Last updated on 3rd August 2015
Yesterday (5th May 2015) I saw Shri Indulal Shah sir's letter on Muddenahalli on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/saikeshav.personal/posts/966435720066471.
I had a comment exchange on this facebook page and have given a slightly edited version of it below (Note MDH is a short form of Muddenahalli):
It is four years after the Mahasamadhi of our beloved Lord Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba but the confusion along with divisive threat to the organization due to claimed Muddenahalli subtle body communicator who claims to see and converse with Swami, has not abated, but seems to increase with every passing month. Perhaps the leaders of the organizations (official Sai org. and Muddenahalli based/affiliated org.) have had many discussions behind closed doors but the devotees at large are still very confused, as the views of the two organizations are conflicting. In my considered view, only a public discussion on this matter using the very convenient forum of the Internet, can help to resolve this confusion and enlighten Sai devotees worldwide about the matter.
It is wonderful that Shri Indulal Shah sir, the veteran leader of the Sathya Sai fraternity has expressed his view on a public forum. [As it is from Sai Keshav I consider it to be an authentic communication from Shri Indulal Shah sir.]
Swami being felt in subtle form all over the world is not unusual today and, IMHO, was not unusual when Swami was in physical form. I can say that from my experience in Maharashtra Sathya Sai Samithi (Dombivli) for nearly a decade (around 1993 to 2002).
The main issue is the very extraordinary claim of a brother M, former Sai university student, who claims to be able to see subtle form of Swami (and subtle forms of Lord Jesus, Lord Shiva, Mother Parvathi etc.) and communicate with Swami. It will be truly wonderful if Shri Indulal Shah sir also conveys whether he fully believes in brother M's ability to act as a special/unique communicator to subtle form of our beloved Lord, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. I say special/unique communicator as that is what is the impression conveyed by the Muddenahalli organization. I mean, people even have interviews with (claimed) Swami through communicator, brother M (but not through other communicators there, as far as I know from publicly available reports about these matters).
If Shri Indulal Shah sir conveys his view on the above matter then Sai devotees would know his clear stand on this very controversial and very divisive matter.
I don't think most Sai devotees associated with the official organization (or its supporters like me) have any issues with the service activities done by Muddenahalli organization and its affiliates. In fact, most (including me) are very appreciative of the wonderful service they are rendering, as per reports provided by them.
---- end my comment ---
[3rd August 2015, Ravi: I have deleted some of the comments from the comment exchange below as I felt those comment-authors may have concerns about it being shared on this blog post. Readers can visit the concerned Facebook post directly to view all the comments.]
Thanks brother Gautham Narendran for your response. You wrote, "Regarding doubts and confusion, simple solution for the entire devotee community is to go and experience it for ourselves, instead of complaining again and again about the apparent confusion. Don't you feel that's a wiser option? I feel that's the mistake all are committing here. Simply sit at home and complain about confusion, instead of packing their luggage and take a short trip to MDH for a first hand experience."
In our previous Facebook post exchanges I did not want to broach this matter but as you have explicitly raised it in response to my explicit request to Shri Indulal Shah sir about the matter, I think I must respond.
What can me going to MDH do? At the most it can convey that brother M either by himself or through claimed subtle body of Bhagavan, can read my mind and its memories. Such capability is not uncommon in this great and holy land of Bharat which has had many Siddha Purushas in the past & present and will continue to do so in the future.
More on it is given in this extract from my blog post, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/03/mediums-who-tell-you-some-private.html (what I have said below for medium(s) applies to communicator(s) too):
What if some medium told you about some private incident/interaction between you and physical form Swami - Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba?
Will you then believe that the medium is really interacting with subtle form (sukshma sharira) of Bhagavan? Will you then start following advice/instructions given by this medium who says they are from subtle form/body of Bhagavan?
What if all the above happened with me? What would I do?
Well, firstly I may have some doubt about whether information about the private incident/interaction between (physical form) Swami and me, may have been passed on to the medium by somebody else in physical form. In other words, the medium found out this info. through normal means (and not paranormal means). For example, physical form Swami used pet-names, quite funny pet-names many times , to refer to Sai university students. This pet-name would become common knowledge among student peers during that batch's stint at the university. Now, if a medium refers to a former student by using the pet-name, I, for one, would seriously consider the possibility of this information having been passed on to the medium by other former Sai university students, who know about this pet-name. I would not immediately get convinced that the medium has demonstrated knowledge about a private matter between me and (physical form) Swami.
But what if the matter is really a private one between me and Swami, not known to anybody else, and the medium tells me that matter? Then I would accept that the medium has demonstrated some paranormal power. This power could be due to the medium himself having acquired spiritual powers to read the mind and memories of others. But it could also be that this knowledge is revealed to the medium by subtle form/body of Swami or some other spiritual power masquerading as subtle form of Swami. So I will then certainly be somewhat open to the possibility that the medium's claim of interacting with subtle form of Swami is really true. But I would still not be one hundred percent certain that the medium is really interacting with subtle form of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, as it could be explained by other possibilities like the two other possibilities I mentioned above.
What will it take for me to get convinced that a medium is really interacting with subtle body of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba?
Well, I don't have a crisp answer for this. But let me just share my current thoughts on it. I would expect that the way Swami's subtle body runs the mission will be similar to how physical form Swami ran the Puttaparthi based mission. I would have a lot of doubts if a claimed subtle body based mission gets involved in activities which were unheard of in the physical form mission at Puttaparthi, like:
a) The claimed subtle body along with the medium going abroad to well off countries
b) Approaching devotees and donors with messages communicated mainly through a medium instead of the subtle body, at least sometimes, directly interacting with devotees and donors
c) Having chairs in public functions for subtle bodies of Jesus, Shiva (Shirdi Sai) and Parvathi
I will not accept such a mission to be a mission that is being run by subtle body of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, OR I will say that the subtle body mission is very different from the physical body run mission, and that I would prefer to associate with the latter rather than the former.
Another key test for me would be the deep scriptural and spiritual messages that the medium conveys as Swami's messages. If a medium states that Swami is saying that when I came as Rama, Krishna, Buddha, Allah ... I did ..., then it fails the scriptural/religious test for me. Allah is the formless God in Islamic theology. How can a spiritual master conversant with Islam, which Shirdi Sai Baba certainly was and Sathya Sai seemed to have full knowledge of Shirdi Sai form, say that Allah took a form? I don't think physical form of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba has ever said something like: when I came as Allah. As Rama and Krishna are avatars and physical form Swami has told us that He was Rama and Krishna earlier, Swami saying, when I came as Rama and Krishna, is fine.
A medium providing discourses of Swami which are similar to what physical form Swami has given on countless occasions on spiritual/human values like Sathya, Dharma, Shanti & Prema, can be simply attributed to an intense study by the medium of physical form Swami's discourses.
If a medium claims to "see" subtle body of Swami and points followers to where the subtle body is seated, and the medium claims to "hear" words of this subtle body seated physically separate from the medium, then when the medium gives discourses of subtle body of Swami I would expect the medium to "listen" for a few minutes to subtle body Swami, then convey what he heard to the audience, get back to "listening" to Swami and so on. This would be like how physical form Swami when giving discourses in Telugu would pause every few minutes (or less) for the English translator to say the English translation of what Swami said. If instead, such a medium who "sees" and "hears" subtle body of Swami which is physically separate from him, gives a continuous discourse as if it is Swami within the medium's body who is speaking now, then I would be confused and have some doubts about the medium.
--- end extracts ----
Therefore, in my considered opinion, the line of 'come and experience' to validate claims of communicator brother M, is not good enough in this vital matter for the Sathya Sai mission. A public and thorough debate on the matter, with leaders like Shri Indulal Shah sir, Mr. Issac Tigrett sir and Shri B.N. Narasimhamurthy sir, where they transparently and honestly share their experiences with communicator brother M, is what is needed. I started having some level of belief in physical form Swami's divine powers by experiences written by, what I considered to be reliable and honest accounts from people of standing, like Prof. Kasturi, Dr. John Hislop, Mr. Howard Murphet and even the parapsychologist investigator from the university of Iceland, Prof. Erlendur Haraldsson. I have great respect for leaders like Shri Indulal Shah sir, Shri B.N. Narasimhamurthy sir and Mr. Isaac Tigrett sir, and would treat detailed accounts by them of their experiences with communicator brother M's communications, with a lot of seriousness. But, as far as I know, we do not have such information available publicly.
I wrote back:
@Brother Gautham Narendran: I have been reading a lot of the 'discourses' of brother M which are available on the net. If there is some book having experiences of Shri Indulal Shah sir, Shri Narasimhamurthy sir and Mr. Isaac Tigrett sir about communications of communicator brother M, I will certainly buy the book and read it. If you have a soft copy and can pass it on that's fine too. [Update I just saw your message and have downloaded the pdf. Will read it and get back to you.]
@Brother Sai Keshav: About feeling positive vibration and Swami's love, I feel it in Puttaparthi itself. I am very, very happy living in Puttaparthi (btw I rarely visit Sai Kulwanth Hall nowadays) and am deeply grateful to Bhagavan for creating a wonderful town for genuine spiritual practitioners to peacefully and happily give and take, love, peace and joy. So I don't feel the need to go to MDH specifically to experience positive vibration and Swami's love. However, if you and others are experiencing positive vibration and Swami's love, I am happy for you'll and wish you'll even more spiritual fulfilment in MDH.
The crux of the MDH matter for me is the truly extraordinary and unheard of (as far as I know) in any religious scripture of any major religion like Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism etc. claims of brother M that he can see and communicate with subtle body of what I view as the most powerful god-person of Hindu scriptural history, Shiva-Shakti Swarupa, Kali Yuga Avatar, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. But even veteran leaders like Shri Indulal Shah sir, Shri Narasimhamurthy sir and Mr. Isaac Tigrett sir cannot see this subtle body! I mean, honestly, I find it difficult to buy the view that brother M is so pure and so advanced spiritually that only he can see it, and that MDH subtle body Swami does not want to show Himself (MDH subtle body 'form') to Shri Indulal Shah sir, Shri Narasimhamurthy sir and Mr. Isaac Tigrett sir. Jai Sairam!
I wrote (pdf document referred to below is preface to Sathya Sai Uvacha having MDH 'discourses'):
@Gautham Narendran: From the pdf document you sent me, I carefully studied Shri Indulal Shah sir's (and Smt. Sarla Shah madam's) article dated 1st Nov. 2014 titled, "IT IS THE SAME LOVE AND COMPASSION". He writes that he felt the same love and compassion in (claimed) Swami subtle body as he experienced in 40 years of association with physical form of Bhagavan. He also said that he was able to see the subtle form on one occasion.
My view of the above is that barring the one time he saw subtle form of Swami, the remaining part deals with spiritual ambience of love and compassion. This ambience of love and compassion can be due to the depth of devotion of the entire MDH community and communicator brother M in particular. However, Shri Indulal Shah sir seeing subtle form of Swami certainly falls into the area of divine vision or something like that. I wonder whether communicator brother M had a role in Indulal Shah sir being able to see this divine vision.
I then studied Shri Narasimhamurthy sir's article titled "INTRODUCTION" and dated 5th November 2014. BTW Narasimhamurthy sir refers to brother M as "the chosen 'communicator'". So even if some others too claim to have seen MDH subtle body, it seems to me that in the MDH community only the words of the chosen 'communicator', brother M, will be treated as divine discourse and perhaps as divine instructions/commands as well.
Shri Narasimhamurthy sir has provided extracts of discourses by (claimed) subtle Swami through brother M but has not mentioned any paranormal matters like him seeing subtle form Swami (like Shri Indulal Shah sir). He says, "I have been very fortunate that I have listened to everyone of these discourses and have been overwhelmed by the infinite love, compassion, and perfect wisdom that exudes from His nectarine words. It was the same then, and it is the same now!" So Shri Narasimhamurthy sir seems to have been convinced of communicator brother M's claims mainly by the discourses.
Mr. Isaac Tigrett's foreword was mentioned in Shri Narasimhamurthy sir's article but was not part of the pdf forwarded to me.
Thanks for the input as it has given me a more informed picture. I think that may be of help to Sai devotees who are looking into MDH (different from settled MDH devotees and settled non MDH Parthi devotees) and enable them to take a more informed decision about the matter.
@Sai Keshav: I agree on the "Let us wait and pray" part :-). And thanks for entertaining my comments on this post. I have noted that most of the comments on your Facebook page (other than mine) are from MDH believers. I hope my comments did not upset too many of them (it did upset some I think). All I can say is that my intent is to know more about the matter, so that I can provide an informed view of the matter to visitors on my blog and other social media sites. All the best to you folks and to communicator brother M too :-).