Thursday, January 21, 2016

My view about Dr. Voleti's letter about humiliation faced during Swami birthday celebrations

Last modified on 28th Feb. 2016

[The contents given below are reproduced from this Facebook post of mine (slightly edited): https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1695837060632864.]

My reading of the main issues of the Dr. Voleti letter, which I presume is from Dr. Voleti (I have to say, once again, it would be great if Dr. Voleti Chowdhary (also spelled as Choudary or Choudhary) himself puts it up on the Internet so that it is authenticated to be from Dr. Voleti), is as follows. [https://www.facebook.com/notes/vr-ganti/rathnakar-vs-dr-voleti-note-from-dr-voleti-direct-questions-from-action-group-to/10205822137377281 has the letter supposedly from Dr. Voleti Chowdhary.]

Dr. Voleti felt humiliated and insulted at the birthday function (Nov. 23rd 2015) as he was not given appropriate seating, did not get a chance to address the audience, and was shouted at by Shri R.J. Rathnakar (RJR). Regarding the shouting incident, here is what brother N. Saikrishna, secretary of RJR, had written in a Facebook post comment: "Sri.RJ sir almost had one month sleepless nights to bring the entire event of 90th Birthday celebrations to what it was...along with many of the office bearers...On the Birthday morning When some of these people tried going to Swami from ladies side and when he noticed and at the same time when the in charge of the ladies side expressed her displeasure of gents walking in between ladies...He lost his cool...He was rude to boys and he only called (Dr.) voleti by name and said come back with a stern voice..yes I am sure he would have perhaps got offended for this,as this happened right in front of his subordinates...but then we should have given more weightage to the context than few words spoken..."

Ravi: Now, Dr. Voleti Chowdhary's humiliation incident is related to VERY SENSITIVE protocol regarding presence of men among ladies in Sai Kulwant Hall at the birthday function! Brother N. Saikrishna tells us that the in charge of the ladies side expressed her displeasure to RJR (perhaps by facial gesture/signal). Then I think it would have been RJR's DUTY as in charge of Sai Kulwant Hall to take disciplinary action so that a CLEAR MESSAGE goes out to whoever was involved in this BREACH OF PROTOCOL RELATED TO LADIES SIDE by Hospital staff, that such actions will NOT BE TOLERATED no matter how high the designations of the persons concerned. While the words used as mentioned by Dr. Chowdhary may have been harsh, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba (physical form), in my considered opinion based on my experiences in Sai Kulwant Hall darshan from Oct. 2002 to Mar. 2011, would not have tolerated this breach of protocol. He may have handled it in a more polished way at that time and followed it up by privately and very strongly censuring the persons concerned.

Regarding Dr. Voleti's "resignation", Dr. Voleti writes, "Though I expressed my desire to retire to the trust, only after finishing all the projects I started, I never got any reply from them." I think that seems to indicate that, for some reason, SSSCT may not have been keen on Dr. Voleti continuing with SSSIHMS Puttaparthi as Director. SSSCT is not bound to disclose reasons for such matters to either Dr. Voleti (his 3 year term had been completed earlier itself, it seems) or to the public, as sometimes the reasons are sensitive. However, Dr. Voleti planned to come back after his USA trip and associate for four weeks more with SSSIHMS. That changed after this incident and Dr. Voleti writes, "..I MADE MY MIND TO HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE TRUST."

Going by the contents of this letter, the matter boils down to Dr. Voleti refusing to go ahead with his additional four weeks planned involvement with SSSIHMS and Dr. Voleti's decision to have nothing to do with the trust, SOLELY DUE TO THIS HUMILIATION INCIDENT.

I guess it is an ego issue which has got blown out of proportion. It is sad that such humiliation occurred even if there was a big breach of protocol related to men going to LADIES SIDE in Sai Kulwant Hall. Perhaps it should have been managed in a more polite way.

However, such humiliation incidents are not uncommon in Prasanthi Nilayam setup (even when Swami was in physical form). I myself have been humiliated after Mahasamadhi (Jun 2011 to May 2012), even though I was offering FREE SERVICE in the Sai university (SSSIHL) from Jan. 2003, by former vice-chancellor Shasidhara Prasad (he asked me to sing bhajans instead of associating with Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vahini project in my capacity as Visiting Faculty in the Dept. of Mathematics & Computer Science, as the then HOD, V. Chandrasekaran was DEAD AGAINST my involvement with it, and follow all instructions of the HOD as my designation was Visiting Faculty even though the HOD Chandrasekaran was quite ignorant about the field of software development), Registrar Naren Ramji (he said I was a Seva Dal though he had given me a letter on SSSIHL letterhead duly signed by him that my designation was Visiting Faculty) and HOD V. Chandrasekaran (he refused to accept designations given by principal of Prasanthi Nilayam campus to me and said that they were wrong, and he took upon himself the power of the vice-chancellor & Registrar by withdrawing permission granted by the Registrar to me in connection with the Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vahini project; I think Chandrasekaran thought it had become Chandrasekaran Institute of Higher Learning instead of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning :-) ).

It was an ACT OF BETRAYAL of SSSIHL and SSSCT (which was funding and promoting the Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vahini projrect) by then vice-chancellor Sashidhara Prasad, Registrar Naren Ramji and then HOD V. Chandrasekaran. I do not know whether this matter got escalated by anybody to the trustee(s) so I cannot comment on that aspect of the matter. Shri K. Chakravarthi was said to be the trustee looking after SSSIHL matters at that time.

To make the humiliation worse, I came to know that SSSIHL had shown my designation as Teaching Assistant in an "Annual Quality Assurance Report (AQAR) for the year 2009-10 .." document of SSSIHL put up on its website (and also sent to UGC authorities, I guess), even though I was given official Identity cards duly signed by principal, SSSIHL, Prasanthi Nilayam campus, with designations of Honorary Staff, Honorary Faculty and Visiting Faculty during my free service stint from Jan. 2003 to March 2012! [See http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/11/my-may-2012-service-record-record.html for more details.] When I raised the matter to Sashidhara Prasad, then vice-chancellor, and Sudhir Bhaskar, then Director, Prasanthi Nilayam campus, SSSIHL, in an email with documentary proof attached, Sashidhara Prasad accused me of spewing venomous poison and Sudhir Bhaskar put the blame on me instead of on SSSIHL! This is a CRIMINAL case of record-tampering and malicious defamation for which I hold Naren Ramji, Registrar, responsible and who was aided and abetted in this CRIME (under Indian Penal Code) by then HOD of Dept. of Maths & Computer Science, V. Chandrasekaran. Sashidhara Prasad and Sudhir Bhaskar collaborated with these offenders (Naren Ramji and Chandrasekaran) in covering up the record-tampering and malicious defamation matter. In response to these acts of humiliation, I terminated my association with SSSIHL (Sai university) in March 2012.

As far as this letter from Dr. Voleti Chowdhary is concerned, Shri R.J. Rathnakar's behaviour is far, far better than the behaviour I experienced from Shasidhara Prasad, Naren Ramji, Chandrasekharan and Sudhir Bhaskar. Note that Shri R.J. Rathnakar has in writing and publicly said (his email can be seen in Mr. Ganti's post link given earlier), "Dr. Voleti Chowdhary is a respected member of administration at Prasanthinilayam. ...you (Mr. Ganti) have embarrassed a wonderful person like Dr. Chowdhary who relentlessly worked to make hospital a wonderful high quality, health care Temple. How could (you even) imagine that I would insult him?" Yes, Dr. Voleti did feel humiliated and insulted due to the heat-of-the-moment words from RJR. But there can be no doubt about RJR's appreciation of Dr. Voleti's services. In contrast, I was accused by Sashidhara Prasad of spewing venomous poison and Sudhir Bhaskar put the blame on me instead of SSSIHL, when I presented them the facts of CRIMINAL record tampering and malicious defamation by Naren Ramji and Chandrasekaran. What a contrast!

So Mr. Ganti should not target Shri R.J. Rathnakar alone for such matters, viewing all the rest of administrators in Prasanthi Nilayam ashram and managed institutions as EMBODIMENTS of Swami teachings of LOVE ALL SERVE ALL & HELP EVER HURT NEVER!

I wonder what Dr. Voleti Chowdhary's reaction would have been if his designation was shown as Teaching Assistant or equivalent in some document put up on website and sent to MCI! My mind boggles at imagining what he might have done!

From a spiritual perspective, my view is that humiliation is a phase that many spiritual people go through, after which they get toughened and perhaps become somewhat immune to humiliation. The great messiah, Jesus Christ, himself had to undergo the ultimate humiliation of being forced to wear a crown of thorns (mocking him as the king of the Jews), being subjected to lashes of the Roman guards as he carried his cross through the town/city of Jerusalem, and finally being crucified (nails were driven into his palms & feet) on the cross. Yet, he found it within himself to forgive his Roman persecutors! That ability to forgive under such physical torture shows the divinity of Jesus Christ.

In our recent times, the Charleston, South Carolina, USA shooting incident, showed us that some Christians, even today, have that awesome ability to forgive even the killer of their loved ones. [For more, see http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/06/the-awesome-christian-act-of.html.]

Seen in the context of the brutal & inhuman killing of persons praying in a church, followed by forgiveness by some members of the victims' families in the Charleston, South Carolina, USA incident, the humiliations in Prasanthi Nilayam ashram and managed institutions have to be viewed as very minor (including Dr. Voleti's humiliation and my humiliation). If one can't handle the humiliation in a PN ashram institution one should just walk away from the institution where one has been humiliated, and if one wants to record the matter to prevent recurrence of such humiliations for others, put it up on social media. Then one can move on to other things in one's spiritual journey.

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A comment I made on the Facebook post:
On Mr. Ganti's post mentioned at the beginning of the above post, Sai university/school alumnus, Bro. Venky Pulipati who was present in Sai Kulwant Hall at that time, wrote "Ratnakar brother scolded and he scolded all of us along with Dr Voleti. But he never said he would slap. This is the the truth and I have few more old students who were in the scene. I am even witness to the aftermath scene inside Bhajan Hall. Where Ratnakar Brother came and spoke warmly to Dr Voleti and his team, held him close by his arm and all of them exchanged smiles. I was not a distance to hear what they spoke, but surely I believed and continue to believe Ratnakar brother made it a point to come inside and make up for the anger shown few moments ago which I felt was a nice gesture from him."

So the EYEWITNESS bro. Venky Pulipati says that RJR even spoke warmly to Dr. Voleti AFTER the incident (perhaps to make up for his angry outburst at Dr. Voleti due to BREACH OF SENSITIVE PROTOCOL).

I think a PRIVATE phone call between RJR & Dr. Voleti Chowdhary should be able to RESOLVE this MINOR MATTER. It will be wonderful if Dr. Voleti Chowdhary does continue to associate with SSSIHMS, Puttaparthi and also visit Sai Kulwant Hall. I think it will be good for both Dr. Voleti Chowdhary as well as RJR. And perhaps Mr. Ganti as well.

I have suggested to Mr. Ganti to try a role of peacemaker and help to patch up Dr. Voleti's relations with RJR. That would be a great service that Mr. Ganti could provide to Prasanthi Nilayam and the Sathya Sai movement.

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