Thursday, March 31, 2016

Sathya Sai in 1998 interview to Mumbai Media; My devotees will lead Sathya Sai movement after me; God will continue to guide them

From transcript of 11th August 1998 Interview of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba by Mumbai Media, https://www.facebook.com/notes/visvesh-baabu/bhagavans-interview-with-the-press-in-1998-transcript-of-the-interview/1117918538239219.

Questioner: Who will lead the Sathya Sai movement after you?
Swami: My devotees. God will continue to guide them.

--- end extract ---

Ravi: I think this is a very interesting quote from Bhagavan which assures us that Bhagavan will continue to guide his devotees to run his mission after him (his Mahasamadhi). Of course, how exactly that guidance will be given is not specified, and neither is there any mention of any so called communicator or so called subtle body coming into play.

Ted Cruz on voter reaction to politician who publicly says that he is running because God asked him to run

An extract from Full Rush Transcript: Sen. Ted Cruz, CNN Milwaukee Republican Presidential Town Hall, March 29th 2016, http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/2016/03/29/full-rush-transcript-sen-ted-cruz-cnn-milwaukee-republican-presidential-town-hall/ :

QUESTION:  Hi, Senator Cruz.

My question for you is, how and why does your religion play a part in your political decision-making?  Don't you think it should be more of a moral belief and not something that can interfere with your decision-making when you're making decisions for all religions in the United States?

CRUZ:  Well, Thomas, thank you for that question.

Listen, with Me, as with many people in America, my faith is an integral part of who I am.  I'm a Christian, and I'm not embarrassed to say that.  I'm not going to hide that and treat it like it's something you can't admit publicly and acknowledge.  It's an important part of who you are.

But I also think those in politics have an obligation not to wear their faith on their sleeve.  There have been far too many politicians that run around behaving like they're holier than thou.

And I'll tell you, my attitude as a voter when some politician stands up and says, I'm running because God told me to vote - to run, my reaction as a voter is, great, when God tells me to vote for you, we'll be on the same page.

(LAUGHTER)

CRUZ:  And so, listen, I'm not asking you to vote for me because of my personal faith with Jesus Christ.  I'm asking you to vote for me because I've spent a lifetime fighting to defend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, fighting to defend the American free enterprise system, and we need a leader who will stand up every day and protect the rights of everyone, whether they're Christians  or Jews or Muslims or anyone else.  The bill of rights protects all Americans.  It protects atheists.  That's the beauty of the bill of rights, is that we have the freedom to seek out god, to worship and to live according to our faith and our conscience, and I think the Constitution and Bill of Rights is a unifying principle that can bring us together across faiths, across races, across ethnicity.  And we need to come together behind the unifying principles that built America.

(APPLAUSE)
--- end extract ---

Ravi: I think the faith part of the above response of Senator Ted Cruz is a very good one from a point of view of multi-faith harmonious co-existence/tolerance and religious pluralism, including harmonious co-existence with/tolerance for no-faith (atheist) persons.
------------

Please note that I have a NEUTRAL informal-student-observer role in these posts that I put up about the USA presidential elections. Of course, as I am an Indian citizen living in India, there is no question of me voting in these elections.

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

This is not about revenge; (they should) tell the truth; there has to be justice - Holocaust survivor about ongoing trial of accused Nazis in Germany

[Schwarzbaum is a 95 year old Auschwitz Holocaust survivor who lost 35 family members in the Holocaust. He now lives in Germany and is a state witness for the ongoing trial.]
The Reuters article linked below quotes Schwarzbaum as follows:
"I just hope they all talk eventually. I want to hear it out of their mouths, what they did and why. I want them to tell the truth"
...
"I don't care about the punishment and this is not about revenge," .."But there has to be justice."
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-nazi-trial-victims-idUSKCN0WV235, 30th March 2016, (from) Berlin.

Ravi: I think the quest for justice and the quest for knowing the truth about what happened in tragedies, is such a human feeling/need. People want to know what really happened, why did the perpetrators do what they did, and want justice to be meted out to the perpetrators. That brings a sense of closure to the matter, even if the sadness persists. In some rough societies there may be desire for revenge - an eye for an eye type of revenge. But in more refined societies it stops at some sort of punishment decided by the judge & the laws, but not revenge.

[I thank reuters.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.]

Considering oneself accountable to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba at formless level, and to future physical form Prema Sai Baba

I have given below a modified version of part of a comment I made recently on FB post, https://www.facebook.com/sathyanarayana.raju.9/posts/756610061142147.

I would like to add to what you said about your personal honour and integrity being at stake in your responses to the questions. Well, my personal reputation for integrity & honesty is also at stake in what I write on social media about these matters. And, it is much, much bigger than you and me and (others involved in the conversation). It is the legacy of, and the continuing work in the name of, our beloved Lord, Kali Yuga Avatar, Shiva-Shakti Swarupa, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Further, we have to be FAITHFUL to Bhagavan. I consider myself answerable to Bhagavan, my Guru and my Ishta Devata to whom I am deeply grateful, and I am sure you too consider yourself to be answerable to Bhagavan. As you and I both were in the Sai university as teachers, both you and I know that if we did something really wrong we would have to FACE THE CONSEQUENCES from physical form Bhagavan during darshan/sambhashan - at least, I have had that experience (in particular in 2010 with some major personal issue I had then).

In Bhagavan's physical absence, I consider myself answerable to my conscience (as I view that as the inner voice of God/Absolute Brahman). And perhaps some day I may find myself face-to-face with physical form Prema Sai. If I have been UNFAITHFUL to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Bhagavan Prema Sai Baba will let me know of that by his gestures/words - this much I am sure of. So I greatly fear being UNFAITHFUL to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, as that will not only harm my spiritual progress, but also come in the way of any future blessed interactions I may have with Prema Sai Baba.

To conclude, in my considered opinion, we will be held accountable for our honesty & integrity (or lack of it) in these vital conversations regarding the claims made by Bro. Madhusudhan Rao Naidu, by Bhagavan, at formless level and in future physical form, Prema Sai, if we are blessed to have interactions with that physical form. It is not just being accountable to the Sai university alumni & staff, functionaries of Sai orgn. and Sai devotees in general, but being accountable to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba at formless level and to future physical form Prema Sai Baba.

Monday, March 28, 2016

To be a Hindu, doesn't one have to be born a Hindu?

Last updated on 7th April 2016

In response to a question about whether to be a Hindu, doesn't one have to be born a Hindu, on this FB post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1721424181407485, I responded by a few comments, which I felt I should put down as a separate post (giving it more visibility), as it may be of interest to others too. Those comments are given below (slightly edited):

Hinduism, as I have experienced it in the second half of the 20th century and early 21st century is not that organized a religion as Christianity or Islam. Further, there are perhaps thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of different sects and thousands of temples and/or gurus that Hindu families associate with.

So I think it is possible for anybody from any religion, and whether of Indian nationality or foreign, to associate with many sects and to be accepted and viewed as Hindu, especially those sects that are associated with a Guru, provided the sect finds them acceptable in terms of the way they conduct themselves. I do not know whether there is a specific ceremony like baptism in Christianity to formally induct a non-Hindu as a Hindu (though one does read about some functions conducted by some Hindu organizations to re-convert some Hindus who had converted to other religions).

Most Hindu religious functions are also typically open to people from other communities to participate in. So any person who chooses to embrace Hinduism should not, as far as I know, face any barrier in terms of participating in most PUBLIC Hindu functions (different from conducting the function as a Hindu priest).

However, acceptance by members of a caste-based community may be another matter. In particular, acceptance of some non-Hindu who embraces Hinduism by Brahmin caste-communities (there are many variations in them), may be problematic, and these issues really come to the fore in matters like marriage alliances in traditional & conservative Brahmin families.

Let me share some details from my perspective. But I must also say that I do not have direct exposure to this matter of non-Hindus who embrace Hinduism and want to participate in Brahminical ritual conducted by a suitable Brahmin priest, on a regular basis.

BTW I don't know whether you folks know about how Brahmins keep track of their genealogy. According to tradition, the Brahmin is supposed to introduce himself to other Brahmins (& respected elders like kings, I guess) by the Abhivadaye. From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abhivadaye, "The importance of giving respect to elders, in whole means it is an introduction of self with lineage. It consists of a set of lines which is essentially used to introduce one's Pravara, Gotra, Sutrakaara or the author one has been following, Branch of Veda one is versed, and One's own name"

The Pravara part above is explained in more detail here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pravaras. An extract from it: 'In Brahmin Hindu culture, a Pravara (Sanskrit for "most excellent") is a particular Brahmin's descent from a rishi (sage) who belonged to their gotra (clan). In vedic ritual, the importance of the pravara appears to be in its use by the ritualist for extolling his ancestry and proclaiming, "as a descendant of worthy ancestors, I am a fit and proper person to do the act I am performing."'

Ravi: As an example the Abhivadaye used by a relative of mine (which should correspond closely to what I should be using had I followed the Brahmin ritual practice; I stopped doing Brahmin ritual practice some years ago as I moved away from family life to single spiritual aspirant life), is as follows:

Abhivadaye Aangiras Ambarisha Yuvanasva thrayarrisheya pravaranvitha Haritha gotraha Drahyayana sutraha Sama sahathyaayee Suryanaryana Sarma namaham asmi boho

Which states that he (and I) traces his (and my) ancestry to the Rishis/Rishi-kings Angarisa (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angiras_(sage)), Ambarisha (possibly this, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambarisha) and Yuvanasva, and belong the gotra (clan) of Harita (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harita) and learn/practise/propagate the Drahyayana sutra (set of aphorisms) of the Sama Veda (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sutra which shows Drahyayana Sutra as one of the Sutras of Sama Veda), and his (and, in this case, mine too) name is Suryanarayana. Salutations.

[The traditional name given to me was Suryanarayanan and I had to use that name in Brahmin functions that I participated in, but I was called Ravi at home, and so my name as per official (govt.) records including my school records became Ravi!]

From what I have given above, one can understand how those who are very conservative Brahmins and want to have their children marry Brahmins only, will not easily accept a non-Hindu who has embraced Hinduism and is viewed as a Hindu by many Indians, as that person will not have a Brahmin lineage record! Now I am not saying anything about approval/disapproval of such practices or views. I am just sharing how these matters stand among very conservative Brahmins. I am sure that today there would be many Indian Brahmins, especially city based Brahmins, who are not so conservative and I am sure many Hindu Brahmins would not have serious issues marrying Hindu converts who embrace the Brahminical customs and way of life (which does have its challenges as many things are prohibited, and many rituals have to be performed).

Another issue may be the willingness of Brahmin priests to go to homes of such Brahmin families where the husband or wife has converted to Hinduism, and wants to perform Brahmin rituals. I really don't know where things would stand on that. These priests would typically hail from a Veda Patashala (Veda school) and would follow their rules on this matter, as otherwise they could be questioned within the Brahmin priest community for breaking any such rules.

[Most Brahmin families don't know all the details of all the Brahmin rituals conducted in the Brahmin home. They know the simple ones (e.g. Sandhyavandanam, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandhyavandanam) which they do daily but not the special ones done on occasion. So they call a Brahmin priest to act as a guide (guru) for the special ritual, with them participating as instructed by the priest. The participation includes chanting of mantras as instructed. That was the way I recall participating in many, many Brahmin rituals I did when I was living the Brahmin family life with my mother and siblings (my sacred thread ceremony which qualified me to participate/perform these functions was done after my father died; I was in my teens then).]

Hope this response was not too long, but it gives the relevant info., IMHO.
...
I was just responding to (the) question about whether one has to be born a Hindu, from a practical life in India point of view, as far as I know (as the varieties in Hindusim are enormous, my exposure is more on the Hindu Brahmin tradition side).
...
I must also add that the Avatar of the age, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, (one of the three Avatars of the age, to be more precise), who spent a lot of efforts on showing the right path of Hinduism to people today, was (and is) a great Hindu reformer. He has opened it up bigtime for anybody who wants to seriously pursue the Hindu way of life, irrespective of religion, caste, nationality and gender.

But it must also be noted that as of now, most of Hinduism, with perhaps a billion followers goes by the Hindu shastras as interpreted by the various Hindu religion mutts (monastic centres focusing on maintaining Hindu religion) and Veda pathasalas (schools) in India. So my previous comment was more from the general Hinduism view rather than the Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba teachings view in particular.
=========================================

A comment on https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1721424181407485, by brother Ivan Escalona, on April 3rd 2016, stated "The answer is a categorical NO, one needs not to be born a hindu to become one, from one point of view as I mentioned, the word Hindu is not even the correct for the religion that is based on Vedas (Sruti) and Vedic literature (Smritis)." He went to say that if one accepts and practices Sanathana Dharma (it should be enough) and whether the Hindu community accepts/recognizes you or not should be irrelevant. He adds that he was born a Christian Catholic and followed/accepted its sacraments till the 1st communion, after which he 'found' Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba (Swami), and understood Christianity and Jesus' teachings in a 'new and brighter light'. He accepted that Swami is the Purna Avatar and followed His command to study the Vedas, got his Upanayanam samskara/function (thread ceremony/"second birth" into Godly path as per Hindu Vedic tradition), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upanayana done, and tries to do his Nitya karma (daily ritual) and so on.

He then says that he is not worried whether people accept him as Hindu or not (even though it is nice to be accepted) but that the acceptance that he is seeking is that of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
----

Ravi S. Iyer responded on April 4th, 2016:
Interesting thoughts & information Ivan Escalona. I thought that brother Sai Das' query was from the sociological angle and not the eternal truth (paramarthika sathyam) kind of angle, and so responded from that angle. But, as I wrote in an earlier comment (He being Bhagavan), "He has opened it up bigtime for anybody who wants to seriously pursue the Hindu way of life, irrespective of religion, caste, nationality and gender."

I agree that one does NOT have to be born a Hindu (Sanathana Dharma follower) to be a Hindu (Sanathana Dharma follower). Did you get the impression from any part of my comments that I was saying that non-Hindus cannot become a Hindu? If so, please point me to those parts specifically so that I can review them, and correct them, if necessary.

About Bhagavan's words being final: Well, I have no doubt whatsoever, due to my study of some Hindu scripture and Sai literature, as well as direct experiences of Bhagavan's divinity, that Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba was/is the Avatar of the age. So I do place great value to Bhagavan's words (seriously said/written as against light jokes) on matters related to spirituality and Sanathana Dharma (Hinduism). I do think that Bhagavan wanted the Christian to become a good/better Christian, the Muslim to be a good/better Muslim and the Hindu to be a good/better Hindu. He certainly was all for people from various religions participating and being respectful of practices of other religions. He pursued a syncretic approach to religion & spirituality. [Shirdi Sai Baba too seems to have been that way.]

But I think he was a practical person too. He did recognize that from a practical family life point of view, one needs to face up to sociological realities of the day. So while he would say that there is only one religion - the religion of the heart, he, I think, also recognized that different religions and communities & families associated with them, would continue to be around.

Today, I do read up on other spiritual and religious leaders too who may not/do not accept that Sathya Sai is the Avatar. My comments and posts reflect that exposure to spiritual and religious leaders other than Sathya Sai.
-----

[I thank Wikipedia and brother Ivan Escalona, 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.]

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Why am I politically neutral in my public social media posts & comments?

[This post is copy-pasted (on 26th March 2016 from a misc. blog of mine,
http://ravisiyermisc.blogspot.in/2016/03/why-am-i-politically-neutral-in-my.html.]

[This post is largely based on my part of a mail conversation.]

My first foray into blogger-activism was in the field of Indian Computer Science & Information Technology academic reform, http://eklavyasai.blogspot.in/ (started in Sept. 2011 after the Mahasamadhi chaos in the Sai university due to which I quit the Sai university in March 2012). In the course of time it became very clear to me that large part of Indian academia (barring elite institutions like IITs or IISc) was centrally managed and so very strongly influenced by the political leaders in power. Further, some top academic administrators were rumoured to have acquired their positions due to political influence rather than pure merit.

I wanted to avoid any political colouring of my Indian Computer Science & Information Technology academic reform activism blog. I had to write to the union Human Resource Development (HRD) minister(s) in charge of higher education (federal minister at Indian country level as against individual state level education ministers), and on occasion even to the Prime Minister, but I wrote to them in their capacities as union minister and prime minister respectively, without bringing in any content supportive or critical of any political party.

I also realized that if I publicly side with one political party even in my other blogs or social media platforms, it may affect my above activism efforts. Now, a few comments here and there are a different matter. But, especially during an election season, if I publicly commented supporting one party, I felt that it might get noted, and so come in the way of my activism efforts. Eventually my activism efforts in this area just petered out, with the blog now simply serving as a record of my thoughts, suggestions and efforts (over 21,000 views so far with top five countries by views being USA, India, Russia, Ukraine and France, in that order). So I don't think my politically neutral stance made any difference whatsoever in terms of results. However, it did make me feel comfortable when I was calling up the union education (HRD) minister's office or even mailing them.

As I later expanded my social media efforts into spirituality and religion territory which included coverage of Prime Minister's speeches touching upon spirituality and religion, I realized that it had become even more important for me to stay politically neutral. Some Hindu spiritual leaders are now viewed as being close to PM Modi and his party, the BJP, and so the Congress party and its allies view these spiritual leaders with suspicion, and are publicly critical of them!!!

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba rarely commented publicly in favour of or against any political party (though he would comment negatively about Indian politics in general). That, it seems to me, created an environment where Bhagavan and the Sathya Sai movement were (and still are) viewed positively by almost all political parties. This acceptability to various political parties was exemplified by the top political leaders of India from both the two main and strongly opposed to each other, national parties of India today (the Congress and the BJP), coming to Bhagavan's Mahasamadhi. L.K. Advani, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L._K._Advani, and Narendra Modi, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narendra_Modi, two of the top leaders of the BJP came (now Narendra Modi is the sitting Prime Minister of India). So did then sitting Prime Minister from the Congress party, Dr. Manmohan Singh, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manmohan_Singh, as well as Smt. Sonia Gandhi, Congress president, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonia_Gandhi.

As now my main blogging activity is on spirituality & religion, I have decided to follow the path of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, by staying neutral in my public comments on political leaders & parties.

In my study of current USA presidential election I extended that neutral approach to the USA political leaders and political parties too.

Friday, March 25, 2016

What an inspiring Love in Action spiritual & religious leader Pope Francis is! Love in a time of fear & terror in Europe

"Pope Francis washed and kissed the feet of Muslim, Orthodox, Hindu and Catholic refugees Thursday, declaring them children of the same God, in a gesture of welcome and brotherhood at a time when anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiment has spiked following the Brussels attacks." from http://www.ndtv.com/world-news/pope-francis-washes-feet-of-muslim-migrants-says-we-are-brothers-1290416, dated March 25th 2016.

The Pope's remarks (translated to English) from http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-francis-gestures-of-fraternity-defeat-hatred:

Gestures speak louder than pictures and words. There are, in the Word of God we read, two gestures: Jesus serving, washing the feet ... He, who was the “head man”, washing the feet of others, of His own, even of the least; one gesture. The second gesture: Judas who goes to the enemies of Jesus, those who do not want peace with Jesus, to take the money that bought His betrayal; the 30 pieces of silver.

Two gestures.

Even today, here, there are two gestures: this, of all of us together, Muslims, Hindus, Catholics, Copts, Evangelical [Protestants] brothers and sisters – children of the same God – we want to live in peace, integrated. One gesture. Three days ago, an act of war, of destruction in a European city, by people who do not want to live in peace. Though behind that gesture, as there were behind that of Judas, there were others. Behind Judas there were those who offered money, that Jesus be delivered up to them. Behind that [other] gesture [on Tuesday in Belgium], there are manufacturers, arms dealers who want blood, not peace; they want the war, not fraternity.

Two gestures, just the same: Jesus washes feet, Judas sold Jesus for money. You, we, all of us together, of different religions, different cultures, but children of the same Father, brothers – and there, those poor people, who buy weapons to wreck fraternity. Today, at this time, when I do the same act of Jesus washing the feet of twelve of you, let us all make a gesture of brotherhood, and let us all say: “We are different, we are different, we have different cultures and religions, but we are brothers and we want to live in peace.”

This, then, is the gesture that I make with you. Each of us has a story, each of you has a story you carry with you. Many crosses, many sorrows: but also an open heart that wants brotherhood. Let each, in his religious language, pray the Lord that this brotherhood be contagious in the world, that there be no 30 pieces of silver to purchase a brother’s murder, that there be always brotherhood and goodness. So be it.

(from Vatican Radio)
--- end extract from news.va ---

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

Muddenahalli so called subtle form believers & promoters are in psychological denial state of mind

Last updated on March 31st 2016

Given below is a recent comment of mine on Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/sathyanarayana.raju.9/posts/756610061142147:

My view about brother VijaySai B.S.'s (VSBS) experiences with Madhusudhan Rao Naidu (MRN) is that MRN seems to have demonstrated some paranormal powers/siddhis to VSBS. Further, MRN seems to have not asked VSBS to do anything ADHARMIC. So VSBS has developed great faith in MRN. MRN impersonates many aspects of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba (Swami), and claims to be a so called communicator of a so called subtle body of Swami, which VSBS, primarily due to his faith in MRN, believes to be true.

For me, it was Swami's teachings & writings on Veda & Vedanta and about Hindu Avatars (Bhagavat Purana, Ramayana & Mahabharata), ALONG WITH DIRECT EXPERIENCES of Swami's paranormal powers, that made me take the view that everything that Swami says is true. So I can understand the psychological state of mind of brother VSBS in regard to his belief in MRN.

But where, in my humble opinion, VSBS is going wrong is in REFUSING TO ACCEPT certain FACTS that show that MRN's words & reactions/absence of reactions CONTRADICT what Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba said and did. For example:

a) MRN announced grandly that Kali Yuga was ending in Oct. 2015 and that Sathya Yuga will start immediately after (in Oct. 2015 itself). But Sathya Sai told Hislop that Kali Yuga will go on for 5,000 years more!!

b) An important figure of Muddenahalli group said on stage at a Christmas eve function in Muddenhalli in Dec. 2015 that (so called subtle) Swami has asked him to open a casino in Las Vegas, USA. MRN was seated right in front of the stage, and did not react to that statement. Now I do not know whether MRN actually said that to this important figure of Muddenhalli group. Let us assume that MRN DID NOT SAY THAT but that the important figure of Muddenahalli group imagined that MRN had said it. Having been in Sai Kulwant Hall, Prasanthi Nilayam, on a regular basis (from Oct. 2002 to Mar. 2011) for so many speeches of Swami devotees given in physical presence of Swami, there is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that if Swami was listening to these words, or if Swami was informed about it later on by other elders of Prasanthi Nilayam, Swami would have gone out of His way to ensure that this matter was PUBLICLY CORRECTED AND DENIED (and that would have been done either on the same day or the next day). CASINOS are places where GAMBLING is done!! Now one can take an Advaita view and say all is Divine and all activities, good and bad, are DIVINE. But Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, as part of his role as teacher and leader of Sathya Sai devotees/movement, NEVER encouraged GAMBLING. It is UNTHINKABLE for me to presume that Swami would ever say or TOLERATE somebody else saying that in His presence IN PUBLIC!!

VSBS tries to avoid the CONTRADICTIONS between Swami and MRN by lapsing into statements like we have to go by the heart to understand spiritual reality. I hope brother VSBS does not get offended by the following words of mine. But I do not say them in anger. I say them because it has to be said to prevent more people getting trapped in MRN's FALSE CLAIM that he is speaking Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's words. One also has to note that VSBS is playing a role of a noted promoter of this FALSE BELIEF. IMHO, VSBS has got into the psychological denial state of mind when it comes to these contradictions. Psychological denial is described by wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denial, as follows:
The same word [Ravi: denial], and also abnegation (German: Verneinung), is used for a psychological defense mechanism postulated by psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, in which a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence.
--- end wiki extract---

Psychological denial is not uncommon in spiritual groups & movements as a defence mechanism against unpleasant truths about their spiritual group/movement. Further, psychological denial is said to be effective in the short-term to cope with such unpleasant truths. Here's some fascinating info. from the same wiki page, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denial:
Many contemporary psychoanalysts treat denial as the first stage of a coping cycle. When an unwelcome change occurs, a trauma of some sort, the first impulse to disbelieve begins the process of coping. That denial, in a healthy mind, slowly rises to greater consciousness. Gradually becoming a subconscious pressure, just beneath the surface of overt awareness, the mechanism of coping then involves repression, while the person accumulates the emotional resources to fully face the trauma. Once faced, the person deals with the trauma in a stage alternately called acceptance or enlightenment, depending on the scope of the issue and the therapist's school of thought. After this stage, once sufficiently dealt with, or dealt with for the time being, the trauma must sink away from total conscious awareness again. Left metaphorically upon a back burner or put away in a cupboard, the process of sublimation involves a balance of neither quite forgetting nor quite remembering. This allows the trauma to re-emerge in consciousness if it involves an ongoing process such as a protracted illness. Or sublimation may begin the full resolution process, where the trauma finally sinks away into eventual forgetfulness.
--- end wiki extract ---

Ravi: I think a lot of (if not all) Muddenahalli group believers who have had DIRECT EXPERIENCE of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba (physical form) may be into this psychological denial, and the MRN impersonation of some aspects of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba coupled with some paranormal powers/siddhis that MRN seems to have acquired, gives them a way to cope with the TRAUMA of absence of Swami with whom people could interact with by normal speaking & listening (as against interacting with inner voice/conscience formless aspect of Swami IN ALL OF OUR HEARTS/INNER BEING). MRN's interactions with them gives these people some relief from this TRAUMA.

But the IMPERSONATION/IMITATION cannot be the REAL THING! Eventually the IMPERSONATION/IMITATION will get known to all, or almost everybody (some die-hard believers caught up deeply in the FALSE BELIEF may never come out of it), to be FALSE. Meanwhile some persons caught up in the IMPERSONATION/IMITATION could get GROSSLY MISGUIDED by MRN's words & instructions given in the HOLY NAME of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba (like saying that Kali Yuga is over and that we are in Sathya Yuga OR that opening (GAMBLING) CASINOS is good BEHAVIOUR acceptable to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba; BOTH OF WHICH ARE COMPLETELY FALSE as I am sure that Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba would NEVER SAY or APPROVE OF THAT IN PUBLIC).
========================================

A comment exchange from the FB post mentioned at the top of this post, https://www.facebook.com/sathyanarayana.raju.9/posts/756610061142147. There are other interesting comment responses too, but I am skipping them to focus on bro. VijaySai B.S., Sai university (SSSIHL) alumnus, former Sai university faculty, speaker (has spoken in front of physical form Bhagavan many times, I am informed) & singer, and so quite a Sai university alumnus (Sai student) STAR, who has been a key promoter of Madhusudhan Rao Naidu from sometime in 2011 itself [VijaySai B.S. wrote in a comment on the above Facebook post: "Madhu called me in September 2011 with a message from Swami. I had heard that he had been seeing Swami and passing on messages from Maha Samadhi time. My first experience of Him acting as an instrument was on 18th September 2011 when Swami proved to my doubting mind that it was indeed Him."]

VijaySai B.S. wrote:
Thanks bro Ravi Iyer. I feel that people who do not want to accept Swami's continuation in the Sookshma Shareera are actually in denial. Swami said I will continue till 96. Swami also said that He will be going on a foreign tour shortly. Swami had indicated that He will be staying on a hilltop towards the end of this avatar. In spite of all this, people are in denial that He is here. So all those reading this, with no offense meant to brother Ravi Iyer, I would say, leave your denial. Let not hearsay and viewing of videos with a prejudiced mindset influence you and make you lose out on Swami. I would honestly advise you to personally come, see, feel, experience and then conclude for yourselves if it is Swami or someone conning in His name. Do not judge without personal experience.
----

Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
Thanks for your kind response bro. VijaySai B.S. Let us examine who is in denial, you or me.

Do you accept or deny the statement that Mr. Isaac Tigrett of Muddenahalli group said on stage at a Christmas eve function in Muddenhalli in Dec. 2015 that (so called subtle) Swami has asked him to open a casino in Las Vegas, USA?
----

VijaySai B.S. wrote (slightly edited):
Brother Ravi S. Iyer, this is with regards to your putting a question about Las Vegas and Tigrid, please awatit my detailed response. Brother Pardha Saradhi Uppala has tagged me to prove that the vilification posted by --name-snipped-- about Anandam, about the Benteley car, about Tigrid etc are actually concocted. I have already spoken to Tigrid about the same. I am in the process of getting information on a couple of more items that have been glibly lied about by brother --name-snipped-- without checking facts. I will be answering it on the page where I have been tagged in regarding the same probably by tomorrow after I get more details.
----

Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
Thanks brother VijaySai B.S. for your kind response. Do take your time. BTW the name is Mr. Isaac Tigrett. I do have great respect for his GREAT ACT OF GIVING which was a major factor in the Super hospital in Puttaparthi coming up. So the question I have raised is nothing personal against Mr. Isaac Tigrett. I do wish him all the very best. And I wish you too, all the very best.
My objective in engaging in this conversation with you is to simply unearth the truth (Sathyaanveshan) for the benefit of the Sathya Sai fraternity (which includes you and me). Let me end with two mottos of Sanathana Dharma which are very dear to me: Sathyaan Naasti Paro Dharmaha - there is no higher Dharma (ethical way of life) than truth, and Sathyameva Jayate - Truth alone is victorious.
----

Ravi S. Iyer wrote on March 28th 2016:
Bro. VijaySai B.S.. I thought we could speed up our discussion on the question I had raised, which I repeat below, "Do you accept or deny the statement that Mr. Isaac Tigrett of Muddenahalli group said on stage at a Christmas eve function in Muddenhalli in Dec. 2015 that (so called subtle) Swami has asked him to open a casino in Las Vegas, USA?"

I had seen the video of the Christmas eve program in Muddenahalli on the OFFICIAL Sathya Sai Vrinda channel of MDH group (now that video is no longer accessible on Sathya Sai Vrinda channel) where Mr. Isaac Tigrett said the statement I mentioned above.

A clip of these words of Mr. Tigrett can be seen here (you will have to excuse some strong words against MDH which appear in the text added to the video), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swY8110AZ_8, around 1 min. I hereby state that the part of the video which shows the clip of Mr. Tigrett making these statements, is the same that I recall from what I had seen in the video put up by the official Sathya Sai Vrinda channel of MDH group. In other words, the clip of Mr. Tigrett is not a fabrication.

Given the video clip and my statements above, could you tell me what your response is to the question I have mentioned at the top of this comment?
---
A previous minor exchange:
Ravi S. Iyer wrote on March 26th 2016:
VijaySai B.S. As you did not spell Mr. Tigrett's name correctly, I get the impression that you do not know how famous a person he is, in the Western world, outside the Sai devotee community. He has a wikipedia page! You may want to have a look at it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Tigrett. Only people who have achieved some degree of fame have wikipedia pages on them.
---
VijaySai B.S. wrote on March 26th 2016:
Thanks Ravi brother. Mine was a typo that could have been avoided. Thanks for the Wiki reference. I knew Tigrett from PN. I however registered his name wrongly from my student days as TIGRID. That spelling comes up when I am not conscious. He used to talk to me well after darshan even when I used to meet him at Prashanti Nilayam. I did not know his stature then. Only in the last few years, when I as the MC introduced him on stage a few times did I realize the actual stature he enjoys, his modesty and humility in spite of his stature. I also realized then the actual spelling of his name. Personally we share a very good rapport as he is interested in hypnotherapy, healing, aura photography and the other stuff I do in my day to day life. Thanks for going out of your way to let me know more about him. I did not know that he had a dedicated Wiki page.
---
Ravi S. Iyer wrote on 30th March 2016:
Bro. VijaySai B.S., this is just a gentle reminder :-) about the above comment & question of mine, in case you have not seen it or saw it but got caught up in work/home activities.
---

Pardha Saradhi Uppala wrote on 30th March 2016:
VijaySai B.S., you have also mentioned you are going to get us a lot of genuine information about closing down of the clock tower, selling of the car, contractors not being paid, the Casino business etc. It's been very long you had promised that and you spoke like you had all proofs that would absolve Muddenahalli Madhu but there is no further news from you on these...
---

VijaySai B.S. wrote on 30th March 2016 (slightly edited):
True Clive [Ravi: Clive had written that VijaySai needs to gather info ...]. When I write, I write with integrity with full facts of the case with evidence. My personal reputation and honour is at stake when I vouch for something on Social Media. All the 600-800 students I have taught in SSSIHL, all the 100s of contemporaries and my peers during my student days, all my colleagues from PN & Brindavan, all my alumni brethren, all the functionaries of SSSO who know me, many from each of the categories mentioned who absolutely do not believe in the subtle phenomenon will still vouch for my honesty, integrity and character in spite of my beliefs being diametrically opposite to theirs. I cannot risk my integrity without getting adequate evidence. I spoke to one contractor just now. Need to speak to another doing a different project tomorrow morning. Spoke to Sir Isaac Tigrett reconfirming what he told me in January. Getting some photos taken. I can't support something for the sake of supporting without my being 100% convinced of the genuineness of the information. Writing on FB is a responsibility and I do not get into knee-jerk reactions on it as I am accountable for what I write.
---

Ravi S. Iyer wrote on 31st March 2016:
Bro. VijaySai B.S. I certainly appreciate your comment that you write with integrity and that your personal reputation and honour is at stake (when you respond to such matters). Noted that you are gathering information and evidence about the matters raised in these interactions which include some matters raised by a recent Facebook post on MDH contractors' payment dues, Sathya Sai Anandam, Bentley car etc. I, and I am quite sure others like bros. Clive Raj Valydon, Pardha Saradhi Uppala & Rajen Rajen, do appreciate your willingness to interact with us on this matter, with honesty & integrity.

But time is also a factor in these social media interactions. My humble suggestion is that you can share what you have already gathered, without having to wait till you have gathered all the information. I mean, you can go for an incremental sharing approach. I wonder whether you can respond now itself to MY STRAIGHTFORWARD QUERY alone (not related to any money or luxury car related matters), which I will repeat here for your convenience:

"Do you accept or deny the statement that Mr. Isaac Tigrett of Muddenahalli group said on stage at a Christmas eve function in Muddenhalli in Dec. 2015 that (so called subtle) Swami has asked him to open a casino in Las Vegas, USA?"

I had seen the video of the Christmas eve program in Muddenahalli on the OFFICIAL Sathya Sai Vrinda channel of MDH group (now that video is no longer accessible on Sathya Sai Vrinda channel) where Mr. Isaac Tigrett said the statement I mentioned above.

A clip of these words of Mr. Tigrett can be seen here (you will have to excuse some strong words against MDH which appear in the text added to the video), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swY8110AZ_8, around 1 min. I hereby state that the part of the video which shows the clip of Mr. Tigrett making these statements, is the same that I recall from what I had seen in the video put up by the official Sathya Sai Vrinda channel of MDH group. In other words, the clip of Mr. Tigrett is not a fabrication.

Given the video clip and my statements above, could you tell me what your response is to the question I have raised above?
--- end repetition of MY STRAIGHTFORWARD QUERY ---

I would like to add to what you said about your personal honour and integrity being at stake in your responses to the questions. Well, my personal reputation for integrity & honesty is also at stake in what I write on social media about these matters. And, it is much, much bigger than you and me and Clive, Pardha, Rajen, Mr. Isaac Tigrett etc. It is the legacy of and the continuing work in the name of our beloved Lord, Kali Yuga Avatar, Shiva-Shakti Swarupa Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Further, we have to be FAITHFUL to Bhagavan. I consider myself answerable to Bhagavan, my Guru and my Ishta Devata to whom I am deeply grateful, and I am sure you too consider yourself to be answerable to Bhagavan. As you and I both were in the Sai university as teachers, both you and I know that if we did something really wrong we would have to FACE THE CONSEQUENCES from physical form Bhagavan during darshan/sambhashan - at least, I have had that experience (in particular in 2010 with some major personal issue I had then).

In Bhagavan's physical absence, I consider myself answerable to my conscience (as I view that as the inner voice of God/Absolute Brahman). And perhaps some day I may find myself face-to-face with physical form Prema Sai. If I have been UNFAITHFUL to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Bhagavan Prema Sai Baba will let me know of that by his gestures/words - this much I am sure of. So I greatly fear being UNFAITHFUL to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, as that will not only harm my spiritual progress, but also come in the way of any future blessed interactions I may have with Prema Sai Baba.

To conclude, in my considered opinion, we will be held accountable for our honesty & integrity (or lack of it) in these vital conversations regarding the claims made by Bro. Madhusudhan Rao Naidu, by Bhagavan, at formless level and in future physical form, Prema Sai, if we are blessed to have interactions with that physical form. It is not just being accountable to the Sai university alumni & staff, functionaries of Sai orgn. and Sai devotees in general, but being accountable to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba (at formless level and a future physical form Prema Sai Baba).
-----

VijaySai B.S. wrote on 31st March 2016:
Myth 7: CASINO BY ISAAC TIGRETT was directed by Swami in Sukshma Shareera:
I met Isaac Tigrett and asked him. “Sir, during your Christmas speech, you mentioned about Casino in Las Vegas. Did you get the instructions in a meditation or through Madhu?”
His reply “Swami had asked me to do this during an interview with the physical form in 2009 in Prashanti Nilayam. He repeated the same now."
www.isaac-tigrett.com/
----

Ravi S. Iyer wrote on 31st March 2016:
Thanks bro. VijaySai B.S. for your response regarding the Las Vegas casino. Hmm. So Mr. Isaac Tigrett says that physical form Swami told him to open a casino in Las Vegas, USA, in an interview in 2009!!! And when Mr. Tigrett says, "He repeated the same now", Mr. Tigrett refers to so called subtle Swami communicating through bro. Madhusudhan Rao Naidu, as He, I presume. Hmm. I am lost for words right now. But thank you so much, bro. VijaySai for checking with Mr. Tigrett and communicating his words to us.
----

Ravi S. Iyer wrote on 31st March 2016:
VijaySai B.S., I have now been able to digest, to some extent, the information you passed on in your comment related to the casino statement. I cannot comment on private interview exchanges between physical form Swami and Mr. Tigrett (I have never had an interview with Bhagavan; neither did I pray or wish for one).

But let me ask you brother VijaySai, do you think Bhagavan would approve of Mr. Tigrett mentioning in PUBLIC in His presence, that Bhagavan has asked him to open a casino in Las Vegas? Would not the subtle body of Swami communicate with the so called communicator, and ask him (the communicator) to PUBLICLY criticize Mr. Tigrett's PUBLIC statement?

Let me give you my answer. From what I have seen of Bhagavan in Sai Kulwanth Hall, Prasanthi Nilayam from Oct. 2002 to Mar. 2011, I simply cannot imagine Bhagavan NOT PUBLICLY criticizing such words said in PUBLIC. I am sure that if something like this had happened in the period I mentioned (as I have experienced Bhagavan in physical form at that time on a regular basis in Sai Kulwanth Hall, Prasanthi Nilayam), either Bhagavan himself would have caught it and corrected it, or somebody would have brought it to Bhagavan's attention after which Bhagavan would have PUBLICLY CORRECTED the statement and would have left no doubt in listeners' minds that Bhagavan DOES NOT APPROVE of devotees' opening gambling centres like casinos.
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[I thank Wikipedia and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extracts from their website on this comment which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Andy Grove, big tech leader, passes away; Unease with his "Only the Paranoid Survive" mantra

[After a little bit of mental debate, I decided to put this post in this spiritual blog instead of my other blogs, as I think the being paranoid to survive bit deals with a human and spiritual matter.]

Intel’s Andy Grove Was Brilliant, Paranoid, and Prophetic. No Wonder Silicon Valley Reveres Him,
http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2016/03/22/andy_grove_who_led_intel_has_died_he_was_brilliant_paranoid_and_prophetic.html, dated March 22nd, 2016.

A small extract from it:
Intel’s business practices sometimes went to the edge, and perhaps over the line, of fairness. Grove’s oft-repeated mantra, later expanded into his 1996 book, Only the Paranoid Survive, was fundamental to the corporate culture.
--- end extract ---

Ravi: I think almost everybody knows about how the personal computer (PC) revolution changed the face of computers and brought great changes in the lives of many people the world over. Most people view Microsoft as one of the great companies behind the success of the PC. But many do not know that Intel's contribution to the PC revolution on the hardware side, allowing for big cupboard size computers needing a specially cooled room to be reduced to medium suitcase sized personal computers which could be kept at home without any special cooling needs, at very affordable price, was as important a part of the PC success as was the Microsoft software part. [Laptops came later on.] Techies called it the WinTel platform, Win standing for Microsoft Windows and Tel for Intel. From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wintel, "The Wintel platform is still the dominant desktop and laptop computer architecture."

I recall attending a techie/business seminar in Mumbai in the 90s, if I recall correctly, which had some coverage of Intel's astonishing success attributed, at least to some significant extent, to Andy Grove's mantra of "Only the Paranoid Survive". I was quite disturbed by that business approach/philosophy. I felt that I did not want that kind of success as the human cost to be paid by being paranoid would be too much. The bleeding-edge tech world was not the right place for me, I felt, as I would have to give up too much of myself which would not be worth the financial success, howsoever great that might be.

Another small quote from the linked Slate.com article, "I’m also convinced the tech industry’s response to its deeply ingrained paranoia—ruthless, often predatory tactics and frequently disdainful treatment of customers—has contributed to society’s increasing cynicism."

Ravi: I think these words have some truth in them. As I got more into the software profession, I was UTTERLY HORRIFIED to see the predatory tactics of the PC software world practised by one major software company (based in the USA like most software majors).

Now Grove managed to survive Nazis and later communists in his native Hungary, and fleeing them, came to America. Perhaps he felt that he had to really be paranoid to survive and that made him to be fiercely competitive in his business management roles.

Grove also was a mentor to big names in Silicon Valley like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg.
======================

A USA based correspondent wrote me over email (and was OK with sharing it publicly):
Ravi - Fierce and cut-throat competition is not only in software profession, it is almost in all professions. Unfortunately.

"Survival of the Fittest" or "Only the Paranoid Survive" are the mantras of the capitalist societies. Today's majority world is living by capitalistic system. Big industrial houses or businesses are not the only ones to be labelled as capitalists. Capitalism has become an attitude, a way of life for the most. And the world is facing consequences too!
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[I thank slate.com and Wikipedia and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above very short extracts from their websites on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

VijaySai B.S. says (Muddenahalli) subtle form believers are not causing division!!! My rebuttal

Last updated on 24th March 2016

Given below is a comment I made recently on Facebook post: https://www.facebook.com/sathyanarayana.raju.9/posts/756610061142147.

Bro. VijaySai B.S. I would like to draw your attention to your words in a comment above, "we the subtle form believers are not the one causing any division. It is the other way around."

How do you say that subtle form believers have not caused division? This defeats logic and rational thinking. I do think you have got carried away by your emotional attachment to the so called subtle form belief, and have lost your rational judgement on this matter.

It is UNDENIABLE to those who know about these matters that Shri Indulal Shah sir (IS) and Shri B.N Narasimhamurthy (BNN) were the driving force in the CRUCIAL period of a year or so after Mahasamadhi (end April 2011) when they ENCOURAGED their contacts in the Sathya Sai fraternity to donate money to the trust created by BNN, as they claimed that Swami is giving instructions via dreams to BNN. The Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust (SSSCT) did not agree to these claims. This part is UNDENIABLE and FACTUAL. Essentially the Trust got split with Shri Indulal Shah continuing to sit as a trustee of SSSCT but lending support to BNN and his new trust!!! Of course, this is DIVISION. How can anybody say that it is not DIVISION? The top mother body of the Sai orgn. is SSSCT. By creating a DIRECT COMPETITOR to SSSCT in the CRUCIAL PERIOD of a year after Mahasamadhi, BNN and IS, DIVIDED the Sathya Sai movement right at the core of the movement. In the history of the Sathya Sai Movement, I am very sure that BNN and IS will be viewed as the persons who, despite their SUPERHUMAN and VERY LAUDABLE contributions to the Sathya Sai movement before Mahasamadhi, became the key leaders who BROKE AWAY from the SSSCT, drew many Sathya Sai devotees and donors to their BREAKAWAY group based in Muddenahalli, and created MAJOR DIVISION in the Sathya Sai movement WORLDWIDE.

Prof. Anilkumar Kamaraju (AK) is reported to have approached some powerful donors abroad (in second half of 2011, if I recall correctly) to not go by BNN's Swami dream instructions (of donating money to his trust) and instead go only by direct instructions from Swami to them (e.g. via Swami dream instructions directly to them). At least some of these donors then held back from donating money to BNN. Then one saw the administration of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (Sai university) start pulling up Prof. Anilkumar Kamaraju (a show-cause notice was issued to him, if I recall correctly), for minor administrative matters like not taking permission from the university authorities before going abroad (which nobody would have dared to do if Bhagavan was in physical form as AK would have escalated the matter to Bhagavan, the founder-chancellor of the Sai university). Over time (happened sometime in 2012 I believe), AK was forced to resign from the Sai university. The then vice-chancellor Sashidhara Prasad who had become a believer and follower of BNN, has to be held responsible for this TEACHER-DROHAM (DROHAM means significant and wrongful harm, in this context; significant and wrongful harm done to a teacher) to AK done by the Sai university (perhaps under the Swami dream instructions of BNN). The then Director of Prasanthi Nilayam campus, Sudhir Bhaskar, who at that time at least was a close confidant of BNN, was the key SSSIHL official who asked AK to write out and give his resignation letter. The then joint director of Prasanthi Nilayam campus, Gangadhara Sastry, is reported to have later offered Visiting Faculty post to AK!!! The registrar of SSSIHL, Naren Ramji, did nothing at all to stop this, and sent a letter to AK that his resignation has been accepted. The DARK CONSPIRACY to have AK, the LOYAL servant of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba fighting against the HIJACK of SSSIHL by BNN and Sashidhara PRasad, removed from SSSIHL (over 2011-12 after Mahasamadhi and culminating sometime in second half of 2012) had succeeded!

What an academic conspiracy it was (in 2011-12) in SSSIHL under the TRAITOR vice-chancellor Sashidhara Prasad who refused to follow instructions of Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust which had given him that post! The very, very sad aspect was that SSSCT was not able to summon the courage and guts to DISMISS the TRAITOR vice-chancellor Sashidhara Prasad as I guess they feared that with his political contacts and influence he could create a lot of trouble for SSSCT if they did that. So it had become Sashidhara Prasad Institute of Higher Learning and BNN had become the Swami-successor of the university, with SSSCT having been reduced to a MUTE SPECTATOR of the ASATHYA & ADHARMA that SSSIHL had fallen into, and had to SILENTLY pay the money for salaries (good sixth pay commission salaries forced by Sashidhara Prasad in July 2011 on threat of resignation if it was not implemented) and other expenses of SSSIHL which was from the Bhaktula sommu (devotees' money) that Bhagavan had organized as the SSSCT corpus.

Was this not DIVISION and the horrors of DIVISION that came upon the Sai university due to BNN and Sashidhara Prasad following BNN? Of course, it was. And the BAD EFFECTS of those horrors of DIVISION continue in the Sai university, as some of the TEACHER-DROHIS (those who have committed significant and wrongful harm to teachers) I mentioned above continue to be in SSSIHL!!!

Bro. VijaySai B.S., you had written in the past that AK was your principal in Brindavan campus. What have you done to support AK when he was HORRIBLY TARGETED by SSSIHL administrators as I wrote above? Have you been faithful to your former principal and done your Dharmic duty towards your former principal? Have you at least offered your sympathy to him for how these TEACHER-DROHIS brutally marginalized him and forced him to resign? I am sure that all the TEACHER-DROHIS of SSSIHL who conspired against AK in this fashion - Sashidhara Prasad, Sudhir Bhaskar, Naren Ramji and Gangadhara Sastry - will have to face the NEGATIVE KARMIC CONSEQUENCES of their SINS of TEACHER-DROHAM. Karma does not spare even those who do ADHARMA in the physical presence of the Avatar. This is what we can learn from our sacred epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata. Mere proximity to physical presence of the Avatar, and displaying tens and hundreds of pictures taken with Swami, does not mean that the TEACHER-DROHIS will not suffer for the sins they have committed.

Brother VijaySai B.S., in my considered view, you are being completely BLIND to FACTS about the DIVISION and the ASSOCIATED DAMAGE that the main leaders of the Muddenahalli subtle form belief group and the subtle form belief followers, have done to the Sathya Sai movement. Given this DAMAGE it is natural and appropriate that subtle form believers will be viewed with great suspicion and as very dangerous to Prasanthi Nilayam based Sathya Sai movement. Mind you, we keep hearing attempts by Muddenahalli group to poach staff from Prasanthi Nilayam based institutions.

--- end comment on Facebook post mentioned above ---

Ravi: I should also add that the TEACHER-DROHIS in my case in the Sai university, namely Sashidhara Prasad, V. Chandrasekaran and Naren Ramji (with Sudhir Bhaskar being a supporter of this TEACHER-DROHAM) will also have to face the NEGATIVE KARMIC CONSEQUENCES of their TEACHER-DROHAM sins. I have documented the TEACHER-DROHAM done against me by SSSIHL in great detail elsewhere. In short - nine years of FREE SERVICE to SSSIHL but they HUMILIATED me by ILLEGALLY - CRIMINAL OFFENCE under the Indian Penal Code - showing me as Teaching Assistant. TEACHER-DROHI Naren Ramji (Registrar) called me over email to his office "WITH LOVE", and told me that the letter he had given me earlier where my designation was Visiting Faculty had been given just like that, and that I was Seva Dal. Now I viewed myself as Seva Dal but the Registrar of SSSIHL cannot do ILLEGAL record-tampering by calling me whatever he wants! That is behaving like some cheap THUG and BULLY. Naren Ramji is UTTERLY UNFIT to be the Registrar of Love All Serve All, Divine university, and has instead used his position as Registrar to HUMILIATE teachers including senior faculty like Prof. Krupanidhi. How he has continued to stay on as Registrar despite all this TEACHER-DROHAM that he has done is a wonder. They say that he is heavily supported and PROTECTED by SSSCT trustee Shri K. Chakravarthi which is why Naren Ramji can get away with doing anything that he wants to do. But I don't know how true it is (K. Chakravarthi being PROTECTOR of Naren Ramji).

Sashidhara Prasad, instead of encouraging me for the wonderful work students & I were doing on Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vahini project, asked me to sing bhajans and follow whatever HOD V. Chandrasekaran tells me to do (Chandrasekaran was DEAD AGAINST my association with Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vahini). Sashidhara Prasad COMPLETELY FAILED in doing his ACADEMIC DUTY as vice-chancellor and behaved like some power-crazy dictator instead. Today, how I wish I had shouted at him in the vice-chancellor's cabin, and told him ON HIS FACE that he was FAILING IN HIS DUTY AS VICE-CHANCELLOR. But then at that time (July-August 2011), just a few months after Mahasamadhi when there was great concern about stability of Prasanthi Nilayam ashram and institutions, I viewed him as next to Bhagavan, and in Bhagavan's physical absence, as the leader of not only Sai university but also as one of the important leaders of Prasanthi Nilayam. So I simply listened to all his TEACHER-DROHI words quietly, apologized to him for the trouble that I had caused by fighting with Chandrasekaran's attempts to block students & me from associating with Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vahini project, and left his cabin silently. My view then was that I was only an expendable Visiting Faculty in SSSIHL and that I should quietly get out of SSSIHL as I had lost faith in the leadership of SSSIHL i.e. people like vice-chancellor, Sashidhara Prasad and Maths & Comp.Sc. Dept. Head, Chandrasekaran.
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Shaun Brown responded to my comment on Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/sathyanarayana.raju.9/posts/756610061142147, which (comment) is the main content of this blog post, as follows (slightly edited mainly to add paragraph breaks):

Sai Ram Ravi, thank you for your insight into the behaviour of the Muddenahalli supporters in Puttaparthi who caused Anil Kumar to leave his teaching position because of his opposition to Muddenahalli. This clearly shows that Madhusudan Naidu and his claims have caused division, even in Puttaparthi. Madhusudan is also causing division among Sai devotees around the world through his claims, yet here we are told that it is the Sai Organisation that is causing division. Yet did the Sai Organisation start this process of division? Did the Organisation tell BNNM to go and start a separate trust and start claiming that Swami was living in Muddenahalli? No. Did the Sai Organisation ask Madhusudan Naidu to start making claims that Sathya Sai Baba was speaking to him? No. Did the Sai Organisation tell Madhusudan to say things which cause disunity? No. Then how is it that the Sai Organisation is being blamed by Madhusudan's supporters for causing disunity?

Let's have a look at just a few of the things Madhusudan is saying which have inevitably created disunity. Madhusudan has made several claims that are totally contradicted by Swami's teachings. Firstly, Madhusudan claimed that Sathya Sai Baba, the omniscient Avathar of the age, was forced to leave His body because He made a mistake and took over too much karma from His devotees. Madhusudan claims Sathya Sai Baba had only completed 20% of His Mission but that 'Sukshma Baba', will now complete the final 80%. However Swami said that "Avatars come, fulfil their mission, and disappear". (SSS 42.5). Secondly, Madhusudan Naidu claims that this mistake has necessitated Sathya Sai Baba taking a non corporeal subtle body after death. However in His first recorded discourse in Sathya Sai Speaks, Swami said "The course of an Avatar goes invariably through the same stages. It is the same for every Avatar at all times". (SSS 1.1). Swami then describes these stages - until age 16, leelas, 16-30 leelas and Mahimas etc. There is no mention from Swami about a stage where the Avathar takes on a subtle body to complete His mission due to an error in judgement. These claims have caused division in opinion between devotees, however in the end it is up to individuals as to whether they believe Swami or believe Madhusudan's claims.

Madhusudan's more divisive teachings are elements such as these - while Swami called for unity and asked devotees to never leave the Sai Organisation, Madhusudan Naidu said in Italy in 2015 that if devotees are not being allowed to believe his claims then they should leave the Sai Organisation. In Malaysia last year he replied in answer to a question from one of his followers "Enough of talking only about Sai Organisation, Sai Organisation". He also belittles Sathya Sai Baba and His mission, saying that Sathya Sai Baba only taught primary school level spirituality, that God is within us. It is patently clear from Sathya Sai Baba's teachings that He taught far more than this, and anyone believing Madhusudan's claims can verify this for themselves. Madhusudan also referred to Puttaparthi as merely being a primary school and then said that in Muddenahalli he will now teach his followers 'high school level spirituality. Here is just one of those quotes: "just like little children who don’t know the truth, who are yet to be educated, everyone was admitted into My primary school. That was Puttaparthi", he said on 20/04/15 in Italy.

He claims that Swami has left Puttaparthi and is living in Muddenahalli in a subtle form and his followers repeat this at Muddenahalli, questioning why devotees go to Puttaparthi when Swami is no longer there. More recently Madhusudan claimed (on 20/10/15) that Swami told Easwaramma that He would not leave Puttaparthi as long as He was in the body, however a quick search on YouTube will allow anyone who is interested to watch Swami Himself say that He would NEVER leave Puttaparthi. Regarding the claim about the subtle form, as has already been pointed out earlier, Swami said that the subtle form disintegrates on the death of the physical body. Madhusudan also claims that not everyone can follow him and that those who do are in some way special or chosen. He belittles those who don't believe his claims as being stuck in their heads, while those who do believe in him are following their hearts. These kind of statements are not only bound to cause division, they appear to be intended to cause division, especially those that belittle Sathya Sai Baba and His mission.

But, as we see here, Madhusudan's followers claim that he is not doing anything to cause division and that it is the Sai Organisation which is causing the division. How has the Sai Organisation caused the division? Because they don't believe Madhusudan's claims and put out the kind of warnings that Swami issued though His discourses and in Sanathana Sarathi? If we go back to this example, Swami's own example, whenever these kind of claims arose in the past, Swami opposed them and His discourses are replete with instances of Swami saying that He needs no intermediary and to have nothing to do with those who claim to be His intermediary. Those who have access to back issues of Sanathana Sarathi, please go through them and you will see that, when people came forward claiming to have some special relationship with Swami, or claiming that Swami was giving messages to them or through them for others, or when people went around asking for money in Swami's name, notices were included to remind people that Swami needs no intermediary and not to be taken in by such claims. These notices were placed in Sanathana Sarathi with Swami's approval. All the Sathya Sai Organisation has done is to continue to remind Sai devotees of Swami's own teachings. Yet here we have 'subtle form believers' telling us that the Sai Organisation, by upholding Swami's teachings, is causing division? Who should we believe? Madhusudan Naidu and his claims or our Guru, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba?

When we choose to believe someone else instead of believing Swami, we take our faith from Swami and place our faith in that other person. No one should be allowed to replace Swami in our heart, no matter what their background, no matter how close they were to Swami physically or for how long they were with Him. Swami alone is our guru. Swami said: "Love everyone. But do not trust everyone without discrimination. One who puts his trust wholly in others is headed for ruin". (SSS 35.9). Swami's teachings are incredibly precious. Swami said to Hislop that since the time of Krishna, mankind hasn't had the opportunity to have the Lord Himself as their Guru. Swami also told us: "You should have faith in Swami's teachings; love them, adore them and follow them". (SSS 40.22). Before we believe Madhusudan Naidu or his follower's claims, shouldn't we first trust Swami and consult His teachings? Or at least check the claims of Madhusudan against what Swami Himself said? And if we find that the Madhusudan is contradicting Swami, then we have a choice before us - to believe Swami, or to believe Madhusudan. Sai Ram.
--- end Shaun Brown comment ---

My response comment (slightly edited): What a wonderful and clear response! Will any person with Viveka (discrimination) have any more doubts that Muddenahalli group is indeed a divisive force that has created confusion and disunity in the Sathya Sai movement worldwide! The man with Viveka (discrimination) will heed these words of yours, Shaun Brown:
"Before we believe Madhusudan Naidu or his follower's claims, shouldn't we first trust Swami and consult His teachings? Or at least check the claims of Madhusudan against what Swami Himself said? And if we find that the Madhusudan is contradicting Swami, then we have a choice before us - to believe Swami, or to believe Madhusudan."

Thank you so much bro. Shaun Brown for this detailed comment. May I share this comment on my blog and on my Facebook post?
---

Shaun Brown responded:  Ravi S. Iyer Sai Ram Ravi, yes, very happy for you to share this information. It is important that devotees look first to Swami's words before heeding the words of anyone else. If this helps even one person then I am happy.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Walter Andersen: Big threat to religion is from a kind of modern secularism that sees all religions as retrograde

"Sufis talked about brotherhood among the many faiths something that you will never hear an orthodox speak. The big threat to religion and religious ideas today is not from religion, but from a kind of modern secularism which sees all religions as retrograde. They see all religious sentiments as impediment to progress." - Prof. Walter Andersen in this interview article dated March 21st 2016, http://www.firstpost.com/politics/the-walter-andersen-interview-modi-has-a-sense-of-a-great-india-hes-an-ascetic-devoted-to-his-work-2687264.html.

Ravi: I tend to agree with Prof. Andersen on the big threat to religion and religious ideas part of the above quote.

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_K._Andersen:

Walter K. Andersen is an American academic. He taught comparative politics at the College of Wooster before joining the United States State Department as a political analyst for South Asia specializing in India and Indian Ocean affairs. Additionally, he was an adjunct professor at The American University in Washington, D.C.
--- end wiki extract ---

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

Life is a tangled web of virtue and sin; No one in the world who has not done both good and bad (evil) - Mahabharata

From C. Rajagopalachari's concise version of the Mahabharata, page 31:

Sage Vyasa's advice to mother Kunti:
"No virtuous man is strong enough to live in virtue at all times, nor is any sinner bad enough to exist in one welter of sin. Life is a tangled web and there is no one in the world who has not done both good and evil. Each and everyone has to bear the consequence of his actions. Do not give way to sorrow."

Friday, March 18, 2016

Inspiring inter-religious harmony (pluralism) speech from PM Narendra Modi at World Sufi Forum

The article, Sufism is the voice of peace, co-existence, compassion and equality; a call to universal brotherhood: PM Modi, http://www.narendramodi.in/pm-modi-at-the-world-islamic-sufi-conference-in-new-delhi-428276, March 17, 2016 has the video link and transcript of PM Narendra Modi's speech at the World Sufi forum, a Global forum for PEACE, TOLERANCE and UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.

The transcript is also available on the Press Information Bureau of the Govt. of India website here: http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=138124.

One terrific quote from PM Modi's speech that caught my eye, "... when we think of the 99 names of Allah, none stand for force and violence, and that the first two names denote compassionate and merciful. Allah is Rahman and Raheem."

Ravi: I have always been attracted by the phrase bismillāhi r-raḥmāni r-raḥīm, which is mentioned frequently by Muslim Imams (theologians) in their lectures. From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basmala:

The Basmala (Arabic: بسملة basmala), also known by its incipit Bismillah (Arabic: بسم الله, "In the name of God") is the name of the Islamic phrase b-ismi-llāhi r-raḥmāni r-raḥīmi بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ "In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful".

This is the phrase recited before each sura (chapter) of the Qur'an – except for the ninth. It is used by Muslims in various contexts (for instance, during daily prayer) and is used in over half of the constitutions of countries where Islam is the official religion or more than half of the population follows Islam, usually the first phrase in the preamble, including those of Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Maldives, Pakistan, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates.
--- end wiki extract ---

Ravi: I found the entire speech of PM Modi to be spiritually very inspiring in its unifying and religious pluralism message. The speech also addresses the global issues rising out of terrorism from distorted messages of religion(s) and so the need to tackle that with proper/real message of religion(s), and how Sufism can play a vital role in the latter.

Copy-paste of entire transcript of PM Modi speech from http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=138124 is given below.

Text of PM’s address at the World Sufi Forum

Syed Mohammad Ashraf, Founder President, All India Ulama and Mashaik Board
Shawki Ibrahim Abdel Karim Allam, Grand Mufti of Egypt,
Shaykh Hashimuddin Al Gailani, from Baghdad
Syed Minhaj Ur Rehman from Bangladesh
Diwan Ahmed Masood Chisti from Pakistan
Syed Nizami from Nizamuddin Dargah and Syed Chisti from Ajmer Sharif
My ministerial colleagues,
Scholars and Sufis from India
Our guests from our neighbours and from nations far beyond,

Welcome to a land that is a timeless fountain of peace, and an ancient source of traditions and faiths, which has received and nurtured religions from the world.

Welcome to a people with an abiding belief in Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, the World is one family.

A belief in harmony with the message of Holy Quran that mankind were one community, then they differed among themselves,

A creed echoed in the words of the great Persian Sufi poet Saadi, written in the United Nations, that human beings come from the same source: We are one family.

Welcome to the ancient city of Delhi - built by the genius of diverse peoples, cultures and faiths.

Like our nation, the city’s heart has place for every faith, from those with few followers to those with billion believers.

Its magnificent shrines include the dargahs of great Sufi saints Mehboob-e-Ilahi and Hazrat Bakhtiyar Kaki, that draw people from all faiths and all corners of the world.

This is an extraordinary event of great importance to the world, at a critical time for humanity.

At a time when the dark shadow of violence is becoming longer, you are the noor, or the light of hope.

When young laughter is silenced by guns on the streets, you are the voice that heals.

In a world that struggles to assemble for peace and justice, this is an assembly of those whose life itself is a message of peace, tolerance and love.

You have come from different lands and cultures, but you are united by a common faith.

You speak different languages, but they blend together in a message of harmony.

And, you represent the rich diversity of the Islamic civilization that stands on the solid bedrock of a great religion.

It is a civilization that reached great heights by the 15th century in science, medicine, literature, art, architecture and commerce.

It drew on the immense talents of its people and also Islam’s engagement with diverse civilizations – ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and Africa; the Persian, Central Asian and Caucasian lands; the region of East Asia; and, with Buddhism and Indian philosophy and science.

As it enriched itself, it also enriched the world.

It set, once again, an enduring lesson of human history: it is through openness and enquiry, engagement and accommodation, and respect for diversity that humanity advances, nations progress and the world prospers.

And, this is the message of Sufism, one of the greatest contributions of Islam to this world.

From its origins in Egypt and West Asia, Sufism travelled to distant lands, holding aloft the banner of faith and the flag of human values, learning from spiritual thoughts of other civilisations, and attracting people with the life and message of its saints.

In the different settings of Saharan Africa or in Southeast Asia, in Turkey or in Central Asia, in Iran or India, Sufism reflected the universal human desire to go beyond the practice and precepts of religion for a deeper unity with the Almighty.

And, in that spiritual and mystical enquiry, Sufis experienced the universal message of Almighty:

That perfection in human life is reflected in the qualities that are dear to God.

That all are creations of God; and, that if we love God, we must also love all his creations.

As Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya said, “Almighty holds dear those who love Him for the sake of human beings, and those who love human beings for the sake of Almighty.”

This is the message of oneness of humanity, of all of Almighty’s creations.

For the Sufis, therefore, service to God meant service to humanity.

In the words of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, of all the worships, the worship that pleases the Almighty God the most is the grant of relief to the humble and the oppressed.

In a beautiful imagery of human values, he said, human beings must have the affection of the Sun, the generosity of the river and the hospitality of the earth, because they benefit us all, without discrimination and distinction among people.

And, its humanism also upheld the place and status of women in society.

Above all, Sufism is a celebration of diversity and pluralism, expressed in the words of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, that every people has its own path of truth, beliefs and focus of reverence.

These words reflect the divine message to the Holy Prophet that there is no compulsion in religion; And also that to every people we have appointed ways of worship which they observe.

And, it is in harmony with the soul of the Bhakti saint’s saying in the Hindu tradition, “Into the bosom of the one great sea, Flow streams that come from hills on every side.”

And in the wisdom of Bulleh Shah, “Lord is mixed in every heart.”

These values are the need of our times.

This is the reality of Nature. We learn this wisdom in the perfect balance and harmony that exists in the vast diversity of a forest.

Its message is beyond the confines of schools and sects. It’s a spiritual quest that traces its origin from the Holy Prophet and the fundamental values of Islam, which literally means peace.

And, it reminds us that when we think of the 99 names of Allah, none stand for force and violence, and that the first two names denote compassionate and merciful. Allah is Rahman and Raheem.

Sufism is the voice of peace, co-existence, compassion and equality; a call to universal brotherhood.

And, just as India became a principal center of Islamic civilization, our nation also emerged as one of the most vibrant hubs of Sufism.

Sufism became the face of Islam in India, even as it remained deeply rooted in the Holy Quran, and Hadis.

Sufism blossomed in India’s openness and pluralism. It engaged with her spiritual tradition, and evolved its own Indian ethos.

And, it helped shape a distinct Islamic heritage of India.

We see this heritage in the fields of art, architecture and culture that is part of the fabric of our nation and our collective daily lives.

We see it in the spiritual and intellectual tradition of India.

It helped strengthen the inclusive culture that is our great nation’s immense contribution to the cultural tapestry of this world.

In Baba Farid’s poetry or Guru Granth Sahib, we feel the same spiritual connection.

We see compassion in the langars of Sufi shrines and the village tombs of local Pirs that attracted the poor and hungry;

The words of Hindavi were spoken in the Sufi Khanqahs.

Sufism’s contribution to poetry in India is huge. Its impact on the development of Indian music is profound.

None had a greater impact than the Sufi poet-musician Amir Khusrau. Eight centuries later, his poetry and musical innovation continue to be part of the soul of Hindustani music. No one had spoken of Indian music with such passion as he had.

Who else could have expressed love for India so beautifully as he did:

“But India, from head to toe, is a picture of heaven,

Adam came from the palace of paradise,

He could only be sent to an orchard of fruits that is India.

If India is not paradise, how could it be made the abode of the peacock, the bird of paradise?”

It is this spirit of Sufism, the love for their country and the pride in their nation that define the Muslims in India.

They reflect the timeless culture of peace, diversity and equality of faith of our land;

They are steeped in the democratic tradition of India, confident of their place in the country and invested in the future of their nation;

And, above all, they are shaped by the values of the Islamic heritage of India. It upholds the highest ideals of Islam and has always rejected the forces of terrorism and extremism.

Now, as they travel to different parts of the world, they are the ambassadors of the values and traditions of our nation.

As a nation, we stood against colonialism and in our struggle for freedom.

At the dawn of independence some chose to go away; and, I believe, that it also had to do with the colonial politics of that time.

The tallest of our leaders, such as Maulana Azad, and important spiritual leaders, such as Maulana Hussain Madani, and millions and millions of ordinary citizens, rejected the idea of division on the basis of religion.

Now, India is moving forward on the strength of the struggles, the sacrifices, the bravery, the knowledge, the skill, the art and the pride of every member of every faith in our diverse and yet united nation.

Like the strings of sitar that each produces a note, but come together to create a beautiful melody.

This is the spirit of India. This is the strength of our nation.

All our people, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Buddhists, the micro-minority of Parsis, believers, non-believers, are an integral part of India.

Just as it once came to India, today Sufism from India has spread across the world.

But, this tradition that evolved in India belongs to the whole of South Asia.

That is why I urge others in the region to nurture and revive this glorious heritage of ours.

When the spiritual love of Sufism, not the violent force of terrorism, flows across the border, this region will be the paradise on earth that Amir Khusrau spoke about.

Let me paraphrase what I have said before: Terrorism divides and destroys us.

Indeed, when terrorism and extremism have become the most destructive force of our times, the message of Sufism has global relevance.

In the centres of conflict in West Asia to calm cities in distant countries, in the remote villages of Africa to the towns in our own region, terrorism is a daily threat.

Each day brings us terrible news and horrifying images:

of schools turned into graveyards of innocence [Ravi: innocents];
of prayer gatherings turned into funeral processions,
of call to prayer or Azaan drowned by the sound of explosion;
of blood on the beach, massacres in malls and smouldering cars on streets;
of thriving cities ruined and priceless heritage destroyed;
and, of parents bearing coffins, entire communities dislocated, millions displaced, and refugees caught between fire and stormy seas.

In this digital century of new promise and opportunities, the reach of terror is growing and its toll is rising every year.

Since the beginning of this century, tens of thousands of families have lost their loved ones in thousands of terrorist incidents globally.

Last year alone, I am talking about 2015, over 90 countries experienced terrorist attacks. Parents in 100 countries live with the daily pain of their children lost to the battlefields of Syria.

And, in a globally mobile world, one incident can claim citizens of many nations.

Every year, we spend over 100 billion dollars on securing the world from terrorism, money that should have been spent on building lives of the poor.

The impact cannot be fully captured in statistics alone. It is changing the way we live.

There are forces and groups that are instruments of state policy and design. There are others recruited to the cause in misguided belief.

There are some who are trained in organized camps. There are those who find their inspiration in the borderless world of cyber space.

Terrorism uses diverse motivations and causes, none of which can be justified.

Terrorists distort a religion whose cause they profess to support.

They kill and destroy more in their own land and among their own people than they do elsewhere.

And, they are putting entire regions to peril and making the world more insecure and violent.

The fight against terrorism is not a confrontation against any religion. It cannot be.

It is a struggle between the values of humanism and the forces of inhumanity.

It is not a conflict to be fought only through military, intelligence or diplomatic means.

It is also a battle that must be won through the strength of our values and the real message of religions.

As I have said before, we must reject any link between terrorism and religion. Those who spread terror in the name of religion are anti-religious.

And, we must advance the message of Sufism that stands for the principles of Islam and the highest human values.

This is a task that states, societies, sages, scholars and families must pursue.

However, to me, the message of Sufism is not just confined to combating terrorism.

The values of harmony, welfare, compassion and love for human beings are the foundation of a just society.

That is the principle behind my creed of “Sab Ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikaas”.

And, these values are important to preserve and nurture diversity in our societies.

Diversity is a basic reality of Nature and source of richness of a society; and, it should not be a cause of discord.

We need [Ravi: not just] constitutional provisions or legal safeguards, but also social values to build an inclusive and peaceful society, in which everyone belongs, secure about his rights and confident of her future.

This is also a time of great flux and transition in the world. The middle of the last century was an important turning point in history. A new world order emerged. Many new nations were born.

At the beginning of a new century, we are at yet another point of transformation on a scale rarely seen in human history.

In many parts of the world, there is uncertainty about the future, and how to deal with it as nations and societies.

These are precisely the times that the world is most vulnerable to violence and conflicts.

The global community must be more vigilant than ever before and counter the forces of darkness with the radiant light of human values.

So, let us remember the teaching of Holy Quran that if anyone slew one innocent person, it would be as if he slew a whole people; if anyone saved one life, it would be as if he saved a whole people.

Let us be inspired by the message of Hazrat Moinuddin Chishti,

With your spiritual light, dissolve the clouds of discord and war and spread goodwill, peace, and harmony among the people.

Let us remember the infinite humanism in Sufi poet Jalaluddin Rumi's words, “Contain all human faces in your own, without any judgment of them.”

Let us also live the sermon of Bible that calls us to do good, seek peace and pursue it.

And, oneness in Kabir’s observation that a river and its waves are one.

And, Guru Nanak Devji’s prayer that Lord, may everyone in the world prosper and be in peace.

Let us be inspired by Swami Vivekananda’s appeal against divisions and for people of all religions to hold the banner of harmony, not of dispute.

Let us also reaffirm the enduring message of Ahimsa of Lord Buddha and Mahavira.

And, from this forum, in this land of Gandhi,

And, of timeless prayers that always end with invocation of

Om Shanti; Shanti; Shanti: Peace, Peace, Peace,; Peace within and in the world.

Let us, therefore, send a message to the world:

A melody of harmony and humanity
The embrace of diversity, the spirit of oneness
Of service with compassion and generosity,
A resolve against terrorism, a rejection of extremism
And, a determination to advance peace

Let us challenge the forces of violence with the kindness of our love and universal human values.

and Lastly, Let us restore the light of hope and turn this world into a garden of peace.

Thank you for being here. Thank you for what you stand for. Thank you for the role you are playing in building a better world. Thank you very much, Thanks a lot.

--- end PM Modi speech transcript----

[I thank pib.nic.in and 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.]