Saturday, December 31, 2016

In some exceptional situations, anger may be good

In response to a Facebook post with the saying, "You'll not be punished for your anger, you'll be punished by your anger. - Buddha", I wrote the following:

My take is that in some exceptional situations, anger may be good.
Sometimes righteous anger leads to necessary, even if harsh, action against Asathya & Adharma. One sees that in the accounts of the Hindu Avatars. Not only in the account of Narasimha avatar who is famed for his anger at the demon king Hiranyakashipu whom he killed in a rather brutal way, but also Rama and Krishna Avatars. I think even Shirdi Sai and Sathya Sai avatars have been righteously angry at times and have acted strongly against Asathya & Adharma in that mood.
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Our Puranas have lots of incidents of anger and the good or bad it causes. Durvasa's anger may not have been righteous anger in many cases, as he could easily get angry and hurl damaging curses at people. But I cannot help mentioning here about Krishna's anger (feigned or real) at Sisupala's 100th criticism of Krishna at which Krishna cut off Sisupala's head. And then the sages who were humiliated by Krishna's own son, Samba, cursing the Yadava clan including Krishna to face destruction from what Samba would 'deliver'! Eventually Krishna too died/gave up the body (or allowed himself to die/give up the body) as a result of that curse, as the tip of the arrow from the hunter that pierced his heel had the deadly material which was 'delivered' by Samba.

My reading of Hindu epics and also accounts of Shirdi Sai and Sathya Sai tell me that there are many incidents of righteous anger displayed by Avatars and dharmic figures who use that anger to either destroy the Adharmic persons or to punish them. But the anger is typically a righteous anger and a slow to reach boiling point anger, and not a quick flash of anger. The lesson I have learned from these readings is that one should be very careful with and very respectful to spiritual masters and spiritual practitioners, and avoid doing things that may anger them. We should not make the mistake of presuming that they will be like Buddha that we read about who never got angry. As if these spiritual people do get angry they can curse and create damage through that curse. ... I mean, I believe that curses of spiritual masters and evolved spiritual practitioners have their power and therefore would like to avoid angering them.
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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Alike sports meet on 30 Dec. 2016 with Karnataka minister Ramesh Kumar as a chief guest, is NOT associated with Madhusudan Rao Naidu

Shubha Ramesh Kumar's Facebook post here, https://www.facebook.com/shubha.kumar/posts/10157726443285538, informs us that Hon'ble minister for health of the state of Karnataka, Shri Ramesh Kumar, has accepted the invitation to be a chief guest for Alike Sports Meet function on 30th Dec. 2016 (tomorrow). Shri Ramesh Kumar is Shubha Ramesh Kumar's father.

Note that Alike is in Karnataka state and is one of the Sai schools run by the Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust.

Shubha writes as follows:
Shri Gangadhar Bhat, reverentially referenced to as Anna is a doyen, a tyagajeevi and a great devotee of Swami that one and all in the Sai Community look up to including my father who is indicated on the invitation as one of the Chief Guests for the Alike Sports Meet.

My father's relationship with the tyagajeevis at Alike and the Alike institution is older than Madhusudhan Naidu, the whole Muddenahalli drama, and my father's ministerial position put together. It is in that spirit that he has gratefully accepted this invitation to be part of Swami's program at Alike. He is in no way associated with or chooses to endorse the drama that is unfortunately put forth and perpetuated by some devotees in Muddenahalli.

Jai Sai Ram.
---- end Shubha Ramesh Kumar post extract ----

Ravi: I made the following comment on Shubha's post:
Excellent clarification! Now those who want to know about the event and participation of Hon'ble minister from Karnataka in the event, have the info. easily available to them. Thanks.
---end comment ---

Ravi: I think it is wonderful that Alike school seems to be disassociating from the FALSE CLAIM so called communicator, Madhusudan Rao Naidu of Muddenahalli group, at least for some of its events.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

How Sathya Sai demonstrated that he knew all about Clive Raj Valydon in his first interview in Dec. 2000 and then guided him

Brother Clive Raj Valydon kindly permitted me to share his very interesting first interview experience with Sathya Sai in 2000. Given below is a slightly edited version of it taken from his Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/sathyanarayana.raju.9/posts/929394337197051, dated Dec. 25th 2016. Please note that Clive Raj Valydon lives in London. He is British (born in Britain) and his mother is Indian-Mauritian (who migrated to Britain, I guess). Clive's ex wife (mentioned below) is Venezuelan, I believe. Note that Swami below refers to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, and that the interview took place in his Prasanthi Nilayam ashram in Puttaparthi.

----- start (slightly edited) version of Clive Raj Valydon's Facebook post -------

Well before I begin this story, I would like to express that there (were) 3 different kind of Swami's [3 different aspects of Swami].

The first was Darshan Swami which was guru / universal teacher. The second was [group] interview room Swami which was the friend side of Swami, playful but also full of guidance. He will joke with you and also soften the mood and that same time he knew just how to slide so very important teachings in.

Take note whatever he says at this level will surely be for your own upliftment but (he) uses some mild humour to do it. At this level he is showing a slightly personal side to himself.

The 3rd Swami is mother. Full mother and this (is) only inside private interview room. This is the one. There (are) no jokes at this level. He will seriously show you his Shakti side. He will love you and you will melt and fall head over heels in love with him.

At this level he will tell you things about your life that nobody knows and this I'm telling from personal experience. He will tell you the problem and he will tell you why you have the problem. Then he will tell you what to do to fix it.
...

And with this in mind I'd like to share with you all a personal experience I once had with our beloved Bhagawan.

The year was Dec 2000.
The 28th at around 3:20pm in the afternoon.

Swami had just come back from what was the most exciting Xmas we ever had with him in Brindavan.

The Venezuelan group was the first group to be called for an interview after coming back from Whitefield that year.

It started with Swami walking up to our group and asking us how many. None of us knew the answer to this question. About 3 different members threw an answer at Swami. Swami knew we were playing guessing games with him. Then one fellow, God bless him, said, Swami we love you with all our heart but we just don't know how many we are.

That caught Swami. See how this fellow spoke the truth and we were able to catch him by speaking the truth. Go swami told.

I jumped first LOL. Everyone looked at me; sit down they told. We waited for Swami to enter the veranda. Then we got up.

My legs were shaking badly. And I couldn't stop them from shaking. We reached the veranda and sat down. Swami went inside.

Honestly speaking, the time Swami spends in the interview room before he calls you in feels like a lifetime. This is the moment where your life is about to change forever.

He calls us in. We go in. Swami told us off. Swami told three groups are here. Swami only called 1 group. Swami said so many of you. How will Swami walk? We moved. He walked and he sat down.

This interview - I was absolutely petrified. I was so nervous. I had heard so many rumours about Swami embarrassing people inside by revealing something. I was just so nervous.

This was the moment where I started to think, did I tell my wife everything about me or did I miss something out.

Hahahaha!

I sat in the back quietly. I was just happy to be there. I was praying for Swami not to look at me or saying anything to me. I'd be happy if I can leave without Swami saying a word to me I thought.

Just as I thought this Swami looked at my ex (former wife). And said, where is your husband? Oh my God! What will he come out with now? He is gonna embarrass me. I was very, very insecure as a teenager.

My ex looked at me. She saw I was nervous. He is there, Swami, she said. Now he looks at me with a half serious look.

Kind of smirking and says, Is he a good boy?

I just didn't answer. I was petrified. My ex told, He is trying Swami. He is trying hard.

Hummmmmm Swami told. Staring at me. My face must have gone white in this moment. [Swami said:] But he has temper, verrrrrrrrrrrrrry short temper. Like a fuse.

I just kept quiet. Swami knew I was not going to speak a word so then he asked me.

[Swami:] Boy, how many years of marriage???
[Clive response:] 2 Swami.
2 years, Swami told. 2 years and no children!

Swami then nodded his head making a Tus Tus sound with his lips.

Swami looked at my ex and said, do you want a baby?
[Ex said:] Whatever you want.
Swami asked again, do you want baby - this time little more serious.
Again my ex said same thing.
Then Swami looked at me and (asked), do you want baby?
I said, yes Swami.

Swami will give you a beautiful boy, Surya, he told.

Then he told me to go. So I got up and went inside (the) small (private) interview room. Then he called me back. And shouted at me. You go without wife. Bad boy! Bad boy!

Oh my God! I wanted to die right there. I almost cried; such was my emotion. I looked at my ex and she got up and I waited for her to go inside the small interview room. Then I went in.

I went and sat on the floor. Again Swami shouted at me. Get up, he told. Then he sat in his chair. Then he told, sit down.

It was my first interview with Swami. I didn't know the protocol of standing till he sits. Then we sat.

He told me and my ex all our problems. Down to a T.

Then swami asked me about my girlfriend!

My god! I almost died. What girlfriend, I told.

Swami could see I was petrified.

Swami told, before marriage: 1 girl here, 1 girl there, 1 girl everywhere. Not good, Swami told.

Then Swami told, don't worry. Past is past. You cannot change past. Now you are on correct path.

Very very happy. Take Padnamaskar [touching feet of Guru reverentially], he told.

I kissed his feet. Then he shouted. No sleeping! No sleeping! I got up.

And I swear to you one thing. Before I left that interview room. My lips were burnt badly. I had blisters. My lips had swollen up so badly I was unable to talk. By the time the interview was over my lips were badly damaged with blisters.

Such was the intensity of the Padnamaskar.

The moral of the experience was that Swami reads even our most intimate thoughts. And he plays on them.

I was petrified and he made me deal with it. Swami called another 4 times in the space of a few more days.

By the next interview, my confidence went up. Swami could see a difference in my body language.

I was no longer scared to be around Swami and learned how to enjoy him without feeling scared.

Aum Sai Ram
----- end (slightly edited) version of Clive Raj Valydon's Facebook post -------

Ravi: I shared Clive Raj Valydon's post on my Facebook timeline here: https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1838645769685325, with the share text as:
Clive Raj Valydon frankly tells about his first interview with Swami without hesitating to tell some unpleasant truths, making it very compelling reading and very interesting. I am sure this will be of great benefit to many Sai devotees. Bravo, Clive!!!
----

Given below are some comments on that Facebook post:

Taruni Tarun wrote: sai ram:) Brother clive is really very fortunate to have had so many personal experiences with swami :)loved reading it Thanks.for sharing.
----

Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
Clive Raj Valydon, I think your post which I shared is finding interest in some people. I don't know whether you would be comfortable with it being shared publicly (your share is with Facebook friends and their friends). If so, please let me know, as then I could put it up on my blog. However, if you prefer it being limited to your Facebook friends and family, that's perfectly fine by me.
----

Clive Raj Valydon wrote (slightly edited):
Sir, it's an experience. That's all it is. If it can (help) just 1 person at all then who am I to say no or yes.

An experience is there to be shared. You don't need my permission sir. Just do it.
----

Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
Brother Clive Raj Valydon, you are a very generous and giving man. Perhaps the most precious thing to give, for Sai devotees like you and me, is our experiences of our beloved Lord, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. So happy with this gesture of yours bro. and the way you put it in your comment. I earnestly pray to Bhagavan to keep showering his Grace on you.
----

Clive Raj Valydon wrote (slightly edited):
Ravi S. Iyer sir, I'm nothing. Sometimes the best thing to do is to remind (ourselves) that if we (are) something, it's due to his grace only. Without his grace I am nothing. But yes, do your work, sir.
----

Nisargadatta on Jnana path not being suitable for all; Sathya Sai on Jnana, Bhakti and Karma paths

In the article/extract here: http://nisargadatta.net/SwamiParamatmananda.html, Sadguru Nisargadatta is reported to have said to a person who thought that the path for her was just thinking that she is the Supreme Being, "Nowadays people are full of intellectual conceit.  They have no faith in the ancient traditional practices leading to Self-Knowledge.  They want everything served to them on a silver platter.  The path of knowledge makes sense to them and because of that, they may want to practice it.  The(y) will then find that it requires more concentration (than) they can muster and slowly becoming humble, they will finally take up easier practices like repetition of a mantra or worship of a form.  Slowly the belief in a Power greater then themselves will dawn on them and a taste for devotion will sprout in their heart.  Then only will it be possible for them to attain purity of mind and concentration.  The conceited have to go a very roundabout way.  Therefore I say that devotion is good enough for you".

Ravi:  IMHO, Jnana (Path of knowledge) without Bhakti (devotion) is a recipe for conceit leading to an illusion of being spiritually evolved when one is not really so. Somebody said that more dangerous than ignorance is the illusion (false belief) of being knowledgeable! I did falter badly in the initial days of my spiritual journey when I considered myself to be on the Jnana path but did not have Bhakti/faith in the Grace of the Lord and did not pray with intensity and faith to the Lord. Fortunately, I came to the feet of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, who corrected me which included some strong blows to my conceit, making me realize the need for sincere prayer to the Divine/Guru!!

Here are some interesting quotes of Sri Sathya Sai Baba on the matter:

"Swami, what is meant by Jnana or Spiritual Wisdom?
[Sathya Sai Baba:] Jnana does not mean bookish knowledge! It has nothing to do with scholarship. To acquire Jnana, you do not have to master numerous books. Truly speaking, Jnana is attained when you investigate all your shortcomings and get rid of them totally. Spiritual Wisdom is NOT attained by stuffing the brain!" - From http://www.saibaba.ws/teachings/conversation.htm

"There is no distinction between Bhakthi and Jnana. Just as Suguna becomes Nirguna, Bhakthi too becomes Jnana. I will not agree that Karma, Bhakthi and Jnana are separate. I do not even like to classify one of these as first, the other as the second and next as the third. I will not accept a mixture of all the three or even a samuchchaya, a merger of the three. Karma is Bhakthi and Bhakthi is Jnana: A block of Mysorepak has sweetness, weight and shape; the three cannot be separated, one from the other. Each little part of it has sweetness, weight and shape. We do not find shape in one part, weight in another and sweetness in a third. And when it is placed on the tongue taste is recognized, weight is lessened and shape is modified, all at the same time. So too, the Jiva, the Atma, and the Paramatma are not separate; they are one and the same.

Therefore, each individual deed must be full of the spirit of Seva, of Prema and of Jnana. In other words each group of life's activities must be saturated with Karma, Bhakthi and Jnana. This is verily the Purushothama Yoga. It has to be acted in practice, not merely spoken in words, Sadhana should be done constantly with ever-expanding heart full of Bhakthi and Jnana. The sweetness of nectar or (of?) the Lord's name is the charm of life; the internal joy derived from the Name is akin to the external joy of the outer life." - From http://www.saibaba.ws/vahini/premavahini/premavahini05.htm

[I thank nisargadatta.net and saibaba.ws and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extracts from their website on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

Monday, December 26, 2016

Sathya Sai did not come mainly for saints; He came mainly for those who are in the material world but are also into spirituality & religion

Last updated on Dec. 27th 2016

Some comments of mine made recently on Facebook are reproduced below (slightly edited):

See the great thing about Swami was he would transform people. If people were already saints they did not need to really come to Swami. They could have set up their own ashram.
---

Well, let me tell you what I heard. Swami said, I was told, that he has taken form of Sathya Sai not for dedicated renunciants (sannyasis) as there are already realized masters who are available for such sannyasis (and sannyasinis). Neither has he come for those who are utterly disinterested in spirituality and are only interested in material world. He has come for those in the middle, part of the world and yet having spiritual interests and aspirations.

That explanation seems to fit well into my experience of Prasanthi Nilayam. It has been and continues to be dominated by married people with families and not Tyagajeevis. And it is that, that is attractive to many people the world over. How to lead a family life and yet be spiritual and progress towards God?

One should not forget that Rama and Krishna were also like that. In fact, they married and even had children.

So, yes, Parthi was not full of saints and is not full of saints even now :-). In fact, sometimes one feels that one has to hunt hard to find saints or saint-like people in Parthi. There was Bhagavan at a very high pinnacle of spiritual mastery and knowledge and spiritual power surrounded by (spiritual knowledge wise/spiritual mastery wise) little men and women (including me). And I think that is why Bhagavan's Mahasamadhi led to such chaos and confusion and trauma, creating an environment where pretenders and impersonators of Bhagavan could attact Sathya Sai devotees.
---
==============================================================

Some comments of mine on my Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1838826126333956, associated with this blog post.

In response to a comment, "He came for everyone brother! Whenever in doubt, let's just ask Him what has He said and there is the answer.", I wrote:

I agree with the view that Bhagavan has left behind an awesome legacy of writings and discourses, as well as great numbers of devotees with direct experience of Bhagavan, who can be useful for all kinds of people. But I used the qualifier 'mainly'. My view is that he spent most of his time with people who were into a mix of material and spiritual life. This is in contrast to some spiritual masters who would have sannyasi and sannyasini disciples whom the spiritual master would be very close to and raise as successors to his/her spiritual legacy & mission.
----

Regarding part of a comment, "Regarding experiences of devotees, isn't it better to learn about Swami's message directly through Swami rather than through some other person?", I wrote:

Well, one of the greatest gifts that I received from Sathya Sai and Sathya Sai devotees is the gift of faith in divine power and Hindu scripture. My faith in these prior to Sathya Sai was somewhat weak. Sathya Sai made it quite strong. I think Sathya Sai devotees who have 'encountered' Sathya Sai divine power, may be able to inspire or pass on that faith in some manner to people who have not experienced Sathya Sai divine power or any other divine power.

Also, while Sathya Sai discourses would cover Swami's views on love, it is those who have experienced his love & compassion that will be able to talk about it with confidence and surety to others. How Sathya Sai transformed the life of a devotee is also best related by a devotee, as Sathya Sai sometimes would shy away from saying such things and leave it to the devotees to say it.

God and the devotee(s); Avatar and the bhaktas - One seems incomplete without the other, isn't it? So from a Sai reading point of view too, I think both are needed, direct words of Sai, and words of devotees about how they experienced Sai.
----

I wrote:

I agree that Swami's direct words are the most vital words, and should, after context is properly factored in, be viewed as the final authority.
----

In response to a comment, " It's about balancing spiritual life with worldly life sir.

That is why swami always wanted us back in the world and not over stay in PN", I wrote:
Well, Swami's instructions were different for different people. He gauged/knew the background of people who had come to him and guided accordingly.
----

In response to a comment (slightly edited), "Swami is for eveyone...He is omnipresent and beyond any time boundaries .Swami has come for the spiritual uplift of the masses(masses meaning the majority ) .He has not come for a elite few ...Rest of the chaos and confusion that had happened are probably due to the ignorance of some people who were overly attached to the physical form but perhaps not so to his messages... thus limiting swami to one physical form and due to the physical absence searching for the same else where and in the process thinking a very very ordinary glass stone to be a kohinoor diamond ..", I wrote (slightly edited):
Well said, --name-snipped--.
----

Terry Reis Kennedy wrote:
No known saints in these here parts [Ravi: referring to Puttaparthi]......but some darn good people, nevertheless.
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Ravi S. Iyer responded (slightly edited):
Well said, Terry. I agree. Puttaparthi has a lot of good people.
----

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Some Silent Night youtube videos

"Silent Night" ft. Plácido Domingo -The Piano Guys #ASaviorIsBorn, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMvURdq8V6U, around 4 mins. The great Placido Domingo singing some lines of Silent Night

The best of Silent Night - Christmas in Vienna, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Rh1xzpKc-o, around 11 mins. A gathering of superstars!

Silent Night (Live At The Helix In Dublin, Ireland/2013), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kf16EBNTxGI, 3 min. 30 secs

Justin Bieber singing Silent Night (audio only)! This is one of the first times I am hearing his voice. He does a great job singing two verses of Silent Night! Some voice! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WZI4g7qKrg, 2 min. 49 secs.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Nicholas Kristof-Tim Keller interview; Can one be rational, needing evidence for belief, and still be a Christian in the 21st century?

Last updated on 25th Dec. 2016

I came across this very interesting article by a regular New York Times columnist, Nicholas Kristof, Am I a Christian, Pastor Timothy Keller?, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/23/opinion/sunday/pastor-am-i-a-christian.html, Dec. 23rd 2016.

It has a question and answer session between Kristof and Pastor, Timothy Keller, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Keller_(pastor).

[I guess I will have to read at least one book of Pastor Keller, about whom I think I had not heard earlier. The wiki mentions his book, The reason for God, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Reason_for_God, published in 2008 as making it to #7 on the New York Times Nonfiction bestseller list. Amazon India lists new paperback copy of the book at Rs. 694/-, http://www.amazon.in/Reason-God-Timothy-Keller/dp/034097933X.]

Kristof starts off the Q&A by saying that he has deep admiration for the teachings (message) of Jesus but is skeptical of the miracles associated with Jesus including the key belief of his miraculous virgin birth and his miraculous resurrection. He asks Pastor Keller whether he can mix and match (i.e. love teachings of Jesus but not have belief in his miracles), and, in particular, asks him whether virgin birth of Jesus is an essential belief (required of a practising Christian).

Keller responds by indicating that virgin birth of Jesus is an integral part of the Christian faith and that if one removes that requirement it would destabilize the Christian faith/religion. He likens it to a hypothetical situation of him being a member of Greenpeace board but who publicly states that climate change is a hoax. He says that Greenpeace then would ask him to resign.

Kristof tells him that some parts of the New Testament that are the earliest accounts of Jesus' life, like Gospel of Mark and Paul's letter to the Galatians, do not mention the virgin birth. Given that, Kristof asks, "So isn’t there room for skepticism?".

Keller responds that Luc Ferry, French philosopher, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luc_Ferry, born 1951, based on the Gospel of John's account of birth of Jesus, "said this taught that the power behind the whole universe was not just an impersonal cosmic principle but a real person who could be known and loved." Keller states that Greek and Roman philosophers (of early Christianity time) were scandalised by the belief in virgin birth of Jesus, "but was revolutionary in the history of human thought". [Ravi: Well, the Hindu belief in Avatars is the descent or advent of the Divine in human (or animal) form, and has been around well before Jesus Christ. Krishna and Rama are such divine avatars who were devoutly believed in in Hindu India centuries (and, I believe, millenniums) before the advent of Jesus Christ. In particular, Rama and Krishna, are believed to be advents of the Divine to not only restore righteousness (Dharma) to Hindu society they were born in (some say, the world), but to give Hindus a way to easily relate to the Divine principle (Absolute Brahman/Formless God) that is the basis for creation and sustenance of the world, through a human form that is imbued with divine powers and attributes. Examples of such divine powers and attributes are love, peace, joy, compassion and benevolent protection to those who follow righteousness (Dharma) and worship (pray to) the Divine seeking His grace and/or protection.]

Keller goes on to say, "It led to a new emphasis on the importance of the individual person and on love as the supreme virtue, because Jesus was not just a great human being, but the pre-existing Creator God, miraculously come to earth as a human being." [Ravi: I view Jesus like I view Hindu Avatars like Rama and Krishna; God/divine taking human form with divine powers & attributes to reinforce faith in the divine and restore righteousness to human society.]

The conversation then turns to the resurrection of Jesus, with Kristof raising concerns of fuzziness about its description in the New Testament, and Keller responding to those concerns. Keller refers to the book, “The Resurrection of the Son of God”, by Rev. N.T. Wright, "a leading British New Testament scholar and retired Anglican bishop", born 1948, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N._T._Wright, where it is argued that it is hard to come up with a plausible alternate explanation for the Christian movement's birth other than the resurrection. "It is hard to account for thousands of Jews virtually overnight worshiping a human being as divine when everything about their religion and culture conditioned them to believe that was not only impossible, but deeply heretical." Keller (or N.T. Wright) argues that the best explanation for these thousands of Jews "virtually overnight" worshiping Jesus Christ as divine, was that many hundreds of them had seen the (risen/resurrected) Jesus (after crucifixion) with their own eyes.

Kristof directly asks Pastor Keller whether (according to Keller) he (Kristof) is a Christian. Pastor Keller gives a frank answer.

The Q&A continues with Kristof not letting go of his right to be skeptical of the Christian beliefs in miracles with the same skepticism he (a journalist) uses for belief in miracles in other faith traditions like Islam, Hinduism and Taoism. And Keller does his best to respond.

Then it moves to:

*) Human rights and morality being more related to faith than logic and science

*) The methodology of science having issues in dealing with non-repeatable supernatural causes (& events)

*) The struggle that those with faith including Keller have had with doubt

*) Whether Jesus is the only way for redemption, what about billions of people of other faiths (Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism), would Gandhi have gone to hell?

Ravi: Fascinating interview! I don't agree with certain aspects of Christian doctrine that Keller states in his responses to above questions. In particular, I don't accept Christian doctrine that salvation can come only through Jesus. But I like the frankness with which Keller responds to those questions based on his theological expertise and beliefs in the Christian faith. I mean, even if I disagree with Keller on some things, I at least know fairly clearly where he stands on the above matters and why he has taken those stands.

For me, more than particular belief in virgin birth or resurrection of Jesus in the exact way Christian doctrine (of various Christian denominations) prescribe, what is more important is the general belief that Jesus Christ did perform miracles (paranormal phenomena) like healing the sick and walking on water, and demonstrated superhuman divine attributes of love and compassion even towards those that hated him and persecuted him (including crucifying him). I mean, even if some recording/chronicling of the miraculous life of Jesus Christ like that of the virgin birth and resurrection, had some inaccuracies, but the general theme of these records/chronicles of the miraculous power of Jesus Christ is true (which is what I believe), that is enough for me to view Jesus Christ as an Avatar of God (divine come in human form), and so adore, love and worship Jesus Christ in that way.

The core spiritual texts of Hinduism like Vedanta (Upanishads which are typically philosophical and deal with highest understanding/views of the divine and such paths to realizing/merging with the divine), Bhagavad Gita (teachings of Krishna), Bhagavatam & Ramayana (accounts of Hindu Avatars), Samhita and Brahmana parts of the Vedas (dealing with beliefs & ritualistic part of Vedic Hinduism) and Agamas (I have very limited exposure to Agamas), do not have any exclusive path to salvation (which would be viewed as enlightenment or merger with the divine, from the Hindu perspective, I think). Various paths are given for salvation. Therefore, Hindus like me, view other religions like Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism as additional paths to the same one (and only one) absolute and formless divine power that pervades (projects) and sustains creation and which various paths of Hinduism talk about and eventually lead to realization of/merger into that one (and only) one divine power. This is a key difference of belief between a Hindu believer like me and a Christian believer & teacher like Pastor Keller.
========================================================

My understanding based on the above mentioned NYT article, is that Pastor Keller is of the view that if a person does not believe in virgin birth of Jesus Christ or the resurrection after crucifixion of Jesus Christ, that person cannot be viewed as a Christian. I think this rigidity of Christian doctrine seems to be a major reason why many turn away from the church. Very sad to see this rigidity.

Hinduism has its share of people who try to stick rigidly to traditions. However, in my lifetime at least, Hinduism is far more open to question and even reform than what one sees in the rigidity of Christian doctrine.

Never was I forced to obey/believe in any Hindu doctrine like Pastor Keller mentioned here in the context of Christianity. In my youth (I was born in 1962 in Bombay and raised in Bombay), my agnosticism and skepticism were also quite politely tolerated within my community. Never did anybody significant in my community tell me that I cannot be considered a Hindu because at that time I considered Rama and Krishna as well as Vedic gods like Indra and Varuna to be mythological figures and did not believe in the supposed miracles or superhuman feats that they did. So long as I was willing to do the rituals, even if it was not with belief, I was accepted. If my community had forced me to utter some sentences of belief and swear on it, I may well have given up being a Hindu, in my agnostic youth!!! Really!

That space my religion gave me, in the second half of the 20th century in Bombay and outlying areas (Dombivli), allowed me to slowly move from agnosticism to belief in supernatural power of Avatars like Rama and Krishna, over time.

[I thank nytimes.com and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above short extracts from their website on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

Wishing all who adore, love & worship Jesus Christ, a holy and spiritually uplifting Christmas Eve

One of my favourite Christmas songs, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing. Here is Jewel singing it Live, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PURr2u0HKGE, 3 min. 20 secs.

Some of the uplifting lines in it:

With angelic host proclaim
"Christ is born in Bethlehem"
Hark the herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn king"
...

Hail the heaven born prince of peace
Hail the son of righteousness
Light and life to all he brings
Risen with healing in his wings

Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark the herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn king"

Here are the full lyrics: https://play.google.com/music/preview/T7y6252dslnn44xa3wyvtkyrzx4?lyrics=1

Ravi: I wish all who adore, love and worship Jesus Christ (that includes me, for sure) a very holy and spiritually uplifting Christmas Eve.
============================================================

An Indian correspondent who was born & raised in an (Indian) Syrian Catholic family wrote in response (and was OK with public sharing):
A very happy holiday season and New Year to you!

2016 brought some surprises, many of them unwanted. I hope 2017 will show that, given time, things will settle down and bring peace, good health and happiness to the world.
---
I responded (slightly edited):
Amen. Thanks.
---

Terry Reis Kennedy wrote (slightly edited and was OK with public sharing):
Thanks, Ravi!  Just  beautiful. *****
---

A USA based correspondent wrote (and was OK with public sharing):
Much appreciated. I love Christmas, including the old songs and music, though I have no interest in the spiritual bits. I was listening to Handel's Messiah yesterday - great music and stirring choruses.
---
I wrote back:
Wonderful! I am glad you liked it.
---
He added:
This is not a rare position, it is also the stated opinion of Richard Dawkins :-). [Ravi: Please note that Richard Dawkins is perhaps the leading rationalist and atheist writer/speaker in the world.]
---

A Sai university alumnus and former science research-scholar (he later got a Ph.D.) and teacher, and now school teacher-and-administrator wrote (and was OK with public sharing):
Thank you so much sir for the Christmas lovely  wishes. V. V . V. Happy for receiving your special blessings on this Christmas Eve...
----
I wrote back (slightly edited):
BTW I don't give blessings as I actually am in the state of needing blessings rather than giving them :-). But I do give my best wishes.
---

Thursday, December 22, 2016

How to interpret Sathya Sai statement that for good work (required) money will come on its own

Last updated on 24th Dec. 2016

I have heard some persons in Prasanthi Nilayam say that Swami has said that for good work, money will come on its own. The implication was that if somebody wants to do some Seva activity that is good, money will never be a problem, and that that is Swami's assurance.

Now I have heard from many people about how careful Swami would be with money. One person who had many interactions with Swami about lots of work that he had done for Swami in Prasanthi Nilayam, told me that once when he asked Swami for money for the work, Swami responded on the lines of - Dabbu, Dabbu, Dabbu! Ekadnunchi vastundi Dabbu? That translates to - Money, money, money! From where will the money come? [Update: What I have written here about the person who did PN work for Swami, was about him asking Swami for money to pay labour and materials for work that Swami directly ordered him to do. This would have been in or around the 1970s and 1980s (or perhaps even the 1990s).]

This was the way Swami ensured that that person would know how carefully one should use money for Swami's work in Prasanthi Nilayam itself.

I also remember one situation when I was serving in the Sai university (free service from Jan 2003 to Mar. 2012 with designations of Honorary Staff, Honorary Faculty and Visiting Faculty) when concern was raised by the vice-chancellor to the HOD of the dept. I was in, about high current usage by the dept. and therefore high electric bill. The HOD told me that the VC told the HOD that if current usage was not within limits, DIVINE SANCTION would be required (for paying the higher electric bill)!! In other words, the VC said that he would have to take special sanction from Swami for higher than normal current usage, and so higher than normal electric bill. I was told that Swami used to sign checks himself for such expenses of university (and other institutions in Prasanthi Nilayam system, I presume) even in 2003/2004 (and maybe some other later years as well).

So the very clear impression I got was that till Mahasamadhi, money expenses in Prasanthi Nilayam were always under a lot of rigid control. Even salaries of paid staff were significantly lower than what it became a few months after Mahasamadhi.

After Mahasamadhi, I think there have been a lot of changes in thinking about such financial matters in Sathya Sai fraternity in general. In particular, some group(s) not related to Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust (I don't want to name such group(s) in this post), seem to have embarked upon rather frenzied institution building. Free School after free school, free hospital after free hospital, are being embarked upon! On the one hand, I am very happy with the service to humanity/society rendered but one wonders whether such projects can be sustained over time and one wonders about the challenges involved to maintain good quality of services. There are also past grand announcements of free school in every district in a state of India and recent announcement of new free hospital inauguration in Maharashtra (if I got that right) by next year-end, by that group!

Given this context, I thought it appropriate to look up discourses of Swami where he talks about funds for service projects. I view such discourses of (physical form) Sathya Sai as vital references about what his guidance was, and is, to the Sathya Sai fraternity about these matters. Given below are extracts from three discourses.

Extract from http://sssbpt.info/ssspeaks/volume03/sss03.pdf, Discourse 26, Meeting of the Trustees, Mysore City, 1963-09-15

I know also that you are worried about funds for the completion of your plans. Sunandamma even asked Me to show the way! Well, He who showed the way so long will do so hereafter also. This will be completed; otherwise, I would not have laid the foundation stone. Good works never languish for want of funds; the Lord will come to their rescue. Only it may take some time, so do not lose heart. The orange is quite bitter when it is green, but time gradually sweetens it into a delicious fruit. Patience and strenuous effort will get rewarded.

I must tell you, however, that for such good causes as this, do not collect money in devious ways. Help should come (from) pious hearts, from well-earned money, from persons who know and appreciate the purpose for which they give. That is why I oppose all benefit shows, where you tempt people with a dance or a drama or a film and collect money for your pet plan. I am also against lotteries, where the lure of getting a big prize for which one does not do anything, a prize collected out of other people’s earning, is used for the collection of funds.

Let each one give out of the fullness of his heart, on their own initiative, whatever they can give gladly after studying well the present work and the future possibilities of the institution. Your duty is only to inform. Do not try even to persuade. Begging for the sake of work that is inherently good is an insult to human nature —the one who asks and the one who is asked are both demeaned.

I want to give you this courage and this confidence. Carry on in a spirit of humility and fortitude, and you will succeed.

--- end extract ---

Extracts from http://www.sssbpt.info/ssspeaks/volume08/sss08-44.pdf, Prashaanthi Nilayam, 21-11-1968 [Note that the discourse seems to be addressed to district presidents of Sai orgn.]

Do not seek to exercise authority over others; seek rather to discover chances to be useful to them. When one neglects his duties, the positions of authority start causing headaches. Be a servant; a servant of God--then, all strength and joy will be added unto you. Try to be a master; then, you will arouse envy, hatred, anger and greed in every one around you. Feel that you are an instrument in His Hand; let Him shape you and use you as He knows best.
...
I was perusing the reports you gave Me on the points I had placed for your consideration. I must say that your suggestions regarding the raising of funds were uniformly bad. On this point, all of you are of one mind and that is not satisfactory to Me. Money is fundamentally rajoguna (quality of passion), fraught with danger and harm. Like the bees which collect and store honey for a future day, man too stores and collects money; but, alas, the bees are smoked out and the honey is stolen. I do not agree with any of your ideas to collect and store money. I do not like your going about collecting funds, or raising donations.

I assure you that funds will come, provided you sincerely pray, for every worthy cause. Have that faith; and watch the funds flow in. The sages of ancient times celebrated many yajnas, with no resources other than faith and sincerity. Now you are moved more by pride, by anxiety, by want of confidence; so you are not giving My suggestion of the box-with-the-slit to be filled secretly by members only, one after the other, any trial!

Moreover, I must tell you that not much money is needed for many of the items of work. Yearning in the heart, Name on the tongue---these are enough for Bhajan and Nagara sankeerthan. The Gopees (milk-maids of Bridhaavan) sang the Name of God when they churned the pots for butter, in the early morning hours. The bangles on their wrists jingled the time, the (whirl) of the rods in the pots provided the background tune, and the fragrant morning breeze carried the song into every neighbouring ear.

You need not collect an impressive crowd; you need no costly paraphernalia; they are superfluous impediments.

Do not spend much on lecturers and speakers. If any crave for monetary rewards or showy receptions, keep such at arm's length. A chair and a table will be quite ample; loudspeakers are a luxury for most of your meetings. They have become more status symbols than necessities. Set yourselves out as examples to organisations round about you, in the careful husbanding of resources and in avoiding wasteful expenditure. Have only as many gatherings as you can afford; do not call them together, because you must! People must look forward to them, and not feel they are too many.
--- end extract ----

Extracts from http://www.sssbpt.info/ssspeaks/volume34/sss34-02.pdf, Inauguration of SSSIHMS, 19th January 2001, Whitefield, Bangalore. [Note that this is at the super hospital Bangalore inauguration in 2001 and so should be viewed as very relevant to us in Dec. 2016 which is only close to sixteen years after Jan. 2001.]

We don’t have any distinction of caste, creed, religion and nationality. We offer free treatment to everybody. We are determined to offer free treatment, come what may, even if we have to take loans. We are prepared to spend any amount of money; safeguarding the life of patients is our main objective. All of you, particularly doctors, should learn this lesson. Eschew greed for money; develop love and spirit of sacrifice. Then money will come to you automatically.
...
Our Prime Minister Vajpayee took great pains to come here. Leaders like him are very essential for this world. He is a leader who supports and encourages noble causes like this. Ministers who extend their cooperation for good causes are very much necessary for the nation to progress. They should have noble feelings and love for God to attain Divine grace. There is nothing that one cannot achieve if one has Divine grace. Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu (May the whole world be happy!) That is My desire. I am prepared to do anything for this. I am prepared to sacrifice even My life for the welfare of humanity. Of what use is the life of one who does not aspire for the welfare of humanity? I always wish for the well being of others. My feelings are always pure and sacred. If your feelings and intentions are noble, you need not be worried about money; it will come to your doorstep.

Embodiments of Love!

We have caused great inconvenience to you by making you wait for a long time. You are all very tired having been sitting here patiently for the last three to four hours. Having taken part in this congregation, may you develop the spirit of sacrifice and spend your time, wealth and energy in the service of the poor! This is what I desire from you. I do not ask anything from anybody. Help the poor in every possible way. Feed the hungry. Food is God. Do not waste food. Do not waste money. Money makes many wrongs. Misuse of money is evil. The rich squander their wealth in drinking and gambling. Money should be put to proper use. One should not spend as one pleases. Do not waste energy and do not waste time. These are the four important principles that a man should adhere to. Time wasted is life wasted. Instead of wasting time in vain gossip, utilise it to serve society. Help everybody to the extent possible. This is what I expect you to do. Come and see it for yourself the work that is being done here with the spirit of sacrifice, and experience bliss. Here you will find the poor with happiness and joy on their faces. You should see to it that the poor lead a healthy and happy life. That should be your aim in life. Paropakara Punyaya Papaya Parapeedanam (one attains merit by serving others and commits sin by harming them). I bless you all so that you may attain the deservedness to see the happiness of the poor.

--- end extracts ---

In the above 2001 discourse (Whitefield, Bangalore hospital inauguration) extract, Swami said, "All of you, particularly doctors, should learn this lesson. Eschew greed for money; develop love and spirit of sacrifice. Then money will come to you automatically." And he also said, "If your feelings and intentions are noble, you need not be worried about money; it will come to your doorstep."

Ravi: I think the key attributes in the above quotes are noble intentions and feelings like love and spirit of sacrifice, and absence of greed. If these attributes are there in the leaders and staff/workers of a major Seva project like a free hospital or a free school, then Swami says that money will come to their doorstep.

But if some group is motivated by ambition to be viewed as great spiritual empire builders and imbued with a spirit of competition/one-upmanship with the very trust and organisations that (physical form) Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba himself founded and guided over a period of decades, I think Swami (Bhagavan) would not view such a group as having noble attributes. And if the leaders of the group are motivated by greed so that they can have a very comfortable/luxurious lifestyle using donor money (as against using their own money), then I think such usage of donor money would fit the statements in the same above 2001 discourse extract, "Do not waste money. Money makes many wrongs. Misuse of money is evil." I mean, such usage of donor money to support a very comfortable/luxurious lifestyle of the leaders of the group, has to be viewed as evil misuse of money, as per Swami's words.
=====================================================

Readers may want to view my related post, Opening and running Sathya Sai schools is not easy; Swami preferred that St. Andrews Scotland school be shut down (around 2009) when it faced money problems, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/12/opening-and-running-sathya-sai-schools.html.

[I thank sssbpt.info and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extracts of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's discourses from their website on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Lists of my blog posts dealing with my experiences with Sathya Sai, and my spiritual journey in general

Last updated on Dec. 21st 2016

Recently I was asked by somebody about my experiences with Swami (Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba). I said that I have blogged most of it and that I could point her to those of my blog posts. That led me to do to a quick (and so not so thorough) viewing of my blog including the partially done Table of Contents page, to identify which posts had some content related to my experiences with Swami. Note that most of these posts are not focused only on my experience with Swami - they have other content too.

I must also say right away that my physical form Swami experiences/interactions have mostly been facial/body gestures of Swami to me usually at fairly close distance of around five to ten feet, or his public discourses heard live by me in his presence, where he cleared specific doubts of mine (I believe that he would simply know such doubts of mine without me saying it to him verbally). I did not desire to get close physically to Swami but typically sought only his directions/advice to me as a Guru to a spiritual aspirant via his facial/bodily gestures and public discourses, which he gave me very well. I have not had any interviews with Swami and Swami has spoken to me in person only once at which time he said only two words, "Very Happy". I hasten to add that later on he did get angry with me on a few occasions with his gestures clearly showing his displeasure with me then.

20 Posts having some content dealing directly with my experiences with Swami
============================================================

1) One cannot hide anything from Swami; Sathya Sai Baba, the Dharmaadhikaari i.e. Great teacher/giver/authority of Dharma (Ethical living), http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2014/11/one-cannot-hide-anything-from-swami.html

2) I am just a beggar at your door, Swami (Sathya Sai Baba), http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/04/i-am-just-beggar-at-your-door-swami.html

3) My personal experiences & views about Sathya Sai preparing devotees for post-Mahasamadhi phase, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/06/my-personal-experiences-views-about.html

4) I am I; Moksha, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/10/i-am-i-moksha.html

5) My bookish views on Enlightenment/Self-realization/Moksha/liberation; Related Quotes of Sathya Sai Baba, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/10/my-bookish-views-on-enlightenmentself.html

6) Sathya Sai: no concessions on discipline; no reduction of rigour to suit your level, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/10/sathya-sai-no-concessions-on-discipline.html

7) Sathya Sai in 2000 interview: Swami lives inside our hearts; no need to go anywhere, even Parthi, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/03/sathya-sai-in-2000-interview-swami.html

9) My view about many-interviews, many-spoken-interactions "VIP" devotees and "form boys" in last eight years of Sathya Sai physical presence, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/10/my-view-about-many-interviews-many.html

10) Some people felt more connected to Shirdi Sai than Sathya Sai; Impact on followers is a big legacy of a spiritual master, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/07/some-people-felt-more-connected-to.html

11) Physically close missionary staff of Sathya Sai and non-missionary sadhaka-devotees/sincere devotees of Sathya Sai, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/09/physically-close-missionary-staff-of.html

12) Why were some unpleasant/unethical people present around Sri Sathya Sai Avatar?, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/07/why-were-some-unpleasantunethical.html

13) Claimed paranormal connections via mediums to Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba; Splinter devotee groups, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2014/07/paranormal-connections-via-mediums-to.html

14) Sathya Sai teaches lesson to Kasturi on not interfering with karma of others in Prasanthi Nilayam, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/11/sathya-sai-teaches-lesson-to-kasturi-on.html

15) A Five Year Inner Journey (Puttaparthi, November 2007), http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/07/a-five-year-inner-journey-puttaparthi.html

16) A Cultured Lady Devotee's Experiences of Shirdi Sai and Its Similarity to Sathya Sai Devotee Experiences, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2014/01/a-cultured-lady-devotees-experiences-of.html

17) Satyameva Jayate; Sathya Sai Baba on Truth; White Lies in India, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/09/some-thoughts-on-satyameva-jayate.html

18) Sathya Sai's exact response to prayers, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/01/sathya-sais-exact-response-to-prayers.html

19) Sharing experiences of Sathya Sai Avatar may be of great benefit to future generations of Sai devotees, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/09/sharing-experiences-of-sathya-sai.html

20) My comment responses to Ms. Yaani Drucker on so called Sukshma Baba (Muddenahalli subtle body) [See the blog post comment exchanges. One of my comments there refers to my Naadi reading and relating it to my 'doubt' issue with Swami.], http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/09/my-comment-responses-to-ms-yaani.html

===== END OF LIST OF POSTS with direct experience of Swami===============


But as I was going through the posts of my spiritual blog on Swami, I thought of also noting down some other posts related to my spiritual journey in general. Prior to that list I have mentioned two special posts below.

a) List of posts of this Spiritual blog with autobiographical content, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/07/list-of-posts-of-this-blog-with.html

b) About my writing; Intellectual and emotional rewards of public writing, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/07/about-my-writing-intellectual-and.html


51 Posts not directly having matter about my experiences with Swami but which are either related to it or have content about my spiritual journey with Sathya Sai fraternity or my spiritual journey in general:
=======================================================================

1) Swami (Sathya Sai Baba) made Jesus, Rama and Krishna real for me, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/02/swami-sathya-sai-baba-made-jesus-rama.html

2) Some Shlokas from Chandogya Upanishad VI chapter including Tat tvam asi (You are That) Mahavakya, and comments on it, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/03/some-shlokas-from-chandogya-upanishad.html

3) My family history and how we moved from traditional South Indian Brahmin occupations to others over generations, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/07/some-info-and-speculation-about-my.html

4) My frank mail exchanges about Sathya Sai Baba Mahasamadhi (April 24th 2011) at that time, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/04/my-frank-mail-exchanges-about-sathya.html

5) Expression of Thanks to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/04/expression-of-thanks-to-bhagavan-sri.html

6) Sathya Sai Baba on examining the Guru before accepting him (or her), http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/04/sathya-sai-baba-on-examining-guru.html

7) Need to move from physical form Sathya Sai to mental-form Sathya Sai or formless God Within, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/05/need-to-move-from-physical-form-sathya.html

8) Sathya Sai Baba wanted people to be happy and not show/have 'castor oil' (sad/downcast) faces, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/05/sathya-sai-baba-wanted-people-to-be.html

9) Sathya Sai Baba: My Glory lies not in millions who flock to me but in stopping ..., http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/05/sathya-sai-baba-my-glory-lies-not-in.html

10) One is Lucky if one's mind is fed up of worldly objects; Sannyaasa Yogam (good fortune to be a renunciant), http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/06/one-is-lucky-if-ones-mind-is-fed-up-of.html

11) The importance of feelings in spiritual endeavour, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/06/the-importance-of-feelings-in-spiritual.html

12) NEVER become a Guru Drohi (Traitor) to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/06/never-become-guru-drohi-traitor-to.html

13) About ONE God/Spirit formless/with-form, and interventionist God, and Loving God unconditionally, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/05/about-one-godspirit-formlesswith-form.html

14) Should we follow spiritual path that Swami told somebody else to follow?, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/07/should-we-follow-spiritual-path-that.html

15) Young (boy) Sathya Sai on Craving of ascetics for disciples, and on the power of Faith in God, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/08/young-boy-sathya-sai-on-craving-of.html

16) Fond memories of ISKCON, Juhu, Mumbai; Great Bhajan by Loknath Swami; ISKCON, Chowpatty, Mumbai; Radhanath Swami, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/09/fond-memories-of-iskcon-juhu-mumbai.html

17) Can an uncanny and unmistakable sign in outer world confirming a thought in one's mind, be viewed as Swami's approval of the thought?, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/09/can-uncanny-and-unmistakable-sign-in.html

18) About creation, or more specifically, the idea of being created (identification with ego) and (idea of) being separate from God, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/10/about-creation-or-more-specifically.html

19) Volunteer (free) service builds character; Religion is three-fourths character, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/10/volunteer-free-service-builds-character.html

20) How money can corrupt spiritual radiance in spiritual institutions, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/10/how-money-can-corrupt-spiritual-fire-in.html

21) Sathya Sai Baba: Chinna Katha on who is bigger, sannyasi (renunciant) or samsari (family person), http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/10/sathya-sai-baba-chinna-katha-on-who-is.html

22) Sathya Sai Baba: Evil spirits have power to masquerade themselves as Gods (Do not get cheated by these spirits. Beware!), http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/10/sathya-sai-baba-evil-spirits-have-power.html

23) My comments on miraculous events related to Sathya Sai Baba in devotee's home, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/10/my-comments-on-miraculous-events.html

24) Simple living in Prasanthi Nilayam (Puttaparthi) Ashram Sheds/Halls; Seva Dal experience, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/10/simple-living-in-prasanthi-nilayam.html

25) Our subtle essence is God/Sathya Sai Avatar but Sai devotees are not Sathya Sai Avatar, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/02/our-subtle-essence-is-godsathya-sai.html

26) An exchange on need for proof/evidence for belief in God/mystical powers, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/11/an-exchange-on-need-for-proofevidence.html

27) The Five HUMAN Challenges to Overcome in Spiritual Missions: Jealousy, Inbreeding, Groupism, Personal Agenda & Politics (JIGPP) - Part 1, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/12/the-five-human-challenges-to-overcome.html

28) The Five HUMAN Challenges to Overcome in Spiritual Missions: Jealousy, Inbreeding, Groupism, Personal Agenda & Politics (JIGPP) - Part 2, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/12/the-five-human-challenges-to-overcome_13.html

29) The first notable/remembered exposure I had to Shirdi Sai Baba via Amar Akbar Anthony film song, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/12/the-first-notableremembered-exposure-i.html

30) Will Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba approve of a man of nearly mid 60s marrying a woman in her twenties?, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/01/will-bhagavan-sri-sathya-sai-baba.html

31) The shock & trauma of watching a loved one battle the dreaded disease, Cancer, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/02/the-shock-trauma-of-watching-loved-one.html

32) Avane kattindu azhattum - Let him get tied up and cry: Ramana advise to scholar about ashram manager position tussle, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/02/avane-kattindu-azhattum-let-him-get.html

33) Considering oneself accountable to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba at formless level, and to future physical form Prema Sai Baba, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/03/considering-oneself-accountable-to.html

34) To be a Hindu, doesn't one have to be born a Hindu?, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/03/to-be-hindu-doesnt-one-have-to-be-born.html

35) Does Swami (Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba) speak through each and everyone of us or just some people?, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/03/does-swami-bhagavan-sri-sathya-sai-baba.html

36) Different types of truth wrt Muddenahalli belief: My part of comment exchange on it, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/03/different-types-of-truth-wrt.html

37) Recent Gold Sarva Dharma symbol and ornamental engravings on Sathya Sai samadhi, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/04/recent-gold-sarvadharma-symbol-and.html

38) An Indian Software Techie's (My) Material and Spiritual Journey So Far, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/06/an-indian-software-techies-my-material.html

39) Sathya Sai: Contemplation of death is foundation of spiritual discipline; without it, man will identify with false sense-pleasure world, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/07/sathya-sai-contemplation-of-death-is.html

40) How and why I became a whistleblower and publicly named and exposed few persons in Sai university, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/07/how-and-why-i-became-whistleblower-and.html

41) My 2011 Dharma Sankat (Ethical Dilemma) about HOD opposition to my Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vahini and other IT work in the Sai university, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/10/my-2011-dharma-sankat-ethical-dilemma.html

42) Phyllis Krystal's former Guru, Nyaya Sharma in Bombay, died around 1973, due to black magic attack on him!, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/12/phyllis-krystals-former-guru-nyaya.html

43) If what Baba says is different from what our heart/conscience says, what should we do?, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/12/if-what-baba-says-is-different-from.html

44) Dombivli (E) Hanuman Mandir: Fond memories of it as Sathya Sai samithi would have Thursday bhajans there, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/08/dombivli-e-ram-mandir-fond-memories-of.html

45) New Age spirituality; Golden Age predictions; My belief system being anchored in Hindu scripture endorsed by Sathya Sai, and Sai literature, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/11/new-age-spirituality-golden-age.html

46) What is Swami's (Sathya Sai Avatara) mission? Why do you say Swami's mission isn't over yet? http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/11/what-is-swamis-sathya-sai-avatara.html, Nov. 2015

47) Should people who are fed up with Muddenahalli group confusion in Prasanthi Nilayam consider moving out of Puttaparthi?, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/04/should-people-who-are-fed-up-with.html

48) My May 2012 service record & record tampering related correspondence with Sai university (SSSIHL) administrators, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/11/my-may-2012-service-record-record.html

49) Path of Prema (Love) even without any Advaita Self-inquiry takes one to Sai/God, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/06/path-of-prema-love-even-without-any.html

50) Now I am more into deep Faith rather than Vedanta/Sufism/Mysticism; Pastor Norman Vincent Peale was a strong influence on Mr. Donald Trump, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/07/now-i-am-more-into-deep-faith-rather.html

51) Sathya Sai: Love everyone but don't trust them; increase faith in your Self (Atma); Having big cars is not greatness; we should demonstrate sacrifice; sacrifice leads to liberation; http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/02/love-all-but-trust-none-especially.html

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A link to this blog post got put up here: The Spirituality Daily of Dec. 20th 2016, http://paper.li/GoodBlogPosts4/1310134784?edition_id=c6d96a10-c6e0-11e6-a091-002590a5ba2d, under the Leisure category.

Opening and running Sathya Sai schools is not easy; Swami preferred that St. Andrews Scotland school be shut down (around 2009) when it faced money problems

Last updated on 22nd Dec. 2016

Given below is an edited version of a recent comment exchange between Clive Raj Valydon and me on Terry Reis Kennedy's Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/terry.reiskennedy/posts/10211656399584340.

Clive Raj Valydon wrote:

I was once (privy to) an interview that Mr Som Bhanda had in 2007 where he approached Swami [Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba] because the school in St. Andrews [in Scotland, UK] was finding it difficult to sustain itself as parents were not donating.

Mr Som Bhanda asked Swami if he could get the school state funded. State funded means funded by the government. Swami was very very strict with that. Swami told that if parents don't have (money) then you cannot force them.

And you must not ask for outside help also. Better to close the school Swami told. Swami told don't ask for government help using Swami's name.

This interview took place in 2007 just before the Youth Conference. And I was inside that interview with Som Bhanda sitting by Swami's feet.
----

Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
May I share the above comment of yours on my blog and perhaps on a separate Facebook post, Clive Raj Valydon? I think this comment shows clearly what we in the Sai university at the time Bhagavan was in physical form, knew. That is, that Swami focused on quality rather than quantity. And was very against outside influence (due to dependence for funds on them) changing/corrupting Swami's vision for educational institutions founded by him and even run by him at a top level. He was the founder-chancellor of the Sai university and many decisions related to Sai university needed his approval!

My own request for free teaching and tech. consultant seva in the Sai university, I was told, went right up to Swami. I was told that Swami was shown a photograph of me by then Vice-chancellor of Sai university, Shri S.V. Giri (or by then Registrar, in presence of Shri S.V. Giri), in Jan. 2003 and asked if I could be inducted in (as Honorary Staff/Faculty). It was only after Swami's OK that I was permitted to offer free teaching and tech. consultant (and Systems Manager) Seva in the Sai university.

One statement of Swami would capture Swami's focus on quality (as against quantity) in the Sai university (and other educational institutions overseen DIRECTLY by him) which is: A teaspoon of cow's milk is better than a barrel of donkey's milk.

So Swami was focused on having a few well run as per Swami's vision, educational institutions, rather than many such institutions which do not follow Swami's vision properly.
---

Clive Raj Valydon wrote:
Ravi S. Iyer yes you may.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
When did the school close? In 2008 or so?
---

Clive Raj Valydon wrote:
No sir it closed in 2009 I think. It was not an easy affair sir.

Moms and dads needed time to find other alternative for kids.
Closing a school isn't as easy as one thinks sir. A lot of procedures must be followed. Local authorities must come to know. Sai centres must know. Trust must know. Also Swami must know.

But also what about teachers who will lose their jobs sir? By law in UK a person must get at least 6 months written notice or else they can claim compensation.
----
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Readers may want to read my related post, How to interpret Sathya Sai statement that for good work (required) money will come on its own, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/12/how-to-interpret-sathya-sai-statement.html.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Phyllis Krystal's former Guru, Nyaya Sharma in Bombay, died around 1973, due to black magic attack on him!

[Readers who get disturbed by such topics may please skip reading this post.]

Given below is a paraphrased account with one paragraph being reproduced, about Shri Nyaya Sharma and his death around and slightly before 1973, from Chapter 3 of the book, Sai Baba, The Ultimate Experience by Phyllis Krystal. [Google Books preview link to view page 18, first page of chapter 3 of this book: https://books.google.co.in/books?id=qr04VrPsXE4C&pg=PA18]

Krystal writes that in a visit to Bombay prior to 1973 and prior to coming to know about Sathya Sai Baba and taking his darshan, she and her husband had met a Guru, Sri Nyaya Sharma, who taught them a meditation technique and also a method of healing. Phyllis Krystal had kept in "close contact" with Nyaya Sharma through letters until his seemingly untimely and shocking death. Krystal writes that Nyaya Sharma reportedly materialized objects for his devotees but that she had specifically told him that she wanted to receive spiritual teaching and a meditation practice from him rather than material gifts associated with "psychic phenomena or magic". Sharma, who she says was from South India, nodded his head at her request and taught her and her husband a meditation practice.

Sharma had written to Krystal who seems to have been living in California, USA at that time, about a young man from Bombay who first was a student at M.I.T. (Massachusetts, USA) but then shifted to University of California at Santa Cruz. Sharma had asked Krystal to befriend (and perhaps help) this man. When Krystal came to Bombay on her trip to India in 1973, prior to meeting Sai Baba, she first met with this young man's parents in Bombay. I have given below the paragraph from the book where she describes what she learned about her former Guru, Nyaya Sharma's death.

--- start paragraph extract from Krystal's book ---

During the remaining few days of our stay in Bombay we visited the parents of Sharma's young protege, and learned from them the real cause of Sharma's death. He had been helping to free one of his followers from the clutches of a black magician. In retaliation this man turned his negative power onto Sharma and caused him to suffer a fatal heart attack. My first question was, "Why couldn't he protect himself?" They replied that he had tried to do so, as he had known his horoscope indicated that the specific time was approaching when he would be vulnerable to attack and might die. They hazarded a guess that the black magician was also aware of this critical time and made use of that knowledge to strike from a distance at Sharma's heart, which his chart also showed was his weakest organ.

--- end paragraph extract from Krystal's book ---

Ravi: I was born and bred in Bombay/Mumbai and an outlying town/city called Dombivli. I was born in Malad suburb of Bombay and spent boyhood in Dadar and Bandra (East) suburbs. I have also spent a lot of time in Chembur/Ghatkopar area as many of my close relatives lived (and continue to live) there. During my time in Bombay/Mumbai and Dombivli in the first four decades of my life, I would hear about black magic, evil eye & curses and the traditional wisdom that Hindu Vedic rituals and prayers to benevolent Hindu deities like Rama, Krishna, Shiva, Durga, Amba, Hanuman,  etc. as well as Hindu Vedic mantras like the Gayathri mantra keeps one safe from any black magic, evil eye & curses. Even though I did not know for sure about the power of black magic, evil eye etc., I would go through the rituals associated with benevolent deities and protection from such dark spiritual forces. As a Hindu Brahmin, Vedic ritual meant to be done by Brahmin families was part-and-parcel of life for me (inescapable, actually, unless one wanted to cut oneself off from one's family circles).

But I had never heard of anybody known to me dying of black magic, evil eye, curse etc. This is not to say that it did not happen. Of course, Hindu scripture has many such stories of evil eye and curses which are countered with grace from benevolent deities.

What Krystal has written above is quite stunning and scary. I think it is one thing for a devout Hindu, especially a practising Hindu Brahmin (the name Nyaya Sharma indicates a Hindu Brahmin), to use Hindu rituals and mantras and faith in benevolent deities to protect himself/herself from casual/random dark spiritual forces/black magic/curses. But it is another for a person to interfere in the work of a black magic practitioner by trying to rescue somebody from his clutches! That's when I think such a person would become a target of the fury of the black magic practitioner.

To read that Krystal came to know from what seems to be reliable sources that a former guru of hers in Bombay, Nyaya Sharma, died (around and/or slightly before 1973) from an attack from a distance by a black magic practitioner on him at a time when he was vulnerable and in retaliation to Nyaya Sharma trying to rescue somebody caught in the clutches of the black magic practitioner, is a very sobering lesson for me, a former Bombayite (Mumbaikar) who is now into reading and writing about spirituality & religion!

Today I believe that black magic, evil eye, curses etc. are real and not imaginary. We need to protect ourselves from such dark spiritual forces by praying to benevolent deities for such protection. I earnestly pray to Shiva Shakti Swarupa, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba to protect the Sathya Sai devotee fraternity, including me, from any such dark spiritual forces.

[I thank Mrs. Phyllis Krystal (and books.google.co.in) and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above short extract from their website on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

Friday, December 16, 2016

If what Baba says is different from what our heart/conscience says, what should we do?

In a recent Facebook interaction, one person wrote that Baba had said to somebody that if Baba tells something and one's heart tells something else, to always follow one's heart.

Given below is a modified version of my comment response to the above.

My view is that Bhagavan has taught us to follow our heart, follow our conscience as the pure heart and conscience is where God resides. But we need to interpret that properly. The word 'heart' is used in all kinds of emotional contexts including that of romantic love one human being may have for another human being. My understanding of Bhagavan's words is that we should follow what our pure heart says.

But the hassle is, how do we identify what our monkey-mind is prompting based on material desires that cloud our pure spiritual heart, and what our pure spiritual heart is saying. In fact, I am more comfortable with Bhagavan's teaching expressed in terms of conscience rather than the very elastic word, 'heart'. Here's a quote from one of his discourses, "Follow your conscience, which guides you. If you follow your conscience, you are worthy of being called a human being.", http://www.sssbpt.info/ssspeaks/volume41/sss41-02.pdf.

And from http://www.saibaba.ws/quotes/wordsofwisdom.htm, which claims these words are by Bhagavan: 'I advise you to "Follow the Master". By 'Master' I mean the Conscience within you, the Voice of God.'

And here are extracts from the Late Al Drucker's website, http://www.atmapress.com/SaiBabaKodaikanalInterview.htm:

Devotee: Swami, how do we recognize the voice of conscience from the other voices present?

Baba: Conscience is always only one. Whenever there are many voices we can call it conscious, but not conscience. Conscious relates to the little self; it is the condition of the mind in the waking state. There will be many voices and differences, but conscience is always one and unchanging.

Conscious, conscience, and consciousness--these are three terms that must be understood. Consciousness refers to Chaitanya. Chaitanya is the omnipresent supreme Spirit, the one all- pervasive Reality. From it comes conscience, which is the voice of truth inside. Conscience is the soul, the spark of the Divine. Conscious refers to the various instruments. All this in the world can be called 'conscious'; it is all part of the conscious state.
...
Conscience is the voice of the Superconscious, the Divinity residing within.
--- end short extracts from atmapress.com ---

Ravi: One of the things that I picked up early on in my stint at the Sai university was the teaching, "The voice of your conscience is the voice of God" (or similar words meaning the same thing) which was shared with me as a teaching of Bhagavan by a student-teacher colleague who I considered to be quite spiritually inclined and spiritually evolved. That helped me a great deal in my spiritual journey in Prasanthi Nilayam. However, following the voice of conscience is not easy as many times it asks me to do things which other voice(s) in me like that of my (rational) mind, rebels against :-). But there are things that my conscience will simply not allow me to do and those things I avoid completely, and I think that is why I usually have good sleep at night :-).

Now about the very odd sort of situation where Baba supposedly said to somebody that if what Baba tells us is different from what our conscience/pure heart tells us, we should follow our conscience/heart (and not follow Baba's words)! I don't think I have heard this from other sources.

It has been my experience with physical form Baba that there were many times in my interactions with him (mainly gestures from Swami during Darshan in response to my thoughts/prayers/actions) where I thought his disapproval of some things I did was him being too strict with me, and perhaps even wrong!!! But as time would pass and I gained a little bit more spiritual maturity, I would realize that Baba was perfectly right in disapproving certain thoughts & actions of mine, and I am so very grateful to him for that. I was not able to distinguish then between what my monkey-mind was saying and what my inner conscience was saying, with my monkey-mind dominating, and Baba would, in a split second, so to speak, figure it out, and show me that I was wrong with unmistakable facial gestures of disapproval (from a distance of say around five to ten feet or so typically during Darshan in Sai Kulwant Hall).

So it has been my experience with Baba that Baba's view was always right (in the spiritual kind of matters context that I am discussing here) and that Baba corrected my faulty thinking/view many times.

After Mahasamadhi, some people in Prasanthi Nilayam system have told me of some big life decisions they took based on what Swami told them in their dreams. I always respect such dream instructions they received directly from Baba and respect those that follow those instructions. I don't think any of these persons that I talked to, told me of trying to check with their inner conscience whether those words of Baba were right. Neither would I advise them to do so. These are matters of deep faith in Swami's words and I would not dare to interfere between Swami and his devotee in these matters. As an example, a form-boy student-teacher told me, after Mahasamadhi, that he was leaving the Sai university as Baba told him to do so in a dream! I did not debate the matter with him and just accepted his decision to follow those Baba dream instructions. When I last heard about him, he was with an Ivy League college in the USA!

But yes, if the dream instructions were very strange, I would urge them to pray hard to Swami to get clarification/confirmation of those instructions, say by another dream (or sometimes vision). It has been my extraordinary experience with physical form Swami that he would respond to deep and intense prayer of mine (and, many times, just not bother about shallow prayers of mine). So rather than ask somebody to double-check with his/her conscience/pure heart on something conveyed to them by Baba, I would ask them to pray intensely to Swami for a confirmation of those instructions.

Monday, December 12, 2016

B.N.Narasimhamurthy, MAIN MAN behind Muddenahalli group needs to ponder seriously about STOPPING Madhusudan Naidu communicator DRAMA

Last updated on 13th Dec. 2016

Around lunch time today, I spoke to a student-staff in Prasanthi Nilayam system about the strange case of brother VijaySai B.S. (VSBS). VSBS was in heavy form with physical form Swami for some time. He is an alumus of Sai university, a former teacher of Sai university, a singer, a speaker and a writer!!! That sort-of combo. is UNMATCHED in the history of Sai university, I believe. During my (free spiritual seva) stint in the Sai university (designations of Honorary Staff, Honorary Faculty and Visiting Faculty) from Jan. 2003 to March 2012, I have seen some talented Sai student teacher-speakers and some talented Sai student staff-singers but nobody with the combination of skills that VSBS has.

How did VSBS get caught up in this FALSE BELIEF about so called communicator Madhusudan Rao Naidu (MRN)?? MRN is VSBS's student! So VSBS is being led down the garden path by his own student!!!

The student-staff of PN system I spoke to today indicated that Shri B.N. Narasimhamurthy (BNNM) has many Kannada (people of Karnataka state from which Narasimhamurthy himself hails) Sai university alumni and Sai devotees in his grip. [Update: I was given a message over Facebook chat (slightly edited), "BNNM is a Telugu from Mysore, so all in his family speak fluent Kannada".]

I have been told by multiple people who have decent knowledge of Muddenahalli group that it is BNNM who is the KING who CONTROLS most people in Muddenhalli group including Madhusudan Rao Naidu.

Now my personal view of BNNM is that I was not so comfortable with what seemed to me to be a rather dictatorial style that he had, and so I preferred to keep my distance from him in events like Grama Seva when Sai university staff of all campuses would band together. I am very uncomfortable with dictatorial style people. BNNM was a key leader of Grama Seva activity then (prior to Mahasamadhi). I don't think I have wished him Sairam even once in person though I did interact with many of Brindavan campus teachers during Grama Seva. So I think I have had ZERO personal interaction with BNNM.

BNNM came across to me as quite honest when he shared his Swami dream instructions to him in July 2011. He said what he had dreamt and what happened later. If people wanted to believe him and accept his Swami dream instructions they could do so. But there was no force. I think that was a very fair stand. I mean, BNNM sincerely felt that Swami is giving him dream-instructions and so he had a full right to share that with others and become a leader to those who followed him. Not only do I think such an action is fully legal in India, I think it is morally correct too. Yes, there is the major aspect of Swami's teachings that he does not use others as a medium to convey his instructions. So, according to my understanding of Swami's teachings, if Swami wants to convey something to a devotee via a dream, Swami will do it via a dream directly to the devotee, and not to BNNM or somebody else in a dream and ask them to convey it to the concerned devotee.

But BNNM may have felt that in the trauma, chaos and confusion that was happening in Prasanthi Nilayam and Puttaparthi in those horrible few months after Mahasamadhi, that Swami may have made an exception to his rule, and chosen BNNM as the medium-instrument to lead the Sathya Sai movement out of the trauma, chaos and confusion it had fallen into around July 2011, especially in Prasanthi Nilayam. After all, as a person with many decades of Tyagajeevi (renunciate who sacrifices material life joys) missionary of Swami experience with great personal proximity to Swami, BNNM was perhaps a very qualified candidate to be such a medium-instrument.

And then in the period of a year and a few months from Jul 2011, say till Nov. 2012, what extraordinary success BNNM and group had!!! Top functionaries of Indian Sai orgn. and some international Sai orgn. functionaries and well known devotees and donors flocked to him. The then vice-chancellor of the Sai university, Sashidhara Prasad (a Karnataka man), seemed to have accepted BNNM as the MOSES like figure who will lead the Sathya Sai movement out of the trauma, chaos and confusion it had fallen into in the first few months after Mahasamadhi, and very unfortunately, Sashidhara Prasad almost ignored Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust (SSSCT), the key body meeting all expenses of the Sai university. The perhaps seniormost SSSCT trustee and grand old man of the Sai orgn., Shri Indulal Shah, had also endorsed BNNM! And, as something that may have been viewed as proof of the pudding, the Gulbarga school of BNNM and group's new trust was inaugurated in a grand way in Nov. 2012 with participation from many leaders of official Sai organization.

I was told that a youth leader of Karnataka Sai orgn. who is a practicing Chartered Accountant, was the auditor for the first year or so of the newly formed trust(s) by BNNM & group. I was also told that the total donations to the newly formed trust(s) in that period of a year or so was a very large amount.

That sort of money would have made BNNM and group believe that surely they have the blessings of Bhagavan!!! I mean, such a sudden and huge flow of money can make any group start believing any grand thing about themselves. But then, as the balance sheets of BNNM and group's new trusts are not publicly shared, I cannot be certain that the huge amount of donation money that I was told, is a correct figure.

It was from May 2014 that BNNM PUBLICLY endorsed Madhusudan Rao Naidu's (MRN) FALSE CLAIM of being a so called communicator of a so called subtle body of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba which only Madhusudan Naidu could see and interact with. In particular, BNNM has not made any public statement that he can see and interact with that so called subtle body when MRN is seeing and interacting with it.

I think this is where BNNM got into very tricky territory. BNNM had a reputation of being a Tyagajeevi backed with decades of dedicated service to Swami. MRN has no such record at all! By endorsing MRN, BNNM attached his name and reputation with that of MRN. It is not difficult at all for any person having contacts with the Sathya Sai university alumni community in India to make investigations about MRN's history prior to his becoming the so called communicator (I did make those investigations) to know that he certainly is NOWHERE NEAR the dedicated Tyagajeevi missionary that BNNM had been, and perhaps still is.

And now we have come to a stage where MRN recently gave a "discourse" of so called subtle body of Bhagavan in a function which Hon'ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, participated via video-link!!! The same MRN has now been stated by Nigerian police (in end Nov. 2016) in an official statement as having told them that he does not get messages from Sri Sathya Sai Baba!!!

Does BNNM NOT realize how embarrassing this can become for Hon'ble PM of India??? Does BNNM have any idea of the ***awesome*** media access power that top rationalists of the world, including some rationalists in India, have??? They would tear apart MRN's claim made in a function attended by Hon'ble PM to pieces, and make a big joke of it. If BNNM & co. think that I am wildly speculating let them read something about Prof. Richard Dawkins, one of the leading atheist rationalists in the world.

I am concerned not only from the viewpoint of embarrassment to Hon'ble PM of India but, perhaps more importantly, how embarrassing it will be for the Sathya Sai fraternity.

BNNM may be able to COMMAND and CONTROL MRN and VSBS and ensure that they simply stay silent to all the questions some of us pose to them. By simply ignoring our pointed questions and challenges to them, they are able to carry on their so called communicator DRAMA. But once top rationalists and mainstream media start asking them questions via powerful media channels, BNNM and MRN will have to answer.

The tragedy is that it is MRN that has taken on ALL THE RISK. It is MRN who will be pointedly questioned by investigative agencies like the Nigerian police questioned him. BNNM may say that he was simply believing in MRN's claim, and get away. But we know, don't we? We know that it is BNNM who is the KING who is directing this whole show.

I was recently told by somebody that Muddenahalli group have got an Aadhaar card (a universally accepted identity card in India; rough Indian equivalent to USA social security identification) and even perhaps a passport done in the name of (subtle) Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, and it was this(ese) identity document(s) that was used to get a Boarding Pass in the name of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba (SAI BABA BHAGAWAN) for a recent private Indian airline chartered flight that Muddenahalli group used. If it is true that they have an Aadhaar card and/or passport in the name of (subtle body) SAI BABA BHAGAWAN, I think it is very shocking. Surely, BNNM should realize that serious questions can be asked of govt. authorities who issued such a document without acceptable proof of existence of that person.

Just imagine what the plight of MRN will be if he is told to prove existence of subtle body to investigative agencies in India or to a High Court in India.

Now who is responsible for this state of affairs of Muddenahalli group? I think the answer is clear. It is Shri B.N. Narasimhamurthy (BNNM). He cannot try to put the blame on Madhusudan Rao Naidu for making the weird communicator claim. If BNNM had not endorsed MRN, MRN would have remained a fairly unknown person to the worldwide Sathya Sai fraternity. It is BNNM who has projected, endorsed and supported MRN and made MRN the FALSE CLAIM communicator famous/infamous figure that he is today in Sathya Sai devotee community.

If Muddenahalli group faces more embarrassment and troubles like the Nigerian police investigation then it is BNNM who has to take the primary blame for it. He cannot escape by trying to put the blame on others.

I think Shri B.N. Narasimhmurthy should take a break, keep away from Madhusudan Rao Naidu for a few days, and ponder seriously about the fate of the group that he is leading. He should realize that while he  himself may not care about what happens to him, he HAS TO WORRY about the future of people associated with Muddenahalli group. I am quite sure that if he ponders carefully, away from MRN for a few days, BNNM will realize that it is high time that MRN's public discourses, interviews and darshans in the name of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, have to be STOPPED. If they are STOPPED now Muddenahalli group may be able to flourish as a separate Sathya Sai devotee platform. If MRN's DRAMA continues to be associated with Muddenahalli group, a future Indian investigative agency or court investigation into MRN's so called communicator claims IS INEVITABLE, and like in the Nigerian police report, the Indian investigative agency/court report will surely be critical of any medium/communicator claim that MRN makes.

In conclusion, I think Shri B.N. Narasimhamurthy needs to now ponder seriously over the situation and take a sound decision about STOPPING Madhusudan Rao Naidu communicator DRAMA to safeguard interests of Muddenahalli group.
===============================================================

Given below are some comments from my associated Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1832175213665714:

Uma Ragunathan wrote:
Your views are right, anna.
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Terry Reis Kennedy wrote:
Excellent article, Ravi S. Iyer. I have been told that the mainstream media are ready to pounce at anytime now on this tragic story.
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Nagesh Nallappa wrote:
Superb article! The sooner the better for BNNM!
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Yaani Drucker wrote:
Dear brother, You perceived a dictatorial style in your brother Narasimhamurthy. My husband due to growing up in the the aura of Adolf Hitler as a young boy would be keenly alert to any dictatorial style, and he loved Narasimhamurthi and saw in him an exemplary life of dedicated service to Baba and the students in his charge. Al greatly admired him and they were very good friends throughout Al's tenure at the Brindavan campus.

Is it possible that you are wrong?

As I mentioned to you privately, I just recently heard that Madhusudan Naidu was Narayan Bhat in his previous incarnation. This makes alot of sense to me, and makes it a perfect fit that he is now serving Baba in Muddenhalli. Its just a continuation of that lifestream, moving from one pure and holy life of loving service to the next seamlessly. Jai Sai Ram [Heart-icon]
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
Sairam sister Yaani Drucker. Thanks for your comment.

Sure, I could be wrong in my perception of Shri Narasimhamurthy (BNNM) in the years I was with the Sai university (Jan. 2003 to March 2012). But I have to say that my perception is shared by many in Prasanthi Nilayam system.

However, I must also say that Prasanthi Nilayam system too was also quite dictatorial in my experience of it (prior to Mahasamadhi; after Mahasamadhi I have had very limited exposure to it). However, it was less dictatorial than what I perceived BNNM and Brindavan campus which was essentially ruled by BNNM, to be. I think Bhagavan's physical presence in Prasanthi Nilayam ensured that rules of the ashram system were blended with compassion for those who were truly devoted to Bhagavan. After all, any devotee could plead with Bhagavan at darshan in Sai Kulwanth Hall!

Now I must also state that when I use the term dictatorial I certainly do not mean the horrific and monstrous dictatorial rule like that of Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany OR that of many other similar dictators in other parts of the world, including some parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America in the second half of the 20th century (with some continuing even in this early 21st century).

By dictatorial in Indian ashram systems, I mean ashram administrative bosses who dictate orders which are expected to be obeyed without much questioning by their staff. I think most ashram systems in India, including Christian and Muslim equivalents would be largely dictatorial. A benevolent dictatorship is perhaps the best form of governance! The hassle is that dictatorship breeds misuse and abuse of power and so the benevolent dictatorship tends to decay into an abusive dictatorship over time.

It is my considered view that Shri B.N. Narasimhamurthy due to having spent years as the top boss in Brindavan campus, and having alumni community of Muddenahalli-Alike schools as well as some alumni of Sai university as his dedicated followers, got into a sort-of mental trap where he felt obliged to become a MOSES-like leader of the Sathya Sai fraternity, after the first few REALLY HORRIBLE months of trauma, chaos and confusion that followed Swami's Mahasamadhi in Prasanthi Nilayam.

My considered view is that if BNNM had stopped at his Swami dream-instructions role, it may have been manageable. I mean, people like Prof. Anilkumar Kamaraju, most SSSCT trustees and other senior people of Prasanthi Nilayam would not have accepted BNNM as the Swami dream-instruction medium but it would not have created the confusion that Muddenahalli group is creating today in the Sathya Sai movement worldwide.

Madhusudan Rao Naidu's history is NOWHERE NEAR the kind of history that Tyagajeevi missionary BNNM has. NOWHERE NEAR! While I may not have been comfortable with BNNM, I had and still have HUGE RESPECT for his service to the Sathya Sai movement PRIOR TO MAHASAMADHI. I am just a NOBODY in front of the kind of contribution that BNNM made to Sathya Sai movement PRIOR TO MAHASAMADHI.

Madhusudan Rao Naidu, however, DOES NOT have any extraordinarily pure devotee of Swami whom Swami showered with extraordinary physical or other proximity, kind of history in Prasanthi Nilayam. I mean, people in Prasanthi Nilayam know who were the students whom Swami showered with special attention and grace. There are quite a few of them who are in Prasanthi Nilayam system today and are serving in Bhagavan's institutions.

How could Bhagavan show himself and interact with Madhusudan Rao Naidu in a so called subtle body which is (primarily) visible and audible only to him??? How about the many other Sai students who have dedicated their lives to Swami's mission in Prasanthi Nilayam system as well as in Brindavan and Anantapur campuses of the Sai university??? I know many of such Sai student-staff in Prasanthi Nilayam system quite well. I mean, I was interacting with some of them on a regular basis. It is UTTERLY UNACCEPTABLE to me that Bhagavan will not show this so called subtle body of his and communicate with that subtle body to at least some of these dedicated Sai student-staff of his in Prasanthi Nilayam, but limit himself only to Madhusudan Rao Naidu. That goes so against how Bhagavan interacted with them prior to Mahasamadhi. How could Bhagavan change so drastically after Mahasamadhi in his so called subtle body???

Note that this so called subtle body does not communicate (regularly like it supposedly does with Madhusudan Rao Naidu) even with BNNM or Indulal Shah sir, two highly respected veteran leaders of Sathya Sai movement, prior to Mahasamadhi!!!!

But then I cannot prove to you that Madhusudan Rao Naidu is saying falsehood. I mean, I have studied his speeches as so called communicator and found out enough differences between what he said and what physical form Swami said to be convinced that so called communicator is not saying the words of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, and I have documented this on my blog. But proving it has to go beyond such analysis.

It is police investigation and court of law hearings that, many times, reveal the truth about such matters. Under oath to say the truth (with perjury risk of incarceration/jail), Madhusudan Rao Naidu may be forced to say the truth. The Nigerian police report seems to be such an example (though he may not have taken an oath to say the truth then but it was a police investigation and so he would have been scared to lie to them). It states clearly that Madhusudan Rao Naidu told them that he does not receive messages from Sathya Sai Baba!!! If Madhusudan Rao Naidu feels that the Nigerian police report is wrong and that he did not say that, then he MUST MAKE A PUBLIC STATEMENT to that effect. Is it not? Otherwise what credibility does he have? Or is he scared to make such a public statement? If so, that fear itself shows that he cannot be a so called communicator of Kali Yuga Avatar, Shiva-Shakti Swarupa Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

So, I am afraid sister Yaani, I have to disagree with you on Madhusudan Rao Naidu.

However, I wish Muddenahalli group all the best in their service to humanity activities. In particular, I would be very happy if Muddenahalli group succeed in opening and running a FREE HOSPITAL in the USA that serves the poor (in particular, those without health insurance). I am sure that Bhagavan would be very happy with such a Seva activity accomplishment. I wish them all the very best in such service to humanity activities that they are engaged in. Jai Sairam!
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Terry Reis Kennedy wrote:
Brilliant writing, Ravi S. Iyer! No one explains the takeover with such a background to draw on and is bold, forthright, and kind to those who oppose him with such artfulness. Thanks again. Jai Sai Ram.....
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Przemek Czarnowski wrote:
It is very thoughtful comment by Ravi, based on facts and not fantasies. It is touching very important points which seems some devotees or followers refuse to acknowledge. For some people breaking the law or lying is absolutely OK. But it is shocking me that this kind of behavior is supported and endorsed by some devotees. I would wish MDH group all the best as well in the seva service if it was true seva service by definition. There is more and more evidence of unethical funds collection, money wheedling in the name of Sai, so how someone can call it seva or selfless service for Bhagavan?
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
I think Yaani's comment here was a fair one, from her perspective, and not artful. She also played fair by acknowledging my response with a Like.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
And thanks Terry Reis Kennedy for the kind words about me in the rest of your above comment.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
Przemek Czarnowski, Thanks for your comment. Regarding my comment being based on facts and not fantasies: Well, I try to follow the standards used in international computer science and information technology field, in internal documents as well as external documents/academic papers, of which I was a part of for around 30 years (18 years international software industry, 9 years free service teacher & consultant in an Indian deemed university, and 3 to 4 years as a free service blogger on Indian Computer Science and Information Technology Academic Reform activism). So I resist an urge to charge somebody as a liar or as making a FALSE BELIEF claim, unless there is very strong evidence for it. The Nigerian police document about Madhusudan Rao Naidu's statement to them that he does not receive messages from Sri Sathya Sai Baba, on Nigerian police letterhead is an awesome and authoritative document in this regard. I have used it to challenge brother VijaySai B.S. who had put out an alternative version of the Nigerian police interrogation, and brother VijaySai B.S. seems to have got COMPLETELY SILENCED by my challenge.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
I was given a message over Facebook chat (slightly edited), "BNNM is a Telugu from Mysore, so all in his family speak fluent Kannada".
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