Saturday, October 20, 2018

Swami student and now faculty at SSSIHL (Sai university) melodiously and joyfully sings Bhagavan's Telugu poems declaring his Avatarhood and declaring his mission

Last updated on 21st Oct. 2018

The two poems are as follows (I have given below the transcript of his English translation of these poems):

1) Swami's declaration as Sai Avatar when he was 14 years old

Know that I am indeed Sai.
I am free from all the ties and bodily attachments.
None can fathom or understand my nature.

2) Swami's explaining his Avataric mission (in a letter to his elder brother Seshama Raju Garu, if I am not mistaken).

I have a task, a task to foster all mankind and ensure for all of them lives full of bliss.
I have a vow, a vow to lead all who stray from the straight path again into goodness and save them.
I am committed to the work that I love - to remove suffering of the poor and grant them what they lack.
My glory lies in protecting all those who worship and adore me with good conduct and steadfastness.
The hallmark of true devotion according to Swami is to treat the dualities like joy and grief, gain and loss with equanimity.
----

This is part of the video: "Prasanthi Vidwan Maha Sabha (Day 6) & Kavana Vijayam (Kavi Sammelan) Prasanthi Nilayam - 18 Oct 2018", https://youtu.be/uuTbjehl51o?t=1134 . I have set the starting time to 18 min. 54 secs which is when the Swami student and now faculty starts speaking about Bhagavan being the poet of poets. Then he speaks about these two Telugu poems of Swami and sings them with deep devotion and joy, and very melodiously. He also provides a translation in English. I thoroughly enjoyed the palpable devotion and joy, and the melodious singing of Bhagavan's powerful Avatar declaration and mission related Telugu poems (though I did not understand some of the Telugu) by Bhagavan's own student and now faculty.

He finishes this part at 22 min. 18 secs - i.e. a duration of 3 mins 24 secs. You may manually stop viewing the video here or watch other parts of his talk and later program involving notable Telugu poets.

[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.]



Please note that this Swami student and now faculty does not want his name to be shared. So I request those who recognize him to not mention his name in any comments they may put up on this post.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Tragic to see Sabarimala become a place for women journalists and activists to indulge in celebratory activism rather than approach it as pious devotees of Lord Ayyappa

I wonder whether the Honourable Supreme Court bench judges who wrote the majority verdict on the Sabarimala case (one judge, a lady, dissented) knew that their order would be used as a weapon by some women journalists and activists who don't seem to have any history of devotion to Lord Ayyappa, to attempt to celebrate breaking of tradition rather than approach Lord Ayyappa deity with piety.

A journalist is supposed to cover events. Here some women journalists are trying to become the events!

Tragic to see this tamasha (circus spectacle) at a place of worship and piety.

My personal view is that Lord Ayyappa is a celibate deity. Yad Bhavam Tad Bhavati! As is the feeling so it happens! When devotees have worshipped the deity with the feelings and belief that the deity is a celibate deity who does not want young and middle aged women to come before him, then that belief must be respected and adhered to.

It seems that the vast majority of women devotees of Lord Ayyappa are "ready to wait" and do not want to break these traditions.

So the Supreme Court order is not benefiting the vast majority of women devotees of Lord Ayyappa and has instead created great discomfort amongst them.

I felt it appropriate to transcribe two small parts of what Smt. Deepa Easwar said in this TV debate video clip, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPDQG7Xa7a4, published by India Today on 18th Oct. 2018 :

[Around 1 min. 42 secs.]
If you look at it, it gives a very ordinary Hindu the feeling that what was the necessity of all this. Are you seeing a huge queue of young women devotees lined up there and appealing to the police constables to please get us up there at Sabarimala? There are countable number of women and they were sent back.

[Around 2 min. 14 secs]
It is extremely unfair and an absolute injustice on the devotees like me, like Rahul Easwar, like all of them who are fighting there, because they just see people like Liby C.S. who has openly on Facebook proclaimed that I am an atheist and I am going to Sabarimala. And if Ayyappa has a problem with celibacy let me give him a (Kadakya) which is sort of a fruit which can be given in ... Let him maintain his celibacy. So she is mocking it ... And we see this sight ... of police providing her hundred percent security ...

---- end transcript segments ---

Ravi: I condemn the mockery of devotion to celibate deity Lord Ayyappa that has been indulged in by allegedly atheist activist Liby C.S. I condemn those young women journalists who are not devotees of Lord Ayyappa but are simply using the court order to attempt to make a spectacle of them being the first women to break the tradition of Sabarimala.

While I am not a regular worshipper of Lord Ayyappa, I am familiar with the deity and its worship traditions as my late elder brother was a devout worshipper of Lord Ayyappa and had been to Sabarimala many times, after observing the traditional vows during the period he wore the 'mala'. I also know many other devotees of Lord Ayyappa. So I am very pained to see this spectacle of mockery of Lord Ayyappa at Sabarimala done by some women who are under police protection!

I respectfully disagree with the majority verdict of the Honourable Supreme Court on the matter. I earnestly pray to Lord Ayyappa of Sabarimala that the appeal against this verdict be heard by the Supreme Court at the earliest and that the verdict gets reversed.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Great poster at junction of Puttaparthi and Muddenahalli roads guiding Sathya Sai devotees to right path of Puttaparthi

The pic below seems to have been put at a junction kind of place with one road leading to Muddenahalli and another road leading to Puttaparthi.

[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.]


Wonderful to see this! Great caption about ***right path*** to Puttaparthi! Muddenahalli has the Cheap Imitator Madhusudan Rao Naidu ****falsely claiming**** that he is a so called communicator of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. The path going to Madhusudan Rao Naidu of Muddenahalli is the ***wrong path***.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Where to buy paperback copy of "Who am I? I am I - Ultimate Existential Reality Answer; ..." book for delivery in India, and outside India

This post focuses on where and how to buy paperback copy of "Who am I? I am I - Ultimate Existential Reality Answer; Vedanta; God and Science conversation" book. Alternatively, readers could opt to download for ***free*** the ebook version of the same book here: https://pothi.com/pothi/book/ebook-ravi-s-iyer-who-am-i-i-am-i-ultimate-existential-reality-answer-vedanta-god-and-science-c.

Where to buy paperback copy for delivery in India

1) You can buy paperback copy (A5 size book with 123 pages) of "Who am I? I am I - Ultimate Existential Reality Answer; Vedanta; God and Science conversation" for delivery anywhere in India on Pothi.com website here: https://pothi.com/pothi/book/ravi-s-iyer-ultimate-existential-reality-answer-vedanta-god-and-science. The price is Rs. 159 + shipping (Rs. 50 to South India; Rs. 70 to other places). "Payment options available are Credit Card, Indian Debit Card, Indian Internet Banking, Electronic Transfer to Bank Account, Check/Demand Draft. The details are available" here: https://pothi.com/faq/107/what-are-the-payment-options-available-on-pothicom/.

2) If you want to buy it from an outside ashram Puttaparthi shop then if you pay the shopkeeper in advance, he will order it and keep it for you to collect from him. The price for you then would be in the range of Rs. 240 to Rs. 250 and it will take a week to ten days for him to get the book. If you are interested, please send a Facebook message / email to me at ravi@raviiyer.org . I can then put you in touch with a shopkeeper who may be willing to provide this service.

Where to buy paperback copy for delivery outside India

1) Some person in India will have to first get the book shipped to him and then that person can use Indian post or courier service to send it to a foreign country address.

If you are interested, please send a Facebook message / email to me at ravi@raviiyer.org . I can then put you in touch with a person who may be willing to provide this service. He will let you know the total cost involved.

Please note that I (Ravi S. Iyer) have chosen to get ZERO ROYALTY (to keep the Pothi.com price minimum - production cost for Pothi.com) and do not get any commission from shopkeeper/person who may assist in procuring/sending the book for/to you.

My book was prepared by me as free spiritual service (free Seva) and I am doing this promotion of my book also as free Seva. The intent is to:

1) Spread teachings/philosophy of Vedanta which were reinforced and very well explained by my beloved and revered Gurudev, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, and which are reflected in Vedanta related content of the book.

2) To help people from any religious tradition - Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Jain, Sikh, etc. - to courageously counter ridicule of their belief in God from some atheism-preachers which includes some top scientists and technologists in the world.

Note that I did not use Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's name in the book, except in one or two places in passing, to keep the focus on the teachings/philosophy and avoid any prejudice the book reader may have. I am quite sure that Bhagavan will approve of this approach as Bhagavan has publicly said on multiple occasions that he is interested in spreading Sanathana Dharma teachings/philosophy and values, and that it does not matter to him which Divine being (Ishta Devata) a person may worship. In other words, Bhagavan was happy if a person worshiped Krishna, or Rama or Jesus Christ or formless God (Brahman), even if that person did not worship Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

Bhagavan has also publicly said that not only is he a Divine being (God), but that all of us are Divine beings (God), with the difference being that he is aware of his Divinity whereas we, or most of us, are not aware of our Divinity. Further, Bhagavan's endeavour was, and in his formless aspect is, to teach us and to guide us to become aware of, and experience, our Divinity.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Should I put up my "Who am I? I am I ... " book on Amazon and Flipkart for more visibility and impact, even if it means hike in list price from Rs.159 to Rs.199?

Last updated on 14th Oct. 2018

As I am working on promoting my book, "Who am I? I am I - Ultimate Existential Reality Answer; Vedanta; God and Science conversation", https://pothi.com/pothi/book/ravi-s-iyer-ultimate-existential-reality-answer-vedanta-god-and-science, it is becoming clear that listing on amazon.in may be a significant thing from visibility and impact point of view.

I guess that most book buyers in India know of amazon.in. Pothi.com is not so well known. So listing the book on amazon.in would help raise the profile of the book somewhat.

For doing that I need to pay a one-time charge of Rs.1500 to Pothi.com with no annual fee as of now, as it is currently waived.

But the hassle is that the price of the book will increase from Rs.159 (the production cost of book with ZERO ROYALTY to me, as per my choice) to Rs.199! Not only will amazon.in list price be Rs.199 (with perhaps some discounts coming into play, at times), but even Pothi.com price will have to match that price and so be bumped up to Rs.199!

In such a scenario, if I personally order copies from Pothi.com, as the author I will get the discounted production cost price of Rs.159 (+ shipping). But other users will have to pay Rs.199 (+ shipping).

As it is, Rs.159 is considered a stiff price for an A5 sized, 123 page book. And that's because I have used zero-money-investment Print-On-Demand method where one can print even just 1 single copy of the book. Offset printing of a minimum of 500 copies of the book may result in a production cost of around Rs.50 per book copy, but then I would have to cough up Rs.25,000 and worry about sales of the books, storing hundreds of book copies, recovery of investment, and essentially get into a businessman kind of situation, which I certainly don't want to get into. I have led a pensioner/retiree life with a straight forward Income Tax return without any hassles over the past 15 to 16 years, and I do not want to disturb that in any way.

But amazon.in listing will surely increase visibility and impact of the book. That is important for promoting the book.

So I am quite seriously tempted now to explore listing the book on amazon.in (and flipkart) even though the list price will increase to Rs.199 from Rs.159.

If readers have any suggestions/thoughts about this, I would be glad to know of them.

BTW Google search for the terms (using incognito Chrome window to remove bias towards my work):
* God and science conversation books
* existential reality books

shows my Pothi.com paperback book in the 3rd set of results (21st to 30th result hits).

If instead of Pothi.com result link, it were to be an amazon.in result link, I think it would be viewed more seriously.
====================================================

An Indian author whose books are available on amazon.in and amazon.com wrote over email (and was OK with public sharing):

Dear Ravi

Making your book available on Amazon and Flipkart will make it more easily available to people, wherever they may be. Neither of these websites will do any publicity or make your book more widely known.

In my experience, people don't usually browse through online lists to see what kinds of new books are available: online book retailers are not like bookshops where people will look through the shelves to see if there is anything that interests them. So it will be people who have already heard about your book who may become interested enough to want to find out more and can then go to Amazon or Flipkart for longer descriptions, and to read reader feedback (if any). And for people in far flung places, these websites will make it easier for them to get a copy.

This is my experience.
----

I (Ravi) responded (slightly edited):

Dear --Name-snipped--,

Thanks for your valuable input based on your experience.

Noted that people may not browse through lists and get to know about my book, if it is put up on amazon.in.

What I was thinking about was scenarios where people come to know of the book through my promotion efforts. At that time, if I provide an amazon.in paperback sale page link, they may be more willing to visit it (and maybe, just maybe :-), buy it) than if I provide a Pothi.com sale page link.

I now think that amazon.in listing is a kind of standard for a book to meet, in the eyes of many book buyers in India. There is tremendous name recognition for amazon.in. Among the people that I interacted with as part of promoting the book including local shopkeepers in Puttaparthi, very few had heard of Pothi.com but almost everyone, if not everyone, knew of amazon (amazon.in).
----

The Indian author correspondent wrote:

Another advantage of an Amazon listing is that people anywhere in the world can choose how to pay for your book (e.g. Indian or foreign credit card or net banking, for example, or even cash on delivery). Not sure how pothi.com handles payments.
----

I (Ravi) responded:

From Pothi.com website:
"Payment options available are Credit Card, Indian Debit Card, Indian Internet Banking, Electronic Transfer to Bank Account, Check/Demand Draft. The details are available" here: https://pothi.com/faq/107/what-are-the-payment-options-available-on-pothicom/.
----

I (Ravi) should add that as of now, due to concerns related to indemnity clause with Pothi.com that I had to agree to (check box selection, if I recall correctly) as part of the process of using Pothi.com for self-publishing my book, I have limited shipment of the book from Pothi.com web sale page to India only. This way I am exposed to Pothi.com indemnity related legal risks only in India, which I think is something that I can somehow manage, as I am sure that my book content is well within freedom of speech laws in India.

The ebook (free download) page on  Pothi.com does not allow me to restrict downloads to India. So I think that download is possible for all. Does that expose me to Pothi.com indemnity legal risk outside India too? Perhaps. Maybe I should discuss this with them.

Note that the indemnity clause states that I have to bear Pothi.com's legal expenses if any legal suit is filed against my book!!! That is scary for me. I am OK with me bearing legal costs if anybody files a legal suit against me directly for the book. But paying Pothi.com's lawyers is something that would make me very uncomfortable. Anyway, I don't have a choice. Unless I agree to the indemnity clause I cannot self-publish the book using Pothi.com self-publishing platform (or any other Indian self-publishing platform as this indemnity clause seems to be a standard practice). So I have crossed my fingers and have hoped for the best. But I want to play somewhat safe by limiting my Pothi.com indemnity risks for the book to India only.
----

Friday, October 12, 2018

Miscellaneous posts & comments on Facebook in October 2018

When author of post or comment is not mentioned, it should be assumed that it is me (Ravi S. Iyer).

On Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2304844753065422, Ravi S. Iyer wrote on 6th Oct. 2018:

"Honesty is the glue that holds together a society of laws. Lies are the solvent that dissolves those bonds." - From a recent article in the Washington Post.

I love the above two sentences. Simple but profound. Even a kid can understand it. However the tough thing is practising it when in trouble. But then that's why a great spiritual master said (I paraphrase) that it is enough to stick to just the spiritual value of the truth (Sathya) through thick and thin and that will (eventually but surely) lead to the person's realization and direct experience of divine reality/truth.

In response to comment, "As swami says " Sathyam brooyaath,Priyam brooyaath, Na brooyaath Sathyam Apriyam", Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Sometimes though Sathyam Apriyam has to be said, for reversing Asathya-Adharma that may have got established in a community.
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In response to comment, "Young blood!", Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Swami himself has advised that being silent witness to Asathya Adharma is incorrect, if one has the ability to respond to it and try to correct it. It is not 'young blood' but, IMHO, a more fuller appreciation of Swami's teachings and not limited to one statement alone which can be interpreted in a way to justify one's inaction when Asathya-Adharma happens in front of one.
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The Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/vr.ganti.1/posts/10213340277126076, dated 7th Oct. 2018, had the following text:

WHEN A BURGLAR COMES HOME TO ROB, ONE SHOULD NOT INVOKE FOOLISHLY SWAMI’s DICTUM “LOVE ALL SERVE ALL” BUT IT IS ONE’s DHARMA TO CALL POLICE
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In response to a comment, Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Alok Dara Shikoh, Vr Ganti sirs, I had commented but then deleted it as I felt it would be misunderstood by people.
----

V.R. Ganti wrote: Alok Dara Shikoh this what he said

I was aware of this possible background sir. But I have a tendency to try to help improve accuracy and prevent possible misinterpretation in some cases, when it comes to spiritual stuff. At least, that's my intent. Hope I did not irritate you by my comment ๐Ÿ™‚.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Prior to that, if I recall correctly (as there does not seem to be a way for me to get that deleted comment in FB), I wrote something on the lines that, worldly people including unmarried people may follow that and it may be appropriate for them (calling the police when a robber tries to rob them) .... But great saints and Avatars follow a different Dharma (they really follow Love All Serve All to a very high degree if not to a complete degree) and will never call the police when a robber tries to rob them. Either they will allow the robber to take what he/she wants at times OR at other times, choose to chastise the robber for his bad acts. In any case, they will not call the police. Alok Dara Shikoh, Vr Ganti
----

Ravi S. Iyer Vr Ganti, Alok Dara Shikoh Given below is an example of Ramana Maharshi (referred in the extract below as Bhagavan) showing Love All Serve All practice to a complete degree which is NOT possible for worldly people (including me). From https://www.sriramanamaharshi.org/ashram/history/ :

To start with, there was only one hut at the samadhi but in 1924 two huts, one opposite the samadhi and the other to the north of that got erected. For bathing, the waters of Paliteertham and for pooja the waters of Ramanateertham were used. As for food, several devotees from the town came with offerings; in addition, some vessels were also donated to enable the Ashram to have a kitchen. People also donated money. Books like Ramana Geeta were sold at a book shop called Ramaneeya Granthalaya and the proceeds were given to the Ashram. Dandapani and others utilized that money for buying vessels and food articles. No money could be saved.

With all this, the Ashram did face difficulties. On any given day at least ten persons dined there. This practice gave ideas to a group of robbers. They thought that the Ashram was affluent; so on the night of June 26, 1924 they came for a robbery. Earlier also some robbers had entered the pooja room and decamped with whatever they could lay their hands on. But the present gang was made of sterner stuff. They threatened to burn the place down and struck Bhagavan on his thigh with a stick. Bhagavan’s conduct during that robbery will for all time remain a teaching for those who wish to walk the Lord’s way. Bhagavan firmly negotiated with them to refrain from hurting the dog but asked them to hit him again if they so wished. The objective of the robbers was to terrify them. The Maharshi was unmoved and unperturbed.
--- end extract ---

Ravi: The article does not seem to give further information on the incident.

I am quite sure that the ashram residents (small number of people then) who were NOT saints (like I am NOT a saint) would have tried to put in some means to prevent robberies and acts of physical violence like that reported above.

I ****know from experience**** that in Prasanthi Nilayam ashram system, residents and Seva Dal do make a lot of efforts to protect ashram system (including institutions like university and hospital) from robbery. Robbery ***does happen*** in Puttaparthi, even if such incidents are lesser than in regular world. So, in Puttaparthi too, if one does not put in adequate security in place where one lives or works, it becomes a magnet for some to steal. 

These are the realities of Prasanthi Nilayam ashram system that I experienced when I was a part of it, as well as outside ashram Puttaparthi where I have now lived for 16 years.
----

In response to a comment, Ravi S. Iyer wrote: It is my experience of Sathya Sai physical form that he was a LASA master. So it was not just preaching for him. He demonstrated it in practice.

But I also realized that I am just nowhere close to be LASA person/follower. So it was, and still is, an ideal for me which I hold in great esteem and try to Love Some and Serve Some :-). LSSS or should I say LASSI :-).
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Alok Dara Shikoh wrote: LASSI cheers to you and ganti sir!!!☺️☺️
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Alok Dara Shikoh - Sathya Sai has spoken about many different contexts in his discourses. Besides LASA he has also said, "Padi mandiki Seva Cheyi" - Serve few (ten) people. I find that, given my various limitations and flaws, 'serve ten people' teaching suits me very well.
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In response to comment, "DO YOU THINK OTHER THAN 3 OF US ANYONE ELSE WOULD BE FOLOWING THIS?", Ravi S. Iyer wrote: That does not matter to me, sir. Intricate questions about spiritual philosophy usually are not of interest to many. But they do interest me and so I am spending my time on this discussion. I think that's why Alok Dara Shikoh is spending his valuable time on this discussion.

Seekers of such knowledge are few. That's a well known fact of life.
----

In response to comment, "Then do you guys think it could be a private discussion. Just a thought to dwell upon.", Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Vr Ganti sir, you made your mark as a public writer following Sathya & Dharma in the Sathya Sai fraternity. You have a significant following. So I think such discussions being public is good. Others may not only benefit, some may contribute too.
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Alok Dara Shikoh wrote (slightly edited): Ganti sir, Ravi sir is right.... For instance if it werent for your Facebook page, I might have never met Ravi S. Iyer sir. 
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: And I would not have met you Alok Dara Shikoh sir! So Vr Ganti sir has provided us a Sathya-Dharma platform to virtually meet and interact on spiritual topics. Thank you Vr Ganti sir.
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the following article was shared: Catholic Federation of India threaten to take legal action against Nuns, says ' they are embarrassing Church', https://m.republicworld.com/india-news/general-news/catholic-federation-of-india-threaten-to-take-legal-action-against-nuns-says-they-are-embarrassing-church, dated 11th Oct. 2018

Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Alok Dara Shikoh - This is the reality of spiritual missions, no matter what the religion, when it comes to whistle-blowers, especially those that make a police complaint resulting in a top official being charged and arrested for a serious crime. I am not at all surprised by this reaction. What I was surprised by, was the nuns going back to their convent!

The hatred from some of the people employed by the mission and whose lives are deeply entwined in the mission, towards the whistle-blowers would be intense, especially in the initial months of the whistle-blowing. I know that from direct experience. Note that all people in the mission will not be hateful like this. It will be mainly an aggressive few who are in administrative positions of power, or closely aligned supporters (hatchet men/women) of such persons. The aggressive few will hit out and the rest of the "nice" people in the mission system will be silent witnesses watching what is happening, even feeling bad for the truthful whistle-blower who is being attacked, but will do nothing to help him/her, mainly out of fear that if they help they will be attacked next by the aggressors.

Even if legally the nuns are able to win the right to live in the convent, they will be marginalized, ostracised (shunned) and made to feel like that they are traitors (Judases) to the mission.

I think the supporters of the nuns should collect money and open a separate spiritual mission for them, where the nuns can serve society and manage to survive from support of the community they serve.
----
=============================================================

In FB post, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10216072663824900&set=a.10201966145210751&type=3&theater,

Ravi S. Iyer wrote on 11th Oct. 2018: Interesting! I don't think I have eaten a Veg. Spaghetti. Should try it sometime.
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Saithra Leilani wrote (slightly edited): Ravi S. Iyer I think (you) can get the vegetarian version of it in Hanuman Cafe or at German Bakery.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote (slightly edited): Maybe I will try it out from one of the two restaurants you mentioned, one of these days - I will order it as parcel from there.
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Saithra Leilani wrote: Ravi S. Iyer hmmm y parcel..appreciate the freshness of food, views, people while eating in there..thts lit!!
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Well, I have some peculiarities in this regard. I am comfy about sitting and eating only in a few places where I have a good rapport with the owner/staff of the place. I don't have anything against the staff/owner of these other places you mentioned but I don't know them and as I am a very reclusive type of person, I prefer not to expand my range of interactions in this matter.
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Saithra Leilani wrote: Ravi S. Iyer I know it well..a stithapragnya..๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: No, no, no. ... I am just a struggling spiritual aspirant trying to overcome my many human flaws.
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Saithra Leilani wrote: Ravi S. Iyer I personally feel you aren't an ordinary soul..something in store for you..Swami is letting you be little flexi now but I know the awakening is otw..๐Ÿ˜
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Well, I have lots of theoretical understanding of the spiritual path and some spiritual insights. And Swami has contributed immensely to that theoretical understanding and the spiritual insights. .... But the deeper full blown spiritual self-realization experience is something that I have not had. ..... And after Swami's Mahasamadhi and chaos, confusion and trauma that followed in Sathya Sai movement, I felt that I had to do my duty to Swami and the fraternity by keeping aside my individual personal sadhana (meditation, contemplation, deep study of scripture), and becoming a writer on spirituality & religion, and also about ethics in worldly life.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: And, very importantly, doing my bit to oppose the dilution and distortion of the legacy and memories of our beloved and revered Gurudev.
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Saithra Leilani wrote: Ravi S. Iyer The one who is born to Suryanarayana...(a lion-a reflection of Sun God) will have to roar like a lion and it's better to do something and be like a lion in facing the Asathyam that is happening right in front you rather than living like a sheep for hundred years..your true weapons are your writing pieces and that tiny little pen that quivers Asathyam and Adharma..I know you ll dazzle wherever you are inspite of challenges!! And your work will be remembered by Sathya Sai Fraternity..๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Thanks for the vital support Saithra Leilani. It really helps.
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In FB post, https://www.facebook.com/alok.sastry/posts/10217493621956897, there was a reference to the article, Evangelical Organisation Calls Christians To Plant Churches Among Hindus During ‘Great Spiritual Darkness’ Of Navratri, https://swarajyamag.com/insta/evangelical-organisation-calls-christians-to-plant-churches-among-hindu-during-great-spiritual-darkness-of-navratri, dated 11th Oct. 2018.

I (Ravi) was tagged in a comment that asked me, "Just curious Ravi S. Iyer sir, how is one (especially a sai devotee) typically supposed to reconcile to praise Vatican when Vatican calls hindu festivals as great spiritual darkness? 

I feel that sarva-dharma-priya is absolutely the right conduct for a sai devotee, but is silence the only refuge when u hear hindu-apriya being openly propagated by Vatican?"
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote (slightly edited) I think the concerned orgn, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christar, https://www.christar.org/explore/about/vision/, seems to be a Protestant Christian orgn. That is not related to the Vatican.
----

Ravi S. Iyer wrote: I would say that such missions are fringe Christian missions like there are fringe missions of other religions including Hinduism which make weird claims.
----
===========================================

In FB post, https://www.facebook.com/terry.reiskennedy/posts/10217999247551575, dated 12th Oct. 2018, a letter was shared which talked about problems foreigners are having with visa and immigration for stay in India.

Ravi S. Iyer wrote: I think a special request should be made to Indian authorities for foreign Sathya Sai devotees wanting to stay in Puttaparthi for longer than 6 months. 

My past experience (1980s & 1990s) in this regard, as an Indian who was visiting/consulting/working in Western countries, I think may be relevant even now.

What I found was that the visa granting rules and immigration rules controlling how long an Indian visitor can stay in a foreign country, was impacted very much by how that country's citizens were being treated in these matters in India. Note that typically the visa permits entry but the immigration authorities of a country plays a key role in determining how long the foreign visitor can stay in the country.

For example, while I was living in Belgium on a work visa in the mid 1980s, I was denied a visitor visa to France to attend the wedding of a French (white) friend. It was very disappointing as no reason was provided. Later I read about lots of tension between India and France on some sensitive matter. I felt that my visa rejection could have been related to that. 

Coming back to now, over the past few years, especially after Brexit and election of Mr. Donald Trump as President of USA, I have read reports in mainstream media that visa and immigration rules in USA and UK (and perhaps other European countries too) have been tightened for Indians.

Perhaps what Western visitors in India are experiencing now in Indian visa and immigration related matters, is a reaction from Indian authorities to what Western authorities are doing to Indian visitors in these matters.

I think the way for foreign Sathya Sai devotees who are visiting or staying in India to try to avoid such problems, may be to seek some kind of special treatment as they are staying in India for spiritual service and uplift purposes. I think the service done to Indian poor citizens should be highlighted as that may result in positive viewing of their cases by the Indian authorities.
----

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Very happy that my school - Cardinal Gracias High School, Bandra (E), Mumbai - has received paperback copy of my book, "Who am I? I am I ..."

Yesterday, 9th Oct. 2018, I was able to confirm that one of the two schools that I studied in, Cardinal Gracias High School in Bandra (East), Mumbai, has received paperback copy of my book, "Who am I? I am I - Ultimate Existential Reality Answer; Vedanta; God and Science conversation", https://pothi.com/pothi/book/ravi-s-iyer-ultimate-existential-reality-answer-vedanta-god-and-science. I was informed that it would be given to the principal, Rev. Fr. Sabu Thomas, O. Praem. I requested that my covering letter email also be provided to him along with the book. Note that I had organized printing and sending of the book on 28th Sept. 2018.

I am very happy that I could do this small act of gratitude and love towards the school where I studied from 7th standard to 10th standard from June 1974 to March/April 1978. [I had earlier thought it was three years but the School Leaving Certificate photocopy below shows it was 4 years.]

[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.]



I have very fond memories of the years I studied in this school. I had a lot of Christian school friends (most would have been Catholic I guess but I am not sure) and also Hindu and Sikh school friends (currently don't recall Muslim school friends then). There was a church (which probably is still there) next to the school in the same campus. I have visited it a few times out of my own interest but without any coercion whatsoever.

Though it was managed at the top level by Catholic priests and had many Christian teaching staff, I don't recall even one incident where I felt that Catholic or Christian beliefs were being forced on me, in any way. In fact, the school offered Sanskrit as an optional language to study, which I think I studied for 3 years. I still recall the Rama Ramau Ramaha Sanskrit grammar part that I was taught there by a very dedicated Sanskrit lady teacher (a Hindu, if I recall correctly). [For more on the grammar part, see https://sanskritinstitute.wordpress.com/sanskrit/ .]

The morning prayer, if I recall correctly, was the Hindi prayer song: Humko man ki shakti dena, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbchuCfqBls (4 min. 29 secs) from the Hindi film Guddi.

At that time I was not aware of this background but on digging up info. about my school in the somewhat recent past, I came to know that the school is associated with the Norbertine Canonry of Jamtara, near/in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh (India). Now this Norbertine mission is associated with Holland (Netherlands). I knew that there is some Holland connection even when I was studying in that school as one of key administrators was reported to be from Holland, as per my recollection of matters which are over forty years old! But I do not recall knowing about the Norbertine Canonry of Jamtara in Jabalpur and its strong connection to the school.

What I do recall is that at least one of the Catholic priests who were school teachers, was well versed in Hindi, and actually taught us Hindi - Fr. Vijay (Anthony Jones), who became principal in the last year of my study there. He was an Indian and perhaps was originally from Madhya Pradesh or surrounding Hindi speaking states.

Some info. from http://www.canonryofjamtara.com/index.php/page/details/47/st.-norbert-abbey-jabalpur :

The first three Norbertines arrived on Indian soil in 1923 as Missionaries from the Abbey of Berne, the Netherlands. Their field of ministry was located in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh. In 1929 they took up Jabalpur region for their apostolate. They concentrated mainly on the development of the people of Mandla District (M.P) through parochial, education and health care activities.

--- end small extracts from www.canonryofjamtara.com ---


Some information about my school from its website, https://cardinalgraciashighschool.org/

Cardinal Gracias High School was founded on 12th June 1961 and has been managed by the Norbertine Fathers since 1964. The Nortbertine Fathers vowed to seek Christ by living in common, sharing all things in holy poverty, and dedicating themselves to ministering to God’s People.

...

[Vision]

The main purpose and object of the school is to make your child a good, honest, diligent and industrious, self reliant and resourceful, honest and truthful, just and fair in dealing with all, ever keeping the joy, that God gives to sinless hearts, and sharing joy with others, please help us in this great and noble task.

“Children cannot be made good by making them happy, but they can be made happy by making them good”.

--- end small extracts from cardinalgraciashighschool.org ---

Ravi: The motto of the school was, and continues to be, "Truth Expels Darkness". If I recall correctly, this motto was part of school uniform, badge or something else that students would see every day. I am quite sure I would have internalised this motto as part of my value system, at least to some extent.

During my student years, Fr. Samuel was the principal for first 3 years (1974-75 to 1976-77) of my studies there. The last year (1977-78), the principal was Fr. Vijay (Anthony Jones). [https://cardinalgraciashighschool.org/about-us/principal-speak/principals/]

Another important administrator (manager) was Fr. R.D. Bent, who if I recall correctly, was from Holland and was a white person. My recollection of him was that he had a reputation of being a kind man. But Fr. Bent did not teach, as far I can recall. Fr. Vijay who taught Hindi was feared by us as he could be pretty strict (for our good, I am quite sure). But I don't recall fearing Fr. Bent - perhaps that's because he did not take school periods/classes. Perhaps that made Fr. Bent a more kindly figure to us schoolkids than priest-teachers like Fr. Vijay. Fr. Bent was probably the first white person I saw - just saw and not really interact with - on a rather regular basis. [https://cardinalgraciashighschool.org/about-us/principals-managers/]

The history of the school is provided here: https://cardinalgraciashighschool.org/about-us/history/.
----

The other school that I studied from K.G./1st standard to, if I recall correctly, 6th standard, was English High School, Dadar (Mumbai). It was located bang opposite the main entrance of Dadar (East) Suburban Central Railway Station. This school got closed down some years/decades ago and it is difficult to get historical information on it from the Internet.

It seems that this school was founded by Shri Jaysen M. Jaykar and Smt. Kalpana Jaykar in 1962 (which is the year I was born). But I am not sure. I am trying to contact a person who may be related to them (grandson perhaps) and see if he can provide me some historical info. about the school.

I have some memories, most of which are very faded memories, of my student days in this Dadar school. Perhaps that's due to my much smaller age at that time - I would have studied there from age of 4 or 5 years to nearly age of 12 years. But I still have a few clear memories of my Dadar school student days including the school building and its outside area where hawkers would sell eatable-goodies to students! Tasty food has so much power for a kid that memories of it are very deep and accessible even many decades later!

[I thank canonryofjamtara.com and cardinalgraciashighschool.org, 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.]

Monday, October 8, 2018

Glad to know that Mumbai University Vice-Chancellor's office has received paperback copy of my book, "Who am I? I am I ..."

Last updated on 12th Oct. 2018

Today, 8th Oct. 2018, I was able to confirm from staff of University of Mumbai Vice-Chancellor's (VC) office, that they have received the paperback copy of my book, "Who am I? I am I - Ultimate Existential Reality Answer; Vedanta; God and Science conversation", https://pothi.com/pothi/book/ravi-s-iyer-ultimate-existential-reality-answer-vedanta-god-and-science.

As I requested that my email to the Vice-Chancellor be treated as a covering letter, the staff person said that he will print the email and give the book along with the printed email to the VC.

Given below is the initial part of my covering letter-email to the VC on 29th Sept. 2018:

Dear Hon'ble Vice-Chancellor of University of Mumbai, Prof. Suhas Pednekar,

I studied in Ruia College, Mumbai affiliated to Mumbai University, for 5 years for my F.Y.J.C to T.Y.B.Sc. education. I passed out with B.Sc. (Physics) in 1983. I take this opportunity to thank Ruia college and Mumbai University for having taught me in those years.

I also studied for a few months for M.Sc. (Physics) in Khalsa college and Kalina campus of Mumbai university, before I dropped out after around 6 months or so, due to money problems.

I am glad to have the opportunity to express my gratitude to University of Mumbai by sending you, sir, a copy of my first self-published book, "Who am I? I am I - Ultimate Existential Reality Answer; Vedanta; God and Science conversation".

--- end extract from my email ---

Some info. about University of Mumbai from its wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Mumbai

The University of Mumbai, informally known as(MU), is one of the earliest state universities in India and the oldest in Maharashtra.

...

The University of Mumbai is one of the largest universities in the world. In 2011, the total number of enrolled students was 549,432.[2] The University of Mumbai currently has 711 affiliated colleges.[3]
...

History

In accordance with "Wood's despatch", drafted by Sir Charles Wood in 1854, The University of Bombay was established in 1857 after presentation of a petition from the Bombay Association to the British colonial government in India.[4] The University of Mumbai was modeled on similar universities in the United Kingdom, specifically the University of London.[4]:188

...

In 1949, student enrolment was 42,272 with 80 affiliated colleges. By 1975, these numbers had grown to 156,190 and 114 respectively.[4]
...
[Wiki References]
2. "Mumbai University records 60% rise in students" : DNA – Daily News and Analysis newspaper article, Monday, 21 March 2011.
3. With 811 colleges, Pune varsity 2nd largest in country The Times of India newspaper article : 4 November 2013
4. Aroon Tikekar (2006). The Cloister's Pale: A Biography of the University of Mumbai (2nd ed.). Mumbai: Popular Prakashan. ISBN 81-7991-293-0.

--- end wiki extracts ---

Ravi: In this matter, I now feel that I have done my bit towards my Alma Mater university by offering my book with gratitude and love to the Vice-Chancellor of University of Mumbai, and following up with the office staff to ensure they got it and confirming that they would give it to the Vice-Chancellor along with a printout of my covering letter email.

I don't know how the Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Suhas Pednekar, may react to the book. It will be nice if he thinks it may be worth sending it to the main library of the University which, in my days, was and perhaps still is, in its Kalina campus.

Here are some pics of University of Mumbai:

[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.]



Rajabai Clock Tower which is located within Fort campus of University of Mumbai
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rajabai_Clock_Tower,_Mumbai_(31_August_2008).jpg. Pic taken by Nikhil Kulkarni (Nikkul at English Wikipedia). Pic shared under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en.
--------


The University's administration building with the Bombay Stock Exchange in the background.
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mumbai_university,admin_block,Tamil_Nadu490.jpg. Pic taken by (author name is in Tamil language script) เฎคเฎ•เฎตเฎฒுเฎดเฎตเฎฉ், on 17th Nov. 2011. Pic shared under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en.
-----


Bombay University Garden, circa 1890.
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bombay_University_Garden.jpg, Public domain pic.
------



A building of the University of Mumbai.
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mumbai_03-2016_37_University.jpg, Copyright: «© A.Savin, Wikimedia Commons» [Not to be shared on Facebook]
================================================================



My B.Sc. degree photocopy pic
--------

From my comments (slightly edited) in my Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2307329169483647, associated with this post:

I recall sitting in the outer corridors of the building (like in pic above with caption, "A building of the University of Mumbai."), on a few occasions (as it was quite far from my college), to study for my exams. Students were allowed to do so.

I was attracted by its aura and majesty then. The fact that I still remember having sat there to study, shows how much an impact it made on me!
----

Well I am just a commoner :-). But Mumbai University, including its majestic aura and great history, and Ruia college have certainly had their powerful influence on me, which surely must be reflected in some parts of my personality even today. Thanks.
----

Saithra Leilani wrote (and was OK to share her comments in this blog post): Ravi S. Iyer your degree cert looks classy..when I compare mine it's totally different look.. All printed, embossed..
----

Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Yes, Bombay University then had lot of such classy touches. I think it was the heritage of the British who had set it up in middle of nineteenth century.
----

Saithra Leilani Ravi S. Iyer Garu...I thank you for uploading your prestigious degree here that led us to discovery [Ravi: about some name related personal matters which are not provided here]..yo! Cheers๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š
----

Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Well B.Sc. is not so prestigious :-). But it has its value, nonetheless.
----

Saithra Leilani wrote: Ravi S. Iyer of course.. Its your hard earned through your hardship and effort.. It does not matter what qualifications but the very qualifications you have earned should reflect one's character..that obviously I saw in you..your higher spiritual consciousness and sense of detachment..that I treasure most...which has eventually led to the birth of "I'm I"..Isn't that the qualities Swami wants from us! The spiritual progress no matter where we are now..I think thats prestigious enough..not from worldly perspective.. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š❤
----

Ravi S. Iyer wrote: I certainly learned fair amt. of Science in B.Sc. which trained my mind in logical thinking.That training was vital for my software development career. .... I followed paths that many in software industry took, of basic graduate degree and then a jump into software field which allowed them to flourish. I am very happy that I followed that path which enabled me to focus on spirituality from my thirties as part-time, and from my forties as almost full-time. ... Perhaps if I/my family had enough money I may not have dropped out of my M.Sc. Physics but then I think I may have had a career as some scientist in India's science research organizations which may not have permitted me to focus on spirituality almost full-time right from my forties. So all told, I am happy that my academic qualifications stopped at B.Sc. and that I jumped quickly into the flourishing software field after that.
----

Ravi S. Iyer wrote: And thanks for the kind words Saithra Leilani.
----

Saithra Leilani wrote: Ravi S. Iyer certainly the world is our classroom in every point of our lives..Swami planned it all well according to His Sankalpa..that which is the best for unleashing ultimate purpose..nevertheless it would hv been nice if you had had pursued in Science Research Org..as I could hv fondly called you"Hey Scientist Garu..how do you do" kinda stuff..hehehehe๐Ÿ˜
----

Ravi S. Iyer wrote: But then perhaps I would have been somewhat stiff as a person and not so loose and flexi which is what my software industry career made me :-).
----

Saithra Leilani wrote (slightly edited): Ravi S. Iyer What makes you think you would hv been stiff had you been a scientist. I don't think so! Infact I believe scientific traits or characters or certain type of intelligence does make men ---..I have seen many men scientists in my country [Ravi: Malaysia] full of emotions, love and care..It all depends with whom you're associating...your company and perhaps the Organization's management style..so long that it would not make you an alpha male...๐Ÿ˜Š
----

Saithra Leilani wrote: Ravi S. Iyer ultimately you're where you're supposed to be..had you been elsewhere you would hv missed that special interactions and those direct chides from Bhagavan..๐Ÿ˜Š
----

Ravi S. Iyer wrote: About scientists and being stiff: Well, today's scientists in India may be easy going. Don't know about your country. But in my college student days (1980s), most scientists in India had to work with government agencies as there were very limited openings for scientists in the private sector.

And, I think, government agencies scientist work meant that you had to be careful about how you present yourself in public. E.g. BARC (Bhabha Atomic Research Centre) was an important employer in Bombay then for young scientists. In fact, for my first USA Visa interview (in Bombay) the consulate officer interviewing me asked me how come I am in software field as with a Physics degree I should be in BARC! I did not answer him, if I recall correctly. Anyway, I got that first US Visa then (mid 1980s).

In 1980s I don't think BARC young scientific officers could freak out like Indian software company guys could freak out. Really! Software companies had a work hard, party hard culture. And freaking out after delivering on work was not only tolerated but even encouraged to some extent! As that was the software industry culture in the West, to some extent at least.

I am quite sure that if I had done M.Sc. Physics and joined BARC as a junior scientific officer or something like that in the mid 1980s in Bombay, I would not have loosened up like I did after joining the software industry. The young software developer and young scientist lifestyles then were very different in Bombay. Don't know how it is in BARC now.
----

Saithra Leilani wrote: Woww I like the name of Bhabha..on BARC..๐Ÿ˜€
----

Saithra Leilani wrote: Here scientist works in government agencies and medical line as well. Nowadays data analytics companies calls thier People Data Scientist..๐Ÿ˜Š
----

Saithra Leilani wrote: Ravi S. Iyer a.k.a Suryanarayanan.. So did u go to US once you got your Visa in 1980..how long were you there..n what were you doing..you may share personally to me as well if not here..
----

Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Saithra Leilani I prefer to share this info. publicly just in case some others want to know.
My first trip to USA was from March to Sept. 1987. What I was doing there is described in attached letter by the head of dept. that I was assigned to.



----

Ravi S. Iyer wrote: The next USA trip was from Sept. 1988 to Sept. 1989. See attached letter from boss of dept. I was assigned to.



----

Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Last USA trip was for around 2 months in early 1990s.
----

Ravi S. Iyer A recommendation I got from a senior team member in the Sept. 88 to Sept 89 USA assignment, is attached.



----

Saithra Leilani wrote: Ravi S. Iyer commendable indeed..❤
----

Saithra Leilani wrote: Ravi S. Iyer Woww.. Beautiful recommendation letters. I enjoyed reading it. Now I understood why you were in US. I like when he wrote "he is one hell of a talented and dedicated guy"..well, you have greatly impacted them and the business. Interesting to note.
----

Saithra Leilani wrote (slightly edited): Ravi S. Iyer well you wrote programs and fixed the bugs in their software. Well done! I know you had been really hardworking to achieve the milestone in some part of your life. I see majority Indian experts in Software industry who comes to Kuala Lumpur will be working tirelessly day and night! I can imagine how it had been to you..and seriously you deserve this accolades! Now I know where your talents, expertise, intelligence comes from..๐Ÿ˜
----

Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Thanks for the kind words, Saithra Leilani.
----

Alok Dara Shikoh wrote (slightly edited): So happy to see this post. This well written masterpiece does deserve this.
---

Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Alok Dara Shikoh sir. Thank you so much for the very kind words.
---


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

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Feeling satisfied and happy after sending paperback copies of my book, 'Who am I? I am I ...' to some top political leaders of India

Over the past few days, I first organized printing and sending of paperback copies of my book, "Who am I? I am I - Ultimate Existential Reality Answer; Vedanta; God and Science conversation", https://pothi.com/pothi/book/ravi-s-iyer-ultimate-existential-reality-answer-vedanta-god-and-science to some top political leaders of my country, India. Then I followed up with their offices when the courier reported delivery of the book. This has been going on from 25th Sept. to today ( 5th Oct.) with most of the work done, except for 2 to 3 particular cases where delivery has been delayed due to some reason.

This set of leaders include current and a former Prime Minister, current and a former President, current Vice-President, current and former Chief Ministers of my first home state - Maharashtra - where I was born, educated, worked for a living and experienced various aspects of life, for most of the first four decades of my life, current Chief Minister of my current home state - Andhra Pradesh, current and former union ministers managing key portfolios of Education (HRD), Finance, Home, Defence, External Affairs, Science & Technology, Information Technology etc.

A typical introductory part of my mails to the offices of these VVIPs (Very Very Important Persons) was as follows:

Thank you sir (madam) for your service to the country.

I am glad to have the opportunity to express my gratitude and love to you, sir (madam), for the service you have rendered to the country, by sending you a copy of my first self-published book.
---end typical introductory part of my mails ---

I really mean the above. Today, in my mid 50s, I have a much better and wiser understanding of the important roles played by current and former top political leaders of the country and my former home and current home states, in facilitating peaceful and happy life for law-abiding and hard working citizens including me. Their role in protecting vital freedoms in India like freedom of speech and freedom of religion has been crucial, as becomes clear when compared to some neighbouring countries of India. It is such an environment of freedom that top political leadership of India protected and maintained that enabled me to explore spirituality, religion and sensitive topics like the God and Science conversation which form the key topics of my book.

If I were living in some other neighbouring country of India, I doubt I would have felt as free and relatively safe, as I felt in India while writing on these topics in my public blog and later converting most of that blog content into this self-published book, with paperback (at cost; no royalty to me) and ebook (free) versions.

As my readers would know, I have a publicly politically neutral stand in Indian (and most, if not all, other countries') politics. And I am a beneficiary, a lover and an open supporter of democracy, having lived all my life, mostly in democratic and sovereign India (I was born in 1962, 15 years after India got independence), and some periods spent in other democratic countries of the world.

I respect the leaders of various noted political parties in India. Further, opposition parties play a vital role in keeping an eye and check on ruling parties that are currently in power. So I respect opposition political leaders too for their contribution to sustaining democracy in India.

So I am feeling satisfied and happy that I have been able to send my paperback book copy to some top political leaders of India as a gesture of my gratitude and love. I thank the self-publishing platform (support) company, Pothi.com, that provided me the vital business service of a platform for self-publishing my book which includes print-on-demand facility to print decent quality paperback books, which in turn made it possible for me to express my gratitude and love to these VVIPs in this manner.

In most of the cases, I was able to follow up with the offices to confirm that the book was received, but not in all cases. I guess that a good number of these VVIP leaders would have found or will shortly find my book copy placed on their table. One problem is that I could not attach a covering letter to the book as I ordered the book with the self-publishing support company, Pothi.com and specified the shipping address as that of the VVIP's office. I sent emails to their offices which provided the covering letter equivalent but I doubt that the VVIP office staff would print such an email and place it along with the book on the VVIP's table. Today, I realize that I made a mistake in this matter. I should have first got copies of the book delivered to me. Then I should have attached a specific letter for each VVIP, packaged the book and covering letter together, and then couriered the package to the VVIP office. That would have been much more work and some additional cost for me but given that access to VVIP himself/herself is almost impossible on phone for persons like me, I should have taken up that additional work for these VVIP cases.

Do I expect those VVIPs who see my book copy on their table, to read it? Not really. Perhaps some might flip a few pages and then either keep it aside or pass it on to somebody else. Some may even wonder why the book was sent to them as there is no covering letter, and so just keep it aside without bothering to go through it. [That's how important it is to have the covering letter being physically with the book copy when sent to VVIPs. I realized that too late!]

But some may read some parts. These VVIPs play a vital role in top level policy making. I hope the current and former union HRD (education) ministers do read some parts of my book - all 3 of such current and former HRD ministers to whose offices I sent the book, (their offices) confirmed receipt of my book. These HRD ministers played, or are playing, or may play in future, a vital role in formulating education policy in India.

One former union minister who studied Engineering in an IIT in India and did post-graduation in a Carnegie Mellon University college in USA, pleasantly surprised me - actually thrilled me - by responding to me on email and telling me that he looks forward to reading my book soon! I will be glad if he reads some parts of the book whenever he can squeeze out some time.

Sometime later I plan to extend this gratitude and love offering to ambassadors (to India) of some countries that I have either lived in and had a good time, or did software development project work for companies of that country which led to me getting paid decent money, or countries that were beneficial to my life in some other way. I plan to first check with their offices whether they would like to have this offering of gratitude and love from me, and if they are willing to accept it then I will send them the book.

These countries are:
1) USA
2) Belgium
3) Russia
4) Netherlands
5) Germany
6) UK
7) South Korea
8) Japan
9) Singapore

Monday, October 1, 2018

Who did it? Perhaps too much beer did it. So stay away from too much beer.

Last updated on 2nd Oct. 2018

Did it happen?
It probably did.

Who did it?
We don't know
and may never know.

If he did it as she says
then he did it as a drunk man.

I like beer, he said.

Can church and beer go together?
Depends on the church, I guess.

Can Christ-consciousness and beer go together?
Well, not really.

Some may say, it is the beer that did it.
Perhaps there's some truth in that.

Excess alcohol unleashes the wild animal in man.

So to stay human and not devolve into animal,
stay away from too much beer and alcohol.

-----

Notes

1. Christ-consciousness does not seem to be a settled term. Higher consciousness seems to be a more settled term. By Christ-consciousness above, I mean the same as higher consciousness. Given below is an extract from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higher_consciousness :

Higher consciousness is the consciousness of a higher Self, transcendental reality, or God. It is "the part of the human being that is capable of transcending animal instincts".[1]
...

[Reference]
1. Bunge, Marcia JoAnn, ed. (2001), The Child in Christian Thought, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing
--- end wiki extract ---
============================================================

Given below are my comments on my Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2301322866750944, associated with this blog post:

In response to a comment that argued that it's not the beer but the person that does it, Ravi S. Iyer wrote (slightly edited):
Noted your view --name-snipped--. Thanks. I think it is a mix of both: the person and the alcohol.

There are negative animal vasanas within almost all, if not all, of us. The level of these vasanas may vary from person to person.

And, as you said, "Being intoxicated loosens the self-restraint on tendencies that are already within."

So alcohol does significantly exacerbate the problem. I think this is well known by many women in India (and elsewhere too, I guess) whose husbands have a serious drinking problem combined with aggressive tendencies. Some such husbands only abuse when drunk. Others unfortunately beat their wives or do worse things to their wives, when drunk.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote: I think I should also clarify that I am not saying that the man who had the excess alcohol and then committed bad actions is not responsible for those bad actions. Of course, he is responsible for it and he has to be held accountable for it. But to establish that he did those bad actions may need a high standard of proof!

I think it is the plain truth that if excess beer/alcohol were not involved, the man would not be drunk and so would not have indulged in those alleged bad actions. So, one of the vital causes is the excess beer/alcohol. So there is some truth (not the whole truth but some truth) to the statement that "it is the beer that did it". I have chosen to take some literary license in what I guess can be called a free verse poem and not make a precise statement that "it is the beer that contributed to the bad act being done". [BTW I am very new to expressing myself in even free verse. So I request your kind indulgence :-).]

And then there is the damage to the trustworthiness of the person because of excess drinking. His word is not considered to be so good! They say, he could have had a blackout when drunk - done things of which he has no memory of! So when he flatly denies the charge, his denial is not taken so seriously by some.

If one expands 'it' to damage to reputation of the person then surely one can say (the consumption of) the excess beer did it.
----

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

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Sathya Sai's teachings are crystal clear about serving one's parents first as spiritual sadhana instead of neglecting them and becoming a monk

Strange situation! This is one area where Sathya Sai's teachings are crystal clear, in my considered opinion. Serve your parents first - that is your spiritual sadhana. I think there is no question of physical form Sathya Sai having ever supported a son becoming a monk when elderly parents depend on the son to take care of them.

Gujarat monk renounces spiritual life to look after disabled parents,
https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/the-monk-returns-to-sansar/articleshow/65926405.cms, 24th Sept. 2018

Good to see that the son has returned to the parents. Let's hope things work out now for him and his parents both at material level and at spiritual level.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Evil and violent white racism in tragic killing of African-American in New York City, USA in March 2017, which case is under trial now, must be called out and condemned unequivocally

Last updated on 24th Sept. 2018

As a social media writer who tries hard to promote the values of Sathya (Truth), Dharma (Ethics), Shanti (Peace) and Prema (Love) through my writings, I see one of my tasks as writing, at times, about bad and evil which have taken place in the world that is rooted in a bad and evil ideology. Trying to simply ignore such acts rooted in a bad and evil ideology will not make it go away! It has to be exposed for what it is and condemned as bad and evil as a way to counter people getting trapped in that evil ideology and then doing evil acts. Therefore I am putting up this post. Readers who can't handle reading about such things may please skip reading the rest of this post.

Sword Killing Was ‘Practice’ for Racial Terrorism, Man Told Police, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/20/nyregion/fatal-stabbing-race-attack-police-interview.html, 20th Sept. 2018

The article states that James Harris Jackson of Baltimore, USA is a white Army veteran who had stabbed a poor black 66-year-old man, Mr. Caughman, to death in New York City in March 2017. In the New York Supreme Court, the police played one hour of a two hour interrogation video of Jackson on 22nd March 2017.

According to that video, Jackson intended to "influence the national conversation" by killing blacks in New York City with his killing of Caughman being his first act. Fortunately, he did not carry out further killings and surrendered. Jackson said, "If I just stab another person, what difference does that make? The point’s already been made".

When Jackson was asked whether he felt remorse, Jackson said, "No".."He’s a homeless black guy."

Ravi: My God! This is terrifying level of evil! The article also states that Jackson is a "graduate of a private Quaker high school in Baltimore known for its philosophy of nonviolence"!

So the school must have attempted to teach him good values.

How did he forget the good values taught him by his school and get caught up in such evil! Who are the people who taught him to hate African-Americans in this horrible and evil way? Are they freely teaching this evil ideology even today? These, to me, are the vital questions that New York Supreme Court should try to uncover and share with the public. That will allow the US government as well as US society to consider ways and means to counter such evil racist ideology of killing African-Americans. Note that in this case it involved African-Americans as targets but perhaps it is a more general evil racist ideology of killing or getting rid of non-white people in the USA.

USA must never forget the evil committed against African-Americans as well as Native Americans in the past in USA. USA also must never forget the monstrous things that evil Hitler and his evil Nazis did to Jews and gypsies and others who did not fit in with the Nazi Aryan supremacist view. USA must see to it that it does not go down the slippery slope of white supremacist violent racism as that will eventually but surely, bring it tremendous pain like the pain and stigma that Germany suffered for decades due to Hitler's Nazis and which pain and stigma continues to be a shadow on modern Germany even today.

This horrible and evil violent white racism so clearly shown by Jackson's ideology and his violent killing of an innocent elderly poor African-American in New York City must be combated vigorously.

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

24th Sept. 2018 Update

My descent into America's neo-Nazi movement & how I got out | Christian Picciolini | TEDxMileHigh, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSH5EY-W5oM, 20 min. 30 seconds. published on 20th Dec. 2017.

Main part of description of youtube video:
At 14-years-old, Christian Picciolini went from naive teenager to white supremacist, and soon, the leader of America’s first neo-Nazi skinhead gang. How was he radicalized, and how did he ultimately get out? In this courageous talk, Christian shares a surprising and counterintuitive solution to hate in all forms. After leaving the white-supremacist skinhead movement that he helped build in the 1980s and 90s, Christian Picciolini co-founded Life After Hate, a nonprofit dedicated to helping people disengage from violent extremism. His memoir, White American Youth: My Descent into America's Most Violent Hate Movement—and How I Got Out (Hachette), which details his involvement, and eventual disengagement, from the early American white nationalist movement, will be published on December 26, 2017. Christian lives in Chicago.
--- end description extract ---

Here's a transcript of a radio interview of the same guy https://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=578745514 [NPR, 18th Jan. 2018]


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

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Indian Catholic Bishop Franco Mulakkal was arrested by Kerala police on 21st Sept. 2018 on rape and other charges; Note that charges against Bishop Mulakkal have still to be proven in court of law

Given below are some of my Facebook posts on this matter in reverse chronological order.

From my Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2294628180753746, dated 22nd Sept. 2018 :

What the police said in court today about rape allegations against Bishop Mulakkal

This post is based on the following news reports:
1) Former Bishop Franco Mullakal remanded in police custody for two days, https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/former-bishop-franco-mullakal-remanded-in-police-custody-for-two-days/story-AMh1nWVon41OP9OlVw30NJ.html, 22nd Sept. 2018.

2) Kerala nun rape case: Bishop Franco Mulakkal in police custody till Sept 24, bail plea dismissed, https://indianexpress.com/article/india/kerala-nun-rape-case-bishop-franco-mulakkal-court-5369493/, 22nd Sept. 2018

3) Bishop Arrested For Allegedly Raping Kerala Nun Stood Smiling In Court, https://www.ndtv.com/kerala-news/bishop-franco-mulakkal-arrested-for-allegedly-raping-kerala-nun-stood-in-pala-court-smiling-1920528, 22nd Sept. 2018

Mulakkal has been charged under Indian Penal Code sections as follows:
* 342 (wrongful confinement)
* 376 (rape)
* 377 (unnatural offence)
* 560 (1) (criminal intimidation)

The police told the court that Mulakkal had confined the (complainant) nun to a room in the convent guest house on 5th May 2014 and raped the nun the next day.

The police said that the nun was subjected to rape and unnatural sex 13 times in the same room between 2014 and 2016.

There are some shocking witness statements in the police report. In a particular period in a month the nuns had to meet Bishop Mulakkal between 9 and 10 PM and share their personal problems with him. That's when he misbehaved with them!

The report also says that Mulakkal (based in North Indian state of Punjab) had multiple places where he could stay in Kerala (South Indian state) but that he "chose to stay at the Kuruvilangad convent, which is located in an isolated location, with minimal facilities and only three young nuns."

Mulakkal is reported to hold a doctorate in moral theology!

The leader of the five nuns who had publicly protested for two weeks for police arrest of the Bishop, Sister Anupama said, "Church was not with us but the Lord never let us down. Our struggle was not against any person but against corrupt practices. We are really grateful people of Kerala stood with us".

She said that the arrest of Bishop Franco Mulakkal will send a strong signal (of police action against them) to those who exploit nuns and use their money and political power to attempt to get away with it.

She also said that if the church authorities take action against them (nuns who publicly protested including her) they will hit the streets again.

Ravi: Hats off to these courageous nuns who, after seeing that the church authorities are not taking action on their complaints, decided to go to the police, and then launch a public protest to gather public support to ensure that proper police action is taken against the Bishop.
---------------------------------------------------

From my FB post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2294321690784395, dated 22nd Sept. 2018

Bishop Franco Mulakkal arrest by Kerala police seems to have followed due diligence process; However, rape charge against Bishop Mulakkal has still to be proven in court of law

I think the Kerala police deserve praise for the due diligence process they followed before arresting Bishop Franco Mulakkal on rape and other charges.

Some points from 'Police arrest bishop Franco Mulakkal on rape charge', https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/bishop-franco-mulakkal-arrest/article25009225.ece, 21st Sept. 2018 :

The Superintendent of Police (SP) of Kottayam, Kerala said that Bishop Mulakkal was arrested after police established that the charges against him were "reasonably true".

Bishop Mulakkal has been charged under four counts which include:
 * rape
 * illegal confinement
 * criminal intimidation

The article states, "The contention of the accused [Bishop Franco Mulakkal] that the allegation against him was the outcome of a conspiracy had collapsed in the face of the evidence collected by the police and the information gathered after questioning.

He was given reasonable time to have his say and arrested after the contradictions in the evidence given by the nun, the bishop and others were ironed out, the SP said."

The article states that the five nuns who had launched an unprecedented (never before in Catholic church history in India, or at least in modern India (after 1947)) public protest which created a huge public outcry, have called off the protest now that the Bishop has been arrested.

Bishop Mulakkal has been admitted to a hospital (after his arrest) due to high blood pressure.

Bishop Mulakkal had been temporarily relieved of his duties as Bishop.

Now the battle shifts to the court of law. I wonder how long it will take for the court case to get decided. Indian courts of law are heavily overburdened due to which cases can take years, if not decades, to get resolved. And then there are appeals that can be made. But perhaps as this is a sexual assault case, it may get some priority and be speeded up.

The state of the matter now is that Bishop Mulakkal's conspiracy story has ****NOT**** been bought by Kerala police, and so he has got arrested. But Bishop Mulakkal is still not convicted of the crime. So it cannot be stated that he has committed the crime as that can be stated only by a court of law and ****not**** by the police alone. However, the image of Bishop Franco Mulakkal as well as the Catholic church he is associated with, has been severely dented with this arrest.

Some extracts from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franco_Mulakkal :

Franco Mulakkal is an Indian former prelate of the Latin Catholic Church. He is the first bishop in Indian Catholic history to be arrested for a rape case.
...
He was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Delhi on 17 January 2009. He was appointed Titular Bishop of Chullu on 17 January 2009 and Ordained a Bishop on 21 February 2009. He was appointed Bishop of Jalandhar on 13 June 2013 by Pope Francis. He also serves as the Secretary of Regional Bishops Conference of North, India and Consultor for Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, Rome.

Bishop Franco Mulakkal wrote a letter to Holy Father Pope Francis expressing his desire to step aside temporarily and requested to be relieved from the administration of the Diocese on September 15 2018.
--- end wiki extracts ---

Ravi: Let the truth be revealed. In the long run, I think revelation of truth about the matter will heal the  Catholic church in India. If Bishop Mulakkal has indulged in these criminal offences under the Indian Penal Code, the right path for him is to confess his sins, repent for them and seek forgiveness from the nun that he hurt and harmed. Of course, he will have to undergo the jail sentence he would get then. But if he has not committed these criminal acts (note that any consensual sex he may have indulged in with an adult nun, is not a criminal act under Indian law, as per my understanding), then I pray to Almighty God to help Bishop Mulakkal establish his innocence in Indian court of law.

Note that even if he has only indulged in consensual sex with ladies, he will have broken his vow of celibacy as a Catholic priest. In which case I think the right path for him is that he himself should give up the Catholic priesthood and become a lay person. I am of the very firm view, based partly on my significant amount of reading on spirituality and religion, that non-hypocritical indulgence in sex does not come in the way of spiritual progress of any person. It is sexual hypocrisy that is the big stumbling block in the spiritual path.

[I thank thehindu.com and wikipedia and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above short extracts from their websites on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever. Note that this post deals with a matter of serious concern to Indian society.]
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From my FB post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2293886764161221, dated 21st Sept. 2018 :

First Indian Catholic Bishop (Bishop Franco Mulakkal) arrested on rape charge!

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/bishop-franco-mulakkal-arrested-in-kerala-nun-rape-case-1345584-2018-09-21

Key points about his arrest:

Police found inconsistencies in his defensive statements.

Mulakkal claimed that he did not stay the night in Kuravilangad convent on May 5th 2014, the day the nun said she was raped/forced to have unnatural sex, by him (at night) for the first time. He said that he had stayed the night in another convernt

But another nun and driver confirmed that Bishop Mulakkal has stayed in Kuravilangad convent during the night on May 5th 2014.

Also a nun of the other convent where he said he had spent the night, denied that he spent that night in that convent.

Further the location data of Bishop Mulakkal's mobile phone confirmed that he had spent the night in Kuravilangad convent on May 5th 2014.

That seems to have been clinching evidence that Bishop Mulakkal was not saying the truth to the police. Perhaps that was the main reason for his arrest.
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From my FB post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2289240284625869, dated 15th Sept. 2018

Bishop Mulakkal letter to his church today mentioning that his juniors will handle the church in his absence

While major Indian news channels are reporting this letter as Bishop Mulakkal stepping down from his post, I am not sure that is the case.

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/bishop-franco-mulakkal-accused-of-raping-a-kerala-nun-steps-down-1916881 reports that Bishop Mulakkal wrote in his letter:

"I would like to thank all of you for your continued support and prayers for me at this time continued problems affecting my Episcopal ministry. As you have probably come to know from the media the investigation into the allegations raised against me there are several contradictions in the evidences collected against me as per the report of the police. It is reported I am likely to be called for further clarifications by the investigating officer in Kerala."

"I leave everything into the hand of God as I await the result of the findings of the team probing the allegation. In my absence Msgr. Mathew Kokkandam will administer the Diocese as is the normal practice when I am away from the Diocese".

Note that Bishop Mulakkal has been ordered to appear before Kerala Police for (further) investigation of the matter on Sept. 19th. Mulakkal has said that he will fully co-operate with Indian police.

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

From my FB post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2289229284626969, dated 15th Sept. 2018

Bishop Mulakkal in India Today interview says he is innocent and that the nun who made the rape allegations is indulging in cover-up and blackmail as the nun had some complaints against her (of some sexual affair with a congregant's husband) in the congregation she was associated with.

Mulakkal says that only 3 persons know the truth about the rape allegations - the complainant (nun), Mulakkal and God.

Mulakkal says that he wants the truth to come out.

The complainant seems to have been a Mother Superior earlier when she won an election in her spiritual establishment (don't know what it is called). But she lost the next election. Mulakkal suggests (either in this video or some other video I saw) that after her losing power as Mother Superior, there was a power struggle in her spiritual establishment.

Hmm. This is a really messy case. But Mulakkal does speak well in this interview. Either he has been framed OR he is putting on a great dramatic act.

Around 25 mins but with the interview repeated (interview itself would be around 10 minutes or so, I think):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CySBjbPYs_I

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From my FB post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2289171484632749, dated 15th Sept. 2018

Good to see that the Kerala High Court was apprised of the matter by the govt. officials and that, "A division bench of the Kerala High Court on Thursday observed that prima facie investigation into the alleged rape of a nun by Catholic bishop Franco Mulakkal was being conducted in a fair and professional manner, and it would be inappropriate to issue any specific direction on the conduct of the probe."

In particular, "The court observed that the usual way of immediate arrest of an accused may not be applicable in this case, as two years had elapsed since the alleged crime. The court also said the arrest was the discretion of the police."

So let the case proceed as per law. The bishop is fully entitled to presumed innocence until it is proved in a court of law that he is guilty of the serious allegations made against him. This is how law works.

My understanding of how these things work is that even if the nun's charges are true, but that truth cannot be established in an Indian court of law, nothing can be done against the bishop. But, of course, if that is the case, then the Bishop, I am sure, will have to pay a severe price as negative Karmic consequences that he will have to eventually suffer.

Kerala High Court on nun rape case: Prima facie, probe has been fair, https://indianexpress.com/article/india/kerala-high-court-on-nun-rape-case-prima-facie-probe-has-been-fair-5355445/, 14th Sept. 2018
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From my FB post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2286096364940261, dated 11th Sept. 2018
Article giving view of both sides in the Kerala nun rape allegation case: https://indianexpress.com/article/india/people-against-the-church-are-using-these-sisters-says-jalandhar-bishop-accused-of-rape-5351112/
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From my FB post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2284301035119794, dated 9th Sept. 2018

"In a first in the history of the Catholic church in India, a group of five nuns wearing their habits staged a sit-in protest in Kochi, demanding the arrest of Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakal against whom a nun raised allegations of sexual abuse."

Ravi: I am not saying that Bishop Mulakal should be declared guilty without a proper trial. Who knows, he may be innocent. So he is entitled to due process of the legal system of India. But I think that the police should release a detailed statement explaining why they have not arrested the Bishop. Perhaps they do not have sufficient evidence. Whatever. But they should release a detailed statement.

Nuns demand arrest of Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakal, https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kochi/nuns-demand-arrest-of-jalandhar-bishop-franco-mulakal/articleshow/65731797.cms, 8th Sept. 2018
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[I thank thehindu.com, indiatimes.com, indianexpress.com, ndtv.com, indiatoday.in, hindustantimes.com and wikipedia, and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above short extracts from their websites on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever. Note that this post deals with a matter of serious concern to Indian society.]