Sai Baba – an enigmatic legend lives on

• May 29, 2011 • Comments (3)

Will Gethin explores the allure and controversy surrounding India’s most venerated guru

Sai BabaLegendary Indian guru Sathya Sai Baba, who died on Easter Day last month from cardio-respiratory failure at the age of 85 (some records claim 84), was one of the world’s most revered and notorious spiritual figures, who according to some reports had lured up to 50 million devotees worldwide.

The iconic holy man with his Hendrix-style explosion of Afro hair and garish orange robes was considered by millions to be an avatar – a fully fledged god in human form like Christ or Krishna, and an extraordinary healer and miracle worker capable of manifesting objects out of thin air, raising people from the dead and appearing simultaneously in two locations at any one time.

Sai Baba also claimed and was widely believed to be an incarnation of both Shirdi Sai Baba (a renowned Indian saint who died in 1918) as well as Jesus Christ.  Some even purported that Sai Baba was a multi-faced avatar who contained Buddha, Christ, Rama, Krishna and others within one being.

Sai Baba was also celebrated for his immense contribution to charitable causes, humanitarian aid and health and education.  And yet some critics have slated him as a fraudster, flagrant self publicist and dangerous paedophile.

In 1993, there was an apparent attempt to assassinate Sai Baba when four armed men broke into his private quarters, murdering his cook and chauffeur before being shot dead by police.  Investigations were mysteriously never made, while the official line from ashram officials was that the murder attempt was caused by disgruntled devotees denied positions of power within the ashram.  However, rumours abated that the murder attempts were made by ex male students of Sai Baba’s who were allegedly sexually abused by their guru.

Such allegations of sexual abuse by Sai Baba have been circulating since the 1970s, mushrooming  with the advent of the internet from the late 1990s and reaching credible media attention in the early 2000s with the publication of articles such as those by Mick Brown in the Daily Telegraph and India Today in 2000, and the broadcast of a BBC2 TV documentary, Secret Swami, in 2004.   However, legal proceedings have never been made against Sai Baba regarding sexual allegations or others of fraud and financial improprieties; rumours abound that he was protected by political forces invested in his reputation as an avatar.

Sai Baba's funeralWith Sai Baba’s death, the government of his home state of Andhra Pradesh declared four days of mourning and as thousands of devotees from all over India flooded into his home town of Puttuparthi to pay homage, hundreds of police were sent in to restore order.

English Sai Baba devotee, Shivanima, who lives in India, shared with me her experience of returning to Puttaparthi the day after Sai Baba’s death:

‘The village looked like a war zone, with barricades everywhere to control the immense flow of people into the ashram to see the body which was visible in a glass refrigerated casket, placed in the centre of the main mandir on the dias where Swami normally sat in his chair. Thousands quietly filed past paying their respects, some weeping, some with heads bowed.  The atmosphere was solemn and dignified, sad yet full of love. Some people waited three hours to file past.  People came from far and wide, some travelling huge distances with big families.’

And in cities throughout India, followers of the guru flocked to temples to pray or paraded streets in his honour.  Sai Baba was bestowed a gun salute and state honours before his body was prepared for burial. Huge numbers of Indians and foreigners paid him their farewell respects, including cricket star Sachin Tendulkar and Sonia Gandhi, President of Indian National Congress.   His followers are said to include hundreds of top Indian politicians, Bollywood stars, wealthy tycoons and leading businessmen; overseas fans include Goldie Hawn and Isaac Tigrett, co-founder of the Hard Rock Cafe chain.

India’s prime minister Manmohan Singh declared Sai Baba’s death an irreparable loss. ‘He was a spiritual leader who inspired millions to lead a moral and meaningful life, even as they followed the religion of their choice,’ he said.

And yet India’s The Hindu newspaper, waiting ‘till the dust has settled’ to dismiss Sai Baba’s alleged miracles and divinity, told a different story on 14th May:

‘Sai Baba’s death was not a national tragedy. The national tragedy was his being given a state funeral, a state of official mourning being declared, and the country’s political leaders…spending precious time and resources to have his last darshan.’

Shirdi Sai BabaAt the time of writing, the legend of Sai Baba looks set to proliferate.  A new temple  named after him in Kerala is under construction and two biopic films are already in the pipeline in India, including one by filmmaker and ex-MP Harirama Jogayya.  Furthermore, locals in Sai Baba’s home town are predicting Puttaparthi will become like Shirdi, where thousands flock to visit the shrine of Shirdi Sai Baba – the saintly avatar Sai Baba claimed to be a reincarnation of.   And with media reports suggesting Sai Baba left behind a £5.5 billion empire, one can only assume that a substantial chunk of this will be invested in developing an extensive legacy as would only be fitting for such a hailed god man.

So who exactly was Sathya Sai Baba and how did one man become such an extraordinary phenomenon?

While the allocated year of his birth tends to vary, Sai Baba is generally reported to have been born into a poor family in 1926 as Sathya Narayana Raju in Puttaparthi, a small village in the South Indian state of Andrah Pradesh.   The website of the Sathya Sai Organisation, the main body handling his affairs, reports that as a child he demonstrated ‘exemplary qualities of compassion, generosity and wisdom, which clearly distinguished him from the other children of his village.’

Legend has it that at the age of 14, he was bitten by a scorpion bringing on intense hallucinations; fearing their son was possessed, his parents called an exorcist, and soon after, the boy announced he was a reincarnation of Shirdi Sai Baba; when challenged, the story goes that he threw some jasmine flowers to the ground which on landing, spelt out ‘Sai Baba’ in Telugu.

Declaring that from now on his family and fellow villagers should call him Sai Baba, he announced his mission was to generate spiritual evolution on earth.  Leaving home, he travelled around South India and started to draw a following.

His growing club of devotees built him an ashram near his local village which was inaugurated in 1950 and called Prasanthi Nilayam,’The Abode of Divine Peace’.  Ever since the ashram has been inundated with visitors from all over India and around the world, ultimately bringing hundreds of thousands at any one time to the ever swelling temple.  More than one million people attended his 70th birthday celebrations in 1995.

Over the years, the remote village of Puttaparthi has transmogrified into a small town with clusters of temples and buildings to accommodate the soaring numbers, a 220-bed hospital offering free treatment, a university and an airport flying in devotees on charter flights from various pockets of the globe.

Sai Baba’s principal maxim was Love All, Serve All and he encouraged everyone to take on a life of service to others.  As devotee Shivanima explains, ‘He taught that you should be of good character in thought, word and deed – living in Truth.  He encouraged Christians to be good Christians; Hindus, good Hindus; Muslims, good Muslims, and so on.   The mandir was full of people from all around the world of all different religions and cultural backgrounds.’

According to the Sathya Sai Organisation website, Sai Baba encouraged his followers to recognise they were more than just their minds and bodies, to turn inward and ‘realise that their conscience was a reflection of spirit’.  He said spirituality was having the courage and determination to follow our conscience in all things, and in doing so, we come to realise we are all united in God and bound together by his divine love.  All religious paths led to the same God, he said.

Yet  what initially brought Sai Baba to the attention of millions was his extravagant display of miracles, which seemed to give credence to his claims of divinity and Godhood.

spiritual touristI first heard about Sai Baba in Mick Brown’s book The Spiritual Tourist (published 1998) in which the author reports on his various investigations into contemporary gurus, mystics and saints.   Brown’s initial interest in Sai Baba was, typically, aroused from hearing about his miracles.  Duly witnessing one firsthand at a house in North London where a minicab driver’s portraits of Sai Baba were producing large quantities of vibhuti, sacred ash, allegedly engineered by Sai Baba as a gift for devotees – Brown was hooked into the mystery, and soon found himself barraged with tales of Baba’s alleged divinity and supernatural powers.

Intrigued by the various reports from people of seeing Baba in their dreams and being guided to visit the ashram, by the endless tales of materialisations by Sai Baba of vibhuti, wrist watches, necklaces and pendants – as well as stories of manifesting food for crowds of devotees, healing the sick and raising people from the dead – Brown was perplexed.  He deduced that some of the miracles could be explained as sleight-of-hand as practised by street-magicians throughout India.  ‘But if Sai Baba were simply a magician,’ he wrote, ‘it seemed he must be an extraordinarily good one to have fooled so many people for so long.’

Maintaining his journalistic scepticism and yet fascinated by the prospect of being proved wrong, Brown took off to India to visit Sai Baba’s Puttaparthi ashram.  His book recounts the many darshans, ‘viewings of the guru’, the author attended where thousands of pilgrims would turn up in the temple clutching letters containing their prayers, many requesting him to heal themselves or ill relatives. Devotees claimed that Baba already knew what was written in each letter and if he chose your letter it meant he had pledged to answer your prayers. Baba also sometimes invited a lucky group to join him for private interview after darshan, based on their karmic imprints.

Brown tried in vain to get an interview; meantime he was privy to endless tales of miracles from devotees, but he remained sceptical – pointing out that for all the accounts of healings, people tended to omit those that failed, and his investigations brought to light stories where those who had come in genuine urgent need of healing, had not been healed.  And he questioned were the miracles just tricks as many professional magicians claimed?  He reported hearing claims that Baba’s alleged ability to read minds came from a technique called ‘cold reading’, a method by which facts are drawn out of a subject and then remembered for feeding back to them later.

And Brown reported feeling no great sense of divinity, and was disconcerted by the sanctimonious air of the ashram, the pomp and wealth of his temple in contrast to the ‘poor beyond the gate’ and the cult of personality surrounding Sai Baba.

I read Brown’s The Spiritual Tourist because I was planning a spiritual adventure in India during a year-long sabbatical in 2000.  Initially spending some time at the Osho Commune in Pune, I was advised by an experienced seeker that I should go to Sai Baba’s ashram because the energy there was ‘so intense you have to look within’; this I was assured, would help me to uncover the hidden jewels of awakening on my inner journey.

Sai Baba devoteesTravelling to Puttaparthi from Bombay, I read about Sai Baba in my From Here to Nirvana guide book to ashrams.  With thousands of pilgrims always present at the ashram, don’t expect much personal attention, the book advised, at least on the external plane.  ‘On the subtle level though, devotees claim that Baba watches over everyone there,’ I read, ‘everything that happens to you externally or internally, is said to be unfolding according to Baba’s master plan.’    Most of the teachings, I gathered, took place on ‘the inner planes’, and I wondered how I was supposed to pick these up?

Reaching Puttaparthi, I discovered Sai Baba was away, the date of his return an apparent mystery.  The town was pretty dead in the absence of Sai Baba, just a few westerners strolling about in flowing white clothing.  Street stalls were brimming with Sai Baba merchandise – rings, postcards and framed photographs.  Encountering an American lady, Yin, dressed in flowing purple, I was treated to tales of Sai Baba miracles.

‘Shivatri, the festival of Shiva, will soon take place in Puttaparthi ,’ Yin explained eagerly, ‘a very exciting time to be in Sai Baba’s presence.  He’ll materialise a Shiva lingam from inside himself – it’s like a big golden egg which he pulls out of his mouth and all this blood comes spilling out!’  She produced a photo of Sai Baba holding up a large golden egg above his head and below the photo some text recounted the story of an Indian doctor from London who raised a child from the dead by holding this photo against his body.  ‘Sai Baba says that wherever this photo is kept there will be blessings, healings and miracles,’ Yin said.

I asked Yin if she had had any interesting experiences with Sai Baba.  ‘When I first saw him I was totally blown away, he has such presence!’  she gasped.  ‘Tears shot out of my eyes and yet he was far away in the distance.  I experienced an uncontrollable outpouring of emotion which was totally unlike me.’

Somehow I found it hard to believe Baba would have my eyes firing up tears, but perhaps it was my lack of faith that was the hurdle?  I wondered.

Later that evening, a colourful parade passed, inaugurating Sai Baba’s supplying food to the people of Gujaret after the earthquake which killed 10,000 people there ten days before.  Such benevolent service was typical of Sai Baba who established a number of NGOs to bring humanitarian aid, most notably bringing water and sanitation to 750 villages and several towns in Andra Pradesh, a project inaugurated on his 70th birthday.

Sai Baba has also contributed hugely to education, establishing a modern education system (with an emphasis on positive social conduct) in Puttaparthi comprising of primary and secondary schools and an accredited university; no fees are charged and admission is open to all.  Sai Baba went on to found numerous schools and colleges throughout India and his education programmes have also been applied in schools in the US and Europe.

I was amazed at the feverish inauguration that greeted Sai Baba’s return to Puttaparthi – women chalked up elaborate lotus flowers and Aum signs on the road and men decorated the gates with palm branches and string flower garlands, as flags and banners were hoisted high into the air, emblazoned: Welcome to Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

As crowds filled the pavements in high octane anticipation, jostling for good viewing positions, it was like a Hollywood film premiere but the awaited star was a god to these Western devotees and Hindu masses.  Then to the sudden wail of sirens, a procession of police vehicles glided through the crowds and a claret BMW stole into view, decorated with flower petals – and from the back seat, an afro figure waved in a bright orange costume – Sai Baba, the self-proclaimed incarnation of Christ, Krishna and Shirdi Sai Baba was among us.

Sai Baba's AshramRising for darshan in the temple each morning at 5am, the kitsch pastel coloured temple was the size of a football stadium and contained thousands of people.  Colossal chocolate brown pillars rose from floor to ceiling, decorated with pink lotus designs. Up on the temple mandir, Ganesh was surrounded by dancing gods and guarded by roaring gold lions.

At 7am, Arabic music would start up as Sai Baba emerged from his house – an exploding mass of afro hair and swathed in bright orange – the far side of the temple.  Baba appeared translucent; his hair almost seemed to carry an electric current.  He’d descend the steps into the auditorium and slowly wind his way along an inaugural red carpet segregating the crowds.  Devotees in front rows either side of the carpet would lunge forward, frantically waving their envelopes at Baba as he passed.  They would look on in slavish adoration, raising pressed palms above their foreheads as they muttered prayers, eyeballing him pleadingly beneath his feet – ‘Please Baba, please me!’ – they seemed to say, as if their lives depended on it.

Baba swanned along the carpet, discriminately picking out certain letters and ignoring others; sometimes patting the odd disgruntled head. He’d glide glistening along the aisle with a vast pile of them stacked high on one upturned palm, serenaded all the while by the hypnotic Arabic rhythms. He paused occasionally, as if to pick up on any vibes; holding out his hand as an antennae before bee-lining for a particular envelope, led, it seemed, not by sight but by an inner voice.  And on he wandered – glowing phantom figure with afro hive on wide shoulders; the elegant slender body in a tight robe of silky orange.  Nothing stirred within me, but it almost seemed like there was an aura around Baba’s fizz of Afro air. Once he had completed his circuit, he would climb the temple steps up to the altar and disappear.

One day  I wrote a letter asking Sai Baba to cure my mother’s arthritis and while, having queued for hours, I manage to get as close as three rows from the front, he chose not to answer my prayers.  Another time – applying the ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans do’ mentality – I tried to telepathically communicate my wish for an interview, but again the prayer was rebuffed.  Sometimes, Baba selected the odd group for personal interview and they were ushered off to a private room.

Hanging out at the ashram, I heard the usual breadth of fantastical miracle stories that Brown reported – manifestations of trinkets, twists of fate, strange synchronicities, ‘flips of providence’. A number of people reported being visited by Sai Baba in dreams and leaving everything to come to Puttaparthi.  And I was starting to feel I didn’t want to witness Sai Baba’s powers first hand as by all accounts, once you had, you didn’t want to leave and I didn’t want to stay much longer, the place was starting to unsettle me.

Sai BabaOne evening an Argentine in my dormitory told me I was called to be there. ‘Be on the look out,’ he encouraged, ‘make the most of it.’  And then at breakfast the following morning an Indian man reminded me of the calling.  ‘It’s God’s will,’ he said.   This sense of ‘being called’ to Sai Baba was very prevalent at the ashram, and like Brown before me I just didn’t feel a sense of personal calling.  All this passionate guru devotion speak and the mind boggling miracle stories were starting to do my head in and I felt compelled to push on before I had a dream visitation or experienced a miracle firsthand and got stuck in Sai Baba land for eternity.

Soon after leaving Puttaparthi, a friend emailed me a copy of Mick Brown’s article in the Daily Telegraph (October 2000), entitled Divine Downfall, which explored accusations against Sai Baba of alleged paedophilia activity.   The article centred around accusations from a young American man called Alaya Rahm (referred to in the piece as ‘Sam Young’) – whose parents had been devotees of Sai Baba for twenty years.

The article recounts how, during the four years the Rahm family spent time visiting Sai Baba’s ashram, Alaya (alius Sam) – then a teenager (from sixteen up) – was, from 1995, singled out by Sai Baba for special attention, receiving an unusually large number of private interviews and being showered with gifts.  During these early private sessions, Sai Baba reportedly rubbed Alaya’s genitals with oil and from here, he reported that advances became more abusive and forceful, including attempts by Sai Baba to procure  oral sex, for alleged ‘purification purposes’.  Ultimately Alaya claims Sai Baba attempted to rape him.  When Alaya plucked up the courage to tell some teenage student friends at the Puttarpathi college, they disclosed that they had also had similar experiences.

Brown refers to a ‘an extraordinary storm of allegations’ called The Findings, compiled by former English devotee David Bailey and his wife Faye, which once published in 2000 on the internet, generated a ‘ raging cyberspace debate’ about whether Sai Baba is truly divine or a fraud and paedophile.

Recently reading The Findings, I discovered the Baileys had been fervent supporters of Sai Baba, before claiming to be exposed to his fraudulent miracles;  then hearing firsthand accounts of sexual allegations from  male students, the Baileys defected from the ashram, and conducted further research.

Sai BabaThey published The Findings to shed light on what they called ‘this huge illusory scam – the biggest hoax in the God business’,  sharing a selection from the hundreds of personal accounts from devotees they collected, with the intention to ‘tear the veil from the avatar’.  The Findings also contain allegations of financial impropriety, embezzlement, implications with murders, and of  ‘endless lies’ expounded by Baba to perpetrate his divinity.

Bailey and others explain how Sai Baba faked vibhuti manifestations during darshan concealing the sacred ash in tablet form between his fingers, and then crushing them at an opportune moment such as when taking letters from devotees. And the various jewellery pieces manifested endlessly by Baba during darshans and private interviews have been proved, The Findings claim, to be worthless trinkets and fakes, bought from local shops.  Baba, it is said, hid such trinkets under his robes and kept a stash of them stored behind the interview room for easy access.

And with regard to vibhuti appearing on pictures around the world, such as Brown came across in London – Bailey suggests many of these are fake, ‘created by chemical means’, and that while some may be genuine, it doesn’t mean they necessarily came from Sai Baba.

Bailey dismisses all the talk of Sai Baba’s powers as fanciful stories.  ‘In five years searching I have not found one to be genuine,’ he says.  ‘Always second hand information.’

And there are suggestions that Sai Baba received more money in donations – hundreds of millions – than has ever visibly been accounted for in his various charitable enterprises.  One example being the Super Speciality Hospital, for which one of the many donations was 49 million US dollars.  ‘Where did it all go?’ Bailey asks, pointing out that aspects of the hospital such as sanitation, were remarkably poor, given the sort of quality one might expect from such hefty investment.

And the sexual allegations include accounts from numerous young men that Sai Baba had rubbed oil in their groin areas.  In many cases he is also alleged to have given and demanded oral sex and there are even claims of sodomy.  When such incidents have been reported to Sai Baba’s senior devotees, the most common response has been that Baba is helping these young men to ‘raise their kundulini’, opening a source of spiritual energy in the body – which is rumoured to be a common spiritual practice in India, most commonly with the application of oil to the area between scrotum and anus.   Other claims in defence of sexual allegations have included suggestions that Baba is removing the effects of bad karma, reducing overactive sexual instincts or simply healing malfunctions.

The Findings gave way to numerous other accusations and debates about Sai Baba on the internet and the rumours have been circulating, no doubt with considerable embellishment, ever since.   And it’s hard to know what to make of it all.  Like how could so many millions of people, including heads of state and highly eminent, intelligent and respectable people be wrong about their beloved Godman, be duped by this alleged conman?

With Sai Baba’s death, I contacted Mick Brown to ask whether his opinion had changed about Sai Baba since his sceptical musings in The Spiritual Tourist and his ensuing expose article in the Telegraph in 2000.  Brown re-expressed his disenchanted with Sai Baba’s self proclamations of divinity.  ‘I didn’t sense a holy demeanour during my visit to his ashram, far from it,’ he said.  ‘I thought the ostentatious temples were far from representative of any divinity and placing statutes of Sai Baba next to icons like Jesus – it’s brainwashing.   A tree and a hut would be more holy.  It’s the cult of personality worship.’

And did he think the sexual allegations were true?   ‘I had no doubt of the sexual allegations having spoken to Alaya Rahm,’ he said.  ‘And I was intrigued by the blind faith of the devotees and the way they responded.  The argument was that he was God so he couldn’t have done this. And if he had done so it was beyond what we can understand.  It was a catch 22 of denial.’

I asked Sai Baba devotee Shivanima (a devotee for over 20 years) what she made of the sexual allegations.  ‘You have to remember that the ashram and all it represents is simply a reflection of what’s going on throughout the world,’ she said.  ‘One of the key issues in the world today is abuse, of all kinds.  Sexuality, power and money are all base chakra issues and the most dysfunctional issues today.  Swami is a blank page on which everything is mirrored.  His ability to bring up this dysfunction with certain people manifests itself as interfering with some young men.  But you have to remember that he is an omniscient God man, not a mere mortal and that everything he does is for the highest good of all. “Guru” means “one who removes darkness”, and God is eternally manifesting and washing away darkness and dysfunction.  And this was his purpose no matter what it looks like.  That darkness has to manifest itself to be cleansed.’

And yet is it conceivable to view Sai Baba as a god?   Brown clearly doesn’t think so.   ‘The more detached I am the more I think it’s preposterous to denote divinity to any human being,’ he told me.  ‘People get this whole notion of divinity about someone and then the whole thing can snowball downhill.’

Sai Baba

Photo: sai-fi.net

But perhaps it depends on your individual understanding of God.  Echoing many religious viewpoints, Sai Baba claimed we are all God, that we all have divinity within us.  Renowned cosmologist and author Dr Jude Currivan PhD – who spent time at Sai Baba’s Brindivan ashram in 1994 following what she considered to be a providential calling – suggests that the only difference between Sai Baba and many others is ‘that he knew he was God, whilst they still didn’t realise that they were.’

Whether a god beyond our judgment or a mere mortal displaying an extreme range of supreme human attributes and fatal flaws – for most of us,  Sai Baba remains an astonishing enigma.  But whatever faults he may or may not have had, the enormous amount of good he brought to the world during his lifetime should not be overlooked.  Mick Brown, despite his reservations about Sai Baba, concedes, ‘There is no doubting the sincerity of his followers and the fact that extraordinary good things have come out of that – the endless schools, the hospitals.  That’s the paradox for me.’

Since spending time at Sai Baba’s ashram 11 years ago, I have befriended a few devotees who are invariably intelligent, kind hearted and sincere truth seekers, and I have always been touched by their devotion to Sai Baba, remaining unflinching in the face of all scandals.  ‘I simply know with all my heart that Baba is pure,’ they would typically say.    And I have always found it hard to doubt them.  After all, my knowledge of Sai Baba is comparatively superficial, these people have lived and breathed his essence.

For many of his devotees, Sai Baba lives on.  ‘I feel Sai Baba is still so present,’ says Shivanima, ‘his energy of love as strong as it’s ever been and it’s like his gift of the body to mankind has somehow released a flow of love onto the planet, the magnitude of which we cannot begin to know.’

Dr Jude Currivan, while not a devotee, is typical of many Sai Baba advocates in experiencing a powerful awakening as a result of his influence.   ‘I had been in a very corporate environment and mindset before encountering Sai Baba,’ Jude told me, ‘and while I’ve “walked between worlds” all my life, he helped to liberate me from that limited perception and really begin my spiritual service for which I’m enormously grateful’.  Once Group Finance Director of two major international companies, today Jude has dedicated her life to generating conscious evolution, reaching thousands through her books and spiritual teachings worldwide.

Whatever we choose to believe about Sai Baba, let us not forget the extraordinary benevolence he created in his lifetime, inspiring and transforming millions of lives in India and around the world with his universal messages of service, love and unity, his remarkable contribution to health, education and social values and his boundless humanitarian aid.

Some say Sai Baba will be back before we know it – he predicted his return to earth and India eight years after his death in his latest incarnation as family man Prema Sai, spreading peace and love throughout the world.  Watch this space…!

Comments

comments

Tags: ,

Category: Articles, Conscious Frontiers, Consciousness

Will Gethin

About the Author

View Author Profile

Since 2004, Will Gethin has worked as a holistic explorer and travel writer, writing articles for the Independent, the Evening Standard and various lifestyle, wellbeing and environmental magazines, including Tatler, Harpers Bazaar, Resurgence, Kindred Spirit and Yoga Magazine. In February 2012, he set up Conscious Frontiers, a leading edge communications, speakers and events agency giving voice to the growing movement of people working to propel a shift in consciousness. Inspirational speakers represented by Conscious Frontiers include Peter Owen Jones, Graham Hancock, Dr David Hamilton, Tim Freke, Dr Jude Currivan and Sarah Rozenthuler. Prior to founding Conscious Frontiers, Will also worked as a communications consultant, promoting humanitarian and intercultural organisations like The Isbourne Foundation, IT Schools Africa, The Makhad Trust, Tribe of Doris and Afrika Eye Film Festival. And he founded a Guest Speaker programme at the Isbourne Holistic Centre in 2008, bringing leading edge conscious living authors and presenters like Byron Katie, Graham Hancock, Dr Masaru Emoto and Brandon Bays to Cheltenham to present educational talks and workshops. From 1993-2003, Will worked in music, consumer and arts PR for London agencies, ultimately working as Account Director for Virgin Megastore at Borkowski PR. Will is also a Contributing Editor to Life Arts Media.

View Author Profile

Comments (3)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Felipe Muñoz says:

    Spiritual movements received many people. Few people could suffer mental disorders that could increase with spiritual practices. Some of them could leave the movement and do many kinds of allegations. Is very common i all movements. But the author do not realize this.

    Allegations without proofs are non valid. Everybody is innocent until the opposite is proved. It is a human right. It is seems Sai Baba was a holy man. Nobody never accussed him formaly. He was never under trial

    • Will Gethin says:

      Yes, this is a valid point, thank you; most of the world’s great, celebrated spiritual figures have been subject to negative allegations of one kind or another, whether justified or not. And no, nothing has been proved about Sai Baba, and the article aimed to show the balance of opinion shared to date, not to condemn him.

  2. deniz crisss says:

    He is absolutely a fake sage… the people who have not had enough courage to search in themselves went to him …India produced some great mystiques like Rmakrishna paramahamsa, Jiddu Krishnamurthi, ramamaharshi, shirdi sai Baba, Kabir Das etc… but this Sai Baba is a disgrace to whole Indian spiritual history,,,…

Go Ahead, Speak Your Mind




If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.