Friday, July 31, 2015

Divine Wisdom Message of Sri Sathya Sai Baba appropriate for Gurupoornima day

Given below is a Divine Wisdom message of Kali Yuga Avatar, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, appropriate to be refreshed in our minds, on this Gurupoornima day, 31st July 2015. The handwritten image below is followed by transcribed text.



[Courtesy: Murali Krishna, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=980693478617450&set=a.468511119835691.105196.100000304205525&type=1]

Transcribed text of above image:

You as body, mind or soul are a dream; but what you really are is Existence, Knowledge, Bliss. You are the GOD of this universe. You are creating the whole universe and drawing it in. To gain the infinite universal individuality, the miserable little prison individuality must go. Bhakti (loving God unconditionally which includes surrender to His will) is no crying or any negative condition; it is seeing of all in all we see.

It is the heart that reaches the goal; follow the heart. A pure heart seeks beyond the intellect; it gets inspired.

Whatever we do reacts upon us; if we do good, we shall have happiness and if evil, unhappiness. Within you is the real happiness, within you is the mighty ocean of nectar divine. Seek it within you, feel it; feel it; it is here, the self. It is not the body, the mind, the intellect, the brain; it is not the desire of the desiring; it is not the object of desire. Above all these, you are. All these are simply manifestations. You appear as the smiling flower, as the twinkling stars. What is there in the world which can make you desire anything?

With Blessings and Love
Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Some people felt more connected to Shirdi Sai than Sathya Sai; Impact on followers is a big legacy of a spiritual master

Some more short & quick thoughts/views of mine.

Even when Sathya Sai Baba was in physical form, some people felt more connected to Shirdi Sai Baba than Sathya Sai Baba. Mumbai/Bombay has huge number of Shirdi Sai devotees with only some of them being comfortable with Sathya Sai. I think a past saint is easier for us to handle than a living one. History and legend, especially in a devotion-crazy country like India, are very kind to past saints. Living saints seem to have always faced fair level of criticism from contemporaries. Sathya Sai attracted heavy criticism due to some claims he made, and when he passed away without some of the really big claims coming true, the critics really had their day, even in mainstream Indian media. It was very tough for us Sathya Sai devotees to stomach that criticism while we were plunged in despair and trauma due to his passing away. But that was a devotional experience, none the less.

Later when I carefully studied some passages of the gospel about how the followers of Jesus were traumatized by his crucifixion, with Peter denying Jesus thrice (or twice, according to some gospel accounts, if I recall correctly), I was able to relate to what the apostles/followers would have gone through then due to what we at Puttaparthi went through on Sathya Sai's (body) passing away. Of course, our trauma was only emotional (as compared to physical and emotional persecution that followers of Jesus Christ then had to face) and we had great support from the Indian union/federal and state governments, which was instrumental in the activities of the ashram including free education and free medical service, continuing without any break.

Sathya Sai, in later years of his career, perhaps was too busy with all the mission activities he had initiated, and the large number of people who would gather for his daily darshan. So people staying only for a few days would typically not get a chance to even have eye contact kind of interaction with him, let alone exchanging words with him. I think these were the human kind of limitations that he had. However, if people persisted and he kept seeing them regularly in his darshan round, usually he would form some sort of human level connect, even if meant just a facial gesture on eye contact.

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.
...
Perhaps one of the biggest legacies of a spiritual master (besides his/her teachings) is the impact he/she had on the people who followed him or just came across him. What sort of spiritually transformed people does he leave behind? Do they continue his legacy and inspire others about the values that the master taught?

Christ left behind an awesome legacy even though he seems to have actively preached only for around three years. Even though Christ and his followers were humiliated by making Christ wear a crown of thorns as the 'king of the Jews' and then crucified, many of his followers eventually overcame the trauma of the crucifixion and were so inspired (with the resurrection/resuscitation playing a major role) that they spread his teachings even under the threat of persecution, with some getting crucified themselves! That is a clear reflection of the awesome spiritual power of the life, miracles & preaching of Jesus Christ.

Now I am more into deep Faith rather than Vedanta/Sufism/Mysticism; Pastor Norman Vincent Peale was a strong influence on Mr. Donald Trump

Just sharing some short & quick thoughts/views of mine.

Nowadays as I have chosen to focus more on masses impact related matters, I am more into the power of Faith/deep Faith, and less into Vedanta/Sufism/Mysticism (though I do delve into it, at times). From that perspective, I am awed by what the Christian faith and the Islamic faith have achieved over the centuries. Most people do not get all the philosophy & doctrine of the church or the mosques. But they understand the key facets of faith in God very well as they are more at the intuitive and emotional level rather than the intellectual level, and that faith transforms them into individuals of confidence and capability!

A few days ago, I saw a video of Mr. Donald Trump speaking to a Christian group in the USA. In this Christian group meeting, on being questioned about his faith, he talked about being inspired by his preacher in his Presbyterian church, in New York City, who was the famous positive thinking best-seller writer, Norman Vincent Peale. Mr. Trump also talked about how he raised his kids, drumming into them - no drugs, no alcohol, no cigarettes - as he had seen many kids of good and accomplished parents (perhaps in New York City) getting wasted by drugs & alcohol.

Later I read up on the religious background and preaching of Norman Vincent Peale from his wiki page, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Vincent_Peale. [And yes, in my young adult days, I have read his Power of Positive Thinking book like I have read Dale Carnegie's books; I felt Dr. Peale's book had some good points but felt that the whole book did not have a consistent and complete ring of truth to it. However, I don't think I would have articulated that view publicly as I was just a young guy trying to make a living in Bombay then, and this book was a famous one by an author from the top-of-the-material-world USA.]

I find this extract from the wiki page about theological critique of Dr. Peale's positive thinking views to be quite thought-provoking:

Theologian Reinhold Neibuhr, Professor of Applied Christianity, Union Theological Seminary, reported similar concerns about positive thinking. "This new cult is dangerous. Anything which corrupts the gospel hurts Christianity. And it hurts people too. It helps them to feel good while they are evading the real issues of life." ("The Case against Easy Religion," William Peters. Redbook Magazine, September 1955, pp. 22–23, 92-94).

Liston Pope, Dean of Yale Divinity School, agreed with Neibuhr. "There is nothing humble or pious in the view this cult takes of God. God becomes sort of a master psychiatrist who will help you get out of your difficulties. The formulas and the (constant) reiteration of such themes as "You and God can do anything" are very nearly blasphemous." (Ibid).

G. Bromley Oxnam, Bishop, Methodist Church, Washington D.C., also weighed in. "When you are told that if you follow seven easy rules you will become president of your company, you are being kidded. There just aren't that many openings. This kind of preaching is making Christianity a cult of success." (Ibid).
--- end wiki extract ---

Ravi: I was also quite shocked to know that in 1960, Dr. Peale had opposed John F. Kennedy's bid for USA presidency because JFK was a Catholic! That led to what seems to be a famous quote of the witty Mr. Adlai Stevenson against Dr. Peale, 'In 1960 Stevenson was asked by a reporter for a comment regarding Peale attacking JFK as unfit for the presidency because he was Catholic, to which Stevenson responded: "Yes, you can say that I find Paul appealing and Peale appalling."', https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Vincent_Peale#Peale_and_Adlai_Stevenson.
[Paul is Apsotle Paul, with Mr. Stevenson's earlier quote in 1956 when he was running for President, being, "Speaking as a Christian, I find the Apostle Paul appealing and the Apostle Peale appalling."]

Monday, July 27, 2015

Why I shy away from comparisons between Physics theories like Higgs field and deep spiritual philosophy like Vedanta?

Note: I am really out of touch with Quantum Physics and Particle Physics type of stuff though I majored in Physics in college (B.Sc. Physics from Ruia college, Mumbai university) over three decades ago. [I also did about six months of M.Sc. Physics (specializing in Electronics) in Mumbai university, then (1983), before dropping out due to funds problem.]

This is a discussion about the Higgs Field/Higgs Boson and perceived misconceptions about it due to popular explanations given by science writers which when taken in a literal sense and compared with deep spiritual philosophy like Vedanta, may be open to criticism by scientists who choose to find holes in the literal text rather than interpret it more broadly/spiritually.

Both the simple wiki page, https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higgs_boson, and the regular wiki page, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higgs_boson, confirm that Higgs field gives (many) particles Mass. The simple wiki states, "The Higgs boson (or Higgs particle) is a particle that gives mass to other particles."

The regular wiki page states:

a) The Higgs mechanism is a mathematical model devised by three groups of researchers in 1964 that explains why and how gauge bosons could still be massive despite their governing symmetry. It showed that the conditions for the symmetry would be 'broken' if an unusual type of field happened to exist throughout space, and then the particles would be able to have mass.

b) Some years after the original theory was articulated scientists realised that the same field would also explain, in a different way, why other fundamental constituents of matter (including electrons and quarks) have mass.

Ravi: So a) & b) together would apply to all (other than Higgs boson itself) fundamental constituents of matter (particles), and therefore seems to be consistent with the simple wiki's statement given above. [I say seems to be, as I really an out of touch with Physics and am on somewhat slippery territory :-). So my logic in this analysis can certainly have some flaws.]

Now, it should be recognized that Higgs boson or field is related to Standard Model in physics. And, from the simple wiki page, "Scientists do not yet know how to combine gravity with the Standard Model." So even with Higgs boson and field being accepted as proven by mainstream science, gravity is not explained by Standard Model! So that seems to me to be a big hole in the Standard Model theory when trying to use it to explain all phenomena. Further, for accuracy purposes, from the regular wiki page, "As of 2013, scientists are virtually certain that they have confirmed the Higgs boson exists, and therefore that the concept of some type of Higgs field throughout space is proven." So the right term is virtually certain and NOT certain. That indicates there may be some serious naysayers/doubters even now among the scientific community.

Photons are massless. So I guess Higgs field may not have much impact on photons.

After writing most of the above content, I came across this blog post from, presumably, a Physics Professor, Why the Higgs and Gravity are Unrelated, http://profmattstrassler.com/2012/10/15/why-the-higgs-and-gravity-are-unrelated/. Some extracts from it [As this blog post is free for readers, and does not have any financial profit motive associated with it, I have presumed Prof. Matt Strassler may not mind me sharing the following extracts of his article]; [Readers may please note that Prof. Strassler does use some strong words like glib and naive, and are requested to be tolerant of Prof. Strassler using these strong words]:

What about the Higgs field being the source for all mass in the universe? This statement, though you will often find it in the press or in glib articles written for the public, is false.

What is the true statement? Well, here is a list of the elementary particles that we know about so far. The massless ones are

* photons, gluons, gravitons (the latter presumed to exist)

while the ones with mass are

* W and Z particles
* quarks: top, bottom, charm, strange, up, down
* charged leptons: electrons, muons, taus
* neutrinos: three types (at least two and probably all three with small masses)
* the recently discovered new particle with a mass of 125 GeV/c2 (which I will assume for now is a Higgs particle of some type)

Now it is true that the W and Z particles, the quarks, the charged leptons and the neutrinos must get their mass from a Higgs field. It’s not possible for them to have masses any other way. But this is not true of the Higgs particle itself.
...
No matter how you view it, the Higgs field is not the universal giver of mass to things in the universe: not to ordinary atomic matter, not to dark matter, not to black holes. To most known fundamental particles, yes — and it is crucial in ensuring that atoms exist at all. But there would be just as much interesting gravitational physics going on in the universe if there were no Higgs field. There just wouldn’t be any atoms, or any people to study them.
...
So — the guess that the Higgs has something to do with gravity is natural for a non-expert, but I am afraid it is naive; it comes from misunderstanding both

1. the Higgs field, which is not universal: it gives masses to most of the known elementary particles but not to the Higgs particle itself, and not to protons and neutrons, dark matter (most likely), or black holes,

2. and Einstein’s gravity, which is universal and has to do with energy and momentum but not mass directly, and most certainly does pull on protons and neutrons, dark matter and black holes even though their masses don’t come entirely from the Higgs field.

It’s really true: despite appearances at first glance, the relation between gravity and the Higgs is just skin deep.

--- end extracts from http://profmattstrassler.com/2012/10/15/why-the-higgs-and-gravity-are-unrelated/ ---

Ravi: So, I think at least some serious physicists do NOT view Higgs field as a "universal ether" kind-of thing.

A view that Higgs field is like Brahman which projects material world is really tricky (from the viewpoint of literal meaning that some physicists/scientists may choose to take to criticize the statement). Yes, Higgs field gives mass to many particles. But can one extend that to say that Higgs field is like Brahman which projects material world? From a literal meaing point of view, that seems to be quite some stretch. Higgs field seems to have very limited or no relation to photons and does not seem to come into the picture for explaining gravity. Material world needs photons (light consists of it, according to accepted Physics of today, if I am not mistaken), and most of us humans experience gravity all the time. I mean, unless a reputed physicist used the phrase that Higgs field is like Brahman which projects material world, many phsicists/scientists will not treat the phrase seriously. I mean, they may treat it as a popular science writer's over-simplification or extra imagination. Sorry if the words sound harsh, but even if I did not get into a profession related to Physics, the Physics I studied tells me that some physicists/scientists may view it as over-simplification.

BTW the regluar wiki page has a DIRECT DISAGREEMENT with the molasses analogy/metaphor mentioned in popular press (See Sarewitz article referencing New York Times article using molasses analogy, http://www.nature.com/news/sometimes-science-must-give-way-to-religion-1.11244). It states, "Various analogies have also been invented to describe the Higgs field and boson, including analogies with well-known symmetry breaking effects such as the rainbow and prism, electric fields, ripples, and resistance of macro objects moving through media, like people moving through crowds or some objects moving through syrup or molasses. However, analogies based on simple resistance to motion are inaccurate as the Higgs field does not work by resisting motion."

That seems to me to be a strong enough statement not to make serious comparisons between Higgs field and molasses or Hindu scripture, sea of milk (mentioned in Sarewitz article above, but clearly indicating that it is not an accurate characterization and mentioning that it may be as valid (or invalid) an analogy as the molasses one). I mean, those analogies may be fine for casual writing to reach out to lay readers. But it is NOT FINE for serious discussion.

More general discussion about Physics theories and comparison to Vedanta

Now let me stretch my neck out. I think I may open myself up to strong criticism from Physicists who care to read and comment on what I will now say. I think the "holy grail" of Physics, for good part of the 20th century continuing on to today, is a unified field and accompanying unified theory that explains all kinds of forces and all physical phenomena. It was Einstein's dream and he did not achieve that dream. String theory is said to hold promise as the theory of everything (Physics wise), but I have been hearing about that promise it holds for long, without it having achieved the goal so far.

I don't think Higgs field even attempts to be that kind of unified field theory. From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unified_field_theory, "In physics, a unified field theory (UFT), occasionally referred to as a uniform field theory, is a type of field theory that allows all that is usually thought of as fundamental forces and elementary particles to be written in terms of a single field. There is no accepted unified field theory, and thus it remains an open line of research. The term was coined by Einstein, who attempted to unify the general theory of relativity with electromagnetism. The "theory of everything" and Grand Unified Theory are closely related to unified field theory, but differ by not requiring the basis of nature to be fields, and often by attempting to explain physical constants of nature."

Ravi: Classical physics (also referred to as Newtonian Physics, if I recall correctly), seemed to me to be a pretty meaningful set of theories and also seemed to match with human intuition. Take Newton's laws of motion, for example. I did not find it counter-intuitive.

But Classical Physics could not explain certain phenomena. Einstein, Heisenberg, Planck, Dirac, Schrodinger etc. (with Bohr joining in, if I am not mistaken) came along and Quantum Physics became the big thing as it could explain some of the hitherto unexplained phenomena. And then we had mind-boggling progress in both science and its applications that made a big impact on the world. So today Quantum Physics is a pillar of Physics, with Classical Physics being an approximation of it.

But Quantum physics has so much of counter-intuitive stuff. Speed of light is constant - that's a postulate (essentially, an assumption), Planck constant with a specific value (6.62606957(29)×10(raised to)-34 J.s), dual wave-particle nature, a special theory of relativity and a general theory of relativity etc. And then the horrendous Mathematics, Quantum physics involves. It is not elegant stuff, if you ask me. It is nowhere near the elegance of Classical physics.

But Quantum physics explained phenomena that classical physics could not. No matter how inelegant and counter-intuitive it was, no matter how horrendous the Math, Quantum Physics won handsomely at explaining some unexplained matters. So it has become the accepted Physics of our day.

Can the laws of material phenomena be so inelegant? Or has science (and its associated math) not got the right theories yet?

In marked contrast, I have found Hindu scripture (Vedanta, and, in my case, to a lesser extent, Bhagavad Geetha) & mystics' explanations of underlying spiritual rules or laws (like Karma in Hindu, Buddhist & Jain philosophies) and the overall spiritual theory of existence (man being trapped into illusion due to desires that cloud his inner reality which is a changeless eternal truth, one brahman projecting the entire illusive world, essence of all being the same brahman etc.) to be so elegant and intuitive. I say, intuitive, in that it jells with one's inner being. Something inside says, Yes, that's right when one reads and contemplates on such scripture/philosophy/revelations/teachings.

Today's Physics is nowhere near as elegant and as intuitive as deep spiritual explanations of existence, like in Vedanta (I don't know enough about deep spiritual stuff in other religions/philosophies and so am not mentioning them). So I tend to shy away from comparisons between some (typically inelegant) Physics theory which gains currency/gets validated, and very elegant deep spiritual philosophy like Vedanta.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Sai university academics need to publish articles on Sathya Sai teachings/philosophy in fields of religion and Indian philosophy, in academic literature as well as mainstream media

The post contents below is an edited version of my comment on this Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1640855739464330, which I felt appropriate to put up as a separate post.

Well, I have been reading up on what some academics in universities the world over do in terms of contributions to academic literature and to mainstream media, on the topic of religion. While many in the Sai university (Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, SSSIHL) would be deeply dedicated to Swami, that is a personal journey and perhaps the journey of a group of persons in the hostel/university. That does not have much of an impact on the world outside.

In particular, for the intellectual/scholarly world outside to sit up and take serious notice of Sri Sathya Sai Baba's teachings, there have to be academic contributions to scholarly literature on religion & philosophy. In my small exposure to scholarly literature on religion I was so pleasantly surprised to see full fledged academic departments not only on religion & comparative religion but also on Hinduism! But almost all, if not all, the top world-level academics of this field today, including academic Hinduism, are based outside India! What a shame! Do you know who is perhaps the leading academic on Hinduism today? It is Prof. Diana Eck from Harvard, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diana_L._Eck, whose fairly recent book, India, A Sacred Geography, http://www.amazon.in/India-Sacred-Geography-Diana-Eck/dp/0385531923, is an awesome treat for lovers of Hinduism.

And when, in early 2014, some very strong criticism of Hinduism from other academic specialists in Hinduism, like Prof. Wendy Doniger of the University of Chicago (among other things, she claims that it is established or something like that, that Rama is a fictional character!), made it to mainstream Indian print media (like The Hindu), did one academic from the Sai university write anything about it, at least on some blog somewhere? If they did, I did not come to know of it.

The same Rama took Avatar again as Sathya Sai and founded a university. I would have expected that university to have been at the forefront of the academic criticism of Wendy Doniger's claim that Rama has been established to be a fictional character. Instead, it was others in the country (Mr. Dinanath Batra) and abroad (notably Rajiv Malhotra, a US based NRI) who challenged Wendy Doniger but as they were not proper academics their challenge was more in the media and in the court of law in India.

BTW I have written strongly against Wendy Doniger's claims and participated in The Hindu article web pages' discussions on the matter, both of which can be viewed in my blog post here: http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2014/02/book-having-baseless-criticism-of-hindu.html. If any academic of the Sai university has done something similar in public please let me know of the blog post url/link or equivalent.

I did not mention my blog post to boast about what I have done, though some may level that criticism at me. I mentioned it and the rest of the stuff in this comment (post) to show that there is an urgent need for Sai university academics to contribute to (publish articles in) academic literature on religion and Indian philosophy, as that is vital to cement a place for Sathya Sai teachings/philosophy in scholarly literature on religion & Indian philosophy.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Jerry Coyne's faulty criticism of Sarewitz statement about Higgs boson comparison with sea of milk of Hindu scripture (in Nature article)

I read the original article that Jerry Coyne criticized for its comparison of Higgs boson with the sea of milk of Hindu scripture. Well, Coyne does not seem to have understood the author properly. Here is the relevant extract from the article by Daniel Sarewitz, http://www.nature.com/news/sometimes-science-must-give-way-to-religion-1.11244:

Most people, including most scientists, can acquire knowledge of the Higgs only through the metaphors and analogies that physicists and science writers use to try to explain phenomena that can only truly be characterized mathematically.

Here’s The New York Times: “The Higgs boson is the only manifestation of an invisible force field, a cosmic molasses that permeates space and imbues elementary particles with mass … Without the Higgs field, as it is known, or something like it, all elementary forms of matter would zoom around at the speed of light, flowing through our hands like moonlight.” Fair enough. But why “a cosmic molasses” and not, say, a “sea of milk”? The latter is the common translation of an episode in Hindu cosmology, represented on a spectacular bas-relief panel at Angkor Wat showing armies of gods and demons churning the “sea of milk” to produce an elixir of immortality.

If you find the idea of a cosmic molasses that imparts mass to invisible elementary particles more convincing than a sea of milk that imparts immortality to the Hindu gods, then surely it’s not because one image is inherently more credible and more ‘scientific’ than the other. Both images sound a bit ridiculous. But people raised to believe that physicists are more reliable than Hindu priests will prefer molasses to milk. For those who cannot follow the mathematics, belief in the Higgs is an act of faith, not of rationality.

--- end extract ---

How on earth did Jerry Coyne write in his article, No Faith in Science; Why the Higgs boson is not like a sea of milk that sustains the gods.", http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2013/11/faith_in_science_and_religion_truth_authority_and_the_orderliness_of_nature.html, "When Sarewitz claimed that “belief” in the Higgs boson was an act of faith rather than rationality, and when he compared it to Hindu belief in a sea of milk that sustains their gods, he was simply wrong. There is strong evidence for the Higgs boson, whose existence was confirmed last year by two independent teams using a giant accelerator and rigorous statistical analysis. But there isn’t, and never will be, any evidence for that sea of milk."???

Really beats me! At the least, he should have also mentioned the New York Times article using cosmic molasses metaphor along with Sarewitz using the sea of milk metaphor.

And how can a famous scientist (dedicated to the cause of unearthing and disseminating truths) misinterpret the sentence of Sarewitz which was, "For those who cannot follow the mathematics, belief in the Higgs is an act of faith, not of rationality.", as "When Sarewitz claimed that “belief” in the Higgs boson was an act of faith rather than rationality ..."???

If one presumes that the misinterpretation by Coyne is deliberate, then we are not talking quest for the truth here. Instead, we are talking political campaigns, disinformation campaigns etc. :-), IMHO.

Perhaps a more charitable view could be that Coyne being a professor of biology, has not studied Particle Physics and the very intricate Mathematics involved in it. I have had a little exposure to it, over three decades ago, and, if I recall correctly, the Mathematics part of it was very tough. So perhaps Coyne too does not really understand the Physics & Mathematics involved in the claim that the Higgs boson was found in the CERN LHC experiment(s), and so was not able to understand Sarewitz simple statement that if you don't know the Math you will not be able to rationally arrive at a conclusion that Higgs boson existence is confirmed, and so acceptance of Higgs boson existence will be an act of faith in declarations of physicists.

SSSIHL (Sai university) urgently needs to have a Pro Vice-chancellor who is an expert on Sathya Sai teachings/writings

After Mahasamadhi of Bhagavan in April 2011, I think Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (SSSIHL) also known as the Sai university, seems to have LOST its spiritual thrust due to the trauma of the immediate post-Mahasamadhi period with many veterans of SSSIHL moving out and relatively young and somewhat inexperienced Sai student-staff holding almost all the vital positions of SSSIHL like Registrar, Controller of Examinations, Campus director, Head of department, Warden etc. The current vice-chancellor of SSSIHL is a very accomplished science academic but who does not seem to have had much exposure to teachings/writings of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

Somehow, SSSIHL seems to have become heavily focused on science (and commerce & arts too, I guess) research, especially bagging high financial value science research projects from govt. agencies like UGC, DRDO etc. But the original vision of the founder-chancellor Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, in founding this Sai university, was a blend of spirituality and secular knowledge with spirituality being given higher importance. And this spiritual thrust of the Sai university seems to have got very diluted, especially after Bhagavan's Mahasamadhi.

How can SSSIHL, Sai university, regain its spiritual thrust now?

Let us see how another university of India having a spiritual master as the founder-chancellor is handling the spiritual thrust aspect of its university. Its chancellor, Mata Amritanandamayi, recently spoke at a UN Academic Impact initiative in New York. For more, please read my blog post on it here: http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/07/mata-amritanadamayi-address-at-un.html. This university has a regular academic as vice-chancellor, and a spiritual teacher as pro vice-chancellor. From https://www.amrita.edu/about, "Brahmachari Abhayamrita Chaitanya is the Pro Chancellor of Amrita University. One of the prime architects of the university, he has been and is a pillar of support and guidance for all the activities of the University. As a great leader, he is also a source of inspiration to both the students and faculty."

I think SSSIHL (Sai university) should have an expert on Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's teachings (whose writings on Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's teachings demonstrate his/her expertise on it) as Pro vice-chancellor. The regular academic vice-chancellor should work hand-in-hand with the Swami teachings expert pro vice-chancellor to ensure that the Sai university's blend of spiritual education & secular education is regained, and then zealously protected & maintained over future years & decades.

I mean, Sai university is a DIVINE university founded by Kali Yuga Avatar, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. It should NOT become a mere deemed UGC university with some Indian cultural programs (drama & music). Right now, it does not even have an academic department for Indian philosophy let alone a department of religion / comparative religion, which leading universities in the world have. Here is info. on Harvard academic programs on religion, http://www.gsas.harvard.edu/programs_of_study/religion.php, and here is info. on the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, http://www.ochs.org.uk/.

No wonder, in the past decade or so, we have almost nothing of note appearing in academic literature and/or mainstream media (like The Hindu newspaper) on Hinduism or religion from Sai university academics, as far as I know. Such matters would have been well publicized in Prasanthi Nilayam and I have not heard of any such thing in the past decade or so. That should change and I think having a Pro vice-chancellor who is focused on that goal, will do wonders for re-gaining the Sai university's spiritual thrust, which is the MOST VITAL ASPECT of the founder, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's, vision for the Sai university.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Shashi Tharoor's article about his 2002 darshan and interview with Sathya Sai Baba

Here is a Nov. 10, 2002, article by Dr. Shashi Tharoor, Indian Member of Parliament, former union minister of India, and former Under-Secretary General of the United Nations, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shashi_Tharoor, describing his visit around that time to Puttaparthi and his darshan and interview with Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, http://www.thehindu.com/thehindu/mag/2002/11/10/stories/2002111000620300.htm.

I have presumed that Dr. Shashi Tharoor may not mind me sharing the Puttaparthi and Bhagavan related part of this article on this free blog, without any financial profit motive whatsoever. Here's that extract from the above article:

Late one night I set out on a four-hour drive with my mother to Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh. We arrived after 2 a.m. in a remarkably well-lit and orderly town. Buildings gleamed white against the streetlights; the sidewalks, patrolled by volunteers even at that hour, seemed freshly scrubbed. Puttaparthi, once a humble Andhra village like so many others, had become a boomtown as the birthplace and headquarters of the spiritual leader Sathya Sai Baba.

My mother had been a devotee for 18 years, attending prayer meetings of Sai Baba followers around the world and singing devotional bhajans. I was a sceptic myself, but joined her amongst the early-morning gathering of thousands, all waiting patiently for a glimpse of the great man. Sai Baba emerged in his long ochre robe and made a stately progress through the throng. He paused here and there to accept a petition from a believer, or to materialise vibhuti (sacred ash) from his palm into the cupped hands of a worshipper. We were privileged to be invited through an ornate door into a small room for a private audience. There we were joined by two other groups that had been similarly favoured: an Indian family of three, and half-a-dozen Iranian pilgrims, wearing green scarves that proclaimed their Islamic faith. They looked up at him with folded hands, their adoration glistening in their eyes.

"Would you like something from me," Sai Baba asked me.

"Peace of mind for my mother," I replied.

"Yes, yes," he said somewhat impatiently, "but would you like a gift from me?"

"Whatever you give me is for my mother," I replied. He waved his hand in the air and opened his palm. In it nestled a gold ring with nine embedded stones, a navratan. He slipped it on my finger, remarking, "See how well it fits. Even a goldsmith would have needed to measure your finger." He shook some vibhuti into my mother's grateful hands before taking the Indian family into an inner chamber for what devotees called an "interview".

While they were gone, my mother expressed disappointment about the meagre quantity of the ash she had received. But soon it was our turn for a private interview, and no sooner were we alone with Baba than he materialised a little silver urn for her, overflowing with vibhuti. "It was as if he had heard what I wanted," my mother breathed.

I was not blinded by faith, but the encounter was indeed astonishing at several levels. In our private talk, Sai Baba uttered insights about my family and myself that he could not possibly have known. He has a habit, disconcerting at first, of turning his palm quizzically outward and staring off into the distance, as if silently interrogating an unseen, all-knowing source. Sometimes he scribbles in the air with a finger as if dashing off a note to a celestial messenger. And then he says things which are sometimes banal, sometimes profound, and sometimes both (if only because so much of what he says has become worn out by repetition and frequent quotation, including in signs on the streets outside). His manifesting gifts from thin air is startling; he "transformed" a metal ring worn by one of the Iranians to a gold one, then returned his original to him as well.

But a skilled magician can do that, and it would be wrong to see Sai Baba as a conjurer. He has channelled the hopes and energies of his followers into constructive directions, both spiritual and philanthropic.

Everything at his complex is staffed by volunteers who rotate through Puttaparthi at well-organised two-week intervals; while we were there, the volunteers were all from Madhya Pradesh, and it was to be Orissa's turn next. Many left distinguished positions behind to serve. ("I once asked a man washing a window where he was from," mused a visitor, "and he said he was the Chief Justice of Sikkim.") The free hospital in Puttaparthi, which I visited, is one of the best in India; many reputed doctors volunteer their services to him. Sai Baba has built schools and colleges, and is currently undertaking a project to bring irrigation to a number of parched southern districts.

--- end extract from Dr. Tharoor article ---

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Comments related to Jerry Coyne's view that faith may be a gift in religion, but in science it’s poison

In the context of a quote by Jerry Coyne, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerry_Coyne, "Faith may be a gift in religion, but in science it’s poison, for faith is no way to find truth.", http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/42819635-faith-versus-fact-why-science-and-religion-are-incompatible, I had a Facebook post exchange of which I have given below a suitably edited version of my comments:

Perhaps the first thing that needs to be clarified in such a statement is what exactly does Jerry Coyne mean by the word, faith, in this statement above.

I have not read much of Jerry Coyne. Browsed the net to get some info. Here's one article that seems to give his take on Faith and Science, http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2013/11/faith_in_science_and_religion_truth_authority_and_the_orderliness_of_nature.html. Like Dawkins, Coyne seems to focus on criticism of belief without sufficient evidence (in this article at least). And like Dawkins, he gives some examples of people of faith without making any effort to interpret their faith in a positive light.

[For example, somebody who has faith that because he accepted Jesus as his personal saviour, he will join friends & family in Heaven, also leads a life where he avoids, as far as possible, hurting others (as that would be viewed as sinful and may deny him Heaven). In other words he tries to lead a largely moral life. Further, the view of Heaven as a physical place where his family and friends are present, may be a metaphor, which he can easily understand, for a happy after-death existence which may not involve physical places like on earth.]

In the article, he quotes Walter Kaufmann's definition of faith as "intense, usually confident, belief that is not based on evidence sufficient to command assent from every reasonable person".
Coyne writes, "Indeed, there is no evidence beyond revelation, authority, and scripture to support the religious claims above ...". So Coyne's target is literal interpretation of scripture of various religions. He, in this article, does not bring spirituality and mystics, with reliable witness accounts of mystics, into the picture.

Coyne writes: "When Sarewitz claimed that “belief” in the Higgs boson was an act of faith rather than rationality, and when he compared it to Hindu belief in a sea of milk that sustains their gods, he was simply wrong. There is strong evidence for the Higgs boson, whose existence was confirmed last year by two independent teams using a giant accelerator and rigorous statistical analysis. But there isn’t, and never will be, any evidence for that sea of milk." - Now that's an easy target to attack. Hindu puranas (one body of Hindu scripture) have accounts like the sea of milk (ksheerasagara, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kshir_Sagar) which many level-headed theist Hindus like me do not view literally. But Coyne does not bother about referring to such level-headed theist Hindus' views on ocean of milk.

I recall hearing Francis Collins, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Collins, in a lecture (video) saying that as a scientist he is going to demand data (evidence) for accepting a scientific claim (or words to that effect). His Christian faith does not make him less demanding of data (evidence) before he accepts a scientific claim as valid. A relevant quote with some context from his lecture transcript (link has video link too), https://iami1.wordpress.com/2012/08/10/francis-collins-the-language-of-god-a-scientist-presents-evidence-of-belief-transcript/, "We are here to talk about big questions. Maybe the biggest question of all – does God exist? I won’t give you a proof tonight but I hope I will give you some things to think about – things that have led me from being an atheist to becoming a believer and a follower of Jesus. And I will try to explain to you that pathway in a fairly abbreviated form and also explain to you how I see no conflict between that perspective and that of a scientist who is rigorous in his views of data and won’t allow you to put one over on me when it comes to views of nature. But who also sees that the study of nature is not all there is."

Ravi: Regarding truth, I go by the Hindu philosophy view that there are levels of truth - vyavhaarika sathyam (material world/Maya world truth) and paramaarthika sathyam (Divine truth/Eternal Truth/Brahman). While Hindu Vedanta does not explain the theory of relativity (or Newton's laws of motion, for that matter) and so may not be of much use in figuring out material truths, Hindu Vedanta, IMHO, excels in showing the way to acquire/experience divine and eternal truth.

I think Coyne, Dawkins & co. live by the belief of scientism. From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientism, "Scientism is belief in the universal applicability of the scientific method and approach, and the view that empirical science constitutes the most authoritative worldview or most valuable part of human learning to the exclusion of other viewpoints." IMHO, by limiting their vision and experience of life to science, I think they lose out on a more fuller experience of life.
...
I think a lot of anti-religion scientist-writers, who seem to very arrogant about their scientific credentials, but are quite illogical, and frankly, ignorant, in their assault on religion, do not bring in mysticism or interpretation of spiritual texts into their attacks on religion. Some of these writers can even be labelled unscientific when it comes to their views on religion. I say unscientific as some, including some distinguished Indian scientist(s) writing in mainstream Indian press, make blanket statements that every claim of paranormal incidents (miracles) or even past life memories that has been investigated, has been PROVED to be false! Now that's a blatant LIE! There are a number of cases of even scientists with suitable credentials having made investigations into some such GENUINE cases, who do not say that they have been PROVED false, and instead conclude that the evidence suggests that it may be true (but not scientifically accepted (PROVEN) as true as that requires much stronger evidence obtained under controlled conditions).

When I first came across such anti-religion fanaticism in a few top Indian scientists writing in Indian mainstream media, I was taken aback. I mean, one has great respect for these men for their stupendous intellectual achievements and service to the scientific mission in the country, and one even looks up to them for guiding the country forward. Don't they have a responsibility to be faithful to the truth, and to avoid making statements on matters they have not studied & investigated themselves? Is not the quest for the truth the most important quality in a scientist? ... Anyway, now I have developed a healthy disdain for the anti-religion fanaticism of some top scientists, Indian or Western or from anywhere else in the world. And thank God for that, I say :-).

[BTW I do have a lot of respect for scientists who frankly say they do not have belief in God, but who do not try to spread a view that there is no God and that all religions are full of evil and must be cast aside for humanity to "progress".]

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sathya Sai 1990 Gurupoornima on sookshma sharira, and "How can one who is filled with delusions himself rid you of your delusions?"

Last updated on July 26th 2015

Sathya Sai Speaks, 'The Guru Within', Gurupoornima day, 1990, discourse extract about sookshma sharira; Message exchange with German FB friend on "Sukshma idea"; Swami's words, "How can one who is filled with delusions himself rid you of your delusions?"

Given below is an edited message exchange I had over the past few days with a German Facebook friend.
German FB Friend wrote:
Hallo Ravi,
I had read your blog with interest about the Sukshma controversy and I appreciate your balanced and analytical approach. [Ravi: The reference seems to be this blog.]

I wanted to pass on my experiences to you, which concern a dream Baba gave to me and subsequent experience, which you are free to share. I present them with no personal commentary from me - simply how they happened.

I had been open and excited by the Sukshma idea, but then in late March '15, became very disturbed by the opposing opinions I came across one evening on the net. I went to sleep very uneasy about the whole affair. Then Swami came in my dream which featured Baba in a large open air stadium with thousands there for His Darshan and me helping as a sevadal.

Then the final and relevant scene: Swami was seated in the midst of the devotees and said: "THERE ARE NO AMENITIES IN THE ASHRAMS, LIKE TOILETS. I AM GIVING THIS WORK TO DR (name unclear)." Then the doctor came forward: a young, thin Indian man with flushed red cheeks, dressed in white. He knelt by Swami, looking rather overcome with this opportunity.

So that was the dream. I was still troubled and so beseeched Swami for a sign from His book, Sathya Sai Speaks which i read every morning. It so happened that the place I was up to was the Divine Discourse of 7-7-1990 and the beginning was about Sukshma!! Well, only Baba can arrange things like that. So here is the relevant extract and I leave it to you to find what is meaningful....Sai Ram

[Ravi: I confirmed that the discourse extract below matches with Sai book trust discourse pdf, http://www.sssbpt.info/ssspeaks/volume23/sss23-25.pdf. Audio and pdf links for 1990 discourses including this one are available here: http://www.sssbpt.info/english/sssvol23.html]

--- Swami discourse extract start ---
The body is the abode of pleasure and pain. It has three forms: Sthoola (gross), Sookshma (subtle) and Kaarana (causal). The gross physical body is Annamaya (permeated by food). It is inert. It is comparable to an instrument. What we see is only the physical body. Believing that this is real and permanent, man tends to forget the all-pervading and eternal Atmic principle. The five pranas (vital breaths), the mind, the intellect and the ten sense organs (of perception and action) constitute the sookshma-sarira (subtle body). It functions in the dream state. In this state, the individual is oriented inwards. In it, man creates for himself a new world. The dream is itself the proof of its reality. It is self-constituted with no external relations. In the dream state, everything is created by the mind--forms, sounds and taste, which are experienced without any physical basis for them. This entire experience is limited to the individual concerned. If, for instance, ten persons are sleeping in one room, each person's dream is unique to himself. Each one's actions in the dream are unique to himself.

Mind creates both waking and dream states
There is no relationship between the dream and the waking state. One individual has a dream in which his friend harasses him in many ways. If after waking up in the morning he accosts his friend and asks the latter why he harassed him, the friend replies: “You madcap! I have not seen you at all!" This means that the friend in the dream and the troubles he gave are all self-created by the dreamer. All other dream experiences are also self-created. Hence, all the experiences in dreams are confined to the individual concerned and have no connection with others in the real world. The joys and sorrows experienced in the dream are the stuff of the dream state. It is in the dream state that one goes through the consequences of good and bad actions in previous lives.
[Ravi Note: I am puzzled by Swami's discourse sentence above, "It is in the dream state that one goes through the consequences of good and bad actions in previous lives.", as that does not seem to be consistent with his other teachings on Karma, where, if I recall correctly, he very clearly has stated that individuals (in waking state) have to experience fruits of their Karma (with God 'cancelling' the Karmic fruit/result very, very rarely). I plan to dig deeper into this and provide some clarifications using Swami's other discourses.]
[Ravi Update Note: I listened to the audio of this segment of the discourse and transcribed both Swami's Telugu and the on-the-spot translator's English which is provided at the bottom of this post. From that it is clear to me that the dream state that Swami is referring to above refers to "waking dream" state and NOT "dreaming dream" state. So my view now is that Swami was saying that Karmic fruits are experienced in waking dream / unrealised state. The Karmic fruits reference was NOT to a "dreaming dream" state. Hope that does not sound very confusing.] 
This means that the experiences are related to the sookshma sarira (subtle body). In this, the mind is the most important factor. It is the mind that creates everything.

--- Swami discourse extract end ---

-------------------------
Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
Had a look at your message. Well, sookshma sharira is well known as a concept in Hindu spirituality/philosophy. That is not new at all.

What is COMPLETELY UNHEARD OF is an Avatar (e.g. Rama or Krishna) appearing, after they having given up their body, as a sukshma sharira (subtle body) to one & only one individual, and interacting regularly with that person to the extent of even giving discourses!

I am very convinced by my study of so-called chosen communicator of Muddenahalli and discussion of this topic with others that Sri Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi is NOT associated with that so-called chosen communicator.

However, there may be another spirit with special (Paranormal) powers that is communicating with the so-called chosen communicator, which he MISTAKENLY/INCORRECTLY is identifying as Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

Jai Sairam!
-------------------------

German FB Friend wrote:
Yes Ravi, thank you for your reply. To me the risks of getting it wrong with this unseen Sookshma and of displeasing Swami are too great to take. Plus having seen all the pandemonium and upset this has caused, would our beloved Swami - knowing this would occur - have begun on this path? Thank you again for your intelligent and respectful posts - to me your blog seems to be the 'authority' on this matter, Jai Sai Ram.
-------------------------

Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
You got it spot on, Mark, when you said, "Plus having seen all the pandemonium and upset this has caused, would our beloved Swami - knowing this would occur - have begun on this path?". It is utterly inconceivable for me that Swami would have created so much disturbance to the very organization that He himself spent so much time, effort & energy to set up and nurture. Surely, if Swami was in suukshma form, He would interact with the leaders of the official Sai orgn. directly (without any communicator in between) as these leaders have dedicated their lives to His mission, some of them spending decades in close proximity to His physical form. That the so-called subtle body in Muddenahalli has not done so, makes it clear to almost every person who was seriously involved with Swami's mission, that it is NOT Sri Sathya Sai Baba's subtle body/spirit.

The few leaders who were associated with physical Swami's mission for long, and got deeply associated with so-called subtle body in Muddenahalli, all seem to be people who were not comfortable with their roles/positions in official Sai orgn. after Swami's Mahasamadhi, and so broke away to form a rebel Sai orgn. where they are playing important roles.

Thanks for the kind words about my blog. I do try hard to write the truth as I see it. Perhaps that helps to make the blog seem balanced and authentic to readers.
--- end exchange with German FB friend ---

Ravi: Later I read the entire discourse of Swami referred above, which has the title, 'The Guru Within' and was given on Gurupoornima day, 1990. Bhagavan says these very significant words in the context of the confusion about so-called MDH communicator & so-called subtle body Swami in MDH: "It is a mark of ignorance to go after nondescript preceptors and seek messages from them. When they are wallowing in bondage themselves, how are they going to free you from bondage? How can one who is filled with delusions himself rid you of your delusions?"

I felt it very appropriate, in the context of above discussion, to share some other extracts (including the sentences mentioned in the previous paragraph) from the discourse, which are given below [Note that all the extracts below are together quite longish]:

--- start Swami discourse extracts ---

Although the mind is one, according to the different functions performed by it, different names are given to it. When it is engaged in the thought process, it is called Manas. When it is engaged in discriminating between what is permanent and what is transient, it is called Buddhi (intelligence). In its role as a reservoir of memory, it is called Chitta. When the mind identifies itself with the body, it is called Ahamkara (ego). The four names are related to the mind and their combined aspect constitutes Antahkarana (the inner instrument). Thus, both the waking and dream states are creations of the mind.

The third state is Sushupti. SU means good. Shupti means sleep. Sushupti means sound sleep. In this state the mind is absent. When the mind is not present the world also is absent. In the absence of the world, there are no experiences of joy and sorrow. The world exists as long as the mind is present. Joy and sorrow are experienced through contact with the world. Hence, the world is associated with joy and sorrow. The mind is said to be the cause of both bondage and liberation.

There is, however, one other state which transcends these states: the Atmic state. It is because of his identification with the body in the first three states that man forgets his spiritual reality. But, for all experiences the Atmic principle in everyone is the cause, though the physical forms are varied. Man is a prey to ignorance because, forgetting his Atmic reality, he identifies himself with the mind-body complex. The waves appearing in an ocean appear as different from each other. But they consist of the same water. Likewise, though man appears in innumerable forms, all these are like the waves appearing on the ocean of Sat-Chit-Ananda (Being-Awareness-Bliss). Names and forms may be different but the basis is the same.

The Atma, however, is covered in the human being by five sheaths: Annamaya, Pranamaya, Manomaya, Vijnanamaya and Anandamaya Kosas (sheaths). As a result, the Atma is not easily cognisable. The physical body is the Annamaya kosa (the sheath of food). The sheaths of Pranamaya (life-force), Manomaya (the mental sheath) and the Vijnanamaya (imbued with intelligence) form the sookshma sarira (subtle body). The Anandamaya kosa is the Kaarna sarira (causal or seed body). Although it has the name Anandamaya (blissful), it is not real bliss. It is the blissful state of the Atma that is reflected as an image in the sheath of Bliss (the causal). The mind is like the moon, which is not self-luminous. The Atma alone is self-effulgent. It is this light which illumines the body, mind, the Buddhi and the senses and invests them with consciousness.

It is this Chaitanya (Atmic consciousness) which makes the cosmos function. For the entire creation, consisting of living and inanimate objects, this consciousness is the basis. All that is experienced by the body and the mind has no real connection with the Atma. Relying on the light coming from the sun, many people perform different actions. Some may do good deeds and some others may be indulging in bad actions. The Atma is unaffected by the consequences of these actions, just as the sun is not affected by the activities done with the help of sunlight. The Sun is a witness. Likewise the Atma also is a witness to what is done by the body, mind and other organs.

But man, because of his identifying himself with the body and other organs, attributes all their activities to the power of the Atma. For all this, the mind is the root cause. It is the mind that assumes these multifarious forms. For instance, if a person builds a house, he erects within it a bedroom, a drawing room, a kitchen and so on. All these separate rooms are for his comfort. But if the separate walls are knocked down, only one hall remains. Likewise if the walls created by the mind are removed the Atma alone will be experienced.
...
As long as man is not aware of his own true nature, he will be under the delusion that the Atma is somewhere else remote from him. Like the ashes hiding the fire in burning charcoal, the delusion regarding the body is covering the Atma. Once the delusion goes, man will experience true bliss and understand the Cosmic Reality.
...
If you have doubts regarding Atma, it is because you have no steadfast love for the Divine. To develop firm love for anything, you have to get the conviction that "it is mine." Unless you acquire such a conviction regarding the Atma, you cannot become a Sthithaprajna (a man of steadfast wisdom). You will not achieve real bliss. You cannot reach the permanent state of SelfRealisation.

Develop the unshakable conviction that the Divine is present in everyone. Then there will be no room for developing differences of any kind. Conflict and disorder will have no place. Likes and dislikes will go.
...
There are two "I's" in everyone--the "I" that is associated with the mind and the"I" associated with the Atma. Consciousness of the Atma is the real "I." When this "I" is wrongly associated with the mind, it becomes Ahamkara (the Ego). When the "I" associated with the Atma experiences Atmic bliss, it realises that the universal consciousness is One, though it may be called by different names. When you eliminate the Anaatma-bhaava in you (that is, the body consciousness), you will have the Atma-bhaava (consciousness of the Universal), within you. Without this consciousness all sadhanas are of no avail.

The water vapour produced by the sun becomes a cloud and hides the sun itself. Likewise, the thoughts arising in the mind conceal the Atma. When the mind is eliminated the Atma alone remains.

For eliminating the mind and removing the delusions from it, desires have to be controlled. But the sadhaks of today have not reduced their desires. It must be realised that selfishness and selfcentredness have to be got rid of. Selfishness is the root cause of all the afflictions plaguing man.
...
If the world is to be transformed, we must begin with the individual. His evil traits have to be removed. He must fill himself with sacred thoughts.

To start with, the individual must reform himself. Without the individual realising his true nature, all other accomplishments are of no avail. Man is exploring the most distant regions in space, but is not moving even an inch towards understanding his heart. Is this the journey man should undertake? He must turn the mind inwards. Turning the mind towards the external world can only breed sorrow. Enduring bliss can be got only by directing the mind towards God. That is the real sadhana. Without mental transformation all other changes are meaningless. Without changing your qualities, you remain in the same state as before. Develop good qualities and sanctify yourself. This is the message for everyone.
...
Guru refers to one who has transcended the gunas and has no form. The gurus of today are filled with qualities of all kinds. The disciples seem to be better than the preceptors. The disciples are making sacrifices. The preceptors are acquiring possessions. In this situation it is difficult to say who are gurus and who are disciples.
...
Your true guru is God alone. He transcends all gunas. He is beyond all forms. He is the only one who can dispel the darkness of ignorance and light the lamp of Prajnaanam (Supreme Wisdom). It is a mark of ignorance to go after nondescript preceptors and seek messages from them. When they are wallowing in bondage themselves, how are they going to free you from bondage? How can one who is filled with delusions himself rid you of your delusions? Can one who is begging for food relieve your hunger?

Do not go in search of gurus. Strengthen your faith in the Atma. Seek to enjoy the Atmic bliss. Strive to develop the conviction: "I am the Atma." That is the true message. When you have grasped this Truth, all other things will be unnecessary.
...
Gurupoornima is observed as a day for honouring the Guru. Some types of gurus welcome this day as the day which brings them income. They are an inferior breed. The real Guru is only one. He is the One, the God of gods, who is hailed as father, mother, teacher, knowledge and wealth and all else. He is the Supreme whom you must seek by your sadhana. God alone can transform your spiritual efforts into a transcendental experience. You have the vision of the Divine (saakshaatkaara). The vision does not come from outside. It is within you, because the Divine is omnipresent. Only the person who considers himself separate from God will have the feeling that the vision of God comes from outside. God is everywhere. You are God.
...
Wherever you may be and whatever you do, regard yourselves as instruments of the Divine and act on that basis. You need not wait for a whole year to observe Gurupoornima. Treat every moment of your life as being intended for dedication to the Lord. This is the way to experience the Divine all the time at all places. This is true Saakshaatkaara. Serve all and love all. Firmly believe that the Divine is in everyone and constantly act on this belief. Only by continual practice can you develop this sacred attitude. Fill yourself with self-confidence and courage. Make your life a complete offering to the Divine, who is the real source of all that you are and all that you have.

There was an old woman in Uttar Pradesh who used to give away many things in charity. She used to go about with her head bowed. Some people asked her why she was humbling herself in that manner when she could hold her head high because of the numerous gifts she was making to all and sundry. She modestly replied: "When the Lord is giving me so many things with His thousand hands, all that I am giving is only with a single hand. What reason is there for feeling proud about what I am doing? Should not people feel ashamed about giving to others with one hand what God gives to them with a thousand hands?"

Hence, everyone must develop the spirit of Thyaga (sacrifice). You must serve the people with your body. You have to cherish good and noble thoughts in your mind. You must use your wealth for supporting educational and other institutions to help the people. Give food to the starving. This is the way to lead a purposeful and sublime life. Life has been given to you not to fatten yourself. The body is the basic instrument for the practice of Dharma.

Dedicate your entire time to service and the discharge of your duties. Your sadhana must not be for selfish ends. It must promote the good of others. Giving up selfishness, cultivating selfless love for others, sanctify your lives.

--- end Swami discourse extracts ---
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Telugu & English transcript of Swami 1990 Gurupoornima discourse section related to "dream" state where one goes through Karmic fruits of previous lives

I have given below my efforts of transcribing the related section, both Swami's Telugu and the translator's English. Please note that my Telugu is of the middling kind, certainly not great - so there may be errors. Telugu experts are kindly requested to check and report errors, if they can spare the time.

The audio of the speech was downloaded from http://www.sssbpt.info/english/sssvol23.html (dwnld link for 07/07/90)

From around 6:00
[Swami in Telugu]
Ee shareerame sukha dukhamulaku nilayamu. Edi mudu bhagamuluga vibhadhinchapadinavi. Sthoola, Suukshma, Kaaranamu ani. Ee shareeramu kevalamu annamaya praanamu. Edi paripoorna jadamu. Idi kevalamu oka panimattu (untundi). Manaku kanipinchinadi ee sthoola shareeramu. Deenini sathyamani nithyamani visvasinchi, sarvasmainattuvanti oka atmatattwanni vismaristunnaadu maanavudu.

[Above Telugu translated to English by Translator on-the-spot]
This body itself is the home for joy and sorrow. This has been divided into three divisions. And that is - gross, subtle and causal. This physical body is a result of food. This is inert totally. This is only an instrument. What we see is this physical body. Considering this as truth and eternal, man is giving up the principle of Atma which is really eternal and permanent.

[Telugu verse/song omitted.]

[Swami in Telugu]
Panchpraanamulu mano buddhi dasendriyamuluokka cherite suukshma shareeram. Deenine swapna sthithi ani kudanu cheppa vacchhu. Indulo vyakti antarbhutam aiyiuntundi. Ee suukshma shareeramulandu maanavatvamu kevalamu oka nuutana prapanchamga kanipincha untundi. Idi tanaku taane pramaanamuga (nilistundi). Idi evarikikudanu sambandha bandhavyamu lekunda parimitamayi untundi tanuka taane. Ee swapnavasthayandu samasthamulu taane kanipinchukuntundi. Rupamukaani rupamu. Vinipidikaani vinipidi. Ruchikaani ruchini kudanu taane shristinchi kuntundi. Kaani ee srishti anthayukudanu tanaku taane parimitamayi untundi.

[Above Telugu translated to English by Translator on-the-spot]
The subtle body consists of five life breaths, mind, intellect and ten senses. This may also be called dream state. The personality is not so very visible in this case [Ravi: perhaps it should be: The personality is hidden within this (or contained within this)]. In this particular state of subtle body mind creates its own new world. It is a standard of proof by itself. It is a world in itself without having any relationship with anything whatsoever. In the dream state, it creates for itself and it becomes itself many things (Ravi: that) it experiences. It is a form without form. It is a hearing without hearing. It creates also a taste without any taste (Ravi: being) there. But this entire creation is restricted to that individual's experience alone.

[Swami in Telugu]
Ee swapnamulandu padi mandi oka roomlo (bavadinchapadiniki) evari kalalu varide. Evari anubhuti varide. Evari karma varide. Ee swapnamuluku jagrataku ematramu kudanu sambandhamu undadu. Oka vyaktiki swapnamulo taan mitrudu tan aneeka vidhamuluga (a)hinchinattuga kalalu (kantaadu). Tellavari leichi mitruni kuudi, O mitramaa nannu enduku ni inta baadhapadtivi ratra anta prashninchinappudu, Are picchivada nenu ninna chudave lede, ani taanu javabu chepthaadu. Anaga mitruni taane srishtinchi konnaadu. Atani badhanu taane srishtinchi konnaadu. Sarvanabhuthanu kudanu taane srishtinchi konnaadu.

[Above Telugu translated to English by Translator on-the-spot]
In this dream state even when there are ten people living or sleeping in the same room, each one's dream is different from the other's [Ravi: Each one's dream is his own]. Each one's experience is very unique (and restricted to himself) [Ravi: Each one's experience is his own]. [Ravi: Each one's karma is his own/unique.] There is no relationship whatsoever to this dream state and waking state. One person may dream that his friend is giving him a lot of trouble. The next day when he meets the friend and questions him, why did you give me so much of trouble, he will say O madman [Ravi: I did not even see you]. That means that he has created friend in the dream. [Ravi: He has created trouble for him by himself.] He has created all the experiences for himself.

[Swami in Telugu]
Kanuka Swapnavasthayandu jarigettuvanti oka samastha anubhuthilukudanu tanuku taane parimitamu kaani, evari kudanu parimitamu (Ravi: could not catch next three to four Telugu words). Sukhadukhamulu anubhavinchinadi ee swapnavasthayulo. Karmanu(punyamga) punarjanmamu dharinchinadi ee swapnavasthayulo. Anaga suukshma shareerame. Indulo manasu pradhaanamainadi. Ee manase sarvamulukudanu shrishtimpa chesthunnadi. Mano moolam idam jagathu. Prapanchamanthaiyakudanu manomayam (poye .. kudi) untunnadi.

[Above Telugu translated to English by Translator on-the-spot]
In this way the experiences of a person in a dream are restricted to himself, they are not a reality in the real world at all. The experience of joy or sorrow is in this dream state. In the dream state he may also get a rebirth (Ravi: due to Karmic fruit/effect). And that is the subtle body. In this state mind plays a very important role. Mind creates the entire world in the dream state. [Ravi: The mind is the cause of this world.] The entire world is full of the mind, the mind is creating [Ravi: The entire world is full of Maya (illusion) created by the mind.]
--- ends around 13:00 -----

Ravi: I think it is quite clear that, for most of the time in the above section, Swami is referring to the subtle body (senses, mind, intellect & five life breaths) as being in a dream state. In other words, the dream state that Swami is referring to above, mostly, refers to "waking dream" state and NOT "dreaming dream" state. So my view now is that Swami was saying that Karmic fruits are experienced in waking dream / unrealised state. The Karmic fruits reference was NOT to a "dreaming dream" state. Hope that does not sound very confusing.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Swami refusing a new car and talking about need to DEMONSTRATE SACRIFICE to achieve Moksha (liberation)

Here's a great video clip, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gv47mHMiqOs, 3 min. 13 secs. from a discourse of Swami on 6th May 2002. The translator is Sri B.N. Narasimhamurthy.

Terrific! I loved the way Swami refused to accept the new car offered and was offering His cars instead!

From the transcript provided in the description of the above youtube video (slightly edited):

Here is a small matter. The other day, a devotee.... Swami's cars have become very old.... Swami, I am prompted to give you a car, you should accept it he told Swami. He brought the car. Three days are over... Swami is not looking at his face also... What is the reason? I have enough number of cars... My car I can give you; you can take it.

Swami has no desire to travel in big cars....The foreign devotees sent them, therefore Swami has to keep them. Swami told him, "you can take my car." Swami will never receive anything from anyone. Never...

Even when Swami was coming here... Sreenivas came...He expressed his grief, "Swami, that person is feeling miserable. Please accept the car."

Swami told him, "Shut up. Don't enter into these things. Let him take his car. I'll give my cars; you also take one and let him take one. I don't need these."

That is not real greatness. You should develop a sense of sacrifice. You have to demonstrate sacrifice. That is what Swami has been practising even since His childhood. If you follow the footsteps of Swami you will become men of merit and fulfilment. You can even attain liberation. You should attain that liberation.

Attainment of liberation! What is moksha? It is giving up one's attachment. You have to give up Moha or attachment. That is moksha or liberation.

--- end transcript snippet ---

Ravi: Exactly what is needed for Sai devotees to follow now, IMHO. Sure, cars may be needed to fulfil transport function of going from place A to place B. But using fancy/luxury cars in India with a motive of Sathya Sai service to the poor seems quite opposite to the words spoken by Swami in Telugu and by the translator in English. Very importantly, Swami having used a BMW or Benz car himself, which was presented to him by devotees, I guess, is a different matter, in my considered opinion. Swami was the Avatar. He was adored and worshipped by lakhs [lakh: hundred thousand] of devotees in India. They very much wanted to see their Guru and their Ishta-Devata (personal god/god particularly liked by one) in a car suited to his majesty and status (in their eyes). The Avatar had no need to do sacrifice to achieve moha-kshaya, as he was above and beyond Maya/Illusion!

Now, we Sai devotees should not presume that we are also like Swami in this respect. Yes, at the essential core of each of us, Swami taught us that we are of the same essence as Bhagavan, and so all are God/divine. But then we are not Kali Yuga Avatar like Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Further, most, if not all, of us are trapped in Moha, and need to achieve Moha-kshaya (Destruction of infatuation/attachment). For that, Swami tells us above that we should not only develop a sense of sacrifice but also DEMONSTRATE SACRIFICE.

We Sai devotees using fancy/luxury cars to promote and perform Sathya Sai service to the poor, and thinking that we will be DEMONSTRATING SACRIFICE by using such a fancy car, is UTTER FOOLISHNESS and DEMONSTRATES UTTER IGNORANCE OF SAI TEACHINGS, IMHO.

[Copy-pasted from youtube video description (not verified):]
Discourse link in Sathya Sai Speaks: http://www.sssbpt.info/ssspeaks/volume35/sss35-09.pdf

Audio of the entire discourse from Radiosai:
http://dl.radiosai.org/DD_2002_05_06_ESHWARAMBA_DAY.mp3

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A discussion about plight of homeless & suffering in Los Angeles, Mumbai/Bangalore and Puttaparthi

In response to a Facebook post giving a link to the article, How Los Angeles Is Becoming a ‘Third World’ City, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/06/opinion/welcome-to-hooverville-california.html, dated July 6th 2015, there were some comment exchanges of which I have given below selected ones (slightly edited):

Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
Very sad. I had read similar articles and seen a few videos about it some time back. Another point is that being homeless and poor in L.A. may be actually tougher than being homeless and poor in, say, Mumbai. Somehow the desperately poor can sleep somewhere and somehow exist in Mumbai (my city for most of the first four decades of my life) - the police cannot be very rough with them, especially if a group of people get together and somehow form a small set of hutments. Of course, hygiene wise Mumbai slums typically are really terrible. But then at least the human can somehow squeeze out a place to lie down. The police in L.A. would be forced to be tough with the homeless, and perhaps drive them out of the city. I have seen some terrible videos about such homeless guys even getting violent with the police who are driving them away. I mean, where will these homeless go? They are human beings, not animals! .... One thing I am so happy about Puttaparthi and surrounding villages is that even if hygiene and other aspects may not be great, homeless persons somehow survive. They find some place to lie down; beg their way for food; and exist. They are not driven out of the town & villages. ... Yes, if the number of such homeless people becomes too much, there may be a problem. But, so far, I am so happy to see that even the desperately poor are not driven away from Puttaparthi. It gives the town that vital HUMAN touch even if it means some hygiene and other issues.

---

[In response to a commenter saying that, (many years ago,) he saw an (apparently) homeless guy lying in the dirt with a look of utter suffering in his eyes, right next to the road in Kadugodi near Bangalore, having a lot of traffic going by]
Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
Sad! This did happen in Mumbai when I was living there. Essentially middle-class (and, of course, upper class) types would get some help. But it was the visibly poor who were lying on the road somewhere whom people, including me would hesitate to help, as one did not know how much involved in the matter one would get if one helped. I mean, taking a poor person who is possibly unconscious (and sometimes, to be brutally honest, just plain drunk) to even a municipal hospital has strings attached. You become the care-giver. I think this is where Mother Teresa's organization and similar organizations alone can really render help.

---

[In response to a comment about what a sad world we have made for ourselves]
Ravi S. Iyer wrote (changed format for easier reading):
I should add that life in Puttaparthi is very different. Once I saw a person lying down on the road in the morning or the afternoon - I was ready to help (as I was free then). But I first checked with the shopkeepers and handcart guys - they told me that the guy was simply drunk!

I think even in villages around Puttaparthi helping even a poor person lying down somewhere on the road, and visibly ill, is common. I would certainly consider doing it myself or trying to organize that help. Perhaps the simplicity and lesser time pressure of village and small town life, allows one to be really HUMAN in these aspects.

In Mumbai I have helped a middle class stranger who needed to be hospitalized - those were days when cell phones were expensive and so neither I nor another stranger who was helping, had a cell phone. The sick person was pleading with us not to take him to the municipal/govt. hospital (as there is some concern about the quality of care rendered there) but the auto driver whose advise we also took, said that in such cases of strangers, municipal hospital is the right hospital as even police may get involved. I mean, after all we were not next-of-kin. So we did get him into a municipal hospital where he got some treatment. I don't recall exactly now but I think through landline phone he contacted his relatives, and we helper-guys could go home.

Even today if I go to Mumbai I will do the same for a middle class or upper class guy, but I will hesitate to go that far for the very poor. I may ask him/her whether I can get him/her some food/water/medicine ... but I will not go further and take him/her to the municipal hospital where they will see that it's a very poor person, and will get very upset if I just, so to say, offload the very poor sick person onto them, and then disappear. I mean, I know I will not be able to follow through for care of the very poor and sickly. These are my limitations and I try to live within my limitations.

BTW this is why people like me, and many, many Indians including atheist-communist leaders like the late Jyoti Basu of Bengal, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jyoti_Basu, deeply revered Mother Teresa and her followers. They would do what I and most other Indians would not do. We are humbled into silence and adoration by the awesome service to the very poor & sickly that Mother Teresa and her followers provided (and still provide, I guess) in some parts of India.
---

Monday, July 13, 2015

Miscellaneous July 2015 Facebook posts of mine related to Muddenahalli so-called chosen communicator & subtle body

Last updated on July 30th 2015

This post has some of my July 2015 Facebook posts and comments on MDH, which have not been put up as separate posts on this blog. In other words this is a Miscellaneous post to capture my FB posts & comments of that period, related to MDH, which have not already been captured as separate blog posts.

Note that MDH stands for Muddenahalli.

Ten Points related to M, chosen communicator of MDH, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1635323033350934, dated July 3rd 2015

Some extracts from the above post & comments:

Important Note: I do not have any objections whatsoever to the service to society (Seva) activities that MDH setup is engaged in, neither do I have any objections to donors donating money to MDH setup for these service to society activities. I am also NOT INVOLVED in any way in so-called "exposure" of or disturbing top-level financial or organization power politics matters, either in MDH setup or in PTP setup. I wish all the current trustees of the PTP setup including Easwaramma trust all the very best. I simply want to do what I see as my duty to the Sathya Sai fraternity and to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, in gratitude for the great benefits that I got from them, in helping at least a few Sathya Sai devotees to escape from getting trapped into believing the FALSE claims of chosen communicator of MDH that he is seeing and conveying the words of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

I am sharing this information publicly with the commitment that I shall make corrections to this post if I am provided evidence showing that any matter that my sources have told me, which I have shared on this post, is false. Further, even if the points below are vigorously refuted by some reliable sources (from my point of view), who are supporters of MDH belief, but do not have the evidence to disprove it, I shall put up their points of view so that readers get a balanced view of the matter. Note that as M is a public figure now, who is making some truly exceptional claims without substantive evidence and whose word is being followed by many Sathya Sai devotees as the word of God, M has to withstand public scrutiny, including the points mentioned below.

---end Note ---

My considered view of the matter is that MDH chosen communicator (M) seems to have either acquired some powers of reading minds & memories of others, or is in touch with some spirit that is masquerading as Sri Sathya Sai Baba, but is NOT Sri Sathya Sai Baba. However, so far this spirit or M himself, is benevolent. So, in that regard, I would put this spirit or M, in the category of a Bala Sai Baba of Kurnool who is also quite respected in Kurnool for the service activities and devotional atmosphere that his group are involved with.
Some specific issues related to M:

1) From reliable sources, I have been told that even when he was a student in Brindavan campus, he used to "talk" to (invisible) Swami, when Swami's physical form was elsewhere.

2) From reliable sources, I have heard that he claimed to have interactions with subtle body of Swami at least a year (perhaps more) prior to Swami's Mahasamadhi, and even got into or was planning to get into land dealings (buying and, perhaps, selling) in Chennekothapalli (Anantapur district, Andhra Pradesh) based on this subtle Swami advise.

3) From reliable sources, I have heard that at Swami's Mahasamadhi time he told Swami student-staff at Prasanthi Nilayam (Puttaparthi) that Swami will come back to life prior to His body being interred. When that did not happen, M said that subtle Swami told him that he was testing him! [I view this as a poor attempt by M to rationalize a critical failed prophecy.]

4) An alumnus says that M had to leave HDFC bank after some rather unpleasant problem, and that this knowledge is quite well known among alumni.

5) This is not CONFIRMED information. So this could be WRONG. M is said to have incurred significant losses in his real estate/wealth management business. However, I repeat, this is not confirmed news and could be wrong.

6) M alone being able to see and interact with subtle Swami, and no one else being able to do so, is very, very strange. [Even if some others claim to have seen subtle Swami, we don't know whether they saw the same subtle Swami. I mean, one can believe such matters only if one has consistent descriptions of subtle Swami from separate sources.] Given M's background, I cannot accept that he is so SPIRITUALLY PURE a soul that only he can see subtle Swami and that all others including BNNM himself cannot see him.

7) The quality of M's discourses show that they are a poor imitation of Swami's discourses. In any significant religious following it is the quality of discourses of the top preacher that decides the spiritual calibre of the following. Just look at any spiritual groups in Hinduism, Islam and Christianity today. The top person will typically be a gifted and inspired preacher. Music, drama, other cultural activities and service activities are secondary/supporting aspects for the inspired preacher. At a human level, Swami was the inspired preacher for the Puttaparthi following. [The healing and individual advise activities are at individual level. They may build strong devotee contact. But not bring large number of followers. For a big following, it is the preaching that is vital.]

8) The experience of love and well being, and even some spiritual miracles like vibhuti manifestation etc. in MDH group may be due to the elevated spiritual levels in the community as a whole, that raises the faith of the group members. The Bible has the case, if I recall correctly, where Jesus Christ tells a woman that she got healed by the intensity of her faith (and not Jesus' intervention). In this regard, the MDH spiritual experiences and miracles, are like what has been experienced in the past and continues to be experienced in various official Sai samithis/centers across India and the world. I will not attribute this to chosen communicator or BNNM.

9) Yes, it is well known that some PTP higher-ups are arrogant and bossy. "Puttaparthi Poguru" is well known among villagers around Puttaparthi! MDH is a start-up, in a sense, and so, I believe, is a lot more loving, welcoming and harmonious. PTP got its arrogance from proximity to physical form of the Avatar. Even Krishna's son Samba got arrogant and mocked rishis which resulted in the curse that destroyed the Yadavas, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samba_(Krishna's_son)#Curse_of_Sage! So I think physical proximity to the Avatar, as recorded in holy scripture related to Avatars, always has this danger of some people physically close to the Avatar becoming power crazy and arrogant. However, even they, no matter how physically close they were to the Avatar (Samba was Krishna's OWN SON!!!), will have to face the bad Karmic consequences of any of their Adharmic acts. There is NO ESCAPE from Karma (except on VERY, VERY RARE occasions like that of Markandeya, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Markandeya, where God cancels the Karma/destiny). Only earnest prayer & devotion to God can lighten the pain & suffering involved with bad karmic effects as God then gives the strength and capacity to endure the pain & suffering.

10) But solution to PTP problems in post-Mahasamadhi phase of Sathya Sai mission, is not by BNNM first getting supposed dream instructions from Swami for running Swami's mission (which everybody else in the mission is expected to follow!), and then this chosen communicator chap, M, providing darshan, interviews and discourses in the name of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba!!!

--- end points ---

You may not agree with my above views. But that's fine. We can politely agree to disagree.

I should also mention that like Bala Sai Baba of Kurnool, if M uses another name like Mxxxx Sai Baba or Sri Suukshma Sai Baba (with M's photographs) that would be legal and fair, IMHO. Using the name, Sri Sathya Sai Baba (along with Sri Sathya Sai Baba's photographs implying that it is Sri Sathya Sai Baba who is speaking), for M's darshan, interviews and discourses, in my view, would be deemed illegal if challenged in a court of law in India. Once again, you may have a different view. That's fine with me.

...

Ravi: I think there are two aspects: a) Individual spiritual growth and b) Sathya Sai mission of re-establishing Sathya, Dharma, Shanti and Prema in the world. These two are not separate compartments as there is a mix of one in the other. However, from a Sathya Sai mission point of view, IMHO, it is vital to ensure that teachings and discourses of M do not get viewed by the majority of Sai devotees as Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's teachings and discourses!

...

Ravi: [Name-snipped who commented that personal pointers should be dropped from the ten points]. Thanks for your view brother. But my view is that M is now a public figure who is claiming to communicate Bhagavan's words as he is so SPIRITUALLY PURE. Therefore I consider it fair for me to raise questions about his background. If he had not claimed to be a chosen communicator of Bhagavan who now has perhaps thousands of followers across the globe (due to M unauthorizedly using the name of Sri Sathya Sai Baba), I would surely not have shared such matters conveyed to me by reliable sources. I think spiritual leadership in this regard is like political leadership. Once you take on the mantle of such leadership people will ask questions about your past and share it with others. It goes with the profession of being a Baba or a claimed communicator of a powerful holy figure who has given up the body.

I think I should also mention that I have no personal animosity whatsoever towards M, the chosen communicator. I simply am against his making the audacious claim of being a chosen communicator of Sri Sathya Sai Baba. I pray earnestly to Bhagavan that if M does have any financial issues, that his issues get solved in a Dharmic way, and that he and his family should be happy. I mean, I am NOT an enemy of M who wishes him harm. He is doing something which is creating HAVOC in the post-Mahasamadhi Sathya Sai mission, and so I am opposing those activities of his which are creating this HAVOC.

...

Ravi: But is that (background about job and other deals) not crucial to show devotees that he may not be the extraordinarily PURE person, which is what the claim is, about why only he can see the supposed subtle Swami, and others cannot see? I mean, if somebody makes a claim that he is extraordinarily PURE, as a public figure, in my view, it is fair to probe the past record of the person to know how PURE he was. Financial honesty is a vital part of what one expects of a PURE person, isn't it? This is what is done for public figures even in India today. Financial background of a person is a VITAL part of the background of public figures. That is why any politician in India who is contesting an election is supposed to file his/her financial statement at that time, which is made available to the public. So, if say, somebody standing for election has filed an insolvency petition (which I presume is roughly equivalent to filing for bankruptcy in the USA), then that must be made known to the public. This is the probity in public life that is expected of public figures today in this early 21st century, in my considered view. Public figures have to handle the skeletons in the cupboard. The damage that a dishonest public figure, including spiritual leaders, can do to some members of the public is enormous and that's why public figures have a higher bar to meet in respect of public probity of their life. However, I respect your having a different view on the matter. Let's politely agree to disagree on this one :-).

Will SSSIHL administrators really act on alumni supporting Muddenahalli "Light Form" or is it words only?, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1635859606630610, dated July 5th 2015

Some extracts from the above post & comments:

In a comment on a Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/terry.reiskennedy/posts/10207289078324038, having a link to a letter dated July 2, 2015 from the Registrar of the Sai university (SSSIHL) to Alumni of the Sai university on 'the prevalent confusion with regard to activities being undertaken under the guidance of what is claimed to be the "Light Form" of Bhagawan', I made the following comment, which I felt appropriate to put up as a separate FB post:

Though I do have some very serious issues with the Registrar of SSSIHL who has issued this letter, I entirely agree with the words quoted from the 2014 Cautionary Note issued by Sri. V. Srinivasan, All India President, SSSSO (and trustee, SSSCT), which was forwarded to the Sai university (SSSIHL) by Sri. K. Chakravarthi, Member secretary, SSSCT.

One must not forget that the former Vice-chancellor, Shashidhar Prasad, who was VC till Nov. 22nd 2014, was and continues to be a solid supporter of supposed "Light Form" of Bhagavan based at Muddenahalli. The big question in my mind is how many other senior persons of SSSIHL were closet-supporters of Muddenahalli "Light Form" when Shashidhar Prasad was VC? In other words, how many toed Shashidhar Prasad and Shri Narasimhamurthy's line, in this regard and followed their instructions till Nov. 22nd 2014, and were perhaps rewarded suitably in terms of academic positions and salary raises?

Going by the actions of some senior persons in SSSIHL in the academic year after Mahasamadhi, i.e. academic year 2011-12 (during which I was visiting faculty in SSSIHL, Prasanthi Nilayam campus), I certainly suspect some of these senior persons to have been following Narasimhamurthy and Shashidhar Prasad's instructions with respect to supposed "Light Form" or subtle body based in Muddenahalli. That is why I decided to part ways from SSSIHL. I COMPLETELY LOST TRUST in SSSIHL administrators as I strongly suspected that Narasimhamurthy was remote controlling SSSIHL. I mean, I was shouted at by the Vice-Chancellor and implicitly asked to stop working on Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vahini (SSSVV) project (and sing bhajans instead; really :-) ), though I was offering FREE SERVICE, and almost all concerned - students, SSSVV team, TCS - the company that had developed the software and the teacher (me) - were happy. Just because an HOD is against SSSVV project (and/or got uncontrollably jealous of me) how could the VC stop me? And SSSVV was a computer project that Swami was very supportive of. Today, I feel that the former VC, Shashidhar Prasad may have taken Narasimhamurthy's instructions in this regard, instead of doing his academic duty in this regard, and/or consulting with SSSCT who, from an organizational point of view, appointed him as VC.

[Readers may wonder why I took such shouting from the VC quietly then. Well, this happened in Jul/Aug 2011, at which time we were all traumatized by Swami's Mahasamadhi. I had no idea then that the VC was believing in Narasimhamurthy's dream instructions, and I was giving full respect to the VC chair, as I believed that that is what Swami would expect of me. In the interest of not creating a disturbance I quietly took the blasting that the VC gave me then. I felt that I should do that, as my duty to Swami, at that very difficult time for the Sathya Sai mission.]

The question that crops up now is, how much can we trust top administrators in SSSIHL, some of whom were in the top positions in 2011-12 (e.g. the Registrar) to completely follow instructions of SSSCT? Will they only provide lip service and put up a show of following the instructions but in reality, protect sympathizers and supporters of Muddenahalli "Light Form"? That is a frank question in my mind.

What I learned from my traumatic experiences in academic year 2011-12 in SSSIHL, Prasanthi Nilayam campus, is that we should assess administrators in SSSIHL by actions and not by words. Let us see what actions they take now against alumni that are supporters of Muddenahalli "Light Form".

...

Ravi: [name-snipped]: By "witch hunt", with reference to whom do you imply the "witch hunt" - alumni? or SSSIHL administrators who were supportive of Shashidhar Prasad and Narasimhamurthy and Muddenahalli "light form" from Mahasamadhi till Nov. 2014, and so benefited materially?

My view regarding alumni supporters of Muddenahalli supposed light form, is that they should not be allowed to participate in major activities of official Sai orgn. including Prasanthi Nilayam ashram activities. But they should be allowed to visit as devotees and participate as devotees in bhajan kind-of activities. Essentially, my view is that they cannot be trusted to do Sai orgn. activities properly, as they will take instructions from Narasimhamurthy and chosen communicator, M, instead of following instructions of official Sai orgn. leaders.

Regarding SSSIHL administrators who were supportive of Narasimhamurthy and Shashidhar Prasad following Muddenahalli "light form" instructions, and benefited materially (academic position and/or salary raises) due to that support they gave: My view is that there is no need for any BIG inquiry to be conducted into the matter. SSSIHL is quite a small deemed university and any such BIG inquiries can be very damaging to it. However, perhaps SSSCT and current VC of SSSIHL (who is unconnected with Narasimhamurthy and/or Shasidar Prasad, as far as I know) could learn from Nelson Mandela & his colleagues' approach of TRUTH & RECONCILIATION, in post-apartheid South Africa. Let those SSSIHL administrators who were involved in this matter, CONFESS the TRUTH about their following Narasimhamurthy's & Shashidhar Prasad's instructions after Mahasamadhi, including any visits that they made to Muddenahalli to meet "light form" and/or Narasimhamurthy, in defiance of SSSCT views about Muddenahalli "light form" (especially in academic year 2011-12), and then let them give in writing an assurance that they will never follow any instructions hereafter from Narasimhamurthy, chosen communicator - M, and Shashidhar Prasad. Afterwards their actions should be closely monitored and if it is found that they have become fully loyal to SSSCT and completely ignore Muddenahalli "light form", then slowly they can be trusted again. This will handle the RECONCILIATION part.

...

Ravi: [name-snipped]: I presented Shashidhar Prasad documented proof of record tampering done by Registrar, Naren Ramji (who, I presume, is responsible for academic position records), and possibly abetted by HOD, DMACS, Chandrashekaran, in my case, in or around May/June 2012 by courier and email. He said PN campus, Director then, Sudhir Bhaskar, to whom also I had sent the documents, will look into it. Nothing happened. BTW record tampering is a ***criminal*** offence under the Indian Penal Code. Shashidhar Prasad failed to do his duty of pulling up Naren Ramji and Chandrasekaran for their ***criminal*** act of record tampering against me (showed me as Teaching Assistant, though the official signed Identity cards gave designation of Visiting Faculty). Essentially Shashidhar Prasad and Sudhir Bhaskar protected Naren Ramji and Chandrashekaran. I wonder whether Sri Narasimhamurthy gave them some supposed Swami dream instructions in this regard. I wouldn't be surprised if Narasimhamurthy did so.... Further, the Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vahini project matter which I mentioned above is something you choose to ignore. Note that it is a free online portal for the Sai system of education - so a very appropriate project for the Sai university to get involved in... Shashidhar Prasad FAILED in his duty as the top man of the Sai university by not supporting me in my Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vahini work, and by protecting Naren Ramji and Chandrasekaran. .... You may want to support Shashidhar Prasad politically - that's fine. But what I have given above is the truth, which I am willing to testify in an Indian court of law, under oath, with supporting documents. ... I don't want to put up the supporting documents on the net, as of now, as I think that is an inappropriate step. But I am not saying things in the air. MIND YOU, I am an international software consultant who retired from commercial work in 2002 and provided nearly a decade of free service of teaching Software lab. courses and acting as a tech. consultant for student project work in SSSIHL, PN campus. ..... Around June 2011 Shashidhar Prasad forced SSSCT to give sixth pay commission salaries to staff. (I was told that he threatened to fax his resignation from Delhi, where he was then, if SSSCT did not approve sixth pay commission pay hikes for university staff; so Naren Ramji, Sudhir Bhaskar etc. would have got generous salary raises; Chandrasekaran was offering Free service and may have continued to offer free service; even juniors in the department, who I had taught when they were students, were paid over Rs. 20,000 per month as salary; I am not jealous of them as I was keen on offering Free Seva and leading a simple 'ceiling on desires' life as per Swami's teachings). But I must say here that I was shocked to know about these pay hikes for SSSIHL staff as there were serious concerns about donations to SSSCT going down drastically in the short term. I mean, I would have expected Shashidhar Prasad to have made an earnest request to SSSIHL staff to wait for some months, at that very challenging time for Prashanti Nilayam system/SSSCT, for the pay hike, as a small gesture of gratitude to Swami. I mean, they could have continued on old salaries for say six to nine months, couldn't they? Was it right to impose such an increase in expenses on SSSCT at a time when nobody knew when the donations would pick up? And this resulted in all others demanding the same - so, later sixth pay commission salaries were given to hospital and other ashram systems staff. Huge expense increase for SSSCT. In my considered view, Bhagavan would have been very, very unhappy about the manner in which sixth pay commission salaries were demanded by Shashidhar Prasad almost immediately after Mahasamadhi, under threat of resignation. That is not the spiritual SEVA way of doing things .... If you choose not to believe what I have said in the post and in this comment, fine. Let's terminate the discussion here. You are free to believe that Shashidhar Prasad is a wonderful person who did his duty as VC of Sai university properly. Jai Sairam!

...

Ravi: Ha! Ha! This (your saying that my posts are biased) is a case of pot calling the kettle black :-). Wish you all the best. I pray earnestly to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba that you do not get too deluded by the claims of Muddenahalli chosen communicator and subtle body. False prophets can lead followers into serious trouble. All the best.

Who is FB user, [name-snipped]? A close aide of Narasimhamurthy and chosen communicator, M, of Muddenahalli? Vicious words written by [name-snipped] against me, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1636597453223492, dated July 8th 2015

Some extracts from the above post & comments:

[name-&-url-snipped], has been one of the political attack brigade persons of Muddenahalli subtle body belief group. He was FANATICALLY supporting Shashidhar Prasad in his comments made on my FB post, 'Will SSSIHL administrators really act on alumni supporting Muddenahalli "Light Form" or is it words only?', https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1635859606630610.

I was told by a friend that [name-snipped] is a fake profile user.

...

In his profile, I was surprised to see one of the two posts (that was visible to me) targeted viciously at a couple of persons including me, https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1468027813508828&id=100009048709446!!! Here's the part of it aimed at me:
Ravi S. Iyer is another such delusional person who thinks he is holier than thou and brands all others who don't agree with him as Rakshasas (demons) These morons have been attacking anyone who is even remotely associated with MDH with utter disregard for truth or public decency. Ravi S Iyer was kicked out of Sai University for reasons better known to him than others. He still carries this grudge and is using this debate to go after those whom he dislikes, while acting like a crusader with a noble cause. First count the skeletons in your own cupboard gentlemen before pointing fingers at others.
--- end extract from [name-snipped] FB post ---

Dear readers, I am human with more than my fair share of flaws. I have made many mistakes in the past and, quite surely, I may make mistakes again. So let me take the above criticism, point by point. I would like to have your unbiased feedback on the same - please feel free to criticize me if you think I am wrong.

1) Am I delusional who thinks I am holier than thou? What is his supporting evidence for this conclusion of his? I have lots of writings now on Muddenahalli and spirituality on my blog and on Facebook. Can Mr. [name-snipped] please quote me from my writings to substantiate his above charge?

2) Do I brand all others who don't agree with me as Rakshasas (demons)? I don't think so. Once again, [name-snipped] needs to provide evidence to support the charge.

3) "Ravi S Iyer was kicked out of Sai University for reasons better known to him than others." The facts as I remember them: Naren Ramji, Registrar of SSSIHL, told me in March 2012 (or maybe it was Feb. 2012) in his office, that the letter he had given me earlier (perhaps around June 2011) which, on SSSIHL letterhead with his signature, stated that my designation was Visiting Faculty, was given by him just like that (or words to that effect). He further stated that actually I was Seva Dal! In other words, the Registrar of SSSIHL, Naren Ramji, was trying to cancel out the official letter that he had given me earlier, and was trying to verbally intimidate me by saying I am Seva Dal. Obviously, I was least interested in associating further with SSSIHL which had such a COMPROMISED and INCOMPETENT Registrar. So I then told Naren Ramji, Registrar, that I am TERMINATING my association with SSSIHL. [It caused me a lot of pain to part ways with Swami's university in this fashion but the attitude of Shashidhar Prasad, Vice-chancellor, Chandrashekaran, Head of Maths & Comp. Sc. department, and Registrar Naren Ramji, left me with no choice but to part ways.]

4) "He still carries this grudge and is using this debate to go after those whom he dislikes, while acting like a crusader with a noble cause." My view is that SSSIHL has been deeply compromised by Shashidhar Prasad, former VC turning against Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust and following Narasimhamurthy's instructions, from a short time after Mahasamadhi to Nov. 2014, when he stepped down as VC. I am sharing details of such matters as it has become imperative now to ensure that no Muddenahalli subtle body believers are associated with SSSIHL. That is of PRIME IMPORTANCE to SAVE the post-Mahasamadhi Sathya Sai Mission. Those who are in SSSIHL, the divine university set up by Bhagavan, who believe in Muddenahalli subtle body/light body, may please quit SSSIHL and join Muddenahalli subtle body/light body belief group. They (Muddenahalli group) have their own college too now, and some UNVERIFIED reports say that they are flush with funds. [As far as I know, Muddenahalli belief trust financial details are not publicly shared, like how the official Sai trust publicly shares its financial details/balance sheet. So it is difficult to verify the reports of Muddenahalli group being flush with funds.] So people leaving SSSIHL and joining them may even get handsome salary increase and big position.

Let us not have conflict of interest. Shashidhar Prasad's BIG MISTAKE was the conflict of interest when he was sitting as VC of Sai university and supporting Narasimhamurthy who was being opposed by official Sai trust (Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust). The right thing for Shashidhar Prasad to have done when he developed faith in Narasimhamurthy's subtle body belief/dream instructions, and perhaps lost faith in official Central Trust leadership, would have been to have simply stepped down as VC, and have gone then itself to Narasimhamurthy! As simple as that. Why didn't he do that?

5) "First count the skeletons in your own cupboard gentlemen before pointing fingers at others." Hmm. Dear readers (including students that I taught in SSSIHL), please, please, inform me of my "skeletons" in regard to my association with Sai institutions. Did I not teach my lab. courses properly in Maths & Comp. Sc. dept., SSSIHL, PN campus? Did I not provide proper technical consultancy to students for their project work in this dept.? I have not received a single nayapaisa (Indian penny/cent) from any Sai institution including SSSIHL as I was providing free service. So I think financial impropriety charge against me cannot be made. I was not provided any living quarters by the Sai ashram system - so I don't think any charges can be made against me there. [In my stay in Puttaparthi from Oct. 2002, I have always been living outside the ashram complex in private apartments.]

Should I have accepted Naren Ramji, Registrar, SSSIHL, calling me "Seva Dal", instead of the official "Visiting Faculty" designation given to me? Yes, I viewed myself as Seva Dal, as that is what Swami had thundered in a discourse in the 90s when I was doing PROPER Seva Dal duty (Mandir discipline) in Sai Kulwant Hall - "Seva, Seva, Seva" were his instructions for those who sought spiritual progress! But the Registrar of a deemed university is supposed to follow some norms of the University Grants Commission (UGC), isn't it? I mean, I am sure "Seva Dal" is NOT an accepted designation in UGC norms.

If you did read up to this point :-) , thanks. Any comments, even critical ones, are very welcome.

[name-snipped], believer in and supporter of Muddenahalli subtle body tells [name-snipped], whom he doesn't know, to not make personal attacks on [name-snipped] sir and myselfhttps://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1636985739851330, dated July 9th 2015

Some extracts from the above post & comments:

Ravi: In the case of my Facebook posts, while I did raise serious allegations from reliable sources about certain past record matters of chosen communicator (and NOT personal matters like what he drinks or eats or ..., about which I don't know anything and nor do I want to know), I also provided the reasons for why I did so. Some may disagree with the reasons I put forth and I respect their freedom to have that view. But, so far, I have not heard convincing arguments for me to change my stand on keeping those matters on my Facebook post.

Regarding whatever else I have written about some past and current administrators of SSSIHL with whom I had very serious problems, I consider that the freedom of speech laws in India permit me to share the truthful view of what happened. The administrators concerned are free to share their view of the matter too. And, as I mentioned in this regard earlier, if required, I am willing to testify in an Indian court of law about what I have written regarding the problems I have faced with these administrators, under oath. [Note that I believe that even in India, lying under oath to a court of law (perjury) is a punishable offence under the Indian Penal Code.]

I welcome critical comments from supporters of Muddenahalli subtle body (or others) with evidence to show that any content of my Facebook posts is false. If the provided evidence is strong, I assure them that I will correct the concerned Facebook post content.

....

Ravi: In the normal course of events I would stay far, far away from making such allegations in a public forum, even if they are from reliable sources, unless there is evidence. But the claims of the chosen communicator of Muddenahalli are truly, truly extraordinary and is a SERIOUS DIVISIVE THREAT to the Sathya Sai mission, and, perhaps more importantly, are resulting in Sathya Sai devotees being, in my considered view, MISGUIDED by chosen communicator in the name of Sri Sathya Sai Baba! Therefore, as my duty, done out of gratitude, to my beloved GuruDev Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, and the Sathya Sai fraternity, I have conducted my own investigations on this matter.

So now I am playing the role, and very unpleasant role, to be honest (I hate doing this), of an investigative journalist writing on this matter. And I am following the rules of that game, within the laws of the land, as far as I know. Investigative journalists do report allegations from reliable sources (even when they do not have evidence) but clearly mentioning that they are allegations. Usually the concerned party on which the allegations are made provides a statement denying the allegations or provides clarifications/their view of the matter.

Note that as I have been part of the Sai university for nearly a decade and have lived in Puttaparthi for a decade plus, I have access to many former student-colleagues and teachers of chosen communicator. Almost all, if not all, my reliable sources are former students and teachers of the Sai university who I consider to be very trustworthy sources based on my knowledge of them.

So about M having to leave HDFC bank after some rather unpleasant problem, the reliable sources are student-staff in Puttaparthi. Note that those former students who choose to stay connected with Sai mission become a small family and they easily get to know lots of info. about each other, or can dig up the info. if needed. I believe, HDFC bank has a lot of Sai university alumni and so they can easily get the info. from them.

Now if you or anybody else associated with MDH dispute the above statement, I will entertain your comment on the relevant Facebook post, for readers to view the opposing viewpoint.

About M is said to have incurred significant losses in his real estate/wealth management business: Once again I have got this information from multiple alumni and/or teacher of Sai university sources who I consider to be trustworthy.

Once again, if you or anybody else associated with MDH dispute the above statement, I will keep it on the FB post for readers to see the opposing viewpoint.

Let the TRUTH be revealed in this matter. Sathyameva Jayate! Sathyannaasti Paro Dharmaha! Mind you, I am NOT saying that brother M, chosen communicator is a fraud. My view is that he has either acquired some paranormal powers himself OR is in touch with a spirit that is MASQUERADING as Sri Sathya Sai Baba, which gives him mind & memory reading and perhaps some other powers (or communicates relevant info. to him). Further, I have clearly mentioned that my view is that so far brother M and/or this spirit, is a benevolent spirit. I have also clearly mentioned that I have NOTHING AGAINST the service activities of Muddenahalli subtle body following nor am I getting involved in their funding/finance aspects (except to point out that it is not publicly shared like the official Sai trust's finance information is publicly shared).

...

Ravi: How did you jump to the conclusion that I am saying/implying that MDH is nothing but a scam for some people to get rich? I have never said that. In fact, I have always been very respectful of the past service to Swami mission done by the main person of MDH, which is Sri Narasimhamurthy, as we all know how he gave his life & soul to Swami for five decades or so, not bothering about money or position.

As far as I am concerned, it is a case of misguided persons, both Sri Narasimhamurthy and chosen communicator, with noble intentions who lost their way spiritually in the massive trauma of the Mahasamadhi. I DO NOT HAVE MAJOR OBJECTIONS with them creating an alternative platform for Sai activities (separate from official Sai orgn.). My very serious issue is their claim of darshan, sambhashan and interviews with Sri Sathya Sai Baba subtle body.

The reason I had to disclose serious allegations of financial problems that chosen communicator faced, was to let people know that this man who claims to see and interact not only with subtle body of Sri Sathya Sai Baba but also, on occasion, claims to have seen subtle body of Jesus and of Mother Parvathi and Shirdi Sai Baba, seems to have had some serious financial issues in the past. This is an important background to understand the claimed super-purity of the communicator whose super-purity enables him alone to see and interact with the so-called subtle body of Swami there. More importantly, I shared the serious allegations that he claimed to see and interact with subtle body of Swami, when Swami was in physical form (at least a year back, I believe), besides his failed prophecy to Prasanthi Nilayam mandir boys at Mahasamadhi time that Swami would come back to life in that body prior to internment.

Now all that I mentioned above does not mean that he is fraudulent. But it informs Sathya Sai devotees who want to know more about the matter (and not the converted people like you), and who happen to view my FB and blog posts & comments, that there are some serious concerns about chosen communicator's past and past claims. Then it is up to them. If they still choose to go to MDH and believe in chosen communicator's claims, they are free to do so.

I really think we have discussed enough on the matter. I think you are deeply convinced about MDH. I don't want to keep on responding to points raised by you in favour of MDH belief. In fact, honestly, I don't want to disturb your MDH belief as you are converted to that belief. I am just doing my duty to Swami for the benefit of other Sathya Sai devotees who are not yet converted to MDH belief and want to read my views about it. Jai Sairam!

...

[One of the comments of mine on this has been put up as a separate blog post, titled, "My frank (and longish) view about Muddenahalli so-called subtle body belief", http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/07/my-frank-and-longish-view-about.html.]

...

[One of the comments of mine on this has been put up as a separate blog post, titled, "Can Sathya Sai Baba really say "good is God" OR "Whether I was Rama or Krishna or Allah ..."?", http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/07/can-sathya-sai-baba-really-say-good-is.html.]

...

Ravi:  I have chosen not to get involved with any financial matters or trustee level organizational matters (or even other level organizational matters) either of Puttaparthi trust or Muddenahalli trust, with some exceptions. The exceptions are related to my own past problems with SSSIHL administrators, and openly sharing my view that believers in MDH subtle body who are associated with official Sai organization have a SERIOUS CONFLICT OF INTEREST given the well publicized view of official Sai orgn. leaders, and so they should quit the official Sai organization positions they hold and activities they are involved with. Such people are free to develop and grow the alternative Sai platform that MDH has created, and which seems to be flourishing now. About whether such a view, if implemented by official Sai orgn. leaders, will be, as you have written, "a fatal mistake" by the official Sai orgn., I have a completely opposing view. I feel it will be far better for the Sai orgn. to take an initial hit in terms of some people and even leaders and big donors, leaving the official Sai orgn., as that will then create a more solid, even if smaller organization, with a common set of beliefs (including disbelief in Muddenahalli subtle body). Note that non-office bearers/workers in Sai orgn. people, i.e. non-active-worker devotees, who believe in MDH subtle body, in my view, should be free and welcome to visit official Sai orgn. centers including Prasanthi Nilayam. It will be helpful if such people openly state their MDH subtle body belief to avoid any atmosphere of suspicion. Further such persons should not use official Sai orgn. centres to propagate MDH subtle body belief.

My focus is on vehemently opposing, what I have concluded as, FALSE claims of chosen communicator and claimed subtle body of Sri Sathya Sai Baba in Muddenahalli. I have already explained why I felt it appropriate (even if it was very distasteful for me to do so) to touch upon allegations related to financial background of chosen communicator.

...

Ravi: My involvement in this context has been more with official Sai institutions in Prasanthi Nilayam/Puttaparthi, and in India in general. So most of my comments are from that perspective. I wonder whether you are aware that in Prasanthi Nilayam and institutions handled by SSSCT elsewhere (like Anantapur, Brindavan & Muddenahalli campus of SSSIHL, and Whitefield Super hospital), the backbone of the system are paid staff, especially after Mahasamadhi. [I mean, prior to Mahasamadhi significant numbers of people were willing to do free service in Prasanthi Nilayam due to the great benefit/reward of being able to have regular and close darshan (staff seating) of Swami. I think today the free service people are mainly retired people - earlier it was different. Further, earlier the salary levels of the paid staff were low on the average (especially for junior staff).] For paid staff in Sai institutions to receive salary and benefits from the official Sai orgn. but have loyalty to Muddenahalli claimed subtle body is clearly a BIG CONFLICT OF INTEREST.

About Indian official Sai orgn., I have not heard much about its active office bearers (most, if not all, of whom provide unpaid/voluntary service) being devotees of MDH subtle body. And, in that context, my view is that if an office bearer of Indian Sai orgn. believes in MDH subtle body then he/she should step down from that office bearer position (but can continue to be a non-worker devotee of the Sai center).

I don't want to comment much about the International (countries other than India) Sai orgn. issues. But I will say this:
Yes, surely the lack of growth in devotees there or even dwindling of the numbers, is a cause for concern. However, the solution is not promotion of some siddhis enabled Sai university alumnus as a communicator/medium of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, even if that approach gives some great short-term results. TRUTH has to be the basis of a spiritual movement which wants to be a long-lived one. FALSE claims may glitter for some time and attract people for some time, but eventually the TRUTH will come out, which can create quite some challenges for the concerned movement.

A dip in following, especially abroad, after Swami's passing away, is but natural. One has to take it in one's stride.

...

Ravi: Oh well! Some SSSIHL administrators conspired to do MALICIOUS record tampering, an illegal act, under the Indian penal code, against me, of which some administrators are still associated with the university, even though I had provided the top guys documented evidence of the same, and a vice-chancellor and HOD of the SSSIHL were able to go against advise of the SSSCT (who pays all the salaries and is the top body effectively over SSSIHL) regarding work of students & me in a computer project of SSSCT (Vidya Vahini), and broke academic procedures for the same. So if the top guys of official Sai orgn. decide to take action against some paid/unpaid employee/official of the Sai institutions, they will easily find some way to do so. It is a private organization and there are lots of rules & regulations under which something can be found against almost anybody. This is the reality not only of official Sai institutions but of other ashram setups, and even private companies in the country, unless the persons concerned are in a trade union. I mean, as an employee of a software consultancy private company in Bombay/Mumbai, as I was not part of any union, I could be fired without reason so long as I was provided the 1 month/3 month notice salary. That was part of the employee contract, I guess.

Of course, it would be best if such people simply quit on their own and join MDH group. Why stay in one orgn. and be disloyal to its leadership, and flout the directives of the leadership? That is treason, in my book. If you don't like what the leadership says and don't want to follow it, just quit. Or else, follow what the leadership says. I did not like leadership of Shashidhar Prasad (VC), Chandrashekaran (HOD) and Naren Ramji (Registrar) of SSSIHL in 2011-12. I quit in protest rather than stay in SSSIHL.

...

Ravi: As you have stated you are not a member, (rather office bearer), of the Sai orgn., my individual view, is that it is perfectly fine for you to associate with official Sai orgn. activities in a non-office-bearer capacity. And if you are open about your belief in MDH subtle body, then it is even better from an ethical and clean conscience point of view, IMHO. I do have a lot of respect for people like Vijaya Sai B.S and Sai Keshav who are associated with MDH subtle body following and have clearly stated their stand. We know where we disagree and can harmoniously interact on common interest areas.

...

Ravi: Thanks for your kind words about me [name-snipped]. However, I am not sure whether I deserve them as I do not hide the fact that I do have my fair share of human flaws.

Regarding the Promised GOLDEN AGE which you folks would like to usher in: All the very best. I have never said anything about MDH following being a money scam, and have openly expressed appreciation for wonderful projects like the Raipur hospital. My disagreement is only on the claims of so-called chosen communicator and the claims of a special subtle body of Sri Sathya Sai Baba in Muddenahalli.

...

--- end extracts of post & comments from "[name-snipped], believer in and supporter of Muddenahalli subtle body tells [name-snipped], whom he doesn't know, to not make personal attacks on [name-snipped] sir and myself" ---

Prof. Anil Kumar Kamaraju's superb & wise words of wisdom on FALSE claims of Muddenahalli subtle body, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1637126466503924, dated July 10th 2015

Response to Muddenahalli so-called communicator supporter claiming that Swami's foremost teaching is not to criticize othershttps://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1637868983096339, dated July 13th 2015

Extracts of above post and comments:

This is a slightly edited version of a comment I put up in a Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/pardhu/posts/10152945660447314.

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's words from a discourse, "Krishna looked upon those who, even if they were good in themselves, did not oppose unrighteousness and injustice committed in their presence when they had the capacity to do so, as actual participants in the crimes. When evil and injustice and violence are being perpetrated, if individuals look on unconcerned, they must be regarded as accomplices in the crimes. In the end they also suffer as much as the criminals. By their passive association, they provide encouragement to the evildoers." For more you may see my blog post titled, "Krishna/Sai Baba on silent witnesses to injustice, and on Yadavas claiming Krishna as theirs; My interpretation in after Sai Mahasamadhi context", http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/04/krishna-viewed-those-who-having.html.

So my considered view based on teachings of Swami and holy scripture having accounts of life of Avatars, is that we MUST NOT BE silent witnesses to the Adharma of so-called chosen communicator claiming to speak the words of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, and MUST OPPOSE IT by criticizing it (which is completely within the law of India as well as most countries of the world). [Name-snipped] may have a different view based on perhaps so-called chosen communicator's words - that's fine, he is entitled to his view. But I think that if he wants to lecture us about Sri Sathya Sai Baba's teachings, he should do more reading of Sri Sathya Sai Baba's discourses and books (like vahinis) before trying to teach us about Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

---- end post; start selected comments ----

Sai Das wrote:
If looked at objectively, there is a preponderance of evidence by means of Swami's very own and well documented words against this sort of thing (MDH) and only vague and abstract arguments presented by MDH which is essentially boils down to "have an open mind". It is baffling to me that so many devotees are going for this "Emperor's New Clothes" charade.

---

Taruni Tarun wrote (reformatted & slightly edited for easier reading):
Sai ram:)...I strongly beg to differ with mdh supporters who say swamis foremost teaching is not to criticise others.hence no devotee (in this mdh comment, Mr Ravi.S.Iyer) should criticise mdh activties

Given here are my personal views.********.First of all the mdh supporters are conveniently ignoring the fact that the same swami has thunderously and roaringly commanded the devotees to beware of cheating and fake activities in his name....Not to take part in .activities which go against his words and advised them not to participate in such activities or encourage them because there by they would end up becoming accomplices in the wrong doings !!!!!!.

In addition swami has guided the devotees * to dare to speak the heartfelt truth with courage and not to keep quiet when they realise that some thing wrong is happening ..which might cause damage to others* !!!!.This one teaching *not criticise* teaching is being singled out and applied by some mdh people to suit to their advantage or as an easy route to avoid answering queries and doubts raised. But what about other important messages of swami that the mdh are failing to adhere to?

First of all Swami always loves unity and they have gone separate from the mother organisation after swamis physical departure for the reasons best known to them. Secondly,the mdh theory of *communicator* clearly goes against swamis own words ....It is sheer hypocracy and double standards that they are repeatedly going against swamis own words but they expect that other devotees should follow the teaching of swami not to criticise anyone. This is clear double standards!

I would strongly say that what they term as *criticism *by devotees is not at all criticism but creating awareness! In short I wish to say that even if one were to say for argument sake that it is* cirticism *then also mdh dont have any moral right to say other devotees are not following swamis teachings.. First and foremost one has follow swamis teachings themselves in all aspects and later advise a fellow devotee that he/she is not following a certain message.

Hence in this case the mdh need to follow the important messages of swami that 1.***Unity is divinity thus reunite with parent organisation ..2.There is *no communicator /third party etc whatsoever in between swami and devotees ****Hence they should completely knock off this *communicator* concept ....After doing both they can say as to what the other devotees should do!

Right now they are not pracitising the important messages themselves..hence very sorry to say.that they dont have any moral right or required qualification( of practising the teachings themselves before they preach).to say that other devotees should do this or that. The real intention of most devotees is not criticism of mdh but to create awareness that certain activities of mdh seem to continuosly and repeatedly go against swamis own words thus prhaps spoiling swamis glorious name and fame. The real intention is also to repeatedly point out to fellow devotees who are confused that swami has already said all this *communicator * etc is false.

The confused devotees are being pointed out to swamis words so that they would not be misguided and would not end up becoming accomplices of a wrong doing. This is a great sai service It is also the duty of a sai devotee to personally take interest in the well being and flourshing of the Sai organisations world wide which has Central trust established by swami at Prashanthi Nilayam as the head..Sai orgnaisation is the only one which is established during the Avatars own physical life time. As we all know this is an unparalled feat becoz as far as our memory and knowledge goes none of such organisations were established during the Avatars own life time except Sri sathya sai avatar! Our sai organisation is the only one with the rarest distinction of not only being established during his own life time but also carefully nurtured /guided by his own self! Hence it becomes our duty to safeguard the interests of Parental sai organisation as Prashanthi Nilayam.

Devotees are concerned that such separate activties might perhaps cause damage to the parental organisation as time progresses. Thus writing what they feel about it is nothing but speaking the heartfelt truth daringly..so that all the interests concerned with sai organisation are protected. Finally The truth is in Sri sathya sai babs own words that all this *communicator * claims are completely false. Hope everyone really understands what other devotees are trying to do. Jai sai ram:)

---

Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
Superb comment by Taruni Tarun. In particular, I entirely agree with this sentence of hers with the substitution of word criticism by slander/libel (false statements), (typos fixed) "The real intention of most devotees is not criticism of mdh but to create awareness that certain activities of mdh seem to continuously and repeatedly go against swamis own words thus perhaps spoiling swamis glorious name and fame". My intent in all my writings on this matter is to INFORM interested Sathya Sai devotees of my view of the matter based on logical analysis, Swami's discourses, and my own investigation into the matter. I am being critical of MDH but I am not making false statments, as far as I know. And if somebody shows me errors in my statements about MDH I will surely correct it if it become clear that I had made an error.

I also fully endorse Taruni Tarun's following statements, "Sai orgnaisation is the only one which is established during the Avatars own physical life time ..As we all know this is an unparalled feat becoz as far as our memory and knowledge goes none of such organisations were established during the Avatars own life time except Sri sathya sai avatar!..Our sai organisation is the only one with the rarest distinction of not only being established during his own life time but also carefully nurtured /guided by his own self! ,,Hence it becomes our duty to safeguard the interests of Parental sai organisation as Prashanthi Nilayam ...Devotees are concerned that such separate activties might perhaps cause damage to the parental organisation as time progresses ..Thus writing what they feel about it is nothing but speaking the heartfelt truth daringly..so that all the interests concerned with sai organisation are protected".

Thanks a ton, Taruni Tarun. Jai Sairam!

---- end selected comments ----

Mr. V.R. Ganti explains how brother M of MDH seems to be getting dictated to by a spirit (NOT our Swami) which has some paranormal powers, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1638417856374785, dated July 15th 2015

I have given below an extract from the above post [I have presumed Mr. V.R.Ganti will not mind me sharing extracts from his posts, on this blog post which is free for interested readers, without any financial profit motive whatsoever]:

What I was told is rather very amazing and just not beleivable at all – The subtle / light body never tells M the entire story at one time and in one shot. The ENERGY or SPIRIT (M calls that energy as SWAMI), I believe, was telling M only step by step after each step has been taken or done by M.  On one occasion it was like the following:

Pack your bag four days stay – Now go to the bus stand – Go to Hyderabad but don’t take this bus as it will be delayed – take the next bus – at Hyd now take an Auto and go to such and such place – press the bell – and then M finds one gentleman (name not to be revealed) – M then was told to ask a particular question and M does that and then that person is amazed – that person is hooked.

Yet another case – Go to North India canteen – pack 15 or 18 Gulab Jamuns – Now go to Bus stand – take a bus to Bangalore – get down at a particular road – go to that house – knock the door – the person who opens the door and that person is already known M – he was given the Gulab Jamuns and that person was amazed because., I am told that,  only SWAMI knows that he takes Gulab Jamuns from North Indian Canteen – and he is hooked.


Is this just enough for anyone to believe that SWAMI is talking. There could be 101 reasons for M and / or that energy to know those stories.  Can we call it all childish and has no real stuff for one to believe that SWAMI was talking? To my mind it all appears crazy.

--- end extract from Mr. Ganti post ---

My comments on Mr. Ganti's note on Facebook here, https://www.facebook.com/notes/10204789407079669/?pnref=story:

Very interesting note! A ton of thanks to Mr. Ganti for the same.

What went through my mind was the possibility that this spirit may be telling M to say that he is seeing Sathya Sai Baba! And M may be blindly obeying the spirit, even saying things which are not true (like him being able to see Sathya Sai Baba (and Jesus)). The same spirit may have told M to have the drama of subtle body sitting in car, getting out .... I must add that even if the spirit asked M to say some untruths (e.g. about subtle body of Sri Sathya Sai Baba sitting in the car, getting out, walking on Darshan round, giving discourses etc.) the spirit (& M) may have done it/are doing it, with what they consider to be noble and benevolent objectives like bringing in (spiritual) GOLDEN AGE. Of course, the point about the means being noble to achieve noble ends, does come into the picture here, especially when one is talking about ushering in a "SPIRITUAL GOLDEN AGE".

Jega's words, "The essence is these are disembodied spirits wanting to help mankind. They take over bodies of selected people whose bodies act as a channel. Once they take over they have extraordinary powers and use the names of Deities the people worship so they will accept them. That is best summary I can offer." blend in very well with what I wrote above.

So, to put it in a nutshell, a spirit with some paranormal powers of mind-reading etc., has made M to blindly follow its dictates/instructions, which seems to include doing DRAMA (FALSE SHOW) of subtle body of Sathya Sai Baba darshan, sparshan and sambhashan! And people like BNNM started believing everything M says! Now they are too committed to M and their new trust and its activities!
...
This question is excellent, “why will SWAMI communicate so secretly only with M?”
...
This question is even better:
Also why did not any of these devotees, who are considered as ardent devotees by so many in Singapore, think for a while as to how can SWAMI go back on His words that He will have direct contact with His devotees? Amazing is it not?
...
Another excellent question:
So the question is – just because one is able to recall certain happenings in people’s lives either by oneself or thorugh a spirit/energy, does one or that spirit / energy become the (Almighty) or BHAGAWAN SRI SATHYA SAI BABA?

Swami's 1970 discourse about not having dual loyalties persons in the organization, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1638894606327110, dated July 17th 2015

My comment (slightly edited) on the post shared below:

Swami's words are, of course, divine instructions! At the most, one may introduce some context aspect to it, to get a more nuanced understanding of his instructions. Beyond that, one cannot question Swami's words. I agree with your sentences, "So, you see, this is for office bearers. Passing visitors and tourists can go wherever they wish... There is no blacklisting or hunting going on....."

And yes, if you are working for Apple, you will surely be terminated from Apple employment, if you visit Microsoft and pledge loyalty to it. Swami's words, "we should not have in the Organisation men with dual loyalties", say it all - there is NO POSSIBILITY WHATSOEVER for any nuanced understanding of this which will allow somebody to be office bearer or employee (paid or unpaid) of official Sai orgn./institutions and have loyalty towards MDH.

To rephrase to prevent any misunderstanding of the above: Swami's words are crystal clear and DIRECT TO THE POINT (when interpreted in MDH belief context): If you want to be in official Sai organization office-bearer/employee position, DON'T go to or believe in MDH.

If you deeply believe in MDH subtle body but are holding an office-bearer/employee position in official Sai orgn./institution, please quit from that position and HAPPILY, with a clean conscience, associate with MDH. You will earn respect even from official Sai orgn. people that you are being very ethical about your work and your belief.

--- end post (comment post); start shared post contents, slightly edited ---

[Clive Raj Valydon created this post]

This has just been sent to me by a very senior office bearer in prashanthi Nilayam.

As per Swami's clear command in the discourse on 21st november 1970, no office bearer should hold allegiance to other organizations.

Swami's exact words as per Sathya Sai Speaks are:

"It is also laid down strictly that those who are in our Organisation should not have any connection with other Organisations of spiritual or religious character. Of course, so far as service is concerned, members should help and serve all, without distinction. Every one in distress deserves help. But no member of the Samithi should have any connection with other such institutions or societies. For example, there may be a Sai Samaaj (Sai society) in your locality. "Sai is Sathya Sai; Sathya Sai is Sai." I have declared often and you know it and have realised its truth. Why then, you may ask, is the Sai Samaaj distinct from the Sathya Sai Samaaj? Well, this body with the name Sathya Sai, has full authority over all institutions established under this Name. For the Sai Samaaj, there is no Body with that Name to hold and exercise authority and so, if funds are collected, used or misused, this Body has no control over the Sai Samaajs in a tangible manner. So, it is best to keep the two distinct and allow those Societies to go their own way. There are a number of other institutions also started and run by Swaamis of various types. If we have any who associates with these, I ask the District and State President to remove them immediately. Though people can revere and worship whomsoever they like, we should not have in the Organisation men with dual loyalties. Only those with faith and devotion to this Name and Form can carry out its objectives with zest and enthusiasm."

So, you see, this is for office bearers. Passing visitors and tourists can go wherever they wish... There is no blacklisting or hunting going on.....

only those who hold official positions are being told not to go to MDH and rightly so. What will you do to an Apple employee who is associated with Windows?

But a customer is allowed to hold both Mac and Windows right?

Hope you understood

--- end Clive Raj Valydon post contents ---

From comments I made on a Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10207378197591964&set=a.1627496606106.2082337.1197289954, dated July 18th 2015

Ravi S. Iyer [name-snipped]: "It would've helped if they said they have differences with the central trust and started their own thing to continue Swaami's work but that wouldn't bring in money I guess." ... "likewise "no Swaami no money" Subtle or Samadhi" You got it! That the so-called chosen communicator in MDH had either directly or through some spirit (which is NOT Sri Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi) (seemingly) acquired some paranormal powers, made it easier for them. But that they could get away, and are still getting away, with an invisible to all but so-called chosen communicator, Swami giving darshan, interview and sambhashan (discourse), takes the cake, IMHO.

I mean, [name-snipped] talked about the Elvis impersonators having "the ladies screaming and gushing all over the place". But at least there was a visible to all Elvis look-alike there. The devotees of Anandamayi Ma going to other gurus, after her demise, would involve visible to all gurus, I guess. But in the MDH case, Swami is NOT visible!!! And still people went, are still going there, in droves! I think a psychology researcher could produce a landmark research publication if he/she investigated this phenomenon!

...

Ravi S. Iyer [name-snipped] Well, when I had studied the matter a few months ago in some detail, I got the impression that the so-called chosen communicator, M, goes out of the way, to say that he is only a communicator, and that he is only following instructions given by the so-called subtle body. Further, I believe, he has clearly stated, at least in private, that he does NOT produce rings & trinkets. You may also note in many pics, that he goes out of the way to sit humbly on the floor in front of the chair which supposed subtle body is sitting in. However, some MDH devotees may be viewing M as Swami, which I think is quite natural. I mean, when an MDH believer cannot see the supposed subtle body they will naturally look at M as reverentially as they would look at Swami.

...

Ravi S. Iyer [name-snipped] I should also say that where MDH has succeeded from an Elvis impersonation type comparison, is that they seem to have quite effectively re-created the atmosphere of physical Swami darshan, interview and sambhashan (discourse). So, even if people cannot see so-called subtle body Swami, they are treated to an experience quite similar with the difference that one of Swami's gold medal winning students, MBA post-graduate, communicates Swami's words to them.

As Swami had repeatedly proclaimed that his students will carry forward his mission, I think it would have been quite natural for many Sai devotees, in the absence of physical form Swami, to look now to his students, as kind-of successors of Swami or at least as leaders of the mission. And when one (former) gold medal MBA student started making claims of being a communicator of so-called subtle body of Swami, which was FULLY ENDORSED by some veteran leaders of the Sai mission, it probably was too attractive a proposition for many Sai devotees feeling abandoned and lost in the absence of physical form Swami, to resist.

...

Ravi S. Iyer [name-snipped]: Well, I have seen many, many Sai devotees who did not really study or seriously listen to his discourses. They were simply attracted to His form, His presence, His Love and less intellectually taxing matters like Bhajans and Vedic rituals (and the prasad distribution after functions too smile emoticon ). Even in Indian samithis/centers, there were many who were not so much into Swami's discourses. So at these samithis/centres, the weekly bhajan session would have good attendance (say, fifty to hundred persons), but the weekly study circle where we would read & discuss Swami's discourses/writings would consider ten persons participating as a good crowd!

My comments about a video with Swami's words about students' role in Swami's mission, which seems to be getting used to promote parallel orgn., https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1638971652986072, July 17th 2015

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CC56gmESbx8, Predictions made by Sathya Sai Baba (with English Subtitles).mp4, published on Sep 14th 2012

The video has Swami referring to body lasting 46 years and no reference to subtle body.

"I will make sure my students excel and (improve upon) even the ancient (dharmam/righteous living) of India" - Wonderful. I think the official Sai organization is doing everything it can to provide a platform for all students of Swami, not only Sai university students, but also other devotee-students who may not have been Sai university students but are students of Sai literature/Sai teachings, to contribute to this goal. Isn't it? If there are some issues in this regard, devotees should raise those concerns. I don't think breaking away from the official Sai orgn. and promoting a rebel organization with a former Sai university student claiming to be chosen communicator of a supposed subtle form of Swami which only he can see and hear and which goes against teachings of physical form Swami, is the way to achieve that goal.

[BTW I am a devotee-student who was not a student but was a teacher in the Sai university. I consider myself to be somebody who tries hard to follow Swami's teachings but does not succeed all the time.]

The video has no reference whatsoever to MDH. And no reference whatsoever to only one person being specially blessed to be able to see Swami and interact with Swami, and act as chosen communicator.

Expert on Sathya Sai teachings should be Pro Vice-chancellor of Sai university (SSSIHL), https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1640513049498599, July 23rd 2015

In the context of a very interesting post by Mr. V.R. Ganti, Genesis of Mhalli Saga - Part 4, https://www.facebook.com/notes/vr-ganti/genesis-of-mhalli-saga-part-4/10204837559203442, I felt it appropriate to share my views on some top-level happenings in Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (SSSIHL), which is commonly known as the Sai university, at Prasanthi Nilayam/Puttaparthi during the DARK DAYS of academic year 2011-12 and a little beyond (June 2011 to around Sept. 2012).

The then vice-chancellor of the Sai university, Shashidhar Prasad, very, very unfortunately came to believe in BNNM's dream-instructions (or perhaps medium M's instructions couched as BNNM's Swami dream instructions; whatever) as being from Sri Sathya Sai Baba!!! This was, of course, kept secret. But whispers started making the rounds of Prasanthi Nilayam/Puttaparthi about it (BTW I was a visiting faculty in SSSIHL, Prasanthi Nilayam campus till early March. 2012). In such matters, like in national and international politics, one gets a feel of the matter by observing actions as one cannot trust words.

The biggest action that showed that BNNM is now the BOSS of SSSIHL with VC Shashidhar Prasad taking instructions from him, like VCs of Sai university used to take instructions from founder chancellor, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, was the action taken by SSSIHL administration on veteran leader of Sathya Sai movement, who was very close to physical form Bhagavan, Prof. Anil Kumar Kamaraju.

I came to know in early 2012, if I recall correctly, from various sources, which I consider reliable, of the following:

a) BNNM, sometime in the second half of 2011, had contacted Sai devotee foreign donors with messages of the kind that Shri T.G. Krishnamurthy said in the comment in Mr. Ganti's Facebook note. Specifically, foreign donors were told by BNNM that Swami has asked them to donate money for some project that BNNM & co. were involved in (building new schools typically). This has also been confirmed in public by Mr Ajit Popat, well known (then) UK based Sai devotee-leader and donor as he himself was approached by BNNM and he/his orgn. donated money to BNNM (which Mr Popat deeply regrets today).

b) Prof. Anil Kumar Kamaraju (AK) approached these foreign donors and told them words to the effect that Swami's connection with devotees is heart-to-heart. He told them that Swami should come in their dream directly and tell them to donate to BNNM. Why should Swami use BNNM as an intermediary? This argument of AK seemed to convince at least some foreign donor(s) who put their donation to BNNM on hold.

c) This impact may have infuriated BNNM, who then may have instructed SSSIHL VC Shashidhar Prasad to *fix* AK. I have used the word, may, as I don't know exactly what happened. But what I have said is certainly a possibility, given what we now know about how Shashidhar Prasad used his VC position to support BNNM, against the wishes of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust (SSSCT) which not only was the top organization which had appointed him as VC but also paid salaries and met other expenses of SSSIHL. [I think there was/is a separate SSSIHL trust but it was SSSCT that would have paid money to SSSIHL trust. SSSCT was the TOP trust organization controlling other children trusts like SSSIHL trust.]

d) I had heard that SSSIHL administration had initiated some action against AK (who then would have been Honorary Faculty or something like that indicating that he is a regular faculty on the rolls of SSSIHL, from an academic designation point of view) for having gone abroad without taking prior permission from SSSIHL administration. This is a minor matter and given the very powerful status that AK enjoyed with founder-chancellor of SSSIHL, Bhagavan, when Bhagavan was in physical form this matter would never have been seriously raised then. However, now BNNM + Shashidhar Prasad were the BOSSES of SSSIHL - the top power structure had drastically changed against AK. So this minor matter became the excuse with which to initiate action against AK.

e) Later, sometime in September 2012 (by which time I had parted ways from SSSIHL as I felt very uncomfortable with the new bosses of SSSIHL), I came to know from a very reliable source that then director of SSSIHL, Prasanthi Nilayam campus, Sudhir Bhaskar, met AK and asked him to give a RESIGNATION letter from SSSIHL. AK, who may have felt really cornered with all these *fixing* tactics of some SSSIHL administrators, gave the resignation letter to Sudhir Bhaskar. The Registrar of SSSIHL, Naren Ramji, sent a letter acknowledging AK's resignation letter within a week or so, to AK. That's it. AK was OUT. The SSSIHL administrator-coterie had *fixed* AK for daring to oppose BNNM and VC Shashidhar Prasad. If such a top man like AK could be *fixed* without anybody else in SSSIHL doing anything to stop it, anybody could be thrown out of SSSIHL if they dared to oppose BNNM + Shashidhar Prasad.

f) Sometime in early 2012, if I recall correctly, I heard about Prof. Krupanidhi, head of Biosciences dept. and also Dean of sciences, being very unhappy with rough treatment received from SSSIHL administrators. So he also quit. SSSIHL administrators tried to force him to come back under threat of making some formal complaints against him to some govt. authorities (as he had many Ph.D. students in SSSIHL and they were concerned about their future)! My God! The atmosphere in SSSIHL had changed to some horrible atmosphere for veterans who fell foul of the new BOSSES of SSSIHL. Later I believe SSSIHL announced some award for Prof. Krupanidhi for dedicated service to SSSIHL (over two decades) which he did not even bother to come to Prasanthi Nilyam to collect.

The above points show how SSSIHL had completely come under the sway of BNNM + Shashidhar Prasad. Those who opposed them were THROWN OUT of SSSIHL on some pretext or the other. Those who supported them were rewarded with academic position and good salary raises!

OK. That's all past now. Very fortunately, Shashidhar Prasad stepped down in Nov. 2014 as VC of SSSIHL. With him going out, BNNM lost his remote control of SSSIHL/Sai university. Now BNNM, I presume, has ZERO or very limited influence in SSSIHL. Any person in SSSIHL daring to openly support BNNM, I presume, will be terminated from service (paid or unpaid), no matter how big a position he/she may be in, and no matter how much service in the past he/she and his/her family may have done to Sai mission (some SSSIHL staff are second or third generation Sathya Sai devotees with a great FAMILY history of service to Sathya Sai mission). But I don't know if there are some hidden supporters of BNNM in SSSIHL especially those that benefited in academic position and salary raise, by supporting BNNM + Shashidhar Prasad in post-Mahasamadhi SSSIHL.

I think SSSIHL seems to have LOST its spiritual thrust due to this traumatic post-Mahasamadhi period with many veterans of SSSIHL being marginalized or thrown out/forced out of SSSIHL and TOTAL DOMINANCE by BNNM+Shashidhar Prasad & their supporters, till Nov. 2014 (when Shashidhar Prasad stepped down as VC). How can SSSIHL recover its spiritual thrust now?

Let us see how another university of India having a spiritual master as the founder-chancellor is handling the spiritual thrust aspect of its university. Its chancellor, Mata Amritanandamayi, recently spoke at a UN Academic Impact initiative in New York. For more, please read my blog post on it here: http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/07/mata-amritanadamayi-address-at-un.html. This university has a regular academic as vice-chancellor, and a spiritual teacher as pro vice-chancellor. From https://www.amrita.edu/about, "Brahmachari Abhayamrita Chaitanya is the Pro Chancellor of Amrita University. One of the prime architects of the university, he has been and is a pillar of support and guidance for all the activities of the University. As a great leader, he is also a source of inspiration to both the students and faculty."

I think SSSIHL (Sai university) should have an expert on Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's teachings (whose writings on Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's teachings demonstrate his/her expertise on it) as Pro vice-chancellor. The regular academic vice-chancellor should work hand-in-hand with the Swami teachings expert pro vice-chancellor to ensure that the Sai university's blend of secular education & spiritual education is regained, and then zealously protected & maintained over future years & decades.

I mean, Sai university is a DIVINE university founded by Kali Yuga Avatar, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. It should NOT become a mere deemed UGC university with some Indian cultural programs (drama & music). Right now, it does not even have an academic department for Indian philosophy let alone a department of religion / comparative religion, which leading universities in the world have. Here is info. on Harvard academic programs on religion, http://www.gsas.harvard.edu/programs_of_study/religion.php, and here is info. on the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, http://www.ochs.org.uk/.

No wonder, in the past decade or so, we have almost nothing of note appearing in academic literature and/or mainstream media (like The Hindu newspaper) on Hinduism or religion from Sai university academics, as far as I know as such matters would have been well publicized in Prasanthi Nilayam and I have not heard of any such thing in the past decade or so. That should change and I think having a Pro vice-chancellor who is focused on that goal, will do wonders for the Sai university's spiritual thrust.

--- end post contents ---

I also felt it appropriate to give below extracts (slightly edited to fix minor typos/errors) from Mr. V.R. Ganti's Note referenced earlier, Genesis of Mhalli Saga - Part 4, https://www.facebook.com/notes/10204837559203442/.

BNNM is the kingpin in Mhalli saga and is perhaps the longest serving veteran in Swami's mission. I think he was nearly four and a half decades in Swami's physical form mission, connected mainly with Bhagawan’s  educational mission. BNNM is a widely respected man the world over;  was , and is, very close to Swami and also very well acquainted with Swami's teachings. He is, I think,  only one notch below Sri Kasturi in his stature in the Sai fraternity. BNNM is HUGELY respected and revered by the student and alumni community of Sai university - some people may even be ready to give their lives for him. BNNM, was more or less, unopposed King at Brindavan campus (and in Prashanthi Nilayam, I believe, there was severe competition from the peers to attain that status) and seems to have been crucial in choosing students for Swami duty while he was the Warden of Brindavan campus

Many were not so comfortable with Brindavan campus teachers especially BNNM who was heavy weight in Grama Seva or Sports, as BNNM’s approach was sort of authoritarian or strict disciplinarian sannyasi kind, I understand. In contrast, I am told that, many were very comfortable with Prof. Anil Kumar Kamaraju as he was friendly to almost anybody who approached him. The rivalry between BNNM  and Prof Anil Kumar Kamaraju was legendary even before Mahasamadhi with the line that BNNM, I reliably learnt,  had forced AK to be removed from Brindavan campus (where he was principal, I believe).

My personal view is that BNNM is one of those wise men who contributed to SAI MISSION, in general, enormously and his contributions, in particular to Education Wing has been huge and I sincerely respect him from bottom of my heart for the same.  However, I feel so bad and sad that he chose to pursue a path which does not befit a man of his stature at all – may be it is due to some reasons as may discussed later in this note.

Coming back to our main story, you are already aware that M had met many senior persons both in Prashanthi Nilayam and Brindavan and convinced a few key persons, including BNNM, that SWAMI was indeed talking to M.  However, I am told that BNNM could not dare bring M into limelight then, probably as the entire drama’s story, screenplay and dialogue was not ready. That was the time (sometime end 2011 / early 2012), I believe, word started getting around that BNNM is getting dream instructions from Swami and now when we look back and correlate M getting instructions from light / subtle body with BNNM getting dream instructions, it is probably making some sense to all of us.  But the question is why did BNNM sway towards M getting into Mhalli drama so seriously? Many doubt that BNNM really believed that M was able to see and hear SWAMI; but there are some other very strong reasons for BNNM to get into this game and this will be revealed later in this note.

Most of us are aware that Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (SSSIHL), a very important body, plays a very crucial role in SAI MISSION and in fact SWAMI had many times called His Students as His Property. Therefore, it is obvious that the staff at SSSIHL, especially student-staff, plays a dominant role in the affairs of Prashanthi Nilayam and they are a force to be reckoned with, after Mahasamadhi days. Ironically this body of student staff started believing in BNNM's Swami dream instructions  (M was not being talked about publicly then at all). [Ravi: I think it some of the student-staff and not all.] The changes that were brought about in SSSIHL suited BNNM as the new leaders, I believe,  in SSSIHL were more or less Chelas or Sishyas or Followers of BNNM. Further, this change made life so easy for BNNM to go with whatever plan he was making at that time. The question again here, why was BNNM garnering so much support from one and all and was it solely because of his plans to get into Mhalli game would become easier?

I learnt from very reliable sources that BNNM was power crazy kind-of person. Somebody told me that Swami would confide in BNNM about the issues He faced with some top persons in Parthi & SSSCT. Initially, it sounded ridiculous to me as well,  but later when I started recalling what my friend (for around 55 years and who was with SWAMI for 2 years - SWAMI used to refer to him as Lawyer Garu) used to tell me about his experience in Parthi, I felt it could be true. [--snip--] However having information is something and implementing Mhalli game plan is something different and there has to be very strong reasons for BNNM to go with the Mhalli Drama, is it not?

It is interesting to note how BNNM came to SAI fold and you may like to go to the following url: http://www.saibaba.ws/experiences/thechange.htm. You will realize that Madiyala Narayan Bhat was BNNM’s original guru and later came in SRI SATHYA SAI BABA. BNNM being celibate and from the celibate Madiyala Narayan Bhat institutions of Alike & Muddenahalli, may have had some sort of contempt for Puttaparthi setup as it was more of a "worldly" setup dominated by family people (married people usually with kids). If I say that this may be the FATAL spiritual flaw in BNNM's mindset, will I be wrong? I understand from very reliable sources that in 2009/2010 or around, BNNM was involved in some Tyagajeevi sort of meeting/talks (to promote people to dedicate life to Swami's mission as Tyagajeevis) when Brindavan people came to Prashanthi Nilayam. It is strongly felt that BNNM may have felt then itself the need to promote Madiyala Narayana Bhat type of philosophy of celibate life dedicated to Swami's mission.  Interestingly, in 2010 at a meeting with student-staff & others in Bhajan Hall of Prashanthi Nilayam when BNNM was present, I understand that Swami asked student-staff & others, whether they had any questions. BNNM responded on their behalf saying that they did not have any questions. It is understood from very reliable source that Swami then told BNNM, "Noru Musko" (Shut your mouth). People around were shocked that Swami used such strong words with BNNM in front of student-staff in 2010! Regarding how this drama went ahead and how SWAMI handled the same is another matter and I can let people know about it on hearing from them individually.  But the point to be noted here is that SWAMI did not approve BNNM’s way of handling things relating to this matter and it may be relevant in Mhalli context now.

--- end extract from Mr. V.R. Ganti's Note ---

My comment on FB post, PROOF OF FUND RAISING TACTICS OF MUDDENAHALLI (MDH) CULT, https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.935088859871021.1073741897.402496529796926&type=3, July 24th 2015

Wonderful investigative work by SaiBliss! Note that the mails are dated late 2014 and early 2015. So it is quite recent.

This seems to be clear evidence that MDH belief top persons are soliciting funds by claiming to give messages from Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

From the messages shared by Saibliss, it is clear that some of those Sai donor-devotees that come under the sway of MDH belief, are given specific instructions on when to visit Parthi and when to visit Muddenahalli. So even when they visit Parthi they will only put on a show of loyalty to Parthi orgn./trust but their true loyalty will lie with Muddenahalli trust and BNNM.

There is no mention of so-called chosen communicator, brother M, here. Does BNNM also have a direct connection/interaction with so-called subtle body of Muddenahalli, which he does not reveal in public? Or maybe BNNM spoke to brother M and conveyed brother M's response.

The Jan. 29th 2015 mail from BNNM to the donor-devotee states, "After the visit to your house, Swami asked us to prepare plans for a new hostel building for the Pre-University College in Muddenahalli. I was told by HIM that you had offered to support the project. The plans are almost complete and we would like to perform the BHOOMIPOOJA and start construction on any date identified by you.".

The above words will be like a DIVINE COMMAND to the donor-devotee who has come under the sway of MDH belief. He/she will NOT DARE to refuse the command which is worded like a request.

Sai donor-devotees who have not yet come under the sway of MDH belief but are being attracted to it, should be made aware of these matters. If after knowing about these matters they still are comfortable with MDH belief and want to donate money there, then that would be fine, IMHO. I mean, it is their money and they can donate the money to whoever they want and, in a free society, they can believe in whoever they want.

Thanks again to SaiBliss for this wonderful investigative work and sharing it with the public freely. Now interested Sai devotees who are attracted to MDH can take more informed decisions than earlier.

--- end comment ---

Shashidhar Prasad, former VC of Sai university, lacked understanding of Sathya Sai teachings regarding modest behaviour of women, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1642608795955691, dated July 30th 2015

[Note: I did fair bit of thinking before writing up and putting out this post. After due consideration, I felt that it is necessary to publicly put up this post to share with interested members of the Sathya Sai community (and the public at large), how Shashidhar Prasad, former VC of Sai university, diluted certain aspects of Sathya Sai teaching regarding modest behaviour of women in the Sai university, after Swami's Mahasamadhi. This may help in the Sai university rejecting the dilution that he introduced and regain the original vision of its founder, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.]

In May 2010 Swami gave a discourse in Sai Kulwant Hall at Prasanthi Nilayam (Puttaparthi), even though he was really struggling to speak. [I was sitting in the old students block of Sai Kulwant Hall trying to focus completely on hearing Swami's words.] I took that discourse as something of great importance for my understanding of what Swami's teaching was in the context of modesty & chastity of women. Whether people find it difficult to follow in today's world, including India, where Kaama Vaasana (Lust) has become a strong factor in society at large, is a different matter. What we are talking about is clear understanding of the teaching of the Avatar of Kali Yuga, given just five years ago, i.e. in this early 21st century.

Some relevant extracts from Swami's May 2010 discourse, http://www.sssbpt.org/pages/Prasanthi_Nilayam/dd18052010.html:

Yama not only brought Satyavan back to life, but granted many boons also to both Savitri and Satyavan, happy as he was with the chastity and determination of Savitri. It was because of her power of chastity that Savitri could bring her dead husband back to life.

Chandramati was another great woman of the sacred land of Bharat who set a shining example of chastity in the world. When she along with her husband Harischandra and son was crossing a forest, it was suddenly engulfed in wild fire, which threatened their life. Then Chandramati prayed, “If I am truly a chaste woman and have been adhering to Dharma all my life, let this wild fire be extinguished”. And lo and behold, the fire was extinguished in a trice and the entire forest became calm and serene. So great is the power of penance and chastity of a chaste woman! But she was always humble and expressed gratitude to God, saying, “It is by the grace of God that I have been able to uphold the Dharma of a chaste woman”.
...
This land of Bharat has given birth to many noble women like Damayanti who reduced an evil-minded hunter to ashes with the power of her chastity and Sita who proved her chastity by coming out of blazing fire unscathed.
...
There were many women of chastity in the sacred land of Bharat like Sita, Chandramati, Damayanti and Savitri. People are afraid of Yama, the god of death, but Yama is afraid of the women of chastity.
...
These ideals set by such chaste women made India a teacher of the world and leader of all nations. Except in Bharat, in which country of the world do you find examples of women who brought their dead husbands back to life? Even if you search the entire world, you cannot find such chaste women. Such is the sacredness of this land of Bharat. That is why God loves to incarnate in Bharat.
...
Women today should observe chastity like Sita, Savitri, Draupadi and Damayanti. It is the sacred land of Bharat where you find such a large number of Pativrata women and nowhere else. People who leave such a sacred land and go to other countries waste their life.
--- end extracts ---

Ravi: What praise Bhagavan has showered on women of chastity! He goes to the extent of saying that it was this chastity that gave them the power to bring back their dead husbands to life, and made Bharat (India) a land of such sacredness that God loves to incarnate in Bharat (India)!

I repeat that all this was said by Bhagavan in a public discourse around five years back, well into this early 21st century, and is not some discourse of Bhagavan from the middle of the twentieth century.
Unfortunately Shashidhar Prasad does not seem to have had the benefit of reading or listening to such discourses of Bhagavan, or has read them but not fully understood Bhagavan's teaching in this regard. [He became VC around June 2010.]

I was informed by a very reliable source that Shashidhar Prasad's attitude towards Anantapur campus (women's college campus) of the Sai university (Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning), in this aspect of modesty & chastity of women as per Bharatiya culture traditions, was such that he was critical of Anantapur campus teachers who were trying to correct girl-students who were straying from modest behaviour that Swami expected of his college girl students. In one long meeting (lasting a few hours, the source told me), Prasad (as VC), took Anantapur teachers to task for some steps they had taken in a case involving some immodest behaviour of students during the holidays break in their home towns (some photos of a few girl-students drinking alcohol came to light, I was told). Some letters were written about the matter by the students to the VC. I was told that when the Anantapur teachers tried to explain to Shashidhar Prasad their version of the events, Prasad, instead of lending a patient ear to the teachers, told the senior teacher concerned to "shut up"!!! This, by the way, was in front of two male administrators of the Sai university, who may have chosen to be silent witnesses in this meeting [My source did not report any intercession by them on behalf of Anantapur lady teachers]. [Shashidhar Prasad and remote-controller Narasimha Murthy seem to have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, then, in throwing out anybody who opposed them from the Sai university, and making all the rest of Sai university administrators silent witnesses to whatever Shashidhar Prasad and remote-controller Narasimha Murthy wanted to do in the Sai university!!!]

Prasad, it was reported, talked about human rights commission complaints possibility to the lady teachers! Now, the Sai university MUST adhere to the laws of the land. But counselling even adult women students about immodest and inappropriate behaviour from a Bharatiya culture point of view, which is what the Sai university stands for, would be within Indian law, IMHO. If some women students do not like to follow Bharatiya culture norms laid down by Bhagavan (and want to drink alcohol), they are free to leave the Sai university and join some other university whose value system fits in with their lifestyles. In fact, such girl students should do a favour to the Sai university by quitting of their own accord, in my considered opinion.

Where Shashidhar Prasad seems to have blundered in this reported matter (and some other similar reported matters) is in not trying to understand Bhagavan's teachings for this university, which is what the Anantapur campus teachers were trying to impart to the students there. Instead of supporting them he shouted at them!!! So I have to say that Shashidhar Prasad in this reported incident (and in some other reported incidents) FAILED to follow Swami's teachings for the university, and DILUTED Swami's standards in this regard.

If Shashidhar Prasad could not handle the critical responsibility as VC of Sai university to UPHOLD the value system that Bhagavan defined for the Sai university, then Shashidhar Prasad should have QUIT and made way for a more suitable person to be VC. He had no business whatsoever to impose his value system on the Sai university instead. I mean, the institution was and is Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning and not Shashidhar Prasad Institute of Higher Learning!

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[I have presumed that Sai Das, Taruni Tarun, V.R. Ganti and Clive Raj Valydon will not have any objections to me sharing some of their comments on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]