Monday, July 31, 2017

Comment exchange on Shiva Lingam, European Christianity, Syro-Malabar Indian Christians and USA Evangelical Christians

Last updated on 1-Aug-2017

Given below is a recent comment exchange I had on a Facebook post discussing the sensitive among Hindus issue of Shiva lingam being interpreted/misinterpreted as a genital organ. The Facebook post on which the comments were exchanged is not public but it is a share of this public post about the Shiva lingam interpretation/misinterpretation: https://www.facebook.com/Mahadevlok/photos/a.222432907885876.48201.221487684647065/1289472541181902/ dated 28th July 2017.

C Andrew Barker wrote (and was OK with public sharing; slightly edited):
Not sure what all the fuss is about. Lingam means phallus in Sanskrit, but hopefully not many rational people think of a penis when they see a Shivalingam. Being as how genitalia is the quickest way to distinguish masculine and feminine attributes, it make sense to have a Lingam representing Siva/purusha and yoni representing shakti/prakrti. Is there something inherently negative or evil about human genitalia in Hindu culture? No, more likely a vestige of colonial Victorianism that would make such a big deal about something so natural. The ancient art of India depicted naked gods and goddesses and obviously thought it completely acceptable and right. A truly spiritual person should not get caught up in such trivial semantic nonsense, but go to the heart of Shiva/Shakti, and become One with that essential power. To do otherwise is a waste of precious human life.
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Ravi S. Iyer responded:
Very well said. One must bear in mind that Shiva linga worship in India is millennia old! Even Rama Avatar worshiped Shiva! And Rama is said to be around 20,000 years back according to enlightened spiritual masters who speak from intuitive knowledge about these matters (as against history scholars).

My view is that Shivalinga worship emerged from a tribal culture. And in a tribal culture, offspring were vital for survival and sustenance - they even had to fight wars with other tribes to survive and so needed a regular supply of young warriors besides young workers. Viewing divine power of creation as emerging from a divine phallus would be utterly natural and utterly appropriate for tribal people who viewed sexual procreation in a NATURAL and healthy way without associating any kind of sin with sexual procreation.

It is the attitude of worship of the divine that counts and not the sophistication with which the divine is visualized.

However, as Hindu society got more sophisticated, the sophisticated sections of these societies seem to have viewed the Shiva lingam not as a divine phallus but more like a divine and endless pillar of light - an example of that is there in the Hindu puranas, if I recall correctly - with the lingam being a small representation of it to make it convenient for humans to worship.

The British colonizers of India made a mockery of these views and tried to portray such Hindu worship in a very negative way, and instead tried to promote their British ways of worshiping the divine as superior. As India is nearing 70 years of independence from British rule, India is also rapidly throwing away such British imposed views about ancient Hindu worship and reconnecting with original Hindu views about such worship.

I would also like to mention that the essence of the views that I have given above were confirmed to me around 2003 by my spiritual master in an appropriate way. So what was my conjecture earlier became my strong belief after my spiritual master confirmed my conjecture.
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C Andrew Barker wrote:
This explanation makes a lot of sense Ravi. Of course given how far back in time we are talking about with the origins of what is now called Hinduism, it must be as you say largely conjecture. The evolutionary model you propose seems to accord most naturally with how the culture would have looked in that long ago time and place,and more clearly fits that context than models that impose more recent European mores and judgments on the iconography of an ancient culture. When one reads of the barbarism and pettiness of the God and His people in the Old Testament, it becomes clear that it is impossible for us to know or understand much of the sensibilities and motivations of our ancestors without doing injustice to the reality of those times. Not only in India, but also in China, Africa and the "New World' did Western clergy, business men and politicians grossly distort their interpretation of indigenous people for the purposes of justifying the horrific treatment of the people they wished to subjugate and colonize.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote (slightly edited):
Thanks for your response C Andrew Barker. Well, I think Western clergy presumed their religious knowledge to be the "true" knowledge and all other religious knowledge to be false knowledge which needs to be replaced by their "true" knowledge. The colonization and subjugation part was there too, of course. But I do think the Western clergy genuinely believed that they were right about religion and the rest of the world was wrong with their religious and spiritual traditions, and had to be "rescued" from their wrong religions and brought to the "only true" religion of the Western clergy.

And I think it was the same with waves of Islamic conquest prior to the European dominance of the world, where the conquerors tried very hard to replace what they viewed as the "false" religion of the conquered with their "only true" religion.

I guess the military might and the military victories of the conquerors made their religions look "right" and "divinely blessed" to them.

But then time is the great test of all things including "only true" religions. In India's case, over time the conquerors either got ejected out of the lands they ruled or got absorbed into the civilization including religious and spiritual traditions of the lands they conquered which also expanded/evolved to accommodate the new religions of the conquerors. It is fascinating to read about the impact Islamic Sufism and Hindu Bhakti + Hindu Advaita traditions had on each other over centuries of Islamic rulers in many parts of India, especially north India.

Regarding the Old Testament and New Testament and European mores imposition on indigenous people: Christianity entered India far before Europen Christians did, through Saint Thomas, one of the apostles of Jesus Christ. The Syro-Malabar Catholic community, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syro-Malabar_Catholic_Church, "is the largest of the Nasrani denominations with around 5.01 million believers and traces its origins to the evangelistic activity of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century." Jewish communities have lived in India since ancient times, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Jews_in_India. I personally have had Syro-Malabar Christian Indian friend(s) as well as an Indian Jewish friend in the past. I mean, these are not just theoretical things. Real people who come from these traditions live in India and I have directly interacted with them.

European Christians came into India with their brand of Christianity over a millennium after Saint Thomas is said to have started the Syro-Malabar Catholic communities in South India! If I recall correctly, it was the Portuguese who first tried to spread their brand of Christianity in India and came across these Indian Christians with a longer Christian history than the Portuguese Christians! From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_in_India: "Christianity was introduced to India by Thomas the Apostle, who visited Muziris in Kerala in AD 52. There is a general scholarly consensus that Christianity was definitely established in India by the 6th century AD, including some communities who used Syriac liturgies, and it is possible that the religion's existence extends as far back as the purported time of St.Thomas's arrival."..."Roman Catholicism was first introduced to India by Portuguese, Italian and Irish Jesuits in the 16th century. Most Christian schools, hospitals, primary care centres originated through the Roman Catholic missions brought by the trade of these countries. Evangelical Protestantism was later spread to India by the efforts of British, American, German, Scottish missionaries to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ among Indians."

I think the European Christians due to their technological and military superiority then (certainly in mastery of sea faring and in naval warfare) were able to dominate the older Indian Christians in South India and Indians of other communities. So they were able to impose their notions of European mores and judgements not only on Indian Hindus and Muslims but also on Indian Christians who traced their history to Thomas the apostle coming to India! We must not forget that Jesus Christ was an Asian and not a European, and that India was well connected to the Middle East during Jesus Christ's times through both the sea routes from Middle East to South India and longer land routes to North India.

European brand of Christianity would have brought European view of Christianity, including Roman Catholic Church doctrines, Protestant denomination doctrines including Anglican church (church of England) doctrines I guess, and tried to impose that over other religions in India including the far more original and older Syro-Malabar Catholic denomination.

Today in the early 21st century we are in a far happier situation than in earlier colonial era, as Asia has achieved significant technological and economic progress. With that its religious traditions INCLUDING ITS VERY OLD CHRISTIAN TRADITIONS are expressing themselves freely and in a very articulate way. Thus we can see the nice and not-so-nice aspects of all religious traditions whether European or Asian or from some other parts of the world. And the Internet allows us to explore and share these matters with so much convenience and ease!
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C Andrew Barker wrote:
Wow Ravi! Bravo! Refreshing to see such scholarship and enlightened commentary here on FB. Certainly the situation is much more complex than my quick and hastily thought out comments might suggest. As a student of cultural anthropology, I am concerned with being as fair and clear as possible with regard to discussion of other cultures and spiritual practices. I suppose I would have to include the Abrahamic religions as well, since I know little about them. As a practicing Buddhist, with definite Advaita leanings, I am quick to see Christianity, etc in an unfavorable light. It is hard to avoid these feelings in the present moment living in the US, with the rise to power of the odious Christian Right Wing jihad. However to your point, it is a complicated situation with the impact of colonial domination of previously well-established indigenous cultures and civilizations. It is unfair to see only good guys and bad guys in the history of these interactions. And, as you say, things are much better these days, regardless of the monumental injustices of the past.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote (slightly edited):
Thanks Andrew for the kind words. Well, I am not a scholar but I am crazy about religion and God, and do a lot of reading & (video) viewing of those topics, and do some writing on social media (blog & Facebook). I found your starter comment of this thread to be very interesting and so got engaged in this conversation in a serious way. I find some posts & comments of my Facebook friends to be stimulating and so get engaged in serious conversations on them. I also use many of such comments of mine directly or indirectly as material for my blog posts thereby sharing my views to a slightly larger audience.

Very interesting to know that you are a student of 'cultural anthropology' (had to look up the wiki for that as I knew of only anthropology earlier :-) ) as well as a practicing Buddhist (with Advaita leanings).

Noted the last sentences in your comment. I think countries like India and China are certainly well into a post-colonial era now. Indian history scholarship today is replacing previous Eurocentric Indian history theories with a more Indian 'Indian history' scholarship! I am sure something similar would be happening today in many countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa.

Now about the part of your comment related to rise of Christian Right Wing today in the USA. My Hindu faith, very fortunately, does not come in the way of me worshiping Lord Jesus Christ as a divine figure with extraordinary mystical powers as well as being a great teacher for social harmony. I strongly believe in a God/Divine power who intervenes in human affairs typically in response to intense prayer from his devotee(s) though the response may be in a different way from what the devotee(s) may have prayed for. I admire the evangelical Christian faith in USA as well as in many other parts of the world, including India, which shows intense faith in Lord Jesus Christ.

I must also say that I do object to any efforts by any evangelists to aggressively sell/impose their faith on others. But so long as they don't do such aggressive proselytization, I find their faith in Jesus to be inspiring. Honestly!

However, some Christian preachers take extreme positions which I don't think have a good basis in a proper interpretation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, as expressed in the canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Telling people of not only other faiths like Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism, but also of Christian denominations that are significantly different from theirs, that they will burn in Hell forever for not believing in and worshiping Jesus Christ in the same way that they do, is an example of the extremist positions of some Christian preachers that I vehemently disagree with. I also find the prosperity gospel, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosperity_theology, to be somewhat at odds with what I understand as the message of the life and teachings of Lord Jesus Christ as revealed through the four canonical gospels. So I prefer to be inspired more by a Mother Teresa and humble missionaries like her than by some of the super wealthy Mega Church pastors in the USA.

I think the USA, especially rural communities in USA, have many good Christians who try to lead lives of faith and ethics. I am very supportive of such good Christians in the USA. I have lived in Nashua, New Hampshire, USA in the 1980s for over a year and a half (over two stints), going for software consultancy work to Lowell, Massachusetts and while I did not participate in any Christian congregation then, I found the people I interacted with in these towns/cities to be mostly good people, and I have very happy memories of that stay in New England, USA.

The current political scenario in the USA (which I have been following to some extent) is an extraordinary situation. I do think that President Trump has good intentions to improve the lives of Americans and I support those good intentions. What is crucial though is how Trump converts those intentions to governance and legislation. The manner in which politics is being practiced now in the USA Congress and USA White House is quite worrying. One hopes and prays that democratic processes, rule of law and USA being a nation of laws not men as recently said by Sen. Lindsay Graham, are given their just value even if these processes may be slow and somewhat cumbersome. I recall that former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India talked of unforeseen/unanticipated consequences of major policy decisions (being a worrying factor). USA Congress must ensure that at least the easily foreseeable consequences of new legislation/amendments of old legislation are well understood before they are enacted into law. In particular, the Healthcare legislation attempts this year, which I followed quite a bit as the lives of millions of poor and lower middle class Americans would be impacted by it, have been very worrying.

But I do think that USA politics today is dominated by social and economy related issues than evangelical Christian issues per se. These social and economy issues impacted the evangelical Christian communities as well and so they may have supported Trump (and still support Trump) in a big way, to give him a chance to solve these problems from an outsider successful businessman point of view, which I think was his main election campaign platform.
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An Indian correspondent hailing from the Indian Syrian Christian community wrote over email (and was OK with public sharing):

The better known term is Syrian Christian and it dates back to at least the 4-5C if not to the time of St Thomas. For centuries the patriarch of this church was in Antioch (I think). Much more recently, the church had its own bishops and so could consecrate priests. To my knowledge there was no evangelisation. The church later split into factions (e.g. the Orthodox and the non-Orthodox) and today there are a few dominant ones.

Roman Catholicism came to Kerala via the Portuguese much later, as you rightly point out. There are plenty of RCs in Kerala today, some with Portuguese-sounding names like de Souza. This is all much more recent.
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I (Ravi) responded (slightly edited):
Now in my comments (which are put up on the blog post) I had planned to use the term Syrian Catholic church or something like that but when I looked up the wiki I saw that there is some ambiguity issue with that term! See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syrian_Catholic.

I had a quick look at the page and felt that Syriac Catholic would not match Indian Christians and so used the next Syro-Malabar Catholic church (not realizing/noting that the last entry Syro-Malankara Catholic church also dealt with Indian Christians).

And as I think about it, it seems to me that while we Indians may have used Syrian Christian in the past to refer to Christians from Kerala having some links to Syrian church in the past, today I think that term may not be appropriate for bloggers/social media writers like me to use. Non Indians may get confused with the term. In fact, some Indians too may get confused with the term.

The wiki has the term, Saint Thomas Christians, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Thomas_Christians, for "Syrian Christians" or "Nasrani" Indians. But I don't know how much currency that term has.

Indian Syrian Christian may be one unambiguous way to refer to this community. Or Saint Thomas Christians of India. Plain Syrian Christian is too close to Syriac Christians which seems to refer to a larger set of Syriac Christians from Middle East AS WELL AS India.

But to refer to the Indian Syrian Christian church is another issue, as there does not seem to be one such church or one (united) set of churches. The original Syrian church, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syriac_Catholic_Church, is related to, in the past at least, with Indian Syrian Christian churches, but seems to be distinct from them today. Perhaps a more accurate term would be "Indian Syrian Christian churches like the Syro-Malabar Catholic church and the Syro-Malankara Catholic church". A mouthful but accurate!
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Correspondent responded:
Syrian Christians refer to themselves in Malayalam as 'Suriani' to distinguish themselves from other Kerala Christians. There are many subdivisions: Mar Thoma, Orthodox, Malankara, and so on. But these are often unseen and unknown by others.

I can see that others may find it confusing to read about 'Syrian Christians' who have nothing to do with Syria. Indian Syrian Christians sounds right. After all, there are still Syriac words in the church services and many of the practices come from the early church.

I say all this with some hesitation: my Malayalam is poor and I am not religious. But I think I have got it right.
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[I thank C Andrew Barker whose comment on the above mentioned Facebook post started this conversation and wikipedia, and have presumed that wikipedia 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.]

Friday, July 28, 2017

Kejriwal denies asking lawyer Jethmalani to use offensive word against minister; Jethmalani disagrees and quits; Legally defensible public allegations in India today

Please note that this post is copy-pasted from http://ravisiyermisc.blogspot.in/2017/07/arvind-kejriwal-denies-asking-lawyer.html on 28-Jul-2017. I felt it appropriate to put a copy of that post in this spiritual blog as this blog does have some truthful, I repeat truthful, criticism of some named persons, most of whom are Indian citizens. Such persons do have the option of filing a defamation case against me in India but which I think will not stand in an Indian court of law as I am sure that my criticism of them is within what is permissible under India's freedom of speech and defamation laws. Also if they do file a defamation case against me I will surely consider filing counter defamation cases against those of them (who file a defamation case against me) who have maligned me and also record-tampering case against those of them who have done record-tampering against me. Whistle-blowing with an intent of long-term good surely has its risks with defamation case being one of those risks.

One of India's top lawyers, Ram Jethmalani, quits from representing Delhi CM, Arvind Kejriwal, in defamation case against him.

Jethmalani is reported to say that he referred to a senior politician who is a powerful minister in the Union govt. now, as a crook, in the Delhi High Court on instructions from Kejriwal, his client. Kejriwal is reported to deny that. So, according to the report, Jethmalani is accusing Kejriwal of being a liar, and so is quitting from the task of representing him.

BTW the powerful minister who was referred to as crook in the Delhi High Court as mentioned above, filed an additional defamation case seeking Rs. 10 crore [Rs. 100 million] damages for being referred to as crook in the Delhi High Court by Jethmalani as the lawyer representing Kejriwal. So that minister did ramp up the pressure with the additional lawsuit which seems to have separated the lawyer Jethmalani from his client Kejriwal! This is the power of lawsuits in India today!

Jethmalani clarifies that he does not have any problems if Kejriwal does NOT pay him his [Ravi: astronomical] fees, as he (Jethmalani) claims to "have worked for free for thousands of people". http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/ram-jethmalani-quits-as-arvind-kejriwals-counsel-in-defamation-case-ddca-arun-jaitley-4767664/, dated 26th July 2017
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Later Update.

Some additional details from article, Defamation case filed by Arun Jaitley: Ram Jethmalani quits as CM Arvind Kejriwal’s lawyer, seeks Rs 2 crore fee, http://indianexpress.com/article/india/defamation-case-filed-by-arun-jaitley-ram-jethmalani-quits-as-cm-arvind-kejriwals-lawyer-seeks-rs-2-crore-fee-4768651/, dated 27-Jul-2017, are given below.

It states that Jethmalani's office has sent a bill of over Rs. 2 crore [Rs. 20 million] to CM of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal. But it reports Jethmalani as also saying, “Nahi dega, toh nahi dega (If he doesn’t pay, he doesn’t pay), I work for thousands of people for free.”

Note that the first defamation suit filed by the powerful minister against Arvind Kejriwal and some other functionaries of his party, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) (Commmon Man party in English), was for Rs. 10 crores [Rs. 100 million]. The second defamation suit as reported in earlier article mentioned above was also for Rs. 10 crores [Rs. 100 million].

This report states that in response to the second defamation suit, Kejriwal filed an affidavit "stating that there was no instruction from him to his counsel to use objectionable remarks against" the powerful minister in the defamation case.

So Kejriwal has refuted Jethmalani's statement that he asked him (Jethmalani) to refer to the powerful minister in Delhi High Court as crook, in a court affidavit (which I think is like a signed statement from him under oath to the court). That precipitated Jethmalani quitting from representing Kejriwal in this case.

The report also states that Delhi govt had earlier cleared Rs 3.5 crores [Rs. 35 million] payment to Jethmalani. It states that Jethmalani's retainer charge was Rs. 1 crore and that for each appearance in court (Delhi High Court) he charged Rs. 22 lakh.

Ravi: Hmm. The lawyer fees as reported here is the 3.5 crores already paid + 2 crores more i.e. Rs. 5.5 crores which is over half the main lawsuit demand of Rs. 10 crores from the powerful minister!

I think Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal as well as his fellow Aam Aadmi Party members will now be very careful in making corruption related allegations without strong evidence that will back their allegations in an Indian court of law, against top political leaders of other parties of the country.

In general my understanding of legally defensible/safe public writing/speaking on such matters under Indian law today is that allegations of criminal wrongdoing (e.g. taking bribes, record-tampering) against named persons should be made publicly only if the person making the criminal allegations is willing to provide strong evidence backing those allegations in a court of law. Allegations about unethical behaviour but which is not criminal conduct does not need to have such proof/evidence so long as the allegations are true AND the public allegations have some social good purpose. For example, if somebody in an administratively powerful position is referred to as having made an oral insult or sadistic barb against some staff/associate to dominate and bully the person, the latter can publicly state so even if the latter cannot prove it, provided the latter is willing to testify in an Indian court of law that it was said to him AND make the case that one of the goals of the public allegation is to prevent/reduce similar domination/bullying by administrators over other staff/associates.

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

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Former All India President of Sathya Sai orgn. and former SSSCT trustee, V.Srinivasan, passes away

Given below are the contents of my Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1943757079174193, dated today, 25-Jul-2017.

[Note that this shares another Facebook post, most of whose contents are provided below.]

May Bhagavan keep showering His Grace on the soul of V. Srinivasan sir! In the crucial first few years after Mahasamadhi (April 2011), V. Srinivasan sir seems to have played a key role as a senior trustee of SSSCT as well as the All India President of Sathya Sai orgn. to keep the Indian Sathya Sai orgn. ship stable as it faced enormous divisive challenges. I do clearly recall that in the first public media/press conference held by SSSCT in Prasanthi Nilayam a few months after Mahasamadhi, it was V. Srinivasan sir who was the leader taking on the very aggressive media questions then. I think that really showed great courage as well as determined leadership in the face of tremendous challenges. I think we Sathya Sai devotees owe V.Srinivasan sir a great debt of gratitude for that leadership he showed during this challenging period. It must also be remembered that in this post-Mahasamadhi period, V.Srinivasan sir remained faithful to the teachings and instructions of our beloved Lord, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba regarding mediums and communicators, thereby serving as an example for others to follow.

Thank you so much V. Srinivasan sir for your commendable leadership of the Sathya Sai orgn. especially during the very challenging immediate post-Mahasamadhi years. Jai Sairam!
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The shared Facebook post is of Saibliss, https://www.facebook.com/saimemories/photos/a.422242711155641.89985.402496529796926/1512972108749357/ dated 25-Jul-2017 most of whose contents (slightly edited) are given below.



FORMER TRUSTEE SRI. V. SRINIVASAN MERGED WITH SWAMI JULY 25, 2017

The Sai fraternity woke up Tuesday morning with the sad news of Sri.Srinivasan merging with Swami on 25th July 2017 around 12:15 am. He first met Swami in Chennai in the year 1970 and ever since never looked back. A qualified engineer, Sri. Srinivasan is a well known industrialist and was the chairman of W.S. Industries. He served in Sri Sathya Sai Organisations in various capacities and chose to hand over the reigns of All India President of Sri Sathya Sai Organisation a year ago. Sri. Srinivasan who was also the Trustee of Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher learning and Sri Sathya Sai Medical Trust, and gave up his positions on health grounds.

On May 8th 2017 he lost his wife Smt. Vidya Srinivasan and in spite of his age related ailments, Sri Srinivasan was still active in participating in Sai Functions and he addressed the state level programme that was held on Saturday in ECR road Chennai and also in Sundaram ashram in Chennai on Sunday with the portable oxygen parameters which he had to carry after he developed some age related complications.

This shows the love he had for Swami and for Sai Organisation. Like a warrior who prefers to die in the battlefield, Sri. Srinivasan merged in Swami while still being active in sharing his words of wisdom with fellow Sai brothers and sisters . May Swami give all the strength to his family in particular, who lost the parents in such a short span. Thank you Srinivasanji for playing your role in the Sai mission and for guiding thousands of devotees at various capacities..
The last rites will be performed at 3 PM today in Chennai.
Jai Sairam

Monday, July 24, 2017

Very disturbed by brain-washing of small children to view Madhusudan Naidu as Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

I recently saw some pics of small children with Madhusudan Naidu (MN) where the small children were looking at him with worshipful eyes. Two of such pics are given below in this post. MN is signing a book for a boy on a page having Swami pic! He surely would have signed like Sathya Sai Baba.





Another pic which is given below has an elder touching his head on the floor near the feet of MN. But one can see students behind him. These young students will consider that elder's behaviour, especially if he is a teacher in their school, as the way they should revere MN!



That's it! These children will probably spend ten to fifteen years of their young life in MDH group free educational institutions revering MN as Sathya Sai. After that sort of long-term brain-washing, I guess at least a significant number of these children will, in their adult life, either continue to revere MN as Sathya Sai or be thoroughly CONFUSED about Sathya Sai. What a great spiritual tragedy!

Then I decided to do some browsing on Facebook to see if I can come across other evidence of similar behaviour.

This Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/preethamsai/videos/10155386977011677/, dated 14th July 2017, has the text, "This little boy wants Swami to come to Hassan campus every Sunday in helicopter, spend time with him, have lunch and fly back to give "Bhashna" :D in the evening at Muddenahalli!" and a short video of a young boy (possibly a student in Muddenahalli group Hassan school). The video is 1 min 37 secs with MN and Narasimhamurthy on the stage where the child is speaking.

The young boy would surely be viewing MN far more as Swami than as only Swami communicator.

This led me to view again a part of a recent speech by Narasimhamurthy where he shared his view about the communicator role having got expanded at times to Swami "entering" Madhusudan!

From around 2:35:03 Northern California Public Event, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQ_Xasy7ZRU, published June 26th 2017, Narasimhamurthy says:

What Baba is saying (is), I am going to continue in this subtle form for 11 years to prepare the ground for the advent of my third coming, that is as Prema Sai, and this is what he has been doing. Why he is establishing ashrams all over (the world). Brother Isaac referred to 18 ashrams including one in India. Why are these ashrams (set up)? Swami has been telling, everyone of these ashrams is going to become the abode of the Prema Sai, and would become the center of his mission of ending the misery of the world.

And he very lovingly - day before yesterday Baba told a group of devotees, Shirdi Sai Baba was like a bullock cart mission. He did not go further - further than his own state. Sathya Sai Baba is like travelling in a car - he went around the country. Prema Sai is going to travel by plane. He is going to travel all over the world. He is going to travel all over the world and teach this lesson of selfless love and selfless service and nothing else. This has been the message of all the masters, all the prophets. And it is the same love which came in different forms and today he is with us in a form which cannot be seen, which cannot be felt. It was Helen Keller who said, "The most beautiful things in the universe can neither be seen nor touched. They can only be felt in the heart. Close the mind, open the heart. Receive the message, receive the love. And let it flow - in our lives as selfless love for fellow beings. And as selfless service. With these words I conclude and pray to Bhagavan. All of you have been waiting to listen to his message. The message is the same. Message is one and the same.

But today, I want to share with you something. Madhusudan, our brilliant student, whom Swami has chosen and earlier when this was happening, people would ask me a question. Is Madhusudan a medium? I wanted to dispel that kind of notion. I told in public meetings, individually in small groups - he is not a medium. He is the communicator. He is the communicator. But you and I as devotees know, you will not be happy just to listen to Madhusudan saying - I perceive Baba seated here and I communicate to you what he tells you. You will not be happy. This is - what made us happy was when we went to Baba, we offered (the) letter. He took it and it brought smiles on our face. We told him a sentence about our problems. He assured us - I am here. Don't worry. We were happy. (For) just listening to discourses, a communicator is enough. But for experiencing his presence - because we want to hand over letters to him. We want to look at his smile. We want to have a word with him.

What Baba is doing today - Madhusudan is not just a communicator. He is the vehicle. Baba enters his personality and Madhusudan is not there.

One of the ladies by name, Irene Watson who has written many books - some of our devotees will know that. And she wrote in one of the books, recently she wrote, I see many times - Sai Baba, Sathya Sai Baba - walking in front of Madhusudan and sometimes it so happens, Madhusudan disappears. I don't know where he goes. And Baba gave me that book for some kind of editing before it was published. Then I asked Baba. Baba said, sometimes yes, there are two - Madhusudan and Baba. And sometimes Madhusudan is not there at all. There is only one - that is me. That is love. That is compassion. My shrine is in your heart. That's what he said."

Ravi: Here's my analysis of the above words of Shri B.N. Narasimhamurthy (BNNM). Firstly BNNM is (and Madhusudan Naidu also is) a traitor to the PUBLIC teachings and instructions of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba that he never communicates through others (others' bodies), and that his (Bhagavan's) interactions with his devotees are DIRECT and heart-to-heart. But I will not say that BNNM is deliberately orchestrating a fraudulent spiritual scheme. I think BNNM is spiritually deluded. I mean, he has got caught up in some spiritual fantasy world which is not the truth but is fantasy. And, very clearly, BNNM is the MOSES like leader of Muddenahalli group. So whatever prophet BNNM says will be followed by Muddenahalli group followers.

BNNM wants to help society but is not realizing or not willing to accept that endorsing the impersonator of Sathya Sai role of Madhusudan Rao Naidu is doing GREAT DAMAGE to the long-term legacy and memories of Sathya Sai. And BNNM is rationalizing (explaining) why Muddenahalli group devotees need an impersonator. He says, "(For) just listening to discourses, a communicator is enough. But for experiencing his presence - because we want to hand over letters to him. We want to look at his smile. We want to have a word with him. What Baba is doing today - Madhusudan is not just a communicator. He is the vehicle. Baba enters his personality and Madhusudan is not there."

Ravi: So as Muddenahalli group devotees want (or have a strong need) to interact with some physical form of Sathya Sai in this post-Mahasamadhi phase, BNMM has "created" a physical form for them! Madhusudan Rao Naidu! And then he gives the rationalization (explanation) that Baba enters Madhusudan's personality after which that body is no longer Madhusudan (Madhusudan is not there). That body becomes Baba!

Hmm. That's it then folks. Now Madhusudan Rao Naidu is OFFICIALLY DECLARED or should I say OFFICIALLY REVEALED by BNNM as becoming Sathya Sai Baba (Baba enters his personality) when Madhusudan is given darshan, sparshan and sambhashan to Muddenahalli group devotees, which includes the young children I mentioned above. When Muddenahalli group elders themselves accept this declaration/revelation, how can there be any doubt that most children of Muddenahalli educational institutions will accept it as the gospel truth?

So in the attached pics and in the video link given earlier of the children worshiping Madhusudan, they think they are worshiping Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba!!! Oh My God! While I knew that this was going to happen somewhere down the line, seeing these pics and videos and the BNNM endorsement of it, is still very disturbing.

I must say here if that if these children worship Madhusudan Rao Naidu as Madhu Baba or Madhu Sai Baba, I will not have this serious issue as then the HOLY NAME of my beloved and revered Gurudev, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, does not come into it.

What should we Sai devotees on Facebook who are loyal to Prasanthi Nilayam, do now to combat/counter this? Note that most of these educational institutions where young school children are being brainwashed to worship Madhusudan Rao Naidu as Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, are in the Indian state of Karnataka. What is Karnataka Sai orgn. going to do about it? What are Karnataka Sathya Sai devotees going to do about it? What are senior faculty of Brindavan campus of Sai university located in the state of Karnataka, especially the teachers of Madhusudan Rao Naidu in that campus, going to do about it?

I thought that I should stop at raising these questions in this post. A future post may attempt to give my suggestions to combat/counter it.
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Here's my Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1943389569210944, associated with this blog post.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

How should Prasanthi Nilayam, Puttaparthi ashram system prevent future Saiprabha Patnaik type staff suicide?

[Warning: Those who don't like to read unpleasant news regarding Prasanthi Nilayam, Puttaparthi ashram may please skip reading this post.]

Over the past few days I was expecting to see some report from Anantapur CCS police about their investigation of Saiprabha Patnaik suicide case which got transferred to them from Puttaparthi Urban police station, on 28th June 2017 (the suicide happened in a Prasanthi Nilayam ashram project office on June 6th night/June 7th early morning (in) 2017; for more see http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2017/06/tragic-event-possible-suicide-in.html).

But so far I have not come across any report in local Telugu news media on the matter. Perhaps their investigation needs more time than the around three weeks that have passed so far since Anantapur CCS took up the case.

Meanwhile the suicide matter is receding into the background as newer events have been taking centre stage in Prasanthi Nilayam. Therefore I decided to write this post now before the suicide case is almost fully forgotten.

I think that all genuine Sai devotees including Prasanthi Nilayam bosses will not want such an unhappy incident of a young lady staff (recently resigned staff, to be precise) committing suicide in a Prasanthi Nilayam project office, to occur again anywhere in Prasanthi Nilayam (PN) ashram system. It is with such an intention to help prevent recurrence of such tragedies in PN that I am writing this post.

Now my focus in this article is on workplace harassment in PN. The police investigation into the Saiprabha Patnaik suicide case would involve examination of whether any crimes under Indian law like abetment of suicide were committed. This article is not concerned with such police investigation matters of possible abetment of suicide at all. This article, I repeat, focuses on workplace harassment in Prasanthi Nilayam ashram system.

Ideally we should first know whether Saiprabha Patnaik suffered from abuse of power, mental harassment and/or humiliation as staff of Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vahini (SSSVV) project from her bosses in SSSVV project. For that we would need to know about any complaint letters Saiprabha Patnaik wrote on this matter, and the view of those complaints from her bosses - we would then have both sides of the story. Then somebody could do an internal SSSVV project investigation and arrive at a conclusion regarding the matters raised in the complaint.

But the chances of getting such a public report from PN ashram in the near future, or even in the distant future, seem to be close to zero! I think PN bosses may have decided not to do anything till the police investigation is complete, which seems to be a safe decision. After all a young lady lost her life and so it is best for PN bosses to play safe in this matter and wait for the police investigation to complete. But as now close to two months have passed with the police investigation yet to be completed, PN ashram system would have lost any interest it might have had in conducting any internal investigation on workplace harassment (after police investigation is complete). PN ashram system life is like that.

My (somewhat informed) guess is that Saiprabha Patnaik would have complained about abuse of power, mental harassment and/or humiliation in her job as staff of SSSVV. Whether her complaint is valid or not is another matter. There certainly is a possibility that she imagined that she was being harassed by her boss(es) but which was not the case. But she would have felt, rightly or wrongly, that injustice was done to her by SSSVV top manager(s) and that is why she decided to take revenge on them by committing the very tragic act of giving up her precious young life in SSSVV office.

But are there other instances of workplace harassment in PN ashram? Are such cases documented so that it can be verified, and if found to be true, can they serve as case-studies for workplace harassment and power abuse in PN ashram system? Can norms be evolved to prevent/reduce such cases of workplace harassment and power abuse in PN ashram system in future?

Prior to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's Mahasamadhi in April 2011, there was fear among all bosses, I repeat all bosses, of Prasanthi Nilayam system, that if they abused their power and mentally harassed their subordinates, those subordinates could offer a complaint letter to Bhagavan during darshan. If Bhagavan did accept the letter it could turn out to be a severe embarrassment for the concerned boss or worse than just severe embarrassment. However, sometimes it could backfire on the complainant. Now I am not saying that because of this fear there was no workplace harassment in PN system before Bhagavan's Mahasamadhi. But I am saying that this fear was there and that this fear prevented bosses and department heads to indulge in large levels of workplace harassment of staff of PN system.

After Bhagavan's Mahasamadhi that fear vanished in a very short time. Suddenly some people in powerful positions in PN ashram system started becoming dictatorial and, very sadly, got into rather horrendous abuse of power, mental harassment and humiliation of staff working for them. Let me share my own sad and traumatic experience somewhat briefly.

I was providing free service in the Sai university (Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning) from Jan. 2003 to March 2012, with designations of Honorary Staff, Honorary Faculty and Visiting Faculty. I personally experienced horrendous abuse of power, mental harassment and humiliation in the period Jun/Jul 2011 to May 2012 from then vice-chancellor of Sai university - Sashidhara Prasad, then (and current) Registrar - Naren Ramji, then Director of Prasanthi Nilayam campus - Sudhir Bhaskar and then Head of Department of Mathematics & Computer Science - V. Chandrasekaran. I have documented this in detail in my blog post: My May 2012 service record & record tampering related correspondence with Sai university (SSSIHL) administrators, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2015/11/my-may-2012-service-record-record.html.

I felt it appropriate to mention here, one particular aspect of abuse of power that was committed against me by Sai university administrators, which is documented in the blog post mentioned above. A criminal offence of record tampering and malicious defamation was committed against me (and two other free service teachers) by showing me (and these two other teachers) as a Teaching Assistant in a document titled, "Annual Quality Assurance Report (AQAR) for the year 2009-10 submitted by Internal Quality Assurance Cell (IQAC)". This document was signed by the vice-chancellor, Sashidhara Prasad, and another person from the Sai university.

I chose not to file a police and court complaint against Sai university administrators for this criminal offence of record tampering and malicious defamation they committed against me, out of my great respect and great gratitude to the founder of Sai university, my beloved and revered Gurudev, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. The Sai university bears his name and I did not want that name to get dragged into police stations and criminal courts of law.

But the fact is that such a crime under the Indian Penal Code was committed against me. I hold Registrar - Naren Ramji as the main culprit for this crime. Vice-chancellor Sashidhara Prasad and Director Prasanthi Nilayam campus Sudhir Bhaskar were accessories to cover up the crime and try to bully me by saying I was making poisonous statements, and trying to find fault with me. I don't know whether HOD V.Chandrasekaran can be viewed as somebody who aided and abetted in this crime under the Indian Penal Code as I don't know whether he has signed on these tampered-records related to my designation. But V. Chandrasekaran is the person who mentally harassed and humiliated me over this. He taunted me saying that the designation of Visiting Faculty I had then on an Identity Card duly signed by Principal, Prasanthi Nilayam campus, Prof. U.S. Rao, was wrong! So obviously he was aware of me being shown as a Teaching Assistant in some university records! Instead of fighting for me and shouting at the Registrar for having such a lowly designation for an international software consultant like me in his records, HOD Chandrasekaran seemed to enjoy that the Registrar had records showing me that way (as well as another senior free service faculty in the dept.)! Sadistic is the word that springs to mind to describe the horrendous mental harassment attitude of the HOD V. Chandrasekaran towards me.

When I met Registrar Naren Ramji in early March 2012 in the Registrar's office, he said that I was "Seva Dal" and not "Visiting Faculty"! Another sadistic behaviour incident, this time from Registrar Naren Ramji! That led me to terminate my association with the Sai university (Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning) as I felt that it had become a madhouse under these top administrators of the university, in a short period of around a year after Bhagavan's Mahasamadhi.

So, to put it in a nutshell, I have been a DIRECT VICTIM of abuse of power, mental harassment and humiliation by multiple top administrators of the Sai university in the period of a year or so after Mahasamadhi. And my above blog post documents it in detail with a lot of documentary proof. This abuse of power, mental harassment and humiliation impacted my mental and physical health.

I know for sure that there have been quite a few other such cases of abuse of power, mental harassment and humiliation suffered by staff of Prasanthi Nilayam system in the years after Mahasamadhi. However, almost all such people prefer to privately share their grievance with their close friends (and perhaps family), but publicly say nothing. In my case I have documented it publicly. And in Saiprabha Patnaik's case though we do not have any documentation shared publicly as of now, her very tragic and extreme act of committing suicide in the Prasanthi Nilayam ashram office where she had served as staff, speaks volumes.

Given that it is established that abuse of power, mental harassment and humiliation (workplace harassment) of staff by some bosses/dept. heads DOES HAPPEN in Prasanthi Nilayam ashram after the Mahasamadhi of Bhagavan (April 2011), how can PN ashram system prevent future Saiprabha Patnaik type staff suicide due to actual or perceived workplace harassment?

I think there needs to be a workplace harassment complaint center in PN ashram system which provides easy and anonymous access to PN ashram system staff. This center should also have some knowledge on suicide prevention and perhaps have a tie-up with any well known suicide prevention group in Andhra Pradesh recognized by Andhra Pradesh govt. & police, who can be contacted for help whenever there are serious concerns about somebody getting into suicidal tendencies due to workplace harassment.

Of course, there is a danger that normal disciplinary action for misdeeds done by staff, disappointment over lack of promotion/regularization etc. could be exaggerated and misrepresented by some as workplace harassment. The workplace harassment complaint center should be able to reject such exaggerated and misrepresented cases.

In cases which are deemed as genuine, top PN ashram bosses should be informed of the matter so that the concerned lower level bosses/dept. heads who have indulged in abuse of power, mental harassment and/or humiliation of staff working under them, are given an appropriate warning and told to change their behaviour, and also told that their behaviour will be under observation for any repeat offences. If some dept. heads/bosses repeatedly indulge in such workplace harassment of their subordinates, they should be dismissed from service, no matter how important a position they hold. No dept. head/boss is so important to PN ashram system that we should tolerate one more staff suicide in PN ashram system! For the long-term good of PN ashram system, such a dept. head/boss, no matter how important he/she is, simply has to be removed. Period.

Finally, some words about emotional and spiritual closure to such workplace harassment cases. I think this aspect is important in Prasanthi Nilayam ashram system as it is a spiritual ashram system and not a worldly commercial office system. Genuine remorse from the workplace harassment offender, instead of bullying and bluffing and acting as if he/she has committed no mistakes, along with a seeking of forgiveness by him/her from the sufferer, can be a vital healing balm for the offender. In the face of such remorse being expressed and forgiveness being sought, especially in a spiritual ashram environment, I think the sufferer's pain and suffering would reduce and he/she may provide the forgiveness. That then would help to bring emotional and spiritual closure to the matter.

Lack of remorse from the workplace harassment offender, and worse, bullying and bluffing, to perhaps save their face in the ashram community, does not help in any way towards emotional and spiritual closure of the problem. And my belief is that the workplace harassment offender will eventually suffer more from the negative karmic consequences of his/her workplace harassment offences against his/her subordinates than if he/she had shown genuine remorse for their offences and sought forgiveness from those they harmed.
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Given below are some comment from my Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1942607499289151, associated with this post.

Ravi S. Iyer wrote (slightly edited):
--Name-snipped-- sir. What sympathy have you shown sir to Saiprabha Patnaik and her family & friends? Was she not a daughter doted on by her parents and loved by her friends?

Facebook has emerged as a primary platform for OPEN DEMOCRATIC discussion on such matters happening in post-Mahasamadhi Sathya Sai mission. Don't forget sir that it was via Facebook platform primarily that details about how Muddenahalli group was dividing Sathya Sai mission got shared and discussed about in the Sathya Sai fraternity. Their false belief in so called communicator Madhusudan Rao Naidu was also exposed via Facebook. So your saying that "You cannot expect sympathy by writing on a face book platform." is not justified, in my humble view.

Regarding talk without any basis, I have provided documentatary evidence to support what I have said. Some things were oral interactions for which I am willing to testify under oath in an Indian court of law OR make an affidavit. So if my statements are untruthful (proved to be untruthful would be more accurate I guess) I think I can be subject to legal penalty. So I am NOT talking without any basis.

You made reference to Mr. Ganti. I have no connection or interaction with Mr. Ganti for the past few months since I last blocked him on Facebook. You will have to ask Mr. Ganti about his recent Facebook posts & comments and NOT me.

--Name-snipped-- sir, I have written this unpleasant post FOR THE LONG-TERM GOOD OF PRASANTHI NILAYAM system. Fear of physical form Bhagavan has to be replaced now by fear of disciplinary action against anybody in Prasanthi Nilayam system who misuses his/her position of power.

I know a lot about Prasanthi Nilayam system as I was serving in it (free service) for around nine years and I still live in Puttaparthi (outside ashram). So I get to hear about many things including abuse of power, harassment and humiliation cases.

I DON'T WANT another staff (or student/research scholar) workplace harassment related suicide to happen in Prasanthi Nilayam system. Do you get that sir??? That is the primary intent of this post of mine. A complaint center for workplace harassment in Prasanthi Nilayam system may be a wonderful step towards prevention of any future workplace harassment related suicide in Prasanthi Nilayam system.

I am trying to HELP PN system and am not, to use your words, "bent up in pulling down the very structures built by an Avatar." I am simply pointing out flaws in the system AND SUGGESTING REMEDIES for it. That is not pulling down any structure.

You wrote, "Are you more powerful than the Very Kaliyuga Avatar? Does He not know as to what is going behind him after His Mama Samandhi?" Well, sir, the first question I don't think deserves an answer. Regarding the second question, the question is that are we supposed to just sit back and watch doing nothing, relying completely on Bhagavan to do everything? Your view may be that and you are entitled to your view. My view is that we also have to do our bit in helping PN system stabilize and get rid of any flaws that may have developed in it in the immediate years after Mahasamadhi.

And BTW that is why I wrote extensively on Facebook in 2015 & 2016 criticizing the claims of Madhusudan Rao Naidu who was endorsed by B.N. Narasimhamurthy, for which I was attacked viciously by some Muddenahalli group fake Facebook Id cowards, bullies and conspirators. I did not take the view that Bhagavan will take care of everything that is happening after Mahasamadhi as Bhagavan himself has taught that just saying Potato-Chapatti, Potato-Chapatti is not going to provide Potato-Chapatti to eat, and that we have to do our actions towards achieving that goal too.

Thanks and Jai Sairam!
----

--Name-snipped-- wrote:
Sairam Anna, You are right. I too agree, when Swami was physically present, staff & top bosses had fear that their complaint may go to Swami. So they were on their guard. Post-Mahasamadhi, all of them have become free-birds. I'm not saying, everybody in PN system are haughty. There are some good people also. I can say this as i have some good friends over there, who are good human beings. As you said, Flaws in the system should be corrected. Well, it's for their own good.
----

Ravi S. Iyer wrote (slightly edited):
--Name-snipped-- sir, I think today in 2017, PN system has recovered very much after coming under tremendous divisive onslaught from Muddenahalli group right from July 2011 onwards. Very tragically, the Sai university was under STRONG Muddenahalli group influence (effective HIJACK by Muddenahalli group) from Jul 2011 till Nov. 2014 as the vice-chancellor in this period, Sashidhara Prasad, had become a devoted follower of B.N. Narasimhamurthy and was rejecting the views of key trustees of SSSCT to not believe in Narasimhamurthy. That crippled PN system as Sai university and its alumni community are a very vital part of PN system. His stepping down as VC in Nov. 2014 was the turning point for PN system.

I think that from around 2015 onwards, SSSCT trustees have played a major role in PN system quite aggressively overcoming the divisive challenge from Muddenahalli group and so they deserve special credit for these efforts of theirs. I wholeheartedly appreciate their efforts in this regard.

I disagree with your view that sharing my experience of abuse of power, mental harassment and humiliation from Sai university administrators in 2011 & 2012 is bad for PN system. I believe in transparency and accountability. I do not believe in sweeping matters under the carpet. I think it is transparency and accountability that will help PN system in the long-run in this post-Mahasamadhi phase. You seem to have a different view. We will have to simply accept that we have different points of view on this.

Regarding the possibility of us meeting, I am a very reclusive person. So let us leave that to Bhagavan's will. Thanks sir. Jai Sairam!
----

Saturday, July 22, 2017

List of posts related to Saiprabha Patnaik suicide in Prasanthi Nilayam, Puttaparthi ashram in June 2017

Last updated on 23-Jul-2017

1) Tragic event (possible suicide) in Prasanthi Nilayam, Puttaparthi ashram yesterday - 7th June 2017, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2017/06/tragic-event-possible-suicide-in.html, dated 8th June 2017

2) In my interactions with Vidya Vahini management, including Satyajit Salian, in 2010 and 2011, I found they were decent people, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2017/06/in-my-interactions-with-vidya-vahini.html, dated 10th June 2017

3) Psychological trauma associated with job loss; Why I am publicly writing on Vidya Vahini lady suicide case, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2017/06/psychological-trauma-associated-with.html, dated 11th June 2017

4) Is suicide note accusing a person enough proof to convict person of abetment of suicide? Indian Supreme Court seems to say: NO., http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2017/06/is-suicide-note-naming-person-enough.html, dated 12th June 2017

5) Indian Supreme Court in 2010 in workplace harassment suicide case ruled that suicide note accusation alone is not enough for even FIR on abetment of suicide, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2017/06/indian-supreme-court-in-2010-in.html, 12th June 2017

6) Lack of Due Process makes actions like asking persons to resign or job termination, rather unfair in PN ashram system, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2017/06/lack-of-due-process-makes-actions-like.html, 13th June 2017

7) Human side of married man with family losing job in Prasanthi Nilayam, Puttaparthi ashram, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2017/06/human-side-of-married-man-with-family.html, 13th June 2017

8) As a resident of Puttaparthi I seek forgiveness from parents, relatives and friends of SaiPrabha Patnaik who gave up her life recently in Prasanthi Nilayam ashram, Puttaparthi, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2017/06/as-resident-of-puttaparthi-i-seek.html, 13th June 2017

9) My FB post of 13th June 2017 on news that Satyajit has been moved to another job in Central Trust, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2017/06/my-fb-post-of-13th-june-2017-on-news.html, 15th June 2017

10) Young lady in USA is judged guilty in case somewhat similar to abetment of suicide, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2017/06/young-lady-in-usa-is-judged-guilty-in.html, 17th June 2017

11) We should wait for a few days more for Saiprabha Patnaik suicide case investigation status update, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2017/06/we-should-wait-for-few-days-more-for.html, 24th June 2017

12) Upto Saiprabha Patnaik's parents and other close kin to leave the matter SOLELY to Bhagavan's DIVINE WILL or to share their view with Sai fraternity, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2017/06/upto-saiprabha-patnaiks-parents-and.html, 26th June 2017

13) Eenadu Anantapur district supplement article today on Saiprabha Patnaik suicide case, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2017/06/eenadu-anantapur-district-supplement.html, dated 28th June 2017

14) Eenadu report: DIG Prabhakar Rao from Anantapur looks into Saiprabha Patnaik suicide case, and moves the case to Anantapur police, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2017/06/eenadu-report-dig-prabhakar-rao-from.html, 29th June 2017

15) How should Prasanthi Nilayam, Puttaparthi ashram system prevent future Saiprabha Patnaik type staff suicide?, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2017/07/how-should-prasanthi-nilayam.html, dated 23rd July 2017

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Karanam Subbamma's donation of 33 cents land in 1945 for creation of first Sathya Sai ashram - Old Mandir in Puttaparthi

Last updated on 21-Jul-2017

My comment on my Facebook share of post given below:

Perhaps the first big step in the establishment of a mission Headquarters for Sathya Sai - the donation of 33 cents land in 1945 (72 years ago) by Karanam Subbamma for the Old Mandir! In public discourses that I have had the privilege to hear live sitting in Sai Kulwant Hall, Swami always had words of praise and love for Karanam Subamma. What a great donor-soul Karanam Subbamma was and how great was her love for the young Sathya Sai (who at that time would surely have had many detractors even in Puttaparthi village who would have been jealous of the importance being given to the young (boy) Sathya Sai)!
--- end my comment ---

From https://www.facebook.com/OldMandirPuttaparthi/posts/654030538120281

On this day in 1945 Karanam Subbamma donated 33 cents of land in Puttaparthi to young Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
On this land was built the First Residence....The Old Mandir.



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[Above pic: Karanam Subamma]




[I thank Facebook user facebook.com/OldMandirPuttaparthi and facebook.com/uae123000, and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extracts and pics from their Facebook post on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

What if a young male Sai devotee wants to become a sannyasi/monk? How do other family members, especially mother, handle it?

Given below is a modified version of a comment I made elsewhere, which I felt may be useful to some readers of my posts:

Hindu astrologers refer to those whose destiny is to become a sannyasi (monk) as "sannyasa yogam" which I think translates to "good fortune of being a monk". However, in my considered opinion, vairagya (detachment/dispassion) from worldly temptations including name & fame is absolutely vital for anybody who wants to lead such a life. Many spiritual aspirants may strongly aspire to be a sannyasi but not really have the vairagya from worldly temptations to become one. I am given to understand that traditional Hindu ashrams having an order of sannyasis/monks, have a testing stage which I believe can be for some years, where a person is ordained first as a Brahmachaari. If the senior monks of the order, and the person himself, are convinced during these years of testing that the person has demonstrated that he is fit to be ordained as a sannyasi/monk, then they go ahead and give him the "diksha" of becoming a sannyasi/monk and ordain him as one.

I think that if such sannyasihood/monkhood is a divine calling then that call cannot be ignored. It has to be answered.

It is natural for mothers to get worried about their son having such a desire. Even the great Adi Shankara's mother had that worry. There is another angle which is somewhat sensitive but must be considered. In the past, and perhaps to some extent in the present too, there was/is also a concern about the mother losing the security of the adult son looking after her.

But I must also say that Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, as far as I know, did not ordain anybody as a sannyasi/monk. From what I observed and heard during the period of Oct. 2002 to Mar. 2011 when I was privileged to offer free service to Bhagavan (physical form) in Prasanthi Nilayam system, I saw that he encouraged those young men who wanted to stay unmarried and serve in Bhagavan's mission, to do some service activity in the ashram system which would give them some money to keep body and soul together, and to also serve their parents. Young men serving their parents was a very important directive of Bhagavan, and I have seen some cases of UNMARRIED young men serving in Prasanthi Nilayam system WITHOUT becoming formal sannyasis, and being obedient and dutiful towards their parents. I view such people as very inspiring, though largely unsung, Sai devotee young adults.

So to me it is absolutely clear that Bhagavan showed us that if a young man does want to lead an unmarried life dedicated to spirituality, it is NOT NECESSARY for that person to become a monk/sannyasi which typically involves renouncing family ties (including that of parents). Bhagavan showed that such young men can very well lead an unmarried and dedicated spiritual life in Prasanthi Nilayam ashram system WITHOUT breaking family ties, especially ties to parents. And further, Bhagavan VERY MUCH ENCOURAGED such persons to serve their parents instead of renouncing their parents.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Total views of this blog cross 250,000 (quarter million)

The two pics below, taken from this ravisiyer.blogspot.com blog today, give the details.


Note that the second pic above gives the top ten countries from whom visits have been made to this ravisiyer.blogspot.com blog.



The dangers of XYZ country's president getting into Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)

This post is copy-pasted from http://ravisiyermisc.blogspot.in/2017/07/the-dangers-of-xyz-countrys-president.html on 17-Jul-2017.

Note: XYZ refers to a particular country which I do not want to name.

I would say that XYZ country's president seems to be getting into Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) which seems to be getting HUGELY ENABLED by a support base that wants an Emperor to rule the country as per their wishes & agenda (as against a democratic President accountable to democratic checks & balances institutions of the country).

My traumatic experience of NPD type people whose NPD got into full blown mode after they found themselves in UNACCOUNTABLE positions of power in the Sathya Sai ashram system (based in Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh, India) including the Sathya Sai university (Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning), after Sathya Sai's passing away (in April 2011), is that these NPD types think they have a god-given right to dominate over and impose their rule (and their views) upon their subordinates. The ex warden elder and the vice-chancellor of the Sai university both got into full blown NPD cases, in my considered opinion. That encouraged some lower level officers like the Registrar, university campus director(s) and the Maths & Comp. Sc department head to also get into NPD behaviour. And, to my utter astonishment, the vast majority of staff and the alumni of the Sai university gladly accepted their dominance (sweetened for paid staff by significant salary raises or plum positions with good salary, with money coming from the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust (and associated sister trusts') corpus donated by Sathya Sai devotees over the years and NOT the money of either the ex warden or the vice-chancellor). The few naysayers were brutally but non-violently, I repeat brutally but non-violently, marginalized leading to them either accepting their rule or getting out/being thrown out (like me). The effective HIJACK of the Sai university (supported by co-operative officers like the Registrar, university campus director(s) and some HOD(s)) and its powerful alumni group by the ex warden and vice-chancellor and some of their supporters/followers, lasted nearly three and a half years (Jul 2011 to Nov. 2014 when the VC stepped down)!!! The damage done will take decades, I repeat decades, for the Sai university as well as its alumni group to recover from.

Now XYZ President is doing something similar in XYZ. What took me by great surprise and astonishment was how most of his party representatives in XYZ top legislative body have accepted this dominance by XYZ President which seems to have made him even more dominant and into full NPD type behaviour. Frankly, I expected more spine from his party representatives in XYZ top legislative body. I have been very sorely disappointed by their lack of spine to protect XYZ democracy from being dominated over by this man who is behaving like a dictator, especially in his atrocious behaviour towards the mainstream media in XYZ.

I did a lot of study about NPD in the past few years to understand how people who had behaved in one way before Sathya Sai passed away (out of fear of Sathya Sai who was accessible to be offered a complaint letter by any staff of the ashram system during his daily presence (sort-of holding court) at the main hall of the ashram), got transformed into Hitler-Stalin type monsters after they found themselves in positions of power where they were no longer accountable to almost anybody or accountable to just one or two persons whom they kept happy, one way or another.

Now in 2017 over 6 years after the passing away of Sathya Sai, slowly and steadily fear of Indian govt. agencies including district level police and courts of law, is replacing the fear of Sathya Sai (physical form). So, in most institutions of the ashram, it seems to me that abuse of power, and mental harassment and humiliation of subordinates by NPD types is coming down from the absolutely crazy levels seen in the year or two after Sathya Sai passed away in April 2011. However, a recent suicide by a lady ex-employee of an ashram project/dept. in the office where she had worked, and which case's police investigation is yet to be completed, raises concerns about workplace harassment's role in the suicide. So more needs to be done in terms of making ashram bosses and department heads accountable to the devotee fraternity, donors, and also to the govt. agencies of India.

But who will control XYZ President??? The XYZ constitution gives extraordinary protection to the position of president for the term that he has been elected for. And then the president gets extraordinary power to bring in a large team of people of his choosing (not elected representatives), including his relatives, into top positions of his administration. Now most of his party representatives in XYZ top legislative body, barring just a very few, seem to have become devoted followers (devotees) of the Emperor-President! And he is using his social media following and his support base to immense effect in ensuring this devotion from his party representatives. I mean, these party representatives seem to be afraid of attracting the displeasure and wrath of the Emperor-President as then he may publicly (verbally) attack them which may then lead to his (Emperor-President's) support base in the representatives' constituencies, opposing them (representatives) and seeking to unseat them!

What an extraordinary state of affairs in a wealthy and militarily powerful country (XYZ) in the world today, that (country XYZ) is a democracy!
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Given below is a comment exchange from my Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1939622989587602, associated with this blog post:

In response to comment, "Well written post ( NPD ). We find such people everywhere now-a-days. Must be cautious. And it seems like you are still very hurt over the treatment meted out to you at your workplace. Years have passed by but your wounded heart hasn't healed. I do understand you. Take Care.", I (Ravi) wrote (slightly edited):

Thanks. About the "still very hurt": Well, now for me it is more of a matter of documenting my experience, and keeping it alive, as that would help deter such harassment and humiliation of others. That deterrence part is one key reason why I keep mentioning it, from time to time. In this particular case, I felt it appropriate to refer to those experiences as I am sharing my learning from that experience in the context of country XYZ president.

Also, emotional closure of such matters comes when the wrongdoers apologize and seek forgiveness. I have not received any such apology or seeking of forgiveness request from then vice-chancellor, Registrar, then Director campus and then HOD of Maths & Comp. Sc. dept. They think that they can bully and bluff their way through the matter. I want to keep this alive as a way to counter their efforts to bluff and bully their way through their wrongdoings.
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--Name-snipped-- responded:
Yes, i get your point of view. You see, we live in Kali Yuga, so we encounter many such problems in our daily life. These wrongdoers never apologise because they are too egoistic. Let me tell you, such people are very well aware of their flaws. They may be highly educated, but do not have basic manners to say "Sorry" I am saying this based on my personal experiences.
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Ravi S. Iyer responded (slightly edited):
Thanks for your valuable response.

See sister --Name-snipped--, I did not write about these matters publicly from June/July 2012 by which time I had terminated my association with the Sai university and also let the bosses know in a polite but not public way that they should follow Sathya & Dharma, till sometime in the year 2015! Around three years!!! After July 2012 I had taken the approach of just walking away from Asathya-Adharma and focusing on my spiritual journey in outside ashram Puttaparthi.

But what happened? Did these fellows show remorse for their bad behaviour? No. Instead the vice-chancellor and ex warden continued their dominance over Sai university till Nov. 2014!!! The Registrar, Director PN campus and HOD Maths & Comp. Sc. dept acted as if they were pure as Ganges water and had done nothing wrong in my case!!!

It is in March 2015 that I realized in a more comprehensive way than earlier how much damage was being done worldwide due to DIVISION created by ex warden supported by vice-chancellor and others including many in the alumni community.

Some people had to publicly challenge and expose these fellows. That was the only way to reverse the HIJACK and reduce the number of people these fellows were misguiding by misusing the HOLY NAME of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Unless these fellows were exposed they would hide their misdeeds and bully their way out of any situation!!

So I publicly wrote, and continue to write from time to time, about the misdeeds they did in the Sai university in the crucial period of a year or so after Mahasamadhi which resulted in HIJACK of Sai university from Jul 2011 till Nov. 2014 by ex warden and then vice-chancellor.

Look at the example of Gangadhara Bhat sir of Alike school. Did he not make a public confession about him making a big mistake by following Narasimhamurthy after Mahasamadhi? He even apologized, I am told.

Should not these fellows from Sai university follow Gangadhara Bhat sir's footsteps? If they are genuine spiritual people instead of Dhongis (hypocrites), that is what they will do. But so far they prefer to hide their misdeeds and act as if they are all pure Ganges water fellows! These fellows should be forced to accept their mistakes PUBLICLY and made to apologize to Sathya Sai fraternity and seek forgiveness from Sathya Sai fraternity for their misdeeds.

That is the intent of me continuing to write from time to time about the misdeeds of some administrators of the Sai university in the crucial year or two after Mahasamadhi. Further, it is my view that the spiritual glory of the Sai university can be regained ONLY AFTER these administrators make such a confession and show GENUINE remorse. Otherwise the spiritual glory of the Sai university will continue to be eclipsed by mere UGC and NAAC related pure academic efforts with only some hypocritical show of spirituality.
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--Name-snipped-- responded (slightly edited):
Exactly brother, i agree with you.
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Saturday, July 15, 2017

During testing times, truth-lovers sometimes have to walk alone; Tagore's Ekla Chalo Re

I think the current period has become a great test for truth-lovers, truth-seekers and truth-tellers in the USA. I pray to Almighty God to give strength and courage to these truth-lovers, truth-seekers and truth-tellers in the USA. Those who endure this period without losing their dedication to the truth, will, I am sure, emerge much stronger in their dedication to the truth. I look forward to celebrating, somewhere down the line, the return of truth in the USA.

India's national motto is "Sathyameva Jayate" which means "Truth alone triumphs" and comes from one of the Upanishads, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satyameva_Jayate. It is a revered mantra for most Hindus, even if many of them fail to live up to its calling. I am sure that in the USA too, truth will eventually emerge triumphant and this dark period where truth is painted as fake/falsehood, will go away.

During the period that the Sai university came under the HIJACK of the dream-instruction medium who was a former warden & respected elder, with the vice-chancellor becoming his ardent follower/believer, from Jul 2011 to Nov. 2014, I (and few other loyalists) had to really struggle to refuse to believe the elder & ex-warden medium and to not give in to the herd mentality which accepted this elder & ex-warden medium as those in power at the Sai university had accepted him!

Of course, I had to quit the Sai university which I did in March 2012. But Puttaparthi is a small town and so I had to make a lot of effort to distance myself from most of my erstwhile colleagues as they had come under that sway or were at least not daring to openly reject the elder & ex-warden medium. That change of company made it easier for me to stick to the truth. It was one of the greatest tests of my life to walk away from my former colleagues and walk alone for a year or two, and then join a few others almost all of whom were not from the Sai university, who also were walking on the path of truth by rejecting this elder & ex-warden medium during this period of around three and a half years!

That test of fire has immensely hardened my resolve to follow the path of truth. Truth is one the biggest values of my life. I hesitate very much to even say a white lie, though I do so at times, say while joking with children, or to get out of some idiotic bureaucratic government paperwork in India where I am told by the govt. employee to say the white lie as their paperwork procedure cannot handle the truth that I am telling them. But I have not knowingly lied on any not-insignificant matter at least for the past decade.

Rabindranath Tagore, India's Nobel Laureate in Literature (won in 1913), wrote a famous poem in Bengali called Ekla Chalo Re. I think Ekla Chalo translates to Walk Alone, and Re is an interjection (exclamation). So in colloquial English one could translate it to 'Walk alone man!'.

Here is the English translation of the poem from https://thinkloud65.wordpress.com/2011/08/15/ekla-chalo-re-rabindranath-tagore-music-without-borders/ [Also see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ekla_Chalo_Re]

If they answer not to thy call WALK ALONE,

If they are afraid and cower mutely facing the wall,
O you unfortunate,
open thy mind and SPEAK OUT ALONE.

If they turn away, and desert you when crossing the wilderness,
O you unfortunate,
trample the thorns under thy tread,
and along the blood-lined track TRAVEL ALONE

If they do not hold up the light when the night is troubled with storm,
O you unfortunate,
with the thunder flame of pain ignite thy own heart
and let it BURN ALONE.
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The article also links to a video of a noted playback singer of today singing the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPqdlR_X1Vk, around 5 mins. The audience has some top Indian govt. ministers then (perhaps 2009 or a few years earlier).

I did recall Tagore's Ekla Chalo Re line many times, when I had to walk alone on the path of truth in the Sai university HIJACK situation from Jul 2011 to Nov. 2014.

While India has its fair share of liars and fakes, there have always been some thought-leaders in India's millennia old history who have celebrated truth and inspired truth-lovers of India.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Shirdi Sai Baba: People come to us due to Rinanubandh; Let us love and serve each other and be happy; Look on calmly at passing show of world

From Shri (Shirdi) Sai Satcharita, Chapters 18 & 19, http://www.saibaba.org/satcharitra/sai18_19.html (slightly edited to fix what seems to be typo kind of errors):

Baba's Advice Regarding our Behaviour

The following words of Baba are of general welfare and invaluable. If they are kept in mind and acted upon, they will always do you good. "Unless there is some relationship or connection, nobody goes anywhere. If any men or creatures come to you, do not discourteously drive them away, but receive them well and treat them with due respect. Shri Hari (God) will be certainly pleased if you give water to the thirsty, bread to the hungry, clothes to the naked, and your verandah to strangers for sitting and resting. If anybody wants any money from you, and you are not inclined to give, do not give, but do not bark at him like a dog. Let anybody speak hundreds of things against you, do not resent by giving any bitter reply. If you always tolerate such things, you will certainly be happy. Let the world go topsy-turvy, you remain where you are. Standing or staying in your own place, look on calmly at the show of all things passing before you. Demolish the wall of difference that separates you from Me; and then the road for our meeting will be clear and open. The sense of differentiation, as I and thou, is the barrier that keeps away the disciple from his Master, and unless that is destroyed the state of union or atonement is not possible, "Allah Malik" i.e. God is the sole Proprietor, nobody else is our Protector. His method of work is extra-ordinary, invaluable, and inscrutable. His will will be done and He will show us the way, and satisfy our heart's desires. It is on account of Rinanubandh (former relationship) that we have come together, let us love and serve each other and be happy. He who attains the supreme goal of life is immortal and happy; all others merely exist, i.e. live so long as they breathe".

--- end extract from Shri Sai Satcharita ---

Ravi: I looked up the Internet to get proper meanings of the term 'Rinanubandh'. Here are some interesting meanings:

From Amazon India web page of book, "Baba's Rinanubandh : Leelas during His Sojourn in Shirdi" by Vinny Chitluri, https://www.amazon.in/Babas-Rinanubandh-Leelas-during-Sojourn-ebook/dp/B005IYZWJ2, "The word 'Rinanubandh' literally means 'Karmic debt'. It is an impossible task to write the exact meaning of this word, as a lot of nuances are lost while doing so. When you read the lives of Babs's devotees you realise that it has deeper meaning. A bond that has existed for many generations."

Ravi: Google search indicates that Rinanubandh is a Marathi language word and may NOT be a Sanskrit word. In other words, it may be a mainly or only Marathi language word. With my limited Marathi language knowledge, I would break up the word Rinanubandh to Rin + anubandh. Rin literally means debt. Anubandh, in this context, (in Marathi) means "close connection or attachment", http://www.marathidictionary.org/meaning.php?id=1931&lang=Marathi.

So I would translate Rinanubandh Marathi word to English as: Close connection/link between individuals due to karmic debt (typically from past lives).

(For those who know Marathi:) The original Marathi verses composed by Hemadpant (in 1930) corresponding to the above extract are on Pages 334 and 335 here: http://shrisaibabasansthan.org.in/publications/shri-sai-satcharitra/marathi-1930/shri-sai-satcharitra-marathi-1930-adhyay-19/. The starting verse corresponding to above extract is verse (shlok) 140.

Verse 141, 1st line of couplet (two lines verse) in Marathi: "Naslya laagaabaandha kaahi; konihi kothehi jaathchi naahi" which seems to have been translated to English in the above Shri Sai Satcharita extract as "Unless there is some relationship or connection, nobody goes anywhere."

Verse 150, 1st line of couplet (two lines verse) in Marathi: "Rinanubandhachiya gaati, bhagye aamha tumha bheti" which seems to have been translated to English in the above Shri Sai Satcharita extract as "It is on account of Rinanubandh (former relationship) that we have come together". My attempt at literal English translation of the above (with my limited Marathi knowledge) is: "The bonds of karmic debt relationship/connection; destined your (plural/singular) meeting with us/me".

These words of Shirdi Sai Baba as conveyed by Hemadpant show Shirdi Sai Baba's revelations/confirmation about karmic connections/debt in the past (lives) being the key reasons/causes for people to meet again/come together in the present (lives). In other words, Shirdi Baba confirms (asserts as true) the belief of Rinanubandh being the cause of people meeting/coming together in the present (lives).

[I thank saibaba.org, shrisaibabasansthan.org.in and Vinny Chitluri (amazon.in), and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extracts (very short extract from Vinny Chitluri book description on amazon.in) from their website on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]