Saturday, 25 January 2014

Kevin RD Shepherd Not a New Age Promoter

Sathya  Sai  Baba


The Pro-Sai campaign of Gerald Joe Moreno entailed an excessive and blanket denunciation of all critics of Sathya Sai Baba and himself. This activity involved an acute tendency to misrepresent his opponents.

The misleading blogtalk of Gerald Joe Moreno (alias Equalizer) presented me as a “New Age Promoter.” In a 2008 blog bearing this title, I was assailed as “a vanity self-publisher and author whose writings mostly revolve around (or include numerous references to) the Findhorn Foundation, Stanislav Grof and Holotropic Breathing.” 

This judgment reveals an acute misconception or manipulation that is not supported by my writings. Not having read my books, Moreno invented capricious themes of an extremist nature. My first website did frequently mention the Findhorn Foundation (in a critical context), and to a lesser extent Grof, but that factor is no gauge of my output as a whole. 

A related peculiarity was the assertion of Equalizer that “Kevin Shepherd typically references Kate Thomas (aka “Jean Shepherd,” his mother) and Stephen J. Castro in his writings.” Uninformed readers gained the impression that all I wrote about in my books and web articles were my mother and one other writer. The convenience of this contraction for Pro-Sai polemic was considerable, but by no means justified. See further my bibliography of books and web articles

In the same blog, Equalizer arrived at the disputed conclusion that “these verifiable facts leave Kevin Shepherd looking rather pathetic and foolish and reeking of hypocrisy.” This demeaning verdict appeared in the same paragraph as the incessant Moreno theme that I had endorsed the “psychic trance medium Conny Larsson.” I had done no such thing, as inspection of my output will reveal. 

I had merely cited the FECRIS report of ex-devotee Conny Larsson concerning sexual abuse on the part of Sathya Sai Baba (d. 2011). In contrast, the Larsson workshop adventures in “psychic trance” and Vedic mantra may well amount to confused ex-devotee activity. Such lapses could hardly be more objectionable than the vituperative polemic of an aggressive blogger like Gerald Joe Moreno. 

Kevin R. D. Shepherd 

ENTRY no. 18 

Copyright © 2014 Kevin R. D. Shepherd. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Robert Priddy and VK Narasimhan

V.K. Narasimhan and Robert Priddy, 1994

Gerald Joe Moreno (Equalizer) was a militant supporter of Sathya Sai Baba (d. 2011). He maintained extremist descriptions of ex-devotee Robert Priddy, a retired academic in Norway. Moreno  wrongly presented  Priddy as an LSD advocate. Priddy had taken LSD long before in the 1960s; his own report invalidates the accusation. "My involvement with LSD ended many decades ago." The LSD defamation was spread extensively on the web by the cyberstalker tactics of Moreno, who was taken to task for infringing copyright.
 
Moreno bracketed me with Priddy, and to the extent of creating a blog feature entitled “Kevin Shepherd and Robert Priddy.” I was presented as a virtual accomplice in Anti-Sai crime with the leading Western critic of Sathya Sai Baba. In actual fact, I had never met Priddy, was not an ex-devotee (or devotee), and merely corresponded with him at one period several years ago. I was sympathetic to his substantial dissident data; Priddy was informative to a surprising degree. Yet I did not share his outlook as a whole, which tended to be sceptical in the materialist sense (there is abundant  latitude for scepticism, but this does not have to be materialist in order to possess validity).
 
A Wikipedia article on Priddy cited my book Investigating the Sai Baba Movement (2005), and this development prompted a Moreno campaign in my direction, at first on a Wikipedia User page. When I objected to this treatment, Moreno (SSS108) targeted me at his notorious website. I was even depicted by Moreno as participating with Priddy in a “constant bashing of Sai Devotees as liars.” In reality, I protested against the aggression and manipulation of Moreno, which commenced against me on Wikipedia.
 
Moreno (Equalizer) made elaborate complaints that Priddy had made huge mistakes in his report of V.K. Narasimhan (d. 2000), a devotee of Sathya Sai Baba who lived at the Puttaparthi ashram. The idiom was: “It is entirely possible that Robert Priddy fabricated or embellished information about V.K. Narasimhan to further his venomous campaigns against Sai Baba.” That was one of the more restrained Moreno assertions.
 
When I inspected the relevant materials, it was obvious to me that Moreno was avoiding the crucial point. I expressed this disagreement on my first website, and was treated to a volley of attack strategy that quickly showed on my Google name listing. Moreno asserted that one of his webpages provided “concise and damning information about him [Priddy] that proves he is not credible.” The word proves was here rendered in bold print, part of the blog tactic designed to emphasise Moreno key words as being unassailable.
 
The attack was extended in such phrases as: “Robert Priddy’s attributions to V. K. Narasimhan are subjective and non-verifiable hearsay.” The word subjective was here emphasised. Nobody was supposed to argue with such finality of judgment; to do so was a crime of major proportions and an offence punishable by libellous blog campaign.
 
The Equalizer blog “Kevin Shepherd and V. K. Narasimhan” was typically tyrannical and condemnatory. For example, “Kevin Shepherd’s position about V. K. Narasimhan undermines his self-professed integrity and highlights his bias and unsupported viewpoints.” I had never made a case of professing integrity, but had instead objected to the misrepresentation achieved by Gerald Joe Moreno.
 
Priddy has published online his early diaries dating from the 1990s and earlier, when he was a devotee of Sathya Sai Baba and in personal contact with Narasimhan. These diaries furnish adequate proof of his contentions. Priddy himself was at first puzzled. “My very first discussion with Narasimhan... left me perplexed, because he openly ridiculed those who insisted that Sai Baba was omniscient and omnipotent.” Moreover, Narasimhan “always harboured doubts about Sathya Sai Baba’s extravagant assertions.” Quotes from Narasimhan-Priddy.   
 
Narasimhan was an atypical devotee, formerly a journalist of repute; he is reported to have been deeply critical of varied events and policies relating to his guru Sathya Sai Baba. This instance serves to underline that prohibitive mandates about “what could not have happened” require due caution in the analysis of guru phenomena.
 
Kevin R. D. Shepherd
 
ENTRY no. 17
 
Copyright © 2014 Kevin R. D. Shepherd. All Rights Reserved.