Monday, June 30, 2014

Pope Francis: Poverty is at the center of the Gospel; Communists ‘stole’ the flag of Christianity

I love the way Pope Francis speaks his mind going directly to the (spiritual) heart of the issue. Quotes of the Pope and notes from, Pope Francis: Communists ‘stole’ the flag of Christianity, http://rt.com/news/169272-pope-francis-communism-christianity/ :

* Pope Francis: “I can only say that the communists have stolen our flag. The flag of the poor is Christian. Poverty is at the center of the Gospel”.

[Ravi: "Poverty is at the center of the Gospel"! Wow! That's what has made the world treat some Christian missionaries like Mother Teresa with awe, no matter what the religion of the admirer. I am so happy to see such vocal support for Christian spiritual quest being focused on service of the poor. May God give you more strength in your endeavours to change the more-fortunate society to be more oriented towards service to the less fortunate, Holy Father!]

* Pope Francis joked: “Communists say that all this is communism. Sure, twenty centuries later. So when they speak, one can say to them: ‘but then you are Christian'”

[Ravi: That's pretty cool as a retort. But, of course, communism lacks faith in the divine, and service to the poor being viewed as service to God.]

* Pope Francis said that the gospel cannot be understood without understanding poverty

[Ravi: Interesting! It is service to the poor, in the slums of Bombay/Mumbai and its outer suburbs (including Dombivli) and in villages, that exposed me to the immense hardships in the lives of the poor, and gave me a far more balanced perspective of my life and how thankful I should be for the kind mercies parents&family and God/destiny/karma showered on me. So I would say that spirituality & religion cannot be well understood without exposure to or experience of hardship, poverty being one of the toughest hardships.]

* Pope Francis severely criticized financial speculation on commodities which impacted access to food for the poor.

[Ravi: This religious leader is certainly a gutsy man to speak out such truth about the financial markets. As the article mentions in its beginning part, Pope Francis has already been labelled as a Marxist by many! Great to have such a truth-teller whose voice gets heard in the world media.]

---- end article notes and comments ----

Ravi: Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's teachings emphasize service to man (Manava Seva). I think I have mentioned this incident in earlier post(s) but I felt it appropriate to repeat it here. I was offering Seva as Seva Dal in Sai Kulwant Hall during a MahaShivarathri function in the 90s (then I lived in Dombivli, an outer suburb of Mumbai). I was a little frustrated with the challenges involved in doing Mandir (Sai Kulwant Hall) discipline duty, and was wondering whether such duty really would help in my spiritual progress! Swami addressed this issue in his discourse that day! He said something to the effect that he had three things to say to people desiring spiritual progress. My ears perked up - I thought this is for me. I expected him to say something about Bhakti marga (path of Devotion), Jnana marga (path of Knowledge) and Karma marga (path of Action). He said, Seva, Seva, Seva (Service, Service, Service)!

So, there it was, a crystal clear message that as far as Bhagwan Sri Sathya Sai Baba was concerned, the recommended path for spiritual progress was service. I am glad to note that Pope Francis, the top person of the Roman Catholic Church, is interpreting the Christian gospel in a similar vein.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Sathya Sai Baba's Advaita Teachings By John Hislop Ph.D. - youtube video crosses 1000 views over 63 countries in around 8 months

I am happy to share with you that the following youtube video put up in Nov. 2013 (courtesy saicast.org) has crossed 1000 views over 63 countries, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dl9izOvsUJg, 1 hr. 26 min. I have copy-pasted below the relevant youtube stats. info.: 

Lifetime (Nov 3, 2013 – Jun 21, 2014)



VIEWS
1,031


ESTIMATED MINUTES WATCHED
13,336
Geography
Views
237 (23%)
4,051 (30%)
17:05
227 (22%)
1,619 (12%)
7:08
91 (8.8%)
1,136 (8.5%)
12:28
67 (6.5%)
973 (7.3%)
14:31
38 (3.7%)
964 (7.2%)
25:21
30 (2.9%)
457 (3.4%)
15:14
26 (2.5%)
130 (1.0%)
5:00
25 (2.4%)
259 (1.9%)
10:20
21 (2.0%)
385 (2.9%)
18:19
17 (1.6%)
56 (0.4%)
3:17
17 (1.6%)
290 (2.2%)
17:02
14 (1.4%)
407 (3.1%)
29:05
12 (1.2%)
104 (0.8%)
8:40
12 (1.2%)
164 (1.2%)
13:40
11 (1.1%)
245 (1.8%)
22:14
11 (1.1%)
50 (0.4%)
4:34
10 (1.0%)
91 (0.7%)
9:03
10 (1.0%)
287 (2.2%)
28:41
10 (1.0%)
73 (0.6%)
7:20
8 (0.8%)
237 (1.8%)
29:39
8 (0.8%)
45 (0.3%)
5:33
6 (0.6%)
155 (1.2%)
25:47
6 (0.6%)
32 (0.2%)
5:17
6 (0.6%)
10 (0.1%)
1:39
6 (0.6%)
118 (0.9%)
19:37
6 (0.6%)
10 (0.1%)
1:39
5 (0.5%)
137 (1.0%)
27:25
5 (0.5%)
13 (0.1%)
2:30
5 (0.5%)
4 (0.0%)
0:45
5 (0.5%)
0 (0.0%)
0:00
5 (0.5%)
1 (0.0%)
0:12
5 (0.5%)
4 (0.0%)
0:53
5 (0.5%)
51 (0.4%)
10:17
5 (0.5%)
10 (0.1%)
1:56
4 (0.4%)
12 (0.1%)
3:07
4 (0.4%)
8 (0.1%)
1:57
4 (0.4%)
3 (0.0%)
0:42
4 (0.4%)
20 (0.2%)
5:07
3 (0.3%)
1 (0.0%)
0:15
3 (0.3%)
5 (0.0%)
1:43
3 (0.3%)
98 (0.7%)
32:30
3 (0.3%)
5 (0.0%)
1:33
3 (0.3%)
44 (0.3%)
14:32
3 (0.3%)
29 (0.2%)
9:34
2 (0.2%)
2 (0.0%)
0:49
2 (0.2%)
0 (0.0%)
0:08
2 (0.2%)
0 (0.0%)
0:00
2 (0.2%)
12 (0.1%)
6:00
2 (0.2%)
2 (0.0%)
0:58
2 (0.2%)
82 (0.6%)
40:46
1 (0.1%)
72 (0.5%)
1:11:41
1 (0.1%)
1 (0.0%)
0:32
1 (0.1%)
0 (0.0%)
0:03
1 (0.1%)
90 (0.7%)
1:30:29
1 (0.1%)
1 (0.0%)
0:36
1 (0.1%)
10 (0.1%)
10:03
1 (0.1%)
13 (0.1%)
13:06
1 (0.1%)
5 (0.0%)
4:35
1 (0.1%)
44 (0.3%)
43:46
1 (0.1%)
1 (0.0%)
0:42
1 (0.1%)
1 (0.0%)
1:05
1 (0.1%)
1 (0.0%)
1:09
1 (0.1%)
1 (0.0%)
1:05