Monday, August 31, 2015

Fascinating 1953 Hajj photographs of Holy Mecca and Kaaba (Link) and more related links

Fascinating 1953 Hajj photographs of Holy Mecca and Kaaba from July 1953 issue of National Geographic: http://www.islamawareness.net/Hajj/1953/. In a couple of pics, the black silken cover of the Kaaba structure is lifted partially showing the walls and the (main) entrance door of the Kaaba.

The wiki page on the Kaaba is also very informative: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaaba

So is the wiki page on the famous Black stone in the Kaaba itself: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Stone. It has the pics of the silver frame and the black stone within it, including illustrations of front and side view of the black stone.

Here are 36 pics of Mecca from an article dated June 2014: http://www.boomsbeat.com/articles/5046/20140611/36-mesmerizing-photos-of-kaaba-in-mecca-saudi-arabia.htm.

Here are some pics from inside the Kaaba (reportedly taken on 30th May 2015): https://islamgreatreligion.wordpress.com/2015/06/04/new-photos-from-inside-views-of-kaaba/

Here is a great video (reportedly taken on 31st May 2015) about a visit of (seemingly) VVIPs to the Kaaba, and has clips of the inside of the Kaaba too, with the VVIPs praying inside, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CZQEJJwc90, 6 mins. 14 secs. The main VVIP in the video seems to be the current king of Saudi Arabia, King Salman, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_of_Saudi_Arabia.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Facebook: 1 billion users on single day! Thanks a ton for being a great Sai sharing platform

Given below are the contents of a Facebook post of Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, https://www.facebook.com/zuck/posts/10102329188394581

We just passed an important milestone. For the first time ever, one billion people used Facebook in a single day.
On Monday, 1 in 7 people on Earth used Facebook to connect with their friends and family.
When we talk about our financials, we use average numbers, but this is different. This was the first time we reached this milestone, and it's just the beginning of connecting the whole world.
I'm so proud of our community for the progress we've made. Our community stands for giving every person a voice, for promoting understanding and for including everyone in the opportunities of our modern world.
A more open and connected world is a better world. It brings stronger relationships with those you love, a stronger economy with more opportunities, and a stronger society that reflects all of our values.
Thank you for being part of our community and for everything you've done to help us reach this milestone. I’m looking forward to seeing what we accomplish together.
---- end Mark Zuckerberg FB post content ---

I made the following comment in my share of the post here: https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1655914581291779 (and a similar comment on Zuckerberg's FB post mentioned above).

Facebook touches 1 billion users on a single day!

Awesome bro, awesome! I would like to say a big THANK YOU to FACEBOOK for being a FANTASTIC platform for Sathya Sai Baba devotees worldwide to share their thoughts, experiences and work related to Sathya Sai Baba and his mission of reinforcing Truth (Sathya), Ethical living (Dharma), Peace (Shanti) and Love (Prema) in the world. And some of our slightly heated arguments as well :-) . But then democratic dissent is part of modern life and thank God for that, I say.

BTW I am a former software techie who started his career in the 80s. What an awesome journey computers (software & hardware) have been on! Unbelievable! I was doing a Videotex project in Belgium in the mid-80s. [From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Videotex, "Videotex (or "interactive videotex") was one of the earliest implementations of an end-user information system. From the late 1970s to mid-1980s, it was used to deliver information (usually pages of text) to a user in computer-like format, typically to be displayed on a television."]

Where was Videotex and where is social media, especially Facebook, today! What awesome progress and what a huge enabler of democratization of knowledge and information, the Internet and its apps (like Facebook) have been!

I pray to Almighty God to shower His Grace and Blessings on Facebook company staff for the wonderful service to worldwide society they are providing. Thanks a ton, folks.

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

Friday, August 28, 2015

Two Sai university alumni who did NOT EXPERIENCE Swami in Muddenahalli "Darshan" & "Interview"

From FB post: https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1655437444672826

Unimpressed by Madhusudhan Naidu interview: SSSIHL (Sai university) alumnus message

[Madhusudhan Naidu is the so called communicator of so called subtle body of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba in Muddenahalli (which I am convinced is a FALSE CLAIM)]

Here's a message I got recently from an SSSIHL alumnus (I have done minimal editing):
Sairam sir.
I am an ex-student sssihl.
I have been following your posts.
Its soo rational and promising.
Even I happened to have the interview with madhusudan naidu.
Its was soo generic, like imitating swamy in the videos.

I mean to say that we cannot estimate the partition (division) among the devotees because of these (actions/events).
Especially for those devotees who hardly understood swamy teachings. Just because of their blind faith, they are out of their control.
--- end message from SSSIHL alumnus ---

Ravi: I thank the Sai university alumnus for sharing the message with me and allowing me to share his message (anonymously) on social media. I encourage more and more Sai university alumni to share accounts of their interviews and interactions with Madhusudhan Naidu. And if you have experienced some memory reading & mind reading powers or some other paranormal powers, please say so. I mean, we want the TRUTH to be known about this. I sincerely believe that this is OUR DUTY TO BHAGAVAN. I say this as a person who was given the privilege to serve Bhagavan in his university as a teacher from Jan. 2003 to Mar. 2012 in Prashanthi Nilayam. Let us NOT FAIL IN OUR DUTY TO BHAGAVAN. When Prema Sai becomes known to the world will we be able to face Prema Sai with a clear conscience? Or will we have to hide our faces because we failed to do our duty to Sathya Sai?
---- end FB post content ----

From FB post: https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1655502657999638

SSSIHL alumnus 'dry' experience in Muddenahalli "Darshan" in May 2015

Note: M'halli is Muddenahalli. "Darshan" refers to that of so called subtle body / light body in Muddenahalli with so called chosen communicator indicating where the so called subtle body is, at any point of time (as only he can see it). [I am convinced that it is a FALSE BELIEF.]

An SSSIHL alumnus wrote to me:
Sairam Sir. Went to M'halli on 24.05.2015. Had "darshan". Truly speaking there was no proof to discount or validate the "presence" of Swami as propagated. But reasons apart, what struck me was the spiritual dryness that I experienced there in the "presence". Baba creates a flutter in the heart, feeling it with hope and love, even without speaking a word. I experienced no such flutter. The story is different in Sai Kulwant hall. Love surges within, faith gets a strong anchorage,  and life gets a new meaning. So what's the conclusion? I am agnostic on M'halli. May be I am not pure enough to experience the effulgent Spirit. However, I know where to come for the purity: Prashanthinilayam.

My response to him:
Thanks for sharing your 'dry' experience in MDH brother. And glad to know of your positive experience in Sai Kulwant Hall even after Mahasamadhi. Swami's vibrations surely are there in Sai Kulwant Hall. .... About 'purity' to experience MDH Swami - I think it is all HUMBUG. Just dismiss that from your mind. Jai Sairam!
--- end correspondence ---

Ravi: Now, some Sai university alumni who are MDH believers have written about great experiences that they have had at Muddenahalli. But from this post and my earlier post about another alumnus non-experience in Muddenahalli, it is clear that all Sai university alumni have NOT EXPERIENCED Swami in Muddenahalli darshans of so called subtle body/light body.
---- end FB post content -----

Some Facebook comments from "SUKSHMA BABA - DID NOT RESPOND - BECAUSE HE IS NOT REAL", VR Ganti's FB post

Some Facebook comments from "SUKSHMA BABA - DID NOT RESPOND - BECAUSE HE IS NOT REAL", https://www.facebook.com/notes/vr-ganti/sukshma-baba-did-not-respond-because-he-is-not-real/10205009062290912, dated Aug. 24th 2015 by Mr. V.R. Ganti.

Narender Thangavelu wrote: Beware that things you post on internet are written in history forever. What you post on your Timeline is completely your choice but if the starting point is not a personal but a socially sensitive matter (like MDH issue in this case), you must post only contents that are backed by evidence or a personal opinion open to criticism because it is a collective responsibility to maintain the harmony of the environment. That being said, remember that on the internet nobody wins but everyone loses. For every sane argument you encounter ten insane ones. It will not help anybody except those who are keen to spread more confusion. Regarding the MDH issue and general behavior of both supporters and opponents :

1. Don't take advantage of the situation and hand out retributions for personal differences.
2. Reference to a person's physical appearance is unnecessary.
3. People who claim to be neutral observers must refrain from making comments that are supportive of one side only. You don't do, read the definition of 'neutral' and then get back.
4. The whole subject of this issue is the MDH's top panel which can be slimmed down to Madhusudan and BNNM. If you have something to say for (ex. they are not using Swami's name to collect funds) or against them (ex. they are indeed collecting money in Swami's name), have enough evidence to backup your claims or just mention that it is claimed so.
5. Don't say, 'It's all cosmic drama!' or 'Wait and watch!' when you are openly supporting or opposing one idea on a common forum and are requested by the other to answer questions based on what your said. You will lower the perceived IQ of your whole group. Just say you don't know and in the best interest of all, get back with the answer.
6. We are all brand ambassadors of Sai whether or not you are an office bearer. Keep that in mind.
7. The official Sai organization had rejected the idea of light body. You are free to believe or even talk about it to fellow members but if you are an office bearer instated by the official chain of command, then you either resign and propagate or continue and abandon the idea. This is not in line with just ethics but directly the rules as laid down by the organization.
8. Last but not the least, don't become dummies and be silent, don't be decoys and lure the innocents, don't turn into puppets and dance to the tune of schemers. Answer the voice of conscience alone and argue with context. Don't talk absurd things and then preach love and harmony when it backfires.

You don't have to be a Sai devotee to agree with most of what I said. Posting and commenting without hatred doesn't require a religious or spiritual foundation. It's pure common sense.
-----------

Narender Thangavelu wrote: First you prove that Swami exists there in the subtle body and then I will prove whether it is a scam or not. Don't attribute statements I didn't make to me just the way your MDH group is attributing unspoken statements of Swami to Him.

For argument's sake, MDH doesn't collect money in the name of Swami. Answer me this before we can take it to next level.

Q1. Swami's 89th birthday celebrations at MDH. It is approximately 10 minutes. From 6:00 to 7:32 we see Madhusudan talking with BNNM translating it. Madhusudan does NOT wait for light body or any body (other than BNNM) to talk before he speaks. That means Swami is in either Madhusudan or BNNM, which by definition, translates one of them into a 'medium' - something Swami was vehemently advising against all His earthly sojourn.

VIDEO LINK:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chzz8aPu89k

Q2. In all videos where Madhusudan opens the car for the 'subtle body' to come out. At that point he bends down because the subtle body is sitting inside. After the subtle body comes out he walks behind but at that time He keeps looking at the ground level. Again, when being seated in a chair next to it he looks at eye level. What exactly is the height of the subtle body?
VIDEO LINK:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KePS-x6FbX4

Q3. Subtle body needs a car to travel inland but not a flight for overseas trips?

Answer these questions and don't you quote references from so-called subtle body's discourses because there is no proof that it is the subtle body of Swami YET. So don't start, 'I am creating this drama of going in a car blah blah blah...' Give a proper reference from Sathya Sai Baba.

Don't comment on my wisdom. You are not experiencing my journey. All my posts are directed at people to think for themselves and reminding them to rely on what Swami told about Himself.

Until proven, Sukshma Baba is only Fakeshma Baba.

Goodluck!
--------------------

Narender Thangavelu wrote: Bro, you are evading again. My question was why does He travel in a car but not in a flight for overseas trips. Why does Madhusudan not waiting for the light body to talk? If you don't know just admit it instead of talking about Prahlad. In the end, God ripped the guy who tried to take over God's role in the universe. So just answer my question directly.
--------------------

Pardha Saradhi Uppala wrote: Narender Thangavelu, you will NEVER get the answers for these questions. The reason being the people who believe in MDH are not deceiving just us, but first of all, they are deceiving themselves. They are emotionally dependent on the farce of this Subtle Body, and hence they have closed their eyes to it and ears to every single teaching of Swami Madhu and BNNM have totally negated. Swami has clearly said and we have the audio as well, "Immediately remove anyone from official Organization if they have association with other Organizations". Mr. BNNM has trespassed this command by kickstarting another Trust while still being part of the Trust. What do you call the people who support such acts? I have no words.
--------------------

Narender Thangavelu wrote: Bro no matter how hard you try. You cannot give answers to my questions especially why He was speaking without waiting for the light body to talk. It is impossible and we have video proof. So learn to live with it. The appropriate thing to do is not to quote from Gita or Ramayana or any text. Ask the one who is there trying to imitate God. Ask the leaders there.
--------------------

Pardha Saradhi Uppala wrote: [Name-snipped], what would Bhagavan teach? He taught very clearly that He never talks through mediums. People hanker after them. Bhagavan clearly said, people who talk about money in the organization are cheats. And people support those who make presentations of projects and solicit funds. And last not but least, Bhagavan's Voice is available, where He said, "Remove people from organization if they have connection with other organizations" and people run behind those who started new Trusts while still being part of the official Trust. What would Bhagavan teach anymore to these people?
--------------------

Narender Thangavelu wrote: We all know what Sathya Sai Baba, Rama, Krishna etc. told and warned against so cut it out and tell me why Madhusudan did not wait for the light body to speak first and kept on talking with BNNM translating it during the 89th Birthday celebrations. Do you know or not?
One very simple question that demands straight answer.
--------------------

Ravi S. Iyer wrote: They have NO answer and refuse to accept the TRUTH. Classic sign of fanaticism, IMHO.
--------------------

Narender Thangavelu wrote: One good thing is happening though. These pro-MDH people couldn't find any of Swami's relevant statements to support their attachment to Madhusudan so they end up quoting humongous other statements of Baba that doesn't answer our questions, and end up creating an online version of Sathya Sai Speaks on the internet.
--------------------

Narender Thangavelu wrote: 'What is the use of the Avathar coming to earth and talking to you if don't listen to his words' but run behind an imposter instead?
--------------------

Narender Thangavelu wrote: Thank you 'neutral observer'! The court case is not our last salvation but the beginning of MDH medium group's obliteration. If we are Prashanthi frogs, remember it is the same well in which frogs of your new trust were nurtured, raised, and graduated. Those who graduate from Prashanthi are not necessarily true to Swami as it can be seen now. Beware that many of your supporters repeatedly use words like 'mafia', 'hate mob', 'fools', 'morons' exactly when cornered by reasonable questions backed by evidence. Just admit that you don't know. You can form a new trust but cannot escape the consequences of (alleged by Mr. Naganand) illegally amending a deed, if proved. Again, if it was (alleged by Mr. Naganand) indeed illegally amended, old habits die hard so your new trust will break further into more divisions by differences between its members. That's the way things work in nature.

With all due consideration, I am clear in that I totally respect your devotion. Both pro and anti-MDH have their own beliefs and I am sure the principles taught by institutions that run under the purviews of both trusts are based on Human Values so let us refrain from calling names at each other.

You must have noted how despite unsupportive of MDH, Ravi S. Iyer interfered and strictly demanded a few anti-MDH people to edit and refrain from using unparliamentary language in their posts and comments, and I have been observing a code of conduct in my own statements as well even if I argue strongly. This is not happening in your case. There are people who give 'likes' to your posts and comments but don't advise you or admonish you when you use language that is incorrect in the Sai fraternity. In fact, they come to your aid just because they also want to defend MDH. Let the means, manner, method, and ends be tough but not filthy. Take a moment to reflect on this truth and be fair in your arguments and backups.
--------------------

Narender Thangavelu wrote: [Name-snipped] , No Ravi S. Iyer is not my guru and I don't even know his history. He maintains some professionalism in these issues which I don't find with everyone in BOTH pro and anti-MDH groups so gave him as an example.

My guru is Sathya Sai Baba and nobody else takes that position in my heart. Not translators, nor office bearers, nor students (current or former), nor members, nor coordinators, but the one and only one who comes from time to time to restore Dharma and eradicate Adharma. Everyone else, no matter how good or impressive they are in their activities, have my appreciation and attention exclusively for the good work they do, but they cannot become Him.

Your statement:
'You are the one who is avoiding answers by rephrasing you questions over and over again. It is not my job to convince you.'

...is a blatant lie because I didn't and don't rephrase my questions, rather you keep evading them. You don't have to convince me. You just have to answer me. You can't. You won't. You never will. Period.

I have made my points very clearly and fairly, and don't have to elaborate more. Anyone who still comments that I am unfair in my approach is probably having an intellectual malfunction so I just would refrain from getting mine drained by such people by further arguments.
--------------------

Ravi S. Iyer wrote: I have blocked [Name-snipped] (and a few others) so I (thankfully) don't get to see their comments. It seems that [Name-snipped] has referred to me sarcastically, of course, as Guru of Narender Thangavelu, which Narender has rightfully rejected outright as we are only recent Facebook friends and have not even met each other. [Name-snipped] does have this terrible habit of turning nasty when his arguments are logically refuted. That is why I blocked him on Facebook.

I am just a spiritual aspirant who received a lot of spiritual guidance both indirectly through Bhagavan's writings, discourses and the Sai orgn. that he created and nurtured, as well as DIRECTLY from his physical form through discourse segments aimed at me in particular and his facial expressions and body gestures to me (e.g. an Abhaya Hastha to convey satisfaction with my spiritual efforts/understanding, looking at me and then pointedly turning away to unmistakably convey his unhappiness with my spiritual efforts/understanding and/or actions). Out of my deep gratitude to Bhagavan, I WILL NOT be a SILENT SPECTATOR to Narasimhamurthy and Madhusudhan Naidu, along with their social media supporters & promoters like [Name-snipped], deluding innocent Sai devotees with their outlandish and FALSE CLAIM of so called subtle body of Bhagavan speaking through so called communicator Madhusudhan Naidu.

What Bhagavan taught was that the ultimate Guru lies in the depths of our own being. If we turn within, stilling the waves of desire and emotions that cloud our mind, God the ultimate Guru will express Himself to us. I salute the Kali Yuga Avatar, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, who said in a discourse in Sai Kulwant Hall which I had the privilege to hear directly with my own ears sitting in Sai Kulwant Hall, that as we all are God, nobody should take Padanamaskar of Him. Why should God take Padanamaskar of God was his argument. Oh! Where will we find such a spiritual master! What an awesome treasure we had when God took Avatar as Guru Sathya Sai to teach us that we are all God but have deluded ourselves to think that we are mere men/women!
--------------------

Pardha Saradhi Uppala wrote: Narender Thangavelu, Vr Ganti, Ravi S. Iyer, There is absolutely no point in asking these questions. These questions were asked a million times, and from what I heard, you can simply write a computer program to generate a typical MDH answer. It is similar to how Rahul Gandhi answers every question posed to him as a permutation of the same words. There is a standard set of phrases by the MDH victims. Anything you ask the answer will be a combination of one of these statements.
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Pardha Saradhi Uppala wrote: 1. Why does Muddenhalli Madhu claim only he sees Swami?
MDH-victim’s-brainwashed-Answer-A: You and I also can see Swami if we have a pure soul.
MDH-victim’s-brainwashed-Answer-B: Swami’s ways are inexplicable. How dare you question Swami’s ways?
MDH-victim’s-brainwashed-Answer-C: Madhu is not a medium. He is like the guy who introduced you to Swami
MDH-victim’s-brainwashed-Answer-D: Madhu is a humble soul. He does not take Pawanamaskars. He walks humbly behind Swami
MDH-victim’s-brainwashed-Answer-E: Swami said…., “ “…. (quotes a statement from one of the subtle body talks by Muddenahalli Madhu
MDH-victim’s-brainwashed-Answer-F: Swami is not the property of Central Trust

2. While Swami explicitly said, anyone who mentions money during organizational meetings and asks for money in the name of Swami is a cheat, why do the MDH batch say, “Swami chose you to sponsor XYZ project” and why do they make project presentations and solicit funds, for instance during the USA trip or the lady quoted in the RadioSai program about Muddenahalli mayhem?

MDH-victim’s-brainwashed-Answer-F: All is Love. Love is all. Service is done in silence.
MDH-victim’s-brainwashed-Answer-G: I have been to a meeting. I never saw them asking for money. There is no proof (They do not mention about the specific instances you quoted where they asked for money)
MDH-victim’s-brainwashed-Answer-H: You keep all your money and enjoy it. What is your problem when someone else is donating money out of love?

3. When Swami clearly said (audio available), that anyone who is related to other organisations, while being in Sathya Sai Organization must be immediately removed, why did these people start a new Trust while being part of the current Trust?
MDH-victim’s-brainwashed-Answer-I: Swami does not belong to one Trust. Swami is universal.
MDH-victim’s-brainwashed-Answer-J: Let the truth come out. Case is in court. Wait until truth comes out.
MDH-victim’s-brainwashed-Answer-K: You are a fool asking irrelevant questions without doing actual service.
MDH-victim’s-brainwashed-Answer-L: You keep your faith to yourself. Let us keep our faith to ourselves.
MDH-victim’s-brainwashed-Answer-M: When Swami soon shows the real truth of subtle form, then what a shame will be on you!
MDH-victim’s-brainwashed-Answer-N: You are mongering hatred. Spreading lies. Mind your business.
MDH-victim’s-brainwashed-Answer-O: Muddenahalli people are pure souls like all devotees of Swami without any trace of selfishness.

4. Muddenahalli Madhu says, if one is pure, Swami will appear to him too. Does it mean everyone who is currently not seeing Swami is impure?
MDH-victim’s-brainwashed-Answer-……: Pick any of the above answers above. Your choice. Infact you can mix and match any question above with any answer above. You can become a true Muddenahalli Madhu devotee if you can mug up just the above statements.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Pardha Saradhi Uppala: I think Narender Thangavelu is going through what seems to have become a "rite of passage" in Facebook conversation on so called MDH subtle body. I went through that rite of passage a few months ago when I joined in this Facebook conversation. MDH supporters will try to fatigue the person who argues logically against MDH belief.

Tomorrow this rite of passage would be gone through by somebody else! I guess we have to accept it as inescapable for those who want to contribute to this conversation. Perhaps if we create a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) type of document on these conversations, it may become an easier rite of passage for future entrants into this conversation.
--------------------

[I thank Narender Thangavelu and Pardha Saradhi Uppala for the comments which I have shared, with their approval in some form, on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

Why I don't have to go to Muddenahalli to conclude that the claim of so called subtle body & so called communicator is FALSE

Last updated on 28th August 2015

[Concluding paragraph: I challenge Madhusudhan Naidu to give EXTEMPORE (as against prepared/mugged) discourses on Vedas, Vedanta, Puranas and itihasas. I further challenge him to explore matters on these scriptural texts in more detail than what Bhagavan did (in his physical form). If he cannot rise up to these challenges then Madhusudhan Naidu should better STOP claiming to be a communicator and give his darshan, interviews and discourses under his own name or another Baba name like what Kurnool Bala Sai Baba or Nepal's Sanjay Sai Baba have done, instead of being an IMPOSTER sullying the HOLY NAME of Kali Yuga Avatar Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba of PUTTAPARTHI.]

Slightly more than a week back I received an invite from a person on Facebook, which I accepted even though the person did not seem to have a profile with details associated a with real person, as she had a common FB friend (who I later found out did not really know who she was). She later sent me a chat request which prompted this post.

She started the chat in a very polite way asking if I would clarify her doubts and that she would be grateful if I did so. On me responding positively she asked whether I have seen Muddenahalli and the "scam" going on there. Her words, and not my words, mind you.

I responded: Well, I have studied it in depth from their videos and discourse text.

She zeroed in by repeating the question whether I have seen it!

I responded: I have also put up blog post on why I need not go there. I can point you to that blog post if you are interested.

She was ready to look at the blog posts:

I responded:
1) Medium(s) who tell you about some private incident/interaction between you and Sathya Sai Baba - What will you do? http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/03/mediums-who-tell-you-some-private.html

2) The 'come and experience' Muddenahalli line of argument; Need for unconvinced devotees to write about their experiences http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/05/the-come-and-experience-muddenahalli.html

She then wrote that she read the posts and had some questions. She wrote that I say that Muddenahalli people who are long time Baba devotees are cheating and that people in Parthi are humbly doing Baba work, right?

Now I had written nothing of that sort in the above blog posts. I wonder whether she really read them. Anyway I was polite, and I responded:
Not exactly. My specific stand is as follows:
1) Madhusudhan Naidu's claim of being so called chosen communicator of Sathya Sai Baba whom only he can see and interact with is completely at odds with what Sathya Sai Baba has said. So in short, I view that as a FALSE CLAIM.
2) About Parthi orgn.: It may have its flaws and I have actually parted ways with the Sai university due to problems I faced.
3) I do not have any objection to Muddenahalli group's service activities or their donations.
My objection is the FALSE CLAIM of Madhusudhan Naidu.

She then wrote that I am part of the big people sitting in Puttaparthi who are not giving up their ego and reaching out to Muddenahalli to clear the matter. And she talked about an ego war.

I responded: Well, what do you mean, go to Muddenahalli? You want all of us to accept Madhusudhan Naidu as chosen communicator of Baba only because he may have some mind and memory reading ability? You want us to go against what Sathya Sai Baba taught us in his public discourses?

She wrote that we need not accept but we should go there, meet the persons concerned, cross check with cameras and bring out the truth.

I responded: Ah! Being an investigative reporter. [I did not follow up this line of discussion as I was least interested in playing such a role.]

She then wrote that I am sitting somewhere else and arriving at a conclusion about what is happening in Muddenahalli based on listening to others' accounts.

I responded: How do you think me going to Muddenahalli will help? What can Madhu Naidu tell me? He can tell me about my personal interactions wtih Swami perhaps. So should I then believe he is Swami?

She wrote that if Madhusudhan Naidu can tell me what only Baba (Swami) and I know. Then??? [Ravi: Seeming to imply that then I should accept that Madhusudhan Naidu is a communicator of Baba!]

I responded: EXACTLY. This is THE BIG TRAP. Do you know that Radhe Maa of Mumbai who is in the news nowadays is also reputed to have ability to know hidden info. about people? That seems to be a siddhi that some people acquire.

She was still not convinced and the chat meandered onto other topics with me finally saying Goodbye.

At the time I was having the above-mentioned chat I could not locate one blog post where I had addressed a similar question from somebody else. Here's the blog post, Comment exchanges on Shri Indulal Shah sir's letter supportive of Muddenahalli organization, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/05/comment-exchanges-on-shri-indulal-shah.html, with the relevant extracts given below (MDH is short form for Muddenahalli, brother M is Madhusudhan Naidu):

Thanks brother Gautham Narendran for your response. You wrote, "Regarding doubts and confusion, simple solution for the entire devotee community is to go and experience it for ourselves, instead of complaining again and again about the apparent confusion. Don't you feel that's a wiser option? I feel that's the mistake all are committing here. Simply sit at home and complain about confusion, instead of packing their luggage and take a short trip to MDH for a first hand experience."

In our previous Facebook post exchanges I did not want to broach this matter but as you have explicitly raised it in response to my explicit request to Shri Indulal Shah sir about the matter, I think I must respond.

What can me going to MDH do? At the most it can convey that brother M either by himself or through claimed subtle body of Bhagavan, can read my mind and its memories. Such capability is not uncommon in this great and holy land of Bharat which has had many Siddha Purushas in the past & present and will continue to do so in the future.

More on it is given in this extract from my blog post, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/03/mediums-who-tell-you-some-private.html (what I have said below for medium(s) applies to communicator(s) too):

[Ravi: This is one of the blog posts referred earlier in this post. I have omitted that blog post extract]
...

Therefore, in my considered opinion, the line of 'come and experience' to validate claims of communicator brother M, is not good enough in this vital matter for the Sathya Sai mission. A public and thorough debate on the matter, with leaders like Shri Indulal Shah sir, Mr. Issac Tigrett sir and Shri B.N. Narasimhamurthy sir, where they transparently and honestly share their experiences with communicator brother M, is what is needed. I started having some level of belief in physical form Swami's divine powers by experiences written by, what I considered to be reliable and honest accounts from people of standing, like Prof. Kasturi, Dr. John Hislop, Mr. Howard Murphet and even the parapsychologist investigator from the university of Iceland, Prof. Erlendur Haraldsson. I have great respect for leaders like Shri Indulal Shah sir, Shri B.N. Narasimhamurthy sir and Mr. Isaac Tigrett sir, and would treat detailed accounts by them of their experiences with communicator brother M's communications, with a lot of seriousness. But, as far as I know, we do not have such information available publicly.

Jai Sairam!

--- end blog post extract ---

[Note that Sathya Sai Uvacha a publication by MDH group does have very limited experience accounts of so called subtle body by some, perhaps all, of the gentlemen I mentioned above. That is nowhere near the accounts provided in Sathyam Shivam Sundaram (Shri Kasturi) or Man of Miracles (Howard Murphet) or Prof. Erlendur Haraldsson's book on Swami miracles.]

Over four years have passed since Bhagavan's Mahasamadhi and over a year has passed since Madhusudhan Naidu openly started giving his discourses with the discourse text and videos available on the Internet. However, Madhusudhan Naidu has failed to answer searching questions about his claims from various people, including the questions raised above (including the blog posts mentioned above). Recently he was challenged to come to Puttaparthi and prove his claims of being a communicator of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi, which he has not responded to.

The test of somebody claiming to be an Avatar come as Guru cannot be a test of merely examining memory and mind reading powers or even some materialization siddhis. The test of an Avatar come as Guru is his mastery of holy scripture like the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Geeta, as well as the itihasas having the accounts of previous avatars like Ramayana, Bhagavat Purana and Mahabharata. Madhusudhan Naidu's 'discourses' do not come anywhere close to the mastery that Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba demonstrated on the holy scripture mentioned earlier. Further, Madhusudhan Naidu makes blunders like saying that Buddha roamed all over the world. Buddha never did that as at that time, travel was very tough. Buddha is said to have lived largely in the Indian subcontinent.

Madhusudhan Naidu, in another 'discourse' said something on the lines: when I came as Rama, Krishna, Buddha, Allah ....

Ravi: Allah is formless God in Islam. It is a BIG blunder to say when I came as Allah. Sathya Sai would never do that, IMHO.

On the basis of all of the above (including blog posts given above) I conclude that Madhusudhan Naidu's claim of being a communicator of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba is a FALSE CLAIM. And I do not need to visit Muddenahalli to arrive at this conclusion as the visit to Muddenahalli can only expose me to some paranormal siddhis he may have including memory and mind reading, which even Radhe Maa of Mumbai, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radhe_Maa, is said to have.

Let me end this post by issuing a challenge to Madhusudhan Naidu:

I challenge Madhusudhan Naidu to give EXTEMPORE (as against prepared/mugged) discourses on Vedas, Vedanta, Puranas and itihasas. I further challenge him to explore matters on these scriptural texts in more detail than what Bhagavan did (in his physical form). If he cannot rise up to these challenges then Madhusudhan Naidu should better STOP claiming to be a communicator and give his darshan, interviews and discourses under his own name or another Baba name like what Kurnool Bala Sai Baba or Nepal's Sanjay Sai Baba have done, instead of being an IMPOSTER sullying the HOLY NAME of Kali Yuga Avatar Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba of PUTTAPARTHI.
============================

Update on 28th Aug. 2015 having comment exchange on associated Facebook post: https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1655307621352475.

Bharadwaj Vedula wrote: It is not only the evidence of knowledge of scriptures vedantha and philosophical matters, but also the ability to lucidly explain it to the common man. Swami destroyed so many myths one such was the chanting of gayatri mantram. Another was the chanting of vedas collectively. These were path defining and the manner in which Swami would give stories and parables to explain the highest of the truths - Swami was a match only to Himself.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Bharadwaj Vedula: As somebody who is very keenly interested in scripture, I have noted that while Bhagavan usually did simplify spiritual knowledge contained in scripture for common man, he has on many occasions delved deep into scripture which has satisfied the searching questions of Hindu scriptural scholars but may not have made much sense to the common man.

I mean, to me, Bhagavan was the authoritative master of Hindu scripture especially the parts related to Vedanta philosophy and accounts of Avatars. I believe Bhagavan's mastery of Karma Kanda part of the Vedas was also phenomenal which is what convinced some Karma Kanda Vedic pundits to acknowledge Bhagavan's mastery. [I personally have limited exposure to Karma Kanda - some rituals practised as a Sama Vedi Brahmin and some reading of some important Karma Kanda texts like Shatapatha Brahmana, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shatapatha_Brahmana. But that is way too limited for me to make any assessment of Bhagavan's mastery of Karma Kanda part of the Vedas.]

So you know, it is not as if Bhagavan has only given the Vedasaara (essence of Vedas) in easy to understand messages for common man like "Love All Serve All" and "Help Ever Hurt Never", which are the type of messages given by Madhusudhan Naidu in his "discourses".

Bhagavan has also demonstrated, in public, his masterly knowledge of Hindu scripture which stamps Bhagavan as the Avatar in the form of a Guru. Madhusudhan Naidu's 'discourses', in stark contrast, have, as far as I know, ZERO demonstration of masterly knowledge of Hindu scripture, which exposes Madhusudhan Naidu as somebody who seems to have some siddhis of memory & mind reading like Radhe Maa of Mumbai, and an IMPOSTER claiming to be a communicator of Bhagavan.
--------------

Bharadwaj Vedula wrote: Completely agree. In private conversations and public discourses, Swami has certainly explained and made us think on the greatest truths of life and philosophy (scriptures, vedantha advaitha). No two ways about it. Nobody should be compared to Swami in this or for that manner on any platform.
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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

My views on Ethics in Whistleblowing activities regarding any Muddenahalli belief dual loyalty office bearers in official Sai orgn./institutions

In the context of a recent heated Facebook post exchange related to some whistleblowing efforts regarding PERCEIVED (not PROVEN) Muddenahalli belief dual loyalty office bearers in Sai orgn., by a well intentioned gentleman, I made some longish comments aimed at reducing the heat. I felt it appropriate to put out a separate FB post drawing mainly from my comments on this post on ethics regarding such whistleblowing activities. However, these are my individual views. Further I currently am not a member of any Sai orgn. (I was a member of Sai orgn. in Maharashtra, India for nearly a decade, and was serving (free service) in the Sai university with designations of Honorary Staff, Honorary Faculty & Visiting Faculty for nine years.)

1) About discussing Muddenahalli claim of so called subtle body and so called communicator matter and the divisive impact it is having on Sathya Sai movement, on Internet public forums like Facebook:

Some, perhaps many, Sai devotees do not like public criticism/discussion of such matters. Till Bhagavan's Mahasamadhi I, being associated with a Sai institution, thought similarly. But events that unfolded after Bhagavan's Mahasamadhi made me change my mind. I have given below the events that changed my mind and my current view about ethics when discussing such matters publicly (on Internet forums).

I directly experienced the strong impact of this Muddenahalli claim related matter in the Sai university in Prasanthi Nilayam in 2011-12 itself (after Swami Mahasamadhi), when its then VC, Shashidhar Prasad, started believing in Narasimhamurthy's dream instructions and perhaps later on, the so called subtle body of Swami in Muddenahalli claim. That created a TREMENDOUS CONFLICT OF INTEREST as the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, the mother trust paying salaries and meeting other expenses of Sai university, and, at a top level, responsible for the Sai university, DID NOT BELIEVE in Narasimhamurthy's dream instructions or so called subtle body based in Muddenahalli. What Shashidhar Prasad should have done, from an ethical point of view, was to have resolved this TREMENDOUS CONFLICT OF INTEREST by stepping down as VC of Sai university, and associated with Narasimhamurthy in Muddenahalli. He did not do that. Instead he continued sitting in the VERY POWERFUL chair of VC of Sai university believing that Swami is now interacting through Narasimhamurthy!!!

This matter slowly and steadily became known to Sai university staff (I was visiting faculty there at that time) and other staff in Prasanthi NIlayam (Puttaparthi). I expected the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust (SSSCT) to act by asking Prof. Prasad to step down, as they have the authority to do so in the (private) deemed university that the Sai university (SSSIHL) is. But they did not!!! Why??? That is a BIG QUESTION.

Perhaps they wanted to avoid media negative publicity that would be involved in such a move. At that time, the key challenge to the trustees was to ensure that there is no break in the ashram activities and overcome some very negative media publicity that targeted the Prasanthi (Puttaparthi) ashram system. I have mentioned earlier in my blog posts my (public) appreciation for the wonderful work done by the SSSCT trustees in stabilizing the ashram system. I would like to provide extracts from two blog posts of mine:

a) Media article praises Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust for flourishing Sai institutions, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2014/08/media-article-praises-sri-sathya-sai.html, blog post dated Aug. 4th 2014.

"The institutions built by Sai are flourishing and the credit goes to Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust (SSSCT)."

[Ravi: Having seen a lot of nonsense that the media indulged in regarding SSSCT immediately after the Mahasamadhi, I am overjoyed to read such praise from the media. I feel that all of us in the Sathya Sai devotee fraternity must be grateful to the SSSCT for steering the institutions founded by Bhagawan which were under their care, through a very traumatic period. I pray that Bhagawan continues to shower His Grace on them and their efforts towards keeping these institutions in good order.]

b) India Today July 2014 article praises Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust for smooth running of 'Eternal Empire of the Living God', http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2014/09/india-today-july-2014-article-praises.html, blog post dated Sept. 2014.

"SSSCT has surmounted the crisis of credibility-of being a headless entity- by focusing on transparency."

The article ends with the sentence, "The miracle man may be no more but his mission carries on."

Ravi: I am overjoyed to note that one of the leading news magazines of India has written such a positive article appreciating the tremendous achievement of the Sathya Sai fraternity in general, and the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust in particular, of ensuring that even if Bhagawan is not present in his physical form now, "his mission carries on".
--- end blog post extracts ---

Due to concern about Prasanthi Nilayam (Puttaparthi) image, SSSCT trustees may have decided to tolerate Prof. Shashidhar Prasad's TREMENDOUS CONFLICT OF INTEREST by being VC of Sai university as well as having belief in Shri Narasimhamurthy's Swami dream instructions and so called subtle body in Muddenahalli. This continued till Nov. 22nd 2014 when Prof. Shashidhar Prasad stepped down as VC. So far, in public, as far as I know, there has been no statement at all from SSSCT on this TREMENDOUS CONFLICT OF INTEREST that Shashidhar Prasad had.

As I got caught up in this matter in 2011-12 (after Mahasamadhi) and, as I live in Puttaparthi, slowly and steadily came to know more & more about Shashidhar Prasad's belief in Narasimhamurthy's dream instructions, I thought, what is my duty to Swami, in this scenario? I was just one unimportant individual with a lot of personal limitations. I decided to switch off from the matter and focus on individual seva by writing blogs on Indian Computer Science & Information Technology Academic Reform activism and on spirituality & religion. I did not write publicly on the Muddenahalli matter or Shashidhar Prasad's belief in it, for long, thinking that the situation will get resolved somehow.  But as things started going from bad to worse, especially with Madhusudhan Naidu, in mid 2014, openly starting to give discourses & interviews of so called subtle body of Swami, as his communicator, which was fully endorsed by Narasimhamurthy, I felt that I MUST NOT remain silent. I felt it is my duty to investigate it and inform interested people about my views on the matter. And the revolutionary force of the Internet social media was appropriate to be used to inform interested Sai devotees about it. Over time I became convinced that the Muddenahalli claims are FALSE.

In short, in my considered view, using publicly accessible social media (Internet) to ensure that Asathyam and Adharmam in this Muddenahalli FALSE BELIEF matter and its impact on official Sai organizations is exposed, is a good thing and not a bad thing. However, those who take up this task of whistleblowing need to follow Sathya and Dharma themselves in this task. In particular, they should follow good practices of investigative journalism that are followed by leading media organizations in the world like the The New York Times, The Guardian and The Hindu. Allegations should be put out only after serious thought about the reliability of the source of the allegation (and clearly mentioned as an allegation). A strong suspicion, however strong it may be, is not evidence/proof and so should be expressed as a suspicion and not as proven fact. Opposing views, expressed politely, should be entertained. When mistakes are pointed out, corrections should be made.

2) Exposing Muddenahalli promotion efforts of center members: This is a very tricky issue. On the one hand, active official Sai orgn. center members who act as promoters of so called Muddenahalli subtle body (which I am convinced is a FALSE BELIEF) would be a very disturbing influence in a Sai center. But on the other, orgn. rules permit MDH believers to be Sai center members (but not office bearers), as far as I know.

If the concerned person is an office bearer then he/she is responsible for his/her actions in this matter, and given the current tension in Sai orgn. worldwide over MDH belief and dual loyalty office bearers in official Sai orgn., he/she must be prepared to be questioned publicly for promoting MDH belief. But if the concerned person is not an office bearer, even if he/she is a center member, then it is not fair / not ethical to do any whistleblowing Internet posts about that person promoting MDH belief, without their express permission. It would be better for center elders to privately discuss the matter with the concerned member and caution him/her from trying to use the center as a sort of recruitment-ground for MDH following.

3) I understand that emotions run very high on this matter and so sometimes Facebook comment exchanges on it can get very heated. However, swear words and words suggesting physical violence (especially gun and bullet) MUST NOT BE USED in these publicly viewable Facebook exchanges.

I earnestly pray to Bhagavan to infuse Sathya and Dharma along with Shanti & Prema in the Sathya Sai movement worldwide. Jai Sairam!

[The above contents are from a recent Facebook post of mine: https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1654760991407138.]
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The Facebook post having the same contents as this blog post contents above got shared here: https://www.facebook.com/terry.reiskennedy/posts/10207676550690605, with the comment, "MUDDENAHALLI FRAUD IMPACTS Ravi S. Iyer AND HE NARRATES HIS PASSIONATE TRANSFORMATION FROM QUIETLY REMAINING PASSIVE INTO BEING WHAT I SEE AS A SPIRITUAL WARRIOR. THANK YOU RAVI S. IYER."

Given below are two comments I made on the above shared Facebook post:

Ravi S. Iyer wrote: I thought a little about what you wrote, "QUIETLY REMAINING PASSIVE", in a hopefully unbiased way. I am not sure that I agree with that description. Let me elaborate. You see, on paper, I was a visiting faculty. Visiting faculty services can be terminated immediately without giving any reason. These are the rules in a university.

And I preferred it to be that way as I was more focused on my individual spiritual journey than on any academic career. I mean, I was simply offering Free Seva as a teacher there and if the bosses of the orgn. did not want my services, I was always prepared, during my entire 9 year stint there, to leave at the drop of a hat. No ATTACHMENT :-) .

But I did my duty as a Visiting faculty by raising the issues to the concerned Sai university authorities. Just one administrator discussed the matter with me on ethical terms and supported me offering students a chance to work on Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vahini project (which the HOD was dead against students associating with). But even this administrator was silenced by more powerful administrators blocking me.

Now, the culture in the Sai institutions is that when such clashes do take place, the top boss' words are final. No questions. Like some army fighting a war with the General's words being final. And here the top boss was the VC. So I had to listen to him, right or wrong. That's the culture. And further I did not have any academic standing as I was a Visiting Faculty who can be fired anytime without any reason.

Now is that "QUIETLY REMAINING PASSIVE". I don't think so. I was more a loyal soldier following rules of the army.

From a standpoint of my profession of software development, my blog on Indian Computer Science and Information Technology Academic Reform, which I started after the VC blocked me from associating with Vidya Vahini in July/Aug 2011, exposed many of the faulty practices being followed in Indian academia. However, that has not received much publicity despite me writing to the Union (Federal) HRD minister (in charge of higher education) and even the Prime Minister's Office. I mean I received the standard Thank you replies but nothing further.

When I came to know that Prof. Anilkumar Kamaraju and Prof. Krupanidhi, two very senior faculty, were being horribly treated by the senior administrators of the Sai university that's when I did my bit of rebellion by verbally slamming the administrators, the VC and the Registrar, as hard as I could on some administrative issues where I caught them. These actions of mine happened in the period Feb. 2012 to May 2012.

I also tried to speak to many faculty of the university about this dictatorial behaviour of top Sai university administrators. But nobody was willing to fight the VC and the Registrar, or the HOD of the dept. I was associated with. They all essentially looked away, with most offering their sympathies to me :-) . This is typical behaviour in a dictatorial organization. Besides I think the entire system was in turmoil and nobody wanted to ruffle feathers of top people.

The other point is that I had no clear evidence/proof of Shashidhar Prasad following Narasimhamurthy's so called Swami dream instructions. It was just whispered about. The same was the case for the Muddenahalli Narasimhamurthy inspired activities, I think. Only insiders there and trusted people were in the know.

It was only after the May 2014 video with Madhusudhan Naidu, Narasimhamurthy and other supporters of theirs being openly put up on the Internet, that I got clear evidence of what is going on. Shashidhar Prasad was not seen in this video - so no evidence of his involvement. But on Nov. 23rd 2014, one day after he quit as VC from Sai university, he was on stage for the Bhagavan birthday celebrations in MDH, whose video clip was also put up on the Internet later on. That's when I had the evidence of Shashidhar Prasad being a believer and then I could freely write about it.

So coming back to the "QUIETLY REMAINING PASSIVE", it was more of me having done my bit given my limited position in the Sai university and some other limitations I had (including some health issues), and then contributing to my profession (software development) and spirituality & religion by writing blogs on it, in my individual capacity. "SWITCHED OFF FROM THE MATTER" is, I think, a more accurate description as mentioned in my sentence in the post, "I decided to switch off from the matter and focus on individual seva by writing blogs on Indian Computer Science & Information Technology Academic Reform activism and on spirituality & religion." Thanks. Jai Sairam!
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: And thanks Terry, for the thanks and the spiritual warrior bit :-) Don't know whether I really am a spiritual warrior though. I certainly try to do my bit in Swami's mission, suiting my capabilities as well as my limitations.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Utterly fascinating legal battle about Jain practice of Santhara/Sallekhana being viewed as suicide and so illegal (punishable by law)

Last updated on 7th September 2015

A High court in the Indian state of Rajasthan recently ruled that the Jain practice of Santhara/Sallekhana has to viewed as suicide and so is illegal and punishable by Indian law. Indian law also views abetting suicide as illegal and so a punishable crime. This verdict has been appealed in the Supreme Court.

First, some info. about Santhara/Sallekhana from its wiki page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sallekhana.

Sallekhanā (also Santhara, Samadhi-marana, Sanyasana-marana), is the Jain practice of facing death voluntarily at the end of one's life. It is prescribed both for the householder and ascetics. Sallekhana is made up from two words sal (meaning 'properly') and lekhana, which means to thin out. Properly thinning out of the passions and the body is 'Sallekhanā'. Sallekhana is allowed only when a person is suffering from incurable disease or great disability or when a person is nearing his end. It is a highly respected practice among the members of the Jain community.
...
Sallekhana is not an exercise in trying to achieve an unnatural death, but is rather a practice intrinsic to a person’s ethical choice to live with dignity until death. It is not taken to end the life. The person does not wish to die nor he is aspiring to live in a state of inability where he / she can't undertake his / her own chores. The person is peaceful in observance of all the religious activities, spends maximum time in discussing and listening to the sermons and religious texts. There is a daily prayer for every devout member of Jain community wherein he / she wishes to be able to face death after having taken the Vow of sallekhana. Due to the prolonged nature of sallekhana, the individual is given ample time to reflect on his or her life. The purpose is to purge old karmas and prevent the creation of new ones.
...
According to a survey conducted in 2006, on an average 200 Jains practice sallekhana until death each year in India.
...
In around 300 BC, Chandragupta Maurya (founder of the Maurya Empire) undertook Sallekhana atop Chandragiri Hill, Śravaṇa Beḷgoḷa, Karnataka.
[Ravi: Chandragupta Maurya was a near contemporary of Alexander the Great (356-323 BC). Seleucus I Nicator (358 - 281 BC), referred in below wiki extract, was an infantry general under Alexander the Great and became ruler of the eastern parts of Alexander's conquered areas.
From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chandragupta_Maurya: In foreign Greek and Latin accounts, Chandragupta is known as Sandrokottos and Androcottus. He became well known in the Hellenistic world for conquering Alexander the Great's easternmost satrapies, and for defeating the most powerful of Alexander's successors, Seleucus I Nicator, in battle. Chandragupta subsequently married Seleucus's daughter to formalize an alliance and established a policy of friendship with the Hellenistic kingdoms, which stimulated India's trade and contact with the western world. The Greek diplomat Megasthenes, who visited the Maurya capital Pataliputra [Ravi: in modern day Indian state of Bihar], is an important source of Maurya history.
--- end wiki extract on Chandragupta Maurya ---
Ravi: So even such a powerful emperor of Ancient India who could defeat Alexander's general in battle and conquer some of that general's territories in what today would be, I guess, Pakistan and/or north west parts of India, eventually took to the Jain practice of Santhara to give up his body! Amazing factoid!]
--- end wiki extracts on Sallekhana/Santhara ---

Yesterday's (24th Aug. 2015) The Hindu carried this fascinating article by SHIV VISVANATHAN, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shiv_Visvanathan, a leading Indian intellectual who is well known for his writings on sociology and philosophy, "A reductive reading of Santhara", http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/a-reductive-reading-of-santhara/article7572187.ece.

Shiv Visvanathan disagrees with the High Court verdict of viewing Santhara as suicide. He asks some fascinating questions, "Is Santhara a giving up of life or of taking death in one’s stride? For a culture that believes in rebirth, is Santhara philosophically or ethically suicide?"

The author claims that Anglo-Saxon view/interpretation of law (Indian Penal Code took shape under British rule of India) has led the High court to not have a proper understanding of the Jain practice of Santhara. He writes, "Eventually, the judgment creates a monologic sense of life and a standardised sense of what death and dying is. In fact, it has missed an opportunity to look at life and death and the ethics of dignity and dying in a creative way."

In Calcutta, the Jain community registered its SILENT protest against the Rajasthan (different state from Bengal which Calcutta is the capital of) High court judgement, "Jains take to streets in Kolkata against Santhara verdict", http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/jains-take-to-streets-in-kolkata-against-santhara-verdict/article7576335.ece.

Ravi: Utterly fascinating religious group - the Jains. I have huge respect for their adherence to non-violence and the asceticism of their spiritual groups.

To top it all, here's a fascinating article, "Doc firm on Santhara despite HC ban: I too want a beautiful death", http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/doc-firm-on-santhara-despite-hc-ban-i-too-want-a-beautiful-death/. The doctor, Dr. Kalyan Gangwal, is a consulting physician (so practising medicine NOW), who is 71 years old and is preparing for his "thinning out" (death of passions and body in an atmosphere of reverence to God) as he would like to give up his body by following the footsteps of his father 19 years ago who did the same. Dr. Gangwal refers to his father's death as a "beautiful death".

His father practised Santhara/Sallekhana for 12 years! To quote him, "My father slowly gave up consumption of ghee, salt. In his last seven days, he had only water. He eventually died, in a fully conscious state in March 1996. This is Iccha Maran. He had hoped to die on the auspicious occasion of Gudi Padwa (the Maharashtrian New Year) and he did. All of us are so proud of him."

He hammers home his spiritual philosophy point so well, "My child, my wife have nothing to do with my soul. If we have a right to live, then we have a right to die with dignity. This is our religious practice, our spiritual philosophy. Law should not hurt the sentiments of the community".

Ravi: I salute these guys. Mumbai/Bombay (and surrounding areas like Dombivli) where I spent most of the first four decades of my life have a lot of Jains. I also had some Jain friends. I was told of some awesome ascetic practices by even Jain youngsters in money crazy Bombay (Jains are heavily into business in Bombay), who wanted to become Jain ascetics. This included girls. At that time I was not that deeply into religion proper (though into philosophy of Bhagavad Geetha & Upanishads) and so was not able to appreciate them so much then. Today, I salute the culture of the Jain religion that even in the midst of material plenty today in money crazy and prosperous cities like Mumbai/Bombay, it produces youngsters who are so deeply into Jain spiritual philosophy and religion that they take to become ascetics.

I also deeply admire the Jain religion for producing people like the above mentioned Dr. Gangwal who so deeply believes in the revelations of Jain religion about the soul being separate from the body, and views the body as just a vehicle for the spirit, which (body) can be shed voluntarily when it is time. What a conquest over the terror of death! Surely, there would be no sting in death for Dr. Gangwal.
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Update on 7th Sept. 2015

On 31st August 2015, the Supreme Court of India, stayed the Rajasthan High Court order referred in above post contents (dated August 10th 2015) which made Santhara a penal offence. A few extracts from "Supreme Court stays Rajasthan High Court order declaring ‘Santhara’ illegal", http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/supreme-court-stays-rajasthan-high-court-order-on-santhara/, dated Sept. 1st 2015:

The High Court said Santhara was not an essential religious practice of the Jain community which needed to be protected under the right to freedom of religion under Article 25 of the Constitution.

A batch of appeals were filed in the Supreme Court against this order. The petition by Akhil Bharat Varshiya Digambar Jain Parishad stated that Santhara was not an act to terminate one’s life but a vow intended to purify the soul from the karmas, and it could not be equated with the offence of suicide.

“Conceptually, Santhara or Sallekhana is different from suicide as this vow is not taken either in passion or in anger, deceit, etc. It is a conscious process of spiritual purification where one does not desire death but seeks to live his life, whatever is left of it, in a manner so as to reduce the influx of karmas,” the petition stated.

On the other hand, the petition stated, suicide is an offence of passion, abhorred in Jain religion. “Suicide is undertaken by a person in severe bouts of passion in anger, depression or hatred — antithetical to the concept of peaceful and joyous renunciation which is the basis of Sallekhana or Santhara,” it stated.

The appeal claimed it was unwise and improper to link a sacred practice of the Jain religion, premised on ahimsa (non-violence), with suicide.
--- end extract ---

Ravi: The article also stated that as the Supreme Court bench had admitted the appeal for hearing and that it had granted leave, the matter will come up for hearing again only after older appeals are decided, which may take a few years!

This article from the Hindu on the same matter, http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/supreme-court-lifts-stay-on-santhara-ritual-of-jains/article7600851.ece, states that "The Supreme Court said that Jain scholars were not consulted by the High Court before it criminalised the practice".

The Supreme Court stay of the Rajasthan HC order paved the way for some who had stopped their Santhara to resume it. Yesterday's Hindu (Sep. 6th 2015 issue), carried this article, "Woman on ‘Santhara’ vow dies", http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/woman-on-santhara-vow-dies/article7620013.ece. A small extract from it:

Amid the controversy over ‘Santhara’, an 82-year-old woman, who publicly resumed the Jain religious ritual of voluntary fast unto death after the Supreme Court stayed the High Court ban on it, passed away here on Saturday.
--- end extract ---

This news report, http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/82-year-old-woman-dies-after-performing-santhara-115090500455_1.html, has a family member stating, "We pray for her soul. She died peacefully and it was the blessings of the God and we are happy at it,".

This one has a photograph of the lady lying down, http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/83-year-old-jain-woman-dies-in-rajasthan-after-50-days-of-santhara-fasting/article1-1387598.aspx.

This one has a photograph of the funeral procession in the town of Bikaner, Rajasthan: http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/jaipur/jaipur-woman-in-santhara-dies-minister-among-visitors/. A couple of small extracts from it:

Badni Devi Daga, who had been on santhara for more than a month, passed away Saturday morning, leading to celebrations among her family members and the Jain community in her town Bikaner.
...
A huge gathering of people from the Jain community participated in her ‘funeral’ procession, including Rajasthan Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria, who said had the Jain community taken the santhara ban lightly, it would have been an insult to the Tirthankars.
--- end extract ---

Ravi: In my view, this is a great victory for Jains, which may also pave the way for legally safe resumption of similar practices of voluntary withdrawal of intake of food & water to give up one's body in other religions including Hinduism, which are done in an environment (like ashrams) that is well protected from misuse/abuse of the practice and well protected from it being an act of passion i.e. suicide. I mean, if somebody has done his/her duties in life and now wants to withdraw and drop/shrug off the body in an atmosphere of deep reverence to the eternal God within (& without) and thereby merge in that eternal God within, what's the problem for others and for the state?

[I thank Wikipedia, The Hindu, The Indian Express, Business Standard & Hindustan Times and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above small extracts from their websites on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

Sathya Sai to students about a famous Indian tantrik

The following was recently conveyed to me by somebody over email. I find it to be quite plausible. However, I cannot verify it, neither do I personally know the original source. Swami is Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba in the sentences below (slightly edited):

What Swami once told his students about [famous-tantrik-name-snipped] who was with Narasimha Rao in the darshan: "He has powers of the Devi Shakti and is misusing them. My dear students, you do not do that please."

--- end extract from email ---

Ravi: I think this is a clear statement from Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba to Sai university students and alumni which I am sure would apply even more to teachers, wardens, senior administrators etc. (both current and former), that they SHOULD NOT misuse any siddhis (paranormal powers) they may acquire or somehow come to possess.

Reversing damage done to spiritual thrust of Sai university due to Muddenahalli FALSE BELIEF; Should Prof. Anilkumar Kamaraju be made SSSIHL Pro VC?

Last updated on 25th August 2015

[The contents below are from a Facebook post of mine, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1653900528159851, suitably modified for this blog.]

As Mr. V.R. Ganti's Note, GENESIS - MHALLI SAGA - PART 7 - ROLE OF EX-VC - PROF SHASHIDHAR PRASAD, https://www.facebook.com/notes/vr-ganti/genesis-mhalli-saga-part-7-role-of-ex-vc-prof-shashidhar-prasad/10204968349113108, explains very well, the Sai university (Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning - SSSIHL) came under the sway of Mr. B.N. Narasimhamurthy after Swami's Mahasamadhi till Nov. 2014, as its then vice-chancellor Prof. Shashidhar Prasad became a committed believer & follower of Mr. Narasimhamurthy's Swami dream instructions & so called Muddenahalli subtle body belief.

Many dedicated and long-term faculty in SSSIHL got marginalized during tenure of Prof. Shashidhar Prasad (who stepped down as VC in Nov. 2014) and many quit. In particular, Prof. Anilkumar Kamaraju, perhaps the most well known speaker on Swami teachings in the world today, was horribly mistreated and forced to resign from SSSIHL due to Prof. Kamaraju openly opposing Mr. Narasimhamurthy's dream instructions and so called subtle body belief propagation and fund collection activities.

Now SSSIHL has a different VC (from Nov. 23rd 2014) who, I believe, is a very reputed science academic from the very prestigious science research institution, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. But his exposure to Sathya Sai teachings and spirituality in general seems to be limited.

How can SSSIHL reverse the damage done to its spirtual thrust by its top man, the then vice-chancellor, Prof. Shashidhar Prasad, himself falling into the trap of Mr. Narasimhamurthy's supposed Swami dream instructions and then the so called subtle body of Bhagavan in Muddenahalli (FALSE) belief, and the loss of many senior faculty of SSSIHL who had a deep understanding of Swami teachings due to long service as faculty in SSSIHL?

In a previous Facebook post of mine I had made the suggestion of a Pro Vice-Chancellor: SSSIHL (Sai university) urgently needs to have a Pro Vice-chancellor who is an expert on Sathya Sai teachings/writings, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1640855739464330. [Also available on this blog here: http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/07/sssihl-sai-university-urgently-needs-to.html]

For the past few days I was wondering whether I should go a step forward and suggest a name for this Pro Vice-Chancellor. Perhaps some top people in Sai organization will be offended by my suggesting a name. They may say, who am I to suggest such a name. They may even say who am I to even suggest Pro vice-chancellor post.

Well, the damage to the spiritual thrust of SSSIHL, in my considered view, has been so severe during Prof. Shashidhar Prasad's tenure, that I think I have to do my duty to Swami (who had accepted my free Seva prayer by allowing me to serve in SSSIHL as Honorary Staff/Honorary Faculty/Visiting Faculty in SSSIHL, Prasanthi Nilayam campus from Jan. 2003 to March 2012), by sticking my neck out on this one.

I think Prof. Anilkumar Kamaraju has been the SPIRITUAL HERO of the spiritual thrust role of SSSIHL as shown by this sentence from Mr. V.R. Ganti's post mentioned above where BNNM is B.N. Narasimhamurthy and JSP is Prof. J. Shashidhar Prasad, "Other than the HERO of SSSIHL who resisted BNNM and JSP tooth-and-nail, i.e. Prof. Anilkumar Kamaraju, has there been any senior or medium level Sai university academic or administrator who has OPENLY CONDEMNED BNNM FALSE CLAIMS of so-called subtle body?"

I think SSSIHL very badly needs to have Prof. Anilkumar Kamaraju appointed in a senior and powerful position like Pro vice-chancellor, as then he will be in a position to reverse the great damage done to SSSIHL spiritual thrust by Mr. Narasimhamurthy and Prof. Shashidhar Prasad from sometime after Swami Mahasamadhi to Nov. 2014 when Prof. Prasad stepped down as VC.

Of course, even if the concerned authorities consider this suggestion, the question is whether Prof. Anilkumar Kamaraju will accept such a position given how badly he was treated by administrators of SSSIHL, some of whom are still serving in SSSIHL. But, as Prof Kamaraju has demonstrated to everybody in the Sai fraternity how he was willing to fight for Swami despite all the horrible ill treatment he got, perhaps Prof. Kamaraju may be willing to accept such a post, to serve Swami by reversing the damage done to spiritual thrust of SSSIHL.

=================================
I added the following two comment responses of mine (slightly edited) , in the body of the post itself, as I felt it may be useful to readers.

Well, [name-snipped], you are entitled to your view. I prefer to go by Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's public endorsement of and support for Prof. Anilkumar Kamaraju which was clear to most, if not all, Sai devotees. I certainly saw that personally during my over eight years of regular darshan of Swami in Sai Kulwant Hall (Oct. 2002 to April 2011).

Further, Prof. Kamaraju has published many books on Swami and Sai teachings and is a very popular invited speaker for Sai satsangs in various parts of India and the world. Of course, as the Sai devotee world knows and will keep noting in future too (as they view videos of Swami discourses), Prof. Kamaraju was the chosen translator of Swami's Telugu discourses into English for perhaps two decades.
...
BTW [name-snipped] the suggestion was not to make Prof. Anilkumar Kamaraju VC but Pro VC; Pro VC like in Mata Amritandamayi university (which has a Pro Chancellor) who focuses on spiritual side complementing VC who focuses on non-spiritual academics side. [I use the term non-spiritual academics for fields like science, arts, commerce, management etc. Actually Religion and Indian philosophy are academic fields in their own right but as of now Sai university does not even have a department for it.] For more details about my Pro VC suggestion, you may want to have a look at my post here: https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1640855739464330. An extract from it: This university has a regular academic as vice-chancellor, and a spiritual teacher as pro 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."
=================================================
Update on 25th August 2015

The Spirituality Daily a Blogpost aggregator has put up this blog post as an article-link for its issue dated Aug. 25th 2015, under Education category, http://paper.li/GoodBlogPosts/1309490215?edition_id=7ab16cd0-4af1-11e5-822d-0cc47a0d164b.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Appeal to all Sai devotees about taking a stand on Muddenahalli (MDH) claims from a young adult Sai devotee

Given below are the contents of a Facebook post/status of Narender Thangavelu, https://www.facebook.com/NarenderThangavelu/posts/921727887874181, with his approval for sharing it on this blog post (the MDH reference below is to the claim of so called subtle body of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba based in Muddenahalli with an associated so called chosen communicator, Madhusudhan Naidu, which I am convinced is a FALSE CLAIM based on public discourses and teachings of Bhagavan on matters related to mediums and communicators):

An appeal to all Sai devotees!

Regardless of where you are in this world, it is high time you took some stance on this issue. Next time someone asks you what goes on at MDH, don't equivocate. Don't tell you are clueless because you should not be. After reading so many statements of Swami on mediums, cash collection, loyalty of the office bearers, you should not have any confusion. Even after reading all of them, if you don't like to speak out, just say what the response of the official Sai organization is. At least that way, there would be solidarity of opinion when it goes out.

Don't say, 'It's all Swami's leela' etc. That leela began before the creation of the universe and will continue after its dissolution as well. Don't pass the buck. It is the present that is important.

You may ask, 'But so many people imitate Swami!' Of course, many people have imitated Swami for years (in fact, for decades) and continue to do so. Then why give a special attention to this drama? Because in those cases the distraction was external. There was no confusion. Here it is plainly internal. Someone throws a stone you can step aside. Can you do the same if you [Ravi rephrased: have an internal body problem]?

No point in being a mute spectator and finally blaming the central trust for everything. Late or not, as of now the central trust is doing some work. But a war is not won by a handful of generals alone. Be a part of something.

Don't have guilt that you are not a perfect devotee to decide on this issue. A seed need not wait to grow into tree before it starts giving shade. It is not a batch process. Do things in proportion to your capacity. Swami will guide you.

Jai Sairam!

--- end Narender Thangavelu's FB post contents ---

Ravi: I added a comment to the above FB post and also shared it on my Facebook pages here: https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1653199008230003. I have given below my Facebook share post content/comment:

Excellent post by bro Narender Thangavelu!

Not only does what he say apply to Sai center members, readers may be rather shocked to note that it applies to paid employees of Puttaparthi trust and associated institutions too! Some weeks ago one senior paid staff told me with one hand raised in the air rather theatrically that all is Sai leela, as an explanation to some uncomfortable question I asked him about former VC, Shashidhar Prasad (a Muddenahalli believer & supporter). I felt it was as if his thinking was that he was getting his sixth pay commission salary, so why worry? Just do one's allotted work in the institution. Leave the rest to Sai to do whatever.

When that is the attitude of some, but not all, paid staff of Puttaparthi Sai mission (HQ of Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi mission), one can well imagine the attitude of Sai center members (unpaid volunteer-members).

I think all paid employees of Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust and associated institutions owe it to the institution that is paying them good money (sixth pay commission salary) to at least, borrowing words from bro Narendar's post shared below, "just say what the response of the official Sai organization is".

I also completely second his statement, "No point in being a mute spectator and finally blaming the central trust for everything." Yes, Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust has to become quicker to react to such matters and also share more with Sai devotees instead of keeping everything closely to their chest. That will not work now. They have to regain the trust of Sai devotees who are being attracted to Muddenahalli FALSE BELIEF, by being more transparent, more accountable and more responsive.

I thank bro Narender for taking the initiative in sharing this very important view of his on social media for interested Sai devotees to read and ponder about. Jai Sairam!

--- end my FB shared post content/comment ----

Friday, August 21, 2015

About vital role of Math in Science but not in philosophy, morals and religious/spiritual experiences; philosophy != science

An edited version of an exchange I (referred to as R) had with a correspondent who is a scientist (referred to as S) in the beginning of August 2015, on the title-topic is given below.

R: Here's an article …, [Name-snipped] Doesn’t Understand Science (or the Nature of the Universe), dated July 2012, http://nirmukta.com/2012/07/26/name-snipped-doesnt-understand-science-or-the-nature-of-the-universe/.

S: There is no polite word for the pseudo-science and anti-science he spouts. … but my guess is that any attempts to reconcile pre-scientific writing with modern science that can really only be expressed by math is unlikely to be helpful.

R: I think it may be fairer to say that some branches of science today like physics can really only be expressed by math. Math does not seem to play that important a role in life sciences including medicine.
S: You are wrong about that. There is a lot of math of various sorts in modern biology and medical research.
R: I see. Interesting and valuable input. However, I will keep an open mind on this matter until I get an opportunity to check out some articles on it, and also get the view of some biologists & medical researchers. Note that I was not saying that there would be no math but I expected the math involved to be rather limited in these fields. Your input gives an opposing view. Thanks for your input.
R: Philosophy, morals and study of religious/spiritual experiences are not science and do not really need Math.
S: Correct, as long as people studying those fields don't bend logic or make statements about physical reality.
R: Well said. They should stay out of fields like physics & chemistry & even biology which deal with physical reality, unless they can demonstrate under suitable scientific observation, their ability to impact physical reality. And they should NOT bend logic. That cheapens and brings disrepute to their fields in the eyes of discerning readers, even if such tactics gets them some support from their followers. 
In particular, new age Hindu gurus saying things like Higgs Boson and Higgs Field theory were, in concept, known to ancient Hindus, may get them some praise & support from followers who don’t know much about science, but such statements cheapen Hindu philosophy. Further, it amplifies the discord between Hindu spiritual philosophy & modern science, instead of Hindu spiritual philosophy dropping out the parts that have been invalidated by modern science, and focusing on its core spiritual philosophy aspects. 


S: I think it is useful to remember that some ancient Greeks had conjectured that everything was made up of very small particles ("atoms"), but that it took centuries of science and far, far more math than those Greeks could handle to prove that and provide a viable, predictable model of matter. In other words, there can be centuries of hard work between a simple idea (matter is made out of atoms, there might be a flying machine, the earth goes round the sun) and a proof, explanation, and proper predictive model. Non-scientists often don't get that.

R: I entirely agree about huge amount of hard work (centuries in the case of atom) between idea/concept and a proper theory expressed in precise language, validation of results predicted by the theory through experiments done objectively by multiple people (with repeatability) ....  And, I am slowly beginning to understand that many, but not all, religious & spiritual speakers/writers who do not have a science background, don't get that, and so make some pretty confused and inaccurate statements about spirituality/religion and science.

BTW Hindu philosophy also had the concept of atom called Anu. From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atom, "The idea that matter is made up of discrete units is a very old one, appearing in many ancient cultures such as Greece and India."

S: philosophy!=science
    idea!=theory (in the scientific sense)

R: Great equations! I agree :-)

-------------- end main exchange ---------------------

P.S. A clarification by R: My view is that claims of miracles should not be entertained by hard science fields like physics & chemistry unless they pass the test of hard science rigourous validation. But those same claims of miracles can certainly be, and are, entertained and considered reasonably credible, at times, by non hard science fields involving study of religious/spiritual experiences which gives significant value to large number of reliable eyewitness accounts of paranormal events (miracles). Hard science will not find large number of reliable witness accounts to be acceptable as evidence indicating/pointing to the truth, but even jurisprudence (court of law) does accept it in its methods of arriving at the highly probable truth (though not the completely certain truth).

S responded: I would disagree with your paragraph above, considering eyewitnesses unreliable and the legal system a poor substitute for truth.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

John Oliver roasts some (USA) Televangelists who exploit faith for monetary gain; Seed (money) faith

[Warning: Some strong language (swear words) is used at times in the linked John Oliver video below (but not on this post, of course). So if you can't handle such language please don't watch the John Oliver video. The post text below does NOT use any such language and so you can safely read it.]

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Oliver_(comedian), "John William Oliver (born 23 April 1977) is an English comedian, political commentator, television host, and occasional actor. He is widely known in the U.S. for hosting HBO's Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and for his work on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart."

A correspondent passed me this video where John Oliver roasts some (USA) Televangelists who exploit faith for monetary gain, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7y1xJAVZxXg, around 20 mins, published on Aug. 16th 2015.

John Oliver starts by clearly stating that churches are a cornerstone of American life; roughly 350,000 congregations in USA with many of them doing great work like feeding the hungry, clothing the poor.

He then says that this program (video) is not about such churches and is instead about churches which exploit people's faith for monetary gain, in today's times.

Some of the televangelists targeted by Oliver in this video:

1) Robert Tilton. From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Tilton: Robert Gibson Tilton (born June 7, 1946) is an American televangelist of the prosperity gospel widely known for his infomercial-styled religious television program Success-N-Life, which at its peak in 1991 aired in all 235 American TV markets (daily in the majority of them), brought in nearly $80 million per year, and was described as "the fastest growing television ministry in America."

Within two years after ABC's Primetime Live examined Tilton's fundraising practices, beginning a series of investigations into the ministry, his program was taken off the air. Tilton later returned to television via his new version of Success-N-Life airing on BET and The Word Network.
...
In Success-N-Life, Tilton regularly taught that all of life's trials, especially poverty, were a result of sin. Tilton's ministry consisted mainly of impressing upon his viewers the importance of making "vows"—financial commitments to Tilton's ministry. His preferred vow, stressed frequently on his broadcasts, was $1,000. Occasionally, Tilton would claim to have received a word of knowledge for someone to give a vow of $5,000 or even $10,000. When a person made a vow to Tilton, he preached that God would recognize the vow and reward the donor with vast material riches. The show also ran "testimonials" of viewers who gave to Tilton's ministry and reportedly received miracles in return, a practice that would be used as the basis for a later lawsuit from donors charging Tilton's ministry with fraud.
--- end wiki extract ---

2) Creflo Dollar. From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creflo_Dollar: Dollar is known for his controversial teachings regarding prosperity theology, or the gospel of wealth. He has long been criticized for living a lavish lifestyle; he owns two Rolls-Royces, a private jet, and real estate such as a million-dollar home in Atlanta, a $2.5 million home in Demarest, New Jersey, and a $2.5 million home in Manhattan, which he sold for $3.75 million in 2012. Dollar has refused to disclose his salary. Creflo Dollar Ministries received a grade of "F" (failing) for financial transparency by the organization Ministry Watch.
...
On November 24, 2014, Dollar's private Gulfstream III jet, N103CD ran off the runway at Biggin Hill Airport, United Kingdom. There were no serious injuries. To replace the old jet, Dollar launched a fundraising campaign to get his followers to pay approximately $60,000,000 for a new Gulfstream G650 jet. He suggested his followers each commit to giving "$300 or more." The jet he wants is the "fastest plane ever built in civilian aviation." After receiving immediate backlash, Dollar ended his fundraising campaign.
--- end wiki extract ---

Ravi: The video shows, from around 1:57, Creflo Dollar asking for donations to buy a 65 million dollar private luxury jet (airplane). Dollar says (@ 2:09), "If I want to believe God for a 65 million dollar plane you cannot stop me. You cannot stop me from dreaming." [http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2015/June/Board-Approves-Multi-Million-Jet-for-Creflo-Dollar/ continues the quote as "I'm gonna dream until Jesus comes."]

3) Mike Murdock. From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Murdock: Michael Dean Murdock (born April 18, 1946 in Lake Charles, Louisiana, United States) is an American televangelist and pastor of the Wisdom Center ministry based in Haltom City, Texas. Murdock preaches around the world and is best known for his promotion of prosperity theology.
...
On 3-3-2003, the Associated Press reported Murdock asked followers for money to help the poor but spent more than 60% of donations on overhead, including his salary, and only a tiny amount (reported to be "legal minimums of 1% to 3%") on helping the needy, or any other 'public interest'.

In 2004, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Murdock "has started a church and the law allows him to keep his financial records behind closed doors." In August 2004, the association purchased the International Faith Center in Haltom City, Texas, and changed its name to The Wisdom Center, which it operates as a church.
--- end wiki extract ---

Ravi @ around 2:45 in the video Mike Murdock says, "I had enough money to buy a Cessna Citation jet. Cash. ... that there is so much jealousy in this room tonight that I can feel over this. A few weeks later I have ordered another one - worth three times what that one was. Cash".

4) Kenneth Copeland. From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_Copeland: Kenneth Max Copeland (born December 6, 1936) is one of the leaders of the Charismatic Movement and is an American author, musician, public speaker, and televangelist. Copeland has been strongly identified with preaching a prosperity and abundance message, commonly referred to as the prosperity gospel over the last 45 years.
...
KCM also owns a 1998 Cessna 550 Citation Bravo, which it received from a donor in October 2007 and is used for domestic flights, and a 2005Cessna 750 Citation X, which it uses for international flights. It also is restoring a 1962 Beech H-18 Twin, which the ministry plans to use for disaster relief efforts.
In February 2007 Copeland was accused of using his ministry's Citation X for personal vacations and friends. The Copelands' financial records are not publicly available, and a list of the board of directors is not accessible as these details are protected but known confidentially by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
--- end wiki extract ---

At around 4:29 in the video, Oliver says, "... despite that personal wealth people still send Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar and that --snip-- with two planes, lots and lots of money. And that's only because they preach something called the prosperity gospel which argues that wealth is a sign of God's favour and donations will result in wealth coming back to you. That (logic) sometimes takes the form of seed faith. The notion that donations are seeds that you will one day get to harvest. Let me show you that in action."

James Payne, Televangelist, http://jamespayneministries.com/, is shown saying, "The size of your seed will determine the size of your harvest." ... "I don't understand why but there is something (that) happens at a level where people step into faith and give a thousand dollars that don't happen at other levels."
Todd Coontz, Televangelist, http://rockwealth.org/, "You are going to have a breakthrough from this two hundred and seventy three dollar seed."
Henry Fernandez, Televangelist, http://www.henryfernandez.org/, "All you have got is a thousand dollars. Listen, that's not enough money anyway to buy the house. You are trying to (get in) the apartment. You are (laughing) trying to buy the house. That's not enough money anyway. You get to that phone and you put that seed in the ground and watch God work it out."
...
At around 5:58, Mike Murdock (details given earlier) says, "I have a feeling that somebody that wants a credit card debt wiped out. That you use your faith as you sow. [Screen shows speaker with a message below "SOW YOUR SEED GIFT OF $1000" along with a telephone number.] As you sow a thousand on a credit card; as you use your faith; as you use your faith, God's going to wipe out your credit card indebtedness."
[Ravi: That is truly outrageous; truly predatory. As it is the poor persons targeted are in credit card debt - taking more money from them with the lure that their credit card debt will get wiped out seems like cheating to me. I think in India anybody who goes to such an outlandish extent openly on Television (doing it behind closed doors may be harder to prosecute) will be liable to be prosecuted for cheating (section 420 of Indian Penal Code, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_420_of_the_Indian_Penal_Code)]

Around 8:13 John Oliver says, "... And yet, not only is everything you have seen so far, legal, (but) the money people donate in response to it is tax-free. If you are registered as a religious non-profit or especially as a church you are given broad exemptions from taxation and regulation."

There's more in the twenty minute video including details of John Oliver corresponding with a church that kept asking for money from him on one pretext or the other, and John Oliver opening a new fake church himself called "Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption" which he says was disturbingly easy to open.

=== end John Oliver video part =====

Ravi: India should have a Hindu Ashram Financial Transparency Watch organization like USA's Ministry Watch. From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ministry_Watch: Ministry Watch is an independent evangelical Christian organization whose purpose is to review Protestant ministries for financial accountability and transparency, and to provide independent advice to Protestants considering making donations to them. As an adjudicator it also gives a critical assessment of the ministry.
--- end wiki extract ---

[I thank the producers of the John Oliver video above as well as Wikipedia, and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing some transcripts and extracts on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]