Eamon Hardy of BBC’s This World produced and directed a remarkable documentary that includes interviews with an old friend of ours, the late Basava Premanand, India’s guru-buster extraordinaire. [Previously.]
The subject of the film is Satya Sai Baba, a guru with disciples across the globe, including some right here in Berkeley. Claiming to be an incarnation of the godhead, the baba [saint] collects millions in donations from his followers whilst allegedly diddling their sons.
So it’s not just Republican-boosting Bible Belt Christian megachurch preachers and the occasional bathroom-haunting, toe-tapping senator who walk on the wild side if the subjects of the documentary are to believed. But unlike his American counterparts, Sai Baba has impenetrable protection from the Indian government. Premanand, who was our house guest back for several days a couple of decades ago, said the Indian government covets the millions of dollars brought into the country by his American followers.
And even one well-known American follower follower who said he believed the child abuse allegations says it doesn’t matter. Nor would murder.
Premanand knew about murder attempts, since he’d be the target of several as he traveled the country, studying the wonder-working gurus and duplicating each of their marvels by utterly earthly means. He remained, throughout his life, Sai Baba’s implacable nemesis.