Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Another request to continue the (verbal) fight against Muddenahalli group FALSE BELIEF but ...

A Facebook friend (FF2) wrote over FB chat today:
Sai Ram dear Ravi, I just saw your post about Mervyn Hughes threatening legal action regarding your posts on Muddenahalli. Ravi, don't worry, he has no grounds whatsoever. If anything you are the voice of reason in online social media discussions about Muddenahalli and impartially provide both sides of the argument. Your reasoned, calm and balanced approach is very much needed! It is sad to see the depths to which Mervyn is sinking in his bid to bolster the Muddenahalli sham. There is more information on the horizon which Mervyn will not be happy about. Please don't withdraw from this fight - your opinion is not only wanted, it is needed!

I (Ravi) wrote back (edited):

Well, my elder sister with whom I have very strong bonds of love and respect, got very upset and worried. I tried to convince her that it (the police and legal action threat) is a bluff and that I have some support from people in Puttaparthi and from some Facebook friends. But I also told her the reality that there are Muddenahalli supporters in Puttaparthi as well. She lives in Mumbai and has read about/heard of a lot of such stuff (threats) in Mumbai and the rest of India (like I and my elder brother who also have read about/heard of a lot of such stuff in Mumbai and the rest of India). She was more worried about other attacks on me than the legal and police complaint thing. I think the same would have been the case with my old friends from the software industry. To be honest, they are right. In India, for such stuff, people can be not only beaten up but also killed by paid hitmen. This is India's reality.

I was willing to take the risk considering that I was conveyed words of support by some people in Puttaparthi. But I had to listen to my sister's emotional plea to me. She said that as it is my elder brother is going through health issues. She said that she cannot handle me getting into such issues especially as I live alone in Puttaparthi. [I already face some health issues of my own.] I had to respond to her in the way I did (by agreeing to tone down my criticism of Muddenahalli group).

May I share your words ANONYMOUSLY on social media?

FF2 wrote:
I am more than happy for you to share my words anonymously. You have given a tremendous amount of effort to trying to bring out the truth about Muddenahalli and I want you to know that it is greatly appreciated.

I (Ravi) wrote back (slightly edited):
Thanks --name-snipped--. I will do so (share anonymously).

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Perhaps others will come forward to take my place wrt my writings about FALSE BELIEF of Muddenahalli group

Last updated on 24th August 2016

[A recent Facebook comment of mine which I felt appropriate to put up as a separate post is given below.]

Here's a Facebook chat interaction I had with a Facebook friend (FF) over yesterday & today.

FF: Sairam Ravi, will you be less involved in the MDH stuff from now?

Ravi: I guess so.

FF: You are the articulate, vigorous, passionate voice of this side of the issue, Ravi
Is this the beginning of the end for the resistance?

Ravi: I have no idea. I owe my elder sister a lot. I have to respect her wishes in this regard. I am bound by the duty of (springing from) my love and respect for her. ... Even when I was brutally marginalized and humiliated in the Sai university, NOT A SINGLE PERSON in the Sai university where I offered FREE SERVICE for 9 years came forward to support me!!! NOT ONE!!! It was my elder sister & family, and my elder brother and family (all of whom are not Sai devotees) and my old software industry colleagues (all of whom are not Sai devotees) who came to my aid then.

If there is one thing I have learned from the ****FIRE**** that I have been put through by Swami after His Mahasamadhi it is that I need to be loyal and faithful to those who have been loyal and faithful to me.

Ravi: Of course, mine is only one voice now in this matter. There are many other voices which are active in this regard. Perhaps as I have now withdrawn from publicly posting/commenting on some aspects of this Muddenahalli group matter, others may come forward to take my place. Thanks.

Given below are some of the comments on my Facebook post,, associated with the above post contents.

Vr Ganti wrote (slightly edited):
Om Sri Sai Ram - I think it is not your sister or friends who made you to do what you did right now Ravi S. Iyer Sir. It is BHAGAWAN SRI SATHYA SAI BABA who makes every thing happen. You(r) sister and friends are only instruments but the force behind is the DIVINE FORCE.

If only we know why Baba did what he did, we will not be here on this planet. We would have been with Baba already. So let us continue with the faith that some other person or persons will come into your shoes and do that job (which) has to continue.

Ravi S. Iyer responded:
Noted your view, Vr Ganti sir. Thanks.

Ap Ramesh wrote:
unfortunately there is no 'dislike' option on FB
[His comment included an animated icon of a face with tears being shed.]

Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
Sorry Ap Ramesh sir! Sorry for the "tears shed"! Very expressive icon you have used, I must say.

--Name-snipped-- wrote:
It is indeed very unfortunate that you should be off presenting this issue. May our Most Beloved Bhagawan continue to be always with you!

Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
Thanks for your good wishes --name-snipped--.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Will be toning down my criticism of Muddenahalli group FALSE BELIEF

Last modified on 23rd August 2016

Today, I was blasted on the phone by my elder sister, a (retired) medical doctor based in Mumbai, for having got involved with matters where I had become a target of a police/legal action threat against me by a Muddenahalli group supporter on Facebook (even if the Id is a fake Id).

BTW it is my elder sister who was supportive of my getting more deeply associated with the Sathya Sai movement/organization in the early 90s (Dombivli Samithi, Maharashtra) and taking an off-beat life path (staying single and eventually choosing to retire from commercial work at 40 years of age and moving to Puttaparthi for a "spiritual career").

In this phone call, she even said that she was wondering whether she did the right thing in supporting my taking up this off-beat spiritual aspirant path. She said that I had become a crusader now instead of a spiritual aspirant! I was deeply moved by her love for me and thanked her for the genuine concerns and worries she had about my well being, and gave a lengthy explanation of why I am doing what I do. She was not that convinced with my explanation.

I had to bow down to the love and concern expressed by my elder sister, and so have decided to follow her desire that I should tone down any aggressive language that I use when I am critical of Muddenahalli group FALSE BELIEF in a so called chosen communicator who says he can see, hear and talk with an invisible to others, so called subtle body of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. I was able to convince her of why I have to state that it is a FALSE BELIEF publicly.

I have said to her that I will NOT POST or COMMENT on anything related to police interrogation of Muddenahalli group (if that happens again). I also told her that I will not respond to any verbal attacks on me by Muddenahalli group promoters/supporters.

A couple of my old software industry colleague friends had also expressed similar concerns out of their love for me. I was moved by that and thanked them for the same.

I thought I should also share with readers my thoughts about why I do what I do (wrt writings critical of Muddenahalli group belief).

The questions are whether I have peace of mind now? Is this what I had come to Puttaparthi for as a spiritual aspirant nearly one and a half decades ago? Aren't my current issues worse than corporate life challenges that I had to deal with prior to moving to Puttaparthi in Oct. 2002? I mean, have I become worse off by moving to Puttaparthi and getting involved in all these matters, than I would have been had I continued in my software industry career in Mumbai? Some of my close relatives and old friends seem to think so.

Let me try to share with you, dear readers, my response to above questions and my mind-set now.

Am I leading a spiritually serene and calm life over the past year or two (I started actively and publicly criticising and challenging Muddenahalli splinter group BELIEF in so called communicator and so called subtle body, from around March 2015)? No, not at all. It is more like being in the middle of a political campaign with nasty words being exchanged on social media, and I have received in the past some dirty looks too aimed at scaring me from writing whistle-blowing kind of stuff [that was over a year ago, if I recall correctly; not now]. I don't think I have ever been involved in such stuff in my entire life prior to March 2015. Even corporate politics that I had sometimes got entangled in, during my international software industry career, had never got to such lows.

So then why am I doing all this? Why don't I just get out of this whistle-blowing stuff and criticism of Muddenahalli splinter group stuff, and do traditional spiritual stuff focusing on Love, Joy and Peace?

To answer that question, I need to first give some short history of what happened with me after Sathya Sai's Mahasamadhi (April 2011) and then provide the answer.

1) In the short span of a few months after Sathya Sai's Mahasamadhi, the Puttaparthi ashram system, very unfortunately, but perhaps not unexpectedly given the great power vacuum that Sathya Sai bodily passing away created, got broken into small fiefdoms some of which were bossed over by some power monger or the other. Many old staff who were not willing to obey some such power-crazed bosses found themselves marginalized, and sometimes forced out (I was humiliated and my role was brutally marginalized).

2) As I saw all this happening with Sathya Sai's vision being pushed aside in some parts of the ashram system (including Sai university), and instead new/different vision of bosses being forced on the fiefdoms they had control of in the ashram system, I got pretty traumatized and sorrowful. When I saw that similar was the case with some veterans of the Sai university who were forced out or chose to quit in disgust, I got disconsolate first and then furious.

3) But I was a nobody in the system - a Visiting Faculty which was my designation then in the Sai university, is like a contractor (contract "employee") in a company. His/her services can be terminated without giving any reason. I decided to quit the Sai university after giving them privately (NOT publicly on social media), my harsh view that they had lost their way and were following untruth and unethical behaviour. This happened in the period, March to June 2012.

4) After this, say from around July 2012, I switched off from the Sai university stuff, and focused on a new life for me as an outside ashram Puttaparthi townsman who was blogging about Indian Computer Science & Information Technology academic reform and on spirituality & religion. Slowly and steadily the trauma of the succession war (without any violence, by God's grace) that I saw in the Sai university and the Puttaparthi ashram system, became something that I had got distant from. I began enjoying the peace of Puttaparthi rural town life and my new found hobby/vocation of writing on the above mentioned topics.

5) I slowly started making a name for myself as a blogger on Sathya Sai Baba and on spirituality & religion in general, in a small set of mainly Sathya Sai devotees in and around the year 2014. I was not blogging on any controversial stuff and had not done any whistle-blowing at all. So it was a peaceful and nice life.

6) I heard about the Muddenahalli splinter group activities from time to time (them opening some new schools, and a super speciality kind of hospital, all offering free service). It was a much smaller setup then, I guess. I felt nice that some people who could not get along with the bosses of Puttaparthi ashram had parted ways and done their own service to society thing. I mean, instead of more infighting here, they chose to move out and do their separate thing. I also had done something similar, except I was doing it at an individual level.

7) May 2014 was a watershed month in the post Mahasamadhi Sathya Sai movement. While the Muddenahalli group channel/medium/communicator Madhusudan Rao Naidu was doing the channelling/medium stuff in the name of Sathya Sai earlier on too, it was not known publicly (I did not know of it prior to May 2014, if I recall correctly). But in May 2014 they went public, and had a host of top people from the Sathya Sai fratenity with them in their public meetings whose videos were put out on the Internet! It was a sensation but I and perhaps many others did not treat them that seriously then.

8) In July 2014, one of the official media outlets of Puttaparthi ashram, Radio Sai, had an article strongly critical of the claims made by Madhusudan Rao Naidu of being a medium of Sathya Sai. In the same month I put out a blog post referencing this article of Radio Sai, but, if I recall correctly, I took a balanced view of the matter where I praised their social service work but disputed the outlandish claim of Madhusudan Rao Naidu of being able to see, hear and talk with an invisible to others so called subtle body of Sathya Sai.

9) Over the next few months I was pleasantly surprised (more of a pleasant shock really) to see significant traffic to my above mentioned blog post (at that time I was not on Facebook). I did not realize that that significant traffic (mostly driven by Google search or other search engines, I guess) was an indication of how much interest there was in this claim of Madhusudan Rao Naidu among Sathya Sai devotees worldwide. As my post was balanced, I did not get any hate comments at all. Even disagreement was pretty polite.

10) If I recall correctly, in March 2015, one of the leading speakers/preachers of Puttaparthi ashram, Prof. Anilkumar Kamaraju (AK) who has extensively travelled worldwide and still travels worldwide speaking about Sathya Sai and his teachings, got very emotional when a foreign devotee asked him in one of his talks at Puttaparthi ashram, about Muddenahalli. She asked whether it was OK to go or not? AK poured his heart out on this matter at the meeting, whose video was put on the Internet and which was viewed by me. He asked quite emotionally whether there is nobody else who will help him to counter these claims made by Muddenahalli group which went against the teachings of Sathya Sai. [Sathya Sai has repeatedly said that he never uses a medium to communicate with his devotees.]

11) This emotional appeal from AK sir (an elderly, 70s man) pricked me very deep. As I saw the video, I had to ask myself whether it was right of me to be a spectator watching the Muddenahalli splinter group make tremendous inroads into the Sathya Sai orgn. worldwide and essentially divide the Sathya Sai movement worldwide. Further, it was slowly and steadily becoming clear to me that Madhusudan Rao Naidu's claims had serious flaws in it.

12) This was my turning point. I decided I cannot ignore this emotional appeal of AK sir. By that time (March 2015), I had already acquired some visibility in Sathya Sai circles as a blogger. Further, my post on this matter referred earlier, Radio Sai article on recent Swami (Sathya Sai Baba) subtle form appearance controversy,, authored on July 11th 2014, last updated on Aug. 11th 2015, was becoming an important Internet resource for Sathya Sai devotees searching for information on this claimed medium of Sathya Sai. So I was in a position to provide right information and my views on the matter to Sathya Sai devotees searching for such stuff on the Internet.

13) Around March 2015, I started posting my posts to both my blog and Facebook. I started participating in conversations on this Muddenahalli claim matter on Facebook. Very shortly, within a matter of months, perhaps due to my having been a faculty at the Sai university in the past, my views were becoming important and were drawing fire from Muddenahalli group supporters on Facebook. This sort of fire being directed at me on Facebook (no police threats but strong comments) by Muddenahalli group supporters was my first taste of how social media could disturb me. I could have beaten a hasty retreat by stopping my Facebook stuff and limiting myself to my blog where the conversation was far more polite. But the reader numbers and so impact, were on Facebook!

So the question was should I back off from the debate and leave it to AK sir and others to battle it out. Given the great benefits that I have received from my beloved Gurudev Sri Sathya Sai Baba, as well as from the Sathya Sai fraternity, over two decades then, I felt it was my duty to both Sathya Sai and the fraternity, to engage in the debate and expose the false claims of Madhusudan Rao Naidu and the Muddenahalli group backing him.

As I was in a position to gather information about them, slowly and steadily it became clear that while the medium/channel may have some paranormal powers of mind and memory reading, he was NOT preaching and doing things the Sathya Sai way! He was diluting and distorting the teachings of Sathya Sai and that many Sai devotees were swallowing it hook, line and sinker!

By then I had read a lot about the history of religions like Christianity and Islam about whom we have a lot of material from somewhat reliable sources. After the passing away of the prophet/messiah, a very important duty of his followers is to ensure that the prophet/messiah's teachings are preserved as properly as possible. I realized how damaging this Muddenahalli group's endorsement of its medium and printing books having his discourses as that of Sathya Sai Baba, could be to the legacy of Sathya Sai.

So I decided that I should become a missionary type of person, ready to even lay down my life to preserve authentically the teachings of my beloved Gurudev, Sathya Sai Baba, and opposing strongly, within the law of the land, any efforts to dilute and corrupt his teachings which is what Muddenahalli group is doing.

During the period Jesus got crucified, Peter denied knowing Jesus as he was so terrified of the horrible worldly fate that Jesus was subjected to bodily. However, Peter recovered and became a leader of the apostles. The first Christian martyr, if I recall correctly, was St. Stephen. He was stoned to death in Jerusalem because he was speaking publicly about and trying to spread, the teachings of Jesus. Similar group of people to those who crucified Jesus seem to have stoned Stephen to death.

I take inspiration from such early apostles and preachers of the Christian faith who battled extraordinary and life-threatening odds to spread the teachings of Jesus. The risks that I face in publicly criticizing Muddenahalli group, and questioning their false claims, is minor as compared to what these apostles faced.

So I am, partially (an activity I do, among other activities I engage in), a kind of self-motivated Internet disseminator of Sathya Sai teachings type of person now  (with some flaws; I don't claim to be perfect), and not a spiritual aspirant who seeks only love, peace and joy. Further, I am willing to face any challenges from those who dilute and corrupt the teachings of Sathya Sai, when I criticize them for it (using my writings within the freedom of speech laws of India).

Hope that gives readers a decent picture of my position now.

An old software industry colleague and friend wrote (slightly edited) and was OK with public sharing:
Dear Ravi - I can fully appreciate how the love and genuine concern of a loved one (your elder sister, in this case) may force you to rethink and tone down your criticism of the splinter group. Love has that power!

Additionally, I have heard/read, and you may have heard/read/experienced that:

(1) for a common/worldly person, the sorrows/sufferings/happiness etc. result from some combination of his/her past/present purushaarth/praarabdha, that is via the classic Theory of Karma!

(2) for a spiritual aspirant (a saadhak striving to progress (in) his/her journey to ultimate goal of merging with the Supreme), the sorrows/sufferings/happiness also comes as a God-sent, in addition to the classic purushaarth/praarabdha factor. God sends deliberate and measured quantum of sorrows/sufferings/happiness to test how firm is the aspirant or even to make him/her firmer in his/her path of spiritual progress. It's said to be His way of making an aspirant firmer on the spiritual development (path). (H)istory is full of such incidents in the lives of spiritually enlightened persons from all faiths, including Hinduism, just the way you have pointed out the Christianity examples of St. Peter and St. Stephen.

The Bhagvad Geeta mentions that there is only one in thousands (manushyanam sahashreshu kashchit yatati siddhaye), who is on the firmer path towards Him! Ravi - I believe, you are one of them!!

Best wishes!

I (Ravi) responded:
Dear --name-snipped--,

Thank you so much for your valuable thoughts and kind words on this matter. As you are associated for decades with another spiritual organization that is very well versed in Sanathana Dharma (Hinduism), your responses to me on such matters, over the years since we reestablished contact perhaps around 2008, after our prior close association in the software industry, have been very helpful to me.

I don't know about how firm I am in my path towards Him but I (and some others in Prasanthi Nilayam/Puttaparthi ashram) have been through some serious FIRE TESTS in the years after Sathya Sai's Mahasamadhi.

Here's a Facebook chat interaction I had with a Facebook friend (FF)
FF: Sairam Ravi, will you be less involved in the MDH stuff from now?

Ravi: I guess so.

FF: You are the articulate, vigorous, passionate voice of this side of the issue, Ravi
Is this the beginning of the end for the resistance?

Ravi: I have no idea. I owe my elder sister a lot. I have to respect her wishes in this regard. I am bound by the duty of (springing from) my love and respect for her. ... Even when I was brutally marginalized and humiliated in the Sai university, NOT A SINGLE PERSON in the Sai university where I offered FREE SERVICE for 9 years came forward to support me!!! NOT ONE!!! It was my elder sister & family, and my elder brother and family (all of whom are not Sai devotees) and my old software industry colleagues (all of whom are not Sai devotees) who came to my aid then.

If there is one thing I have learned from the ****FIRE**** that I have been put through by Swami after His Mahasamadhi it is that I need to be loyal and faithful to those who have been loyal and faithful to me.

Ravi: Of course, mine is only one voice now in this matter. There are many other voices which are active in this regard. Perhaps as I have now withdrawn from publicly posting/commenting on some aspects of this Muddenahalli group matter, others may come forward to take my place. Thanks.

Top Sathya Sai International Org official, Mr. Leonardo Gutter's, revelations about Muddenahalli group

Muddenahalli Fraud and Scam , Talk by Leonardo Pablo Gutter,, Aug. 20th 2016, Uriarte Sathya Sai center, Buenos Aires, Argentina

This is a MUST READ article for those who want to read directly from transcript of talk by Prasanthi Council Member, Mr. Leonardo Gutter, about how Muddenahalli group used unethical means of attracting devotees & donors from official Sai orgn., to grow its mission, and how its (Muddenahalli group) growth using these means, has put pressure on Prasanthi Nilayam/Puttaparthi ashram (including some economic situation challenges) and on official Sai orgn. [Prasanthi Council is the world Sai orgn. (Sathya Sai International Organization) top management body. From "The Sri Sathya Sai World Foundation focuses on policy issues and legal matters of the Sathya Sai International Organization." and "The Prasanthi Council handles implementation and oversight of day-to-day functioning of the Sathya Sai International Organization."]

From what I have seen and heard and experienced of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba as a former teacher of the Sathya Sai university (SSSIHL), Prasanthi Nilayam campus from Jan. 2003 to March 2012 offering FREE SERVICE (designation of Honorary Staff/Honorary Faculty/Visiting Faculty), I can ***ASSURE*** readers that the Sathya Sai who I served would never ever do the things to hurt Prasanthi Nilayam and the official Sai orgn. the way Muddenahalli group is doing, as per the talk of Mr. Leonardo Gutter.

I also am grateful to Mr. Leonardo Gutter for having publicly shared such matters so that Sathya Sai devotees worldwide know the ****TRUTH**** about these matters related to Muddenahalli group. Yes, Muddenahalli group may have a different view of such matters. If so, let us have Shri B.N. Narasimhamurthy and/or Madhusudan Rao Naidu, give their view of Mr. Gutter's talk. Let not intermediaries like Brother VijaySai B.S. write their version as VijaySai B.S. would not have been a participant in the matters revealed by Mr. Gutter. So whatever VijaySai B.S. writes on this matter may be mostly, if not all, hearsay, and so not really credible.

I congratulate Mr. Gutter for the courage he has shown in publicly sharing such matters. I pray to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba to keep showering His Grace on Mr. Gutter.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

About me not being Ph.D. and yet teaching lab. courses and being tech. consultant in the Sai university in the past

Last updated on 23rd August 2016

In the context of some recent posts of mine where I shared some nasty (verbal) attacks on me including one attack about me not being Ph.D., on Facebook, I thought some readers who are not knowledgeable about Indian Computer Science academia may wonder why I was teaching lab. courses in the Sai university though I am not a Ph.D. in Computer Science or otherwise educationally qualified in Computer Science. So I thought of putting up this post explaining the situation.

Well, I did not join Sai university/SSSIHL for an academic career. I retired from commercial work in Aug. 2002 and came to Puttaparthi in Oct. 2002 with an objective of focusing on my "spiritual career" at Prasanthi Nilayam/Puttaparthi if Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba was willing to accept me for such a role. To cut a long story short, in January 2003 my offer to provide FREE SERVICE to Dept. of Mathematics & Computer Science in the Sai university, SSSIHL was accepted, based on my industry experience of 18 years in international software industry (and not based on my educational qualification). Note that Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, Late Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, and Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook, which is what others and I are using for the main social media conversations on this matter (verbal attack on me, and my reaction/defence), all three of these iconic software industry figures did not complete their graduation (forget about PhD). So I am more qualified than them educationally as I am a graduate!!! What matters is their industry achievements/experience. Academia is not the only place one can learn software development. The software industry is a superb place to learn and practise software development, perhaps far better than Indian Computer Science academia as it is now.

Educational qualification wise, I am B.Sc. (Physics) from Bombay University (passed out in 1983). I had joined M.Sc. (Physics) in Bombay University but due to money problems decided to drop out of my M.Sc. after around six months. A few months after dropping out of M.Sc., in March 1984 I was into the software industry as a trainee programmer in my first software company, Datamatics, Mumbai. My biodata can be viewed here:, and details about my software industry experience can be viewed here:

At the time I joined SSSIHL I had no demands whatsoever about designation. But I think the official designations provided by Principal, Prasanthi Nilayam campus, SSSIHL to me of Honorary Staff, Honorary Faculty and Visiting Faculty over my nine year stint, were fair. Later, as I studied UGC norms for such matters, I realized that the right designation for me from UGC norms point of view would be "Visiting Faculty". [In fact, in Prasanthi Nilayam campus, they used to use a term "Regular Visiting Faculty" to describe people like me who were staff doing teaching function (for FREE typically) for the whole academic year, to differentiate us from other Visiting Faculty who would visit the university for a few weeks in a year, typically (for FREE).]

Now, I could have chosen to do Computer Science research and publish academic papers on it, which would have made me PhD equivalent in Computer Science (5 published papers of certain degree of standing is considered equivalent to Ph.D. as per UGC norms, if I recall correctly). As part of my Seva, I used to act as technical consultant for M.Tech. projects and have published two papers as a co-author along with the student and another Visiting Faculty from the USA who was a regular academic Professor. I did that work only to help the student and the department (as it counts towards the department research profile).

If I wanted to publish these 5 papers to meet UGC requirement mentioned above for PhD equivalence, I surely could have done it. Please excuse me about blowing my own bugle, but I have to say that it would not have been a problem for me at all. But I had NOT come to Puttaparthi for an academic career in Computer Science! I had come for a "spiritual career". So I consciously chose not to spend time on doing Computer Science academic research and publishing papers in it (except in the above mentioned two cases to help the students & dept.) My expertise was on software development side - implementation side. I preferred to limit myself to that role which was perfectly OK for my role of teaching software development lab. courses and being technical consultant on software development aspects of M.Tech. (Computer Science) projects.

My main interest in using my spare time after my teaching and technical consultant FREE SERVICE in the Sai university, was in spirituality & religion. I preferred to do a lot of reading in that area instead of doing Computer Science research. I think I have read far more books from the Sai university Prasanthi Nilayam campus library on spirituality & religion, than I have read books from that library on Computer Science or any other subject/field!!!

Very unfortunately, the Sai university did not have, at the time I was associated with it (2003-2012), any dept of religion or comparative religion or even philosophy. If so, I would have really enjoyed interacting with the faculty of such a department.

Readers may also want to read my blog post, Is a PhD in CS/IT Necessarily a Good Teacher?,, dated Sept. 2011.

Given below is a pic of page 1 of my file copy of the letter I gave to Bhagavan in end 2002/early 2003, requesting for Honorary Seva at Prasanthi Nilayam. Swami graciously accepted the letter during Darshan (I had to use token lines Darshan then as I was not staff) after testing me for some time and making me pray intensely to Him to accept the letter. [Update on 21st Aug. 2016: I now realize that I tried to give this letter to Bhagavan for a few days but it was not accepted. The copy of the letter that Bhagavan accepted is given in later on in this post.] [To see documents in pics below in full resolution, use mouse right-click followed by Open in new tab/window.]

Here's pic of page 2 of the letter:

And here's the format of general letter I used for formal application for Honorary Seva at various PN institutions (including Sai university) then (end 2002):

In response to a comment on associated Facebook post of mine,, "Relax buddy don't stress Pls", I (Ravi) wrote:
--Name-snipped--, didn't get the stress part bro. I am sharing all this stuff as I feel that it may help other people who are in similar shoes to what I was in 2002 when I was wanting to move from regular life to ashram life. It is more of a chronicling of what happened in my journey rather than a stressed out response.

Here's a small extract from an older blog post of mine that deals with Bhagavan testing me for some days before accepting my letter to him (file copy given in the first and second pic in above pics), Some people felt more connected to Shirdi Sai than Sathya Sai; Impact on followers is a big legacy of a spiritual master,, dated July 2015.

I should also add that it was my personal experience, in late 2002 or early 2003, when I was not staff and having darshan of Swami along with the general public (in Sai Kulwant Hall, Prasanthi Nilayam/Puttaparthi), that intense prayer to Swami, resulted in Swami taking special notice of me by looking at me for some time and accepting my letter even though I was seated two or three rows behind the front row. Whereas, in the earlier weeks when I was regularly attending Darshan, sometimes with a front row seat and clearly holding my letter in my folded palms for him to see, he would not only avoid taking the letter but either not look at me or just cast a passing glance at me.

My view of this experience was that earlier I was not praying hard or praying intensely to him and so, even if I was seated in the front row, he did not show much interest in me. But when I prayed intensely, Swami's heart melted and he responded to me. It was almost as if Swami was teaching me that if I wanted God to respond to my prayer, the prayer MUST BE intense and from the bottom of one's heart/being, and not casual.
--- end extract from my blog post mentioned earlier ---

Found a stapled set of papers related to my application to SSSIHL in Nov/Dec 2002 and my Seva (FREE SERVICE) being accepted officially in Jan. 2003, with informal designation as Systems Manager and formal designation as Honorary Staff. One important difference in these papers dated on or after 26th Nov. 2002 as compared to what I have provided earlier in this post, dated Oct. 2002, is that I have omitted a request for accommodation if possible. If I recall correctly, there were two reasons for this:
a) I had found a small room (suitable for sadhaka/spiritual aspirant type person) in outside ashram Puttaparthi (on Samadhi Ist Cross road) for something like Rs. 600/- a month (if I recall correctly) and would have been taking South Indian canteen food (Rs. 6/- for a meal then, if I recall correctly). I would have found that all this was affordable with my budget and so I did not need support from the ashram for the same.
b) I was told that the chances of my application for Seva being considered positively was much higher if I did not mention any need for accommodation or other support (e.g. free coupons for food). I would have been very keen to become staff as then I would have the PRICELESS and BIG PRIVILEGE of sitting in the University staff allocated part of Kulwant Hall, and have darshan of Bhagavan from a very close range, every day that Bhagavan was in Puttaparthi and I was in Kulwant Hall when he was giving Darshan (or attending some program in Sai Kulwant Hall)!

Here's the earliest (date wise) paper in that set: Copy of my application to the Vice-chancellor, SSSIHL dated 26th Nov. 2002, given to Prof. G.V. Prabhakar Rao (to be given to appropriate person in SSSIHL)

Copy of my letter to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, dated 27th Nov. 2002, seeking his blessings for the application I had made on 26th Nov. 2002 to AI laboratory, DMACS, SSSIHL.

The last two sentences of the application were, "I will consider myself extremely blessed if You accept my Seva for the AI laboratory, Dept. of Mathematics & Computer Science, SSSIHL. I earnestly pray to You to consider my application, and if You feel that I will be suitable for Seva there, then please grant me this opportunity of serving You."

Bhagavan accepted this letter on my intense prayer to Him to accept this letter, around November end (a few days later perhaps) according to the jotting I have made on the copy of the letter.

Copy of page 1 of application for Seva in the AI lab., DMACS, SSSIHL given to Prof. C.J.M. Rao, then Head of Department (HOD), DMACS, SSSIHL on 25th December 2002. Note that Prof. G.V. Prabahakar Rao was associated with the AI lab which was the software lab. for DMACS. He was the key person in DMACS who interviewed me and assessed my software development capability. Later I came to know that he is a PhD in Mathematics from an IIT (Madras, perhaps) who moved to the field of Computer Science from Mathematics. Prof. C.J.M. Rao, I later learned was also a PhD in Mathematics from an IIT (Madras, perhaps but am not sure) who was focused on Mathematics and did NOT associate much with the software lab. I mean, he was not viewed as having moved to Computer Science field. He was viewed primarily as a Mathematician and not a Computer scientist.

Copy of page 2 of above application.

Copy of letter from Dr. A.V. Lakshminarasimhmam, Registrar of SSSIHL, dated 28th January 2003, to DMACS HOD, Prof. C.J.M. Rao, copy to Principal, Prasanthi Nilayam campus (Prof. U.S. Rao was principal of PN campus then) informing him (HOD) that he (Registrar) was directed to inform him (HOD) that he has been permitted to utilize my services. Quite bureaucratic but that's how SSSIHL Administrative block was (and perhaps still is)! The presumption was that the vice-chancellor was the person who directed the Registrar to pass this information on to the HOD (who then passed a copy of the letter to me) and principal, PN campus. BTW the vice-chancellor then, if I recall correctly, was Shri S.V. Giri (not an academic but a distinguished Indian govt. official from the IAS cadre) who later became a trustee of Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust. I also clearly recall being told by people in the know then (University staff) that my photo and application were shown by the vice-chancellor Shri S.V. Giri to Bhagavan (chancellor of SSSIHL then) in the interview room. I was told that Bhagavan gave his nod to accept my services in the university.

A handwritten letter by Prof. C.J.M. Rao, HOD, DMACS to me dated 29th Jan. 2003, detailing my role in AI Lab., DMACS. He wrote the designation (informal designation) as Systems Manager. He put down the initials of two staff in DMACS then, RS (Raghunatha Sarma) and BKM (B. Krishnamoorthy) and orally told me that they will assist me. The handwritten letter only has their initials. While my application to DMACS emphasised my software development expertise part, this letter emphasised the management of AI Lab. part (heavy responsibility actually) but also clearly mentioned software lab. courses and M.Tech. projects. ... In a short period of time (some months) after I started doing this role, it became clear to me that Systems Manager was a very heavy responsibility role with accountability for Assets in the AI Lab and maintenance of Asset Register and Consumable Stocks register. Such accountability surely could not be given to somebody who was not a regular employee. I mean, the vice-chancellor and other top administrative authorities would want an accountable person whom they could hold responsible for the assets of the AI lab, and not a volunteer service person like me. ... Further, in June 2003, if I recall correctly, Dr. K.S. Sridharan took over as HOD from Prof. C.J.M. Rao. I don't think Dr. Sridharan was even passed on any copy of this informal role note given to me by Prof. C.J.M. Rao. Now Dr. Sridharan had done his PhD in Electrical engineering from Anna university if I recall correctly. He had moved to the Computer Science field from the Electrical engineering field. ... Over time, Sri Raghunatha Sarma (later he got his PhD and so is now Dr. Raghunatha Sarma) ended up handling the key responsibility for the assets in the AI lab (I think he was doing that work prior to me joining AI lab). I was helping him in this task and we got along pretty well. I did not sign a single document related to Asset management in the AI lab. However, I did help Sri Raghunatha Sarma to prepare such documents, which probably got signed only by the HOD, Dr. Sridharan. I also handled some part of Systems Administration of AI lab. role jointly with other younger staff of the department as well as senior students (M.Sc. and M.Tech. students). Of course, I taught Software lab. courses and provided guidance to project work of M.Tech. (CS) students and also computer software project work of M.Sc. (Mathematics) students. ... From Jan. 2008 onwards (till March 2012 when I terminated my association with SSSIHL) I stopped doing the Systems Management role, and provided ONLY FREE SERVICE of teaching of software lab. courses and guiding project work of M.Sc. and M.Tech. students.

Copy of my letter to Principal, Prasanthi Nilayam campus (Prof. U.S. Rao) on 29th January 2003, stating, "This is to inform you that I am joining the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science as an honorary staff with effect from 29th January 2003." It also has references to two letters one of which is given above (copy of Registrar letter). I don't think I was given a copy of the other letter referred here (Letter of Prof. CJM Rao to Registrar). I don't recall the entire situation then but I think I was told by Prof. CJM Rao to write this letter and was told what the contents should be. Prof. CJM Rao would have specifically mentioned the term, "honorary staff" as that would be the formal designation that he would have wanted to be given to me by the appropriate authority, which would be the principal, PN campus, Prof. U.S. Rao. [Please note that the formal designation recommended was NOT Teaching Assistant!!!! An informal Systems Manager designation cannot be mapped to a formal Teaching Assistant designation!!!]

The pic below is the I-Card that was issued to me in Jan/Feb 2003, if I recall correctly, by Principal, PN campus, SSSIHL, Prof. U.S. Rao (my photo part of I-card is cut out from the pic as I prefer to not show my photo publicly). Note that the designation is Honorary Staff and NOT Teaching Assistant or Lab. Assistant as some Muddenahalli group promoters who are attacking me allege. [Or as Teacher-Drohis (those who do harm to teachers) former HOD DMACS, SSSIHL, V. Chandrasekran and former and current Registrar, SSSIHL, Naren Ramji alleged (Teaching Assistant). In my considered view, V.Chandrasekaran and Naren Ramji are guilty of either committing or aiding and abetting the criminal offence of record tampering as well as malicious defamation against me, under the Indian Penal Code.]

Spread of religion(s) in the world from 3000 BCE to 2000 CE (5000 years)

Last modified on 24th August 2016

Animated map shows how religion spread around the world,, 2 min 35 secs, published on Jul 14th 2015 by Business Insider.

The main description on youtube page above:
Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are five of the biggest religions in the world. Over the last few thousand years, these religious groups have shaped the course of history and had a profound influence on the trajectory of the human race. Through countless conflicts, conquests, missions abroad, and simple word of mouth, these religions spread around the globe and forever molded the huge geographic regions in their paths.
--- end main description of youtube video ---

Ravi: There may be quite some detail level inaccuracies in the video but it does give a bird's eye view of spread of the main five religions of the world today, from 3000 BCE to 2000 CE (5000 years) within a two and a half minute video!

I viewed it multiple times. Here are some of my observations and supporting information on it:

1) As a believer in divine revelations of Sri Sathya Sai Baba regarding Hinduism & Vedic religion, my belief is that Hinduism & Vedic religion are very old and have its origins far before 3000 BC as shown in the above video. However, leading academic scholars of history of ancient India seem to have the view that Vedic religion started only in 1750 BCE, and that was preceded by Indus Valley Civilization (3300 - 1700 BCE). See

2) Abraham is the patriarch of Judaism and is revered by Christianity and Islam as well (Abraham is referred to as Ibrahim in Islam, Judaism, Christianity and Islam are referred to as Abrahamic religions as they trace their common origin to Abraham. The birth date of Abraham is considered to be around 1800 BCE by Jewish tradition; see

3) Buddha's birth year is considered by most historians today to be around 563 BCE; see

4) Jesus' crucifixion year is considered to be between the years 30 and 33 AD (CE); see

5) In 70 AD (CE) the Romans brutally sacked Jerusalem; see Many of the Jews seem to have been forced into exile. states referring to the revolt of Jews against the Romans, in the period 66 to 70 AD which led to the destruction of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem and sacking of Jerusalem in 70 AD, "When people today speak of the almost two-thousand-year span of Jewish homelessness and exile, they are dating it from the failure of the revolt and the destruction of the Temple."

6) Jesus was crucified around 30 AD and Jerusalem was brutally sacked by the Romans (neither Jewish nor Christian then) in 70 AD. How then did Christianity manage to survive and spread?

Details on it from Wikipedia extracts are given later on in this post.

7) Muhammad was born in Mecca in 570 and started his mission around 610. The Islamic Era is considered to have started in 618 with Muhammad's flight from Mecca to Medina (then known as Yathrib) where he was joined by his followers.

Details on spread of Islam from Wikipedia extracts are given later on in this post.

8) Age of Discovery begins in the 15th century. European (Christian) powers discover new lands like Americas and Australia as well as discover new sea routes to Asia. European colonization of new lands leads to Christianity being spread to these new lands and also to some parts of Africa and Asia.

Details on spread of Christianity in the Age of Discovery from Wikipedia extracts are given later on in this post.

9) Partition of Africa/Scramble for Africa by European (Christian) powers begins in 1881. Christianity spreads to countries/territories colonized by European powers in Africa.

Details on spread of Christianity in the Partition of Africa from Wikipedia extracts are given later on in this post.

10) The state of Israel (Jewish faith i.e. Judaism prominently) is established in 1948.

Details of points 6 to 9 are given below.

6) Jesus was crucified around 30 AD and Jerusalem was brutally sacked by the Romans (neither Jewish nor Christian then) in 70 AD. How then did Christianity manage to survive and spread?

Some extracts from :

The history of early Christianity covers the period from the its origins to the First Council of Nicaea in 325.
Historians commonly use the First Council of Nicaea in 325 and the toleration/promotion of Christianity by Emperor Constantine I (reigned 306-337) in the Roman Empire to mark the end of early Christianity and the beginning of the era of the first seven Ecumenical Councils (325-787).
According to the Gospel writers, Jesus preached for a period of one to three years when he was in his early 30s, in the early 1st century AD. The gospels give Jesus' method of teaching as involving parables, metaphor, allegory, proverbs, and a small number of direct sermons such as the Sermon on the Mount. His ministry of teaching, healing the sick and disabled and performing various miracles culminated in his execution at the hands of the Roman authorities in Jerusalem (but see also Responsibility for the death of Jesus). Shortly thereafter, a strong belief in Jesus' bodily resurrection spread rapidly through Jerusalem, beginning with his closest disciples, which led up to the traditional Day of Pentecost. This event provoked the Apostles to embark on a number of missionary campaigns to spread the "Good News", following the Great Commission handed down by Jesus.
Most New Testament scholars agree that Peter had some sort of special position among the Twelve.
The Christian church sees "the Apostolic Age" as the foundation upon which its whole history is built. This period, roughly dated between the years 30 and 100 AD, produced writings traditionally attributed to the direct followers of Jesus Christ (the New Testament and Apostolic Fathers collections) and is thus associated with the apostles and their contemporaries.
Earliest Christianity took the form of a Jewish eschatological faith. The apostles traveled to Jewish communities around the Mediterranean Sea, and attracted Jewish converts. Within 10 years of the death of Jesus, apostles had spread Christianity from Jerusalem to Antioch, Ephesus, Corinth, Thessalonica, Cyprus, Crete, and Rome.
In the mid-1st century, in Antioch, Paul of Tarsus began preaching to Gentiles. The new converts did not follow all "Jewish Law" (generally understood to mean Mosaic Law as the Halakha was still being formalized at the time) and refused to be circumcised, as circumcision was considered repulsive in Hellenistic culture.
The disciples were first called "Christians" in Antioch (as related in Acts 11:26). Accordingly, "Christians" (with the variant "Chrestians") was by 49 already a familiar term, mostly in the Latin-speaking capital of the Roman Empire. As the church spread throughout Greek-speaking Gentile lands, the appellation took prominence, and eventually became the standard reference for followers of the faith. Ignatius of Antioch was the first known Christian to use the label in self-reference and made the earliest recorded use of the term Christianity (Greek --snip--), around 100 AD.
Christians were initially identified with the Jewish religion by the Romans, but as they became more distinct, Christianity became a problem for Roman rulers. Around the year 98, the emperor Nerva decreed that Christians did not have to pay the annual tax upon the Jews, effectively recognizing them as distinct from Rabbinic Judaism. This opened the way to Christians being persecuted for disobedience to the emperor, as they refused to worship the state pantheon.
The original church communities were founded by apostles (see Apostolic see) and numerous other Christians soldiers, merchants, and preachers in northern Africa, Asia Minor, Armenia, Arabia, Greece, and other places. Over 40 were established by the year 100, many in Asia Minor, such as the seven churches of Asia. By the end of the 1st century, Christianity had already spread to Greece and Italy, some say as far as India, serving as foundations for the expansive spread of Christianity throughout the world. In 301 AD, the Kingdom of Armenia became the first to declare Christianity as its state religion, following the conversion of the Royal House of the Arsacids in Armenia.

Despite sporadic incidents of local persecution and a few periods of persecution on an empire-wide scale, the Christian religion continued its spread throughout the Mediterranean Basin. There is no agreement as for how Christianity managed to spread so successfully prior to the Edict of Milan and Constantine favoring the creed and it is probably not possible to identify a single cause for this.
--- end extracts from History of early Christianity wiki ----

Extract from :

Christianity emerged in the Levant in the mid-1st century AD. Christianity spread initially from Jerusalem throughout the Near East, into places such as Aram, Assyria, Mesopotamia, Phoenicia, Asia Minor, Jordan and Egypt. In the 4th century it was successively adopted as the state religion by Armenia in 301, Georgia in 319, the Aksumite Empire in 325, and the Roman Empire in 380. After the Council of Ephesus in 431 the Nestorian Schism created the Church of the East. The Council of Chalcedon in 451 further divided Christianity into Oriental Orthodoxy and Chalcedonian Christianity. Chalcedonian Christianity divided into the Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church in the Great Schism of 1054. The Protestant Reformation which began in the 1500s created new Christian communities that separated from the Roman Catholic Church and have evolved into many different denominations.

Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christianity spread to all of Europe in the Middle Ages. Christianity expanded throughout the world during Europe's Age of Exploration from the Renaissance onwards, becoming the world's largest religion. Today there are more than two billion Christians worldwide.

Early Christianity may be divided into 2 distinct phases: the apostolic period, when the first apostles were alive and led the Church, and the post-apostolic period, when an early episcopal structure developed, and persecution was periodically intense. The Roman persecution of Christians ended in AD 313 when Constantine the Great decreed tolerance for the religion. He then called the First Council of Nicaea in AD 325, beginning of the period of the First seven Ecumenical Councils.

Galerius, who had previously been one of the leading figures in persecution, in 311 issued an edict which ended the Diocletian persecution of Christianity. After halting the persecutions of the Christians, Galerius reigned for another 2 years. He was then succeeded by an emperor with distinctively pro Christian leanings, Constantine the Great.

The Emperor Constantine I was exposed to Christianity by his mother, Helena. At the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312, Constantine commanded his troops to adorn their shields with the Christian symbol in accordance with a vision that he had had the night before. After winning the battle, Constantine was able to claim the emperorship in the West. In 313, he issued the Edict of Milan, officially legalizing Christian worship.

Christianity as Roman state religion (380 AD)

On 27 February 380, with the Edict of Thessalonica put forth under Theodosius I, the Roman Empire officially adopted Trinitarian Christianity as its state religion. Prior to this date, Constantius II (337-361) and Valens (364-378) had personally favored Arian or Semi-Arian forms of Christianity, but Valens' successor Theodosius I supported the Trinitarian doctrine as expounded in the Nicene Creed.

After its establishment, the Church adopted the same organisational boundaries as the Empire: geographical provinces, called dioceses, corresponding to imperial governmental territorial division. The bishops, who were located in major urban centres as per pre-legalisation tradition, thus oversaw each diocese. The bishop's location was his "seat", or "see". Among the sees, five came to hold special eminence: Rome, Constantinople, Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandria. The prestige of most of these sees depended in part on their apostolic founders, from whom the bishops were therefore the spiritual successors. Though the bishop of Rome was still held to be the First among equals, Constantinople was second in precedence as the new capital of the empire.

Theodosius I decreed that others not believing in the preserved "faithful tradition", such as the Trinity, were to be considered to be practicers of illegal heresy, and in 385, this resulted in the first case of capital punishment of a heretic, namely Priscillian.

Western missionary expansion

The stepwise loss of Western Roman Empire dominance, replaced with foederati and Germanic kingdoms, coincided with early missionary efforts into areas not controlled by the collapsing empire. Already as early as in the 5th century, missionary activities from Roman Britain into the Celtic areas (current Scotland, Ireland and Wales) produced competing early traditions of Celtic Christianity, that was later reintegrated under the Church in Rome.

Prominent missionaries were Saints Patrick, Columba and Columbanus. The Anglo-Saxon tribes that invaded southern Britain some time after the Roman abandonment, were initially pagan, but converted to Christianity by Augustine of Canterbury on the mission of Pope Gregory the Great. Soon becoming a missionary center, missionaries such as Wilfrid, Willibrord, Lullus and Boniface would begin converting their Saxon relatives in Germania.

The largely Christian Gallo-Roman inhabitants of Gaul (modern France) were overrun by the Franks in the early 5th century. The native inhabitants were persecuted until the Frankish king Clovis I converted from paganism to Roman Catholicism in 496. Clovis insisted that his fellow nobles follow suit, strengthening his newly established kingdom by uniting the faith of the rulers with that of the ruled.

After the rise of the Frankish Kingdom and the stabilizing political conditions, the Western part of the Church increased the missionary activities, supported by the Merovingian kingdom as a means to pacify troublesome neighbor peoples. After the foundation of a church in Utrecht by Willibrord, backlashes occurred when the pagan Frisian king Radbod destroyed many Christian centres between 716 and 719. In 717, the English missionary Boniface was sent to aid Willibrord, re-establishing churches in Frisia continuing missions in Germany.

Conversion of the Scandinavians

Early evangelisation in Scandinavia was begun by Ansgar, Archbishop of Bremen, "Apostle of the North". Ansgar, a native of Amiens, was sent with a group of monks to Jutland Denmark in around 820 at the time of the pro-Christian Jutish king Harald Klak. The mission was only partially successful, and Ansgar returned two years later to Germany, after Harald had been driven out of his kingdom.

In 829 Ansgar went to Birka on Lake Mälaren, Sweden, with his aide friar Witmar, and a small congregation was formed in 831 which included the king's own steward Hergeir. Conversion was slow, however, and most Scandinavian lands were only completely Christianised at the time of rulers such as Saint Canute IV of Denmark and Olaf I of Norway in the years following AD 1000.

Conversion of the Slavs

Though by 800 Western Europe was ruled entirely by Christian kings, East and Central Europe remained an area of missionary activity. For example, in the 9th century SS. Cyril and Methodius had extensive missionary success in the region among the Slavic peoples, translating the Bible and liturgy into Slavonic. The Baptism of Kiev in 988 spread Christianity throughout Kievan Rus', establishing Christianity among the Ukraine, Belarus and Russia.

--- end extracts from History of Christianity ---

7) Muhammad was born in Mecca in 570 and started his mission around 610. The Islamic Era is considered to have started in 618 with Muhammad's flight from Mecca to Medina (then known as Yathrib) where he was joined by his followers.

Extracts from

According to tradition, the Islamic prophet Muhammad was born in Mecca around the year 570. His family belonged to the Quraysh. When he was about forty years old, he began receiving what Muslims consider to be divine revelations delivered through the angel Gabriel, which would later form the Quran, enjoining him to proclaim a strict monotheistic faith, warn his compatriots of the impending Judgement Day, and castigate social injustices of his city. Muhammad's message won over a handful of followers and was met with increasing opposition from notables of Mecca. In 618, after he lost protection with the death of his influential uncle Abu Talib, Muhammad took flight to the city of Yathrib (subsequently called Medina) where he was joined by his followers. Later generations would count this event, known as the hijra, as the start of the Islamic era.

In Yathrib, where he was accepted as an arbitrator among the different communities of the city under the terms of the Constitution of Medina, Muhammad began to lay the foundations of the new Islamic society, with the help of new Quranic verses which provided guidance on matters of law and religious observance. The surahs of this period emphasized his place among the long line of Biblical prophets, but also differentiated the message of the Quran from Christianity and Judaism. Armed conflict with Meccans and Jewish tribes of the Yathrib area soon broke out. After a series of military confrontations and political maneuvers, Muhammad was able to secure control of Mecca and allegiance of the Quraysh in 629. In the time remaining until his death in 632, tribal chiefs across the peninsula entered into various agreements with him, some under terms of alliance, others acknowledging his prophethood and agreeing to follow Islamic practices, including paying the alms levy to his government, which consisted of a number of deputies, an army of believers, and a public treasury.
After Muhammad died, a series of four Caliphs governed the Islamic state: Abu Bakr (632-634), Umar ibn al-Khattab (Umar I, 634-644), Uthman ibn Affan, (644-656), and Ali ibn Abi Talib (656-661). These leaders are known as the "Rashidun" or "rightly guided" Caliphs in Sunni Islam. They oversaw the initial phase of the Muslim conquests, advancing through Persia, Levant, Egypt, and North Africa.

After Muhammad's death, Abu Bakr, one of his closest associates, was chosen as the first caliph (Arabic: --snip-- khalifah, lit. successor). Although the office of caliph retained an aura of religious authority, it laid no claim to prophecy. A number of tribal leaders refused to extend agreements made with Muhammad to Abu Bakr, ceasing payments of the alms levy and in some cases claiming to be prophets in their own right. Abu Bakr asserted his authority in a successful military campaign known as the Ridda wars, whose momentum was carried into the lands of the Byzantine and Sasanian empires. By the end of the reign of the second caliph, Umar I, Arab armies, whose battle-hardened ranks were now swelled by the defeated rebels and former imperial auxiliary troops, conquered the Byzantine provinces of Syria and Egypt, while the Sassanids lost their western territories, with the rest to follow soon afterwards.

Umar improved administration of the fledgling empire, ordering improvement of irrigation networks and playing a role in foundation of cities like Basra. To be close to the poor, he lived in a simple mud hut without doors and walked the streets every evening. After consulting with the poor Umar established the Bayt al-mal, a welfare institution for the Muslim and non-Muslim poor, needy, elderly, orphans, widows, and the disabled. The Bayt al-mal ran for hundreds of years under the Rashidun Caliphate in the 7th century and continued through the Umayyad period and well into the Abbasid era. Umar also introduced child benefit for the children and pensions for the elderly. When he felt that a governor or a commander was becoming attracted to wealth or did not meet the required administrative standards, he had him removed from his position. The expansion of the state was partially terminated between 638–639 during the years of great famine and plague in Arabia and Levant, respectively.

During Umar's reign, within 10 years, Levant, Egypt, Cyrenaica, Tripolitania, Fezzan, Eastern Anatolia, almost the whole of the Sassanid Persian Empire, including Bactria, Persia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Caucasus and Makran, were incorporated into the Islamic State.
Early Muslim armies stayed in encampments away from cities because Umar feared that they may get attracted to wealth and luxury, moving away from the worship of God, accumulating wealth and establishing dynasties. Staying in these encampments away from the cities also ensured that there was no stress on the local populations which could remain autonomous. Some of these encampments later grew into cities like Basra and Kufa in Iraq and Fustat in Egypt.

When Umar was assassinated in 644, Uthman ibn Affan became the next caliph.
The Qur'an and Muhammad talked about racial equality and justice (notably in Muhammad's Farewell Sermon), discouraging tribal and nationalistic differences . But after Muhammad's passing the old tribal differences between the Arabs started to resurface. Following the Roman–Persian Wars and the Byzantine–Sassanid Wars deep-rooted differences between Iraq (formerly under the Persian Sassanid Empire) and Syria (formerly under the Byzantine Empire) also existed. Each wanted the capital of the newly established Islamic State to be in their area.

As Uthman ibn Affan became very old, Marwan I a relative of Muawiyah I slipped into the vacuum, becoming his secretary and slowly assuming more control. When Uthman was assassinated in 656, Ali ibn Abi Talib, a cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad, assumed the position of caliph and moved the capital to Kufa in Iraq. Muawiyah I, the governor of Syria, and Marwan I demanded arrest of the culprits. Marwan I manipulated every one and created conflict, which resulted in the first civil war (the "First Fitna"). Ali was assassinated by Kharijites in 661. Six months later in 661, in the interest of peace, Ali's son Hasan, made a peace treaty with Muawiyah I. In the Hasan–Muawiya treaty, Hasan ibn Ali handed over power to Muawiya on the condition that he would be just to the people and not establish a dynasty after his death. Muawiyah subsequently broke the conditions of the agreement and established the Umayyad dynasty, with a capital in Damascus. Husayn ibn Ali, by then Muhammad's only living grandson, refused to swear allegiance to the Umayyads. He was killed in the Battle of Karbala the same year, in an event still mourned by Shia on the Day of Ashura. Unrest, called the Second Fitna continued, but Muslim rule was extended under Muawiyah to Rhodes, Crete, Kabul, Bukhara, and Samarkand, and expanded in North Africa. In 664, Arab armies conquered Kabul, and in 665 pushed into the Maghreb.
At its largest extent, the Umayyad dynasty covered more than 5,000,000 square miles (13,000,000 km2) making it one of the largest empires the world had yet seen, and the fifth largest contiguous empire ever.
Muawiyah beautified Damascus, and developed a court to rival that of Constantinople. He expanded the frontiers of the empire, reaching the edge of Constantinople at one point, though the Byzantines drove him back and he was unable to hold any territory in Anatolia.
The Abbasid dynasty rose to power in 750, consolidating the gains of the earlier Caliphates. Initially, they conquered Mediterranean islands including the Balearics and, after, in 827 the Sicily. The ruling party had come to power on the wave of dissatisfaction with the Umayyads, cultivated by the Abbasid revolutionary Abu Muslim. Under the Abbasids Islamic civilization flourished. Most notable was the development of Arabic prose and poetry, termed by The Cambridge History of Islam as its "golden age". Commerce and industry (considered a Muslim Agricultural Revolution) and the arts and sciences (considered a Muslim Scientific Revolution) also prospered under Abbasid caliphs al-Mansur (ruled 754 — 775), Harun al-Rashid (ruled 786 — 809), al-Ma'mun (ruled 809 — 813) and their immediate successors.

The capital was moved from Damascus to Baghdad, due to the importance placed by the Abbasids upon eastern affairs in Persia and Transoxania. At this time the caliphate showed signs of fracture amid the rise of regional dynasties. Although the Umayyad family had been killed by the revolting Abbasids, one family member, Abd ar-Rahman I, escaped to Spain and established an independent caliphate there in 756. In the Maghreb, Harun al-Rashid appointed the Arab Aghlabids as virtually autonomous rulers, although they continued to recognise central authority. Aghlabid rule was short-lived, and they were deposed by the Shiite Fatimid dynasty in 909. By around 960, the Fatimids had conquered Abbasid Egypt, building a capital there in 973 called "al-Qahirah" (meaning "the planet of victory", known today as Cairo). In Persia the Turkic Ghaznavids snatched power from the Abbasids. Abbasid influence had been consumed by the Great Seljuq Empire (a Muslim Turkish clan which had migrated into mainland Persia) by 1055.

Expansion continued, sometimes by force, sometimes by peaceful proselytising. The first stage in the conquest of India began just before the year 1000. By some 200 (from 1193 — 1209) years later, the area up to the Ganges river had fallen. In sub-Saharan West Africa, Islam was established just after the year 1000. Muslim rulers were in Kanem starting from sometime between 1081 and 1097, with reports of a Muslim prince at the head of Gao as early as 1009. The Islamic kingdoms associated with Mali reached prominence in the 13th century.

The Crusades
Beginning in the 8th century, the Iberian Christian kingdoms had begun the Reconquista aimed at retaking Al-Andalus from the Moors. In 1095, Pope Urban II, inspired by the conquests in Spain by Christian forces and implored by the eastern Roman emperor to help defend Christianity in the East, called for the First Crusade from Western Europe which captured Edessa, Antioch, County of Tripoli and Jerusalem.

In the early period of the Crusades, the Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem emerged and for a time controlled Jerusalem. The Kingdom of Jerusalem and other smaller Crusader kingdoms over the next 90 years formed part of the complicated politics of the Levant, but did not threaten the Islamic Caliphate nor other powers in the region. After Shirkuh ended Fatimid rule in 1169, uniting it with Syria, the Crusader kingdoms were faced with a threat, and his nephew Saladin reconquered most of the area in 1187, leaving the Crusaders holding a few ports.

In the Third Crusade armies from Europe failed to recapture Jerusalem, though Crusader states lingered for several decades, and other crusades followed. The Christian Reconquista continued in Al-Andalus, and was eventually completed with the fall of Granada in 1492. During the low period of the Crusades, the Fourth Crusade was diverted from the Levant and instead took Constantinople, leaving the Eastern Roman Empire (now the Byzantine Empire) further weakened in their long struggle against the Turkish peoples to the east. However, the crusaders did manage to damage Islamic caliphates; according to William of Malmesbury, preventing them from further expansion into Christendom and being targets of the Mamluks and the Mongols.

Mongol invasions

After the Crusades the Mongols invaded in the 13th century, marking the end of the Islamic Golden Age. Some historians assert that the eastern Islamic world never fully recovered. Under the leadership of Genghis Khan, The Mongols put an end to the Abbasid era. The Mongol invasion of Central Asia began in 1219 at a huge cost in civilian life and economic devastation. The Mongols spread throughout Central Asia and Persia: the Persian city of Isfahan had fallen to them by 1237.

With the election of Khan Mongke in 1251, Mongol targeted the Abbasid capital, Baghdad. Mongke's brother, Hulegu, was made leader of the Mongol Army assigned to the task of subduing Baghdad. The fall of Bagdhad in 1258 destroyed what had been the largest city in Islam. The last Abbasid caliph, al-Musta'sim, was captured and killed; and Baghdad was ransacked and destroyed. The cities of Damascus and Aleppo fell in 1260. Plans for the conquest of Egypt were delayed due to the death of Mongke at around the same time. The Abbasid army lost to the superior Mongol army, but the invaders were finally stopped by Egyptian Mamluks north of Jerusalem in 1260 at the pivotal Battle of Ain Jalut.

Islamic Mongol empires

Ultimately, the Ilkhanate, Golden Horde, and the Chagatai Khanate - three of the four principal Mongol khanates - embraced Islam. In power in Syria, Mesopotamia, Persia and further east, over the rest of the 13th century gradually all converted to Islam. Most Ilkhanid rulers were replaced by the new Mongol power founded by Timur (himself a Muslim), who conquered Persia in the 1360s, and moved against the Delhi Sultanate in India and the Ottoman Turks in Anatolia. Timur's ceaseless conquests were accompanied by displays of brutality matched only by Chinggis Khan, whose example Timur consciously imitated. Samarqand, the cosmopolitan capital of Timur's empire, flourished under his rule as never before, while Iran and Iraq suffered large-scale devastation. The Middle East was still recovering from the Black Death, which may have killed one third of the population in the region. The plague began in China, and reached Alexandria in Egypt in 1347, spreading over the following years to most Islamic areas. The combination of the plague and the wars left the Middle Eastern Islamic world in a seriously weakened position. The Timurid dynasty would found many branches of Islam [Ravi: should be Islamic empires, I guess], including the Mughals of India.
Indian Subcontinent

On the Indian subcontinent, Islam first appeared in the southwestern tip of the peninsula, in today's Kerala state. Arabs traded with Malabar even before the birth of Muhammad. Native legends say that a group of Sahaba, under Malik Ibn Deenar, arrived on the Malabar Coast and preached Islam. According to that legend, the first mosque of India was built by Second Chera King Cheraman Perumal, who accepted Islam and received the name Tajudheen. He traveled to Arabia to meet Muhammad and died on the trip back, somewhere in today's Oman. Historical records suggest that the Cheraman Perumal Mosque was built in around 629.

Islamic rule came to the Indian subcontinent in the 8th century, when Muhammad bin Qasim conquered Sindh. Muslim conquests expanded under Mahmud and the Ghaznavids until the late 12th century, when the Ghurids overran the Ghaznavids and extended the conquests in Northern India. Qutb-ud-din Aybak conquered Delhi in 1206 and began the reign of the Delhi Sultanates.

In the 14th century, Alauddin Khilji extended Muslim rule south to Gujarat, Rajasthan and Deccan. Various other Muslim dynasties also formed and ruled across India from the 13th to the 18th century such as the Qutb Shahi and the Bahmani, but none rivalled the power and extensive reach of the Mughal Empire at its peak.

--- end extracts from History of Islam wiki ---

8) Age of Discovery begins in the 15th century. European (Christian) powers discover new lands like Americas and Australia as well as discover new sea routes to Asia. European colonization of new lands lead to Christianity being spread to these new lands and also to some parts of Africa and Asia.

Extracts from :

The Age of Discovery is an informal and loosely defined European historical period from the 15th century to the 18th century, marking the time in which extensive overseas exploration emerged as a powerful factor in European culture and globalization. Many lands previously unknown to Europeans were discovered during this period, though most were already inhabited and from the perspective of many non-Europeans it marked the arrival of settlers and invaders from a previously unknown continent. Global exploration started with the Portuguese discoveries of the Atlantic archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores, the coast of Africa, and the discovery of the sea route to India in 1498; and, on behalf of the Crown of Castile (Spain), the trans-Atlantic Voyages of Christopher Columbus between 1492 and 1502, and the first circumnavigation of the globe in 1519–1522. These discoveries led to numerous naval expeditions across the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans, and land expeditions in the Americas, Asia, Africa, and Australia that continued into the late 19th century, and ended with the exploration of the polar regions in the 20th century.

European overseas exploration led to the rise of global trade and the European colonial empires, with the contact between the Old World (Europe, Asia and Africa) and the New World (the Americas and Australia) producing the Columbian Exchange: a wide transfer of plants, animals, food, human populations (including slaves), communicable diseases and culture between the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. This represented one of the most-significant global events concerning ecology, agriculture, and culture in history. The Age of Discovery and later European exploration allowed the global mapping of the world, resulting in a new world-view and distant civilizations coming into contact, but also led to the propagation of diseases that decimated populations not previously in contact with Eurasia and Africa, and to the enslavement, exploitation, military conquest, and economic dominance of Europe and its colonies over native populations. It also allowed for the expansion of Christianity throughout the world, becoming the world's largest religion.

--- end extract from Age of Discovery wiki ---

Extract from :

The Catholic Church during the Age of Discovery inaugurated a major effort to spread Christianity in the New World and to convert the Native Americans and other indigenous people. The evangelical effort was a major part of, and a justification for the military conquests of European powers such as Spain, France and Portugal. Christian Missions to the indigenous peoples ran hand-in-hand with the colonial efforts of Catholic nations. In the Americas and other colonies in Asia and Africa, most missions were run by religious orders such as the Franciscans, Dominicans, Augustinians, and Jesuits. In Mexico the early systematic evangelization by mendicants came to be known as the "Spiritual Conquest of Mexico."

--- end extract from Catholic church and the Age of Discovery wiki ---

9) Partition of Africa/Scramble for Africa by European (Christian) powers begins in 1881. Christianity spreads to countries/territories colonized by European powers in Africa.

Extracts from :

The "Scramble for Africa" was the invasion, occupation, division, colonization and annexation of African territory by European powers during the period of New Imperialism, between 1881 and 1914. It is also called the Partition of Africa and the Conquest of Africa. In 1870, only 10 percent of Africa was under European control; by 1914 it had increased to 90 percent of the continent, with only Ethiopia (Abyssinia), the Dervish state and Liberia still being independent.

The Berlin Conference of 1884, which regulated European colonization and trade in Africa, is usually referred to as the starting point of the scramble for Africa. Consequent to the political and economic rivalries among the European empires in the last quarter of the 19th century, the partitioning of Africa was how the Europeans avoided warring amongst themselves over Africa.

--- end Scramble for Africa wiki extract ---

Given below is a mail exchange I had with Terry Reis Kennedy on above post contents:

Terry wrote:
Thanks, Ravi, for this magnificent work you've done.  What "religion" was Mohammed before he created Islam?  I would like to find that information in quotable form.

I (Ravi) responded (slightly edited):

Thanks Terry. My work was selection of the appropriate extracts from the appropriate FREELY SHAREABLE wikipedia pages and stitching them together in the post. I believe in reusing such FREELY SHAREABLE knowledge sources when possible and when appropriate.

(For the question on Muhammad's religion before Islam) Perhaps this may be of help. From

In pre-Islamic Arabia, gods or goddesses were viewed as protectors of individual tribes, their spirits being associated with sacred trees, stones, springs and wells. As well as being the site of an annual pilgrimage, the Kaaba shrine in Mecca housed 360 idols of tribal patron deities. Three goddesses were associated with Allah as his daughters: Allāt, Manāt and al-‘Uzzá. Monotheistic communities existed in Arabia, including Christians and Jews. Hanifs – native pre-Islamic Arabs who "professed a rigid monotheism" – are also sometimes listed alongside Jews and Christians in pre-Islamic Arabia, although their historicity is disputed among scholars. According to Muslim tradition, Muhammad himself was a Hanif and one of the descendants of Ishmael, son of Abraham.
--- end wiki on Muhammad ---

Terry wrote:
Thanks!  This research is so helpful to me.

I (Ravi) responded:
Glad to know it has been of help to you.

[I thank Wikipedia and Business Insider and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extracts from their websites (short youtube video description from Business Insider) on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

Thursday, August 18, 2016

I am NOT scared of Mervyn Hughes' threat of legal and police action; Used it to see who will support me

Last modified on 19th Aug. 2016

I felt it appropriate to put up a recent comment exchange of mine with another Facebook user on my Facebook post,, as this separate post (slightly edited).

Mr. Ap Ramesh wrote (slightly edited):
about Marvyn (Mervyn Hughes), you please take it that they can never file any complaint. --snip-- cannot lodge complaints. they are doing --snip-- things. why worry. sir, you keep the fight on light body. let me assure you that if they file a complaint on you, we will lodge 100 complaints on --snip-- and --snip--. this is a promise.

I (Ravi) responded:

Ap Ramesh, Thank you so much for your support. I know that the probability of Mervyn Hughes himself filing a police and legal complaint against me is very low, as first he will have to come out in the open and reveal his identity. But here's why I decided to react the way I did to his police and legal action threat.

I came to know of Mervyn Hughes' police and legal action threat against me from a private message sent to me by a Facebook friend. Now as a blogger and Facebook writer, legal complaints can be made against me by parties who I criticize and who think that I have made defamatory statements against them. That is the law in India. You may have noted the defamation suits (both criminal and civil) filed by BJP leaders and union ministers like Arun Jaitley and Nitin Gadkari against AAP leader and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.

So for me to ignore such a threat and issue some kind of filmi (movie) dialogue daring Mervyn Hughes to do so, would be inappropriate, in my considered view. As a responsible social media writer and law-abiding Indian citizen I consider it my duty to transparently show to my readers (and, if required, to an Indian court of law and/or Indian police) that my writings conform to freedom of speech laws of India (as I understand it), and that my criticism, sometimes vehement criticism, of actions and words of some people is permitted under Indian law and cannot be termed as defamation.

Further, there are some ground realities that I have to consider. I live alone in Puttaparthi. In 2011-12 (after Bhagavan's Mahasamadhi) when I fought against the Asathya (untruth) and Adharma (unethical behaviour) done by the Sai university (SSSIHL) administrators (former HOD DMACS V. Chandrasekaran, former vice-chancellor Sashidhara Prasad, then and current Registrar Naren Ramji, and former director Prasanthi Nilayam campus, Sudhir Bhaskar) against me, I had a bitter taste of the realities of Prasanthi Nilayam ashram system. Not a single person in the university where I offered nine years of free service, supported me. I thought that at least some of them were my friends. But in my time of need, NOT ONE PERSON in the Sai university supported me when Asathya and Adharma were done to me. They were TERRIFIED of supporting me then as I think they were afraid of people like Naren Ramji targeting them for action if they did so. It was a very, very sad and bitter experience for me about the realities of Prasanthi Nilayam ashram system. [You may see details of the matter here: My May 2012 service record & record tampering related correspondence with Sai university (SSSIHL) administrators,] I must also mention here that two former students of mine of the Sai university who were working in companies in Indian cities, and a former Sai university faculty colleague (no longer working in Sai university then) supported me privately over mail, besides some old software industry colleagues of mine and my relatives. All of these persons were not in Puttaparthi then (and now). So I got to know who are the people that I could really turn to for help when I needed help! None of such people who were willing to help me were living in Puttaparthi!!!

So now that Mervyn Hughes made a threat against me, I wanted to see whether some people come forward to support me. You see, this is a generic issue. Mervyn Hughes need not file a legal complaint against me. Sashidhara Prasad, Narasimhamurthy and Madhusudan Naidu of Muddenahalli group may file a complaint against me for defamation (which I think I can successfully defend (win) in an Indian court as my criticism is largely factual and some fair opinion, meant to inform Sai devotees about what happened and so not defamatory). But fighting a legal case needs moral and other support. So I wanted to know whether there are some people in the Sai fraternity who will support me if Muddenahalli group harasses me with legal suits filed against me.

I am glad to see that a handful of people have come forward with words of support. If no one had come forward perhaps I would have given up on such writing. I mean, why should I stretch my neck out on this matter, if nobody is willing to help me. So I converted the Mervyn Hughes legal and police threat to me, to a test to see who will come forward with words of support to me. As some have come forward I have decided to continue my work of sharing the truth about Muddenhalli FALSE BELIEF even though Mervyn Hughes is targeting me so nastily.

Another point. Some have wondered (from a helpful and supportive point of view perhaps) whether I have got scared by Mervyn Hughes' threat of legal and police action. Perhaps that was the entire intent of Mervyn Hughes' post - Scare me and stop me from writing against Muddenahalli FALSE BELIEF. I am NOT scared of Mervyn Hughes' threat. But I do recognize the reality that moneyed people can use lawyers to harass and create trouble for writers and publishers who write unpalatable truths about them or their friends. Then it becomes a money power game. A single individual like me without significant money power to hire top lawyers to fight the top lawyers the opponents could hire, is vulnerable to such money power games. This is the reality. I prefer to be practical and consider the ground realities involved rather than issue filmi (movie) statements that I am not scared of anybody. I think some fear is good for health and longevity :-). Due to some support that I have received from a few people (less than ten persons actually, though I have 288 Facebook friends and 237 Facebook followers!), I have decided that, as of now, from a practical point of view I can fight off any legal and police action threats from Muddenahalli group supporters.