Saturday, October 31, 2015

My comments on the open letter to Shri Madhusudhan Naidu from his college mate, Shri Ranganatha Raju

Last updated on 2nd Nov. 2015

At the outset, I would like to state that I presume that SaiBliss has confirmed that Sai university alumnus, bro. Ranganatha Raju, did write this OPEN LETTER to Shri Madhusudhan Naidu put up here: https://www.facebook.com/saimemories/posts/981178101928763:0. [Update: I received confirmation from Sai Bliss as well as another alumni brother that the letter is from bro. Ranganatha Raju.]

I congratulate Sai university alumnus bro. Ranganatha Raju for making these revelations about Shri Madhusudhan Rao Naidu. Now Muddenahalli group leaders/promoters who are from Sai university should give their response to this "OPEN LETTER TO MADHUSUDHAN NAIDU FROM HIS COLLEGE MATE", bro. Ranganatha Raju. That will allow us Sai devotees to view the matter in an unbiased way, as the letter revelations are essentially an eyewitness account without evidence backing them though there can be other eyewitnesses from the Sai university community who can corroborate bro. Ranganatha Raju's words, if they are willing to go PUBLIC with their statements.
In fact, I think it is time for Sai university alumni who can corroborate bro. Ranganatha Raju's statements, to do so PUBLICLY, as a VITAL SERVICE to our beloved Lord, Kali Yuga Avatar, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Bro. Ranganatha Raju writes, "Dear devotees we the alumni of Mother Sai's university urge you not to believe Madhusudan as he is misleading you all with His scholarly and dramatics skills. Swami is not a ghost to be possessed even by His students. You will be doing a huge damage to your own spiritual path and also to the Sai Movement by believing Madhusudan and entourage". This earnest request from bro. Ranganatha Raju needs CORROBORATION of whatever he has mentioned in his OPEN LETTER as that will increase authenticity of those statements in the eyes of Sai devotees. The earnest request also needs PUBLIC support on social media from other Sai university alumni, so that Sai devotees worldwide KNOW that this is the view of most Sai university alumni.

Come on, Sai university alumni brothers! DON'T BE SILENT and leave everything to Bhagavan to sort out. You have to act as instruments of the Lord in His mission, and do your little bit to prevent Sathya Sai devotees WORLDWIDE by getting misled by Madhusudhan Naidu, and prevent the WORLDWIDE Sathya Sai mission from getting DIVIDED BIGTIME. Muddenahalli group is no longer a tiny splinter group. They recently conducted a competitive Yagnam in Muddenahalli when Prasanthi Nilayam conducted Veda Purusha Saptaha Yagna (at Dasara time). They have planned to conduct a world youth conference at their Bhagavan birthday celebrations at the same time as Prasanthi Nilayam celebrates Bhagavan's 90th birthday celebrations. I have seen how a parallel splinter group in the 1990s in my samithi in Dombivli, Maharashtra created significant problems for the small (hundred to two hundred members) Sathya Sai devotee group there. I feel this Muddenahalli group parallel activities are similar to what I experienced in my samithi in the 1990s, but on a much, much bigger scale and are clearly having a negative impact on Prasanthi Nilayam Sathya Sai mission. To quote a Sai university alumnus who requested me to share his thoughts on this matter on my blog, 'Does it not cross the mind that Swami never gives/gave instructions for a "Athi Rudra Maha Yagna" being conducted elsewhere when He Himself presides over a "Veda Purusha Sapthaha Yagna"?'

Come brothers, join the very, very few Sai university alumni who are now publicly speaking up and warning devotees NOT to get MISGUIDED by Madhusudhan Naidu's FALSE and OUTRAGEOUS claims of being a so called communicator of our beloved Lord, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Let the Sai devotees worldwide know that you too, as a Sai university alumnus, join in your Sai university alumnus brother Ranganatha Raju's earnest request to Sai devotees worldwide to NOT believe Madhusudhan Naidu.
=====================================

The above contents were put up on a Facebook post of mine here: https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1674248259458411. Given below is material from a couple of comments there.

Brother Rajen Rajen provided the following images:


You may left-click to open the image above in a new tab where you can easily magnify the image using browser magnify commands (Ctrl & + usually magnifies and Ctrl & - reduces magnification).

He wrote: These are discourses delivered by Bhagawan in 1984. ...d Sadhana Trust publishes them. D relevant page is pg 316 of Vol 2.


--- end comment extracts from Facebook post ---

Readers may also want to have a look at the blog post, Very limited PUBLIC response from Sai university alumni to Bro Ranganatha Raju's OPEN LETTER to Bro Madhusudhan Naidu, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/11/very-limited-public-response-from-sai.html, dated Nov. 2nd 2015.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Krita Yuga (Satya Yuga) according to Manusmruti; Sathya Sai discourse extracts on it; What about Muddenahalli group Sathya Yuga (Krita Yuga)?

In response to my Facebook post asking Muddenahalli group leaders to give us more details about their Sathya Yuga, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1673812349502002, bro. Ivan Escalona​ wrote a knowledgeable about Vedic (Hindu) scripture comment which I felt appropriate to share as a separate post (bro Ivan was OK with this post being put up).

Ivan Escalona wrote:
I think that definition of Satya Yuga is inaccurate. For one thing lets take that in Satya yuga (actually from what Ive seen, Swami always refered to it as krta yuga and not satya yuga) there are a lot of troubles from time to time, for instance you see that the first 4 of the dashavatara of Vishnu incarnated in this era, mind you, hiranyaksha and hiranya kashipur conquered the 3 worlds and put every good person to death, religion ceased, atheism was on the rise and he even tried to change the name of hari from the vedas to hiranyakashipur for instance. So we can see that krta yuga is not the paradise everyone imagine, I grant it that it is a more pure era in the sense that all the legs of dharma are standing.

I think what makes it a big challenge for them to explain is things like the ones that appear in the vedas regarding it. I recall some of things from the Manu Smrti about this yuga. Swami have said that this Manu Smriti is the most highest scripture of dharma there is, all the other dharma shastras come from it.

For one thing it is said that in krta yuga people will live an average of 400 years, it is in Kali where the people are expected to live 100 years. The prescribed way of liberation in kali age is namasmarana and the prescribed dharma is charity or service, whereas in krta yuga it is dhyana, but not just your regular 5min jyoti meditation before going to work, a dhyana that lasts for hundreds and even thousand of years and the prescribed dharma is tapas (like the ones we see in the puranas that after then they were granted boons and so and so). No I ask them, if we are in Krta yuga, then of what avail was all of Swami's instructions on namasmarana and bhajans and his insistance on those if we are now to do another practice of which actually few of not nobody knows of and doesnt have the strength or even enough lifespan to perform. But wait, there is more, in Kali Yuga the Manu smriti is not the best one to follow, but the parashara smriti, in krta yuga the manu smriti is the one to follow, so how are we going to do this? We should now have kings ruling us, not presidents and not democracies... Also it is said that in Krta yuga we are accountable for other people's sins, in threta it is a country that its accountable for having a sinner citizen, in dwapara yuga it is the family, only in kali yuga we are accountable only for our own sins regardless of our association with sinners. So how is it going to be now?

And speaking of sins, kali yuga is suposed to end with the destruction of the sinners on the hands of kalki avatar. People often say swami is the kalki avatar, I disagree and will elaborate on this:

Kalki avatar is suposed to be married (twice if im not mistaken). He will be born from the last brahmin family that will exist in the face of the earth, today there are still lots of brahmin families. The kalki purana actually gives the name of the parents but I honestly dont remember them, but looking at our Swami, was he born in a brahmin family?? No. Kalki avatar is suposed to be here for 1000 years, so even if people will try to justify this by adding up the ages of the three sai avataras then Prema Sai would have to live for over 800 years so one can only figure how the plot is thickening. Another one is that kalki avatar will be trained in combat arts by parasurama avatar, he will be his guru, was Swami trained by any guru? He didnt even had upanayanam as I recall now, did he? Swami had 16 kalas, we all know that and many pose proud to have recognized and met and interacted with such a powerful avatar, kalki avatar on the other hand will have 8 kalas. So what are we talking about? Finally bhagavan vyasa will come out of his hiding place and will reveal himself and recognize kalki avatar as such.

--- end comment ---

Ravi: I thought I will browse the net to provide some reference sites for what bro. Ivan has written above.

From http://www.hinduwebsite.com/sacredscripts/hinduism/dharma/manusmriti_1.asp, Manusmriti, The Laws of Manu - Part 1, Trnaslated by George Bühler:

Chapter I

81. In the Krita age Dharma is four-footed and entire, and (so is) Truth; nor does any gain accrue to men by unrighteousness.
...
83. (Men are) free from disease, accomplish all their aims, and live four hundred years in the Krita age, but in the Treta and (in each of) the succeeding (ages) their life is lessened by one quarter.
...
85. One set of duties (is prescribed) for men in the Krita age, different ones in the Treta and in the Dvapara, and (again) another (set) in the Kali, in a proportion as (those) ages decrease in length.

86. In the Krita age the chief (virtue) is declared to be (the performance of) austerities, in the Treta (divine) knowledge, in the Dvapara (the performance of) sacrifices, in the Kali liberality alone.
--- end extracts from Manu Smruti ---

Some words about Krita Yuga (i.e. Satya Yuga) from Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's discourses are given below:

1) From http://www.sssbpt.info/summershowers/ss2000/ss2000-13.pdf, 27 May 2000:

In the Krita Yuga it was tapas,
In the Tretya Yuga it was yajna,
In the Dwapara Yuga it became worship,
And now in the Kali Yuga it is namasmarana.

Embodiments of Love! Students, Boys and Girls!

The teachings of Manu offer an unsurpassed guide for achieving lasting happiness and joy in each and every yuga or age. Manu declared that for the Krita Yuga the right path was penance and meditation; for the Treta Yuga it was performing appropriate yajnas [Vedic rituals]; for the Dwapara Yuga the prescribed path was worship, and for the Kali Age it is namasmarana or chanting the Name of the Lord.
...

The people of the Krita Age were engaged in the constant meditation of the Lord. They meditated not for just a few minutes or hours or even days; they were always absorbed in the thought of God. They were guided by the scriptural teaching:

Sarvada Sarvakalesu Sarvatra Hari Cintanam.

Contemplate on God at all times and under all circumstances. In those days, people were beyond unworthy desires and narrowminded feelings. Their hearts were pure, their feelings were sacred, their mind was mature, and they were ever in bliss. They therefore never entertained any petty or worldly desires. They enjoyed God’s grace and were blessed with good crops as well as all the other needs of daily life. Such people are not to be found these days. The essence of bharatiya culture was amply reflected in the behaviour, conduct, and the sacred feelings of the people of the Krita Yuga. People of those times sought unity in diversity. They did not have any kind of dissatisfaction or discontent. A  sacred heart produces a mature mind. In that age, life moved at a leisurely pace. Unlike people of modern times who are tied to rigid schedules, they did not have specific meals at specific times, like breakfast, lunch, etc. They did not have the wide variety of vegetables that is available today. Their meals were thus very simple in nature; they ate rice with curds in the morning and did so again at night. That is why people of those days were both healthy and strong. They made use of all available time for contemplating on God. However, with the passage of time, this practice of simple living and high thinking began to get slowly eroded.

2) From http://www.sssbpt.info/ssspeaks/volume29/d960712.pdf, Prasanthi Nilayam, 12 July 1996:

There is nothing greater than the chanting of the Divine Name in this Kali Age. This is the best medicine for all worldly ills. Meditation, sacrifice, and worship) are prescribed as the primary means of liberation in the Krita, Treta and Dwapara Yugas, respectively. Namasmarana (remembrance of the name) is the easiest path to liberation in this Kali Yuga.

Therefore, people born in this yuga are more fortunate than those that lived in the other three yuga. But, unfortunately, people today are not able to follow such an easy path. You are unable to sit steadily even for a couple of minutes. Then what sort of penance can you perform? It is impossible. Therefore, take refuge in namasmarana. There is no greater spiritual discipline (sadhana) than this. When you continuously sing the Divine Name, it drives away all your evil qualities. You yourself can see how blissful you become when you sing the Divine Name. That is why God is described as Ganalola and Ganapriya (lover of music).

--- end divine discourse extracts ---

Ravi: So now that Muddenahalli group is out of Kali Yuga and into Satya Yuga (Krita Yuga), it would be wonderful if Shri B.N. Narasimhamurthy and Shri Madhusudhan Naidu give some details about Muddenahalli Satya Yuga (Krita Yuga) like what has been given above.

====================================================================

Some additional input from FB post comment exchanges:

Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
Great input, Ivan Escalona. Thanks a ton. I would like to put up your comment alone as a Facebook post, and even put it up on my FREE blog, to give it more visibility. Are you OK with either or both? ... In this context, I would like to add that I was told some years ago (before Mahasamadhi), by a faculty of the Sai university, who is a Sai university alumnus and somebody with some interest in such scriptural matters, that Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba does not appear in every Kali Yuga! He has chosen to appear in this particular yuga-cycle! But I don't know whether this has been mentioned in any Sai literature, and so cannot comment on the authenticity of the info.
----------

Ivan Escalona wrote:
Please do so, it is not mine, it is vaidika vidya, so it belongs to the humanity!
...
I have only heard that, not read it. But it is true, in every maha yuga or cycle of 4 yugas (krta, threta, dwapara and kali), the happenings repeat themselves but not in the same way, different avatars incarnate in different mahayugas. For instance this one is a very blessed one, we have 3 purna avataras in the same maha yuga.

Plea for altruism may not work; reinforcement of belief in God's reward/punishment for good/bad acts may work

My response to the article, Let's be altruists, http://www.asianage.com/mystic-mantra/let-s-be-altruists-260, is given below.

About altruism being inborn among humans - I am not sure about that. Yes, humans may be willing to help a fellow human in great trouble. However, in general, they will not go too far in terms of sacrificing their well-being for others. Especially in today's world.

Therefore those who are willing to sacrifice themselves for others get revered by many people as great persons or even saints (though a few selfish kind of people may consider them to be fools).

A plea to the world to become altruists based on humanness may not get much response, IMHO.

About what the article mentioned about Islamic scripture giving examples of God's love for his creation, is interesting. However, people are quite sceptical about such views today, to be frank. Many, especially among the well educated youth, don't pray earnestly to God. Or they make some small effort of prayer to God, and expect the moon in return! And when that does not happen, they lose faith.

Instead I think the world today needs reinforcement of simple teachings of God's laws which are quite similar, in large part, across various mainstream religions. Sri Sathya Sai Baba would teach, "Daiva Preeti, Paap Bheeti, Sangha Neeti" - Love God, Fear sin (bad/hurtful actions), follow morality of society. I think Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Jainism, Judaism etc. would also have equivalent teachings. Essentially there has to be belief in the TRUTH that there is God/Divine power who is watching all actions that man does and that man will be rewarded/punished for his good/bad acts - in Hinduism (and Buddhism & Jainism, I believe), that is belief of karmic fruit in this birth or a future birth, in Christianity and Islam I believe there is a belief of Day of Judgement after death where this reward/punishment happens.

For those with no faith there is the Golden Rule. From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Rule, "One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself".

All religions teach that charity by the well off towards the poor is a good activity in the eyes of God. The problem is that people have become very selfish and materialistic in the world today, including India. They are concerned about their individual material success and enjoying all material stuff without worrying about those who are not so fortunate and are poor. THAT IS THE BIG PROBLEM. Enjoying material benefits by itself is not bad, but being very selfish and focusing only on one's own material benefits without worrying about society's poor, is what is a BIG PROBLEM.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

About creation, or more specifically, the idea of being created (identification with ego) and (idea of) being separate from God



I have given below my comments made on a Facebook post.

My understanding of Hindu scriptural view on these matters and which I think Sai Baba too endorsed, is that DESIRE is the ROOT cause of man/woman being deluded that he/she is separated from eternal & unchanging Brahman/Awareness. Karma is of course said to be another big factor in life. However, if a person has become DESIRELESS and focused on Awareness, the Karma will be gone through without much impact on the person.

They say that DESIRE is the main cause of even re-birth. The spirit-body/sukshma-sharira, after death of the earlier body, hankers after some things of the material world, and so is propelled to another birth, to satisfy that hankering. The spirit NEEDS A PHYSICAL BODY to fulfill its hankering! Now that is a key point of Hindu scripture, and that is why Hindus (and perhaps Buddhists & Jains) fear some spirits with bad desires (evil spirits) attempting to even enter into already living bodies (besides taking birth in a new body/baby's body).

While in the new birth the spirit-body/sukshma-sharira also has to endure its karmic debts of previous births.

But to become DESIRELESS is very, very difficult for most people. Thoughts and desires rush in to the mind that is trying to empty and remove itself, and people get enmeshed in Maya. Therefore the Dvaita (duality philosophy) teachers of Hinduism, which I think blends well with worship & adoration aspects of other religions like Christianity and Islam, teach people to fill themselves with DESIRE for God (God seen as separate from themselves typically, as an Ishta Devata (favourite God) like Krishna, Rama, Shiva figures, or the figure of Christ (son of God)). Such Dvaita devotees among Hindus VASTLY OUTNUMBER Advaita follower Hindus.

My view based on observation of Sathya Sai Baba during His darshan in Sai Kulwant Hall over the years, is that he understood that many of His devotees did not want to or felt uncomfortable with His Advaita teachings, and preferred to be in duality mode viewing Him as God in a separate physical body and themselves as devotee/Bhakta in separate physical body. They prefer to use paths of thinking of him and surrendering to him and doing service activities dedicated to him, rather than attempt to achieve DESIRELESS and THOUGHTLESS state of mind to experience self-realization. I think, like in the general case of Hindus, Sathya Sai devotees of Dvaita type VASTLY OUTNUMBER Advaita type Sathya Sai devotees.
--------------

Ravi S. Iyer Thanks [name-snipped] for your response. On the getting rid of the ego part (face the devil, as you said), I think what you are saying is in line with Bhagavan's discourses that I heard LIVE in Prasanthi Nilayam. BTW I use the words LIVE in Prasanthi Nilayam to clarify that I am basing my comments on UNEDITED by any text/audio editors discourses of Swami, and that I was part of the audience that Swami was addressing. It has been my observation that Swami would, many times, tailor his discourses for the audience he was addressing.

Swami would hammer away on EGO, and in Prasanthi Nilayam system, EGO was the favourite DEVIL :-). Administrators would also love to use it to suppress DISSENT and make subordinates listen to their orders without murmur :-). The subordinates would feel that the administrator suffers from EGO more than they, but could not say so to the administrator :-). The Telugu/Sanskrit word that Swami would use for EGO, IMHO, in his discourses typically was Ahamkaar though he would also use the English EGO word, at times, if I recall correctly.

Regarding the desire related part of your comment: In my previous comment I limited myself to desire in the context of life today, as against primordial desire. I mean, based on Swami's teachings/revelations, I believe that almost all of us Sai devotees (and almost all of others too) have had many, many (countless) previous births, and it is desires that have been the key aspect of our many, many previous lives and which have led us to take this life.

I have only some Hindu scripture reading exposure to the primordial desire part, and some of this Hindu scripture part has been endorsed by Swami. But I do not have a good understanding of it as of now.

Some extracts from Bhagavan's discourses on it:

From http://www.sathyasai.org/discour/2007/d071226.pdf:
What is Brahman? “I”. The Brahman neither is born nor has ‘death’. That is the only Truth; other events come and go. For example, I have willed to create this chain (Swami created a gold chain with His divine hand). This has been created by My Divine Will. It was not there earlier. Thus, all things and beings in this world are born out of sankalpa (will). Hence divine Sankalpa is the cause for all creation.

In addition, maya (illusion) also plays its role. When maya and Truth come together, creation takes place. Without maya, there can be no creation. The maya is like a shadow to a human being. But this shadow deludes us. At sunrise, our shadow is long. As the sun gradually rises, the shadow falls under our feet at mid-day. Thus, the shadow grows and shrinks. We should not therefore mistake the shadow as our basis.
-----

From http://www.sssbpt.info/ssspeaks/volume32/sss32p1-12.pdf:
The entire creation has divine origin, and the Creator is God. He willed: “Ekoham Bahusyam (I am alone, let Me be many),” and the creation manifested by His Will. Srishti (creation) has its origin from Parameshti (supreme power). Samashti (society) is a limb of srishti. Similarly, vyashti (individual) is a limb of samashti. Without srishti, samashti has no existence, and without samashti, there can be no vyashti.
----

From http://askbaba.helloyou.ch/discourses/d1974/d19741016-1.html
The Upanishaths (integral wisdom of Vedhas) declare, "Ekoham bahusyam" - "I am one, let me become many," willed God; and God became all this, in response to that divine desire, the primal urge.
-----

Ravi: The above extracts from Bhagavan's discourses CLEARLY ENDORSE the Upanishad view of primordial DIVINE DESIRE as the primordial cause of creation. Ekoham Bahusyam. The ONE WILLED that it should be MANY.

As far as I know the Upanishads do not get into further details like who was the first man and first woman (like Adam & Eve in Old Testament Jewish/Christian scripture which I think is also accepted by Islam). However, other Hindu scripture like the Vedic samhitas and puranas, have accounts of Hiranyagarbha as the specific way in which creation started. From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiranyagarbha, "Hiraṇyagarbha (Devanagari: हिरण्यगर्भः ; literally the 'golden womb' or 'golden egg', poetically rendered 'universal germ') is the source of the creation of the Universe or the manifested cosmos in Hindu philosophy, it finds mention in one hymn of the Ṛigveda (RV 10.121), known as the 'Hiraṇyagarbha Sūkta', suggesting a single creator deity(verse 8: yo deveṣv ādhi devā eka āsīt, Griffith:"He is the God of gods, and none beside him."), in the hymn identified as Prajāpati. The concept of the golden womb is again mentioned in Viswakarma suktha Rg 10-82."
-----

BTW as I was browsing the net to get some Sathya Sai quotes on "Ekoham Bahusyam", I came across this very interesting document, in the context of I am I teaching of Bhagavan, http://www.sathyasai.org/files2010/I-Am-I.doc, titled "I am I" by Sri Sathya Sai World Foundation, seemingly dated 2010, having discourse extracts of Bhagavan related to I am I teaching of his.

Volunteer (free) service builds character; Religion is three-fourths character

From http://www.sssbpt.info/ssspeaks/volume09/sss09-30.pdf, Prashaanthi Nilayam, 28-10-1969, Divine Discourse by Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba:

YOUR task as swayam sevaks (self-servants) will be done, when you know full well the task for which you have earned this human frame, with all its potentialities and possibilities. It is to grow in love, expand that love, practise love, strengthen love and finally become Love and merge in the Illimitable Love, which is God. All your life, you must be Love, with Love, for Love. That is to say, love expressed through service to those that draw that love from you, and by drawing, help to increase it and deepen it. Spiritual discipline is designed to canalise that love, so that it may irrigate the heart, which will otherwise go dry.

The volunteers privileged to work a% (at) the Prashaanthi Nilayam have to set the ideal for similar workers all over the world. For, here, service emanates from genuine understanding of the meaning and purpose of life. When that is known, every step will be right, towards righteousness. And, if there be righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character; if there is beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home; if there be harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation; if there be order in the nation, there will be peace in the world. Righteousness consists in widening the horizon of your compassion. This Will necessarily promote the sum of human happiness.

Religion is three-fourths character. No person can claim to be religious if he merely observes the sacraments and rules, and fails to be upright and compassionate. Character alone can harden one to the blows of pain and pleasure. It alone can make man exclaim. "Death for me is a joke; birth cannot make me afraid!" This week that you have spent as volunteers here is a week of character-building of saadhana. Swayam means self; sevak means servant. You have been serving your own selves all these days.

--- end discourse extract ---

As somebody who has had the privilege of doing volunteer service in Sri Sathya Sai Seva Samithi, Dombivli, Maharashtra (Food distribution, medical camp and other activities) for nearly a decade, with around six stints of a week or two week Prasanthi Seva (Seva Dal service) at Prasanthi Nilayam with Bhagavan graciously giving Padanamaskar after these stints to all Seva Dal, followed by volunteer service as a teacher in the Sai university (Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning), Prasanthi Nilayam campus, from Jan. 2003 to Mar. 2012, I would like to HUMBLY SHARE that I have benefited greatly, from a spiritual perspective, by these acts of "serving my own self". I am deeply grateful to Kali Yuga Avatar, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, who taught me the VITAL IMPORTANCE of VOLUNTEER SERVICE (FREE SERVICE) done in a spirit of devotional offering to the Lord, for spiritual progress in Kali Yuga.

I have not written the above in a spirit of bragging about me - I had lots of faults earlier and still have some faults/flaws. I wrote the above, in a spirit of sharing with youngsters how I benefited from making serious attempts to FOLLOW Swami's teachings in regard to voluntary service. Perhaps that may help some youngsters (or even elders), who currently are not into voluntary service, to seriously attempt doing voluntary service to "serve their own self" and progress spiritually. Even if one such person does that, my objective in sharing the above post will be fulfilled. Jai Sairam!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Wintley Phipps on Negro spirituals and his view of the history of Amazing Grace song

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNuQbJst4Lk, 8 min. 35 secs., published April 2012.

I had seen (and heard) this video-song a few years ago, when I was not on Facebook nor was I an active blogger. I had then shared it over email with a few friends & acquaintances. I recall that one USA correspondent (white gentleman, senior/elder) wrote me that he had liked it a lot and had forwarded it to many others. Here it is, for those who have not heard the song clip, and some of the words of Wintley Phipps prior to him singing it.

At around 3:20 Wintley Phipps says,

[John Newton is considered to be the writer of Amazing Grace song] But do you know what John Newton did before he became a Christian? He was the captain of a slave ship and many believe heard this melody that sounds very much like a West African sorrow chant, and wrote the words, "Amazing Grace", and set his words to a slave melody. [Applause].

I looked up that song - I believe God wanted that song written just the way it was written, just so that we would be reminded that as Christians, whether black or white, free or bonded, in His eyes, we are all connected. [Applause] We are connected. And we are connected by God's Amazing Grace. Hallelujah! We are connected by God's Amazing Grace.

I looked up that song in the library of Congress - I went to the library of Congress. I looked up that song and wherever you see it authentically printed, you know what it says: Words - John Newton, Melody - Unknown.

I (will) tell the Lord when I get to heaven, I want to meet Abraham and Isaac and Jacob but boy I want to meet that slave called Unknown! [Applause]

I recorded that song the way I hear it when I sing it. I still hear the sounds of the slave ships in the water. I want to sing it for you the way John Newton probably first heard it coming up out of the belly of the ship. Listen.
--- end Wintley Phipps remarks extract prior to him singing part of Amazing Grace (in a different way)---

[I thank Wintley Phipps and the producers of this video (Bill & Gloria Gaither) and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above transcript of part of their video on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

I am I; Moksha

Last updated on 20th December 2016

Thought I should share a comment I made on a Facebook post which had some views on Advaita

Thought I would add my two bits here:

I have heard Bhagavan say in public discourses LIVE in Sai Kulwant Hall, "Mano moolam idam Jagath" i.e. the mind is at the root (is the cause) of this world. Which implies that if one is able to die-mind then the illusive jagath (world) disappears, leaving behind the eternal Atma (self) alone.

I have also heard Bhagavan in public discourses LIVE in Sai Kulwant Hall talk about "Tath Twam Asi" Mahavakya (great pithy statement) from the Upanishads - You are that. Implying that all of us (at our essential reality level) are God. But I found one discourse of his that I heard LIVE sitting in Sai Kulwant Hall, to be very, very useful in my own spiritual journey where he said "I am I". Maybe he had said that in discourses earlier too but I had not caught it properly. This time it went home very well, like a light bulb being switched on. To me it meant that at the ultimate reality level there is only I the Atma/Self, which projects the whole universe.

In earlier in-depth Advaita type discourse segments I have heard him very strongly emphasize that there is ONLY ONE not TWO. While I don't recall the exact words right now it was something like if one says You are God someone might (incorrectly) view it as there are two entities here You and God, and that the entity you is God (or of the same essence as God). If I recall correctly, Swami would hammer in that NO there aren't two, you and God, there is ONLY GOD.

I think that I cottoned on to this aspect of Bhagavan's teaching much better when he put it as I am I. Fascinatingly I read somewhere about Judaism having this revelation/teaching of I am that I am, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Am_that_I_Am.

About getting rid of false identification with body-mind-ego to realize oneself as the Atma: Sometimes, Moksha (liberation) is explained as a combination of Moha (infatuation/delusion) and Kshaya (destruction). One of Swami's discourses that I read explained this, and, if I recall correctly, said that removal of the infatuation/false identification with the body (& the world) was Moha-Kshaya i.e. Moksha which would then allow the divine Atma/self to be experienced. So liberation (moksha) is not something external to ourselves that we have to gain; it is just removal of the false (Maya) to realize that we are the unchanging Atma/Self/Awareness.
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I shared the above comments on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1673426742873896. I have given below my comment exchange on that Facebook post with Sai Das. Please note that Sai Das was OK with me sharing his comments on this FREE blog.

Sai Das wrote:
For many years, Swami taught Tat Tvam Asi (that thou art) and So Ham (I am He/That) and emphasized bhakti with told many traditional Hindu bhakti stories. Towards the last 10-15 years or so, to me He started shifting more towards Advaita Vedanta. It went from I am He/That to I am I to I AM I to just I AM. This is when I began to seriously shift my attention to Jnana yoga from Bhakti yoga. I haven't discarded Bhakti, just shifting my attention from it specifically. I consider my marga (path) to be Sai Jnana rather than just the commonly understood Advaita marga.

With Bhakti yoga, there is always duality and separation from God by definition. Many Bhaktas very much want to remain in duality while some want to merge with their Ishta Deva. With the latter, Bhakti becomes Advaita or non duality; different means to the same end.

When I was more of a Bhakta, I tended to think of Liberation as something to be achieved, acquired or bestowed from my current condition. When shifting my attention and focus to Advaita, I much better realized that it was my very nature; I understood that intellectually and objectively as a Bhakta. After some time, I noticed that my experience of "the world" changed; it became less and less of an objective experience and more subjective.

As you said, Maya really means false identification; seeing the unreal as real. What has been helpful for me is really seeing the waking state as a waking dream just as our sleeping dreams state is a sleeping dream. We are that which experiences the waking and sleeping dream states as well as the no dream state (deep sleep).

Liberation means liberation from false identification and it is the mind that creates this false identification. Liberation means the liberation from or end to the illusion of reincarnation and karma because there is nothing for karma to "cling to" and karma creates the illusion of reincarnation.

In MDH now, we see devotees who just aren't able or willing to graduate to the next level and are in my opinion, actually regressing by creating a form that isn't there to fill their need and actually perpetuates the maya of separation. This whole bizarre saga reminds me of the famous Hans Christian Anderson fable, The Emperors New Clothes....but I digress.

In conclusion, to me personally, in the last few years of Swami's physical presence, He was telling us it was time to shift our attention towards our real nature as God/Self/Pure Consciousness. I compare Swami's teachings to the traditional educational process where you continue to be educated and progress to the next level until you get your graduate degree. As we all know, some go on to that end directly, others dilly-dally, and others are held back and have to repeat.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
Very interesting comment brother Sai Das. I guess I have been more of a theory Advaita guy right from my college days/youth as I had read large amount of Hindu scripture & commentary related to it (Upanishads and Bhagavad Geeta being the most important of them), but lacked faith in its truth. Sathya Sai gave me that faith in the Advaita taught in these Hindu scripture as he ENDORSED them. However, I also learned the power of Bhakti from Sathya Sai Himself (through darshan interactions as well as His discourses heard LIVE in Sai Kulwant Hall), and the Sathya Sai fraternity.

One landmark discourse that I heard LIVE in Sai Kulwant Hall which was a turning point for me, in terms of learning to rely more on my inner Sai/God/Self than the outer Sathya Sai, was Swami telling in a public discourse in Sai Kulwant Hall that nobody should take Padanamaskar of him from then on, as why should God take Padanamaskar of God. I considered this as my Guru's instructions and followed it (I had taken His Padanamaskar as Seva Dal in the second half of the 90s). However, I found that others continued the practise and Swami, perhaps in His role as Loving mother, did not stop them even if they were disobeying his instructions. I was a little confused with that but preferred to follow his publicly delivered instructions, and not get into judging what others are doing.

I think I had heard these instructions from Swami via public discourse in or after 2003 (but I am not sure about it). But he had said it earlier (as well). Here's an extract from his Guru Purnima 2001 discourse in Prasanthi Nilayam, http://www.sssbpt.info/ssspeaks/volume34/sss34-13.pdf:

I want to tell you one more point. You may feel pained by what I am going to tell you now, but I am happy about it. From today onward, I am not going to give Padanamaskar to anybody because I and you are one. God is present in all. Easwara Sarva Bhutanam (God is the indweller of all beings). Understand this truth. From today onward, I have resolved not to give Namaskar, to anybody. You may do Namaskar to your parents as they and you are not aware of the truth that God is present in all. Since I know the truth, I shall follow it. The same Atma is present in you, Me, and everyone else. So, no one needs to do Namaskars to anyone for that matter. If you still want to do Namaskar, do it mentally. Bring your palms together and say, “Swami, I offer my ten senses to You”. That is enough. You don’t need to touch My feet to do Namaskar. Understand the truth that God is in you and act accordingly. Then you become God. If somebody is given Namaskar, others are feeling jealous. I am stopping this practice of giving Namaskars only to see that such feelings of jealousy do not sprout in you. Wherever you are, offer your Namaskar mentally. That gives Me happiness. I have told you this many times, but you have not put it into practice. Touching Swami’s feet and extolling Him are wrong practices. From this Guru Purnima, develop sacred feelings and enjoy supreme peace and bliss.
--- end discourse extract ---

Ravi: What I recall hearing LIVE in Sai Kulwant Hall from Swami was on similar lines. What a MASTER he was! He wanted his devotees to go beyond attachment to His form, and experience that they are DIVINITY/God themselves! Perhaps one can consider this 2001 Guru Purnima discourse of Swami as a milestone in His physical body spiritual master mission, where he wanted devotees to now "Understand the truth that God is in you and act accordingly. Then you become God." In other words, he wanted devotees to get into Advaita stage.

BTW May I share your comment on my free spiritual blog, ravisiyer.blogspot.in, for the benefit of that blog's readers & visitors?
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Sai Das wrote:
Of course you may share it Ravi S. Iyer

Even the great Advaita master Nisargadatta Maharaj did daily puja to his guru even up until his end and Ramana Maharshi accepted prasadam and often referred to holy forms. Re padnamaskar...it is the intention behind it. Swami is talking about the Divine acknowledging the Divine and not in the typical bhakti dualist separation gesture (not demeaning...just saying).

"Understand the truth that God is in you and act accordingly. Then you become God" - I don't mean to reinterpret anything Swami said but my take on this is that it should be understood in a certain context because Swami said many more times that "we are God"...not becoming God. I would say that the teaching in current context for Sai devotees (and anyone else) should be, "Understand the truth that you are God and act accordingly." This is a very important and potent teaching to ponder.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
Will share your comment on my blog, thanks. Yes the words becoming God should NOT BE interpreted as people changing into something that already are not. But I think sometimes Advaita truths like you realize you are God do not go down well sometimes with the audience and so perhaps Swami used Telugu words which the audience could relate to better, and that got translated to English as "become God". I always felt that it was a HUGE TASK for Swami to convey highest truths to a large variety of devotees listening to his discourses. Sometimes he would use terms that made sense to most in the audience. E.g. I am your shadow. That conveyed how inseparable he was with his devotees. Then he hastened to clarify that not shadow but I am the indweller within you.
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Sai Das wrote:
Ravi S. Iyer I have thought the same thing. I think that Swami is masterful how in one statement he can appeal to the unlearned and the learned. Swami is an Avatar for the masses so His teaching at large can't get to esoteric and still appeal to them. As you point out, there is more to His words than just their face value. As one Awakens, one can get deeper meaning from the same teachings. Having said that, "I do not speak through anyone else" can and should be taken at face value; it means exactly what it says. I couldn't resist that one. :-)

I also think Swami's teachings are seeds He plants within us to grow, mature, blossom and ultimately bear fruit. I believe it is incumbent on us to care and nurture these seeds and not just let them lie fallow. Back to the education analogy, all we are meant to learn from education has never been limited to just what is taught but what that education stimulates and produces.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
So well written, brother Sai Das. What a wonderful skill & gift you have in English expression! It is quite a treat to read some of your comments solely for your English!
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As I was browsing the net to get some Sathya Sai quotes on "Ekoham Bahusyam", I came across this very interesting document, in the context of I am I teaching of Bhagavan, http://www.sathyasai.org/files2010/I-Am-I.doc, titled "I am I" by Sri Sathya Sai World Foundation, seemingly dated 2010, having discourse extracts of Bhagavan related to I am I teaching of his.

Place for convenience, time for importance and stories for gratification - Muddenahalli.

Note: A former Sai university alumnus shared this article of his with me and was OK with me putting it up on this PUBLIC blog. [I have made some minor edits in this post which have been okayed by the author (Sai university alumnus).]
This writing is not about those who run the "show", this is about those who attend it. This may be read as very rude, disrespectful or even stern by some, while some may feel it necessary. Nevertheless it is still a perspective, maybe, even a perspective only.

When Swami was amongst us, festivals seemed to be the most beautiful in Puttaparthi. It seems to have changed now, isn't it? Was anyone in Parthi responsible for a decision that the Lord Himself decided to take? Was anyone in human form capable to decide for Him not to leave us and go? Was there not one devotee in the whole world whose prayers could hold Him from giving up His beautiful form? Well, if we were responsible, capable or devoted enough for any of it to happen where is that responsibility, capability and devotion gone?

It has gone to a place of more convenience. A place where festivals seems to be divine because "Swami" gives a discourse through someone else, while His own voice when played in Parthi does not seem to satisfy the soul? A place where darshan seems more divine because one gets to offer one's problems in a letter to "Swami" while His "Sannidhi" seems to be a mute symbol? Does it not cross the mind that Swami never gives/gave instructions for a "Athi Rudra Maha Yagna" being conducted elsewhere when He Himself presides over a "Veda Purusha Sapthaha Yagna"? Or it is again a matter of convenience to visualize Him sitting in a place because someone "claims" that He is seated there? Or is it even the blasphemous thought that He possibly does not preside over a yagna that He has conducted for uncountable number of years?

A world youth conference is planned at the same time as the birthday celebrations in Parthi. How many people called it a chance of lifetimes to actually be born in the same time as the yuga avatar, then come/ be born in India, then know about Andhra Pradesh, then come to Parthi and so on..remember those words that got thunderous applause? Today that same holy land that He chose to be born in seems to have less importance than a place that He visited once in a while? Would you want to celebrate your mother's birthday in your home or in some island that may just try to be a replica of your home? If you choose the replica, then you are just choosing convenience! It is never wrong to choose convenience, that is what each one wants but love was never meant to be convenient, devotion was never meant to be comfortable.

When Swami was amongst us, chances to get physically close to Him were the best memories of our life. It seems to have changed now, isn't it? Interview sessions don't happen anymore, sad, but one can't imagine sitting in the same interview room without Him. We are not so lucky today, possibly our quota of luck ran out the day He left us but there were many who were not even as lucky. We still want to feel that same luck? We can't accept that it is over? Why? What we got was not enough maybe? Was that time not enough to keep in the heart and cherish for a lifetime? If today I get an interview, my importance rises in my own eyes is it? Or in others' eyes? Was that time not enough for one to feel important, feel special for Him? Getting to speak to Him or hear Him through someone else makes one feel important today? Maybe lovely anecdotes, beautiful stories, enchanting feelings, divine experiences from the past are not enough that the mind, heart and soul still seeks for more?

That time seems to be a past that is either forgotten or wants to be re-created in the heart. Swami always said live in the present because it is omnipresent, but looks like it has not been allowed to last even a few years. The time for a place where all memories were created, where all experiences were woven, where all emotions were expressed seems to have reduced, seems to have changed priority. Priority for what? For more importance! For more recognition, for more daily joys! A love story with God is written by Him. Krishna narrated the Bhagvad Gita once to Arjuna, it seems to be enough for mankind for eons together now. The number of Bhagvad Gitas Swami gave, is that not enough? Does mankind still need more? Or is it that many want to think that they are the chosen Arjuna(s) of this age?  Time for getting importance was bestowed on mankind already, time for proving the importance is now.

When Swami was amongst us, His all knowing nature seemed to make a story of a lifetime. It seems to have changed now, isn't it? How does someone know if He is upset with him for a silly mistake or for a blunder of a lifetime? How does someone know that He is happy with him for a kind act or a devoted offering of love? But did one always get a reaction from Him before 2011? How was the heart satisfied then? Did it seek an acknowledgement that He knew everything about us? Did it seek a confirmation that He was always watching us? Did it ever depend on another person for an assurance that all will be well? Today, the mind searches for a sense of gratification that only another human mind can provide, it is having a thirst for an experience that a talented individual quenches, it is waiting for a magical moment that a magician conceives. Has it already forgotten the sense of fulfillment that only the divine can provide? Forgotten the satisfaction that the divine nectarine voice quenched? Forgotten the magic that only the divine could create? Why is re-creation so appealing to the mind? Why is imitation being so praise worthy? Why is the inexplicable being so easily justified by logic?

World tour was a promise made, yes, but was it not happening even when He was in the physical body? Was His promise of world tour a plan or His will? His will to leave the form earlier than "said" seems to find a completeness in existence elsewhere? A whole lifetime of an avatar was spent in satisfying humans' mind, heart and soul. Now He watches us satisfy His vision and mission that He clearly made, gave to each one. Is the guidance given, not enough? We still need to tell our hearts, through someone else that He wishes for this and that? What more satisfaction does one need to know that He is amidst us already like He was always?  An interview? Gifts? Kind words? Even in a human relationship the heart is intricately bound to the one it loves, nothing can satisfy it more than a look of the loved one, words from the dearest one and memories of the special one. Then why today does it find that look in someone else's eyes particularly? Why wait to hear words of appreciation from another mouth? Why create memories with another special one? Our souls have already found its gratification beyond what anyone or anything else can provide, our hearts are already filled with memories that brings tears to the eyes, stop feeding the mind.

Great Photo of Sathya Sai delight & wonder at his own miraculous creation of Krishna idol

Last updated on 28th October 2015



Courtesy: Vandana Prabhu, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=913075912120634 [My Facebook share of it: https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1673260339557203]

The above pic has what seems to be a Krishna idol manifested by Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba on an evening/night on the Chitravathi sands. The Krishna idol seems to be placed on top of a lit electric torch (long one).

Swami's eyes and face, IMHO, reflect delight coupled with wonder at his own creation. And the faces & eyes of Shri Kasturi and two of the young men seated to Swami's left (right in the photo) all of whom have a clear view of the idol, reflect that wonder too!

What a great & blessed photo this is, as it has captured the wonder & delight of the Sathya Sai Avatar at his assumed human form's creation of an idol of a former human form (Krishna) of his! Thanks to both the photographer and the person who shared this photo on the Internet for all Sai devotees to enjoy (for FREE) :-).
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Given below is a comment exchange with Shaun Brown who was OK with sharing his comment on this free blog.

Shaun Brown wrote:
Ravi, Howard Murphet used to tell us the same thing that you have said - that when Swami materialised something, it was His face that would light up with surprise and delight even more than that of the devotees! He said that Swami would have the most childlike expression of wonder and delight on His face, and that delight is what we see shining on His face in this photo.

Ravi S. Iyer wrote (slightly edited):
Great to hear that, Shaun Brown as they confirm the view from an eyewitness and famed chronicler of the early phase of Swami's mission. BTW Murphet's Man of Miracles was the first book on Swami that I read and I was blown away by it :-). I also had a chance to convey my gratitude in a few words in person, sometime in or after 2003, to an elderly Howard Murphet outside Sai Kulwant hall. May I share your words on my free spiritual blog ravisiyer.blogspot.com for the benefit of its readers?

Shaun Brown wrote:
Sai Ram Ravi, very happy for you to share these words. I used to spend a bit of time with Howard in the late 1990's and early 2000s and I'm glad to hear that you had a chance to meet him. The first book I read on Swami was also one of Howard's - Sai Baba Avatar. We both found that we felt our experiences with Swami had not been given to us simply for our own enjoyment or upliftment. They are a gift which has to be passed on to future generations so that they continue to give joy. I know Howard would be very happy with the work that your blog is doing in giving people the opportunity to remember God. Sai Ram and thank you for all that you are doing.

Ravi S. Iyer wrote (slightly edited):
Thanks. Entirely agree that our experiences with Swami are a gift which has to be passed on to future generations to give joy and to give FAITH. Thank you for the kind words about my blog. They add to my inspiration to share Swami mahima (glory) and teachings on my blog.

Monday, October 26, 2015

How money can corrupt spiritual radiance in spiritual institutions

This is an account of an ashram associated higher educational institution (a deemed university) in India that suffered significant loss of spiritual radiance/fire due to a combination of bodily passing away of the ashram founder and the influence of money.

During the time the ashram founder was alive, he was personally involved in running of this deemed university (DU). Salaries were rather limited especially for youngsters, as compared to well paying universities elsewhere in India. In fact, some youngsters were being paid very poor salary. But there was no compulsion. Youngsters were willing to work on low salary due to the physical proximity chances they had with the ashram founder who was a very powerful mystic. It was considered to be great good fortune to get a chance to serve the ashram founder in his DU. Further, expenses in the ashram setup were also quite limited for those who were living in the ashram or DU hostel.

This combination of simple & frugal lifestyle and devotional intensity of many youngsters in this DU and the PHYSICAL PRESENCE of the powerful mystic & founder of the ashram, created a very powerful spiritual atmosphere infused with PURITY & DIVINITY. The youngsters from the DU contributed very significantly to the spiritual RADIANCE of the DU. This was something that could be easily noted by visitors to the ashram.

When the powerful mystic and ashram founder passed away (bodily), shock waves ran through the ashram system including this DU. There was a HUGE administrative as well as spiritual VACUUM. Naturally there was some amount of trauma, chaos and confusion in the ashram system as a whole including the DU.

Some days after the physical bodily passing away of the ashram founder, the big concerns were about financial viability of the ashram system and its various institutions including the DU. Those concerns were addressed by the top ashram administrators (trustees) by explaining to the staff that the funds were adequate to run the show. However, the number of devotees/visitors to the ashram had plummeted and so had donations to the ashram system. It was a SEVERE CRISIS period.

In this CRISIS period some left the ashram system. But many stayed put and were willing to continue the work of the ashram founder.

To the surprise and even shock of an observer, the DU staff, around three months after the passing away of the founder, received significant pay hikes (sixth pay commission) and many youngsters were appointed on regular UGC pay scales giving them huge pay raises. On the one hand, donations to the ashram setup had almost stopped (if not stopped) and the future seemed very uncertain. And in this scenario, where normally one would worry about managing to keep paying salaries to staff, the DU paid staff were given significant pay hikes (with some youngsters being given HUGE pay raises)! [The DU also had free service staff who were offering the service as spiritual service to the ashram founder and not asking for any money to be paid for services rendered.]

Later it became known that the vice-chancellor of the DU had threatened to resign if the sixth pay commission hikes had not got implemented, and that another senior administrator of the DU (a former student of the DU who had become an administrator) had supported the vice-chancellor in this demand for sixth pay commission hike! It seems that the vice-chancellor (VC) was offering honorary service (no salary but only his expenses of travel being met, and lodging being provided). So the VC was NOT doing it for PERSONAL GAIN.

The mother trust of the ashram system which had to bear the increased salary burden, was already facing huge challenges. Sources said that the trustees tried to reason with the vice-chancellor but the vice-chancellor was firm in his threat to resign if his demand was not met. During that period of trauma and chaos in the ashram system, the last thing the trustees wanted was for the VC of the ashram DU to resign. So they buckled under the pressure of this resignation threat, and caved in to the sixth pay commission raise.

Once the DU got this sixth pay commission raise, naturally other ashram institution paid staff (e.g. hospitals) wanted the same! So it shortly became sixth pay commission raises for all ashram paid staff which the mother trust of the ashram orgn. had to bear at a time when incoming donations to it had drastically reduced, and when it was faced with a lot of other challenges.

It was felt by an observer that this was a period of GREAT SPIRITUAL TEST for the followers of the ashram founder. The DU being a higher education institution and perhaps the most precious and most loved institutional child of the ashram founder, had to lead the way forward for the rest of the ashram institutions. Even in non-spiritual regular world commercial companies, when the company founder dies, loyal employees know that it is a period of storm for the company and are willing to continue to work on the same salaries (they even take some salary cuts, at times) till the storm blows over in a year or so, by which time the company would have transitioned to the new top boss(es).

Here, it was a spiritual university! The observer felt that the NOBLE SPIRITUAL path that the DU vice-chancellor and other top administrators should have taken would have been to appeal to all paid staff of the DU, as a gesture of gratitude to the ashram founder, to continue to work on same salary for six months to a year (in other words, postpone the sixth pay commission implementation), as both devotees/visitors as well as donors to the ashram had drastically fallen. Perhaps that appeal would have met with support from many of the paid staff (though perhaps not all paid staff). That would have been a FANTASTIC show of SOLIDARITY with the mother trust of the ashram. How enthused the trustees would have felt by such a show of Tyaagam (sacrifice) by the staff of its university! That enthusiasm would have spread to the other institutions as well.

The SPIRITUAL RADIANCE of the DU would have BECOME BRIGHTER if they had done that.

Instead, the DU vice-chancellor forced the trust to implement sixth pay commission on threat of his resignation! [The observer does not know whether the other senior administrator too had threatened to resign.]

Now, one has to be practical too. If the DU paid staff were not listening to such appeals to serve the DU on same salary for six months to a year, and an exodus of paid staff had started, then it would have been appropriate for the VC to have informed the trust about the situation, and suggested immediate sixth pay commission implementation to stem the exodus. The trust itself may have then implemented sixth pay commission to stem the exodus.

But the VC had NO BUSINESS to THREATEN to RESIGN if sixth pay commission was not implemented in the spiritual university. That is NOT the SPIRITUAL and NOBLE way of doing things. The observer's view is that if the ashram founder were alive and had been informed of this resignation threat his words to the person would have been (in the founder's Indian language) Po ra po - translated as Go man, go OR Go, get lost.

Anyway, sixth pay commission salary hikes did get implemented for paid staff in ashram institutions around three to four months after the ashram founder passed away. This boost in money made many staff overjoyed and made the VC and, one presumes, the other administrator, great heroes to many among the DU paid staff. Those paid staff who used to ride bicycles were soon seen riding motorcycles. Those who used to ride motorcycles bought an additional small car. Some senior faculty could now buy big cars (in keeping with their "academic designation status").

Essentially, materialist lifestyle became the norm amongst many of the ashram paid staff. That brought down the spiritual RADIANCE. Only a very tiny few highly evolved spiritual people can maintain SPIRITUAL RADIANCE in the midst of sudden boost in money. For most, sudden boost in money turns the head towards the material world, and spiritual radiance takes a big hit.

And once somebody gets used to a more comfortable material lifestyle it becomes tough to get back to the less comfy material lifestyles one led earlier without much complaints. And, for ashram institutions, once salaries have been raised it is virtually impossible to undo it - they can only delay further raises, freeze new recruitment on regular pay scale (and go for temporary staff on lower contract salary), and increase workload on paid staff, to somehow run the show with the money they have.

The observer noted one DU paid staff saying that the ashram founder knew how much should be given to the staff. The implication of these words to the observer was that the ashram founder knew that if more money than needed was given to spiritual aspirant type staff of the spiritual deemed university, it would have a NEGATIVE effect on the spiritual journey of these spiritual aspirant type staff.

For spiritual aspirants who are doing regular worldly activities like being faculty in a spiritual university, 'ceiling on material desires' is a VITAL teaching. Too little money makes one struggle for basic amenities and that hinders one's effectiveness as a faculty in a spiritual university. More money than is needed can make one easily get lost into temptations of the material world that money can buy. Rather than contemplate about spiritual matters, such spiritual university faculty may end up contemplating the rise & fall of stock market prices or real estate values, or keep thinking about which fancy tech. gadget or fancy motorbike/car to buy next!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Foundation Laying Ceremony of Amaravati, The People's Capital, of Andhra Pradesh

Note: I felt it appropriate to copy-paste this post contents from my miscellaneous blog post, http://ravisiyermisc.blogspot.in/2015/10/foundation-laying-ceremony-of-amaravati.html.
I think the challenges faced by the Andhra Pradesh govt. after bifurcation of erstwhile unified Andhra Pradesh into Telangana (which got the jewel of Hyderabad in terms of revenue) and residual Andhra Pradesh (which has no big revenue generation city), are enormous and unparalleled in whatever I have seen or read about in my life in mainland India as an adult (or even as a boy) over the past four to five decades. That Hon'ble AP Chief Minister (CM) Shri N. Chandrababu Naidu, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N._Chandrababu_Naidu, and his team have courageously taken on this challenge and are doing everything they can to make it a great opportunity, is wonderful and inspiring. I pray to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba to shower His Grace on these efforts of AP CM N. Chandrababu Naidu and team, including those from the central govt. of India, govts. of Singapore & Japan, and private and public companies involved in this HUGE task of building a 21st century state capital city from scratch.

The Foundation laying ceremony event for the new capital Amaravati, The People's Capital, held on 22nd Oct. 2015, gave me a lot of information about what the AP govt. has achieved so far along with the help of the central govt. under Hon'ble Prime Minister (PM) Shri Narendra Modi, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narendra_Modi, as well as from others like the govt. of Singapore. Further, this is a unique kind of event in India, in my lifetime so far. A state capital city is being created from scratch! And as I now am a regular Andhra Pradesh citizen who has lived in Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh (AP) from Oct. 2002 onwards, (and who votes in municipal, state and union govt. elections as an AP citizen), I thought I can do a small service to the Andhra Pradesh state where I live, by capturing some of this foundation laying ceremony/event in this post. [Prior to moving to Puttaparthi in Oct. 2002, I spent most of the earlier four decades of my life in and around Mumbai/Bombay where I was born, raised and made a living (including many years in Dombivli on the outskirts of Mumbai).]

First some pictures of the event captured from a youtube video of the event:


Above: AP CM Shri N. Chandrababu Naidu handing over Foundation Yantram to PM Shri Narendra Modi


Above: Dignitaries touching Foundation Yantram


Above: PM Modi and pundits laying Foundation Yantram


Above pic: PM Modi and pundits laying Foundation Yantram


Above: Immediately after unveiling of Foundation Plaque by PM Modi


Above: Telangana CM K. Chandrashekar Rao graciously accepting bouquet from AP CM N. Chandrababu Naidu
------------

Here's the FULL video of new capital city of Andhra Pradesh, Amaravati, The People's Capital - Foundation laying ceremony, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQC4C_c1iYs, 5 hrs. 43 min. 5 secs, streamed live on Oct. 22nd 2015.

Clips of the above video with timestamps and description are given below.

------------------------
2:43:20 to 3:00:00
[video link starting at 2:43:20, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQC4C_c1iYs#t=9800]

Minister of AP cabinet and Puttaparthi MLA Dr. Palle Raghunatha Reddy, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palle_Raghunatha_Reddy, speaks. Followed by prayers from leaders/priests from various faiths with Dr. Palle Raghunatha Reddy being with them. The prayers are from Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Jain and Buddhist faiths. This is followed by blowing of conch shells.

------------------------
3:49:30 to 3:58:50
[video link starting at 3:49:30, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQC4C_c1iYs#t=13770]

Dignitaries coming out of vehicles and entering Amaravati gallery/pavillion: Hon'ble PM Shri Narendra Modi, Hon'ble Union Minister Shri Venkaiah Naidu (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venkaiah_Naidu), His Excellency Governor of AP & Telangana, Shri E.S.L. Narasimhan (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._S._L._Narasimhan), Hon'ble AP CM Chandrababu Naidu, Hon'ble Telangana CM K. Chandrashekar Rao (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalvakuntla_Chandrashekar_Rao) and others.

Family members of AP CM spending a few moments with PM.

A tour of the pavilion which has a 3D city model of Amaravati as (seemingly) the center piece.

------------------
4:00:15 to 4:09:30
[video link starting at 4:00:15, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQC4C_c1iYs#t=14415]

PM & other dignitaries participate in Yagnam (Shankusthapana, Poornahuthi)

The Foundation Yantram laying ceremony.

Elderly Pandit blessing all dignitaries including Singapore minister Shri Iswaran (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S._Iswaran), AP High Court Chief Justice Shri Bhosale, and Supreme Court Justice Shri Ramana (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N._V._Ramana). The minister from Japan, Mr. Yosuke Takagi (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y%C5%8Dsuke_Takagi), is also present on the stage. [Note that Japan and Singapore seem to be playing significant roles in the planning stage for Amaravati, and are expected to do the same in building Amaravati.]

------------------
4:11:00 to 4:12:25
[video link starting at 4:11:00, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQC4C_c1iYs#t=15060]

PM Modi unveiling the Foundation Plaque

------------------
4:16:07 to 4:16:25
[video link starting at 4:16:07, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQC4C_c1iYs#t=15367]

AP CM N.C. Naidu offering bouquet to Telangana CM K.C. Rao which the latter accepts very graciously. Telangana CM K.C. Rao then waves to the crowd, some of whom wave back.

[Ravi: What an extraordinary and very pleasing to the heart this sight is! I think this is the first time that Telangana CM K.C. Rao has visited Andhra Pradesh after bifurcation. How high the passions were running in the years leading up to bifurcation! How many lives have been lost! I congratulate these two chief ministers for publicly coming together for this foundation laying ceremony for new capital of Andhra Pradesh, Amaravati, and sending a very clear message to the citizens of both the Telugu states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, that it is time to bury the hatchet and work together in peace and harmony for mutual development. Really great of AP CM Naidu to have gone out of his way to invite Telanagana CM K.C. Rao, and very gracious of Telangana CM K.C. Rao to have accepted the invitation and been so gracious in this ceremony (he also spoke at this ceremony later on).]

------------------
4:20:20 to 4:22:00
[video link starting at 4:20:20, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQC4C_c1iYs#t=15620]

PM Modi hands over neelu (water) and matti (soil) from Parliament Bhavan (House) in New Delhi to AP CM Naidu to add to the soil & water of many holy and revered places in the country being added to the soil & water of the new capital, Amaravati.

------------------
4:22:20 to 4:28:14
[video link starting at 4:22:20, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQC4C_c1iYs#t=15740]

Japanese minister for Economy, Trade & Industry, Yosuke Takagi, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y%C5%8Dsuke_Takagi, speaks (in Japanese, translated to English by a translator) He refers to Buddhist legacy of this place and that the Japanese study in their textbooks about the great Buddhist teacher/scholar Nagarjuna having visited this place, and that it is a matter of great pride and honour for him to be present here.
Some extracts from his speech:

To the dear people of Andhra Pradesh, today I stand here as a representative of Japan and I can see for myself that tremendous efforts have gone into making this event such a grand affair and such a success. Please convey my word of appreciation for all the effort that has been taken. Thank you.
We in Japan have learned from our young days that this great land of Amaravati was a great seat of learning for Buddhism right from the 3rd century BC and here is where the seed of the Japanese nation's culture and values have emerged. In our textbooks we learn that Nagarjuna visited the city. For me to be standing here at this great spot today is a matter of great pride and honour.

I have had the good honour to see many of the Buddhist sculptures and stupas that have been excavated from around this area. It makes us realize not only what great beauty people had, what great faith, but also what great technology. For me to be standing here makes me feel a sense of respect for the people of this place.

Once again as a Japanese I have the good fortune to stand on the sacred land which is once again set to become a vibrant centre and a great city. This time in history, Japan is here to lend a helping hand. Our experience in technology is here to contribute to this great city. This in Buddhism we call (en?) and this in Hinduism we call Sanjog. This is Sanjog.

We from Japan understand what great efforts it takes to make a new city. We remember from World War II, from the burning fields, how we created a new nation all out of nothing. All our experience, all our technology and our good wishes are here to help the people of Amaravati make this beautiful and wonderful city. Our wish is to be part of the story from the beginning. And we are here (with) our friendship and (our efforts).

The Asia-Pacific region has the potential for becoming the growth engine for the entire global economy. This great state of Andhra Pradesh is poised to be the gateway for Asia-Pacific and the Indian ocean region. I believe it has the potential to be the centre of what can be called the Asia-Pacific ocean region and to be the center and the hub of this place.

With the backdrop of our historical and cultural ties, the two great nations of Japan and India are once again poised - the largest and the oldest democracy in Asia both will show leadership under a legal framework .... The starting of this new capital and our co-operation is a symbol of the great possibilities between these two nations.

I close my speech today with my hope that this new city of Amaravati will prosper and grow for eternity in (continuance) with the flourishing of Asia. Thank you very much. Our heartiest congratulations on this (felicitous) occasion.

--- end Japanese minister's speech ---

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4:28:45 to 4:34:42
[video link starting at 4:28:45, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQC4C_c1iYs#t=16125]

Mr. Iswaran, minister of Trade and Industry of Singapore, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S._Iswaran, speaks (in English). Extracts from his speech:

I am delighted to join all of you today in celebrating Vijayadashami and also deeply honoured to represent Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and the government and people of Singapore to witness this special ceremony to mark the beginning of Andhra Pradesh's new capital city, Amaravati. Singapore is honoured and privileged to be able to play a part in Amaravati's evolving story. One year ago, chief minister Chandrababu Naidu visited Singapore and shared with us his inspiring vision for Andhra Pradesh and Amaravati. He wanted Andhra to have a world class capital city, a people's capital offering jobs and opportunities for a better life; dynamic, vibrant and highly livable city that is environmentally sustainable and respects the rich culture and heritage of the people of Andhra Pradesh. Chief minister Naidu visited Singapore and he invited us to partner him and his team to turn this vision into reality, and we readily agreed.

Because India and Singapore are very close partners; because the chief minister is an old friend of Singapore; and also because, this is an opportunity for us from Singapore to share with India and with Andhra Pradesh our experience in urban development to contribute to a meaningful and transformative effort in India. Prime Minister Modi as part of his vision .. urbanization has been identified (as) one of the key priority areas for a rising India today. His smart cities, Amrut and Swacchh Bharat initiatives to develop hundred smart cities and rejuvenate another five hundred have a profound impact - they will have a profound impact on the lives of millions of Indian citizens and it will make the urban and rural areas of India highly livable.

With this in mind, Prime Minister Modi welcomed (and supported the partnership of) Singapore with Andhra Pradesh in Amaravati's development when our emeritus senior minister Goh Chok Tong and I met him last year in Delhi, and we are deeply grateful for his support and encouragement.
...
Chief Minister, Singapore stands ready to partner with you and your citizens and your team of officials and minsters as well as the government of India to contribute and share our expertise for the next stage of Amaravati's development.

Finally, on behalf of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore and the government and people of Singapore, I want to offer our congratulations and best wishes to Prime Minister Modi, Chief Minister Naidu and all the people of Andhra Pradesh as you lay the foundation stone for your new capital city. May Amaravati fulfill its destiny as the city that lives for ever and grows to be the pride and joy of all Andhra people.

Namaskaram. Thank you.
--- end extracts from Singapore minister Iswaran's speech ---

------------------
4:35:00 to 4:37:18
[video link starting at 4:35:00, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQC4C_c1iYs#t=16500]

Telangana CM K.Chandrashekar Rao speaks (in Telugu)

-----------------
4:37:40 to 4:41:30
[video link starting at 4:37:40, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQC4C_c1iYs#t=16660]

Union minister Shri Venkaiah Naidu speaks (in Telugu)

-----------------
4:42:00 to 5:02:03
[video link starting at 4:42:00, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQC4C_c1iYs#t=16920]

AP CM Shri Nara Chandrababu Naidu, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N._Chandrababu_Naidu, speaks (in Telugu mostly but some English too)

He welcomed everybody and thanked everybody. He particularly thanked the farmers who have given their lands for building the capital city.

He said that sacred soil and water from all holy sites from all over the state and some other places too, had been brought to the Capital city, Amaravati.

An extract from his speech (English part)
Now I am requesting honourable Prime Minister sir, yesterday we have spread all sacred soil and also water throughout capital. With your hands (referring to PM Modi) you have laid the foundation today. It is a very, very powerful soil now. We wanted to make it powerful soil and also (a) very attractive place. Now, you are here. Automatically, all over the world, people are watching (this event). I don't have any doubt (that) anything you start will be successful. Even Amaravati will be (grandly) successful. That is what I am expecting (and) people are wishing. [PM Modi applauds.]

Sir, there is a history for this city. ... There is a very good Vaastu also. .. Name (is) also Amaravati, (a) very pleasant name. When we announced (the name) Amaravati, everybody is saying it is (an) excellent name. Now there is people support. Above all this (support from) all Gods, either Hindu God, Muslim God or Christian Gods, everybody is blessing. Sir, even the Muhurtham [Ravi: auspicious time] is the best Muhurtham. You have come all the way from Delhi, that too (on) VijayaDashami day. It is a rare opportunity. It is the best lagnam.
...
Under your leadership [Ravi: refering to PM Modi], I am confident we will build world's best capital, that is people's capital, in Amaravati.
---end English extract ---

He (AP CM Mr. Naidu) thanked the PM Modi for financial help rendered (so far).

He mentioned that he had approached Singapore govt. for help in preparing a master plan for the capital city and that they responded very well and very quickly. People of AP should be thankful to the govt. of Singapore for this help they have rendered.

He said that similarly the Japanese govt. has come forward to help in making the capital city.

He thanked PM for various help rendered to AP (after bifurcation).

Another extract of English part of speech:

Sir, we are all thankful to you. For the last sixteen months you have done extremely well. We have taken some benefits from central government, sir. You know the pains of bifurcation. We are having so many problems. Even in the bifurcation act there are some provisions and also in the parliament they have announced special package. Also, we are requesting only one thing from you. There are neighbouring states: one is Telangana - they are having Hyderabad, one is Tamil Nadu - they are having Chennai, one is Karnataka - they are having Bangalore. We don't have any income generation city. We need your cooperation. We are requesting you (for) handholding till we reach neighbouring states (in this aspect). Sir, I am confident that you will extend all the cooperation in this regard.
--- end extract ---

He detailed the vision and targets for the future years and decades for Andhra Pradesh state.

----------------------
The last parts of PM Shri Narendra Modi's, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narendra_Modi, speech in this video is missing. Instead this video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7LP_DvchgQ, has his speech in full from around 1:21:00 to 1:46:20, [Video auto-start at 1:21:00 link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7LP_DvchgQ#t=4860]. PM Shri Modi spoke in Hindi with Union minister Shri Venkaiah Naidu translating it to Telugu.

I have copy-pasted below my rough English translation of some of the paragraphs of the PM's speech, from another blogpost of mine here: http://ravisiyermisc.blogspot.in/2015/10/pm-narendra-modis-address-at-amaravati.html.

Today on this holy day of Vijayadashmi and after the worship of Shakti during Navarathri, Andhra Pradesh is taking an important step. Today the capital of Andhra Pradesh, which capital has been living with a cultural heritage for millenniums, has been living with a historical heritage, joining in with that cultural and historical heritage, Amaravati in a new form and in a modern style, is going to become the centre of the hopes and wishes of Andhra, and in this way it is going to really be a people's capital. I give my hearty congratulations to the government and the people of this place.

In the short time after forming a government, (Shri) Chandrababu (Naidu) has taken up this work with such speed, and is trying to incorporate in it the best from the world, that I heartily compliment Shri Chandrababu (Naidu).

After our country became free, very few new cities have been made and therefore making a new city in Bharat is not so common/well known as it should have been. It is unfortunate that in the past few decades a way of thinking (outlook/view) has been formed in our country that urbanization is a problem and in the course of that we have ignored this growth centre. Today it is the call of the times that we view urban development, not as a problem, but as an opportunity.

And therefore, the Indian govt. - like the way the world is changing, the way technology is being used, we will have to go towards creation of modern cities, and the Indian govt. has taken an important (much required) step of going in the direction of 100 smart cities. And our efforts are that these cities have to planned in a new way so that they are the center of economic activity, an engine of economic growth, and then (we will) have modern cities which uses very modern technology, has very modern transportation, has the facility of walk to work, will be green, and have no wastage.

I hope that in the new steps taken in the direction of urban development in the country, Amaravati, Andhra Pradesh becomes a signboard showing the way (forward), and I believe it will be so.

Now the minister from Japan was telling us that Japan has good/real experience of how difficult it is to build a new city. In my life too such an opportunity came, when in 2001 there was a terrible earthquake. After that the responsibility of being the chief minister of Gujarat came upon me. Our whole district of Kutch and important cities of other districts had been destroyed in a way. We had a big challenge of raising up all those villages and cities. But when there is political will, the consent of the citizens-God (citizens viewed as form of God) and clear vision, then (special) capabilities (powers) get acquired, and today that district has made its position among the fastest growing districts of Hindustan (India).

When I got this invitation of Amaravati (foundation ceremony), I had told Babu (Shri N. Chandrababu Naidu) that I will definitely come. But when I read in the newspaper that Chandrababu had gone to the house of the chief minister of Telangana (Shri K. Chandrashekar Rao) and invited him, when this news came to me then there was no limit to my happiness and for this action I give him special appreciation.
...
But now it is the call of the times that whether it is Andhra or Telangana, our Atma (self) is Telugu. And this Telugu Atma has two arms, Telangana and Andhra, and both should progress so much, both should be so complementary to each other that they should be our strength in furthering the glory of Hindustan (India).

I believe that the capacity to take maximum benefit from the startup (creation) campaign of the government of Bharat (India) is in this land (place/state). Lakhs (hundreds of thousands) of Andhra youth have achieved good positions as professionals in various countries of the world.
...
Do have belief/faith that the team (pair) of Chandrababu  and Narendra Modi, will bring to completion the matters that have been agreed, will complete it within the time frame and will fulfil the dreams of Andhra. Say after me, Victory to Bharat Mata (Mother India), Victory to Bharat Mata, Victory to Bharat Mata! Thank you very much.

---- end PM Modi speech extracts ---
=============================================
Readers may also want to visit the following links:

Modi lays foundation for Amaravati: As it happened, * http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/live-amaravati-new-capital-of-andhra-pradesh-foundation-ceremony/article7792142.ece

* PM lays foundation stone of Amaravati, http://www.narendramodi.in/pm-lays-foundation-stone-of-amaravati-365348

Does Prof. Shashidhara Prasad, ex-VC Sai university, BELIEVE that Kali Yuga has ended and Sathya Yuga has started on 23rd October 2015?

Last updated on 1st March 2015

From around 3:16:40 in this video, "Day 10 - Evening, Athi Rudra Maha Yagna & durga Puja-2015, Muddenahalli", https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCh0J6shWXw#t=11800, streamed live on Oct. 22nd 2015, you can hear Shri Madhusudhan Naidu say in Telugu, and Shri Narasimhamurthy say in English that tomorrow (i.e. 23rd October 2015) Kali Yuga will end and Sathya Yuga will start. Just after this statement is made, the video shows the audience, with what seems to be Prof. Shashidhara Prasad seated there. Very fortunately, thank God, Prof. Shashidhara Prasad (if it is him) does not applaud this statement.

Whether Prof. Shashidhara Prasad was present in this ceremony at Muddenahalli or not, it is well known that Prof. Shashidhara Prasad has attended Muddenahalli so called subtle body functions in the past. As a former vice-chancellor of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (SSSIHL, Sai university), from mid 2010 to Nov. 2014, Prof. Shashidhara Prasad has a great obligation and duty towards Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba and his perhaps millions of followers around the globe to clarify to us (Sathya Sai followers/devotees) what his stand is. By being present at such functions does he ENDORSE these statements of so called Sukshma Baba delivered through so called communicator Shri Madhusudhan Naidu, using the HOLY NAME of Kali Yuga Avatar, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba?

My question to Prof. Shashidhara Prasad is:
Sir, what is your stand on this statement of so called subtle body of Bhagavan based in Muddenahalli that Kali Yuga will end (has ended now) on 23rd October 2015 and Sathya Yuga will begin (has begun now)? You have to answer, sir. You cannot escape, sir, by ignoring the question. You were appointed vice-chancellor of Bhagvan's DIVINE university which has, as a key part of its educational mission, the objective of re-inforcing Sathya, Dharma, Shanti & Prema in the world by imparting such values to its students who are expected to be torch-bearers of these values in society later on. Please note sir, that SSSIHL is NOT just a UGC deemed university meant to teach and do research in worldly knowledge like sciences and commerce and management. It is the DIVINE university founded by Kali Yuga Avatar, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi.
Sir, you have an obligation and duty to all of us devotees of Bhagavan to respond and clarify your stand. I look forward earnestly to your answer, sir.
--- end my question to Prof. Shashidhara Prasad ---

Given below are recent comments of mine on a Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/sathyanarayana.raju.9/posts/689833924486428 [Update: Note that this post seems to have been deleted later on], which I felt appropriate to add to this post.

These comments (slightly edited) were made in response to the above Facebook post sharing a non-Indian (foreign) individual's post having the remarks:
"23 OCTOBER 2015
TODAY IN INDIA THERE ARE CELEBRATIONS FOR
THE END OF THE KALI YUGA AND
THE BEGINING OF THE GOLDEN AGE
LET'S HOPE....LET'S GET THE WAVE!!!"

The Facebook post share comments are: "[Name-snipped] Is today the end of Kali Yuga brother"

My comments on the above post are given below:

Ravi S. Iyer wrote: What NONSENSE! Just because a few hundred or thousand DELUDED devotees of so called Muddenahalli subtle body and the DELUDED communicators Madhusudhan Naidu and Narasimhamurthy believe it and celebrate it, does it mean that a country of 1.25 billion people believes SUCH NONSENSE. My God! How embarrassing it is for me to read such Facebook posts! ..... See how these Muddenahalli people are getting away with such NONSENSE by UNAUTHORISEDLY USING THE HOLY NAME of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba for their NONSENSE, and because of their PAST ASSOCIATION with his educational institution. I saw the former VC of the Sai university (or somebody who looks like him), Prof. Shashidhara Prasad, sitting in the front rows of the audience in the video which shows Naidu and Narasimhamurthy making the announcement (link passed on to me by somebody)! Somebody should ask Prof. Shashidhara Prasad the question, whether he thinks that Kali Yuga has ended and that we are in Sathya Yuga now! I AM FURIOUS!!!
---------------

Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
Muddenahalli group leaders and promoters say that what so called Sukshma Baba says is the same as/similar to what physical form Sathya Sai Baba said. In that case, should they not see what physical form Sathya Sai Baba has said about end of Kali Yuga in 21st century? As far as I know, physical form Sathya Sai Baba said NOTHING about end of Kali Yuga in 21st century.

If Muddenahalli group leaders and promoters are NOT able to show that physical form Bhagavan said that Kali Yuga will end in early 21st century (which is a very, very big statement) then they should realize that they are BEING DELUDED by Shri Narasimhamurthy and Shri Madhusudhan Naidu in the HOLY NAME of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. They, including Prof. Shashidhara Prasad, former vice-chancellor of the Sai university (from sometime in 2010 to Nov. 2014) SHOULD STOP SUPPORTING Narasimhamurthy and Madhusudhan Naidu thereby disassociating from these activities that are making a MOCKERY of Kali Yuga Avatar Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's name among the Hindu community the world over (which may be close to a billion in number, if not a billion).

Readers may also want to look at my blog post, Shri Narasimhamurthy of Muddenahalli supposedly said Kali Yuga will end (and Sathya Yuga will begin) on 23rd October 2015, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/10/shri-narasimhamurthy-of-muddenahalli.html.
------------

Update: The above contents were put up as a Facebook post here: https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1672942539588983. I have given below some of my comments (slightly edited) in this Facebook post.

Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
[name-snipped]: I have put up a blog post on this too (23 views so far), and also sent it over email. I am quite sure this matter would be brought to Prof. Shashidhara Prasad's notice by somebody. My relations with him are too strained for me to write to him directly. However, even if he comes to know about this post, he may take the easy route of simply not responding.

About the Kali Yuga period thing: I think there are some differing views on period of various Yugas. If I recall correctly, Swami has stated that Rama was born around 20,000 years ago and that Krishna was born around 5,000 years ago. Now Rama is said to have been in Treta Yuga and Krishna in Dwapara, with the bodily passing away of Krishna signalling the coming of the Kali age. What you have quoted seems to be more in line with Hindu scripture (though I do not know this aspect of it well enough to comment), where the periods are far bigger than what Swami's statement about when Rama and Krishna were living (in physical body) indicate.

A comment on your Facebook page referenced this remark from, http://media.radiosai.org/journals/vol_10/01MAY12/04_Dr.Sola_03.htm:
I remember once back in 2007 Swami was in Kodaikanal, this was shared with me by some of His students. And Swami just casually remarked “Sathya yuga begins in 2012.” He said it as casually as if he would say it rains during monsoon season and so we know that we’re at the end of one age and at the beginning of the next.
--- end extract from radiosai article ---

It would be wonderful if the students who were there in Kodaikanal at the time (2007) this quote was made, share with others what Swami told them. Was it something that some student(s) misunderstood and miscommunicated to the person interviewed in the above article. That certainly is a possibility. I have noticed that Muddenahalli group uses some special info./tidbits that some of their leaders have acquired due to many years of proximity with physical form of Bhagavan. Others who have had physical proximity with Bhagavan for long, and are not associated with Muddenahalli, should share their views and info. on the matter to bring more clarity and avoid one-sided views being propagated.

For persons like me who have never had an interview with Swami nor ever been to Kodaikanal on a trip with him (in my case I never deeply desired such physical proximity either), we have to go by PUBLIC STATEMENTS of Swami (physical form) in this regard. I do not know of any PUBLIC STATEMENT of Swami where he has mentioned the end of Kali Yuga. But he surely has mentioned that there will be change in the world for the better from a spiritual/ethical point of view, and that has been referred by some Sai devotees as a "golden age" or a "Sai age" which will come in the near future, or is already being ushered in but is at a small level now. I had always understood this "golden age"/"Sai age" (even may have been loosely referred to as Sai Yugam/Swarna Yugam by some), as being a part of Kali Yuga.

I don't recall ever hearing from Swami in public statements of his, that this Sai age will involve ending of the current Kali Yuga and dawning of a new Krita/Sathya Yuga (first of the your Yuga cycle, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuga#Four_yugas). My view is that even if Swami had casually said to student(s) that Sathya Yuga begins in 2012, the reference would have been to a golden age within Kali Yuga, and not the end of Kali Yuga in 2011/2012 followed by a new Krita/Sathya Yuga in 2012.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
[Name-snipped]: Responding to an inner response-comment of yours on the outer level so that this comment has more visibility. [Name-snipped]: This comment may be of interest to you too.
1) About Swami's words about Kali Yuga being 4,32,000 years: An extract from http://www.sssbpt.info/summershowers/ss1978/ss1978-02.pdf, Summer Showers in Brindavan 1978, [I presume that this document is a discourse of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba; the document does not specifically say so, but the title, Summer Showers in Brindavan 1978 implies that it is a discourse by Bhagavan]:

Taking this into account, the Maharishis divided time into four Yugas called Kritha Yuga, Dwapara Yuga, Thretha Yuga, and the Kali Yuga. These will keep coming back again and again. In these, the word Kritha indicates four times, and the word Thretha indicates three times. The Dwapara signifies two times, and Kali gives us an authoritative unit of measurement. According to them, 4,32,000 years is the basic unit and represents the number of years in a Kali Yuga. Two times this or 8,64,000 years represents the Dwapara Yuga. Three times this basic number of 12,96,000 years is the measure of Thretha Yuga. Four times this measure, namely, 17,28,000 years refers to Kritha Yuga. By adding all these, we get 43,20,000 years and this refers to a Maha Yuga. After a Maha Yuga, the Kritha Yuga will start again. In this manner and by assigning such measures, they interpreted time.
--- end discourse extract ---

Ravi: The key point to note here is that Bhagavan has preceded his length span of yugas comments by the words, "According to them", indicating that this is the view of the Maharishis (as recorded in Hindu scripture). It has been my observation that Bhagavan would be very respectful of Hindu scripture and try to avoid directly contradicting some parts of it. Anyway, clearly, in the above discourse Bhagavan is not stating HIS view but simply sharing the Hindu scripture view without CONFIRMING that it is HIS view too.

Bhagavan's dating of Rama (Threta yuga) to around 20,000 years ago and Krishna (Dwapara yuga) to around 5,800 years ago does not match with the above-mentioned Hindu scripture view of length of these yugas. See my blog post, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/01/sathya-sai-on-historicity-of-rama-and.html, for a youtube video link where Swami is seen and heard giving the dating of Rama and Krishna.

I should mention here that there are many, many holy books which constitute Hindu scripture. And there are contradictions between some of these holy books on some matters. The wiki page on Yuga, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuga, states that there is wide disagreement on length of the Yugas between Manusmruti and the Bhagavad Gita, two very important Hindu scriptural books, with the latter being more widely read, but the former still seems to be an important book for very conservative sections of Hindus. I must also mention here that Manusmruti has come for great amount of criticism among some powerful political and social circles in India for its promotion of Chaturvarna (four classes of Hindus: Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varna_(Hinduism)). [I have read/studied the Bhagavad Gita, if I recall correctly, when I was a college student, and have re-read it many times later on. But I have not read the Manusmruti. Perhaps all the criticism of Manusmruti by powerful political and social circles in India made me keep away from it. Bhagavad Gita & Upanishads, as well as Ramayana and Mahabharata, and Bhagavat Purana (Bhagavatam), on the other hand, do not face that kind of vehement criticism from these political and social circles, and so it was, and I think still is, quite socially permissible for students and adults to read and study them openly in India.]

Given this background, my view is that Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's words on these matters, especially those that are given in public discourses and on multiple occasions, are the authoritative words on the matter, as it comes from Bhagavan's supernatural knowledge of these matters. One should be careful however with casual comments by Bhagavan to some student(s) as sometimes Bhagavan has even joked on these matters, and student(s) could miscommunicate such matters. The joke should not be treated as a DIVINE REVELATION! In contrast, I have noted, again and again, while listening to Bhagavan's discourses LIVE with my own ears sitting in Sai Kulwant Hall, Prasanthi Nilayam, that Bhagavan would treat Hindu scriptural matters in these discourses in a very serious way. I mean, I honestly felt that Bhagavan would become a Hindu Dharmaadhikaari (Hindu Law giver) when talking about such Hindu scriptural matters in his discourses. He was then the Professor Emeritus of Hinduism giving his very knowledgeable and very wise lecture! No question about jokingly saying something incorrect on Hindu Dharma matters WHILE HE WAS GIVING THE DISCOURSE.

[Name-snipped], you mentioned that Hislop's book(s) has Swami stating that Kali Yuga is 11,000 years span. Can you provide the exact reference: book title & chapter (and if there is an Internet link for it, then it will be really great)? [Update on 1st March 2016: See blog post, In Hislop book, Sathya Sai says in 1968 that Kali Yuga has 5,320 years before ending, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/11/in-hislop-book-sathya-sai-says-in-1968.html, dated November 2nd 2015.]
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