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Correspondence with Dr. Goldstein
A Mothers Letter to Dr. Goldstein and his reported response, March 1997.
March 19th 1997
Dear Dr. Goldstein,
This is going to be such a personal letter, I feel I really should be writing it by hand. But my husband and kids still can barely decipher my penmanship, so I'll spare you the effort! First, my heartfelt thanks for your concern and support yesterday regarding my son and my family. I, needless to say, am still processing the feeling of shock. Yesterday, I reacted by distancing myself from the kids and my husband, and more or less turning my grief inward, letting it become irritation with them. I even entertained fantasies (and I emphasize they WERE merely fleeting daydreams) of leaving them all and moving to India for good. Ha! I know Swami would turn me out on my ear were I to do that. Dr. Goldstein, I am going to ask you to do something that I know is an extremely difficult thing to do. You hold such an important position in Swami's organization, and you are the logical person I have to turn to with this request. Please know that just writing this out is bringing tears to my eyes.
It looks like it may be years before I will be able to return to India to see Swami again. Since I am one of the many devotees who have never had an interview (not even when my son got called in!), I can't even guarantee that if I WERE to go soon, Swami would grant me an audience. But I know you talk about important matters with him frequently. And, for reasons I will delineate below, I feel that this has become a very important issue.
I think it is time that someone ask Swami specifically why he performs the actions he does with young boys - materializing the liquid that he puts above their pubic hair. This is an action that apparently many, many people are aware that he does, since every one I discuss this with has already heard about it from someone else about other young boys.
Dr. Goldstein, I came home today and again phoned my friend who just returned from her most recent of many, lengthy trips to India. This is a woman who has been published in the Sanathana Sarathi, and other significant Sai publications, and has had many beautiful experiences with Swami, including being given a beautiful materialized ring. I trust her integrity, and I trust her own experience of Swami. In 1994 she went through a similar "dark night of the soul" about Swami when a man living in the XXXX region who was a long time student of Swami's told her a terribly shocking story. She left for India three weeks later to see Swami face to face and ask him in person what this story was all about. But he never granted her an interview, or came close to where she was sitting. But she said while she was there then, and in the most recent visit, people continued to bring similar stories (unsolicited by her) literally from around the world - describing how Swami had sexually molested boys... not simply the water action above the pubic hair, but stories stating that he has had oral sex with many boys. In fact, she recently heard that a boy from Germany was so traumatized that he went home and stood before his Center group and told them what had happened to him and many German Centers apparently closed as a result (if you check into this story, I would love to hear what you've learned).
She told me that the student who shared his experience with her here in XXXX, did so in a "story form," since they were in a room with other people who he apparently did not want to hear of his experience. First of all, he said that about 25% of the young boys in the colleges demonstrated homosexual behavior. This is not at all surprising to me, since they are encouraged so strictly to adhere to rigid moral codes of conduct. Their sexual impulses are bound to surface somehow! But what was extremely disturbing to me was the following story this student told my friend. He said it was like being in a desert alone with a camel driver.
There is no one else around and you know he is the only one who has the water and the means to get home, and if you leave his side, you will die of thirst. So you stay with him and hope that he will eventually get you safely home. At night, he pitches a tent, and you sleep inside the tent with him, and he rapes you, but again, you know he is your key to getting home, and you really have no where else to turn, so you stay! My friend looked at the ex-student after he told her this story, and she said, "I know what you are talking about - why haven't you told anyone about this??!!!" His response was, "who would believe me?!"
I asked my friend why, if he had this experience, would he continue to attend Baba functions. She said that she asked him the same thing, and his response was that he had reconciled his relationship with the Cosmic representation of Swami, and adheres to that versus having a physical relationship with him.
I have to tell you what I have been telling my friend and my family. My response to all of this is still very (and amazingly, I must say) neutral. It is extremely difficult for me to reconcile these stories with my understanding of who Swami is! In fact, this friend told me some of these stories last autumn in letters from India right after she heard them, and after giving them a lot of consideration, my response was to write her that I've come to realize my path is that of the Bhakta - I am so thoroughly and deeply in love with Swami that if you told me he murdered someone, I could not stop loving him...
But you see, though in my heart - even with all these "tests" - I still feel this way, these stories are now part of my family's inheritance. These stories are now part of my HOME. I can't, as Jesus said, put the Devil behind me when it is staring me in the face. If my son is perceiving his experience as a violation at the same time these stories are being told to me, it is my duty as a mother to seek the truth.
Dr. Goldstein, whenever I have had a question that was seriously troubling me concerning a spiritual or moral understanding - I pursued it and sought to achieve a peaceful heart about it by leaving no stone unturned until I got to the information that I felt was true, moral and just. Often, this information would practically fall into my lap because my desire to "know" was so intense. I feel now that the question I could ignore before because it wasn't affecting me personally, now must be confronted. My family has the right, after supporting my faith in Swami for twelve years, to know what is true. Quite frankly, I can't give them a satisfactory answer right now!
Because I have been with Swami this long, I have many Sai friends from the Centers in XXXX and XXXX. It is going to be a huge shock to them that I have chosen to close this Center, which has been run from my house for seven years now! I'm going to have to tell them it is because of how my son feels about his experience with Swami. I can't lie about that. You can rest assured that I won't repeat the stories I've shared with you in detail, though I may tell close friends that there are rumors to which I hope to find answers. My intention is to hopefully hear directly from the students or foreign boys who say they have had these experiences with Swami either tell me about them themselves, or, as I deeply hope, tell me that they are products of rumors.
I DO know how rapidly and ridiculously rumors about Swami can spread and get out of control. I happened to be the person a few years ago who unintentionally started the rumor that had you faxing XXXX XXXX from India imploring us to stop. My memory of what occurred was that a very dear friend of mine, also a very devoted ex-student of Swami's, phoned me early that morning saying his sister had just called from India. The call was so urgent that she refused to hang up the phone and let him call her back, as was their usual practice to save her money. She had just left a discourse wherein Swami had told the students that the following week would be a particularly auspicious time to concentrate all their thoughts on God/Swami, since whatever they focused on would come true. XXXX called me and told me to let all the Centers know. I then phoned XXXX XXXX, who phoned the Centers in XXXX, - I phoned the Centers here - and the rumor mill churned away. By that evening (or possibly the next), XXXX phoned me to get to the heart of the story, and by then what he'd heard was radically different from the story I heard from XXXX that morning! And the story had circulated the entire United States in that incredibly short amount of time!
In my heart, I am feeling these stories about Swami are simply misinterpretations of experiences that these kids have had that are similar to that of my son's (and my son's friend, XXXX, who, a few years later experienced Swami doing the same thing to him at age 19). But I'm at the point now where I HAVE to make sure this heart isn't so saturated with love for Swami that it is in some sort of denial about things uncomfortable to hear. As I said before, this is in my home now - I can no longer ignore it because it is uncomfortable.
So I am asking you, as a devotee, and as a person who has tried to live up to Swami's teachings (and not always succeeded, but continued to try again), to please represent these questions that I know MUST be troubling other people, too. If Swami is performing this as a rite to heal the lower chakra of pubescent young men, it is time he let us know. As another friend (who has heard about other boys having the same experience) said - if it IS some kind of healing rite, it might make the kids feel more comfortable about having it done were they told ahead of time what was going to be done, and why! This question, which haunted my son enough to be fearful that his little twelve year old brother might have to experience the same thing, should be answered!
Please, I am going to be anxiously waiting to hear your response to this request. I can't emphasize enough how important I feel the question is. The closing of this Center, and the telling of why it is closed is going to put unnecessary doubt in so many people's minds - not just devotees, but a huge extended family and many friends who have taken peripheral interest in Swami through my family's activities. I can't lie about why it is closing, nor can I say nothing. I have a husband and sons who will come forward with the information one way or another, and I feel it is better that people hear it directly from me.
Thank you so very much, Dr. Goldstein, for giving me such gentle support yesterday.
I'll be phoning XXXX and XXXX this weekend to let them know that the Center will be moving to a new location (I still have to clear this with my friend) - and that I'll be resigning as president (for now, anyway (?)). Blessings to you and yours,
NAME WITHHELD ON REQUEST
Dr. Goldstein and I spoke after I sent him the letter (I can't remeber if he called me or visa versa), and he urged me not to let others know about all the things I put in my letter to him, as he didn't want me to shake the faith of others. He then promised me that he would ask baba about the oil "ritual" "if the appropriate opportunity" arose. I talked with him again after his return from India in summer of 1997, and he said he never asked the question. The "purity" response was when he recently went to India after hearing from the XXXX about their son (I'm not sure exactly when - last year sometime).
He finally DID confront Sai Baba, but all that was needed to be said to deter Goldstein from further confrontation with him. was, according to XXXX: "I am pure." But I'm not sure how comfortable the XXXX family is with having their story go too public at this point. I think they're most interested in supporting their son through his period of transition - so if you print any of this info, please don't use their names.