Saturday, December 30, 2017

My comments about some people worshiping Swami student (Madhusudan Naidu) as Swami (Sathya Sai)

In response to a comment seeking my views on Madhusudan Rao Naidu on Facebook post (https://www.facebook.com/IncyRose1504/posts/10213719836525688?comment_id=10213723926667939&reply_comment_id=10213727025105398), I (Ravi) wrote (slightly edited):

Sairam --name-snipped--! Many others have commented wisely on this thread refuting the FALSE CLAIM of Madhusudan Rao Naidu.

What I have realized is that some people yearn for having physical form level interactions with Swami so much that they are willing to believe that Swami enters Madhusudan's body and so they worship Madhu as Swami! For people like me who have experienced physical form of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba for many years in Puttaparthi, we find it ridiculous that some people including a few who have had close physical proximity with Bhagavan physical form in the past, are propagating this Madhu Baba FALSE BELIEF and trying to justify that on the basis of the free service educational and medical services they are providing.

Now people openly take Padanamaskar of Madhu Baba and kneel before him. If Swami really enters Madhu Baba then even Narasimhamurthy and C. Srinivas and other senior Sai university alumni who have propagated this FALSE BELIEF, should also kneel before Madhu and take Padanamaskar of him. Am I not right there?

But they are not doing that. Why? In fact, if you observe people like C. Srinivas carefully when he is on stage with Madhu Baba you will find that he treats him like a junior! Even Narasimhamurthy sits on an equal status chair as that of Madhu Baba. We know what ****awesome**** presence physical form Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba had. In his presence in Sai Kulwant Hall, all persons would be very reverential to him. I am sure if anybody sincerely compares videos of C. Srinivas and Narasimhamurthy with physical form Bhagavan, and videos of them with this FALSE CLAIM so-called communicator Madhusudan Rao Naidu, they will see the differences for themselves and know that both Narasimhamurthy and C. Srinivas don't really worship Madhu as Swami even when Swami is supposed to have entered Madhu's body.

But then some people want to worship a Swami student as Swami, now that Swami's physical form is not there. And note that this Swami student, Madhu, was never really a big form boy like Satyajit or other big form boys. Still they want to worship Madhu. What can be done then? We have freedom of religious worship in India. While my view is that a legal challenge in India can be made by Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust (SSSCT) against Madhusudan Rao Naidu for stealing the name of our beloved Lord Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, for Madhu's darshan, interview and discourses, SSSCT has not made that legal challenge. Perhaps SSSCT wants to avoid harsh publicity that might come if such a case is filed in court.

So Madhu freely goes around with his FALSE CLAIM which is endorsed and propagated by Narasimhamurthy, C. Srinivas and others. Those who want to worship him as Sathya Sai cannot be stopped from doing so. We can only advise them that they are following a fake communicator. They are free to ignore our advice.

Hope this comment helps. Thanks. Jai Sairam!
-----

In response to a comment about legal actions taken by Sai Org, I wrote (slightly edited):

Sairam! As far as I know, that was a letter from USA Sai orgn. which pertains to activities done in the USA. Further, I believe that MDH group ignored their letter warning and continued to hold the programs they had scheduled in the USA.

As far as I know, no legal challenge has been issued in India to MDH group from Sai orgn or from any Sai devotee group, for MDH group's unauthorized (and improper) use of name of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba in India.
-----

In response to a comment about Sai orgn. having had some success in legal actions against MDH group in one foreign country, I wrote (slightly edited):

Great to hear that. Let's hope something similar happens in India, especially in Karnataka state of India where Muddenahalli falls. BTW my personal view is that somebody should file a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) in Karnataka High Court against Madhusudan Rao Naidu for unauthorisedly using the name of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba for Madhu's darshan, interviews and discourses. I am not in a position to do that myself though. Here's my blog post giving my views on the matter, in case you want to have a look at it: 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, dated 2nd Oct. 2015.
----

I later commented (slightly edited):
For any reasonable person who has studied the matter, it is clear as daylight that Madhusudan Rao Naidu is making a FALSE CLAIM. But then what I have realized is that there is a big market - yes, market is the word - for claimed mediums and communicators of Sathya Sai, after Mahasamadhi, as there are many Sathya Sai devotees who very badly want to believe in such mediums and communicators. Madhu has tapped that market BIGTIME. There are others too who have tapped the market but these people do not do public drama of darshan and discourses.

Essentially, there is a demand among some Sathya Sai devotees for such mediums and communicators and both Narasimhamurthy and Madhusudan Naidu satisfied that market demand with their dream-instruction and communicator claims.
-------- end my comments on Facebook ------------------------

Given below are the contents of Mr. V.R. Ganti's Facebook post: MADHU IS MADE A HERO BY SAI ALUMNUS WHO WAS PRASHANTHI NILAYAM STAFF HITHERTO, https://www.facebook.com/notes/vr-ganti/madhu-is-made-a-hero-by-sai-alumnus-who-was-prashanthi-nilayam-staff-hitherto/10211271398565405, dated 26th Dec. 2017

From around 25:11 in this Christmas Eve video, see this guy who was student-staff in PN ashram till recently, kneel before Madhu and then take Padanamaskar almost of Madhu (I say almost as he does not touch Madhu's feet):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kw2-dg2qvrw





[To open pic in higher resolution, right-click on pic followed by open in new tab/window. In new tab/window you may have to click on pic to zoom in.]

What a horrible thing to see! Sai alumnus-kneeling before Madhu, the FRAUDSTER. Sai Alumnus-taking Padnamaskar of Madhu.

This person seems to be a junior of Madhusudan Rao Naidu and is a singer, I believe. As I wrote earlier, he was with the PN ashram system till recently. But I did not see him as a lead singer in whatever few videos I have seen recently of PN ashram events - I could be wrong here though. I see him being given a lead singer kind of role/job in the Muddenahalli group. Perhaps that higher-profile role in Mhalli Group and perhaps same or better salary may have been the clincher.

I think this is the first time I am seeing a Sai university alumnus (who also was a PN ashram staff) take Padanamaskar of Madhu Baba (and that too publicly).

What a boost it will be for Madhu Baba's image among his current followers and potential followers, and perhaps even among Sai university alumni who are inclined towards Mhalli Gang! A Swami student who was staff till recently at Prasanthi Nilayam ashram accepts Madhu, the idiot (called by many) as Swami or Swami successor and is publicly worshiping Madhu.  like people worshiped Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba!

THE QUESTION IS WHERE ARE THE LEADERS OF SAI ALUMNI AND WHAT DO THEY HAVE TO SAY - VERY LIKELY THEY WILL SAY THAT THERE IS NOTHING THEY CAN DO - HA HA HA - UNFORTUNATELY, SWAMI REFERRED TO THEM AS HIS SOTHU (PROPERTY)

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, MOST OF THE SAI DEVOTEES WOULD KEEP WATCHING THESE INCIDENTS AND DO NOTHING ABOUT IT AND IGNORE SUCH INCIDENTS AND KEEP QUIET.  IS THERE NO WAY OUT?

SWAMI - PLEASE SHOW US THE PATH.

--- end contents of Mr. V.R. Ganti's post ----

[I thank Mr. V.R. Ganti and have presumed that he will not have any objections to me sharing the above contents of his Facebook post on this blog post, which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Great response from Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev to question which stated that Rama did not treat Sita well

Last updated on 1st Jan 2018

My apologies to any ladies (and men) who get upset with my full support and admiration for Sadhguruji's answer in this video which puts Rama's treatment of Sita in the correct light, https://www.facebook.com/NaMoTrueIndian/videos/735169933342333/, dated 25th Dec. 2017. Video is around 3 minutes.

Sadhguru turns the question on the head by turning to the audience which seems to be women mainly and asks if they were living 5000 years ago in Uttar Pradesh and a Sri Lankan man had kidnapped them and taken them to Sri Lanka, would they prefer a husband who would walk all the way down to Sri Lanka and rescue them or somebody who found "a practical solution locally (as) anyway he was king"! [To Sri Lankan readers and friends: Please do not take any offence at the reference. It is not meant as anything to do with current day Sri Lankans and even many other good people in Ravana's Sri Lanka days, as per Ramayana epic.]

He also says that the Agni Pariksha should not be taken literally but that as King, Rama had to subject Sita to some test, to be an ideal king for his subjects. "Of course, because he was the king. Everybody is looking at you as the ideal. How you behave, what you do is very important because the entire nation's life depends on you."

And it was a similar situation due to which he had to send Sita to the forest when she was pregnant with their sons. "For a king, his sons are important. Because it is an empire. But inspite of that he sends her to the jungle because otherwise there is disruption in the country. You are saying this is a negative thing! I think we need such prime ministers and leaders in this country - no matter what, for the well being of the nation they will do what is needed."

I (Ravi) commented on the post as follows:
Fantastic answer by Sadhguruji! Hats off!
-----
===============================================================

Given below is a mail exchange between a correspondent (who was OK with public sharing) and me (slightly edited):

Correspondent (C) wrote: Excellent answer by Sadguruji! If I remember correctly, there was a similar explanation given in one of the Swadhyay [Ravi: A spiritual group/movement] pravachans [Ravi: discourses] as well, where it was said that the king Rama gave up queen Sita; and not the husband Rama gave up wife Sita! Per the original Ramayan epic authored by sage Valmiki, Rama had said to Sita that he had absolutely no doubt about her, and didn't believe in whatever the fisherman [Ravi: I think it was a washerman] or a few other people in the town were saying/questioning; however, a king must always be above any doubts raised by his subjects.

Had the husband Rama given up wife Sita, then he could have got re-married (as legally/constitutionally was permitted by the prevailing social/religious laws governing a king) and performed the yagna, in which husband and wife both were supposed to participate together as a couple. Instead, he refused to remarry, and he performed the yagna sitting by the side of Sita's idol. What an ideal!

The Rama as an avatar needed to demonstrate, in that era, that for a king, his subjects are priority than his own family members! Even when it comes to putting his own family members to some severe tests, he should not hesitate in doing so.

Epic of Ramayan demonstrates some of the highest ideals, we don't find any parallel in the history of any documented cultures of the world!
-----

I (Ravi) wrote:

Interesting!

Few points:

1) Rama could have married a second wife even when Sita was his wife, as per prevailing norms then, especially for kings. Note that Rama's father King Dasharatha had three wives. But Rama, I have read, had taken an Ekapathni vrata (one wife vow) and so perhaps was not willing to marry again.

2) Rama sending away wife and queen Sita to the forest in reality meant that Sita was being sent to the protection of Rishi Valmiki in his ashram. Valmiki would have taken great care of her, and after her twin sons, Lava-Kusha, were born, became a teacher for them.

3) The idol of Sita being used during the Yagna seems to me to signify that Rama continued to be married to Sita even though, due to kingly obligations, he had to send her away to Rishi Valmiki's ashram.
-----

C wrote:
Additionally, I also remember being mentioned in the pravachans that, sage Valmiki and Ved Vyas were true historians, who documented the events of the respective era "as it is", without any deliberate twisting of facts, or intentional misreporting!

Sita herself never complained of Rama's decisions of sending her to forest, or putting her to severe tests. She wholeheartedly supported her husband and king Rama and willingly accepted such decisions every step of the life. They had true oneness with each other. It is only today's so called modern and so called educated Sarla-Vimla-Kamla, who acts as the spokespersons for Sita, in Sita's absence, and accuse Rama of injustice meted out to Sita. Sita never complained, as she didn't have complaints!
-----

[I thank Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev and have presumed that he will not have any objections to me sharing the above part transcript of his words from the above mentioned video on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

Software great Prof. Andrew Tanenbaum hugging Mata Amritanandamayi

Around 1 min 25 secs into this video, https://www.facebook.com/WesternHindu/videos/590546887748142/, dated April 2015, you see a person who is labelled as Prof. Andrew Tanenbaum, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_S._Tanenbaum, one of the greats of the software world in the area of operating systems and in the area of computer networks hugging Mata Amritanandamayi. Not only have I studied Tanenbaum's books on computer networks and Minix, but I have also used them as course book for Minix course (https://raviiyerteaches.wordpress.com/2014/03/30/minix-kernel-internals/) and supporting book for network programming course that I have taught (https://raviiyerteaches.wordpress.com/2014/03/21/network-socket-programming-including-pthread-programming/ has the course content which does not mention Tanenbaum's book but refers to a Computer Networks theory course which students had done in the past which used Tanenbaum's book on Computer Networks, if I recall correctly)!

What a pleasant surprise it is for me to see him hugging Mata Amritanandamayi!

BTW I have been blessed with one hug from Mata Amritandandamayi sometime in the 1990s.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Some Oldie Hindi film songs on love being immortal and explicitly or implicitly referring to reincarnation belief

Hindi film songs of the 60s and 70s packed a lot of philosophical and cultural meaning in their song lyrics. Immortality of love was one regular theme. Love continuing across multiple births was another theme which was touched upon by some songs. Note that reincarnation is a strongly held belief among Hindus, Jains and Buddhists in India with Hindus being the majority in India (over 75% of Indian population).

Given below are some such oldie hit Hindi film songs.
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A 1970s hit Hindi film romantic song whose initial lines draw on the belief in reincarnation: Around 5 mins, Tera Mujhse hai pehle ka nata koi, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3IF9o2crV84.

The initial lines are:

Tera mujh se hai pehle ka nata koi [You have an earlier relationship (implying previous birth relationship) with me]
Yuhi nahi dil lubhata koi [The heart is not enraptured just like that (without any underlying cause)]
Jaane tu ya jaane na [Whether you know it or not]
Maane tu ya maane na [Whether you believe (accept) it or not]

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Here's another reincarnation belief related oldie Hindi film hit song though I must say the videography is ghost-like creepy, Janam janam ka saath hai, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGydEu74_g8, around 4 mins

Here are some of the lines including the initial lines:
Janam janam ka sath hai [(We) have been bonded together from birth to birth]
Nibhane ko sau sau bar hamne janam liye [To fulfill that bond we have taken birth hundreds of times]

Pyaar amar hai duniya mein [Love is immortal in this world]
Pyaar kabhi nahi marta hain [Love never dies]
Maut badan ko aati hain [Death comes to the body]
Rooh ka jalwa rehta hain [The soul's splendour (soul-aura?) remains (after death)]
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Not about reincarnation; but a great oldie romantic Hindi film song set in Muslim tradition (Muslims don't believe in reincarnation, I think). The movie is from 1963 and called Taj Mahal. The hero and heroine in the song seem to be playing (perhaps a somewhat fictionalized) Mughal emperor Shah Jehan and Mumtaz Mahal. [BTW Shah Jehan built the Taj Mahal in memory of his beautiful wife Mumtaz Mahal.]

The singers are a somewhat young Mohammad Rafi and a young Lata Mangeshkar. While I am not an expert on matters related to voice, I do think that Rafi and Lata's voices reflect their relatively younger age in this song.

Jo Wada Kiya Woh Nibhana Padega, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-ioONenaAQ, 3 min 18 secs.

The English translation of the lyrics is available here: https://mrandmrs55.com/2014/02/14/jo-wada-kiya-woh-nibhana-padega-lyrics-and-translation-lets-learn-urdu-hindi/

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This oldie romantic Hindi film song (1961) implies reincarnation but does not specifically mention it, Sau saal pehle, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPqa1-x-bG8, 4 min. 23 secs. The video also shows English translation of lyrics.

The initial lines are:
[Male; sung by Mohd. Rafi]
Sau saal pehle mujhe tumse pyaar tha [A hundred years ago, I had love for you]
Aaj bhi hain aur kal bhi rahega [That's there today also and will be there tomorrow too]

[Female: sung by Lata Mangeshkar]
Sadiyon se tujse milne jiya bekraar tha [For centuries, (my) heart was restless to meet you]
Jiya bekraar tha [(my) heart was restless]
Aaj bhi hain aur kal bhi rahega [That's there today also and will be there tomorrow too]
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Kaun Hai Jo Sapnon Mein Aaya, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exD5okdopWc, 3 min. 40 secs

The song has lines about immortality of love and immortality of soul (ruh/rooh).

The lines are:
Jism ko maut aati hai lekin [Death comes to the body but]
Rooh ko maut aati nahi hai [Death does not come to the soul]
Ishq raushan hai raushan rahega [Love is lustrous and will be lustrous]
Raushani iski jati nahi hai [Its lustre does not go]

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Sau bar janam lenge, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTprvBjARLY, 5 min. 29 secs a haunting melody from 1960s with the theme of love across multiple births

Some lines of the song:

Sau baar janam lenge [(We) will take birth a hundred times]

Sau baar fanaa honge [(We) will perish a hundred times]

Ai jaan-e-vafaa phir bhii, ham tum na judaa honge
[Even then, O beloved, you and I shall not be separated]

Sau baar janam lenge [(We) will take birth a hundred times]

Sau baar fanaa honge [(We) will perish a hundred times]

Qismat hamen milne se, rokegee bhalaa kab tak,
[How long will destiny stop us from meeting?]

In pyaar ki raahon men, bhatkegee vafaa kab tak
[In these paths of love how long will faith-to-beloved wander?]

Qadamon ke nishaan khud hee, manzil kaa pataa honge
[The footstep-marks themselves will be the (way?) to the destination]

A fuller translation is available here: http://nasir-eclectic.blogspot.com/2008/09/161-translation-of-sad-songs-of-rafi.html
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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Sathya Sai in 1979: Betrayal by people who pretend to adore is happening since ages

Last updated on 31st Dec. 2017

As one tries desperately to come to terms with the GREAT DIVISION in Sathya Sai fraternity after Mahasamadhi due to Muddenhalli group's FALSE CLAIMS of so called communicator Madhusudan Rao Naidu (and earlier dream-instruction medium Shri B.N. Narasimhamurthy), Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's (physical form's) words from this 1979 Christmas discourse: http://www.sssbpt.info/ssspeaks/volume14/sss14-45.pdf, help us understand and accept that "betrayal by people who pretend to adore is happening since ages".

Here is the relevant extract from the discourse:

Tradition-minded and egoistic men considered Jesus a false prophet and they tried by every means to thwart his mission. Jesus, however, did not waver. Faced with opposition, he continued to be an example of living Truth, and to purify society. Many disciples followed Jesus but throughout history, it has been the experience of Raama, Krishna, Jesus and Muhammad that disciples however close are seldom fully dedicated. Most are only part-time devotees. Jesus had 12 disciples, most of whom had faith in him and lived his teachings. But, Judas yielded to greed. He betrayed his Master for a mere 30 coins. He could not find joy in life after this treachery. His mind gave him no peace. He had to seek refuge in suicide.

Betrayal by people who pretend to adore is happening since ages. Corrupt, greedy and selfish people spread falsehoods about their own Masters. We hear of a Judas, 2000 years ago. But in the Kali Age, people are obsessed with money and Judases have multiplied. They seek to amass paltry riches whereas good character, good conduct and knowledge of God are the three real treasures to be gathered. Land and buildings, silver and gold, dollars and other currencies are temporary and trivial. They are possessions only until life lasts. But those three treasures will stay on, sustain and strengthen you until you attain union with the Infinite.
--- end extract from Bhagavan discourse ---
======================================================

Given below are my comments from my Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2045949488954951, associated with this blog post:

In response to comment 'Swami’s focus in this excerpt is on betrayal while the prophets are alive.', I (Ravi) wrote (slightly edited):

Yes sir and that too in 1979 which is over 30 years before he gave up his body. But we can extrapolate it it to our times today after Mahasamadhi.
----

In response to a comment about somebody being a great Judas and that that person should be ha****, I wrote (slightly edited):

I cannot allow comments suggesting violence against Muddenahalli group people on my posts. I unequivocally condemn any such comments against Muddenahalli group.

Barring some freaks using Facebook fake Ids from places like Melbourne, Australia, to verbally conspire against and attack people like me who have exposed Muddenahalli group FALSE CLAIMS and some persons giving dirty looks and some similar stuff in an attempt to scare me, I have not known of a single act of actual physical violence committed by Muddenahalli group. I commend Shri Narasimhamurthy's leadership of Muddenahalli group in this regard and thank him for his practice of non-violence so far in this division between Puttaparthi loyalists and Muddenahalli group.

So --name-snipped--, I have to ask you to delete your above comment. If you do not delete it in some time, then I will be deleting it myself. Thanks. Jai Sairam!
-----

[The offending comment mentioned above was then deleted by the commenter himself.]
===========================================================

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

Monday, December 25, 2017

Great message on selfless love from a Western Hindu appropriate IMHO for celebration of birth of apostle of selfless love, Lord Jesus Christ

Facebook video of around 4 mins: https://www.facebook.com/WesternHindu/videos/1098335013635991/. A great message on selfless love to share on the day the world celebrates the birth of the apostle of selfless love, Lord Jesus Christ, who took on the terrible suffering of the crucifixion punishment for the sake of truth and divine love, and said of his physical body tormentors, 'forgive them for they know not what they do'! Only the divine could show such extraordinary selfless love towards others including his physical body tormentors!

In this video, a Western Sannyasi who seems to be American and seems to be based in Wisconsin state of USA, talks about his spiritual journey, guided by his Guru, from a misunderstood view of love as attachment, as Maya, to a spiritual understanding of selfless Love as divine. He initially thought that love as experienced by him in family love created only attachment to the world.

The sannyasi-gentleman says, "And I thought that to attain God, to attain freedom, one should sever all attachment, all love to people. And watching Guruji over these years, I have realized that's not the case. Yes, we shouldn't be attached. But love is not attachment. Love is beyond everything. As Guruji said himself, you know, its Love that expands ourselves from this [pointing to his own body] to something bigger, to my friend, my family and (eventually) to the entire world. And by doing this we become free. Because the opposite of freedom is selfishness. And love is what makes us selfless. That's what I see with Guruji every single day. He completely forgets about himself and always thinks about the other. Because he loves."

Ravi: This is what I experienced of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, my beloved and revered Gurudev. He was the embodiment of selfless love who was always thinking about the good of others. I am very sure that Lord Jesus Christ would have also been an embodiment of selfless love which is why he was able to touch the lives of so many people who came across him, with some of them becoming his apostles and spreading Christ's message even under severe persecution, leading to the Christian faith today, around 2000 years after the advent of Lord Jesus Christ, having the world's largest following - 2.4 billion followers in 2010 constituting 31.5% of religious followers in the world, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_religious_groups.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Some Christian worship song videos in English and Indian languages (Telugu, Hindi, Tamil, Marathi and Malayalam)

Mariah Carey - Joy to the World, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtRgKvLkLHM, 5 min. 31 secs.

Here are the lyrics: https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/mariahcarey/joytotheworld.html
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Mariah Carey - O Holy Night, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEJmP8T07JU, 4 min. 47 secs.

Lyrics: https://play.google.com/music/preview/Tja47jbmb452dfj7krtq5evkt34?lyrics=1
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For a God and religion crazy Indian guy like me, the finest, noblest and spiritually uplifting moment of former USA president Obama's tenure as president was when he, as president, as part of his eulogy, sang a few lines from Amazing Grace and then spoke about Grace on those God-loving people of the church in Charleston, South Carolina, USA, who had fallen victim to a young madman's hatred against them in mid 2015 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charleston_church_shooting). Here's the video clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IN05jVNBs64, 2 min. 30 secs.

The lyrics corresponding to the lines he sang are given below (from http://library.timelesstruths.org/music/Amazing_Grace/)

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.
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A soulful Telugu Christian worship song, Neevunte naaku chalu Yesayya, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMftkAY2VgY, 9 min 28 secs.
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Nice Hindi Christian song, Ibadat Karo, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2YMB4rJmgY, 5 min. 37 secs.
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Another nice Hindi Christian song this time with English subtitles, Neki ki Raah, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yxS28m5R7c, 4 min. 41 secs.

The first two lines of the song are:
Neki ki Raah pe tu chal
Rabba rahega tere sangh

which means (my translation to English slightly different from what is shown in the video):
You walk on the path of righteousness
(Then) God will be with you
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Sweet Tamil Christian song, Nambi Vanthaen, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNzyk_4mkc0, 5 min. 48 secs.
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Devout Marathi Christian prayer song, Mala Buddhi de Prabhu, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMbnqDTboN4, 5 min. 31 secs.
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Sweet Malayalam Christian song, Othiri Othiri Snehichorellam, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZTMR8GOe7c, 6 min. 5 secs.
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Malayalam Christian song sung by a congregation; gives an interesting view of this form of worship in some churches in Kerala (I guess the location is Kerala), Yeshu Nallavanallo, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqDwbk6v51k, around 10 mins.
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Ode to Joy Beethoven Ninth Symphony devotional song performed by Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra in 2008

An Ode to Joy was written in 1785 by Friedrich Schiller and used with musical composition by Ludwig Van Beethoven for a part of his ninth symphony (completed in 1824).

The song is a devotional song in German. Here's one rendering of it which has German lyrics followed by English translation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pbMUEHvoAo, 9 min. 26 secs. A few standout words and phrases:

Freude means Joy

Freude, schöner Götterfunken means Joy, beautiful spark of the gods

steht vor Gott means stand before God

'Deine Zauber binden wieder Was die Mode streng geteilt' means 'Your [Ravi: God's I guess] magic binds again What convention strictly divides'

'Alle Menschen werden Brüder Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt' means 'All people become brothers Where your [Ravi: God's I guess] gentle wing abides'

Here's the Seoul (South Korea) philharmonic orchestra in 2008, doing the same song lyrics version (as far as I could make out) as in the first video above:
Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjc-NxtwV0k, 7 min 41 secs.
Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CT6-CHJDaf4, 10 min 13 secs.

Here's the wiki page of the song: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ode_to_Joy. I have copied below its Lyrics section:

"An die Freude""Ode to Joy"
Freude, schöner Götterfunken,
Tochter aus Elysium,
Wir betreten feuertrunken,
Himmlische, dein Heiligtum!
Deine Zauber binden wieder
Was die Mode streng geteilt*;
Alle Menschen werden Brüder*
Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt.

Wem der große Wurf gelungen
Eines Freundes Freund zu sein;
Wer ein holdes Weib errungen
Mische seinen Jubel ein!
Ja, wer auch nur eine Seele
Sein nennt auf dem Erdenrund!
Und wer's nie gekonnt, der stehle
Weinend sich aus diesem Bund!

Freude trinken alle Wesen
An den Brüsten der Natur;
Alle Guten, alle Bösen
Folgen ihrer Rosenspur.
Küsse gab sie uns und Reben,
Einen Freund, geprüft im Tod;
Wollust ward dem Wurm gegeben
und der Cherub steht vor Gott.

Froh, wie seine Sonnen fliegen
Durch des Himmels prächt'gen Plan
Laufet, Brüder, eure Bahn,
Freudig, wie ein Held zum siegen.

Seid umschlungen, Millionen!
Diesen Kuß der ganzen Welt!
Brüder, über'm Sternenzelt
Muß ein lieber Vater wohnen.
Ihr stürzt nieder, Millionen?
Ahnest du den Schöpfer, Welt?
Such' ihn über'm Sternenzelt!
Über Sternen muß er wohnen.
Joy, beautiful spark of the gods,
Daughter from Elysium,
We enter, drunk with fire,
Heavenly One, thy sanctuary!
Your magic binds again
What convention strictly divides;*
All people become brothers,*
Where your gentle wing abides.

Who has succeeded in the great attempt,
To be a friend's friend,
Whoever has won a lovely woman,
Add his to the jubilation!
Indeed, who calls even one soul
Theirs upon this world!
And whoever never managed, shall steal himself
Weeping away from this union!

All creatures drink of joy
At nature's breast.
Just and unjust
Alike taste of her gift;
She gave us kisses and the fruit of the vine,
A tried friend to the end.
[Even] the worm has been granted sensuality,
And the cherub stands before God!

Gladly, as His heavenly bodies fly
On their courses through the heavens,
Thus, brothers, you should run your race,
Joyful, like a hero going to conquest.

You millions, I embrace you.
This kiss is for all the world!
Brothers, above the starry canopy
There must dwell a loving Father.
Do you fall in worship, you millions?
World, do you know your creator?
Seek him in the heavens
Above the stars must He dwell.

--- end wiki extracts ---

A 2014 Flashmob (Germany) rendering of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a23945btJYw, 6 min. 31 secs.

A 2013 flashmob (Spain) rendering of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87qT5BOl2XU, 5 min. 40 secs.

From a movie on Beethoven having this song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xkj0TeZeZuo, 13 min. 25 secs. Note that the hidden woman conductor appearing to guide Beethoven for his conducting of the orchestra, seems to be an invention of the movie. It seems that Beethoven was deaf at this time and did not hear his own symphony but historically (in truth) there was no woman conductor helping him in the performance.

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

Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Hindu's editorial and a former senior Indian UN diplomat's article on UN vote on Jerusalem

Given below are two articles that appeared in The Hindu newspaper today (23rd Dec. 2017) on the UN vote on Jerusalem

1) The Editorial on it: Affirmative vote: on US' move on Jerusalem, http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/affirmative-vote/article22261349.ece

A couple of small extracts from it:
The overwhelming majority ignored Mr. Trump and his UN Ambassador Nikki Haley’s threats that all countries that defied America would be ‘named and shamed’ and face cancellation of U.S. aid. The suggestion was that the U.S. would exact its revenge by refusing to support these countries when they next need it at the UN.
...
With all its weaknesses, the UN is a global collective, and it is imperative to acknowledge its mandate when such a large number of nations speak in one voice.
--- end extracts ---

I (Ravi) added the following comment on the above web link of the article: Thanks for this excellent analysis.
------------

2) An article by a former senior Indian UN diplomat, Chinmaya Gharekhan: A capital mistake: on UN resolution against US' Jerusalem move, http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/a-capital-mistake/article22261344.ece

A couple of small extracts from it:

What the world witnessed in the past few days at the United Nations, on a resolution demanding that the U.S. rescind its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, was an unprecedented display of the arrogance of power. Never before in the history of the UN has a member state threatened, so publicly and so inelegantly, fellow member states with dire consequences if they did not fall in line with its position as the U.S. did.
...
It is probable that India was in any case going to vote in favour of the Egyptian draft, given its need not to antagonise the entire Muslim world. The American ultimatums might just have tilted the balance.
--- end extracts ---

I (Ravi) added the following comment on the above web link of the article: Thanks for this analysis based on your knowledge and experience of the UN and world affairs.
------------

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

Friday, December 22, 2017

USA UN ambassador Haley's angry speech against those who voted to censure USA Jerusalem decision; My frank reaction

Last updated on 23rd Dec. 2017

USA UN ambassador Nikki Haley shows her anger at the UN vote that went against the USA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYkrjW7QlDs, around 1 minute.

Nikki Haley says in the above video, "The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation. We will remember it when we are called upon to once again make the world's largest contribution to the United Nations. And we will remember it when so many countries come calling on us, as they so often do, to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit. America will put our embassy in Jerusalem. That is what the American people want us to do and it is the right thing to do. No vote in the United Nations will make any difference on that. But this vote will make a difference on how Americans look at the UN and how we look at countries who disrespect us in the UN. And this vote will be remembered. Thank you."

Very frank words from the ambassador. So I thought I should also provide my very UNIMPORTANT :-) but frank opinion as a global citizen.

Hmm. This to me seems like: My way or the Highway! Either you are with us or you are against us!

I think the Trump administration should be more gracious of the protest made by 128 nations of the UN with only 9 nations (including USA) voting against this protest. The nations that supported USA and Israel on this matter were these 7 nations: Guatemala, Honduras, Togo, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru and Palau.

All the other nations of the 193 member United Nations either voted for the protest (against USA decision to move capital to Jerusalem) - 128 nations, or abstained - 35, or absented themselves for the vote - 21. Does that not send some message about world opinion to the Trump administration? I mean, NATO allies of USA like Britain and France voted for the protest!

As an Indian citizen my view is that if USA presidential administration wants to take any action against India for this vote that India made, let them do what they want. India should not lose its free will, democratic principles, ethical principles and dignity in the face of USA threats like this to most of the nations of the world who have disagreed with the USA on their Jerusalem related decision.

And if the USA cuts funding for the UN due to this vote, well, perhaps its time for the UN to move out of the USA and seek another country-host which will be more respectful of a multi-polar world order.
===================================================

An update:

A mail response from a respected elder USA based correspondent where he said that he agrees with my (above) view and that "this [Trump presidential administration] too shall pass. —the sooner the better", helped me to cool down and get a more balanced perspective. I thanked him for his response.

One point that I would like to add is that readers and I should realize that this Trump administration is a rather unusual presidential administration in the USA which has taken such an aggressive and almost unilateral approach to a super-sensitive international matter like status of Jerusalem. I don't think regular/establishment Democratic party view or regular/establishment Republican party view in the USA would approve of such an approach to Jerusalem which is so dismissive of world opinion. I mean, I don't think either President George W. Bush [Republican] or President Barrack Obama [Democrat] would have acted in this manner.

I think I need to also say that as I am a God and religion crazy guy, I view Jerusalem with a lot of piety and reverence. This city has played a significant role not only in Judaism and Christianity but also in Islam over centuries and millennia. Further, it is an Asian city with me as an Asian knowing how important religion and God (as viewed through religion typically) are to Asians. For most Asians excluding, but only after mid 20th century, communist China and North Korea, and including, I am quite sure, most residents of Jerusalem today, whether Jewish or Christian or Muslim, religion is a vital part of life. For these Asian believers in God and religion, without religion life loses a lot of meaning, and becomes a rather empty life.

Given this vital religious significance of Jerusalem for three major world religions, disputes about it in our 21st century today should not be resolved via force but via negotiations. The USA being the primary supporter of Israel and the most powerful country in the world both militarily and economy wise, has a crucial role to play in resolving such disputes. Therefore actions that USA's Trump presidential administration takes like recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel have to be viewed as actions that impact Jerusalem in a big way far beyond Israel-USA bilateral ties. So my humble view is that Mr. Trump and his administration team should act in a more responsible way that respects at least the views of its own decades-long allies like Britain, France, Germany and Japan (voted for the resolution against USA decision) and Canada and Australia (abstained or was absent).
-----------------------

This tweet has a pic showing the name of the country and whether it voted for the resolution (green), against (red), abstained (yellow), or was absent (black background): https://twitter.com/NBCNews/status/943895292138741760/photo/1.

I have reproduced below the pic in the above tweet (courtesy: United Nations and NBCNews):


[To open pic in higher resolution, right-click on pic followed by open in new tab/window. In new tab/window you may have to click on pic to zoom in.]
----------------------------------------------------

Given below is my comment (slightly edited) from my Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2042626782620555, associated with this blog post, which was made in response to a comment that asked whether we can view Trump’s decision as a first step to bring closure to a long dispute:

My view is that consensus, at least significant number of countries' support, is the way forward on this highly sensitive matter which has resulted in great amount of bloodshed and hatred in the past decades. Trump seems to be NOT bothered about world opinion. Further, he is openly threatening countries who voted to censure the USA decision! This I think is unheard of in UN history, at least in the past few decades.
-----

[I thank USA UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, United Nations and NBCNews, and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above transcript of their remarks (Ambassador Haley) and UN voting pic (United Nations and NBCNews), from their website on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

I support India's vote at UN on resolution against US 'recognition' of Jerusalem as capital of Israel

I normally try to avoid commenting publicly on super-sensitive international political matters. But here I felt it appropriate to make an exception. As an Indian citizen living in India, and as a Hindu, I approve of India's vote in the United Nations, along with 127 other nations, for the resolution against the USA's rather high-handed move and what seems to me as "might is right" approach in USA "recognizing" Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. 9 nations voted against and there were 35 abstentions. There were 21 nations/delegations that were absent (seems to be different from an abstention). 128+9+35+21 = 193 which is the total count of nations/delegations represented in the United Nations. The countries that voted against the resolution were USA, Israel, Guatemala, Honduras, Togo, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru and Palau.

I had thought that India may abstain or stay absent during the vote, given the threat from USA's UN ambassador Nikki Haley, to countries that voted in favour of this resolution. Kudos to Indian govt. of Prime Minister Narendra Modi of what is perceived by international media as a Hindu nationalist party - Bharatiya Janata Party - for continuing to stick to India's principled stand over last seven decades (yes, around 70 years, since India got independence I guess), on the very complex, very traumatic and very difficult problem of Palestine-Israel relations.

I pray to Almighty God to shower His Grace on all the people of Israel and Palestine, including Jerusalem, and bring about peace and harmony in a city - Jerusalem - that has been over centuries and millennia in history, sacred to three major world religions of Christianity, Islam and Judaism (Jewish faith).

Samastha Loka Sukhino Bhavantu [May all the 'worlds' be happy]
Samastha Loka Sukhino Bhavantu
Samastha Loka Sukhino Bhavantu
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti [Om Peace Peace Peace]

http://indianexpress.com/article/world/recognising-jerusalem-as-israels-capital-india-votes-against-us-donald-trump-at-united-nations-4993758/, dated 22nd Dec. 2017
=========================================

New York Times article on the UN vote giving an international perspective: Defying Trump, U.N. General Assembly Condemns U.S. Decree on Jerusalem, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/21/world/middleeast/trump-jerusalem-united-nations.html, 21st Dec. 2017

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Sathya Sai as bhajan sadhana spiritual master taking whole congregation on religious and spiritual experience; ISKCON Lokanatha Swami

This 'Hari Bhajan Bina Sukh Shanti Nahin' bhajan of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, brings back the memories and joy of doing the bhajan sadhana of listening to him live and singing in chorus, with thousands of others in Sai Kulwant Hall, on so many occasions.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4l3ll5VQkkc, 2 min. 29 secs.

In my humble view, Bhagavan was a great bhajan sadhana teacher/master. It seemed to me, at least during the times I have seen him live singing it from the mid 1990s onwards, that he did not focus on it as an exposition of his singing skills, i.e. as a musical performance by him. He was focused on involving all people in Sai Kulwant Hall in the worship of God (Hari) through song (bhajan), thereby teaching them and giving them the experience of joy of devout and joyous singing of the glory of God. The people singing in chorus (like me) would be so attracted by his sweet and loving voice, his wise words, his sweet and loving facial and hand gestures inviting everybody to sing along, and the joy on his face as he was lead singing and taking everybody along in this bhajan sadhana!

It is my view today that the mark of the great bhajan sadhana teacher/spiritual master is not how musically exquisite his/her bhajan singing may be though that certainly helps in the sadhana, but with how much devotion and spiritual joy the bhajan sadhana spiritual master is singing it, AND, very importantly, how he/she is encouraging the gathering to participate in singing (in chorus typically) thereby making the bhajan a total community singing spiritual and religious experience rather than an individual even if talented singer's musical exposition.

This bhajan's words are very meaningful for a spiritual aspirant - simple words but profound. And the facial and hands expression of Bhagavan would be in tandem with the words being sung. The message was being driven home through melody, words and gestures.

I will never ever forget the joy that Bhagavan gave me through these bhajans that I have heard him sing live in Sai Kulwant Hall, where he involved all of the congregation in Sai Kulwant Hall (including me) to sing along and experience the joy of singing the glory of Lord. I offer my deep gratitude to Bhagavan for those experiences that He gave me (and others).

In this context, I also felt it appropriate to share a great ISKCON contemporary bhajan sadhana spiritual master, His Holiness Lokanatha Swami. Some info. about him from his wiki page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lokanatha_Swami:

Lokanath Swami (born 1949) is an ISKCON guru from India. He is a senior disciple of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (the founder of ISKCON). Lokanatha Swami oversees ISKCON activities and preaching in Maharashtra and Noida, and serves on the Governing Body Commission of ISKCON as a Minister of Padayatra. Lokanatha Swami is involved with various worldwide ISKCON preaching activities. He travels in India and in the West, giving discourses on Bhagavad Gita and other Hindu texts.

Lokanatha Swami was born in Aravade, a small village Maharashtra, India. He pursued his secondary education from Wellington College, Sangli and moved to Bombay to study Chemistry at Kirti College. In the year 1971, after meeting A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and his western disciples at a preaching program in Mumbai, he "forsook his study of chemistry in favour of studying the Bhagavad Gita" and joined ISKCON. He took sannyasa (renounced order of life) in 1975. In 1976 he inaugurated the Padayatra walking pilgrimage tour of India where, together with a group of Hare Krishna devotees, a cart and religious books, "he treaded his way on foot across India, preaching the knowledge of sanatana dharma". In 1989 he inaugurated the same preaching program in America. Since then, Padayatra has become instrumental in propagation of Krishna consciousness. In 1986 Lokanatha Swami was appointed an initiating guru in ISKCON. In 1996 he was responsible for organising a celebration of 100th Anniversary of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in India.
--- end wiki extracts ----

Here is H.H. Lokanatha Swami taking the congregation in Germany in 2011 along with him on a bhajan sadhana spiritual experience: Kirtan Mela Nama Yagna with H.H. Lokanath Swami 31.08.2011 in Feriendorf Hoher Hain - Germany, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9GSkZNaSSw, 1 hr. 10 mins.
======================================
About another devout singer-leader of ISKCON but a younger person:
Devout ISKCON kirtan (devotional song) singing by Naru Gopal Das in 2015, at Mayapur, West Bengal, India which is the birthplace of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the famous 16th century Krishna-devotee saint: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkUGbkR7c-o, around 1 hour

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

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

USA Congress Foreign Affairs Asia-Pacific Subcommittee Dec 2017 hearing's view of religious and other freedoms in Tibet today

I came across a recent post by Terry Reis Kennedy, https://www.facebook.com/terry.reiskennedy/posts/10215235470418874, which shared this video:
Subcommittee Hearing: U.S. Policy Toward Tibet: Access, Religious Freedom ...(EventID=106697), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFXRRPUR2iE&feature=youtu.be&t=42m (note the link starts the video at 42 mins which seems to be when the hearing starts), streamed live on Dec. 6th 2017.

I made the following comment on Terry's post:
Thanks a ton Terry Reis Kennedy for sharing. I saw the whole of the hearing part of the video. Recently I have been doing a fair amount of reading on Chinese and Tibetan history in the past few centuries from Internet sources like wikipedia and some videos on youtube. Therefore it was very interesting for me to see this hearing giving a contemporary USA Congress view of the matter involving USA members of Congress and knowledgeable people on the matter like Richard Gere and the two other witnesses.

The self-immolation protests are extremely disturbing. It is very sad that some Tibetans see self-immolation as the only way for their voices of protest to be heard in the outside world. My prayers to Almighty God to protect and nurture the Tibetan people and their Buddhist religion and traditions, whether they live in Tibet or in other countries like India and Nepal.
---end comment--

This hearing was held by USA Congress' foreign affairs subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific - it seems to be a USA House of Representatives committee, https://foreignaffairs.house.gov/subcommittee/asia-and-the-pacific/. I felt it appropriate to share the names of the key members of USA Congress and the distinguished witnesses in this hearing:

The members of Congress involved were (I hope I got all the speakers on the Congress side of the hearing; Rep. stands for Representative):
1) Subcommittee Chairman, Rep. Ted Yoho, Republican-Florida, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Yoho
2) Subcommittee Ranking Member, Rep. Brad Sherman, Democrat-California, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brad_Sherman
3) Rep. Scott Perry, Republican-Pennsylvania, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Perry_(politician)
4) Rep. Steve Chabot, Republican-Ohio, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Chabot
5) Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Republican-Florida, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ileana_Ros-Lehtinen
6) Rep. Jim McGovern, Democrat-Massachusetts, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_McGovern_(American_politician)
7) Rep. Gerry Connolly, Democrat-Virginia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerry_Connolly

The distinguished witnesses were:
1) Richard Gere, Chair of the International Campaign for Tibet, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Gere
2) Tenzin Tethong, Director of the Tibetan Service, Radio Free Asia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenzin_Tethong
3) Carl Gershman, President, National Endowment for Democracy, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Gershman

Monday, December 18, 2017

What is Manas, Buddhi, Chitta, Ahamkara and Antahkarana? Sathya Sai explains it simply and succinctly

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba says, "Although the mind is one, according to the different functions performed by it, different names are given to it. When it is engaged in the thought process, it is called Manas. When it is engaged in discriminating between what is permanent and what is transient, it is called Buddhi (intelligence). In its role as a reservoir of memory, it is called Chitta. When the mind identifies itself with the body, it is called Ahamkara (ego). The four names are related to the mind and their combined aspect constitutes Antahkarana (the inner instrument)."
Source: Discourse at the Poornachandra Auditorium, on 7- 7-1990, Gurupoornima day, http://www.sssbpt.info/ssspeaks/volume23/sss23-25.pdf.

In other words one can say:

* Manas is thinking aspect of mind.
* Buddhi is intellectual analysis and discimination aspect of mind.
* Chitta is memory storage aspect of mind including storage of emotional impressions.
* Ahamkara is aspect of mind identifying itself with human body (including the mind; so mind-body complex)
* Antahkarana is the combined aspects of all of the above: Manas, Buddhi, Chitta and Ahamkara

Hindu scripture often talks about the importance of Antahkarana shuddhi - purification of inner mental instrument(s) - in the spiritual path. 

Very disappointing that youtube search for Sathya Sai Vedanta does not give any video clips of Bhagavan speaking on Vedanta; Text extract on Vedanta from Sathya Sai discourse

I have heard Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba speaking on Vedanta in discourses that I have heard live sitting in Sai Kulwant Hall, Prasanthi Nilayam in the 2000s decade. Searching for Vedanta in text discourses of his available online at sssbpt.info provides many hits. So one can read text material about Bhagavan's words on Vedanta easily on the Internet.

But this age is an Internet video age even for spiritual masters' messages. Are there video clips of Bhagavan on Vedanta put up on youtube? If so, why does youtube search not show them in the first ten to twenty results?

Or is it that such video clips of Bhagavan have not been put on youtube by ashram authorities? If that's the case then I think they should do that at the earliest as Bhagavan would emphasize Vedanta in many of his discourses. So that vital aspect of Bhagavan's teachings delivered by Bhagavan Himself in Telugu (and translated to English by translator) ***MUST*** be made available on youtube.

Otherwise many people who get exposed to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba mainly through the Internet, may think that Bhagavan never taught about Vedanta! What a great tragedy that will be!
-----------------------------

An example of Vedanta from Sathya Sai discourse obtained by searching on sssbpt.info which DOES NOT seem to have equivalent youtube VIDEO CLIP

Searching for Vedanta on sssbpt.info [using Google search with term; Vedanta site:sssbpt.info] gave this discourse of Bhagavan as the second result:

Vendata is Very Easy to Practise
Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Prasanthi Nilayam
31 July 1996
http://www.sssbpt.info/ssspeaks/volume29/d960731.pdf

I have given below an extract on Vedanta from this discourse:

The essence and goal of Vedanta

Then comes Vedanta (the doctrine of nonduality), which is the ultimate goal of spirituality. In fact, the beginning and end of spirituality is contained in Vedanta. Vedanta leads to three types of yoga, which has immense importance for everyone. Even students should listen to this with full attention.

The first type is tarakam, the second is sankhyam, and the third is amanaskam. These three are the essence and also the goal of Vedanta.

What is tarakam? Tarakam consists of understanding and experiencing the principles of subtle yogic postures (mudras) like khechari, then going beyond these postures and, concentrating on the centre of the eyebrows (nada bindu) and the I-am-God (soham) principle, and ultimately experiencing ExistenceKnowledge-Bliss (Sat-Chit-Ananda).

Tarakam essentially means the merging of one’s mind in the supreme principle of SatChit-Ananda Absolute and attaining total wisdom.

The second type of yoga is sankhyam. Since it deals with numbers (sankhya), it is called sankhya yoga.

The human body consists of:
five sheaths of the soul,
five senses,
five elements (earth, water, fire, air and ether),
five airs (life breath, downward air, diffused throughout the body, upward through the throat, digestive air),
mind, intellect, subconscious mind, ego, and individual soul.
pancha kosas,
panchendriyas,
pancha bhutas,
pancha pranas (prana, apana, vyana, udana, samana),
manas, buddhi, chithta, ahamkara, jivatma,
which together are 25 in number.

Sankhya consists of understanding that you are none of these and, going beyond them, thereby realising that you are the Atma, which is the embodiment of Sat-Chit-Ananda.

The third type of yoga is amanaskam. (blissful state of realization). What does it mean? There is nothing else in this visible world made of five elements except Brahman. That is why the Vedas say: Brahman is one without a second (Ekameva adviteeyam Brahma). The entire creation is the manifestation of Brahman. There is no second entity.

Once this truth is realised, the mind ceases to exist. You see diversity in this world only due to the thoughts and counter thoughts of your mind. When unity is realised in this diversity, then there is no mind. Everything is Brahman.

Whatever you see, hear, think, speak, and do and wherever you go, everything is Brahman. Only when there is a second entity is there scope for thoughts and counter thoughts. But when there is only unity, and that is Brahman, there is no scope for thoughts and counter thoughts. This is the state of amanaska, meaning a state devoid of mind.

There is only love in this state. That love is the truth. In fact, truth and love are one and the same. When truth and love unite, the world loses its identity for you and you see Brahman everywhere.

--- end extract from Bhagavan discourse ---

Ravi: I would love to share a video clip of Bhagavan saying the above. What a powerful way it will be to spread Bhagavan's teaching on Vedanta!

We find such video clips of other Indian spiritual masters on youtube. But nothing about Sathya Sai! I think that is a real weakness in Prasanthi Nilayam ashram system's approach to popularize and spread the teachings of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

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

Quotes of Sathya Sai on subtle body & what happens after death show Madhusudan Naidu's subtle body claim is FALSE; Muddenahalli senior faculty should dispute it or stop supporting Madhusudan

Last updated on 18th Dec. 2017

A) Sookshma/Sukshma sharira (body) quotes of Sathya Sai

A1)  The Primal Cause, Discourse at Prashaanthi Nilayam, on 22-3-1985, http://www.sssbpt.info/ssspeaks/volume18/sss18-09.pdf. Given below is a large extract of the discourse:

The Truth that the scriptures teach is, that God is everywhere, near and far, above and below, inside and outside. God is One, indivisible, omnipresent.

In order to awaken to this truth, one has to attain higher levels of wakefulness. Indeed, there are four such levels. The first is, the apparently wakeful attentiveness with which we move about and busy ourselves everyday. We are very much like others, alert and aware, when thus awake.

But, Vedanta reveals four categories of wakefulness: the fully awake, the wakefulness of mind only--as while dreaming, the wakefulness of the self alone--as in deep sleep, and the illumination of the self awakening into the Over-self These are named Sthoola Sookshma, Kaarana and Mahakaarana (The Gross, the Subtle, the Causal and the Super-cause).

The gross body that is activated in the waking stage is the composite of many items--the five senses of perception, the five senses of action, the five inner instruments, the five elements in creation, the five vital airs and the self--26 in all. This is the Jagrath stage, wakefulness. The subtle body that dreams has only five vital airs, the five senses of perception, and five fundamental elements--fifteen items in all as the Sookshma (the subtle), the Yaathana vehicle which according to Vedanta, undergoes the consequences of good deeds and bad.

Kaarana (Causal) body is the third. It possesses only one nature, namely, Prajna (consciousness), pure and unmixed with the subjective and objective worlds. Since the Sthoola (gross) body is fully invoked with the objective world, the Viswa it is called Viswa; the sookshma body or the dream body is illumined by the mind and the Tejas (inner light and so it is called Tejas; the body in the deep sleep stage, when it is latent in the cause, subsumed in the Consciousness, is called Prajna. The truth, namely, Brahman, eludes all these three bodies. They are all invoked in bhrama (illusion), not in Brahman , the Absolute. What appears true in the dream is falsified when one awakes; what one experiences while awake is distorted and devalued in dreams; sleep wipes out of memory both the dream-world and the wakefulness-world. The awareness that survives these three passing stages is the Maha Kaarana, the Super conscious.

The Super or Supreme Consciousness is the Thought that became all this--the Hiranyagarbha the Golden Womb, the primal urge, the first concretisation, Easwara. When Being "thought," it became the Many, or rather, it put on the appearance of Many. The Maha Kaarana, is beyond Consciousness; the Sthoola, Sookshma and the Kaarana bodies into which it proliferated are beneath Consciousness. The former is true knowledge (eruka in Telugu). The latter is illusory experience (marupu in Telugu). God is the Lord of eruka, the Jivi is the slave of marupu (forgetting).

The Maha Kaarana the Cosmic Consciousness, is often denoted as "Param" (beyond), in Vedanta; since the concept is obviously contentless, it does not arise and fade; nor does it originate and disappear. It has no name and form, for it cannot be defined or limited or identified as separate. It is understood as Brah-man--the unmoving, immovable Totality (Poorna), the Eternal, the True, the Pure, the Attributeless. Just as the unmoving road enables the car to move along it, the Brahma principle is the basis for the existence and activities of Jivi.

In fact, there is only One. The One appears to the split vision as two. Look outward! It is Jivi Look inward, it is God. The outer vision makes you forget; the inner makes you remember. When man seeks to rise to the divinity which is his reality, he is remembering, struggling to know and experience. When he grovels in the lower levels of consciousness and is entangled in disease, he is caught in the coils of forgetfulness. Removing selfish desires and expanding one's urge to love and serve are the most effective means to succeed in merging with Supreme Consciousness, the Primal Cause, the Cosmic Thought, the Maha Kaarana.
--- end Bhagavan discourse extracts ---

A2) Discourse at the Poornachandra Auditorium, on 7- 7-1990, Gurupoornima day, http://www.sssbpt.info/ssspeaks/volume23/sss23-25.pdf. Extracts from it are given below:

The body is the abode of pleasure and pain. It has three forms: Sthoola (gross), Sookshma (subtle) and Kaarana (causal). The gross physical body is Annamaya (permeated by food). It is inert. It is comparable to an instrument. What we see is only the physical body. Believing that this is real and permanent, man tends to forget the all-pervading and eternal Atmic principle.

The five pranas (vital breaths), the mind, the intellect and the ten sense organs (of perception and action) constitute the sookshma-sarira (subtle body). It functions in the dream state. In this state, the individual is oriented inwards. In it, man creates for himself a new world. The dream is itself the proof of its reality. It is self-constituted with no external relations. In the dream state, everything is created by the mind--forms, sounds and taste, which are experienced without any physical basis for them. This entire experience is limited to the individual concerned. If, for instance, ten persons are sleeping in one room, each person's dream is unique to himself. Each one's actions in the dream are unique to himself.

There is no relationship between the dream and the waking state. One individual has a dream in which his friend harasses him in many ways. If after waking up in the morning he accosts his friend and asks the latter why he harassed him, the friend replies: “You madcap! I have not seen you at all!" This means that the friend in the dream and the troubles he gave are all self-created by the dreamer. All other dream experiences are also self-created. Hence, all the experiences in dreams are confined to the individual concerned and have no connection with others in the real world. The joys and sorrows experienced in the dream are the stuff of the dream state. It is in the dream state that one goes through the consequences of good and bad actions in previous lives. This means that the experiences are related to the sookshma sarira (subtle body). In this, the mind is the most important factor. It is the mind that creates everything.

Although the mind is one, according to the different functions performed by it, different names are given to it. When it is engaged in the thought process, it is called Manas. When it is engaged in discriminating between what is permanent and what is transient, it is called Buddhi (intelligence). In its role as a reservoir of memory, it is called Chitta. When the mind identifies itself with the body, it is called Ahamkara (ego). The four names are related to the mind and their combined aspect constitutes Antahkarana (the inner instrument). Thus, both the waking and dream states are creations of the mind.
...
The Atma, however, is covered in the human being by five sheaths: Annamaya, Pranamaya, Manomaya, Vijnanamaya and Anandamaya Kosas (sheaths). As a result, the Atma is not easily cognisable. The physical body is the Annamaya kosa (the sheath of food). The sheaths of Pranamaya (life-force), Manomaya (the mental sheath) and the Vijnanamaya (imbued with intelligence) form the sookshma sarira (subtle body). The Anandamaya kosa is the Kaarna sarira (causal or seed body). Although it has the name Anandamaya (blissful), it is not real bliss. It is the blissful state of the Atma that is reflected as an image in the sheath of Bliss (the causal). The mind is like the moon, which is not self-luminous. The Atma alone is self-effulgent. It is this light which illumines the body, mind, the Buddhi and the senses and invests them with consciousness.

--- end Bhagavan discourse extracts ---

Ravi: Conclusion we can draw from A) Sookshma/Sukshma sharira (body) quotes: From the above we see that Bhagavan refers to sookshma sharira (subtle body) as the dream-state body that we experience when we are in a dream. There is no reference whatsoever to an after-death sookshma sharira (subtle body).

B) What happens after death quotes of Sathya Sai

B1) 25 August 1999, Prasanthi Nilayam, http://www.sssbpt.info/ssspeaks/volume32/sss32p2-03.pdf

Before driving a car, one should know where the brake, clutch, accelerator, etc. are located and how to operate them properly. Our body is a car, the mind is the steering, eyes are the headlights, heart is the engine, stomach is the petrol tank, and the four objectives of human life, namely, dharma, artha, kama, moksha, are the four wheels. The tyres, which are outside, are under control of the steering, which is inside. Likewise, mind is the steering that controls the direction of the journey of human life. So, one should make every effort to understand the nature of the mind. Mind exists even after death. Purity of man depends upon the purity of his mind. If the mind is polluted, it pollutes all his life.

--- end Bhagavan discourse extract ---

B2) Discourse on the evening of 20-5-1993 at the Sai Ramesh Hall, Brindhaavan, http://www.sssbpt.info/ssspeaks/volume26/sss26-18.pdf

After death, where does the Aathma go? This is a question on many people's minds. What happens to the Aathma after the body is cast off and how long does it take to be re-born? These are ridiculous questions. This can be explained by an example. If you put on the switch, the bulb burns because of the electric energy flowing through it. When the bulb is removed, nothing happens to the energy which is still there, though bulb is gone. Similarly, the body comes and goes but the Aathma is eternal.

Embodiments of the Divine Aathma! You must get rid of all narrow ideas and attitudes. All worldly things are like passing clouds. There is only one that is permanent and changeless. That is Brahmathathva. It should be realised through the path of pure Love.
--- end Bhagavan discourse extract ---

B3) Discourse at the Summer Course in Brindavan, on 27-5-1991, http://www.sssbpt.info/ssspeaks/volume24/sss24-13.pdf

No one can easily explain the secret of creation. There is a shadow which closely follows every object. Likewise the reactions of each action of man closely follow the Prana. When the Prana (life-breath) leaves one body and enters another, the results of one's actions follow the Prana to the other body. The Prana enters another appropriate body in accordance with the results of the actions in the previous body. Hence, one can reach a worthy state in life by doing good deeds and cherishing good feelings. "As you sow, so will you reap." You cannot get a mango fruit by planting a lemon seed.

Man may fancy that he is capable of achieving anything. But his achievements are solely related to the nature of his actions. The Creator sends each one at birth with a garland made of the results of his good and bad deeds in his previous birth. The scriptures exhort men to adhere to good thoughts and good deeds as the only way of realising a good life. The fruits of your actions will be reaped only by you and none else.

You alone are responsible for your joys and sorrows. God is in no way responsible. He is only a witness. But if you pray to Him with all your heart and soul, the effects of all karmas will disappear like mist. Devotion will free man from the consequences of his deeds. If man devotes a small fraction of the enormous time he devotes to his wealth, family and position, to thoughts of God, he need have no fear about the Lord of Death. If one does not think of God even for a moment, how can he hope for peace of mind?

--- end Bhagavan discourse extract ---

B4) Sivarathri, 4-3-2000, Prasanthi Nilaya(m), http://www.sssbpt.info/ssspeaks/volume33/sss33-05.pdf

Both the present and the former Vice Chancellors of our Institute have prayed to Me (in their speeches earlier) that I should explain in detail the concept of Pancha Koshas (five sheaths of the Self). The pure Atma is enveloped by five sheaths; and due to its association with these sheaths, it acquires their traits. The physical body is referred to as the Annamaya Kosha (food sheath). The atma associated with gross body in its waking state is called ‘Viswa’ as it is endowed with jnanendriyas and karmendriyas (organs of perception and action). As this body is involved in various external activities, it is also known as Vyavaharika.

Thus, the Vedas have given various names to this sheath which comprises the sthula sareera (gross body). The Pranamaya Kosha (life sheath), Manomaya Kosha (mind sheath) and Vijnanamaya Kosha (wisdom sheath) form the sukshma sareera (subtle body) as they are not visible to the naked eye. Mind in its subtle form is all-pervasive. That is why it is said, Manomoolam Idam Jagat (mind is the basis for the entire world). Anandamaya Kosha (bliss sheath) refers to the karana sareera (causal body). One should go beyond all the five sheaths in order to experience bliss. This state is known as turiya, which is beyond sushupti (deep sleep state). This refers to the Mahakarana Swarupa (supreme casual aspect). This is Paramarthika (the ultimate spiritual principle). The bliss experienced in this state is true bliss. This bliss cannot be obtained through the senses, mind or intellect.
--- end Bhagavan discourse extract ---

Ravi: Conclusion we can draw from B) What happens after death quotes: Bhagavan says that after death Prana goes from the previous dead body to a new body. From the above quotes, we can also say that this Prana is accompanied or followed by the mind and "the results of one's actions" (Karmic consequences). Bhagavan DOES NOT USE THE TERM SOOKSHMA/SUKSHMA SHARIRA for this Prana + mind + Karmic consequences group that goes from the dead body to a new body.

Bhagavan gave a lot of importance to senior faculty who had dedicated their lives to his mission. [BTW I should clarify here that I was NOT one such person; I was just a free service faculty/teacher who was focused more on my own spiritual quest but also contributed something towards Bhagavan's mission. My free service contributions as teacher (and systems manager) in the Sai university are nowhere near the contributions of some of the senior faculty who served in Bhagavan's educational mission for decades and are now with Muddenahalli group.] Now those of these senior faculty who have got associated with Muddenahalli group have to behave responsibly. They supporting and endorsing Madhusudan Rao Naidu's claim of being a so called chosen communicator of a so called subtle body (Sukshma sharira) of Bhagavan, will surely contribute to many young students, as well as some other Sai devotees following in their footsteps, and accepting Madhusudan Rao Naidu's claim.

Therefore these senior faculty owe it to Bhagavan and owe it to the Sathya Sai fraternity to seriously consider whether their endorsement/support of Madhusudan Rao Naidu's outrageous communicator claim is Dharmic or Adharmic, is right or wrong.

Unless these senior faculty are able to provide quotations from (physical form) Bhagavan's discourses that dispute my conclusions above, we can rightly conclude that these senior faculty of Sai educational institutions who after spending many years (few decades I think) with physical form Bhagavan, and who now are associated with Muddenahalli group, are failing in their duty to both Bhagavan as well as the Sathya Sai fraternity. They are failing to use their discrimination power to study physical form Bhagavan's discourses to test whether Madhusudan Rao Naidu's claim can be considered to be true or false. And then it will have to be said that these senior faculty are ****ACTIVELY CONTRIBUTING**** to misguiding students under their care as well as other Sai devotees, with respect to Madhusudan Rao Naidu's so called chosen communicator claim. What sadder destiny can a teacher have than to spiritually misguide the students under his care!

Just stating that they are teaching the same spiritual values to Muddenahalli institution students that they were teaching earlier in other Sathya Sai educational institutions, cannot be used to wash away the misguidance they are doing by encouraging students to accept Madhusudan Rao Naidu's outrageous claim.

I am not saying that Bhagavan is NOT in Muddenahalli. Bhagavan is everywhere - in Puttaparthi and in Muddenahalli. They surely can do all their educational institution activities and Bhagavan worship without Madhusudan Rao Naidu's deluded drama, which will remove all the issues I have mentioned above. The problem is not Muddenahalli group's worship of Bhagavan and their service activities. The problem is Madhusudan Rao Naidu. He is MISGUIDING people including students USING THE HOLY NAME of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Whatever powers of mind-reading and predictions he may be getting from some ghost like thing he claims to be able to see and communicate with, come from some other supernatural power/ghost/spirit and NOT FROM Shiva-Shakti Swarupa, Kali Yuga Avatar, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba!
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In my Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2039216449628255, associated with this blog post, I made the following comment(s):

In Terry Reis Kennedy's Facebook share, https://www.facebook.com/terry.reiskennedy/posts/10215249698014555, of this post of mine, I made the following comment:

Terry Reis Kennedy, feel free to use any part or whole of my posts in your letter to attorneys. And thanks for the kind words about me.

For me, it is a strange situation. You would know most of what I have written below but I think it is appropriate to mention it again. I had intensely prayed to Bhagavan in the period of Oct 2002 to mid Jan 2003 for a chance to serve Him and becoming a part of His ashram family so to speak. After testing me quite a bit, Bhagavan eventually accepted my letter at darshan and later, I was told, gave permission to the then vice-chancellor of Sai university, Shri S.V. Giri, to allow me to provide free services to Sai university as Honorary Staff/Honorary Faculty (which later became 'Regular' Visiting Faculty) from end Jan 2003 onwards.

That catapulted me into the Sai university teaching staff category which was a vital part of Bhagavan's educational mission. I made quite a few spiritual mistakes for which Bhagavan corrected me, sometimes sternly and sometimes in a very angry way. But Bhagavan gave me time to correct myself and showed happiness and approval when I corrected myself.

After Bhagavan's Mahasamadhi in April 2011, I felt that it is my bounden duty to Bhagavan to contribute my best, within the health and other challenges that I face, to the Sai university with which I had by then been associated for over 8 years (free service). But a period of Asathya-Adharma spiritual darkness descended on Sai university shortly after Bhagavan's Mahasamadhi. Narasimhamurthy had gained spiritual master control of Sai university with his FALSE CLAIM as the dream-instruction medium of Swami as not only the then vice-chancellor Sashidhara Prasad fell wholesale into this Narasimhamurthy trap, but also the other senior administrators of Sai university!

I vividly recall the gut-wrenching period I went through from Jul 2011 to March 2012 when I directly experienced some of this Asathya-Adharma madness in the top echelons of Sai university and was informed about similar experiences faced by some senior faculty who chose to be loyal to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's teachings wrt mediums and so refused to believe Narasimhamurthy. On some weird UGC (Indian university regulatory body) rules pretext or the other, the loyalists were either forced out or parted ways in disgust from the Sai university. I parted ways in March 2012 feeling terribly depressed about the pathetic state of affairs in Sai university top echelons then.

As matters became significantly worse after the public drama of Madhusudan Rao Naidu started trapping and deluding people worldwide from second half of 2014 onwards, I felt it was my bounden duty to my beloved and revered Gurudev Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, out of gratitude for all that he had given me including his spiritual guidance during the years I was with the Sai university (prior to Mahasamadhi), to expose Muddenahalli group FALSE CLAIMS. I simply had to do my duty to Bhagavan. My conscience would NOT allow me to be a silent witness to Madhusudan Rao Naidu and Narasimhamurthy publicly misguiding thousands of Sathya Sai devotees across the globe. Note that prior to May 2014 the Muddenahalli group fellows did their Asathya-Adharma medium/communicator work in secrecy and so I was not in a position to expose them. I would hear things here and there but that was not enough to know about their claims for sure, and publicly expose them.

Today in end 2017, I can say that I have played my role in exposing the Asathya-Adharma madness that had got Sai university top echelons in its grip, and also impacted the Sai Higher secondary school in Prasanthi NIlayam. I have also played my role in reversing the Asathya-Adharma spiritual darkness that had gripped top echelons of Sai university, and also some senior teachers (and juniors) in Sai school in Prasanthi Nilayam. As a bonus :-(, I have earned the enmity of some people of Muddenahalli group and been the target of Shakuni poison attacks including some threatening looks and gestures that I faced in Puttaparthi from people of Prasanthi Nilayam ashram who were supporters of Muddenahalli group (and perhaps had gained financially in terms of job designation and salary in ashram system, due to that support). But I have the great satisfaction of having walked the path of Sathya & Dharma in this extraordinarily testing period that we went through after Mahasamadhi. My conscience is at ease and I am sure that if I get an opportunity (in this body) to have darshan of Prema Sai Baba when Prema Sai Baba reveals Himself, I will be able to look Bhagavan (as Prema Sai Baba) in the eye and convey to him via my prayers and thoughts that I did my duty towards Him to the best of my knowledge and ability.

To conclude, for me, opposing Muddenahalli group FALSE CLAIMS and MISGUIDANCE of thousands of Sathya Sai devotees across the world using their Madhusudan Rao Naidu related communicator FALSE CLAIMS (and any Narasimhamurthy dream-medium FALSE CLAIMS) is my BOUNDEN DUTY towards Bhagavan. Even if hundreds of Muddenahalli group Fake Facebook Ids attack me on social media from Melbourne, Australia and other places in the world, or perhaps attempt to do something worse to me, I will NOT fail in doing my BOUNDEN DUTY to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, my beloved and revered Gurudev. Jai Sairam!
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[I thank sssbpt.info 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.]

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Swami Chinmayananda's encounter as a youth with Ramana Maharshi; Swami Chinmayananda 1984 interview with Australian academics on Hinduism, Vedanta etc.

Fascinating video for 'who am i' inquiry and meditation type folks like me (at least it fascinated me); around 7 mins; Swami Chinmayananda meeting Ramana Maharshi, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-tWecVxm1o.
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I enjoyed this 1984 interview of Swami Chinmayananda in Australia by three Australian academics (perhaps Humanities stream academics). The interview, the video says, "will be part of the Religious Systems course in the School of Humanities at Deakin university". Around 40 mins, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrxGTXadYpE.

In the second half of the interview, one of the Australian academics asks about rationalism in the context of teaching Hinduism and Vedanta in modern times (especially to Western world people). I found that Swami Chinmayananda answered that part very well (as per my current understanding of Vedanta).

The academics do not hesitate to put difficult questions about Hinduism in the context of India in the 1980s, to Swami Chinmayananda, and the Swami answers those questions without trying to dodge them. Perhaps the Swami's answers about social justice related issues in Hindu caste system (casteism as per the Swami), where he said that they are all being swept away (or are swept away), may not be accepted by social scientists today. I mean, social scientists will argue that social justice issues within Hindu society in India, which even today is largely caste based, continue to be there even today. But overall, I think the Swami did a great job of answering the sometimes difficult questions posed to him by the Australian academics.

I should also say here that I have had the privilege and blessing of having darshan of Swami Chinmayananda (when I was a college student in the early 1980s, if I recall correctly), and have visited his ashram in Mumbai. I have also read some of his or his mission's books on Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita. They certainly contributed, along with books on these topics from other Hindu mission leaders, to my understanding of these topics. Most, if not all of this, was before I came to know of Sathya Sai in early 1990s.

I offer my gratitude to Swami Chinmayananda and others in his mission for the knowledge they imparted to me through their books that I had read, and for their general work in re-invigorating Hindu religion, especially its philosophical base of Vedanta.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Indian Supreme Court ensures access to Parsi (Zoroastrian) temple(s) for Parsi lady married to a Hindu; Some early history of Parsis

Last updated on 15th Dec. 2017

Great initiative (SC put pressure on the Parsi trust which resulted in Parsi trust changing its earlier stand) and decision by the Indian Supreme Court to help a Parsi (Zoroastrian faith) lady married to a Hindu, get access to Parsi temple(s) in Gujarat, especially the Tower of Silence where Parsis do rituals for departed (deceased) relatives. Note that the lady is considered to be a non-Parsi even though she has not renounced her Parsi religion, by the Parsi religious authorities on account of her marrying a person from a different faith.

Parsi trust to Supreme Court: Will allow women marrying outside religion enter temples, http://indianexpress.com/article/india/parsi-trust-to-supreme-court-will-allow-women-marrying-outside-religion-to-enter-temples-4982382/, 14th Dec. 2017
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The article: Parsi woman allowed to perform last rites, SC informed, http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/parsi-woman-allowed-to-perform-last-rites-sc-informed/article21665528.ece, 14th Dec. 2017 seems to provide more accurate information about the matter than the previous news article mentioned above.

This article states the Parsi temple authorities in deference to the Supreme Court decided to allow the lady to perform rites in the Parsi temple. So it is a resoulution of that particular woman's problem as a special case.

But the general case has yet to be decided upon. This sentence from the article captures the general case status: "The court said the larger questions of law regarding the religious identity of a Parsi woman and her right to marry outside her religion, among other issues, would remain open and be dealt with in the next hearing scheduled for the third week of January next year."

I understand that to mean that the Indian Supreme Court will lay down the law (via its judgement in this case) about whether a Parsi woman marrying a non-Parsi (and not giving up her Parsi religion/religious identity), can be viewed as having become a non-Parsi simply because of marriage to non-Parsi. I think what the Supreme Court decides is what will matter and the Parsi temple authorities across India will have to follow the Supreme Court decision.

Note that Parsis (Zoroastrians) are a community from Iran (Persia) who were fleeing the Arab Islamic conquest of Iran and given refuge in Gujarat state of India many centuries ago by Hindu rulers of Gujarat then.

Here's some info. about Parsis from their wiki page, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parsi :

Parsi (or Parsee) is one of two Zoroastrian communities (the other being Iranis) majorly located in India and few in Pakistan. According to the Qissa-i Sanjan, Parsis migrated from Greater Iran to Sindh and Gujarat, where they were given refuge, between the 8th and 10th century CE to avoid persecution following the Arab conquest of Persia.

At the time of the Muslim conquest of Persia, the dominant religion of the region (which was ruled by the Sasanian Empire) was Zoroastrianism. Iranians rebelled against Muslim conquerors for almost 200 years. During this time many Iranians who are now called Parsi chose to preserve their religious identity by fleeing from Iran to India.

The word پارسیان, pronounced "Parsian", i.e., "Parsi" in the Persian language, literally means Persian. Persian is the official language of modern Iran, which was formerly known as Persia, and the Persian language's endonym is Farsi, an arabization of the word Parsi.

The long presence of the Parsis in the Gujarat and Sindh areas of India distinguishes them from the smaller Zoroastrian Indian community of Iranis, who are much more recent arrivals, mostly descended from Zoroastrians fleeing the repression of the Qajar dynasty and the general social and political tumult of late 19th- and early 20th-century Iran.
...
The Qissa-i Sanjan is a tale of the journey of the Parsis to India from Iran. It says they fled for reasons of religious freedom and they were allowed to settle in India thanks to the goodwill of a local Hindu prince. However, the Parsi community had to abide by three rules: they had to speak the local language, follow local marriage customs, and not carry any weapons. After showing the many similarities between their faith and local beliefs, the early community was granted a plot of land on which to build a fire temple.
...
Over the centuries since the first Zoroastrians arrived in India, the Parsis have integrated themselves into Indian society while simultaneously maintaining or developing their own distinct customs and traditions (and thus ethnic identity). This in turn has given the Parsi community a rather peculiar standing: they are Indians in terms of national affiliation, language and history, but not typically Indian in terms of consanguinity or ethnicity, cultural, behavioural and religious practices.

--- end extracts from wiki ----

Ravi: Mumbai/Bombay has a lot of Parsis. I have had many Parsi friends and have thoroughly enjoyed their company. My elder sister did some part of her schooling in a famous Parsi run school in Dadar area of Bombay (we were living in Dadar then) - J.B. Vaccha school, https://www.jbvachha.com/index.php.

The world famous Tata group of companies is founded by the Tata family who are Parsis. One of my uncles worked in Tata Textiles in Mumbai. I was offered a job in the now world famous Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) software company in Mumbai in the late 1980s but I did not take it up due to some reasons. Note that TCS is Asia's largest software services company and has recently been the sponsor of the New York City marathon (called TCS New York City marathon, https://www.tcsnycmarathon.org/).

I think the Parsis who were fleeing Islamic conquest of Iran/Persia, being given refuge by Hindu kings in Gujarat (between 8th and 10th century according to the wiki) and being allowed to practise their religion is a great example of Hindu India's history of tolerance of various religious beliefs. The Parsis, in turn, by their integration with India's multi-religious and multi-ethnic fabric and later leadership in industry (Jamsedji Tata, 1839 - 1904, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamsetji_Tata, founded the Tata group and was an Indian pioneer industrialist) as well as participation in many other walks of Indian life including the Indian armed forces, have contributed to India's progress in a significant way.

Coming back to my past Parsi friends (I am out of touch with almost all of them now that I live in Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh), I am of the view that Parsi ladies who marry outside their religion (Hindu, Muslim, Christian etc.) and who would like to retain their Parsi religious identity must be allowed to do so, and the Parsi religious authorities in India should then allow them to worship/participate in religious rites in Parsi temples as per Parsi traditions. If they choose to give up their Parsi religious identity then I think it is fine if they are barred from worshiping in Parsi temples.

BTW in the 1980s there was a case of two software developers from my first software company - Datamatics, Bombay - one South Indian Hindu man and one Parsi woman (who had joined Datamatics at the same time as me and was a part of the same programmer trainees batch) going steady. I believe they later got married and settled down in the USA. So I would very much like my old Parsi software developer lady colleague who seems to have married a Hindu, if she retains her Parsi religious identity, to be allowed to worship in Parsi temples in India and Parsi temples in the USA.

[I think I should also mention another case in the same software company in the same period of a Parsi man software developer going steady with a Chinese origin Indian (yes, there are some Chinese origin Indians in Mumbai) lady software developer, who later seem to have got married and settled down in Australia. I think that even if the lady wanted to change her religious identity to Parsi, it would not have been easily allowed by the Parsi religious authorities. And I don't know what her original religious identity was - Confuciansim? Buddhism? Nice people - all four of them, with three of them being friends of mine at that time.]

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