Sunday, July 12, 2015

My frank (and longish) view about Muddenahalli so-called subtle body belief

[This is a slightly edited version of a Facebook post: https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1637482679801636.]

Readers who are MDH believers, please tolerate some strong words which I feel are the truth. You are free to disagree. Of course, if you get upset, simply stop reading this longish comment.

Hindu scripture has no such subtle body/light body visible only to a so-called chosen communicator, in accounts of any Avatar! And, as far as I know, neither does the scripture of other religions. Further, there is a lot of fudging of the facts done by MDH. Earlier Narasimhamurthy used to get dream instructions; now he does not talk much about it after brother M (so-called chosen communicator) came into the public eye. If subtle body needs a seat in the car, wouldn't it need a seat in the flight too? Do MDH group book a separate flight seat for subtle body when they go by flight? When the question was posed to MDH supporters in the past in FB interactions, there was no response. In some past 'discourses' of brother M, it was a continuous talk without any break. That did not fit with the notion that M was first hearing what subtle body was saying, then communicating it to others, and then getting back to hearing subtle body. Instead it was as if subtle body/spirit had entered brother M and was speaking continuously through him. So lots & lots of questions. Fair amount of big spiritual knowledge mistakes in M's 'discourses': e.g. saying that when I came as Rama, Krishna, Buddha, Allah ... - Allah is formless. How can Sathya Sai Baba who demonstrated full knowledge of Shirdi Sai Baba, who outwardly behaved like a Muslim fakir, ever make such a blasphemous mistake! Allah taking a form of a human being! Muslim theologians will be furious if anybody makes such claims.

So I think serious spiritual people with some decent grounding in scripture and/or accounts of saints & mystics, who have examined the claims of so-called chosen communicator, have realized that his claims are FALSE, even if brother M really thinks that he is communicating with Swami. Perhaps brother M is similar to many who claim to have the spirit of Jesus with them, and that Jesus is speaking through them, even today.

But then how come MDH following is achieving so much in terms of institutions built & service activities? Does that not prove that there is a special subtle body of Sri Sathya Sai Baba in Muddenahalli, which is the underlying cause of/power behind all those achievements? [This is the argument that some MDH supporters have/may have. I have given below my analysis of why MDH following is doing well in building new institutions and service activites, WITHOUT there being any special subtle body of Sri Sathya Sai Baba in Muddenahalli.]

One of the MDH supporters wrote me that they are serving Swami and not brother M (so-called chosen communicator) or Narasimhamurthy. That gave me a clear indicator that at least some, perhaps many, have associated with MDH activities primarily because they find it a good spiritual group for them to be in, and which is involved in similar activities to what the official Sai orgn. is into.

The leaders of the Muddenahalli & Alike educational institutions (Loka Seva Trust run schools) are well known for their catholic missionary type commitment to their institutions (I believe all the main people of Loka Seva Trust are celibate). They have staunch support of alumni of the Muddenahalli and Alike schools.

This is in contrast to a significantly different setup in Puttaparthi/Prasanthi Nilayam which has a more family environment to it (though there are some celibate persons, both bachelors & spinsters too). Further, the Puttaparthi setup is large with many senior people well entrenched in the system. So newcomers & outsiders will typically find it more difficult to easily get absorbed and integrated into the system, especially in positions of responsibility. MDH being a kind-of start-up must be offering lots of action & responsibility for young, energetic and motivated persons.

In my view, what I have said above, is the main reason why MDH setup, so far, has grown well and shown remarkable success in setting up new institutions (schools & a hospital). Of course, sustaining the show over years & decades is usually a lot more challenging than the initial establishment, so it will have to be seen how well MDH handles the sustainability challenge.

Swami's presence is all over the universe and also within each of us. He can be felt by the devoted in Puttaparthi, in Muddenahalli, wherever.

However, what brother M (the so-called chosen communicator) and BNNM have done is to quite successfully recreate the atmosphere of darshan, sparshan and sambhashan that we used to have of physical form Bhagavan. This re-creation allows devotees to relive that experience in a way. And in such a re-created atmosphere, if one truly believes that Swami is there (where is Swami not; Swami is everywhere actually), perhaps one's devotion may also get heightened to the point where one starts feeling some spiritual ecstasy.

To add to all this, brother M may also have some mind & memory reading powers, which convinces some people that it is really Swami who is communicating through him.

I guess it is the destiny of some people to get caught up in this FALSE belief, which so far is benevolent. Brother M is said to say things like good is God, which is quite an oversimplification; I don't recall reading/hearing physical Swami saying that. Typically Swami would say all is God and not limit it to good, though he would urge people to do good (and ideally offer the fruit of their deeds to God). Essentially brother M has got into some imaginary issue (delusion), and tragically, has been quite successful in making others believe his imaginations (delusions).

--------------- end FB post contents -----------

The above FB post contents resulted in some very heated comments. I have given below selected comments (mostly mine). Please ignore the rest of this post if you prefer not to read any heated comments (most of the selected comments are not so heated).

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Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
Regarding some very strong words used by [name-snipped] and which has been strongly responded to by [name-snipped], I have to confess that I am now in a dilemma. I think this is the first time that such strong words (and strong allegations) from OTHERS have been put up on my post.

In the past, I have made statements regarding my problems with Sai university administrators, which for me is the truth, as I have been directly involved in them, but which may be viewed as allegations without proof by others. In this case, I do have fair amount of documentary evidence to back good part of these statements (emails between Sai administrators and me, official letter from Registrar, SSSIHL about my designation, SSSIHL document FALSELY & MALICIOUSLY showing me (and two other senior/middle level person who also were offering Free Seva to SSSIHL) as Teaching Assistant. But I do not want to put it up on the Internet for everybody to see, as of now at least. If people, especially any of the Sai university administrators involved in this malicious act against me, try to say that I am making FALSE statements, then I will have no choice but to put up those documents on the Internet, to prove them FALSE.

Now brother [name-snipped] says, "The Best method is to attack on the sinful act with valid proof. Bring this quietly to the responsible authorities who can help." Well, in my case in the Sai university, the responsible authorities (then vice-chancellor of Sai university, Shashidar Prasad, and then Director of Prasanthi Nilayam campus of Sai university, Sudhir Bhaskar) not only did nothing, but acted as if I was at fault (Shashidar Prasad accused me of spewing poisonous venom (over email), and later when I sent him the proof by courier with acknowledgement, he did not even have the human decency to APOLOGIZE for accusing me of spewing poisonous venom).

So, very unfortunately, like in many other institutions in India, and the world, there is a policy of cover-up in the Sai institutions when somebody exposes such matters (whistle-blowers). It may have been an appropriate policy in the 20th century. But for this post-Mahasamadhi phase of the Sathya Sai mission I think accountability and transparency is an ABSOLUTE MUST, if the mission wants to retain old motivated & committed active workers & leaders, and attract new motivated & committed active workers & leaders, especially youngsters.

As I have lived in Puttaparthi for over a decade and have conducted my own investigations into the background of MDH subtle body claims/following, I do know that fair amount of what is recently being posted on Facebook by some person(s) which would be viewed as unfounded allegations by most MDH supporters, does have a lot of reliable witness accounts backing it. Please note that even a court of law gives some importance to reliable witness accounts without evidence to prove the account. However, the witnesses need to be public. Here, most reliable witnesses (almost always Sai university alumni) insist on being anonymous - perhaps they are scared of reaction from their friends in MDH supporter community. That complicates the matter significantly.

[name-snipped] has made very strong allegations, and then used words like "BEST TO SEE THEM IN JAIL". I am deeply disturbed by having such words on my Facebook post as comments. I would like to clearly state my great respect for Mr. Narasimhamurthy and Mr. Isaac Tigrett for their well known service and contributions to the pre-Mahasamadhi Sathya Sai mission. I pray that Bhagavan showers His grace on them. I think words like JAIL must not be used in these exchanges of ours, which are publicly viewable. A civil litigation issue is different, IMHO, as one is approaching the dispensers of justice as per law of the land (court of law) to decide on a particular matter, which is not getting resolved through discussions. Civil litigation does not involve JAIL, as far as I know, unless the persons concerned refuse to follow directives issued by the court.

In general, I prefer trying to learn from & follow the Truth & Reconciliation approach of Nelson Mandela & colleagues, in this matter. If serious mistakes were committed in the MASSIVE TRAUMA we went through after Mahasamadhi, let us know about those mistakes (the truth), and then take a policy of reconciliation. Yes, some people will not want to interact with those who hurt them, and who refuse to apologize to them and seek their forgiveness (in my case, I don't even want to be in the same room having some of the Sai university administrators who maliciously targeted me, and who opposed students & my involvement with Bhagavan's dear Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vahini project by breaching academic procedures). But they can interact with others with whom they have not had problems.

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Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
[name-snipped]: I was saying about Hindu scriptural accounts of Avatars, not having any subtle body/light body matter after their giving up the body. Are you saying that Bhagavatam states that Sri Krishna, after giving up his body, became visible to and was interacting with others via some chosen communicator? If so, can you please provide me the references for the same?

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Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
[name-snipped]: I presume your comment is in response to what I said about Hindu scriptural accounts of Avatars. Well, what I have said is the truth, as far as I know. I did NOT say that the Lord is contained by Hindu scripture. I have had my experiences of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's divine powers to have some DIRECT KNOWLEDGE of how phenomenally super-powerful He was in that physical body. You wrote, "Dont Judge whether someone is worthy of your help." - I didn't follow it. Did my comments say that I was doing that?

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Pardha Saradhi Uppala wrote:
Ravi Sir, whatever be the service and beneficial activities going on in MDH, there can never be a good tree from a bad root. When the foundation of the movement itself is false (the subtle body claims which are totally against Swami's Teachings) and it is built on falsehood, that itself has already laid the cause for its collapse too.

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[OMITTED lots of angry comments]

Clive Raj Valydon wrote: [Ravi: Multiple messages condensed with ... between them]
It's the so called people around him whom are taking revenge on the trust ...Receiving money or donations under his name can only be done by the trust. ... Why can't you understand that ... Answer me pls ... This was swami's guidelines himself ... Right ... Didn't he create that ... Money has been received under his name.
Which part of that don't you understand ... That goes against the guidelines set by the trust.
Or are you telling me that swami didn't create those guidelines ... The trust are the only ones to be able to receive donations under his name ... The fact that money has been solicited under his name means that MDH are going swami's principles ... And then offer no transparency of where that money has gone ... Driving big mercs ... Lol do me a favour ... Prashanthi council have made their stance felt ... So has the trust ... So has the organisation in uk ... So what are you asking from us ... Pls be clear cause I'm not getting it

I don't doubt Madhu ... He must be having some special powers I've no doubt ... But it's the people around him trying to make this bigger then it is ... Think what message will be sent to new devotees ... And in 10 years from now What will be the situation ... That is what worries us Not brother Madhu ... Brother Madhu is blessed no doubt ... For me this is about a group of people holding the organisation to random [Ravi: I think Clive meant ransom] ... Don't ever try to compare MDH with Prashanthi. You cannot If it wasn't for Prashanthi you wouldn't even be in MDH. Prashanthi is out [Ravi: our] home and always will be. And that message is now in danger because of a few devotees being greedy. And anger is there due to that

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Ravi S. Iyer Whew! This is a first time experience for me to see such raw emotion playing out on one of my FB posts. I don't know what to do. I must say that I do understand the passion from the Puttaparthi supporters side as I am one of them. I try to hold myself back when I am writing about these matters and so avoid very strong words. However, I must confess that I do feel an acute sense of betrayal by some leaders of the Sathya Sai movement who have become the main force of MDH subtle body following. MDH followers will have a different view, of course. They would feel they are the chosen ones by the so-called MDH subtle body, and would follow the instructions given through so-called chosen communicator, even if they differ from what physical form Sathya Sai's instructions were!

And so we have a war of words on my FB post. Some will say that I asked for it by writing on these matters, even if I have largely confined myself to polite words.

But I think I have to learn to steel myself on these matters. As I have a duty to do to my beloved Gurudev Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba of PUTTAPARTHI to oppose, what I am convinced are, FALSE claims of so-called chosen communicator about so-called subtle body of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba based in Muddenahalli which is visible only to him and communicates discourses and instructions through him.

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Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
Brother Pardha Saradhi Uppala, my view on your comment (about tree & root, good & bad) is that I hope for truth & reconciliation. I think the MASSIVE TRAUMA of the Mahasamadhi and the CHAOS & CONFUSION in the Puttaparthi HQ of Sathya Sai movement that followed, led to some rebel movement. Now, over four years after Mahasamadhi, Puttaparthi HQ has stabilized, though it surely has some issues even now. Hopefully, the rebels will see the light and come back to the mother organization at Puttaparthi, which, in turn, will adopt new practices & procedures (including more/better transparency & accountability), making it comfortable for the rebels to be back with the mother Puttaparthi organization.

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Pardha Saradhi Uppala wrote:
Well, if it had simply been a rival trust following same values, reconciliation would make sense. But here, the values are at loggerheads.

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Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
I mean they give up so-called "chosen communicator" belief.

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Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
[name-snipped]: I have to view your reference to intellect in "dont let intellect pursue the presence of God or Divinity" as a reference to my mention of Hindu scripture about Avatars. Well, my beloved Gurudev is Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba of PUTTAPARTHI. I have personally seen how vital the accounts of the Avatars, especially Rama & Krishna, were to Him. And He wanted students to learn these accounts well, and popularize it among the masses through drama and song. Further, Bhagavan, gave a lot of importance to Veda including Vedanta (Upanishads). All this I have seen with my own eyes & heard with my own ears in Sai Kulwant Hall and other places, during my service stint in Prasanthi Nilayam campus of Sai university from Jan. 2003 till Swami got hospitalized sometime in March 2011.

Further, I recall reading somewhere that Bhagavan had mentioned to somebody that those who want to get some understanding of Him (in his role as Sathya Sai avatar) should read Hindu scripture. And I think that was excellent advise, as always, by Bhagavan. Once one gets some understanding of Rama Avatar and Krishna Avatar (and other Avatars too like Vamana and Narasimha) as given in Hindu scripture, then one gets some, I repeat some, understanding of Sathya Sai Avatar's actions. Now I would like to clarify that fully understanding Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Avatar is a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT MATTER, and, as Bhagavan has said, nobody can (fully) understand Him.

So I disagree with you on ONLY following path of service and humility to seek God, and not giving importance to Hindu scripture. Sure, Hindu scripture understanding is not necessary to seek and realize God, as Bhagavan Himself has said, service with an attitude of worship (and humility) is enough. But when somebody starts claiming that Sri Sathya Sai Avatar is now using him as a communicator, in my considered view, it is Hindu scripture that will allow us to TEST THE CLAIM of such a so-called communicator. You may have a different view. That's fine. Let's politely agree to disagree on this one.

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Clive Raj Valydon wrote:
My apologies to brother [name-snipped]

I would like to remind him that the first time I ever put foot in Prashanthi was in 89.
I was 11 years of age.
I have since that year never missed a year without going to Prashanthi.
Most of the guys fighting for this so called MDH was not even born then lol.
Prashanthi is my home.
Swami is my life.
I have no life without swami.
Those that question the very format of my views and how I put them across have no right to do so.
Don't try to destroy what swami spent 85.5 years creating.
By going on about MDH that is what you are doing.

Naturally this will cause anger amongst us all.
We need to come together swami would not like this.
Sorry once again to [name-snipped] brother.

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[I have presumed that brothers Clive Raj Valydon and Pardha Saradhi Uppala will not have any objections to me sharing their comments on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

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