Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sathya Sai exhorting listeners to serve the poor with love as that will give protection and bliss

40 seconds video here: https://www.facebook.com/682644321771288/videos/857580210944364/

I have given below the English captions appearing at the bottom of the video (English translation of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba message):

With all love, do service. Importantly, serve the poor. It is this service that will protect you in the long run. Service to the poor is service to Rama (God). Therefore serve the poor. Be ready to sacrifice your life in service of the poor. I have no other desire. This service to the poor is the most important thing for me. I am ready to sacrifice My life also for the benefit of the poor. At least develop one thousandth of this ideal. This is what is supposed to be done by man today. [(Ravi: This appears fleetingly as a caption in the video; the corresponding spoken part seems to have been snipped) Therefore, it is not important that we have built this hospital beautifully.] Along with beauty, we also need bliss. That bliss comes only when the poor are happy.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Sathya Sai Baba mystically became aware of the passing away of Mahatma Gandhi

Today I came across an article, http://hubpages.com/entertainment/Mahatma-Gandhi-and-Sri-Sathya-Sai-an-incident-with-insight-on-brutal-deaths, which quotes a book by a Sri Bala Pattabhi titled, Sri Sai Leelamritam, stating that in January 1948, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba mystically became aware of Mahatma Gandhi dying (he was assassinated).

Note that at that time Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba would have been 21 years old.

I tried looking up other articles on this matter on the Internet. Here are some links which give slightly different accounts from different references.

This link, http://sathyasaiwithstudents.blogspot.in/2013/01/on-day-when-mahatma-gandhi-was.html (a Prasanthi Nilayam, Sai university hostel managed blog), quotes Sri Sathya Sai Digvijayam (1926-1985). The short quote is given below:
On the afternoon of the 30th of January, Baba led a few people to the Chitravathi river. He ran back to the Mandir all of a sudden and bolted the door. He stepped in and out of His room intermittently until 7:30 pm.

When He finally came out, He told the devotees that a great soul had passed away. After a couple of days, one of the devotees read in 'The Hindu' (a daily newspaper) that Mahatma Gandhi, The Father of the Nation, had been assassinated in New Delhi at about 5:30 pm, on the 30th of January. It happened almost at the same time that Baba behaved in a strange manner on the 30th.
--- end short extract from sathyasaiwithstudents.blogspot.in ---

An article in The Hindu about the book, "Love is My Form", Volume I by Dr. R. Padmanabhan, http://www.thehindu.com/2001/07/31/stories/1331017g.htm, mentions the event in a slightly different way. I have given the relevant short extract below:

In January 1948, when Baba was supervising the Mandir construction at Puttaparthi, on one evening, he became uneasy, went into a room and shut himself. When he came out at 7-30 p.m. he announced to the people around: ``A great soul has passed away!''. The village people in those days could know the news, only a day later, from TheHindu that Mahatma Gandhi had been shot dead.
--- end extract ---

[I thank sathyasaiwithstudents.blogspot.in (rather the book, Sri Sathya Sai Digvijayam) and The Hindu, 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.]

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Sathya Sai's exact response to prayers

Here's a nice blog post about how Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba would (sometimes) respond to prayers in exactly the way a person has wished, https://sathyasaimemories.wordpress.com/2016/01/23/love-is-my-form-memories-of-sai-baba/. The gentleman, a Mr. Himy, had prayed, "I dont want vibhuti or anything else,  Baba,  please just talk to me." When Baba was giving darshan, Baba spoke to him in three different languages (Telugu, English & Hindi), asking him the typical question, "Where have you come from?" Mr. Himy responded, "SAI, Mumbai" at which time Baba said, "Oh!! Bombay!" Fascinatingly, Baba then materialized vibhuti while being in front of Mr. Himy and gave it a few people around Mr. Himy but when Mr. Himy stretched out his hand for vibhuti, Baba turned away (not giving him any Vibhuti)! Baba had known Mr. Himy's prayer where he did not want any vibhuti or anything but just wanted Baba to talk to him, and so Baba gave Mr. Himy exactly what he had prayed/wished for, and nothing more!

The intro to this experience of Mr. Himy by Eve Gardener mentions that she too would say to Bhagavan, "I do not want anything." While having Darshans of Bhagavan later, she would get disappointed that she was seated far away and that she did not get attention from Bhagavan. But she writes, "I never much thought that Swami was giving me exactly what I’d asked him for!" and goes on to say that it was not "nothing" as "the Darshans were deep and always filled with light and wonder".

I guess Eve's "I do not want anything" prayer to Bhagavan would have been very well understood by Bhagavan as a prayer where she does not want anything at the material/physical level like vibhuti or Swami attention, but His Grace from his physical body would have showered on her too in the Darshan hall which perhaps was what she was really wanting (even though she did not articulate it in her prayers to Bhagavan), leading her to feel being "filled with light and wonder".

Two comments that I put up on the blog post are given below (slightly edited):
Lovely and INSIGHTFUL article sharing the TRUTH of the paranormal powers that Bhagavan demonstrated during Darshan. Nice intro. by Eve. I too have similar experiences during Darshan of Bhagavan.

The very interesting aspect is that it was done without any theatrics whatever. [I mean, whenever I had seen movies/videos about miracles performed by saints & avatars (prior to me coming to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba), there would be some dramatic action & music at the time the miracle was shown :-). So perhaps some part of me expected something like that with Bhagavan’s miracles/miraculous powers at least in my initial experiences of seeing & experiencing them.] It was done in a very casual, ordinary action kind of way. Swami would show in a casual way to the devotee that he KNOWS what the devotee has prayed for and what he/she is doing. It was upto the devotee to REALIZE the significance of the event and, very importantly, strengthen his/her faith that Swami would simply know everything about a person, at least when one is sitting in darshan in His physical presence, and that Swami would respond to fervent prayers made. What a DIVINE BEING that physical body was! Only those who have experienced such events with Bhagavan will be able to really believe and relate to such incidents.
---

[In response to Eve's response that Bhagavan never outwardly showed his mystical nature and that it was whimsical with him, I wrote:]
Thanks Eve. Agree with most of your comment except the whimsical part. I think he had his criteria for his interactions though it was very difficult for us to understand that criteria, and so, outwardly the impression was that he was unpredictable and whimsical. I will say this about him. In what I have seen and heard about him, for spiritual matters, he never let down his sincere followers & devotees. He would go really out of his way to spiritually help his sincere followers & devotees. For me, he has never failed me as a spiritual guide (guru) even when he disciplined me. He was one hundred percent true and faithful to me as a guru, and for that I am very, very deeply grateful to him and I love him like crazy (though it took the trauma of the Mahasamadhi for me to realize how much I really love him for his direct & indirect guidance and love that he showered on me).
---

Eve clarified on the whimsical part stating that she did not mean whimsical in the way of being unsure and that Bhagavan was etherial ....

Thursday, January 21, 2016

My view about Dr. Voleti's letter about humiliation faced during Swami birthday celebrations

Last modified on 28th Feb. 2016

[The contents given below are reproduced from this Facebook post of mine (slightly edited): https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1695837060632864.]

My reading of the main issues of the Dr. Voleti letter, which I presume is from Dr. Voleti (I have to say, once again, it would be great if Dr. Voleti Chowdhary (also spelled as Choudary or Choudhary) himself puts it up on the Internet so that it is authenticated to be from Dr. Voleti), is as follows. [https://www.facebook.com/notes/vr-ganti/rathnakar-vs-dr-voleti-note-from-dr-voleti-direct-questions-from-action-group-to/10205822137377281 has the letter supposedly from Dr. Voleti Chowdhary.]

Dr. Voleti felt humiliated and insulted at the birthday function (Nov. 23rd 2015) as he was not given appropriate seating, did not get a chance to address the audience, and was shouted at by Shri R.J. Rathnakar (RJR). Regarding the shouting incident, here is what brother N. Saikrishna, secretary of RJR, had written in a Facebook post comment: "Sri.RJ sir almost had one month sleepless nights to bring the entire event of 90th Birthday celebrations to what it was...along with many of the office bearers...On the Birthday morning When some of these people tried going to Swami from ladies side and when he noticed and at the same time when the in charge of the ladies side expressed her displeasure of gents walking in between ladies...He lost his cool...He was rude to boys and he only called (Dr.) voleti by name and said come back with a stern voice..yes I am sure he would have perhaps got offended for this,as this happened right in front of his subordinates...but then we should have given more weightage to the context than few words spoken..."

Ravi: Now, Dr. Voleti Chowdhary's humiliation incident is related to VERY SENSITIVE protocol regarding presence of men among ladies in Sai Kulwant Hall at the birthday function! Brother N. Saikrishna tells us that the in charge of the ladies side expressed her displeasure to RJR (perhaps by facial gesture/signal). Then I think it would have been RJR's DUTY as in charge of Sai Kulwant Hall to take disciplinary action so that a CLEAR MESSAGE goes out to whoever was involved in this BREACH OF PROTOCOL RELATED TO LADIES SIDE by Hospital staff, that such actions will NOT BE TOLERATED no matter how high the designations of the persons concerned. While the words used as mentioned by Dr. Chowdhary may have been harsh, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba (physical form), in my considered opinion based on my experiences in Sai Kulwant Hall darshan from Oct. 2002 to Mar. 2011, would not have tolerated this breach of protocol. He may have handled it in a more polished way at that time and followed it up by privately and very strongly censuring the persons concerned.

Regarding Dr. Voleti's "resignation", Dr. Voleti writes, "Though I expressed my desire to retire to the trust, only after finishing all the projects I started, I never got any reply from them." I think that seems to indicate that, for some reason, SSSCT may not have been keen on Dr. Voleti continuing with SSSIHMS Puttaparthi as Director. SSSCT is not bound to disclose reasons for such matters to either Dr. Voleti (his 3 year term had been completed earlier itself, it seems) or to the public, as sometimes the reasons are sensitive. However, Dr. Voleti planned to come back after his USA trip and associate for four weeks more with SSSIHMS. That changed after this incident and Dr. Voleti writes, "..I MADE MY MIND TO HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE TRUST."

Going by the contents of this letter, the matter boils down to Dr. Voleti refusing to go ahead with his additional four weeks planned involvement with SSSIHMS and Dr. Voleti's decision to have nothing to do with the trust, SOLELY DUE TO THIS HUMILIATION INCIDENT.

I guess it is an ego issue which has got blown out of proportion. It is sad that such humiliation occurred even if there was a big breach of protocol related to men going to LADIES SIDE in Sai Kulwant Hall. Perhaps it should have been managed in a more polite way.

However, such humiliation incidents are not uncommon in Prasanthi Nilayam setup (even when Swami was in physical form). I myself have been humiliated after Mahasamadhi (Jun 2011 to May 2012), even though I was offering FREE SERVICE in the Sai university (SSSIHL) from Jan. 2003, by former vice-chancellor Shasidhara Prasad (he asked me to sing bhajans instead of associating with Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vahini project in my capacity as Visiting Faculty in the Dept. of Mathematics & Computer Science, as the then HOD, V. Chandrasekaran was DEAD AGAINST my involvement with it, and follow all instructions of the HOD as my designation was Visiting Faculty even though the HOD Chandrasekaran was quite ignorant about the field of software development), Registrar Naren Ramji (he said I was a Seva Dal though he had given me a letter on SSSIHL letterhead duly signed by him that my designation was Visiting Faculty) and HOD V. Chandrasekaran (he refused to accept designations given by principal of Prasanthi Nilayam campus to me and said that they were wrong, and he took upon himself the power of the vice-chancellor & Registrar by withdrawing permission granted by the Registrar to me in connection with the Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vahini project; I think Chandrasekaran thought it had become Chandrasekaran Institute of Higher Learning instead of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning :-) ).

It was an ACT OF BETRAYAL of SSSIHL and SSSCT (which was funding and promoting the Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vahini projrect) by then vice-chancellor Sashidhara Prasad, Registrar Naren Ramji and then HOD V. Chandrasekaran. I do not know whether this matter got escalated by anybody to the trustee(s) so I cannot comment on that aspect of the matter. Shri K. Chakravarthi was said to be the trustee looking after SSSIHL matters at that time.

To make the humiliation worse, I came to know that SSSIHL had shown my designation as Teaching Assistant in an "Annual Quality Assurance Report (AQAR) for the year 2009-10 .." document of SSSIHL put up on its website (and also sent to UGC authorities, I guess), even though I was given official Identity cards duly signed by principal, SSSIHL, Prasanthi Nilayam campus, with designations of Honorary Staff, Honorary Faculty and Visiting Faculty during my free service stint from Jan. 2003 to March 2012! [See http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/11/my-may-2012-service-record-record.html for more details.] When I raised the matter to Sashidhara Prasad, then vice-chancellor, and Sudhir Bhaskar, then Director, Prasanthi Nilayam campus, SSSIHL, in an email with documentary proof attached, Sashidhara Prasad accused me of spewing venomous poison and Sudhir Bhaskar put the blame on me instead of on SSSIHL! This is a CRIMINAL case of record-tampering and malicious defamation for which I hold Naren Ramji, Registrar, responsible and who was aided and abetted in this CRIME (under Indian Penal Code) by then HOD of Dept. of Maths & Computer Science, V. Chandrasekaran. Sashidhara Prasad and Sudhir Bhaskar collaborated with these offenders (Naren Ramji and Chandrasekaran) in covering up the record-tampering and malicious defamation matter. In response to these acts of humiliation, I terminated my association with SSSIHL (Sai university) in March 2012.

As far as this letter from Dr. Voleti Chowdhary is concerned, Shri R.J. Rathnakar's behaviour is far, far better than the behaviour I experienced from Shasidhara Prasad, Naren Ramji, Chandrasekharan and Sudhir Bhaskar. Note that Shri R.J. Rathnakar has in writing and publicly said (his email can be seen in Mr. Ganti's post link given earlier), "Dr. Voleti Chowdhary is a respected member of administration at Prasanthinilayam. ...you (Mr. Ganti) have embarrassed a wonderful person like Dr. Chowdhary who relentlessly worked to make hospital a wonderful high quality, health care Temple. How could (you even) imagine that I would insult him?" Yes, Dr. Voleti did feel humiliated and insulted due to the heat-of-the-moment words from RJR. But there can be no doubt about RJR's appreciation of Dr. Voleti's services. In contrast, I was accused by Sashidhara Prasad of spewing venomous poison and Sudhir Bhaskar put the blame on me instead of SSSIHL, when I presented them the facts of CRIMINAL record tampering and malicious defamation by Naren Ramji and Chandrasekaran. What a contrast!

So Mr. Ganti should not target Shri R.J. Rathnakar alone for such matters, viewing all the rest of administrators in Prasanthi Nilayam ashram and managed institutions as EMBODIMENTS of Swami teachings of LOVE ALL SERVE ALL & HELP EVER HURT NEVER!

I wonder what Dr. Voleti Chowdhary's reaction would have been if his designation was shown as Teaching Assistant or equivalent in some document put up on website and sent to MCI! My mind boggles at imagining what he might have done!

From a spiritual perspective, my view is that humiliation is a phase that many spiritual people go through, after which they get toughened and perhaps become somewhat immune to humiliation. The great messiah, Jesus Christ, himself had to undergo the ultimate humiliation of being forced to wear a crown of thorns (mocking him as the king of the Jews), being subjected to lashes of the Roman guards as he carried his cross through the town/city of Jerusalem, and finally being crucified (nails were driven into his palms & feet) on the cross. Yet, he found it within himself to forgive his Roman persecutors! That ability to forgive under such physical torture shows the divinity of Jesus Christ.

In our recent times, the Charleston, South Carolina, USA shooting incident, showed us that some Christians, even today, have that awesome ability to forgive even the killer of their loved ones. [For more, see http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/06/the-awesome-christian-act-of.html.]

Seen in the context of the brutal & inhuman killing of persons praying in a church, followed by forgiveness by some members of the victims' families in the Charleston, South Carolina, USA incident, the humiliations in Prasanthi Nilayam ashram and managed institutions have to be viewed as very minor (including Dr. Voleti's humiliation and my humiliation). If one can't handle the humiliation in a PN ashram institution one should just walk away from the institution where one has been humiliated, and if one wants to record the matter to prevent recurrence of such humiliations for others, put it up on social media. Then one can move on to other things in one's spiritual journey.

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

A comment I made on the Facebook post:
On Mr. Ganti's post mentioned at the beginning of the above post, Sai university/school alumnus, Bro. Venky Pulipati who was present in Sai Kulwant Hall at that time, wrote "Ratnakar brother scolded and he scolded all of us along with Dr Voleti. But he never said he would slap. This is the the truth and I have few more old students who were in the scene. I am even witness to the aftermath scene inside Bhajan Hall. Where Ratnakar Brother came and spoke warmly to Dr Voleti and his team, held him close by his arm and all of them exchanged smiles. I was not a distance to hear what they spoke, but surely I believed and continue to believe Ratnakar brother made it a point to come inside and make up for the anger shown few moments ago which I felt was a nice gesture from him."

So the EYEWITNESS bro. Venky Pulipati says that RJR even spoke warmly to Dr. Voleti AFTER the incident (perhaps to make up for his angry outburst at Dr. Voleti due to BREACH OF SENSITIVE PROTOCOL).

I think a PRIVATE phone call between RJR & Dr. Voleti Chowdhary should be able to RESOLVE this MINOR MATTER. It will be wonderful if Dr. Voleti Chowdhary does continue to associate with SSSIHMS, Puttaparthi and also visit Sai Kulwant Hall. I think it will be good for both Dr. Voleti Chowdhary as well as RJR. And perhaps Mr. Ganti as well.

I have suggested to Mr. Ganti to try a role of peacemaker and help to patch up Dr. Voleti's relations with RJR. That would be a great service that Mr. Ganti could provide to Prasanthi Nilayam and the Sathya Sai movement.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Major Chadwick's I AM experience which was CONFIRMED by Bhagavan Ramana

From http://www.aham.com/RamanaPeriyaPuranam/RamanaPeriyaPuranam.pdf, Pages 243 & 244

Once, I asked Chadwick, “Are you realized?” I have put this question to all of the old devotees like Muruganar, Cohen, Osborne, Sadhu Natanananda, Devaraja Mudaliar and others. None of them either said yes or no - all smiled. When I asked him whether he was realized, he did not say yes or no. Instead, he told me, “I will tell you what happened. After many years of my stay with Bhagavan - four or five years, I committed the mistake of trying to evaluate how much I have progressed spiritually. This is a thing any seeker should not do. I felt that I have not progressed. Many who saw me in Ramanasramam, looked at me like I was a sage or a saint saying, "Oh! He is so fortunate. He is so close to Bhagavan. He meditates so much. He is already in that state." This created a contradiction in me as I personally felt that I was not progressing spiritually. However, having left the material life I could not go back to a worldly life either. I felt caught between the devil and the deep sea. I was sorrow stricken.

I ran to Bhagavan?s hall. He was alone. I told him, "Bhagavan, this is my plight. I am neither here nor there and this causes much sorrow in me." Bhagavan looked at me compassionately and said, "Chadwick, who says all this?" Immediately, there was a current like shock in my body and I literally ran to my room, shut the doors and went into a neutral state. I was not bothered whether I was spiritually maturing or whether I would be able to stay in the world. I was in a neutral state of silence. A few days passed like that wherein I was neither happy nor worried.” The only luxury that Chadwick allowed himself was taking his bath in a bath tub which he had in the verandah of his cottage. One day, shortly after the above incident, something happened unexpectedly. As Chadwick told me later, “I was taking my bath and very honestly Ganesan, I was not in a spiritual state or in a prayerful mood when it suddenly dawned - the "I AM"!” He experienced it - not just as words. He was so ecstatic that he did not even dry himself. He just wrapped a towel around his waist and ran to the Old Hall from where a few days back he had run away. Fortunately, this time too, Bhagavan was alone. In this spiritual ecstasy of experiencing the "I AM", where there was no Chadwick, just the "I AM", he asked Bhagavan, “Bhagavan, is THIS it?” Chadwick recounted, “Bhagavan gave me the most glorious smile, and then confirmed, "Yes, Chadwick, THIS is THAT!" I then asked him, "Bhagavan, is it so simple?" Bhagavan replied, "Yes it is that simple." Since then, I've never had any doubt.”
--- end extract from RamanaPeriyaPuranam.pdf ---

Ravi: Great to have this clear & simple description of Major Chadwick's I AM (unchanging awareness) experience, which was CONFIRMED by Bhagavan Ramana.

My humble view (could be wrong) is that Chadwick may have experienced some level of changeless pure consciousness which is separate from mind, intellect & body. But some mystics experience higher levels of pure consciousness where they experience that they are in others and that others are in them. And the paranormal knowledge that mystics have about thoughts and experiences of others seems to derive from this deeper level of consciousness that they are in.

Another small extract from RamanaPeriyaPuranam.pdf, Page 240:

Once, Chadwick was reading a book in which it was declared that one look of grace from the guru was enough to get liberation. Chadwick had a doubt, “If one look can give liberation to anyone, then why is everyone not liberated?” He went to Bhagavan and started telling him, “Bhagavan, this is what the scriptures say.” Not allowing him to go any further, Bhagavan uttered three words: “Coal, charcoal, gunpowder.” Puzzled, Chadwick asked, “Bhagavan, what do you mean by that?” Bhagavan replied, “The look of grace of the guru is always there and has the same power all the time. But, to receive it, the seeker has to have the same intensity and be on the same wavelength. That is why seekers are said to be like coal, charcoal or gunpowder. Coal takes a long time to ignite, charcoal takes less time and gunpowder ignites instantly. So, some seekers get it instantly, some seekers take more time and those seekers who do not listen to the teaching of the master and practice it, take a long, long time.”
--- end 2nd extract from RamanaPeriyaPuranam.pdf ---

Ravi: Chadwick was a retired Major from the British army who had seen action in World War I. He had moved to Bhagavan Ramana's ashram at Arunachala in 1935. He came to know of Bhagavan Ramana from Paul Brunton's book, "A Search in Secret India". I would like to say here that I was fascinated by Paul Brunton's book when I first read it as a young man.

I think the coal, charcoal and gunpowder example also applies to the "I AM"/unchanging awareness/unchanging consciousness experience. Some may be able to get onto that experience quickly once they embark on their spiritual practice (sadhana), whereas for others it may take much longer. Perhaps for some, such a "Who am I?" contemplation path itself may be  unsuitable and instead a path of devotion to God and actively participating in the world with activities and its fruits being offered to God, may be more suitable.

[I thank aham.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.]

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Prof. Jim Tucker of Univ. of Virginia, medical school, affirms reincarnation possibility

Here's a short video featuring Prof. Jim Tucker, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QK9KvP4ZuAE, 6 min. Great to see such a strong affirmation of reincarnation from a researcher of a top USA university. Of course, his work will not be easily accepted by mainstream science in the USA (and the West in general).

From around 5:00 in the video, Prof. Jim Tucker says:
I don't think that we can just map these cases on to a mainstream materialistic view of the world. I think what they seem to indicate is that consciousness is not limited just to the physical brain but can continue on after the brain dies. I think there are reasons, other reasons, to consider that consciousness should be considered separate from the physical world, that it's a separate entity. And it's not necessarily dependent on the physical world. In fact, the reverse may well be true, that the physical world is dependent on consciousness.
So, in these cases this consciousness has continued after the brain died and for whatever reasons has shown up again in somebody, another person that was born. That doesn't mean that that would typically happen but it is what appears to happen, in our strongest cases anyway.
--- end Prof. Jim Tucker quote ---

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_B._Tucker: Jim Tucker is the medical director of the Child and Family Psychiatry Clinic, and Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences at the University of Virginia School of Medicine [Ravi: in USA].His main research interests are children who claim to remember previous lives, and natal and prenatal memories. He is the author of Life Before Life: A Scientific Investigation of Children’s Memories of Previous Lives, which presents an overview of over four decades of reincarnation research at the Division of Perceptual Studies. Tucker, a board-certified child psychiatrist, worked for several years on this research with Ian Stevenson before taking over upon Stevenson’s retirement in 2002.

--- end wiki extract ---

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Sankranti Rangoli on Chitravathi Riverbank road from near Chitravathi riverbank temple onwards

Thes pics given below of the Rangolis seem to have been done today (13th Jan. 2016). Sankranti, I am told, is tomorrow, 14th Jan. 2016. Sankranti is also known as Pongal (especially in Tamil Nadu).







[To see above pics in original size (magnified), mouse right-click, open the image in new tab, and then click on image to zoom.]

My Facebook post has more pics of the Rangolis here: https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1694002637482973.

It seems that this Rangoli (muggula pottilu in Telugu, it seems) drawings were part of a local competition. The winners (ladies) can be seen being felicitated here with prizes: https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1694019384147965.

Some info. about Sankranti/Pongal from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Makar_Sankranti:
Makar Sankranti is an Indian festival celebrated in almost all parts of India and Nepal in lots of cultural forms. It is a harvest festival.

Makar Sankranti marks the transition of the Sun into the zodiac sign of Makara (Capricorn) on its celestial path. The day is also believed to mark the arrival of spring in India and is a traditional event.
...
According to the Hindu (Indian) calendar Makar Sankranti is a festival celebrated at Mah 1st of Hindu (Indian) Solar Calendar for the happiness of getting new crops for farmers. It also symbolizes the end of the winter solstice which makes the day last longer than night.
...
Makar Sankranti is regarded as the beginning of an auspicious phase in Indian (Hindu) culture. It is cited as the 'holy phase of transition'. It marks the end of an inauspicious phase which according to the Hindu calendar begins around mid-December. It is believed that any auspicious and sacred ritual can be sanctified in any (Hindu) Indian family, this day onwards. Scientifically, this day marks the beginning of warmer and longer days compared to the nights. In other words, Sankranti marks the termination of winter season and beginning of a new harvest or spring season.

All over the country, Makar Sankranti is observed with great fanfare. However, it is celebrated with distinct names and rituals in different parts of the country. In the states of northern and western India, the festival is celebrated as the Sankranti day with special zeal and fervour. The importance of this day has been signified in the ancient epics like Mahabharata. So, apart from socio-geographical importance, Makar Sankranti holds historical and religious significance. As it is the festival of Sun God, and he is regarded as the symbol of divinity and wisdom, the festival holds an eternal meaning.
--- end wiki extracts ---
============================

A correspondent responded over email (and was OK with public sharing):
These are very impressive. As a sort of engineer I wonder how they are designed and executed! For example, each pattern is done just once with no room for correction or change. Then the order of execution must be worked out carefully so that there is no need to go back over what has already been completed. You must never be caught 'painting yourself into a corner,' so to speak.

A big change from producing software where the program evolves through changes and debugging is an almost inescapable part of the activity.

[I thank Wikipedia 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.]

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Will Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba approve of a man of nearly mid 60s marrying a woman in her twenties?

Last updated on 15th Jan. 2016

I was asked for my view on this matter put up in a recent Facebook post here, https://www.facebook.com/sathyanarayana.raju.9/posts/720986948037792.

[Update on 15th Jan. 2016
Brother Hari Sivakumar on Google+ share of this post contents wrote (he also added the same comment as an anonymous user on this blog post):

Sai Ram brother,

Please see Divine Discourse - 3rd September 1996 - first broadcast on 2012-10-04
(Linked here http://dl.radiosai.org/DD_1996_09_03.mp3)

Between minutes 18-21, Swami brings up this EXACT issue about societal norms (Samskriti), and a man of 60 marrying a girl of 20.
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I responded to him as follows:

Thanks a ton for giving the discourse audio reference/download link. Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba gives the example of a 60 year old man marrying an 18 year old girl as the man did not have any other helpmate at home. Bhagavan further says that when society sees them walking together on the street they will be viewed as grandfather and granddaughter (instead of husband and wife). So Bhagavan has clearly disapproved of 60 year old man marrying an 18 year old girl (at least, in traditional Indian society/community). From this discourse, I think Bhagavan's views would extend the disapproval to 60 year or 60 plus year old man marrying a girl in the twenties (including late twenties). I will update both my blog post & Facebook post on this topic suitably. Thanks a ton again brother Hari Sivakumar. Jai Sairam!

end-Update 15th Jan. 2016]

I responded via comments as follows (slightly edited):
My view is that the challenge would be in raising any (biological) kids that such a couple may have in today's world. It may have been different fifty years ago if the couple had enough money.
Regarding Swami's view: I was sitting in Sai Kulwant Hall when Swami made an unexpected/unscheduled discourse in May 2010. The discourse contents are available here: http://sssbpt.org/pages/Prasanthi_Nilayam/dd18052010.html.

One of the focal points of the discourse was the role of the husband and the role of the wife in a marriage.
"Just as women should observe Patrivrata Dharma (Dharma for a chaste woman), men should also adhere to Sativrata Dharma (Dharma for an ideal husband). A woman must be a Pativrata (chaste woman), so also her husband, a Sativrata (ideal husband). The wife should never go against the command of her husband, similarly, the husband should conduct himself according to the wishes of his wife and should look after her with great love." - This extract puts the matter in a nutshell. The husband should look after his wife with great love! Even if the man is elder to the woman by decades if the man is able to look after his wife with great love and the wife is faithful to her husband, that would make for a happy married life, I guess.

This marriage stuff is a very complex affair, especially for deeply spiritual types. Sometimes it may even be a karmic bond that needs fulfilment in this birth via marriage. Sometimes the young woman may be more interested in spiritual companionship from the very elder man. Society may frown but then as they say in Hindi, Miya Bibi Razi tho kya karega Kazi (if husband and wife are willing then what can the priest do (to stop the marriage)).

In the discourse Swami also said, "But, unfortunately, there are only a few men today who observe Sativrata Dharma though a large number of women adhere to Pativrata Dharma. God is pleased with those women who observe Pativrata Dharma. When there is unity between husband and wife, they can achieve anything and find fulfillment in life. Draupadi had five husbands and she considered them as her five life-breaths. Women today should observe chastity like Sita, Savitri, Draupadi and Damayanti. It is the sacred land of Bharat where you find such a large number of Pativrata women and nowhere else."

Ravi: Swami particularly said that where there is unity between husband and wife, they can achieve anything and find fulfilment in life. But as mentioned in update dated 15th Jan. 2016 at the top of this post, Swami has, in a public discourse, shown disapproval of a sixty year old man marrying an 18 year old girl as society would view them as grandfather and granddaughter (instead of husband and wife).

My own view in this matter is that I leave it to the individuals concerned. If a sixty-plus gentleman in MDH group wants to marry a WILLING & DEEPLY INTERESTED lady a few decades younger than him, I am not going to be critical of that. It is their life and their choice. However, if Madhusudhan Rao Naidu ENCOURAGED such a marriage by stating that it is divinely ordained by Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba or something like that, I would be very critical of Madhusudhan Rao Naidu.
...
I have given my own view and my understanding of Swami's words on such matters. I am not saying I am right. Maybe my understanding of Swami's words is incorrect. However, my own view is very clear that I WILL NOT OPPOSE OR CRITICIZE a 60 plus year man marrying a young woman in the twenties if both are willing. As far as I am concerned, it is their life and so their choice. Who am I to interfere in their lives? Would I like others interfering in my life? No, I would not.

Now you, ---, may have a very different view than mine. Fine. Let us agree to disagree on this. Mind you, I am not saying that Swami would ENCOURAGE such marriages as a norm. Further, I have also said that if Madhsudhan Rao Naidu has ENCOURAGED such a marriage using the name of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, I would be very critical of Madhusudhan Rao Naidu.
=================================

The post contents above have also been put up on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1693748484175055, which has attracted a few comments. Some readers may want to view the comments there.

I have given below some of my comments (slightly edited) on the above-mentioned Facebook post:

I think I also read about something similar that Swami said about crossing 50 yrs of age (being time for withdrawal from world and entry into Vanaprastha ashrama). I did NOT say that Swami would encourage marriage of a 60 plus year old man with a twenties something woman. My view is that Swami would not FORBID such a marriage in exceptional cases. About how the man will take care of such a wife 20 years down the line - that's a very valid point. However, some marriage matters are very strange. Sometimes the man has lots of money and the woman is primarily seeking financial security and a few decades together with the man, especially if the woman may think that she would benefit from the elder man's spiritual wisdom. But my view could be wrong. Perhaps others who have experienced Swami's reactions to such marriages are in a much better position to comment on this than me.
...
Hmm. You know, I would view that (50 years thing) as a general recommendation from Swami, and not as a kind-of shastra rule. Marriage, especially in Indian context, can be for a variety of reasons. A special case is a widower with children who is looking for a wife to look after the children. My view is that these things are too complex to reduce to a simple rule like no marriage for men above 50 years (without exceptions).
...
.. But what I have observed in Prasanthi Nilayam ashram situation is that many strange situations crop up. Late marriage among staff of PN institutions was not unusual. And Swami would not really forbid it. I mean, I am not saying that he would welcome it and say it is wonderful and all that. But he would not forbid it if the persons concerned were determined to marry. Usually it would be the man who is marrying late; but the wife would not be much younger than him. I mean, I have not known of any case of 60 year old man marrying twenties woman among PN staff. It would be more of around 40 year old guy marrying 30-ish woman. ... But among devotees, while I do not know the details, I would not be surprised if some man decided to marry/re-marry at 50 with say a 30-ish/40-ish woman and approached Swami for blessings and got it.
...
Personally, I think that marriage for companionship (and not for procreation) among oldies should be fine. The shastras may not have anything on such a marriage but I personally would not be too bothered about that aspect. I don't know whether Swami ever commented upon such a marriage :-).
...
I felt it appropriate to mention that I know for certain of a case of (physical form) Swami not only NOT forbidding but also signalling his approval for a POSSIBLE marriage between a late-forties gentleman (who was financially decently placed by Puttaparthi middle-class living standards) and a perhaps early-thirties lady (who was employed and perhaps decently placed by Puttaparthi middle-class living standards). While the marriage did not take place it was clear that Swami had no objection to the marriage POSSIBILITY and had signalled his approval for it if both the gentleman and the lady wanted to go ahead with it.

But I also have been told of a few cases where Swami specifically did not give approval (so could be viewed as disapproval by those who would not go ahead with marriage without approval from Swami) for many marriage proposals related to young men who were physically somewhat close to him. Some of these gentlemen have remained single.

I should also clearly state that I have not read or heard of Swami giving approval & blessings to marriage of any 60 or 60 plus year old gentleman to a twenty-something lady. I think this seems to be a rather extreme case.
...
I have been told that, in general, Swami recommended marriage to those alumni of Sai university who took up jobs in the world outside. I have also noted that many alumni who served in Prasanthi Nilayam ashram for years as bachelors, when they did move out and take up a job outside, would get married. For those Sai university alumni who served in the Prasanthi Nilayam system, I know for certain (in the years I was associated with the system and Swami was accessible to alumni/devotees: Jan. 2003 to Mar. 2011) that as a general instruction Swami was OK with marriage for those who wanted to get married. That would surely extend to other Sai devotees serving in the ashram system. I mean, he did not expect all alumni (and surely, all other Sai devotees) who served in Prasanthi Nilayam system to stay unmarried. However, almost all of those alumni who were physically very close to him, would be unmarried (while they were doing that physically close service to Bhagavan). So Brahmacharya seems to have been better for such physically close servitors. Overall, I get the impression that Swami's view was that if somebody is living in regular society outside, "marriage is better". However, for those living in Prasanthi Nilayam ashram Swami had created a wonderful system where they could comfortably lead unmarried Brahmacharya lives if they so chose to do so and one could even say, IMHO, in general, that "Brahmacharya is better" for those living in Prasanthi Nilayam ashram.

Monday, January 11, 2016

1965-85 pics of Prasanthi Nilayam Gopuram Entrance/Gopuram Road

I have been informed that the main entrance to Prasanthi Nilayam ashram in the olden days was the Gopuram Gate/Entrance (as against the current Ganesh Gate/Entrance). I believe that it was after the current Mamillakunta-Puttaparthi and Kothacheruvu-Puttaparthi road link was made which avoided the need to go to Bukkapatnam, that the main entrance became Ganesh Gate/Entrance. I do not know the year when that happened.

Given below are some pics, courtesy: Puttaparthi Times and Radio Sai, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1693407854209118, which show how the main Gopuram Gate/Entrance and the road in front of it looked in the 60s to the mid-80s.


1960s: Prasanthi Nilayam ashram gate/entrance before Gopuram gate/entrance was made (replacing the entrance shown above)


1968: In front of entrance of Prasanthi Nilayam ashram (what is Gopuram Road today)


1978: Gopuram entrance to Prasanthi Nilayam ashram and the road in front of it (what is Gopuram Road today).


1984: Gopuram Road

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Sai university alumni official declaration NOT official declaration! Murky state of affairs in PN system due to Muddenahalli false belief

Sai university alumni official declaration (of 6th Dec. 2015) cannot be viewed as official declaration! What a murky state of affairs this Muddenahalli false belief has created in Prasanthi Nilayam ashram system!

Over a month ago I was glad to be informed by a Sai university alumnus as well as a senior Sai fraternity person about "Official Alumni Stand on Muddenahalli", which was also put up on Facebook (and duly shared by me on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1682681738615063 and on my blog here: http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/12/official-alumni-group-of-sathya-sai.html).

Today I had to update my share with the following message:
Update on 10th Jan. 2016: As it is over a month since brother Sri Sudhir Joshi put up the FB post shared below about official alumni group announcement, WITHOUT any such announcement from official SSSIHL sources or any other official Sai institution source, I have to say that the announcement CANNOT BE VIEWED AS AN OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT OF Sai educational institutions alumni! That is really disappointing! I don't think I will blame Sai fraternity if they SUSPECT whether official Sai alumni group is a HIDDEN SUPPORTER of Muddenhalli false belief? I mean, the situation is so murky now that one does not know whom to trust in this Muddenhalli muddle.
--- end update ---

What a terrible state of affairs this Muddenahalli false belief has created! We had a vice-chancellor of the Sai university (Shashidhara Prasad) having belief in Muddenhalli false belief while he was sitting in the powerful VC chair till Nov. 2014 even when the SSSCT was OFFICIALLY saying that it does not believe in mediums (and communicators)! We have a Sai university alumni group which seems to be issuing public statements within its private group and is COMPLETELY SILENT IN PUBLIC on the matter! One receives reports of paid employee(s) of Prashanti Nilayam ashram system visiting Muddenahalli for getting blessings from Madhusudhan Rao Naidu! I was told that Radio Sai recently put up a Muddenahalli promoter Africa-based Christian priest's article/interview, which I was told was later taken off on instructions from a trustee who overruled some Radio Sai staff's objections to its removal!

What is going on! Have some staff of Prasanthi Nilayam ashram and its managed institutions also developed belief in Madhusudhan Rao Naidu and so called subtle body of Muddenahalli??? If so, they would do a great service by publicly stating their belief and having the courage to face any job/work related consequences of stating that belief. I would surely respect such persons instead of those who are taking salary and/or benefits from Prasanthi Nilayam system and are being hidden supporters/sympathizers of Muddenahalli FALSE BELIEF.

Or is it all a matter of donations? Is there FEAR that if the truth about Muddenahalli false belief is repeatedly mentioned in public by Prasanti Nilayam institution persons, donations will come down for Prasanthi Nilayam ashram? Has Prasanthi Nilayam ashram become more focused on donations than on following and propagating Sathya & Dharma? [Sathyam Vada Dharmam Chara is what Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba taught, reinforcing the ancient Sanathana Dharma ideal.]

If so, perhaps there is a need for another ashram to be established where people will follow ceiling on desires, lead simple lives and stick to Sathya & Dharma, and sincerely attempt to follow teachings of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi, completely blocking attempts to corrupt the system by donors with lots of money, and also completely blocking any attempts by Muddenahalli sympathizers/promoters to corrupt the system using Muddenahalli so called subtle body teachings/instructions. What matters eventually is the dissemination and practice of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's teachings including his clear condemnation of mediums and communicators using his name. If Prasanthi Nilayam ashram system is slipping up there due to its own problems, some other ashram should take it forward.

Sathya Sai fraternity should have ZERO TOLERANCE for CORRUPTION in teachings of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba even if we devotees slip up here and there in our attempts to follow the teachings. I am aghast that some Muddenahalli group followers think that Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba will give instructions to open a casino in Las Vegas, USA. That is the extent of the CORRUPTION that Muddenahalli group has created in the teachings of Kali Yuga Avatar Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. There has to be some group which will STAND FIRM against such CORRUPTION no matter how much MONEY is offered as donations, no matter what fancy car is provided as donation. What awesome power money and the great material stuff that money can buy (e.g. fancy cars, fancy houses etc.) has, to CORRUPT teachings of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba and also to CORRUPT some of his devotees, is rather terrifying for me to see, from a spiritual point of view. Truly, excess money and spiritual lustre can very, very rarely go together. Almost invariably, excess money will darken the spiritual lustre of spiritual persons and spiritual groups.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Sri Indulal Shah and Sri S.V.Giri vacate office of trustee, SSSCT; Who will take up the vacant positions?

From http://www.srisathyasai.org.in/Pdf/IMPORTANT%20COMMUNICATION.pdf

3rd January 2016

The Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust took note of the continued absence and non participation of Sri Indulal Shah and Sri S. V. Giri in the affairs of the Trust, its programmes and meetings and placed on record that on account of their physical and mental incapacity Sri Indual Shah and Sri S. V. Giri have vacated office as Trustees of Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust.

The Trustees placed on record the long, distinguished and enormous service rendered by Sri Indulal Shah and Sri S. V. Giri to Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, prior to the impairment of their health, and thank them for their services.

--- end text from www.srisathyasai.org.in/Pdf/IMPORTANT%20COMMUNICATION.pdf ---

Ravi: This is a very appropriate development in the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust (SSSCT). Of course, both the revered elders, Sri Indulal Shah sir and Sri S.V. Giri sir have rendered invaluable service to SSSCT and Bhagavan's mission in general. All of us devotees in the Sathya Sai fraternity, IMHO, should be very thankful to them for these services they have rendered. I certainly am very thankful to both Sri Indulal Shah sir and Sri S.V.Giri sir for the leadership they provided under (physical form) Swami's DIVINE DIRECTION for the Sathya Sai movement.

So there are two vacancies in the nine member SSSCT now. Who will take up these vacant positions?

I personally would be very glad to see Prof. Anilkumar Kamaraju sir take up one of the vacant positions. Prof. Anilkumar Kamaraju's sagacity, knowledge and experience in relation to the Sathya Sai fraternity, both Indian as well as international, as a very well known speaker & writer on Sathya Sai life & teachings, a former translator of Bhagavan's discourses who has had the great blessing of lot of experiences & interactions with Bhagavan, and a former senior faculty of the Sai university (Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning), make him a very good choice for trustee, SSSCT, IMHO.

I believe Sri Sathyajit Salian is actively being considered for taking up one of these vacant positions. What people have said is that (physical form) Swami wanted Sri Sathyajit Salian to be made a trustee. I don't know how true that report is.

Overall, SSSCT has to be congratulated for a wonderful 90th birthday celebration. SSSCT can build on this strong platform by at least some of the trustees (especially those based in Prasanthi Nilayam/Puttaparthi) becoming more approachable and more in touch with the Sathya Sai fraternity. I hope that the new trustees (whoever they may be) go out of their way to freely interact with Sathya Sai fraternity (devotees) and thereby give a friendly and welcoming face to SSSCT.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Madhusudhan Naidu mind-to-mind communication from Muddenahalli subtle body claim! Narasimhamurthy July 2011 dream false?

Was Narasimhamurthy lying to Sai fraternity about July 2011 Guru Purnima dream instructions? Madhusudhan Naidu SUPPOSEDLY gets mind-to-mind communication from so called subtle body!

The document, https://gallery.mailchimp.com/72d97e32d741a4b68382758b7/files/Sai_Baba_s_Exclusive_Interview_with_Global_Translators_of_SSSPP_24_November_2015.pdf (18 pages), states that it covers an event on 24th November 2015 titled "SRI SATHYA SAI BABA’S EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH THE GLOBAL TRANSLATORS OF SSS PREMAMRUTA PRAKASHANA". Of course, we know that it is not Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba who is speaking in Muddenahalli but Madhusudhan Rao Naidu (MRN) who may be getting coached by seniors of Muddenahalli group like Shri B.N. Narasimhamurthy (BNN).

This document has important REVELATIONS by BNN in a reported talk given by him at that event, covered on Page 8 of the above document. Some extracts from BNN talk along with my comments on it:
[BNN:] The first time I had the great fortune of interacting with Bhagawan in the Subtle Form was in July 2011.
[Ravi: So BNN story as conveyed to the public changes dramatically now. As I have shared in an earlier post, BNN wrote a document about a special dream of Bhagavan that he got a few days before GuruPurnima 2011 (sometime in July 2011, if I recall correctly) due to which he assumed a position of Swami dream-instructions medium for post-Mahasamadhi phase of the mission. The document was sent to all faculty of Prasanthi Nilayam campus in end July 2011 (and may have similarly been sent to all faculty in other campuses of SSSIHL). Very, very unfortunately for the Prasanthi Nilayam/Puttaparthi based Sathya Sai mission, then Vice-chancellor of SSSIHL, Shashidhara Prasad, AND many other senior academic administrators of SSSIHL came to believe in this claim of BNN, resulting in a HIJACK of SSSIHL by BNN & Shashidhara Prasad from July 2011 till Nov. 2014 when Shashidhara Prasad stepped down as vice-chancellor.

So was BNN LYING about his dream then? Or was so called subtle body telling BNN to LIE to SSSIHL faculty? Or was it that SIMULTANEOUSLY there were not just one but two channels of Swami instructions in Muddenahalli - BNN as well as MRN (Madhusudhan)? Of course, two channels would be a serious problem as there will be conflicting instructions!]
...
[BNN:] Perhaps you know that the communication of Swami – when He starts speaking – is from mind-to-mind. It is not that Madhusudhan listens to the sounds, but it is from mind-to-mind. Real communication happens from heart-to-heart and mind-to-mind. 
[Ravi: So according to BNN words as of today (MAY CHANGE TOMORROW :-) ), MRN (Madhusudhan) does not listen to so called subtle body words but has "mind-to-mind" "Real communication"!!! Hmm. So actually MRN does not even have to look at the empty chair. Sometime down the line BNN will perhaps say that MRN was doing that to prepare us poor & simple & unsophisticated Sai devotees to slowly accept that like great Rishis of old who were revealed the Sruthi/Vedas in their minds/hearts due to mind-to-mind and heart-to-heart communication from ParaBrahman (Formless Divine Reality/God), MRN (Madhusudhan) now is the 21st century DIVINE RISHI (21st century VedaVyasa perhaps?) who has been CHOSEN due to his IMMACULATE PURITY & DEVOTION by so called subtle body to be the mind-to-mind COMMUNICATOR of so called subtle body's words. Perhaps now that these details have been revealed PUBLICLY by BNN we may see MRN not looking at empty chair in future for his so called "DIVINE DISCOURSES", and instead he may cast his "loving, pure & divine" eyes on the assembled congregation.

MRN has already started blessing devotees by touching his "divine palm" on articles held up to him for blessing during his "darshan" round. I guess it is just a matter of time (and a short period of time) before he accepts the yearning of his devotees to be allowed to take Padanamaskar of him (reverentially touching his "divine feet"). I mean, the CHOSEN mind-to-mind COMMUNICATOR would be viewed like 21st century VedaVyasa and would surely be worthy of reverence, is it not? Muddenahalli group followers, I am quite sure, will accept this as natural and yet one more step forward in their mission.]
...
[BNN:] Baba gave His first public discourse here, in Sri Sathya Sai Anandam, on 11th May, 2014. So, you can imagine, that from July 2011 to May 2014, He prepared all of us to understand that such a thing is possible – that He can address us.
...
[BNN:] Mr. Tigrett does not understand Sanskrit. He always has the Sanskrit and Swami’s references to scriptures verified by me, as to whether what is written is correct. Whenever a volume is published, he and his team send me about 100 questions. If I am unable to find the right answers, I refer to Bhagawan, and whatever He says alone is followed. 
[Ravi: BNN's talk mentioned that Mr. Tigrett has been playing the manager role of publication of so called subtle body "discourses" & related material. I find it interesting to see that BNN is playing the Sanskrit expert role. Hmm. And then, of course, when BNN has doubts, he has all the access he wants to so called subtle body to get all the clarifications. I wonder whether BNN's access to subtle body is DIRECT without the need of MRN. Or does BNN get dream-clarifications on Sanskrit matters from Swami?]

--- end BNN talk extracts & my comments on it ---

Ravi: Now I have given one small extract from the so called "DIVINE DISCOURSE" in the document (delivered on 24th Nov. 2015 according to the document), and my comments on it:
[From page 14 of the document]
[Madhusudhan Rao Naidu:] In the present Age of Kali, confusion increased because of weakness of the mind, and there were distortions even in books. 
[Ravi: So now MRN (Madhusudhan) says that the present age is Kali. But he had said previously that Kali Yuga will be ending in Oct. 2015! Hmm. I think MRN & his coaching staff have realized their previous mistake and have corrected themselves. I see that as a good sign. I mean, MRN & his coaching staff are willing to correct THEIR BLUNDERS. So if MRN & his coaching stuff say something really ridiculous in future (like the Kali Yuga ending thing) then we can jump on their BLUNDERS and force them to correct it, thereby preventing MRN & his coaching staff from continuing to do any DRASTIC kind of MISGUIDANCE of innocent Sai devotees trapped by them, through their PUBLIC so called "DISCOURSES" using the HOLY NAME of Kali Yuga Avatar, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Of course, the MISGUIDANCE that MRN & coaching staff like BNN do in private interviews in the HOLY NAME of Bhagavan, is something we cannot do anything much about unless the devotees/persons involved PUBLICLY & COURAGEOUSLY share what has been said in those interviews.]

Friday, January 1, 2016

TED Talk: 75 years long Harvard study on happiness - The good life is built with good relationships

Note that there is no mention of religion or God in this talk (12 min. 46 secs)/transcript. So my view is that the loneliness mentioned in the talk may refer to people who did not/could not cultivate an inner relationship with Absolute God (Brahman) / Ishta Devata (favourite God e.g. Jesus, Krishna, Sai Baba) and/or those who were not associated with a religious/spiritual congregation.

Few short extracts from the transcript link, https://www.ted.com/talks/robert_waldinger_what_makes_a_good_life_lessons_from_the_longest_study_on_happiness/transcript?language=en, filmed in November 2015, are given below:

We've learned three big lessons about relationships. The first is that social connections are really good for us, and that loneliness kills. It turns out that people who are more socially connected to family, to friends, to community, are happier, they're physically healthier, and they live longer than people who are less well connected. And the experience of loneliness turns out to be toxic. People who are more isolated than they want to be from others find that they are less happy, their health declines earlier in midlife, their brain functioning declines sooner and they live shorter lives than people who are not lonely. And the sad fact is that at any given time, more than one in five Americans will report that they're lonely.

And we know that you can be lonely in a crowd and you can be lonely in a marriage, so the second big lesson that we learned is that it's not just the number of friends you have, and it's not whether or not you're in a committed relationship, but it's the quality of your close relationships that matters. It turns out that living in the midst of conflict is really bad for our health. High-conflict marriages, for example, without much affection, turn out to be very bad for our health, perhaps worse than getting divorced. And living in the midst of good, warm relationships is protective.
...
And the third big lesson that we learned about relationships and our health is that good relationships don't just protect our bodies, they protect our brains. It turns out that being in a securely attached relationship to another person in your 80s is protective, that the people who are in relationships where they really feel they can count on the other person in times of need, those people's memories stay sharper longer. And the people in relationships where they feel they really can't count on the other one, those are the people who experience earlier memory decline. And those good relationships, they don't have to be smooth all the time. Some of our octogenarian couples could bicker with each other day in and day out, but as long as they felt that they could really count on the other when the going got tough, those arguments didn't take a toll on their memories.

So this message, that good, close relationships are good for our health and well-being, this is wisdom that's as old as the hills. Why is this so hard to get and so easy to ignore? Well, we're human. What we'd really like is a quick fix, something we can get that'll make our lives good and keep them that way. Relationships are messy and they're complicated and the hard work of tending to family and friends, it's not sexy or glamorous. It's also lifelong. It never ends. The people in our 75-year study who were the happiest in retirement were the people who had actively worked to replace workmates with new playmates. Just like the millennials in that recent survey, many of our men when they were starting out as young adults really believed that fame and wealth and high achievement were what they needed to go after to have a good life. But over and over, over these 75 years, our study has shown that the people who fared the best were the people who leaned in to relationships, with family, with friends, with community.
...
I'd like to close with a quote from Mark Twain. More than a century ago, he was looking back on his life, and he wrote this: "There isn't time, so brief is life, for bickerings, apologies, heartburnings, callings to account. There is only time for loving, and but an instant, so to speak, for that."

The good life is built with good relationships.

--- end extracts ---

The talk link was forwarded to me by a correspondent.

[I thank ted.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.]