Wednesday, October 18, 2017

USA President Trump's Facebook post on Diwali

I made the following comment on Facebook post of USA President Trump, whose contents are given below: "Thank you sir for your best wishes for Diwali. - Ravi S. Iyer from India."

The two pics below are screenshots taken from the Facebook video. [To open pic in higher resolution, right-click on pic followed by open in new tab/window, and in new tab/window click on pic to zoom in.]





Text contents of USA President Trump's Facebook video post: 
https://www.facebook.com/DonaldTrump/videos/10160011016295725/, dated 18th Oct. 2017 (Indian Standard Time), are as follows:

Today, I was deeply honored to be joined by so many administration officials and leaders of the Indian-American community - to celebrate Diwali -- the Hindu Festival of Lights.

As we do so, we especially remember the People of India, the home of the Hindu faith, who have built the world’s largest democracy. I greatly value my very strong relationship with Prime Minister Modi. Diwali is one of the most important celebrations in the Hindu religion. A time of peace and prosperity for the New Year, it is a tradition that is held dear by more than 1 billion Hindus worldwide and more than 2 million Hindus in the United States. It is also celebrated by millions of Buddhists, Sikhs, and Jains in America, India and around the world.

Our Indian-American neighbors and friends have made incredible contributions to our country – and to the world. You have made extraordinary contributions to art, science, medicine, business and education. America is especially thankful for its many Indian-American citizens who serve BRAVELY in our armed forces and as first responders in communities throughout our great land.
The Lighting of the Diya is typically celebrated by families in their homes. Today, we proudly celebrate this holiday in THE PEOPLE’S HOUSE. In so doing, we reaffirm that Indian-Americans and Hindu-Americans are truly cherished, treasured and beloved members of our great American FAMILY.

We wish all of America’s Hindus and everyone who celebrates Diwali a joyous holiday and blessings of light, goodness, and prosperity throughout the New Year. And now we will light the Diya.

Donald J. Trump 
President of the United States of America
---- end text contents of Facebook post of USA President Trump ----

The video is about 2 minutes long. In the video, Mr. Trump reads out the above message surrounded by Indian-Americans, including some who serve in his administration. Towards the end of the video, Mr. Trump lights the lamp (Diya).

[I thank USA President Trump and have presumed that he will not have any objections to me sharing the above contents of his Facebook post, on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

Friday, October 13, 2017

My comments on Indian embassy in Argentina putting up pics of Madhusudan Rao Naidu on its twitter a/c

Given below are my recent comments (slightly edited) on Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/shubha.kumar/posts/10159114674795538, which is about the Indian embassy in Argentina putting up pics of a function of Muddenahalli group in Escobar (presumably a place in Argentina) including pics of Madhusudan Rao Naidu, the FALSE CLAIM communicator, in the function.

Sairam sister --name-snipped--! As the Indian embassy in Argentina has got involved, my considered view is that both the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust as well as the International Sathya Sai orgn. must put out their public views on the matter ON SOCIAL MEDIA, including any protest letter they write to the Indian embassy in Argentina. Once they do so, then I for sure will support them (presuming that they protest about it PUBLICLY) on social media.
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--name-snipped--, Well, the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust has a Facebook account, I believe. SSSCT has also issued PUBLIC statements referring to Muddenahalli in the past (in end 2014 or 2015 by which time immense damage had been done by Muddenahalli group to Sathya Sai fraternity worldwide).

Who else but SSSCT and International Sathya Sai orgn. will be recognized by Indian government agencies, including its foreign embassies, in such delicate matters related to impersonation of Sathya Sai by Madhusudan Rao Naidu? My considered view is that both the SSSCT and International Sathya Sai orgn. should inform the Indian embassy in Argentina that it has been misguided by an imposter who FALSELY CLAIMS to be a medium of Sathya Sai.

When individual devotees contact Indian govt. agencies the impact is much lesser, though there have been cases when there was change in stand of Indian embassy (like in the case of Indian embassy in Croatia). Govt. officials worldwide would tend to play safe. Ignoring individual complaints is easy. Ignoring complaints by authorised representatives like SSSCT and International Sathya Sai orgn. will be much more difficult for govt. representatives to do.

About the dirty linen part: Well, there are court cases going on in India on the matter. The USA Sathya Sai orgn. sent a legal notice to Muddenahalli group some months ago which was shared on the Internet. So I think both SSSCT and International Sathya Sai orgn. have crossed that bridge. Now the dispute is public knowledge. Now what matters is using legal avenues to prevent Muddenahalli group from doing further damage to Sathya Sai fraternity worldwide by additional distortion and corruption of the legacy and memories of our beloved and revered Gurudev, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
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I have heard Swami in public discourses live, sitting in Sai Kulwant Hall, being critical of imitators of him. That message of Swami via public discourse made it very clear to me that Swami disapproved of such imitators.

Swami did not hold back strong words to criticize people who were doing wrong. He was not a goodie-goodie only spiritual master who never was critical of wrongdoers. We would be scared (I was a free service teacher then in the Sai university in Prasanthi Nilayam), I repeat scared, of doing wrong because of the wrath that we may face from Swami. I think like teachers in the regular world, spiritual teachers have to not only praise and promote good, but also point out and be critical of bad.

Today, in the absence of Sathya Sai physical form, devotees look up to the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust (SSSCT) for guidance in such matters. So I for one, expect SSSCT to continue Bhagavan's practice of promoting and praising good work but being unambiguously critical of bad that is happening within the Sathya Sai fraternity.
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Thursday, October 12, 2017

How to quieten the monkey mind? Sathya Sai, singing Bhaja Govindam verses, shows one way

Last updated on 14th October 2017

Given below are my recent comments (slightly edited) on a Facebook post in response to above question of how to quieten the monkey mind:

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's words as sung by him tell us one way to achieve that:
Satsangatwe Nissangatwam, Nissangatwe Nirmohatwam,
Nirmohatwe Nischalatattwam, Nischalatattwe Jeevan Mukti.
Hare Rama! Hare Rama! Rama Rama Hare Hare!
Hare Krishna! Hare Krishna! Krishna Krishna Hare Hare!

Here's the song sung by Bhagawan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8l3zkBiZ6k, 3 min. 21 secs.
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I think it is part of Bhaja Govindam of Adi Shankara but I don't know whether Bhagawan modified it a little. ... It is not just a reminder to take the holy name of God/Avatar but a mix of spiritual wisdom and holy name of God. ... Bhagawan was crystal clear about spiritual directions in such matters. A dream Guru he was, to me at least!
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Let me try a literal translation of the first two lines of the above mentioned verses, with my not-so-great understanding of the word Nissangatwe. So please be warned that my interpretation could be wrong.

Satsangatwe Nissangatwam, Nissangatwe Nirmohatwam
From good/divinity lovers/worshipers company (so good/divinity lovers/worshipers company for significant time is implied as the first step) to no company (solitude), From no company (solitude) to no infatuation (I think moha translates properly to infatuation).

Nirmohatwe Nischalatattwam, NIschalatattwe Jeevanmukti
From no infatuation to (being established in) steady/unchanging/eternal principle/basis (of consciousness/awareness), from being established in steady/eternal principle/basis of consciousness/awareness to liberation (from cycle of life and death).

I need to go out now. Hope to revisit this and improve my translation by using Internet sources/references.
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Well, this is one path that Swami spoke of. In this path, which seems to be a Jnana Marga path, I think solitude and stillness of mind are vital. .... But Swami did not limit his teachings to this Jnana Marga path alone. Most of his devotees, it seems to me, preferred Bhakti and Karma marga paths. He spoke many times on Bhakti and Karma. I am sure that the same destination is eventually reached by people following any of these paths.

In this context I should also share that once when I was doing Seva Dal duty in Sai Kulwant Hall (sometime in the 90s) and was rather frustrated with the challenges (humiliation, insults, phsyical strain etc.) that Seva Dal duty involved, and was thinking that this Seva Dal stuff is not really suiting me, Bhagavan gave a discourse that day itself where he touched upon the topic! He said something on the lines of (paraphrased):

Today I will tell you three paths to reach the Divine. [Ravi: I pricked up my ears. I said this is what I want him to tell me! I thought he would talk about Jnana, Bhakti and Karma paths and perhaps elaborate on which path suited which type of persons.] They are: Seva, Seva, Seva!
--- end paraphrased words of Bhagavan discourse ---

Ravi: I got that message loud and clear! It was not what I wanted to hear as I wanted to get some words from Swami that helped me move away from Seva Dal duty to more Jnana marga type of activity. But he was the Gurudev and I was the struggling spiritual aspirant. So I had to accept his words, even though I was not so pleased to hear that!

Today, I believe that Swami sensed those thoughts of mine and responded to them via his discourse.

As I kept his Seva, Seva, Seva words in my mind, I always tried to include significant level of Seva in my spiritual quest. Later I realized that it was this Seva activity that went a long way in bursting ego-pride related stuff that was in me at an internal level (not exposed much to outer world), and helped me better connect and appreciate the Bhakti and Karma marga people, and even learn from them.

I learned the vital spiritual trait of loving God by associating with Bhaktas. That was something that I think I could not have developed, or easily developed, by only Jnana marga approach (as I had understood it). Today, I am first and foremost a lover of God (as you may see even in my Facebook profile pic). Everything else comes afterwards.
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More about Bhagawan's emphasis on Seva.

The seating arrangement among staff and Sai orgn. senior office bearers in Kulwant Hall was a clear index of the position of the persons in the ashram system. It was like the seating arrangement in a King's darbar (court) reflecting the relative importance of the people in the darbar/court (to the King).

If a person who formerly was ashram staff, did not do any service activity currently but was leading an individual sadhana life, he would have to sit along with the Old Students (next to the garage area) which was not ideal for viewing mandir events and seeing Swami when he was seated on the dais! But people contributing to ashram seva activities on a regular basis could sit in staff or verandah area, and be much closer physically to Swami and generally have a better view of mandir events. So the message was loud and clear. If you want to have a seat which is physically closer to Swami in Sai Kulwant Hall, then you better do some seva in the ashram. That was the huuuuge importance Bhagawan in physical form, gave to Seva.

Another example is that of the late Gopal Rao sir, who was a former head of Andhra Bank, devotee of many decades, and was living in the ashram. He was the grandfather of a former lady colleague of mine in Mastek (software company) in Mumbai, where I was a (independent) software consultant. So I had visited Gopal Rao sir a few times and had some interesting chats with him.

Even though he was quite old (perhaps 80s then), he used to do South Indian Canteen seva of tearing the coupons of those who had been served OR were to be served their meals! BTW he would be wearing a traditional dhoti while doing this Seva. What an outstanding example he set for people like me, about the importance of Seva in Prasanthi Nilayam ashram. I mean, he was a retired chairman of an important state level bank in India, and was very well off. I think Bhagavan had even praised Gopal Rao sir publicly for doing this Seva.

Any person who has spent significant time in presence of physical form Bhagavan in Prasanthi Nilayam would clearly and unambiguously know that Bhagavan gave Seva first priority! Scriptural knowledge, medical knowledge, academic knowledge, singing ability etc. was all given reasonable importance in its place in the ashram system, but if you wanted to melt Bhagavan's heart and earn his praise, and also be respected in Prasanthi Nilayam system, you HAD TO DO SEVA. That was the extraordinary culture that Bhagavan created in Prasanthi Nilayam! Manav Seva is Madhav Seva was something that was the real thing for Bhagavan and not just mere words. This I say out of my experience in Prasanthi Nilayam system in Bhagavan's physical presence from Oct. 2002 to Mar. 2011.
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About comment about me being in Bhakti marga now: Well, Bhagawan would say that all margas are one or something like that (which you have also mentioned in your comment). My understanding of this is that Bhagawan felt that all aspects are IDEALLY needed in a devotee. So he would lay stress on chintan. He would lay stress on self-inquiry. But he would lay equal stress on Bhakti and on Seva! Today my path is a seamless blend of some Jnana, some Bhakti and some Karma marga paths. So I would not characterize my path as being primarily Bhakti now. I would rather say that Bhagavan showed me/taught me/enlightened me that love for God and worship of God is AN INTEGRAL part of the Jnana Marga (path of wisdom). Earlier I was foolishly arrogant and had a skewed intellectual less-properly-understood view of topics like Vedanta. By bringing devotion and love for God in my spiritual practice I now have a far better understanding of topics like Vedanta than before.
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From some Internet browsing:
1) The two lines: Satsangathwe ... are from Bhaja Govindam. But the Hare Rama lines seem to be a modification.
2) Nissangatwam is typically translated as detachment (instead of my literal translation of no company/solitude).
3) Tatwam, in this context, may be better translated as basis (instead of principle).
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Moha, I think, is translated many times, as delusion. Sometimes I think I have seen it being translated as infatuation.
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The classic Sanskrit word for detachment is vairagya, I think. From a Sanskrit word point of view, while I don't really know Sanskrit, whatever little bit I have been exposed to of Sanskrit, tells me that Nissangatwam cannot be literally translated as vairagya.

Perhaps neither is the translation of it as no company/solitude, the correct one, in this context.

The sangam in traditional and ancient India would have been, I guess, vital for status and survival. Perhaps nissangatwam may mean something like keeping away from regular society and regular worldly life. So it may mean sticking to a small group of people/spiritual aspirants who either help or do not hinder one's spiritual quest. In other words, limiting one's contacts to a small group of people. BTW I have heard that Bhagawan has privately advised some students who were in spiritual sadhaka/aspirant mode, to limit their contacts to a small group of people. I think that makes a lot of sense to a serious spiritual aspirant both from a time management perspective and also from a less tangled life perspective.

So I think in this context, Bhagawan would have interpreted nissangatwam as having limited/small group of people as one's company and NOT being caught up in regular society with its regular worldly affairs. I don't think translating nissangatwam as detachment is precise in this context. In fact, I think it could even be misleading. Detachment (vairagya) is a very big word with lots of commentary on it. One can hold big positions in society yet be detached! Nishkama Karma! King Janaka is typically held up as a great example of such persons who were active in society but were detached! Hands in society, head in the forest!
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About satsangam in this context: I think Bhagavan would have meant company of the good, the holy, the spiritual seekers and spiritual adepts. Mind you, the words, spiritual seeker, would include devotees who are into traditional Bhakti marga practices and who may not be doing much of reading intellectual stuff like Advaita and Upanishads. In my considered opinion, the simple and devout Bhakta is as vital a seeker to God as is the intellectually gifted scripture scholar.
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======================================================
An update:
Just to bring some real life touch to what I said: Here's a video of Bhagavan felicitating Gopal Rao sir (the same ex-chairman of Andhra Bank who used to do Seva at South Indian canteen tearing coupons of people who were seated for meals, perhaps upto his early 90s) for his 100th birthday, if I recall correctly. Felicitation of Sri Gopal Rao, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sV-nz--TQjg, 9 min. 10 secs.

And here's the video of Bhagawan visiting Gopal Rao sir in Super hospital when the latter was seriously ill, Swami and Father, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPXe13tLTXg, 3 min. 50 secs.

The two above videos seem to have been put up by Gopal Rao sir's son Sri Suryanarayana (seen in the videos), whom also I have had the pleasure of meeting during one or two of my visits to Gopal Rao sir's room in the ashram (South building just behind Sai Kulwant Hall).

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Sathya Sai: Students, the educationists and the patrons of education, all struggle to fulfil their worldly desires

Given below are words of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba from a discourse given in Kodaikanal on 23rd April 1993, which was printed in Oct. 2017 Sanathana Sarathi. [I came across it while I was reading Sanathana Sarathi yesterday night.]

In earlier days, when the population of the world was only 100 crores [Ravi: 1 billion], most people treaded the spiritual path. They undertook spiritual practices to attain Divinity and liberation. Considering human life as evanescent like a water bubble, they sought to know the eternal truth. Now the population has increased to 600 crores [Ravi: 6 billion].

The population has increased but desire for liberation has decreased. The reason is the modern system of education. This system of education creates unlimited desires in man. It does not inculcate the desire for liberation. The students, the educationists and the patrons of education, all struggle to fulfil their worldly desires. The first plan of a student is take up a course of study which would provide him wealth and high status. The only aim of education is to earn a living. Is education meant merely to fill the belly? Only stomach is not important, head and heart are more important. What is the responsibility of the head? Its responsibility is not only to secure job and business for you. This leads to Pravritti (worldliness). The world is, in fact, an illusion. The world is nothing but a dream.
---- end extract from Bhagawan discourse ---

Ravi: This is Jagadguru Bhagawan speaking (different from Bhagawan speaking jocularly to students as a loving parent and giving them Gulab Jamun [Indian sweet]). And Bhagawan has spoken the truth about society today, perhaps worldwide, including some supposedly spiritual values oriented educational institutions. "This system of education creates unlimited desires in man. It does not inculcate the desire for liberation. The students, the educationists and the patrons of education, all struggle to fulfil their worldly desires."

I think there may be a few students, educationists and patrons of education even among many supposedly spiritual values oriented educational institutions who follow 'ceiling on (material) desires' and have desire for liberation instead of worldly desires. But the bulk of students, educationists (teachers and administrators like principals, directors and vice-chancellors) and patrons of education among such supposedly spiritual values oriented educational institutions are focused on worldly desires. I think that is the truth. Mind you, I am not blaming the students, educationists and patrons of education of such institutions. It is their life and their choice. I am just sharing my view that Bhagawan's 1993 discourse extract above tells us the reality.

I think those people who are desirous of liberation and would like to reduce their worldly desires, should not lose heart about the state of affairs. I think they should ASSIDUOUSLY cultivate the company of those who desire liberation thereby protecting their spiritual liberation quest from being watered down by the company of people who are more into worldly desires. Further, they should avoid Asathya-Adharma as that can have very negative impact on their spiritual quest. Note that sometimes supposedly Sathyam Vada Dharmam Chara (Speak the truth, follow Dharma/ethics) educational institutions have administrators like Head of department, principal, director, registrar and vice-chancellor who themselves may be Asathya-Adharma crooks. For those desirous of spiritual progress, it is best to keep a safe distance from such educational institution administrators and REFUSE to follow any Asathya-Adharma instructions they may give, even if that results in loss of worldly status and position. What is the use of worldly status and position acquired by following Asathya-Adharma to a GENUINE spiritual aspirant? If Sathya and Dharma are lost, what else is left for the genuine spiritual aspirant in his spiritual journey? Nothing! He loses all, if he loses Sathya and Dharma.

[I thank Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba and Sanathana Sarathi, and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extract from their magazine on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

Monday, October 9, 2017

PM Narendra Modi worships at Shirdi Sai Baba temple in his hometown, Vadnagar

Given below is a Facebook post of Indian Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, https://www.facebook.com/narendramodi/photos/a.10150164299700165.421791.177526890164/10159511788295165/ dated 9th October 2017 :

From my visit to Vadnagar (my hometown) yesterday.


[To open pic in higher resolution, right-click on pic followed by open in new tab/window, and in new tab/window click on pic to zoom in.]
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My comments on my share of above post here: https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1991960861020481 are as follows:

Shirdi Sai Baba temples are all over India. Gujarat being a neighbouring state of Maharashtra (where Shirdi Sai Baba was based) naturally would have its share. Good to know that PM Modi's hometown too has its Shirdi Baba temple and that PM Modi worshiped there. Sabka Maalik Ek (The Lord/Master of all is One)!

[I thank Indian PM Narendra Modi and have presumed that he will not have any objections to me sharing the above contents from his Facebook post on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

Toronto Mayor, John Tory, in July 2017 BAPS mandir speech mentions 'incredible' Hindu civilization contributions (to Western civilization)

This post follows up on my earlier post, Canada PM Justin Trudeau speech in Jul 2017 on 10th anniversary celebration of Toronto Hindu temple, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2017/10/canada-pm-justin-trudeau-speech-in-jul.html, 8th Oct. 2017.

The transcripts as well as screenshot pics below are from the video: 10th Anniversary Celebration of BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Toronto, ON, Canada, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=soZ2VWyvzWY. [To open pic in higher resolution, right-click on pic followed by open in new tab/window, and in new tab/window click on pic to zoom in.]
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From around 13:37 in the video, Toronto Mayor John Tory says:

And I want you to know, as the mayor of the city of Toronto, and I say this on behalf of all of the people of the city of Toronto, how proud we are to have this magnificent and unique mandir (temple) located in our beautiful city. ...

And to follow up (on what) minister Baines said about making Canada a better place, you make Toronto a better place. [Applause]. As you heard the prime minister say, the BAPS mandir is an architectural masterpiece, carved out of faith and out of love in Canada's largest city. An inspiration for those who pray here and gather here, but also, I can assure you, an inspiration for all Torontonians, for all Canadians, and for people from around this continent and around the world who come to visit.

You will be pleased to know that I have encouraged people, when they have asked me, what they should go to see in Toronto - what should they go to see that they might not be able to cast their eye on when they are in the downtown, I say, go to the BAPS mandir. [Applause]

And I say to them, not only will you see something of magnificence, but you will also learn a lot about the incredible contributions over time immemorial by Hindu civilization to our civilization as a whole. [Applause].


And I want you to know, your holiness, and ladies and gentlemen, as I go around this city performing my duties, as I go across the country, and as I travel around the world representing Toronto, you are always with me [Tory raises his right hand showing a yellow sacred thread tied to his right wrist; applause] because I have here something that I believe blesses me, something that I believe protects me. But more importantly than that, it reminds me everyday of the friendship that I have been privileged to have with you, and with the people of faith here at the BAPS mandir.



And so to mark this special occasion of the 10th anniversary of this mandir, I would like to present the key to the city to his holiness, Mahant Swami Maharaj. I have only presented three keys to this city since I have been the mayor and I want .. to read to you what the inscription says, that accompanies the key. You will see me present a framed version of the key to his holiness. I assure you there is also a key that accompanies that, which will be presented to him as well. And it reads as follows: "This recognition honours his holiness as the sixth spiritual guru of BAPS. His holiness travels the world inspiring people with his insightful spiritual discourses and disciplined conduct. The virtuous lifestyle and ideals to which his holiness adheres are what many people strive to achieve and he is an inspiration for all young people. His holiness is the head of a worldwide spiritual and humanitarian organization that is dedicated to community service, peace and harmony through Hindu principles. Toronto has been enriched by many contributions from BAPS charities Canada and from the individual members of BAPS to help disaster relief causes and to the well being of our community. Unique BAPS mandir located in Toronto serves as an architectural masterpiece and adds to the multi-cultural mosaic of the city of Toronto and of Canada."



And it is so, with those words that I am proud on your behalf and on behalf of all the people of Toronto and the members of Toronto city council to present to his holiness, the key to the city on this memorable occasion of the 10th anniversary of this BAPS mandir.
--- end Toronto Mayor, John Tory, speech transcript ---



Around 12:03, Mahant Swami Maharaj says a few words:

May this beautiful country, Canada, prosper in all ways. May everyone in Canada live in harmony. May the Prime Minister be a leader who strengthens the humility of the country. May the people of Canada be happy and peaceful. May this mandir continue to inspire everyone towards better living. May the whole world unite as one big family. We are peace loving people and Canada is also peace loving. So let us pray together so that peace prevails in Canada and in the whole world.
---- end Mahant Swami Maharaj few words transcript ---







Ravi: It is a matter of great joy to me, as a devout Hindu, to hear and see such praise from Toronto Mayor, John Tory, about BAPS mandir's Hindu principles based/related contributions to Toronto city, the largest city in Canada. To then see him show his sacred yellow thread on his wrist, presumably given by BAPS to him, and talk about his belief that it would protect him and bless him, made it even more joyous.

May Almighty God bless Toronto Mayor John Tory and the BAPS mandir in Toronto for showing such a wonderful inclusive attitude towards different religions, with Tory being of Christian faith and BAPS mandir being of Hindu faith. I congratulate both BAPS mandir as well as Canadian political leaders like PM Justin Trudeau and Mayor John Tory for this event which shows us how Canada allows Hindu faith along with its service to society work to flourish in Canada and how Hindu faith can enrich Canada in this process.

My belief, of course, based on Vedanta which was reinforced by the teachings of Sathya Sai, is that there is ultimately only one God, a formless divine power which some among Hindus refer to as Absolute Brahman. Various religions and sects are different pathways to the same God. And I am so happy to be able to worship and adore that ONE GOD (Brahman) through various faiths/religions like Hinduism, Christianity as well as peaceful sects of Islam like Sufi Islam.

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brahman :
"In Hinduism, Brahman (/brəhmən/; ब्रह्मन्) connotes the highest Universal Principle, the Ultimate Reality in the universe. In major schools of Hindu philosophy, it is the material, efficient, formal and final cause of all that exists. It is the pervasive, genderless, infinite, eternal truth and bliss which does not change, yet is the cause of all changes. Brahman as a metaphysical concept is the single binding unity behind the diversity in all that exists in the universe."

[I thank Toronto, Canada mayor John Tory and BAPS Swaminarayan, and wikipedia, and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above transcripts of Mayor Tory and his holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj's speech, and pics from above youtube video, and wiki extracts, on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Sathya Sai on vairagya (detachment)

Given below are my recent comments (slightly edited) on a Facebook post:

My view is that Swami's message was suited to the persons who were the target of the message. [So Swami would send sweets to students, and would not be very appreciative of students giving up on sweets as a penance!] Too much vairagya in students would not have been appropriate, I think, as Swami wanted them to be in the world and also follow Sathya, Dharma, Shanti & Prema values. .... But to grown ups, I think Swami did talk about vairagya. In my considered view, Prema (selfless love) and Vairagya (detachment) are the hallmarks of an evolved spiritual person.
...

My experience of physical form Sathya Sai during my regular (almost every day when Bhagavan was in Parthi) darshans and discourse-sambhashans (discourses would NOT be every day, of course) of him from Oct. 2002 to March 2011 is that Swami would interact with students, many times, as a loving parent. We would be told of Swami inquiring of students what they ate in hostel and how it was etc. ...

But when Swami would give a public discourse in Sai Kulwanth Hall, especially on festival days when there would be a crowd, he would speak like a Jagadguru, a spiritual teacher for the world. I don't think I have heard Swami even once during the public discourses I have heard from him, live sitting in Sai Kulwant Hall, ask people to freak out on Gulab Jamun, for example. .. No. At such times, he would be in a really different mode. And people like me would be paying deep attention to Swami's words trying to catch the full meaning of his words, as most of the time Swami would be talking about spirituality rising above mundane life. Let me dig up some vairagya statements of Swami from sssbpt.info.

From Google search results for: vairagya site:sssbpt.info

1) From http://www.sssbpt.info/ssspeaks/volume20/sss20-14.pdf: "Even as a lamp needs a container, oil, wick and a match stick to light it, for lighting the inner flame, one needs a container in the form of Vairagya (renunciation), Bhakti (the oil of devotion), the wick of mental concentration and Tathvajnana (the match stick of true awareness). Even if any of these four is lacking, the light of Self cannot be lit."

2) From http://www.sssbpt.info/vahinis/Prasanthi/Prasanthi17.pdf :

Only Humanity has the capacity, the credentials for realizing the power of the Lord, for earning that power (sakthi). It is indeed tragic that, even after achieving human birth, people do not realize that eternal reality or even make an attempt to understand It. If this chance is missed, when can they attempt it?

Why, they do not concern themselves with the very purpose for which they have come! Did they come only for living like all other animals, birds, or insects, eating, wandering about, sleeping, and seeking pleasure? If the answer is “no”, then for what else? Can we say that a person is just another animal, like the rest? People have three things that animals don’t have: the power to reason, the power to renounce, and the power to decide on right and wrong. These are special powers; but of what use are they unless they are applied in actual practice? If they are used, the name “human” is apt, otherwise, the name “animal” has to be used.

The three powers mentioned above should be applied by people not only in worldly matters but even in the investigation of the ultimate truth. Really speaking, if inquiry, discrimination, and renunciation are carried out while passing through the joys and sorrows of life, the conviction is bound to dawn in a moment that all this is unreal, that all this has no basis in truth. When such knowledge dawns, one is certain to tread the path of religion and spiritual discipline and take up the inquiry that will lead to the truth. This is the task in which people must be engaged.

Well! If only everyone would ask the questions “Who are we? Whence did we come? Where have we come to? How long will we be here?”, the truth could be easily grasped. That questioning is the sign of discrimination (viveka). When, by means of this discrimination, the idea that the world is impermanent gets deeply rooted in the mind, all attachments cease automatically. That is the stage of renunciation or detachment (vairagya).

One asks, is it worthwhile to be caught up in this unreal world? This is false and misleading, one tells oneself. One then turns one’s efforts to the realm of the Lord, the realm of truth. That is the wise decision.
--- end extract from Prasanthi17.pdf ----

The above 2 are from the first two results for the Google Search. I think they reflect what I said about public-discourse and public writings Swami. He truly would rise to world spiritual teacher level during these discourses and writings. And I would love that immensely. It has been my great privilege to listen to such public discourses of his live, sitting in Sai Kulwant Hall.

But I should also say that Swami was aware that most of his devotees including me, could not easily rise up to the levels that he urged us to aspire to. So he would tolerate our inadequacies as spiritual aspirants, joke with us about our failings (even in discourses, at times, which would lead to great laughter among the public)...

However, through his public discourses, as well as his writings, Swami has been very clear about what the spiritual path needs, for earnest spiritual aspirants who want to experience their divine truth. Whether we are able to match up to it or not is a different matter. Swami did not dilute those teachings to suit our failings, in his public discourses. He was one tough master in his public discourses. At least, that's my view of this aspect of him.

[I thank sssbpt.info and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extracts from their website on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]