Monday, May 30, 2016

Obama & Abe make emotionally moving and wise speeches at Hiroshima peace memorial; Aim for nuclear weapon free world

Reproduced on 30th May 2016, from my post on another blog:
http://ravisiyermisc.blogspot.in/2016/05/obama-abe-make-emotionally-moving-and.html dated May 27th 2016.

Today (May 27th 2016), USA President Obama made a historic visit to the Hiroshima peace memorial as the first USA president to visit the memorial to that horrific atom-bombing of Hiroshima on August 6th 1945 [See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_bombings_of_Hiroshima_and_Nagasaki]. Note that it is close to 71 years since the atom-bombing event.

However, it must also be noted that Nazi Germany had surrendered to the Allies on May 8th 1945 and that the Japanese were warned about destruction if they did not surrender. From the above-mentioned wiki page, "Together with the United Kingdom and China, the United States called for the unconditional surrender of the Japanese armed forces in the Potsdam Declaration on July 26, 1945—the alternative being "prompt and utter destruction". The Japanese response to this ultimatum was to ignore it."

Another point to be noted is that the first act of aggression between Japan and USA in World War II, was the devastating surprise attack, without a prior declaration of war, by Japan on Pearl Harbour, Hawaii, USA, on December 7th 1941, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attack_on_Pearl_Harbor.

Stand out sections from USA President Obama's speech:

Seventy-one years ago, on a bright cloudless morning, death fell from the sky and the world was changed. A flash of light and a wall of fire destroyed a city and demonstrated that mankind possessed the means to destroy itself.
...
The world war that reached its brutal end in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was fought among the wealthiest and most powerful of nations. Their civilizations had given the world great cities and magnificent art. Their thinkers had advanced ideas of justice and harmony and truth. And yet the war grew out of the same base instinct for domination or conquest that had caused conflicts among the simplest tribes, an old pattern amplified by new capabilities and without new constraints.
...
Science allows us to communicate across the seas and fly above the clouds, to cure disease and understand the cosmos, but those same discoveries can be turned into ever more efficient killing machines. The wars of the modern age teach us this truth. Hiroshima teaches this truth. Technological progress without an equivalent progress in human institutions can doom us. The scientific revolution that led to the splitting of an atom requires a moral revolution as well.
...
We must change our mind-set about war itself. To prevent conflict through diplomacy and strive to end conflicts after they’ve begun. To see our growing interdependence as a cause for peaceful cooperation and not violent competition. To define our nations not by our capacity to destroy but by what we build. And perhaps, above all, we must reimagine our connection to one another as members of one human race.

For this too is what makes our species unique. We’re not bound by genetic code to repeat the mistakes of the past. We can learn. We can choose. We can tell our children a different story, one that describes a common humanity, one that makes war less likely and cruelty less easily accepted.
...
Those who died, they are like us. Ordinary people understand this, I think. They do not want more war. They would rather that the wonders of science be focused on improving life and not eliminating it. When the choices made by nations, when the choices made by leaders, reflect this simple wisdom, then the lesson of Hiroshima is done.

The world was forever changed here, but today the children of this city will go through their day in peace. What a precious thing that is. It is worth protecting, and then extending to every child. That is a future we can choose, a future in which Hiroshima and Nagasaki are known not as the dawn of atomic warfare but as the start of our own moral awakening.

--- end stand out sections from Obama speech ---

Stand out sections from Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's speech

That war deprived many American youngsters of their dreams and futures. Reflecting upon such harsh history, I offered my eternal condolences to all the American souls that were lost during World War II. I expressed gratitude and respect for all the people in both Japan and the United States who have been committed to reconciliation for the past seventy years.
...
This time, President Obama, for the first time as leader of the United States paid a visit to Hiroshima, a city which suffered the atomic bombing - US president witnessing the reality of atomic bombings and renewing his determination for a world free of nuclear weapons. This gives great hope to people all around the world who have never given up their hope for a world without nuclear weapons.
...
In their minds [Ravi: victims of the atom-bombings] various feelings must have come and gone. But of those this must be in common. That (in) any place in the world this tragedy must not be repeated again. It is the responsibility of us who live in the present to firmly inherit these deep feelings. We are determined to realize a world free of nuclear weapons. No matter how long and how difficult the road will be, it is the responsibility of us who live in the present to continue to make efforts.
...
Together, Japan and the United States will become a light for hope for the people in the world [Ravi: hope for a world with peace and prosperity and without nuclear weapons]. Standing in this city I am firmly determined. together with President Obama. This is the only way to respond to the feelings of the countless spirits, victims of the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I am convinced of this.

--- end stand out sections from Abe speech ---

Here's the youtube video (official White House channel) of the vist to the Hiroshima peace memorial event, President Obama Participates in a Wreath Laying Ceremony, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNzt7gVz56c, 27 mins. 50 secs, published May 27th 2016

USA President Obama starts his speech around 2:40 in the video. Here's the full transcript of his speech (slight modifications were made to version provided here: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/28/world/asia/text-of-president-obamas-speech-in-hiroshima-japan.html, based on my listening to the speech):

Seventy-one years ago, on a bright cloudless morning, death fell from the sky and the world was changed. A flash of light and a wall of fire destroyed a city and demonstrated that mankind possessed the means to destroy itself.

Why do we come to this place, to Hiroshima? We come to ponder a terrible force unleashed in a not-so-distant past. We come to mourn the dead, including over a 100,000 Japanese men, women and children, thousands of Koreans, a dozen Americans held prisoner.

Their souls speak to us. They ask us to look inward, to take stock of who we are and what we might become.

It is not the fact of war that sets Hiroshima apart. Artifacts tell us that violent conflict appeared with the very first man. Our early ancestors having learned to make blades from flint and spears from wood, used these tools not just for hunting but against their own kind. On every continent, the history of civilization is filled with war, whether driven by scarcity of grain or hunger for gold, compelled by nationalist fervor or religious zeal. Empires have risen and fallen. Peoples have been subjugated and liberated. And at each juncture, innocents have suffered, a countless toll, their names forgotten by time.

The world war that reached its brutal end in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was fought among the wealthiest and most powerful of nations. Their civilizations had given the world great cities and magnificent art. Their thinkers had advanced ideas of justice and harmony and truth. And yet the war grew out of the same base instinct for domination or conquest that had caused conflicts among the simplest tribes, an old pattern amplified by new capabilities and without new constraints.

In the span of a few years, some 60 million people would die. Men, women, children, no different than us shot, beaten, marched, bombed, jailed, starved, gassed to death. There are many sites around the world that chronicle this war, memorials that tell stories of courage and heroism, graves and empty camps that echo of unspeakable depravity.

Yet in the image of a mushroom cloud that rose into these skies, we are most starkly reminded of humanity’s core contradiction. How the very spark that marks us as a species, our thoughts, our imagination, our language, our toolmaking, our ability to set ourselves apart from nature and bend it to our will — those very things also give us the capacity for unmatched destruction.

How often does material advancement or social innovation blind us to this truth? How easily we learn to justify violence in the name of some higher cause.

Every great religion promises a pathway to love and peace and righteousness, and yet no religion has been spared from believers who have claimed their faith as a license to kill.

Nations arise telling a story that binds people together in sacrifice and cooperation, allowing for remarkable feats. But those same stories have so often been used to oppress and dehumanize those who are different.

Science allows us to communicate across the seas and fly above the clouds, to cure disease and understand the cosmos, but those same discoveries can be turned into ever more efficient killing machines.

The wars of the modern age teach us this truth. Hiroshima teaches this truth. Technological progress without an equivalent progress in human institutions can doom us. The scientific revolution that led to the splitting of an atom requires a moral revolution as well.

That is why we come to this place. We stand here in the middle of this city and force ourselves to imagine the moment the bomb fell. We force ourselves to feel the dread of children confused by what they see. We listen to a silent cry. We remember all the innocents killed across the arc of that terrible war and the wars that came before and the wars that would follow.

Mere words cannot give voice to such suffering. But we have a shared responsibility to look directly into the eye of history and ask what we must do differently to curb such suffering again.

Some day, the voices of the hibakusha will no longer be with us to bear witness. But the memory of the morning of August 6th 1945, must never fade. That memory allows us to fight complacency. It fuels our moral imagination. It allows us to change.

And since that fateful day, we have made choices that give us hope. The United States and Japan forged not only an alliance but a friendship that has won far more for our people than we could ever claim through war. The nations of Europe built a union that replaced battlefields with bonds of commerce and democracy. Oppressed peoples and nations won liberation. An international community established institutions and treaties that work to avoid war and aspire to restrict and roll back and ultimately eliminate the existence of nuclear weapons.

Still, every act of aggression between nations, every act of terror and corruption and cruelty and oppression that we see around the world shows our work is never done. We may not be able to eliminate man’s capacity to do evil, so nations and the alliances that we form must possess the means to defend ourselves. But among those nations like my own that hold nuclear stockpiles, we must have the courage to escape the logic of fear and pursue a world without them.

We may not realize this goal in my lifetime, but persistent effort can roll back the possibility of catastrophe. We can chart a course that leads to the destruction of these stockpiles. We can stop the spread to new nations and secure deadly materials from fanatics.

And yet that is not enough. For we see around the world today how even the crudest rifles and barrel bombs can serve up violence on a terrible scale. We must change our mind-set about war itself. To prevent conflict through diplomacy and strive to end conflicts after they’ve begun. To see our growing interdependence as a cause for peaceful cooperation and not violent competition. To define our nations not by our capacity to destroy but by what we build. And perhaps, above all, we must reimagine our connection to one another as members of one human race.

For this too is what makes our species unique. We’re not bound by genetic code to repeat the mistakes of the past. We can learn. We can choose. We can tell our children a different story, one that describes a common humanity, one that makes war less likely and cruelty less easily accepted.

We see these stories in the hibakusha. The woman who forgave a pilot who flew the plane that dropped the atomic bomb because she recognized that what she really hated was war itself. The man who sought out families of Americans killed here because he believed their loss was equal to his own.

My own nation’s story began with simple words: All men are created equal and endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Realizing that ideal has never been easy, even within our own borders, even among our own citizens. But staying true to that story is worth the effort. It is an ideal to be strived for, an ideal that extends across continents and across oceans. The irreducible worth of every person, the insistence that every life is precious, the radical and necessary notion that we are part of a single human family — that is the story that we all must tell.

That is why we come to Hiroshima. So that we might think of people we love. The first smile from our children in the morning. The gentle touch from a spouse over the kitchen table. The comforting embrace of a parent. We can think of those things and know that those same precious moments took place here, 71 years ago.

Those who died, they are like us. Ordinary people understand this, I think. They do not want more war. They would rather that the wonders of science be focused on improving life and not eliminating it. When the choices made by nations, when the choices made by leaders, reflect this simple wisdom, then the lesson of Hiroshima is done.

The world was forever changed here, but today the children of this city will go through their day in peace. What a precious thing that is. It is worth protecting, and then extending to every child. That is a future we can choose, a future in which Hiroshima and Nagasaki are known not as the dawn of atomic warfare but as the start of our own moral awakening.

--- end USA president Obama remarks ---

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke next from around 20:10 in the video (English translation transcript prepared by me is provided below; I did not catch all the words in the English translation):

Last year at the 70th anniversary of the end of war, I visited United States and made a speech as Prime Minister of Japan at the joint meeting of the US Congress. That war deprived many American youngsters of their dreams and futures. Reflecting upon such harsh history, I offered my eternal condolences to all the American souls that were lost during World War II. I expressed gratitude and respect for all the people in both Japan and the United States who have been committed to reconciliation for the past seventy years. Seventy years later, enemies who fought each other so fiercely have become friends bonded in spirit, and have become allies bound in trust and friendship, deep between us. The Japan-US alliance which came into the world this way has to be an alliance of hope for the world. So I appealed in the speech. One year has passed since then. This time, President Obama, for the first time as leader of the United States paid a visit to Hiroshima, a city which suffered the atomic bombing - US president witnessing the reality of atomic bombings and renewing his determination for a world free of nuclear weapons. This gives great hope to people all around the world who have never given up their hope for a world without nuclear weapons.

I would like to give a wholehearted welcome to this historic visit which had been awaited not only by the people of Hiroshima but also by all the Japanese people. I express my sincere respect to the decision and courage of President Obama. With his decision and courage we are opening a new chapter to the reconciliation of Japan and the United States, and in our history of trust and friendship. A few minutes ago, together, I and President Obama offered our deepest condolences for all those who lost their lives during World War II, and also by the atomic bombings. Seventy one years ago in Hiroshima and in Nagasaki, a great number of innocent citizens' lives were cost (lost?) by a single atomic bomb without mercy. Many children and many citizens perished. Each one of them had his or her life dream and beloved family. When I reflect on this sheer fact, I cannot help but feel painful grief. Even today, there are victims who are still suffering unbearably from the bombings. (Feeling?) of those who went through unimaginable tragic experiences, indeed, in this city, seventy one years ago (with) this unspeakable .. In their minds various feelings must have come and gone. But of those this must be in common. That (in) any place in the world this tragedy must not be repeated again.

It is the responsibility of us who live in the present to firmly inherit these deep feelings. We are determined to realize a world free of nuclear weapons. No matter how long and how difficult the road will be, it is the responsibility of us who live in the present to continue to make efforts. Children who are born on that unforgettable day lit the light believing in permanent peace [Ravi: PM Abe gestures behind perhaps to a flame/light at the memorial]. To make every effort for the peace and prosperity in the world (bound?) for this light. This is the responsibility of us all who live in the present. We will definitely fulfill our responsibility. Together, Japan and the United States will become a light for hope for the people in the world. Standing in this city I am firmly determined. together with President Obama. This is the only way to respond to the feelings of the countless spirits, victims of the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I am convinced of this.

--- end Japan PM Shinzo Abe speech English translation transcript ---

[I thank USA President Barrack Obama and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (and New York Times transcript link given above), and Wikipedia, and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above transcripts of their speeches/extracts from their websites on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Top 27 blog posts having 500 views or more as of 23rd Feb 2017

[Note that this post has been updated on 23rd Feb. 2017. The earlier version of this post titled, "Top 30 odd posts (300 views or more) of this blog (from Aug. 2013)" is provided at the bottom of this post,]

Top 27 blog posts by views as of 23rd Feb. 2017 (excluding referrer spam)

1) 13310 views - Radio Sai article on recent Swami (Sathya Sai Baba) subtle form appearance controversy, written on July 11th 2014, last updated on Aug. 11th 2015, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2014/07/radio-sai-article-on-recent-swami.html

2) 3197 views - Subtle Swami (Sathya Sai Baba) controversy blog post search ranks and stats; Let us resolve this confusion NOW, March 16th 2015, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/03/subtle-swami-sathya-sai-baba.html

3) 2063 views - [THIS POST] New title - Top 27 blog posts having 500 views or more as of 23rd Feb 2017, Old Title - Top 30 odd posts (300 views or more) of this blog (from Aug. 2013), written on May 29th 2016, last updated on 23rd Feb. 2017, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/05/top-30-odd-posts-300-views-or-more-in.html

4) 2060 views - Comment exchanges on Shri Indulal Shah sir's letter supportive of Muddenahalli organization, written on May 6th 2015, last updated on 3rd Aug. 2015, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/05/comment-exchanges-on-shri-indulal-shah.html

5) 1642 views - How did the current divisive challenge to Sathya Sai fraternity come about? How to counter it?, written on March 5th 2015, last updated on 29th March 2015, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/03/how-did-current-divisive-challenge-to.html

6) 1500 views - Comment exchanges related to medium(s) claiming to interact with subtle form of Sathya Sai Baba, written on March 6th 2015, last updated on 24th March 2015, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/03/comment-exchanges-related-to-mediums.html

7) 1493 views - Selected Facebook Notes on "Muddenahalli Saga" by Mr. V.R. Ganti, written on Aug. 7th 2015, last updated on 23rd Sept. 2015, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/08/some-important-facebook-notes-on.html

8) 1371 views - Comments on Prof S.N. Balagangadhara's paper, 'What do Indians Need, A History or the Past?', written on Dec. 22nd 2014, last updated on 2nd Feb. 2015, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2014/12/my-comments-on-prof-sn-balagangadharas.html

9) 1305 views - Nigerian police interrogate Madhusudan Naidu about his communicator of Sathya Sai subtle body claim, written on July 30th 2016, last updated on 11th Feb 2017, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/07/nigerian-police-interrogate-madhusudan.html

10) 1313 views - Sathya Sai Baba's Advaita Teachings By John Hislop Ph.D. - Edited Transcript of Video, Nov. 13th 2013, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2013/11/sathya-sai-babas-advaita-teachings-by.html

11) 1115 views - Phyllis Krystal, Sai thought leader, breaks off with "communicator"; decides "to seek Him in our heart instead of somewhere outside", written on Sept 1st 2015, last updated on 17th Oct. 2015, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/09/phyllis-krystal-sai-thought-leader.html

12) 1072 views - Satyajit opens up on Narasimhamurthy and Madhusudhan Naidu; I (Ravi) recommend PIL against Madhusudhan Naidu, Oct. 2nd 2015, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/10/satyajit-opens-up-on-narasimhamurthy.html

13) 978 views - Muddenahalli light body Sai Baba is NOT related to Puttaparthi Sathya Sai Baba - Conclusion drawn from 1st Jan 2009 Swami discourse, May 19th 2015, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/05/muddenahalli-light-body-sai-baba-is-not.html

14) 931 views - Is Muddenahalli chosen communicator belief similar to Kurnool Bala Sai Baba belief?, May 17th 2015, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/05/is-muddenahalli-chosen-communicator.html

15) 904 views - Claimed paranormal connections via mediums to Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba; Splinter devotee groups, July 24th 2014, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2014/07/paranormal-connections-via-mediums-to.html

16) 898 views - All the best to Muddenahalli group for birthday celebrations; Please don't accept Madhu's instructions as Sathya Sai Baba's instructions, Oct. 4th 2015, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/10/all-best-to-muddenahalli-group-for.html

17) 882 views - Differences between Secularism in India and Secularism in the Western world, written on May 24th 2014, last updated on Aug. 4th 2014, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2014/05/differences-between-secularism-in-india.html

18) 803 views - My frank mail exchanges about Sathya Sai Baba Mahasamadhi (April 24th 2011) at that time, April 25th 2015, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/04/my-frank-mail-exchanges-about-sathya.html

19) 744 views - Sathya Sai Baba Lingodhbhavam and his views on Shiva Linga worship, Oct. 5th 2014, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2014/10/sathya-sai-baba-lingodhbhavam-and-his.html

20) 715 views - The 'come and experience' Muddenahalli line of argument; Need for unconvinced devotees to write about their experiences, May 7th 2015, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/05/the-come-and-experience-muddenahalli.html

21) 691 views - Medium(s) who tell you about some private incident/interaction between you and Sathya Sai Baba - What will you do?, written on March 13th 2015, last updated on March 29th 2015, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/03/mediums-who-tell-you-some-private.html

22) 673 views - Should Satyajit Salian have opened up on Narasimhamurthy and Madhusudhan Naidu, 5 months after the events instead of 50 months after the events?, Oct. 3rd 2015, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/10/should-satyajit-salian-have-opened-up.html

23) 594 views - Swami referred to Shri Narendra Modi as future Prime Minister in 2004 itself!, May 24th 2014, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2014/05/swami-referred-to-shri-narendra-modi-as.html

24) 585 views - Deccan Chronicle publishes article on interrogation/arrest of Muddenahalli group leaders in Nigeria, written on Aug. 1st 2016, last updated on 11th Feb. 2017, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/08/deccan-chronicle-today-publishes.html

25) 559 views - Madhusudan Naidu MUST TELL Sai devotees what happened in his interrogation by Nigerian police, July 31st 2016, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/07/madhusudan-naidu-must-tell-sai-devotees.html

26) 557 views - GVP sir's very sad association with Muddenahalli group, Nov. 18th 2016, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/11/gvp-sirs-very-sad-association-with.html

27) 546 views - My response to Ms. Terry Reis Kennedy's Facebook post on Muddenahalli subtle body communicator, written on April 25th 2015, last updated on 3rd Aug. 2015, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/04/my-response-to-ms-terry-kennedys.html

====================================================================
[23-Feb-2017: Given below is the old content of the post for readers interested in such history of this post.]

Top 30 odd posts (300 views or more) of this blog (from Aug. 2013)
Last updated on 30th May 2016

Today I spent a lot of time going through the list of posts in this blog and noting the views reported by Blogger against the popular posts (300 and above visits from creation of first blogpost in August 2013). Why did I get into this laborious task?

Well, over the past few days I noticed a lot of traffic to a particular post, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurates Sathya Sai Baba statue in Naya Raipur hospital, and praises Sathya Sai, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/02/prime-minister-narendra-modi.html. I suspected this to be a case of referrer spam and indeed, it turned out to be that. [From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Referer_spam, "Referrer spam (also known as referral spam, log spam or referrer bombing) is a kind of spamdexing (spamming aimed at search engines). The technique involves making repeated web site requests using a fake referrer URL to the site the spammer wishes to advertise. Sites that publish their access logs, including referer statistics, will then inadvertently link back to the spammer's site. These links will be indexed by search engines as they crawl the access logs, improving the spammer's search engine ranking. Except for polluting their statistics, the technique does not harm the affected sites."]

Almost all the traffic to that post is from http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=1, which seems to be a known case of referrer spam [see https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/blogger/B6SeYiv4qxA]. In the past month, blogger stats reports 329 views from this (referrer spam) link, and the past month stats for the related post, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurates Sathya Sai Baba statue in Naya Raipur hospital, and praises Sathya Sai, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/02/prime-minister-narendra-modi.html, is 336 views!!! Therefore the total real (non referrer spam) views of this post for the past month are not more than 336 - 329 = 7 views!!! The total views (for all time) for this post is shown as 542 views; minus the referrer spam views, the total views are 542 - 329 = 213 views (for all time, so far).

Now I had been using the Popular Posts widget of Blogger on the right hand side pane of my blog. I noticed that this post had made it to the ten posts shown as the popular posts on my blog!!! That's when I decided to remove the popular posts widget and instead put up a manually (and laboriously) compiled Top Ten posts entry for the right hand side pane, which is what is now shown on the blog.

While going about this collection of data, I was surprised to note that though my selection of time period was All time for the popular posts widget, it did not properly list the top ten posts by views for all time, as reported by Blogger in the Posts (edit/view/share/delete) page. Instead it seemed to go by the Stats page whose reported views for the top ten posts for all time is different (smaller number) in some cases from the views shown for the same post in the Posts (edit/view/share/delete) page!!!

So I decided that my readers should get the seemingly more accurate data which is the views reported by the Posts (edit/view/share/delete) page. As I now have more than three hundred posts in the blog, it took quite a while to browse through the Posts page for all the posts picking up the high views posts. Initially I was looking at posts above around 250 views though later I bumped it up to 300 views and above.

The list turned out to be 31 posts having views of 300 and above. The top ten made it to the right hand side pane in the blog (seen on every post & page, including this post). But I thought I could share below all the thirty one posts and their views, for interested readers.

Top posts by views of this blog; this list is as of 29th May 2016

01) 12,007 views: Radio Sai article on recent Swami (Sathya Sai Baba) subtle form appearance controversy, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2014/07/radio-sai-article-on-recent-swami.html

02) 2,748 views: Subtle Swami (Sathya Sai Baba) controversy blog post search ranks and stats; Let us resolve this confusion NOW, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/03/subtle-swami-sathya-sai-baba.html

03) 1,758 views: Comment exchanges on Shri Indulal Shah sir's letter supportive of Muddenahalli organization, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/05/comment-exchanges-on-shri-indulal-shah.html

04) 1,567 views: How did the current divisive challenge to Sathya Sai fraternity come about? How to counter it? http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/03/how-did-current-divisive-challenge-to.html

05) 1,403 views: Comment exchanges related to medium(s) claiming to interact with subtle form of Sathya Sai Baba, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/03/comment-exchanges-related-to-mediums.html

06) 1,252 views: Comments on Prof S.N. Balagangadhara's paper, 'What do Indians Need, A History or the Past?', http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2014/12/my-comments-on-prof-sn-balagangadharas.html

07) 1,102 views: Selected Facebook Notes on "Muddenahalli Saga" by Mr. V.R. Ganti, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/08/some-important-facebook-notes-on.html

08) 852 views: Sathya Sai Baba's Advaita Teachings By John Hislop Ph.D. - Edited Transcript of Video, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2013/11/sathya-sai-babas-advaita-teachings-by.html

09) 848 views: Claimed paranormal connections via mediums to Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba; Splinter devotee groups, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2014/07/paranormal-connections-via-mediums-to.html

10) 797 views Is Muddenahalli chosen communicator belief similar to Kurnool Bala Sai Baba belief? http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/05/is-muddenahalli-chosen-communicator.html

------

11) 691 views: Muddenahalli light body Sai Baba is NOT related to Puttaparthi Sathya Sai Baba - Conclusion drawn from 1st Jan 2009 Swami discourse, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/05/muddenahalli-light-body-sai-baba-is-not.html

12) 643 views: Satyajit opens up on Narasimhamurthy and Madhusudhan Naidu; I (Ravi) recommend PIL against Madhusudhan Naidu, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/10/satyajit-opens-up-on-narasimhamurthy.html

13) 633 views: Medium(s) who tell you about some private incident/interaction between you and Sathya Sai Baba - What will you do? http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/03/mediums-who-tell-you-some-private.html

14) 623 views: Phyllis Krystal, Sai thought leader, breaks off with "communicator"; decides "to seek Him in our heart instead of somewhere outside", http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/09/phyllis-krystal-sai-thought-leader.html

15) 570 views: My frank mail exchanges about Sathya Sai Baba Mahasamadhi (April 24th 2011) at that time, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/04/my-frank-mail-exchanges-about-sathya.html

16) 563 views: All the best to Muddenahalli group for birthday celebrations; Please don't accept Madhu's instructions as Sathya Sai Baba's instructions, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/10/all-best-to-muddenahalli-group-for.html

17) 519 views: Sathya Sai Baba Lingodhbhavam and his views on Shiva Linga worship,
http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2014/10/sathya-sai-baba-lingodhbhavam-and-his.html

18) 492 views: My response to Ms. Terry Reis Kennedy's Facebook post on Muddenahalli subtle body communicator, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2015/04/my-response-to-ms-terry-kennedys.html

19) 478 views: Differences between Secularism in India and Secularism in the Western world, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2014/05/differences-between-secularism-in-india.html

20) 452 views: Swami referred to Shri Narendra Modi as future Prime Minister in 2004 itself!
http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2014/05/swami-referred-to-shri-narendra-modi-as.html

21) 415 views: Miscellaneous July 2015 Facebook posts of mine related to Muddenahalli so-called chosen communicator & subtle body, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/07/miscellaneous-july-2015-facebook-posts.html

22) 406 views: BONES IN PRASANTHI NILAYAM, SPIRIT IN MUDDENAHALLI? - A heart-to-heart & thought provoking article by Sai university alumnus,
http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2015/05/bones-in-prasanthi-nilayam-spirit-in.html

23) 378 views: Should we simply ignore Sathya Sai Baba Subtle Body claims, and just focus on our spiritual journey? http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2015/05/should-we-simply-ignore-sathya-sai-baba.html

24) 378 views: The 'come and experience' Muddenahalli line of argument; Need for unconvinced devotees to write about their experiences, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2015/05/the-come-and-experience-muddenahalli.html

25) 355 views: Bangalore to Puttaparthi road driving directions/route,
http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2014/09/bangalore-to-puttaparthi-road-driving.html

26) 348 views: Adaptation of Pope Francis Tweet; Sai organizations should enable interested persons to have personal encounter with Sai Baba, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2014/07/adaptation-of-pope-francis-tweet-sai.html

27) 328 views: Notes on Prof. Haraldsson's, Modern Miracles, July 2013, book on Sathya Sai Baba, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2013/08/notes-on-prof-haraldssons-modern.html

28) 325 views: My May 2012 service record & record tampering related correspondence with Sai university (SSSIHL) administrators, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/11/my-may-2012-service-record-record.html

29) 320 views: Should Satyajit Salian have opened up on Narasimhamurthy and Madhusudhan Naidu, 5 months after the events instead of 50 months after the events? http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/10/should-satyajit-salian-have-opened-up.html

30) 303 views: Somewhat short account of history of early Christianity based on Wikipedia,
http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2014/09/somewhat-short-account-of-history-of.html

31) 300 views: Aurangzeb the RUTHLESS tyrant and anti-Hindu Mughal emperor; My disagreement with Audrey Truschke, Stanford University scholar's, views on Aurangzeb, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/09/aurangzeb-ruthless-tyrant-and-anti.html 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Prof. Anantharaman gives explanation of his Muddenahalli group Arathi; Will he continue to go to Muddenahalli group events in future?

Last updated on 30th May 2016

Mr. V,R. Ganti has put up a Facebook post providing Prof. Anantharaman's views/responses/explanation on his having gone to Muddenahalli group and offered Arathi at a function there. The post is titled, PROF ANANTHARAM - VISIT TO MHALLI - JUSTIFIES - NOT APPEALING THOUGH, https://www.facebook.com/notes/vr-ganti/prof-anantharam-visit-to-mhalli-justifies-not-appealing-though/10206736666839946, dated May 28th 2016.

I have reproduced below my comment (slightly edited) on the above Facebook post of Mr. V.R. Ganti:

First of all I would like to remind readers about the great service Prof. Anantharaman has given to Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust (SSSCT) in his capacity as Media Co-ordinatinator, SSSCT. Please see my Facebook post, April 2012: My appreciation for Prof. Anantharaman's wonderful Sai service as Media Co-ordinator, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/05/april-2012-my-appreciation-for-prof.html.

Now coming to the current matter, in Prof. Anantharaman's mail the words he uses with reference to so called Muddenahalli subtle body are, "my basic view about subtle body has not changed". But he has not clarified what his basic view is. I tried Google search for the term:
Anantharaman Muddenahalli subtle body
but did not get any suitable results.

So I will go by what Mr. Ganti wrote in this post, "Anantharaman clarified to me over a telephone call that he continues to maintain his stand that he does not believe at all in SUBTLE BODY & SELF APPOINTED CHOSEN COMMUNICATOR and he calls these as FAKE and FRAUD."

Ravi: I am greatly relieved to know that Prof. Anantharaman has not developed belief in so called Muddenahalli subtle body/light body. It seems that he went there as he was attracted by the activities that Muddenahalli group are doing, and perhaps to meet a powerful political leader of Karnataka who may be a visitor to Muddenahalli group.

I am quite convinced by these explanations/clarifications given by Prof. Anantharaman that he does not believe in so called Muddenahalli subtle body/light body. I repeat that that is a big relief to me.

However, Prof. Anantharaman's published mail to Mr. Ganti shows that Prof. Anantharaman's view is that his action has been consistent (with his lack of belief in so called Muddenahalli subtle body)!!! His stand seems to be that he was offering Arathi to a "picture of Baba"!

Now from a spiritual point of view based on Bhagavan's teachings, Bhagavan is everywhere, in Prasanthi Nilayam and in Muddenahalli group and in our hearts (and above us, below us, inside us, outside us ...). But what the video conveys to those who do not know of these clarifications/explanations by Prof. Anantharaman, is very different!!! A viewer will certainly presume that Prof. Anantharaman has become part of Muddenahalli group and believes in so called Muddenahalli subtle body AND its so called communicator, Madhusudan Rao Naidu!!! THAT IS THE BIG PROBLEM!

The question that crops up now is, will Prof. Anantharaman continue to visit Muddenahalli group as he is impressed with their activities, and will he continue to share the stage with top people of Muddenahalli group like Shri B.N. Narasimhamurthy and Shri Madhusudan Rao Naidu???
--- end my comment on Mr. Ganti's FB post ---

---------------------------------------------------

A comment on my Facebook post having the above content, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1747126522170584, by --name-snipped-- today, 28th May 2016, around 1:30 PM was (He refers to Prof. Anantharaman), "He was there yesterday too. So it's a little contradictory...". He provided the youtube video link too, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIfofBfn2pg.

My response comment was:
Thanks. Can you give the timestamp where he can be seen in the video? I don't know about the contradictory part due to his attending the function the next day too. I guess his stand is that he is associating with them as he likes the activities done there even if he does not have belief in so called Muddenahalli subtle body. Now it is up to Prasanthi Nilayam bosses to decide whether he should still be permitted to associate with Prasanthi Nilayam institutions like the Sai university (SSSIHL).
--------

In response to a comment stating that he can be seen at 2:06:02 for a while.. and at 2:08:25 too, but his face is being covered, I (Ravi) responded (slightly edited):
Yes, you are right. It is him all right. Thanks.

April 2012: My appreciation for Prof. Anantharaman's wonderful Sai service as Media Co-ordinator

Last updated on 2nd June 2016

I felt it appropriate to reproduce the following email of mine dated April 17th 2012 to Prof. Anantharaman, then Media-Coordinator, Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust. The text of the email(s) is reproduced below:

from: Ravi Iyer <ravi@raviiyer.org>
to:      Media Co-ordinator <media@sssct.org>
date:   Tue, Apr 17, 2012 at 1:48 PM
subject: Fwd: My appreciation for Prof. Anantharaman's wonderful Sai service as Media Co-ordinator

Dear Prof. Anantharaman,

Sai Ram sir!

I felt it appropriate to "go public" with my appreciation for your wonderful services, sir, within a small (BCC) email community that I write to. It includes some faculty of SSSIHL and some other Puttaparthi Sai institution members.

The concerned mail is forwarded below. It has a slightly edited version of my previous mail to you, sir.

Regards

Ravi


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ravi Iyer <ravi@raviiyer.org>
Date: Tue, Apr 17, 2012 at 1:40 PM
Subject: My appreciation for Prof. Anantharaman's wonderful Sai service as Media Co-ordinator
To:


Dear all,

Sai Ram!

I thought it appropriate to share a slightly edited version of a mail I wrote today to Prof. Anantharaman, Media Co-ordinator, Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust (email: "Media Co-ordinator" <media@sssct.org>).

----

Sir, I would also like to express in writing my appreciation for the wonderful service you have done by, I believe, founding the Media Co-ordinator post in SSSCT and then doing a FANTASTIC job.

As a Sai devotee I too was in a state of PROLONGED SHOCK when the Shiva Shakti Swarupa, Kali Yuga Avatar, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Garu decided it was time to give up His physical body. Like so many others in the Sai devotee community and almost everybody in Puttaparthi, the ashramites and the villagers/townsmen living outside the ashram, I had taken for granted that Bhagavan would be in His physical body amongst us till he became 96 years of age according to the regular calendar we use (Gregorian calendar/Solar calendar).

To the extent I could, I closely followed the reactions of Puttaparthi folks, Sai devotees in general, the media, the Internet and the impact that media coverage had on people at large. The deluge of attack that Sai institutions in general, some persons close to Bhagavan at physical level in particular and Sai devotees in general came under was horrifying! Any yellow media outlet which wanted to grab eyeballs used to cook up nasty stories based on utterly flimsy ground or no ground whatsoever! And there were enough eyeballs who loved the sensationalist mud-slinging stuff and so it perhaps became a self-perpetuating and money-spinning mini-industry!

While Bhagavan was in His physical body these stupid fellows would not have had the GUTS to write the tripe that they wrote. But now they were having a field day. Sai institutions and Sai devotees had become a butt of ridicule. Outside Puttaparthi, noticing a Sai ring on a devotee's finger was enough for a stranger to launch a diatribe against Sai institutions and Puttaparthi, and enjoy embarrassing the poor Sai devotee!

In politics, they say, perception becomes reality. So the political masters of the state and country too were getting impacted by the sensationalist gossip that had become mainstream media NEWS and was appearing to be the truth!

Then you perhaps felt that enough was enough, and volunteered to take up the very challenging position of media co-ordinator. I was watching the media like a hawk during that period :). As soon as you started putting out the factual position of SSSCT on the various sensationalist tabloid-type stories current in the media the wind started going out of the sails of these yellow rag fellows. Of course, the interactions of the trustees and senior functionaries of the Sai institutions with the media in Puttaparthi and on national television also made a significant difference.

With the media co-ordinator very quickly putting out factual corrections of distortions that appeared in the media, the money-making Sai-institution-baiting industry collapsed. Our country's motto is Satyameva Jayate. And that is what happened. The Truth was Victorious. A lot of the credit for the truth prevailing so quickly has to be given to you, sir. Thank you so much for the wonderful and signal service you have done for the Puttaparthi Sai institutions, the Puttaparthi community and Sai devotees in general.

I pray to Bhagavan to shower His Grace on Sai institutions in their service to humanity in His Mission and protect Sai institutions from the vile effects of calumny.

----

Regards

Ravi
----- end text of email ---

Given below is a pic of that mail (right-click to open image in new tab to view in higher resolution):



Readers may want to see this blog post of mine, Prof. Anantharaman gives explanation of his Muddenahalli group Arathi; Will he continue to go to Muddenahalli group events in future?, ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/05/prof-anantharaman-gives-explanation-of.html, dated May 28th 2016.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Sathya Sai: Brahman outside is not giving any punishment to you; fruits you get correspond to seeds you plant

Given below is an extract from Divine Discourse of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, from Summer Showers in Brindavan, 1974, www.sssbpt.info/summershowers/ss1974/ss1974part1-03.pdf:

This power or strength which we attempt to describe by the word Brahman is not something which is external to and outside you. It is present in you and is in your own self. If you acquire some good or bad, and if you have the misapprehension that Brahman outside is causing good or bad to you, or that He is giving some punishment to you, this is not the right attitude. Do not cultivate the habit of building castles in the air and getting tired by thinking that you will do this and that, you will achieve this and that. The fruits that you get will correspond to whatever seeds you plant. If the seed is one thing and if you have the ambition to get a different fruit, how is it possible? You may be very clever, but all the cleverness is of no avail if you are not giving up your mean qualities. Whatever good or bad you may have done, the aspect of Brahman is not going to break the good and bad into separate parts.

Paramatma is going to give you an unbroken garland of all the good and all the bad that you have accumulated. This is the invisible garland which everyone wears round his neck, and it surely consists of all the good and all the bad that you have done. When you are born from your mother’s womb, you do not physically see this necklace. You do not have a necklace of pearls round your neck; nor do you have a golden necklace when you are born. You neither have a necklace of diamond nor one of emerald round your neck. But, while all these things are absent, whatever good or bad deeds you may have done in your past are being brought along with you when you are born.

By doing a good act, you cannot get an evil result and by doing a bad act, you cannot accumulate good. Whatever kind of work you do, the result will correspond to that kind of work. Therefore, it follows that today you should make up your mind to do only good things and thus you will reap, in your future lives, the benefit of only good things. You should do good things today and thus aspire to get good for yourself. Brahman is present in your own heart and is functioning as a witnessing consciousness all through. To imagine and to deceive ourselves into thinking that there is no one seeing us do a bad thing is not correct. Whether anyone sees it or not, the aspect of Brahman which has been described as one which has thousands of heads and thousands of eyes is always watching you and the good and bad that you do.

This aspect of Brahman is always with you and is constantly present in you. Without recognising and understanding this basic truth that Brahman is always with you, you spend a great deal of time and energy thinking that God is somewhere and that you should find Him elsewhere and outside of your heart.
--- end extract from Sathya Sai discourse ---

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Very inappropriate for Prasanthi Nilayam educational institution staff/teachers to visit Muddenahalli group in Kodaikanal

Last updated on 25th May 2016

I was given to understand that some staff/teachers of a Prasanthi Nilayam educational institution visited Muddenahalli group at Kodaikanal, recently. I felt it to be my duty to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, my beloved Gurudev, to publicly express my criticism of such a visit by staff who, whether paid or honorary, are associated with Prasanthi Nilayam (PN) educational institutions. If the words I have written below seem harsh I am sorry about it. But I think the words have to be said. Enough is enough!

If teachers/staff of such PN institutions go to Muddenahalli group, what sort of signal will they be sending to students as well as Sai devotees associated with official Sai orgn.? Teachers are looked up as role models not only by students in Sai system but by Sai devotees in general. In their public life, I think Sai educational institutions' teachers have to live up to some standards of ethical behaviour. Private life is a different matter; my view is that people including Sai devotees should NOT interfere in or comment on the private life of such teachers. The Kodaikanal trip of Muddenahalli group is a public event. Staff of Prasanthi Nilayam institutions have been given explicit instructions not to associate with Muddenahalli group. So how can teachers/staff of a PN educational institution attend a public function of Muddenahalli group in Kodaikanal? Surely, that is an act of gross indiscipline and has to be called out as unethical behaviour.

I am given to understand that a senior functionary of PN has expressed his strong displeasure with some of the concerned teachers/staff.

My view is that such persons should quit Prasanthi Nilayam educational institutions, whether they are paid or honorary (with some honorarium or free service), and happily join, associate with and stay with Muddenahalli group. The important thing is that there should be no conflict of interest and no atmosphere of suspicion of dual-loyalty in Prasanthi Nilayam institutions.

As I say often to people in Puttaparthi, the situation now is like Prasanthi Nilayam institutions being Tata company and Muddenahalli group being Birla company, with Tata company competing with Birla company! If somebody is with Tata company, how can that person join in functions in Birla company? Will such persons not immediately be suspected of disloyalty (or even betrayal), and face strong disciplinary action from Tata company? Perhaps the persons may say that they are not indulging in any disloyalty. But, in these super sensitive matters, they have to behave in public in such a manner so as to be completely above suspicion.

The great disappointment in the division between Puttaparthi and Muddenhalli is that some elder teachers including some administrators of PN educational institutions, who we (includes me, a former relatively younger teacher in Prasanthi Nilayam campus, Sai university/SSSIHL) looked up to for honest and ethical behaviour (Sathya & Dharma), have themselves indulged in such MASSIVE conflict of interest (Asathya & Adharma)!

=====================================================
A comment in the associated Facebook post: https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1745268159023087

Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
One view could be that the staff/teachers are free to go wherever they want during their vacation time. Further, such staff/teachers are pillars of the PN educational institution and have been personally trained by Swami. If they leave, the educational institution will suffer greatly.

Before I give my stand on this viewpoint, I would like to say that I am not a perfect Sathya & Dharma person. I do have my flaws but try hard to follow Sathya & Dharma. So whatever I have written below could have mistakes. Readers are not only welcome, but even encouraged, to be critical of my comments.

Prasanthi Nilayam heads have been very unambiguous in their rejection of the claims of the Muddenahalli group, and specific instructions were given to all staff in Prasanthi Nilayam institutions not to associate with Muddenahalli group.

The Sathya & Dharma way for the staff/teachers of the PN educational institution who visited Muddenahalli group in Kodaikanal recently, to have gone about this visit, in my humble opinion, could have been as follows:

1) As they KNEW that official instructions had been issued against associating with Muddenahalli group, they should have met concerned authorities in PN beforehand, and conveyed their wish to visit Muddenahalli group during their vacation period.

2) If they had done that I presume that the concerned PN authorities would have denied them permission. In which case they could have stated that such restrictions are unacceptable to them and negotiated with them for permission for the visit. In the worst case scenario they could have chosen to quit the PN educational institution after which they would have been free of this restriction, and so could have visited and associated with Muddenahalli group in a complete Sathya & Dharma way.

But these gentlemen have not followed such a procedure. Instead they chose to FLOUT the strict instructions of the PN authorities by visiting Muddenahalli group in Kodaikanal. I don't think I will be wrong if I say that they INSULTED the PN authorities by doing so. Further, they may hold the view that PN authorities will not have the guts/courage to take any action against them as they are the pillars of the educational institution.

My stand is that this matter of belief in Muddenahalli group claims being held by some teachers in PN educational institutions is a very serious conflict of interest given the great DIVISVE problems due to Muddenahalli group claims & activities that are seriously affecting the Sathya Sai movement today worldwide. Students interact very closely with teachers in PN educational institutions and such matters will get known to the students. That will create great confusion in the minds of students as well as in the minds of fellow teachers/staff of the educational institution. So I think we have to take a tough approach to solve the problem here by strongly advising such teachers/staff in PN educational institutions to happily join Muddenahalli group and contribute to Bhagavan's mission there.

Any negative impact that will be felt by some teachers/staff leaving PN educational institutions to join Muddenahalli group will be transient. Already a few former teachers/staff from Sathya Sai university as well as other PN institutions are associated with Muddenahalli group. PN system continues to function even without these persons. So I am quite sure that even if some teacher/staff pillars of a PN educational institution who believe in Muddenahalli group, quit and move to Muddenahalli group, it will be a transient problem which will be overcome in a short period of time by the PN educational institution.
-------------

My comment on a share of the above mentioned Facebook post here:
https://www.facebook.com/Aravindb1982/posts/10209871517168667

Don't know about whether they are all non-alumni teachers or not. But at least a couple of the teachers are veterans with lots of interactions with Bhagavan in physical form, I believe. So they are far more esteemed than alumni-teachers.

I wish the teachers well and hope things work out for them in a Sathya & Dharma way. Their service to Bhagavan's educational mission has been great, no doubt. But now they need to make up their minds, one way or the other. One foot in Prasanthi Nilayam system and another in Muddenahalli group is not good for them, or for Prasanthi Nilayam system.

I repeat that I wish the teachers well. I also pray to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba to work out a solution on the lines of Sathya & Dharma, in the case of these teachers of PN educational system who seem to have strong belief in Muddenahalli group claims. It would be very tough on the senior functionaries of Prasanthi Nilayam to deal with this kind of matter. So I wish the senior functionaries all the best. But we need some clear solution now. Instructions from Prasanthi Nilayam heads which prohibit staff from visiting Muddenahalli group MUST BE TREATED SERIOUSLY by all staff of Prasanthi Nilayam, especialy teachers who are supposed to be role models for students (and alumni and Sai devotees in general).

If the HEADQUARTERS of Sathya Sai movement worldwide, namely Prasanthi Nilayam, is not able to enforce obedience of its instructions among its staff in this SERIOUS DIVISIVE issue of Muddenahalli group, one can imagine the plight of Sathya Sai centers and organization worldwide. So my view is that something has to be done in this case which is JUST (Dharmic), and sends out a clear message to Sathya Sai fraternity about how seriously Prasanthi Nilayam heads view such DIVISIVE Muddenahalli group matters.
------------------------------------------------------

Monday, May 23, 2016

Nisargadatta Maharaj was a Guru of the Inchagiri Sampradaya related to Navnath Sampradaya and Lingayat Shaivism



Above pic: Nisargadatta Maharaj

In the context of a Facebook conversation I made the following comments (slightly edited), which I felt appropriate to put up as a separate post:

I wanted to mention that I recall reading that Nisargadatta got closely associated with a spiritual guru as a shishya/student/follower. The guru taught him a Jnana marga path.

Later Nisargadatta was with his family, perhaps ran his tobacco & bidi shop (common in rural and semi-urban Maharashtra even in the 90s as I have seen many such shops; and they were respected shops in such rural and semi-urban communities), but also taught others the Jnana marga path that he was taught by his Guru, and by which he claimed to have achieved self-realization.

Now Nisargadatta was not, I believe, a scholar of Hindu scripture like a Veda or Shastra pandit. However, as he was taught Jnana Marga by his guru, in my view, he surely has to be viewed as coming from a Guru-shishya parampara, and so certainly qualified to teach what he had learned from his Guru, and what he learned additionally.

Decided to browse for some info. Here's info. from Nisargadatta Maharaj's wiki page, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nisargadatta_Maharaj:

Nisargadatta Maharaj /ˌnɪsərɡəˈdɑːtə ˌmæhəˈrɑːdʒ/ (17 April 1897 – 8 September 1981), born Maruti Shivrampant Kambli, was an Indian Guru of nondualism, belonging to the Inchagiri Sampradaya, a lineage of teachers from the Navnath Sampradaya and Lingayat Shaivism.

The publication in 1973 of I Am That, an English translation of his talks in Marathi by Maurice Frydman, brought him worldwide recognition and followers, especially from North America and Europe.
...
In 1933, he was introduced to his guru, Siddharameshwar Maharaj, the head of the Inchegiri branch of the Navnath Sampradaya, by his friend Yashwantrao Baagkar. His guru told him, "You are not what you take yourself to be...". Siddharameshwar initiated him into the Inchegiri Sampradaya, giving him meditation-instruction and a mantra, which he immediately began to recite. Siddharameshwar gave Nisargadatta instructions for self-enquiry which he followed verbatim, as he himself recounted later:

My Guru ordered me to attend to the sense 'I am' and to give attention to nothing else. I just obeyed. I did not follow any particular course of breathing, or meditation, or study of scriptures. Whatever happened, I would turn away my attention from it and remain with the sense 'I am'. It may look too simple, even crude. My only reason for doing it was that my Guru told me so. Yet it worked!
...
After an association that lasted hardly two and a half years, Siddharameshwar Maharaj died on 9 November 1936. In 1937, he left Mumbai and travelled across India. After eight months he returned to his family in Mumbai in 1938. On the journey home his state of mind changed, realizing that "nothing was wrong anymore." He spent the rest of his life in Mumbai, maintaining one shop to earn an income.
...
Ever since his return to Bombay in 1938, Nisargadatta had been sought out by those desiring his counsel on spiritual matters. Many wanted to become his disciples and get formal mantra-initiation from him, reverentially calling him "Maharaj," "Great (Spiritual) King." Yet he was reluctant to have disciples and serve as a guru. Finally, in 1951, after receiving an inner revelation from Siddharamesvar, he began to initiate students into discipleship.

After he retired from his shop in 1966, Nisargadatta Maharaj continued to receive and teach visitors in his home, giving discourses twice a day, until his death on 8 September 1981 at the age of 84, of throat cancer.
--- end wiki extracts ---

Ravi: So, from a Hindu tradition point of view, Nisargadatta has clearly to be seen as a guru in the sampradaya (tradition) of his guru, Siddharameshwar Maharaj, even if Nisargadatta was seemingly not well-versed in any part of Hindu scripture.

I recall reading that Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba had written/said that those who achieve self-realization by following a particular path teach others that path to self-realization.

I would also like to share that among some Prasanthi Nilayam residents including student-staff, Nisargadatta's book, "I am That", was quite revered (I am talking about period before Mahasamadhi). I was also told by some PN resident(s) that Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba was appreciative of Nisargadatta's teachings (and perhaps that book too). But I must also say that I do not recall coming across any public discourse of Bhagavan where he has referenced Nisargadatta.

Therefore, in my view, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba would have surely approved of Nisargadatta being a spiritual teacher (teaching the spiritual path that he had followed, which was taught to him by his Guru, to reach self-realization).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A public comment on the associated Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1744918239058079, mentioned: "I am told that this is one realised master (along with Sri Ramana Maharishi) who our beloved Swami referred to many many times in interviews."

I (Ravi) responded:
Thanks for the useful info. This confirms something on similar lines that I had heard in PN. [PN: Prasanthi Nilayam (Puttaparthi ashram name)]
-----

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

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Theologians may quarrel, but the mystics of the world speak the same language - Meister Eckhart

A great quote:
“Theologians may quarrel, but the mystics of the world speak the same language.” - Meister Eckhart (1260 - 1328), mystic and Catholic German theologian, http://www.imere.org/content/mystical-experience-meister-eckhart.

Here's his wiki page, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meister_Eckhart.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Miscellaneous Facebook posts & comments of mine in May 2016

In FB post, https://www.facebook.com/sathyanarayana.raju.9/posts/783794481757038, I commented as follows:

These matters are super-sensitive. First, one must know whether Shri Ajit Poppat is willing to PUBLICLY stand by these statements (which had been shared on social media by somebody else, some time back). As far as I know there has been no PUBLIC confirmation from Shri Ajit Poppat about these statements.

And even if there were a public confirmation from Shri Ajit Poppat, he then should be willing to interact with Sai fraternity on the matter. I am sure that even if he does not directly use social media he will surely have some persons who will be willing to help him do that.

See, it is not as if all people in Prasanthi Nilayam around Bhagavan's physical form were all perfect people. Neither is it the case that people around Bhagavan's physical form were bad people. I served in the Sai university as a Honorary Staff/Honorary Faculty/Visiting Faculty from Jan. 2003 to Mar. 2012. I openly acknowledge that I am not perfect but that I try to follow Swami's teachings, slipping here & there even when Bhagavan was in physical form, and later too. I think that would be the case with most people around Bhagavan's physical form too. The main point to note is that all such people served in Bhagavan's mission WITH Bhagavan's permission and concurrence.

Rather than go by such reported personal interactions Bhagavan had with some person on these super sensitive matters, which is almost impossible, if not impossible, to verify, I think it is better to go by the actions of the persons concerned in the post-Mahasamadhi phase of Bhagavan's mission.

Surely, in the great trauma and chaos and confusion, in the immediate months & years following Mahasamadhi, some mistakes have been made. In fact, I would say that some mistakes in such very challenging situations are almost impossible to avoid. But, overall, the trustees of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust and its senior staff as well as Sai orgn. top office bearers and workers have done a great job in stabilizing the mission after the chaos and confusion of the initial months & years after Mahasamadhi.

Muddenahalli group supporters trying to publicize Mr. Ajit Poppat's views, when it is well known that Mr. Ajit Poppat is very critical of Muddenahalli group, seems to be some sort of desperate action from their part.
---

Well, I think it is best to forget about these comments attributed to Mr. Ajit Poppat. These matters are super sensitive, as I said earlier. Pursuing such matters may lead to unintended and problematic consequences. ... If Mr. Poppat of his own accord does something on this matter, it would be different. We should not try to dig in on this from our side, that's my view.
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Given below are contents of my FB post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1737093003173936, dated May 4th, 2016

Very sad incident in Andhra Pradesh, India, where a Bishop was kidnapped and beaten up; But perhaps sadder still was the immediate suspicion from some non-Indian (Western) Christian quarters (proved later to be unfounded) that Hindu right-wing persons may be behind the attack.

First, here's a Western website report on it under the subtitle, anti-Christian persecution, with title, Catholic bishop kidnapped, beaten in southern India, dated 29th April 2016, http://www.cruxnow.com/church/2016/04/29/catholic-bishop-kidnapped-beaten-in-southern-india/

An extract from the article:

“They appeared to be paid goons and non-Christians from the way they talked and behaved,” Gallela told UCAN.

It was not immediately clear whether the assault was linked to India’s recent increase in anti-Christian violence, fueled largely by Hindu extremism, but activists in the country say on average there’s one physical attack on a Christian somewhere in India every other day.
--- end short extract ---

Ravi: Now let us see the update on the matter from The Hindu, Bishop’s kidnap: three pastors among 14 held, http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/bishops-kidnap-three-pastors-among-14-held/article8549022.ece, dated May 3rd 2016

A short extract from it:

The main accused, Nalladimmu Raja Reddy, 48, of Mylavaram, was a pastor of Palur Mission Church in Peddamudiyam mandal and also running Puja International School at Proddatur and Daddy Home and Raja Foundation at Mylavaram in Jammalamadugu constituency, Dr. Gulati said.

Lingala Vijaya Mohan Reddy, 45, of Goturu village in Thonduru mandal, pastor in Vallur mandal, and Sanivarapu Marreddy, 39, of Achavelli in Vallur mandal, pastor at Renigunta in Chittoor district were also arrested.
--- end short extract ---

Ravi: I think Western (and Indian) Christian publications should not jump to conclusions about such matters. Voicing the possibility that Hindu extremists could have been behind it without any evidence pointing to that, was HIGHLY IRRESPONSIBLE reporting by some Christian publications including the one mentioned earlier.

I wonder whether these publications will now carry an update stating that the main accused & arrested in the case of kidnapping and beating up the Bishop was another Christian pastor!!! And that he was alleged to have been aided by two other Christian pastors who too have been arrested.

The police claim that they have got a confession from the accused.  I had read another report in the Deccan Chronicle (paper copy and not on the Internet) today, on the same lines as the Hindu article given above. However, the Deccan Chronicle article also mentioned that dissatisfaction among some of the pastors with Bishop Gallela Prasad's administrative moves/changes (including some transfers that he had initiated), was the main reason behind the outrageous actions of the pastors to get a gang to kidnap, beat up the Bishop and demand ransom.

I think the unpleasant reality of most spiritual and religious organizations in India (may be similar in other countries too) is that there are a few spiritually or religiously inspired leaders in these organizations and a lot more people in these organizations who view their work as a regular paid job. Therefore any administrative moves in such organizations that impact livelihoods of the many who view their work as mainly a regular paid job, can result in rather dangerous backlash. Some of these people will not easily get other jobs in the regular world outside and so are quite desperate to hang on to their jobs and positions. If unwelcome changes are forced on them, they can resort to these kind of criminal actions as well. That is the brutal reality of many spiritual and religious organizations in India (and perhaps in other countries too).
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In Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/sathyanarayana.raju.9/posts/792998440836642, I posted a comment on 23rd May 2016 as follows (slightly edited):

---name-snipped---: I rarely visit Prasanthi Nilayam ashram even though I live in outside-ashram Puttaparthi. So I am afraid I am not really knowledgeable about the matter. However, in the year following Mahasamadhi, money craze and power craze had affected some (especially top administrators in the Sai univeristy) in Prasanthi Nilayam system, which were the key reasons why I quit the Sai university and decided to keep some distance from Prasanthi Nilayam. I don't know what the situation is now.

But I must also say that physical absence of Bhagavan was a tremendous SHOCK to Prasanthi Nilayam persons including me. Perhaps some persons in PN could come to terms with that SHOCK only by focusing more on worldly matters rather than spiritual matters. Besides the reality of India today is that middle class lifestyle including professional higher education costs for children (e.g. medicine or engineering) needs a lot of money. Another reality is that there are many people in PN (including close family relatives of PN staff) with medical problems which cannot be treated in Swami's hospitals and so have to go to Bangalore private hospitals for treatment which costs a lot of money. ..... I think it is natural that in the absence of Bhagavan's physical form, people, especially family people, in PN started looking at these realities of middle class life in India. I don't blame them. Perhaps if I was in their position (as of now, I am single and so am free to lead a kind of simple lower-middle class life in Puttaparthi), I would have also done the same.

The Tyagajeevi attitude (self-sacrifice attitude) that was there in many in PN system when Bhagavan was in physical form seems to have significantly reduced in PN. When Bhagavan was in physical form Tyaagam (self-sacrifice) was valued and honoured with Bhagavan many times showering special grace on those who did great self-sacrifice. That seems to have changed somewhat now. Once again, I don't blame anybody for it. Perhaps it is the normal flow of life after an Avatar gives up the body.
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In a non-public Facebook post, I (Ravi) made the following comment (slightly edited) on 23rd May 2016:

Let me reshare one incident I had with Swami. This was sometime in the second half the 1990s, if I recall correctly. I had come to Prasanthi Nilayam to do Seva Dal duty and was assigned Mandir duty. ... So there I was doing Seva Dal duty in Sai Kulwant Hall sometime in the second half of the 1990s. I was feeling quite jaded and somewhat frustrated. Seva Dal duty sometimes is like that. I did not feel spiritually elevated by doing Seva Dal duty and wondered whether Seva is the right path for me. I thought Bhakti and Jnana margam was much better suited to me than Seva, or something on those lines. .... Then Swami gave a discourse. In the discourse he said words to the effect that for those who seek the right path for spiritual progress I have three words. My ears perked up! I thought that Swami has heard/known of my thoughts through his divine powers, and is now going to respond to them (live in Sai Kulwant Hall). I think I expected his words to give some sort of ordering of Jnana margam, Bhakti margam and Karma margam, and perhaps how each path suited people of different inclinations. .... Swami said, Seva, Seva, Seva!!! .... That was it! No ambiguity whatsoever! I took those words to mean that Swami was telling me/responding to my thoughts that, for me the right path for spiritual progress (at least then) was Seva, Seva, Seva!!! ....... I tried hard to make Service with Love a key aspect of my life and my sadhana. However, I found that I loved my scripture reading and other related stuff too, and so tried to strike some sort of balance between my Seva with Love activities and my spiritual reading/listening, Bhakti, as well as, mainly after Mahasamadhi, writings.
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[I thank cruxnow.com and thehindu.com, 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.]

Wonderful pic of Sathya Sai with Muslim student showing Holy Book of Islam to him

Last updated on 6th May 2016



Above pic courtesy: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1234268493251689&set=a.652021858143025.1073741826.100000056518474

Ravi: The student who is showing Baba the Holy Book of Islam, is a Muslim. I have taught him (in the Sai university/SSSIHL). Wonderful Muslim student - very humble and loving. Wonderful photograph of Swami and him.

I later recalled that the student behind him is also a Muslim. He was also humble and loving when I taught him.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Aravind Balasubramanya, Sai student & Radio Sai writer, publicly refutes being SILENT Muddenahalli supporter

In his recent Facebook post (dated May 3rd, 2016), A PUBLIC STATEMENT ABOUT THE #MUDDENAHALLI NONSENSE!, https://www.facebook.com/notes/aravind-balasubramanya/public-statement-on-muddenahalli-happenings-dharma-sansthapanarthaya-sambhavami-/10209700208686062, Aravind Balasubrmanya writes:

I have come to know of various efforts by different individuals to portray me as someone who is 'silently supporting' the self-appointed successor to our dear #SathyaSai - the so called 'Sukshma Baba' who is invisible and non-existent, yet seems to need money, cars, food - everything in the physical domain.
...
I am totally against what is happening in the name of “Sukshma Baba” at Muddenahalli. It pains my heart as much as forgery, corruption or scandal pain my heart. It pains even more sometimes because it is being done in the name of the personal God who I continue to worship.
...
..I am clear which side I am on - the side of my Lord, Sri Sathya Sai.
And He has clearly told me,

“Keep away from Muddenahalli (the Sukshma Baba MDH).”
--- end short extracts from Aravind's FB post ---

Ravi: I congratulate brother Aravind Balasubramanya for his clear rebuttal of any rumours that he is a SILENT support of Muddenahalli FALSE BELIEF (in Madhusudan Rao Naidu, who claims to see and act as so-called communicator of a so called subtle body of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba based in Muddenahalli).

Further, Aravind like brother Satyajit Salian earlier, has shared with us the interactions he had with former warden of Sai university Shri B.N. Narasimhamurthy (BNN). I congratulate and applaud Aravind for this sharing. In short, Aravind initially was supportive of BNN's efforts (like opening schools based on supposed Swami dream instructions). In 2013 BNN called Aravind to visit Muddenahalli group and give a talk which led to Aravind going over to Muddenahalli and sharing his blessed student-experiences with Swami, with a group of devotees which included Singapore Muddenahalli group devotees.

Very interestingly, Aravind also writes that "many seniors" of Prasanthi Nilayam questioned him why he was supporting a divisive trend in Swami's organization. At that time though, Aravind felt that there was nothing wrong in what BNN was doing.

Over the later months, Aravind writes that he realized that the (supposed Swami instructions) dreams (that BNN was getting) were related to the vision of Shri Madiyala Narayana Bhat, founder of Loka Seva Trust. Essentially, I guess, Aravind stopped believing that BNN's dreams were Swami dream instructions. He then repented having given his earlier talk at Muddenhalli (to Muddenahalli group; note that SSSIHL has a university campus at Muddenahalli which now is COMPLETELY UNRELATED to Muddenhalli group activities). He also removed the article he wrote about it (and its translations).

I hope that other Sai university alumni who are employed in Prasanthi Nilayam institutions and who had got initially attracted to Muddenahalli FALSE BELIEF, follow the example of brother Aravind Balasubramanya and PUBLICLY share their initial belief in Muddenahalli group claims and later realizations that they were (and are) false claims. We all make mistakes in our spiritual journey. So I think there is nothing dishonourable in PUBLICLY sharing such experiences. In fact, it will help others realize the truth about Muddenahalli group and be a GREAT SERVICE to the official Sathya Sai movement in India and worldwide, which does not accept any communicator or any medium and, in this post-Mahasamadhi phase goes by the direct heart-to-heart connection between the devotee and Bhagavan.

In this context, I have to say that I was told sometime in 2015 by a Muddenahalli group supporter that most teachers of Sai university from Prasanthi Nilayam had visited Muddenahalli (meaning they had "audience" with so-called communicator, Madhusudan Rao Naidu after he went public with his claims in mid-2014). So far, no Sai university teacher has publicly said ANYTHING WHATSOEVER on the Muddenahalli FALSE BELIEF matter. I find that, to be polite, very, very strange.

I do hope that some Sai university teachers will PUBLICLY share their experiences regarding Muddenahalli FALSE BELIEF, including interactions with Shri B.N. Narasimhamurthy and Madhusudan Rao Naidu, like how brother Satyajit Salian and brother Aravind Balasubramanya have done.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Sathya Sai on duplicates, 25th May 1979 discourse

"Sometimes, an element of weakness enters these organisations as the leaders themselves get drawn towards other men, other God men or other great men and therefore, there are bumps and jumps in this spiritual progress. "... "Similarly you are unable to recognise the wastage of time and the hurt, despair, disgust and disappointment caused by running after this Baba and that Baba. At some places, some people claim that they are possessed by Baba and perform several acts which are wonderful and members, the leaders themselves are mislead by such acts and give propagation and publicity to such stunts. When you have Swami himself, the genuine Swami right in front of you, why do you care for the duplicates? Some organisations are in a state of utter confusion in some places because of this kind of behaviour."

For seeing the complete segment as well as listen to the audio please visit http://www.sathyasaispeaks.org/index/clips/?sid=44&cid=4&aid=10632

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Mother Teresa: Prayer changes us and we change things

Here's a very interesting quote of Mother Teresa, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_Teresa, "I used to pray that God would feed the hungry, or do this or that, but now I pray that he will guide me to do whatever I'm supposed to do, what I can do. I used to pray for answers, but now I'm praying for strength. I used to believe that prayer changes things, but now I know that prayer changes us and we change things.", http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/719941-i-used-to-pray-that-god-would-feed-the-hungry.

Mother Teresa

Above pic of Mother Teresa courtesy: http://atingl.nic.in/Mother%20Teresa.htm



Ravi: An ancient Hindu saying is: Yad bhaavam tad bhavathi! Which I think can be translated to: As is the  feeling, so it will happen (in future). I think devout and intense prayer is deep feeling within one's heart and mind, and that deep feeling results in transformation in the direction of the feelings/prayer.

[I thank goodreads.com and atingl.nic.in and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above short extract and photograph of Mother Teresa from their website on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]