba and the Sathya Sai movement (see 361:43; 364:17; 364:25; 370:6; 371:24; 372:49: 376:20).
Notes; “Illusion, Play, And Work In A Moral Community”; Reference 13; Page 364: Tulasi Srinivas claimed “the Sathya Sai Organization uses the concept of leela fairly freely to describe the queue system and other organizational systems at Puttaparthi”. Tulasi Srinivas supported this absurd argument by saying that some Sathya Sai devotees believed the queue and other organizational systems at Puttaparthi were “leelas” (page 165). The Sathya Sai Organization has never made the claims that Tulasi Srinivas attributed to them. Tulasi Srinivas uses the terms “Sathya Sai devotees” and “Sathya Sai Organization” interchangeably although they are not the same and often makes blanket arguments against the entire Sathya Sai Organization based on the views of a few Sathya Sai devotees. This type of generalizing and false association is intellectually dishonest.
Notes; “Deus Loci”; Reference 5; Pages 358 & 359: Tulasi Srinivas made several profound errors about Robert Taliaferro Brooke (a former follower of Sathya Sai Baba and a fundamentalist Christian).
Tulasi Srinivas said, “One could argue that Tal Brooke was a spiritual tourist for the twenty odd years he was a Sathya Sai devotee.” In actuality, Tal Brooke was a Sathya Sai devotee for about four years, not “twenty odd years” as erroneously and falsely claimed by Tulasi Srinivas.
Tulasi Srinivas also claimed that Tal Brooke wrote “several books about the wonders of Sathya Sai Baba”. When Tal Brooke was a Sathya Sai devotee, he wrote a manuscript entitled “The Amazing Advent”. Sathya Sai Baba did not bless Tal Brooke’s manuscript and it was never published. Tal Brooke never wrote “several books” about the “wonders of Sathya Sai Baba”.
Tal Brooke published his first book (which was critical of Sathya Sai Baba) in 1976 under the title “Lord Of The Air”. It was republished in 1979 as “Sai Baba, Lord Of The Air”, renamed “Avatar of Night” in 1982 with a reprint in 1984, was renamed “Lord Of The Air: Tales of a Modern Antichrist” in 1990 and reprinted again as “Avatar of Night” in 1999.
Therefore, where exactly did Tulasi Srinivas obtain her complete disinformation regarding Tal Brooke? It baffles the mind that an academic and scholar like Tulasi Srinivas would publish such blatant distortions of the truth although she conducted nine years of research into the Sathya Sai movement (in which Tal Brooke figures prominently as a critic since 1976).
Notes; “Becoming God”; Reference 66; Page 358: Tulasi Srinivas referenced Kyra Kitts (a former follower of Sathya Sai Baba) but omitted all relevant information about her.
Kyra Kitts had her own website (“kyrakitts.net”, which is no longer online) for close to five years in which she solicited herself as a psychic, clairvoyant and spiritual healer who could perform in-person and long-distance healings. Kyra Kitts claimed to have been “overtly psychic since approximately age eleven” and claimed that H. H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche began appearing to her in inner visions and spoke to her in Tibetan. She also claimed that Sathya Sai Baba appeared to her in a semi-awake/semi-asleep vision that radically changed her life.
When Kyra Kitts visited Sathya Sai Baba in India, she claimed being tormented with “bizarre sexual thoughts”, even in the Guru’s presence. Kyra Kitts claimed that while walking by the meditation bench behind the mandir, she psychically perceived Sathya Sai Baba “in his room masturbating, looking out his window, and laughing at the crowd”. Kyra Kitts said that Sathya Sai Baba looked like a “Fijian gorilla” and referred to the Guru as “Sai Bob, sex cowboy”. Kyra Kitts has/had numerous, chronic, physical ailments that affected her mentally (admittedly) for many years.
If Tulasi Srinivas revealed this information about Kyra Kitts to her colleagues and students, there is little doubt they would all laugh her out of Emerson College. It is safe to say that academics, scholars, college students and general readers would not likely accept Kyra Kitts as a credible and reliable reference in relation to Sathya Sai Baba and the Sathya Sai movement.
Of course, the question remains: Why did Tulasi Srinivas accept Kyra Kitts as a credible and reliable reference in relation to Sathya Sai Baba and the Sathya Sai movement?
Notes; “Becoming God”; Reference 24; Pages 353 & 354: Tulasi Srinivas cited Kevin R. D. Shepherd as a “biographer of Shirdi Sai Baba”. Kevin R. D. Shepherd is a vanity self-publisher who admitted he is not an academic and who admitted he dropped out of school at the age of fifteen. Kevin R. D. Shepherd is also a malicious critic of Sathya Sai Baba who has ridiculously accused the Guru of being “closely allied with terrorists” and who fanatically accused Moreno of being an “internet hit man” and an “internet terrorist” (Ref). This is the type of person that Tulasi Srinivas deemed credible enough to cite as a reference in her book.
Notes; “Introduction”; Reference 25; Page 349: Tulasi Srinivas attempted to malign a music group devoted to Sathya Sai Baba named “Lightstorm” and claimed they were “controversially named”. Tulasi Srinivas supported this argument by saying, “A former devotee indicated that Lightstorm was a kind of marijuana.”
Moreno emailed Lightstorm on June 23rd 2010 and asked them if there was any truth to the rumor that their name was chosen because it was associated with marijuana. On June 24th 2010, Moreno received an email that stated:
“Dear Atmaself, Joe – No TRUTH in that at all. The name came as a vision and then an actual lightning storm right after. Whoever told you the lie is crazy! I (Johnima) never took drugs of any kind, this body does not even like or take aspirins. Love & Light – Lightstorm ”
Why didn’t Tulasi Srinivas extend two minutes out of nine years of research to contact Lightstorm about the story behind their name? Why would an academic and scholar publish rumors and gossips if not with an ulterior motive to smear and malign?
On the official White House and Drug Policy website one can find an exhaustive list of street names for marijuana. “Lightstorm” is not included in the list although “Bubble Gum”, “African”, “Airplane”, “Astro Turf”, “Babysitter”, “Broccoli”, “Christmas Tree”, “Flower”, “Garbage”, “Giggle”, “Hawaiian”, “Northern Lights” and “Red Cross” are.
Moreno found a marijuana reference for Purple Lightstorm, which is also known as “Purple Cannabis” and “Lightstorm BX1”. Needless to say, the music group Lightstorm did not name their group “Purple Lightstorm” or “Lightstorm BX1”.
Would Tulasi Srinivas accuse the national Red Cross of being “controversially named” because “Red Cross” happens to be a known name for marijuana (with that name being listed on the official White House and Drug Policy website)? Apparently so.
It is exactly these types of shallow, trivial and mean-spirited jabs that call into question Tulasi Srinivas’ alleged ‘neutrality’ and so-called ‘research’. Tulasi Srinivas rather publish rumors and gossips from former followers rather than doing two minutes of footwork herself.
This type of biased behavior is not what one would expect from a credible and neutral academic.
Notes; “Introduction”; References 19 & 20; Page 349: Tulasi Srinivas cited India Today’s ‘Test Of Faith – A God Accused’ and Paul Lewis’ article ‘The Indian Living God, the Pedophilia Claims, and the Duke of Edinburgh Awards’ against Sathya Sai Baba.
Purposely suppressed, however, is the fact that former followers boasted about accomplishing these media exposures themselves.
About the India Today article, Hari Sampath (a former follower) said: “I had initiated and organized about 70 % of the major media stories on Sai Baba, including The Times, India Today, the Danish documentary, Salon.com and several others.”
About the India Today article, Barry Pittard (a former follower) said: “In 2000, I was a member of a small international group of former devotees which ran a number of potent exposure operations. In one of these, we got a 10-page cover story (December 4, 2000) in the prestigious mass circulation weekly magazine India Today. In eleven languages, millions of Indians read this publication, which is somewhat like a Time or Newsweek magazine for India and Indians abroad.”
About Paul Lewis’s article, Sanjay Dadlani (a former follower) said: “What you morons fail to realise is that these things take months of planning and co-ordinated research, especially by journalists and reporters of prestigious newspapers (such as the Times, Daily Telegraph, Australian Age, etc etc) who tend to go off and do their own research in the hope of turning up something new. We already knew about this issue months before the date of publication of course. In fact it was mooted as a front-page story, but at the last minute a development in a legal issue involving PM Tony Blair took precedence and the Sai Baba article was moved to Page 3. No matter, open the paper and it all goes BOOM! in your face … Sorry I couldn’t take part while I was busy participating in this development … Nice picture of the old faggot riding in his ridiculous golf buggy by the way. ;-) … We run the Exposé and the Exposé continues.” (Reference)
India Today and Paul Lewis knowingly withheld their behind-the-scenes collaboration with former followers. Is this information irrelevant to the Sathya Sai controversy? Tulasi Srinivas seems to think so as she purposely withheld this information from her readers.
Notes; “Becoming God”; References 22 & 23; Pages 353 & 355: Tulasi Srinivas published (several times) that Brian Steel claimed “to be neither a devotee or former devotee” of Sathya Sai Baba.
Nevertheless, Tulasi Srinivas actually confirmed that Brian Steel “was a devotee of Sathya Sai Baba from the early 1980s” to 2000 (pages 255 & 256). Why did Tulasi Srinivas attempt to convince (some would say “con”) her readers into believing that Brian Steel was “neither a devotee or former devotee” when she already documented his sixteen years of devotion to Sathya Sai Baba? It would appear that Tulasi Srinivas attempted to dupe readers into believing that Brian Steel was ‘neutral’ so that she could justify her heavy reliance on his ‘anti’ material (see 351:3; 353:18; 353:23; 354:29; 355:35; 355:42; 358:63; 361:51; 361:53; 371:17; 372:38; 372:39).
In Brian Steel’s book “The Powers of Sathya Sai Baba”, he wrote that he conducted worship and bhajans (devotional singing) with other Sai devotees in his house when he was a Sathya Sai devotee. Brian Steel even claimed that vibuthi (sacred ash) miraculously manifested from one of his pictures of Sathya Sai Baba that he worshipped and kept in his house.
Would a “non-former-devotee” conduct devotional singing in his house while worshipping pictures of Sathya Sai Baba, as Brian Steel did? Would a “non-former-devotee” write several books praising and eulogizing Sathya Sai Baba, as Brian Steel did? Brian Steel is even listed on Robert Priddy’s “Ex-office-bearers” webpage as being a Sathya Sai devotee from 1984 – 2000. Apparently, these obvious facts were casually dismissed by the academic and scholar Tulasi Srinivas (although she heavily cited Brian Steel’s ‘anti’ material in her book “Winged Faith”).
Tulasi Srinivas claimed she communicated with Brian Steel from 2006 – 2008 and actually had the audacity to say that Brian Steel’s alignment with former followers “might be involuntary”. Rubbish!
It is disconcerting that Tulasi Srinivas is attempting to peddle her biased research as “credible”, “neutral” and “intellectual” to unsuspecting academics, scholars, college students and general readers.
Tulasi Srinivas heavily cited Barry Pittard (a former follower) in “Winged Faith” (see 358:64; 372:30; 371:31; 371:36; 372:58) but purposely withheld all relevant information about him and his many smear and defamation campaigns against Sathya Sai Baba and Sathya Sai devotees.
Barry Pittard is a malicious propagator of Robert Priddy’s falsified and fraudulent “sexual molestation” libels against Gerald Joe Moreno. Barry Pittard also endorses and allies himself with Reinier van der Sandt, the ExBaba webmaster who has similarly libeled Gerald Joe Moreno as being sexually abused by Sathya Sai Baba. If Barry Pittard endorses and supports falsified and fraudulent “sexual molestation” libels against Gerald Joe Moreno, what other falsified and fraudulent “sexual molestation” libels is he peddling against Sathya Sai Baba? Barry Pittard also accused a high-ranking Sathya Sai devotee of running a pedophile ring from his first-class apartment over looking Central Park in New York (Ref) and purposely misrepresented the former US State Department advisory by claiming they had “named Sathya Sai Baba re Pedophile Allegations”, a bold-faced untruth (Ref). Barry Pittard has also lied about there being 100 affidavits against Sathya Sai Baba, been accused of impropriety, fraudulently claimed to be a Professor, incited Islamic terrorists to kill Jews and Sathya Sai devotees at Puttaparthi, purposely ignores and suppresses relevant facts about BBC interviewee Alaya Rahm and been exposed for his pseudo-moralism.
Had Tulasi Srinivas contacted Moreno, she could have easily obtained this information that calls into question the alleged credibility of Barry Pittard. It would also appear that Tulasi Srinivas read Moreno’s webpages about Barry Pittard (since she cited links to Moreno’s website) but decided to purposely suppress this relevant information about him.
Notes; “Secrecy, Ambiguity, Truth, and Power”; Reference 37; Page 371: Tulasi Srinivas cited Serguei Badaev (a former follower) in “Winged Faith” but purposely withheld all relevant information about him. Moreno’s articles about Serguei Badaev reveals Badaev’s clear bias, antagonism and poor research against Sathya Sai Baba.
Tulasi Srinivas cited Conny Larsson (a former follower) in “Winged Faith” but purposely withheld all relevant information about him and his many smear and defamation campaigns against Sathya Sai Baba and Sathya Sai devotees. Tulasi Srinvas said that Conny Larsson was a “spiritual teacher” (page 256), which is a gross over-simplification of known facts.
Bi-Sexual Conny Larsson is peddling himself as a self-proclaimed Prophet and psychic trance channeler for Maharishi Vyasa. Conny Larsson’s “trance medium” claims were even published in a national Swedish newspaper (‘Norrlandska Socialdemokraten’) under the title Medium drog full hus (English: “Medium Draws Full House”), which documented a couple of ‘trance channeling’ demonstrations by Conny Larsson.
Robert Priddy and Kevin R. D. Shepherd attempted to defend Conny Larsson and were subsequently silenced by two scathing responses by Moreno entitled “Kevin Shepherd & Psychic Medium Conny Larsson” and “Conny Larsson Admits To Psychic Fraud”.
Conny Larsson claims he is a Psychic Healer and Spirit-Medium who uses crystal pendulums to diagnose disorders, blockages and ills in other’s auras (Ref). Conny Larsson also sells himself as a Meditation Guru, Spirituality & Yoga Master, Bhajan Leader, Mantra Guru, Vedic Master, etc. Conny Larsson is the founder of vedicmasterclass.org and heartandsoulexpo.com, which solicits the services of numerous psychics, mediums, channelers and New Age healers (many who have gurus and alleged “angel” contacts).
Even more disturbing is the fact that Conny Larsson self-disclosed his psychiatric diagnosis (made by a psychiatrist) of him being “psychoinfantile”, which is also known as Histrionic Personality Disorder. Conny Larsson has also been very open about his bisexuality, which was published in Swedish newspapers by various journalists.
Apparently, if you hear voices in your head, channel Vyasa, perform trance healings, converse with dead people, channel the spirits of dead animals, hold negative views about Sathya Sai Baba, perform séances and have been officially diagnosed with a psychiatric personality disorder, give Tulasi Srinivas a call because you might be her next credible reference against Sathya Sai Baba.
If Tulasi Srinivas revealed this information about Conny Larsson to her colleagues and students, there is little doubt they would all laugh her out of Emerson College. It is safe to say that academics, scholars, college students and general readers would not likely accept Psychic Medium Conny Larsson as a credible and reliable reference in relation to Sathya Sai Baba and the Sathya Sai movement.
Of course, the question remains: Why did Tulasi Srinivas accept Conny Larsson as a credible and reliable reference in relation to Sathya Sai Baba and the Sathya Sai movement?
Notes; “Secrecy, Ambiguity, Truth, and Power”; Reference 40; Page 372: Tulasi Srinivas cited PhD Timothy Conway in “Winged Faith” but purposely withheld all relevant information about him.
Although Timothy Conway can often be seen attempting to present himself as a rational and logical voice against Sathya Sai Baba, he is a true believer and promoter of Gurus , Mystics , Enlightened Masters , psychics   , levitation , bi-location , miracles , remote-viewing , elementals, meditation  , paranormal powers , aliens  , rebirth  , reincarnation  , karma , oracles , I-Ching , sensitives  , channelers  , astrology , astrologists , palm-reading , non-duality , etc. (the list goes on and on).
For example, if you are looking for an answer to a difficult problem, Timothy Conway PhD suggested the following solutions:
“Ask God (Spirit, the one God-Self) for guidance and for some kind of ‘omen’ or ‘sign,’ if needed, to proceed in a certain direction (i.e., making choice A, B, C or whatever). Be willing to wait several days or weeks (or, in some cases, months or even years for this guidance to manifest)…Use an oracle, such as the I Ching (Book of Changes). More simply, you can ask for Divine Guidance and then flip a coin–with heads meaning one choice, tails meaning the other choice. If you like, flip it 10 times and see if a clear pattern emerges. You might say, ‘Well, how the coin flips is simply due to chance.’ Perhaps. But one can also trust that there is a deeper Principle behind everything that happens, and you can ask this Divine Guiding Intelligence to show you an answer via the coin-tossing process. Alternatively, you can create a slightly more sophisticated oracle of your own by getting out 3 or 4 pieces of paper. Then write ‘yes’ on one, ‘no’ on another, ‘wait’ on a third piece of paper, and, if you like, ‘wrong question’ on the fourth piece of paper. Then turn them face down, scramble them up, and pick one of the 3 or 4 pieces of paper to get guidance this way…You can also consult a psychic ‘sensitive’ and/or an astrologer or a palmist (Indian jyotish astrology followed by Western astrology seem to be the most accurate astrology systems. And, curiously, palmistry and astrology seem to complement each other as different methods for getting to the same ‘karmic’ information on the soul’s mission, destiny, strengths and vulnerabilities).” (Reference)
Timothy Conway also believed and endorsed (Ref) the alleged experiences of Shirlи Klein-Carsh, a so-called “Indigo” (an alleged extraterrestrial alien who voluntarily incarnates on Earth). Shirlи Klein-Carsh claimed she was psychologically, spiritually and artistically guided by a cleverly disguised Alien from Sirius who worked as an electronics repairman in a second-hand shop. Timothy Conway said:
“This is a fascinating study of someone with sensitivities hardly dreamed of by most persons. Other books present the carefully presented and reasoned case for the existence of inter-dimensional aliens interacting with humans. This book goes straight into the mystery and wonder of the human-alien contact.” (Reference)
Timothy Conway also attempted to argue that if Sathya Sai Baba possesses genuine paranormal powers, he could easily “warp spacetime” by creating an “insular interdimensional environment” where he could engage in abuse without easy detection (just as aliens are alleged to do through alien abductions: Ref)!
If Tulasi Srinivas revealed this information about PhD Timothy Conway to her colleagues and students, there is little doubt they would all laugh her out of Emerson College. It is safe to say that academics, scholars, college students and general readers would not likely accept Timothy Conway as a credible and reliable reference in relation to Sathya Sai Baba and the Sathya Sai movement.
Of course, the question remains: Why did Tulasi Srinivas accept Timothy Conway as a credible and reliable reference in relation to Sathya Sai Baba and the Sathya Sai movement?
Notes; “Secrecy, Ambiguity, Truth, And Power”; Reference 28; Page 371: Tulasi Srinivas made reference to the BBC documentary ‘Secret Swami’ and the allegations of sexual abuse by Alaya Rahm. However, all other relevant information and details about Alaya Rahm’s allegations were purposely withheld.
In “Response To Form Interrogatories” in Alaya Rahm’s self-dismissed lawsuit against the Sathya Sai Baba Society (Form Interrogatory No. 6.3, Set One) Alaya Rahm fully admitted he had been a daily user of illegal street drugs and alcohol from 1995 to 2005. Consequently, during Alaya Rahm’s “Divine Downfall” and India Today Anti-Sai interviews and during the filming of the BBC Documentary “Secret Swami” and the “Seduced By Sai Baba” Danish Documentary, Alaya Rahm was under the influence of illegal street drugs and alcohol while relating his alleged sexual encounters with Sathya Sai Baba. This crucial information wholly undermines Alaya Rahm’s credibility and irreparably compromises the integrity of his claims. Needless to say, Alaya Rahm’s alcoholism and drug addiction have been purposely suppressed from the general public by former followers, the Rahm Family, Tanya Datta, the BBC and Tulasi Srinivas (Ref).
In pretrial discovery, Alaya Rahm claimed he suffered no psychological trauma that would have required medical or psychiatric care. Alaya identified no psychologist who had ever examined him and his parents never had Alaya undergo psychological counseling despite their repeated and boisterous claims that Alaya was “seriously sexually molested”. The only help that Alaya obtained was a three day seminar from the Landmark Forum on “Empowerment, self help and personal growth” that cost $795 in June 2005 (five years after his alleged abuse and five months after he filed his lawsuits)! It would appear that Al & Marisa Rahm (the parents) were incredibly negligent in getting psychological help for their “seriously sexually molested” son.
Supporting Alaya Rahm’s involvement with illegal street drugs and drug addicts is a secondary court case in November 2007 where Alaya Rahm testified on behalf of his friend Valdez T Woods, who was arrested and convicted for possession of crack cocaine and marijuana with the intent to deliver (PDF Reference). As a matter of fact, Valdez T Woods was arrested within a mile of Alaya Rahm’s then current residence (as revealed in official court records). Alaya Rahm was identified as a “friend and associate” of drug dealer and drug addict Valdez T Woods.
In Alexandra Nagel’s paper entitled “Sai Baba as Shiva-Shakti: a Created Myth? Or?”, Alaya Rahm personally told Alexandra Nagel that Sathya Sai Baba had literally and miraculously transmogrified his penis into a vagina on two separate occasions by blowing on his fingers! These are the ludicrous (and quite frankly unbelievable) stories that Tulasi Srinivas apparently needed to withhold from her readers so that her smears against Sathya Sai Baba would be more believable.
Former followers have resorted to secrecy, concealment and strategies of silence regarding these facts and adamantly refuse to publicly discuss them (which they have similarly done in association with Conny Larsson’s ‘trance medium’ claims). Apparently, Tulasi Srinivas is following in the footsteps of former followers.
Tulasi Srinivas’ Serious And Potentially Libelous Assertions
In the chapter “Secrecy, Ambiguity, Truth and Power” (page 256), Tulasi Srinivas published serious and potentially libelous information against Stephen Carthew and Terry Gallagher by claiming Sathya Sai Baba initiated “sexual healing” and “genital oilings” on them. This is totally false information and it cannot be traced to any verifiable references. Tulasi Srinivas cited Alexandra Nagel’s paper “A Guru Accused” to support her assertions although Carthew and Gallagher’s names are not mentioned in Alexandra Nagel’s article. On June 26th 2010, Moreno emailed both Columbia University Press and Tulasi Srinivas and requested the correct reference to support the assertions made about Stephen Carthew and Terry Gallagher. To date, Moreno has not received a reply from either Columbia University Press or Tulasi Srinivas.
‘Winged Faith’ – Too Many Errors To List
The following seven examples are provided to give readers a better idea into Moreno’s contention that the list of errors, inaccuracies, misrepresentations and subjective inferences in Tulasi Srinivas’ book “Winged Faith” are simply too numerous to list:
- In the introduction to “Winged Faith” (page 9) Tulasi Srinivas claimed that Sathya Sai Baba’s materialization of vibuthi established himself in association with Shirdi Sai Baba, whom Tulasi Srinivas alleged “also materialized vibuthi for his followers”. Needless to say, Shirdi Sai Baba never “materialized” vibuthi for his followers. Rather, Shirdi Sai Baba took ash from his dhuni (sacrificial fire) and gave it to his followers to effect various cures.
- In the chapter “Becoming God” (page 59, figure 1.1), Tulasi Srinivas published an alleged “postcard image” of Sathya Sai Baba as a young man and claimed the image belonged to the “Collection of Tulasi Srinivas”. The image in question is not a postcard, does not belong to Tulasi Srinivas and was actually taken from the saibabaofindia.com domain without their permission or knowledge (view picture reference here). As a matter of fact, the image in question clearly shows the SBOI’s watermark. Before Tulasi Srinivas published her book “Winged Faith”, an internet abstract with similar content was circulated on the internet that similarly published an image taken from Moreno’s vishvarupa.com domain without his permission or knowledge.
- In the chapter “Becoming God” (page 75, figure 1.3), Tulasi Srinivas published an alleged “postcard image” of Sathya Sai Baba with other avatars (i.e. Rama, Krishna, Buddha and Shirdi Sai Baba) and claimed the image belonged to the “Collection of Tulasi Srinivas”. The image in question is not a postcard, does not belong to Tulasi Srinivas and was actually taken from the Sri Sathya Sai Books And Publications Trust (SSSBPT) domain without their permission or knowledge (view picture reference here). As a matter of fact, the image in question clearly shows the SSSBPT’s watermark.
- In an amusing fit of illogic, Tulasi Srinivas attempted to associate Sathya Sai Baba with the New Age movement (page 20) because a New Age shop in Burlington, Vermont sold Satya Sai Baba Nag Champa (an incense that is not associated in any manner with the Sathya Sai Organization). In fact, Satya Sai Baba Nag Champa is manufactured by Shrinivas Sugandhalaya in Bangalore (see picture reference here). It is a common practice in India for businesses and manufacturers to use the names of popular Saints on their products or in their business logos.
- In the chapter “Secrecy, Ambiguity, Truth and Power” (pages 253 – 257), Tulasi Srinivas made several exaggerated and unfounded claims about JuST (Just Seekers of Truth). Tulasi Srinivas estimated the total strength of JuST to be “roughly one hundred members” even though Barry Pittard specifically told her the number was “thirty-eight”. In truth, JuST is comprised of only thirty-two individuals (Ref). In December 2004, the “Sai Petition Committee” wrote a response to Moreno claiming that there were only six active members speaking on behalf of the collective JuST group (Ref). Tulasi Srinivas also stated “only two Indian names appear as part of the contemporary structure of JuST” (i.e. Hari Sampath and Sanjay Dadlani). Needless to say, neither Hari Sampath nor Sanjay Dadlani belongs to JuST. The only Indian name listed in JuST’s signatories list is Soma Jeyendren (an Indian residing in Australia). Even though this information is readily available on the internet, the academic and scholar Tulasi Srinivas attempted to peddle her subjective speculations as objective truth. Amusingly, when Tulasi Srinivas first attempted to correspond with JuST members in 2004, they “summarily dismissed” her. When Tulasi Srinivas contacted JuST in 2006 they asked for her “credentials”. Tulasi Srinivas stated that the same type of “secrecy and conspiracy mentality” that members of JuST saw in the Sathya Sai Organization, was present in them as well.
- In the chapter “Secrecy, Ambiguity, Truth and Power” (page 261), Tulasi Srinivas attempted to make the argument that the issues of “secrecy” and “concealment” were central to the deposition taken from Lewis Kreydick in Alaya Rahm’s self-dismissed lawsuit. To support her argument, Tulasi Srinivas enigmatically cited a couple of sentences from Lewis Kreydick’s deposition that were published on Moreno’s website. Tulasi Srinivas cited Lewis Kreydick’s story where Alaya Rahm sat on the Guru’s lap. Tulasi Srinivas pointed out that a lawyer had asked Lewis Kreydick if Alaya Rahm had asked him to keep the story a “secret”, to which Lewis Kreydick replied, “No, no.” (Ref). After enigmatically making reference to this irrelevant material, Tulasi Srinivas took off on a rant about how Sathya Sai devotees “had specific strategies of silence to combat unwanted behaviors and allegations that dealt with the sexual healing issue”. Needless to say, Lewis Kreydick did not in any way refuse to answer any questions during his deposition.
Had Tulasi Srinivas actually researched the material published on Moreno’s website or had she actually contacted Moreno, she would have discovered that Alaya Rahm publicly and openly discussed his story of sitting on Sathya Sai Baba’s lap at the USA Sai Regional Conference in August 1997, which was attended by a couple hundred Sathya Sai devotees from across the USA and which was videotaped and recorded on audio cassettes (Ref). Alaya Rahm self-disclosed this story before he made his allegations against Sathya Sai Baba and even claimed the experience left him in “ecstasy”. Therefore, Tulasi Srinivas’ enigmatic reference to this story in relation to “secrecy” and “concealment” accusations is entirely without merit.
- In the chapter “Out Of God’s Hands” (pages 307 – 312), Tulasi Srinivas exaggerated Sathya Sai devotee’s shopping habits and seemed to defend the notion that the sellers outside Sathya Sai Baba’s ashram do not cheat. In truth, many of the vendors outside Sathya Sai Baba’s ashram do cheat. Why shouldn’t the ashram warn Sathya Sai devotees about the cheating that goes on outside the ashram? Moreno lived at Puttaparthi for almost three consecutive years and he knows from first-hand knowledge that Tulasi Srinivas’ claims about Sathya Sai devotee’s shopping habits are completely biased, inaccurate and misrepresented. Tulasi Srinivas made a huge fuss about Sathya Sai devotee’s wanting their purchases to be free from defects. Who wants to purchase defective merchandise? It is a common sight to see vendors outside the ashram trying to sell worn-out, sun-scorched and old merchandise. Apparently, if Sathya Sai devotees want clean, new and undamaged merchandise, this is a sign of religious extremism and fanaticism, according to Tulasi Srinivas.
Since Tulasi Srinivas was so negligent and careless with her facts and research, how can anyone believe anything she has to say about Sathya Sai Baba, the Sathya Sai movement and the Sathya Sai controversy?
‘Winged Faith’ By Tulasi Srinivas – In Conclusion
In conclusion, Tulasi Srinivas’ book “Winged Faith: Rethinking Globalization and Religious Pluralism through the Sathya Sai Movement” is almost entirely unoriginal. The book essentially repeats and recycles many of the same thoughts and observations made by Lawrence A. Bapp, Deborah A. Swallow, Morton Klass, Smriti Srinivas, Antonio Rigolopoulos and Alexandra Kent. However, Tulasi Srinivas took her so-called ‘research’ a step lower and decided to reference internet propaganda against Sathya Sai Baba.
Tulasi Srinivas correctly stated “despite his critics’ claims of malfaesance, Sai Baba has never been accused (much less convicted) of wrongdoing in an Indian court of law” and “nothing has been proven against Sathya Sai Baba”. It is true that Sathya Sai Baba and the Sathya Sai Organization have never (ever) been charged with any crime. It is also true that no alleged victim (and no alleged victim’s mother or father) has ever filed (first-hand) a basic police complaint, public grievance or court case against Sathya Sai Baba or the Sathya Sai Organization in India. Therefore, it is very peculiar and highly unusual that an academic and scholar like Tulasi Srinivas would publish and reference internet propaganda from former followers against Sathya Sai Baba. This type of questionable behavior would seem to imply that Tulasi Srinivas is biased and that she used her book to push an agenda against Sathya Sai Baba and the Sathya Sai Organization under the pretexts of “globalization” and “transnational theory” discussions.
Although Tulasi Srinivas believed that Gerald Moreno was a Sathya Sai devotee, she never once attempted to contact or question him. Tulasi Srinivas’ core arguments are based on what she believes to be “secrecy”, “ambiguity”, “strategies of silence”, “polyvalent discourse” and “concealed knowledge” within the Sathya Sai movement. Tulasi Srinivas formulated these arguments by questioning a handful of Sathya Sai devotees about the allegations and then used their few responses (and mostly non-responses) to somehow represent the character and views of the entire Sathya Sai community (composed of millions of people)! Moreno’s open, detailed and direct discussions about the allegations against Sathya Sai Baba posed a direct threat to Tulasi Srinivas’ core arguments (which is probably why she never contacted Moreno in the first place). Therefore, it would appear that the only person guilty of “secrecy”, “ambiguity”, “strategies of silence”, “polyvalent discourse” and “concealed knowledge” is Tulasi Srinivas.
It is indeed ironic that Tulasi Srinivas named her book “Winged Faith” as that is exactly the type of belief she holds in ‘former followers’ and is exactly the type of belief she expects from those reading her discourses about the Sathya Sai movement. Although there is little doubt that the international Sathya Sai movement can be used as an example in “globalization” and “transnational theory” discussions, the numerous inaccuracies in “Winged Faith” solidifies the perception that Tulasi Srinivas’ convoluted and discursive arguments promote mediocrity over merit.