Saturday, May 16, 2015

Col. Bose's article authoritatively debunking Muddenahalli chosen communicator claims

This post has a large extract and selected comment exchanges (mainly mine) from a Facebook post having Col. Bose's article authoritatively debunking Muddenahalli chosen communicator claims, https://www.facebook.com/saimemories/photos/a.422242711155641.89985.402496529796926/900735073306400

First I felt it appropriate to put up a large extract from Col. Bose's article where he has quoted respected Swamis of Ramakrishan mission as well as Swami Rama. I hope Col. Bose does not mind me putting up this extract on my facebook post, as it is for a good & noble cause with no financial profit motive whatsoever :-).

The sad fact is that even long time devotees are not able to tell the difference between real divine powers and siddhi powers obtained for selfish ends. These psychic or occult powers can be attained by practice, but there is nothing divine about them. Swami Vivekanand tells about such powers of the mind. In Volume 2 of his Complete Works (copy of his article “Power of the Mind” is enclosed for ready reference). He once heard of a man who, if any one went to him with questions in his mind, would answer them immediately and that he could foretell events. Swami Vivekananda tested this man’s powers and found them to be true. However, nobody considered this man divine.

As Swami Vivekananda admits, there have been charlatans, there have been cheats and more here than in any other field, because the more profitable the business, the greater the number of charlatans and cheats. Swami Vivekananda had a very powerful mind, but he never displayed any occult or psychic powers. His Guru Swami Ramakrishna Paramahamsa forbade such display of powers as they would pull the aspirant down and away from the spiritual path. One of the commonest tricks is to read a man’s mind and tell him about events, which had taken place many years ago and which no one else knew about. Unfortunately devotees mistake these powers as signs of divinity and are impressed and influenced by them.

Sri Sathya Sai Baba has cautioned people against trying to attain the ashtasiddhis as they will bind the sadhak (aspirant). Thought reading is also fraught with dangers. In his book ‘ Life in Indian Monastries’. Swami Bhaskarananda of the Ramakrishna Order says, “ Some other things also need to be explained here. Contrary to expectations of many, God-realized souls do not try to read others peoples thoughts unless they feel divinely inspired to do so. These great souls have a natural tendency to remain immersed in God. To try to know others people’s thoughts is usually against their nature. Staunchly established as they are in moral and ethical values, entering into other people’s private minds is considered highly unethical by them” [ see page14].

In his book ‘ Living with Himalayan Masters’, Swami Rama narrates how he once met a Swami who could produce fire from his mouth. The flame would shoot out several feet, so he concluded that this man must definitely be more advanced than his master. He went to his master and told him that he had found someone more advanced than him and had decided to become his disciple. His master just smiled and said that he was delighted and asked to be taken to him. To Swami Rama’s surprise the Swami bowed before his master. It transpired that he was from the same monastery, but had left many years earlier. On questioning further the Swami said that he had practised for twenty years to master this power Swami Rama’s master said to him that a match will produce this fire in a second so to spend twenty years for this was foolishness. Swami Rama realized that mostly such phenomena are tricks and spirituality has nothing to do with such powers. The third chapter of Yoga Sutra explains many methods of attaining siddhis, but these create stumbling blocks in the path of enlightenment, which is entirely different from the intentional cultivation of powers. Misuse of siddhis is the downfall for a sadhak (aspirant) and established Swamijis. Sometimes psychic powers develop; you start telling the fortunes of others and you start knowing things. These are all distractions. Too many people, including Swamijis, have wasted time and energy on such distractions.

Anyone who wants to develop siddhis, can do so and can demonstrate certain supernatural feats, but enlightenment is an entirely different matter.( Pages 102 to 106) of ‘Living With Himalayan Masters”.

Swami Rama narrates another experience of how fake sadhus make their living. On his way to Rishikesh in 1973, Swami Rama met one Dr Rudolph Ballentine in New Delhi. This man was psychiatrist from USA and was going round Connaught place in New Delhi when a stranger called him by name and then abruptly told him the name of his girlfriend in England. The doctor asked him how could he know these things. Instead of answering he continued and told the doctor his date of birth and his grandfather’s name. Then the man told him something very personal, which no one except Dr Ballentine knew (sounds familiar). The doctor was impressed and thought, “ This is the person for whom I have come to India”. The man asked for five dollars and said he would be back soon. Needless to say, he never came back. The following conversation then took place between Dr Ballentine and Swami Rama.

Dr Ballentine : Swamiji, he was a great man
Swami Rama : What did he do?
Dr Ballentine : He told me all those personal things about myself
although I was a complete stranger.
Swami Rama : Didn’t you already know these things
Dr Ballentine : Yes.
Swami Rama : Then what big thing did he do? If somebody knows what you are thinking, then obviously you know it too. This knowledge does not improve you [spiritually] in any way.
This ability may amaze you for some time, but it cannot help anyone in self growth.
Fakes like the one Dr Ballentine encountered are often disguised as sadhus and go about telling someone’s past and predicting the future. Naive people mistake them for great sages. These pretenders give a bad name to spirituality and to real spiritual people. ( ‘Living With Himalayan Masters’ by Swami Rama, pages 355 and 356).

It must be made clear the such people are found not only in New Delhi, but throughout the length and breadth of the country.
--- end large extract from Col. Bose's article ---

Given below are some comment exchanges, mostly related to my comments on the Facebook post mentioned at the beginning of this post:

Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
This is an excellent article written by Col. Bose which, in my considered view, authoritatively debunks the MDH claims of chosen communicator with claimed subtle body of Bhagavan based in MDH, with powerful quotes from the very respected Swamis of Ramakrishna mission as well as Swami Rama. It will be wonderful if leaders and followers of MDH belief including brother M (chosen communicator) study and ponder over this article by Col. Bose. .... I earnestly pray to Bhagavan to ensure UNITY in the Sathya Sai movement by bringing back all the veteran leaders together as ONE in the same mother organization.
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Eve Gardener wrote:
I don't think this boy Madhu has siddhis, he is just good at imitating Sai. I mean when Elvis Prestley died, many jumbed on the band-wagon and imitated him, and successfully so. The original Elvis fans gave their full attention to those Elvis imitators, even throwing hankies etc. at them and acting out.. Perhaps there is something in the human psyche that allows for the transfer of strong emotion to another - a need perhaps to re-live the past again and again.
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Ravi S. Iyer responded to above:
Very well said Eve Gardener. I had seen a movie of Elvis Presley impersonators which included a competition of best Elvis Presley impersonation, if I recall correctly. When I first heard and saw (on video) brother M, I could not but get reminded of Elvis Presley impersonators. Your last sentence, "Perhaps there is something in the human psyche that allows for the transfer of strong emotion to another - a need perhaps to re-live the past again and again." seems to have got it spot-on. Your profile lists that you live in France. I know very little French (from my days in Brussels in the 80s) but I think I should say: Voila Madame! Ca c'est bon!
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Eve Gardener responded to above:
Ca c'est bien to you.. Those Elvis Presley impersonators are as strong today as ever. (You can find them in google search). They also make tons of money, and have a huge following, The Elvis impersonators are really a tribute to the original, and fun for the people i suppose, in an odd sort of way, we cannot say the same for Madhu who is impersonating a Wisdom Master, whose words and actions were not suppose to be in the entertainment area. (Well, Swami could entertain as we know, but his underneath message was seriously meant.)
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Ravi S. Iyer responded to above:
Eve Gardener: Yes, of course, the chosen communicator, brother M, claiming to communicate Swami's words is a very serious problem and so is not exactly like the Elvis Presley impersonators. The main issue with brother M is that his words may end up MISGUIDING people who think they are Bhagavan's words and not M's words. That is one of the reasons why I am openly writing about this matter.

Noted your other comment about certain vibration at the time of (physical form) Swami darshan. Let me share with you what I experienced with (physical form) Swami as a teacher in his university at Prasanthi (Puttaparthi), who could sit in the teachers block or verandah or Old students block and so was gifted with rather close darshan of Swami on regular basis for over 8 years. Of course, the spiritual ambience at the time of Swami's darshan was extraordinary. But additionally, Swami would show that He knows what I am thinking at darshan time, and what I had done (outside his physical eyesight) elsewhere prior to darshan. He JUST WOULD KNOW - don't ask me how. It completely beats me - it was not any kind of intense face reading....................... One seemingly casual look and that's it. Not only would He show that He knows what you are thinking and what you did, but He would also convey sometimes whether He liked it (smile typically) or not (stern look, sometimes even turning His face away). The first time I experienced it I was shocked - I mean, yes I had read about many people having experienced it but when it happened to me DIRECTLY, it was a big shock. For the first time in my life I experienced that somebody else can read my mind through & through. So it was clear to me that if I wanted to be in His good books, get some smiles and happy looks from Him, then I have to keep my mind clean and that I should not do things that He does not like His teachers/other staff of the ashram doing. Talk about mind-control. But then that's what one wants from a Guru - mind-control leading to one's spiritual growth.

The other thing that I experienced with Swami was that He could be a tough Father-figure but He desired only REAL good for staff like me (and, I am quite sure, for all other devotees, students and visitors too). His instructions for staff & students could be TOUGH, REAL TOUGH, at times, and I would feel pretty constrained by them. But one thing I knew then, and know even better now after His Mahasamadhi, is that His motive was SOLELY the REAL GOOD of the staff & students. So I grew to TRUST Him as one would trust a father-figure in regular worldly life. I think that was the case with most staff & students as well as other devotees. So devotees would treat instructions from Him as divine instructions which should be followed even if one felt uncomfortable with any such instruction. I mean, one would think & say that it is divine insight of Swami, and so I should not analyze it with my human insight.

What an awesome God he was (in physical form)! What an incredible Guru he was! Oh! How priceless were those days of darshan of the Lord, who would show that He knows everything about one, and indicate whether he is happy with what we did or unhappy, by just a glance or a gesture, and all He cared about DEEPLY was our spiritual good & our spiritual growth!
How, on earth, can brother M ever replicate these aspects of Swami? Does he realize that some persons may REALLY BELIEVE that he is conveying Swami's instructions, and that they will treat it as DIVINE instructions? What if these instructions lead somebody to trouble? Who will be responsible for the trouble, both from a material world point of view, and, perhaps more importantly, from a KARMIC point of view?

I feel that brother M, the chosen communicator, has got carried away with some visions, and perhaps some siddhis. Our attempt is to get brother M & others back to the SAFE and STEADY path shown by Puttaparthi Sai Baba and not go astray in some strange spiritual path which could lead to trouble.
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Eve Gardener wrote in response to somebody asking about whether people have gone to Muddenahalli:
I visited once, and sure was glad to leave. Nothing up there worth much of a mention.. Just a Sunday bhajan with a happy clappy crowd, and a few speeches from the Medium. I did not stay for long, I felt very uncomfortable there.
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Ravi S. Iyer responded to above:
Thanks Eve Gardener for frankly sharing your uncomfortable MDH experience. It lets people know that it is not as if anybody & everybody who goes to MDH experiences GREAT BLISS. Some may like it and some may not. My neighbour in Puttaparthi (an American lady) went to MDH and, like you, did not feel great about it.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
[name-snipped]: Noted your many comments requesting others to openly state their disbelief in MDH chosen communicator. Appreciate it. However, I think the reality is that many either are sitting on the fence OR prefer not to state their disbelief openly. [And some seem to be MDH believers.]
I would like to repeat what I have said elsewhere on Facebook that those Sai university alumni who do not believe in MDH chosen communicator's very extraordinary claims should now openly say so. If they prefer to do it in some other Facebook post rather than SaiBliss, fine. Maybe they can do it on a Facebook page of one of the Sai university alumni.

I think this action is the urgent need of the hour as many Sathya Sai devotees worldwide are being misled, in this MDH case, by former Sai university students & Sai university leaders!!! Silence on part of other Sai university alumni may be seen (actually I think it is already seen by many) as some sort of endorsement of belief in MDH chosen communicator!

Now those who do believe in MDH chosen communicator or are unsure about the matter, and are silent about it, can continue to be silent. But those who clearly disbelieve in MDH chosen communicator should publicly say so, stating also that they are Sai university alumni. I must also say that a very few Sai university alumni have already said so publicly. I thank them for this courageous service to the mother Sai organization. But these very few are not enough. We need more and more alumni to come forward and courageously state their disbelief in MDH chosen communicator publicly.
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