Saturday, April 9, 2016

Believe in words of "a Greatest Devotee of Swami" VijaySai B.S., says Muddenahalli group promoter!!!

Last updated on 11th April 2016

I was forwarded an email today sent to a Sai devotee who has written against Muddenahalli FALSE BELIEF. The Muddenahalli group promoter wrote him on April 7th, 2016 as follows (main part of mail):

I am forwarding the below message for your kind information.
If you want to know the TRUTH ( so far you could not know by your effort / prayers etc the Reality of Subtle Body of Swami)
Now, at least keep your mind OPEN , believe in what is said below ( at least 25 % belief.  when you go forward with this 25% belief, it will eventually turn to 100%) which is an Experience of a Greatest Devotee of Swami compared to you at least----Kindly don't feel bad, i only want to you make a sincere effort to know the facts.
--- end main part of mail extract ---

The forwarded mail had an extract from this Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10154218770526677&set=a.10153516880091677.1073741841.674286676, which has an article written by VijaySai B.S. titled, TRUTH VS MYTHS.

The article argues that the myth is that Swami is not there in the subtle form. And that the truth is that Swami is there in subtle form and gives the many CLAIMED experiences that VijaySai is supposed to have had to support that conclusion. An example of these CLAIMED experiences is "if He had not referred to the instances that happened with me when I used to sleep in His bedroom at Kodai in 1994".

VijaySai then concludes, "However, my experiences have shown me that it is none other than my dear Lord Sathya Sai continuing His mission till 96 without a physical body as He had to leave earlier than He had planned at 85."

Ravi: Now let me put up some counter-points to VijaySai. In Clive Raj Valydon's Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/sathyanarayana.raju.9/posts/756610061142147, the same VijaySai B.S. wrote in a comment (last edited by him on March 31st 2016, 9.50 PM):
Myth 7: CASINO BY ISAAC TIGRETT was directed by Swami in Sukshma Shareera:
I met Isaac Tigrett and asked him. “Sir, during your Christmas speech, you mentioned about Casino in Las Vegas. Did you get the instructions in a meditation or through Madhu?”
His reply “Swami had asked me to do this during an interview with the physical form in 2009 in Prashanti Nilayam. He repeated the same now."
www.isaac-tigrett.com/
--- end comment by VijaySai on Clive Raj Valydon's Facebook post ---

I then asked VijaySai the following questions on Clive's post as well as on my Facebook post titled, Will Sathya Sai STAY SILENT when, in His "subtle body" presence, a leader claims that Sai asked him to open a casino?, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1725335344349702 (extract given below is from my Facebook post):

Ravi S. Iyer wrote on 31st March 2016 (slightly edited for this Facebook post):
VijaySai B.S., I have now been able to digest, to some extent, the information you passed on in your comment related to the casino statement. I cannot comment on private interview exchanges between physical form Swami and Mr. Tigrett (I have never had an interview with Bhagavan; neither did I pray or wish for one).

But let me ask you brother VijaySai:
I) Do you think Bhagavan would approve of Mr. Tigrett mentioning in PUBLIC in His presence, that Bhagavan has asked him to open a casino in Las Vegas?
II) Would not the subtle body of Swami communicate with the so called communicator, and ask him (the communicator) to PUBLICLY criticize Mr. Tigrett's PUBLIC statement?

Let me give you my answer. From what I have seen of Bhagavan in Sai Kulwanth Hall, Prasanthi Nilayam from Oct. 2002 to Mar. 2011, I simply cannot imagine Bhagavan NOT PUBLICLY criticizing such words said in PUBLIC. I am sure that if something like this had happened in the period I mentioned (as I have experienced Bhagavan in physical form at that time on a regular basis in Sai Kulwanth Hall, Prasanthi Nilayam), either Bhagavan himself would have caught it and corrected it, or somebody would have brought it to Bhagavan's attention after which Bhagavan would have PUBLICLY CORRECTED the statement and would have left no doubt in listeners' minds that Bhagavan DOES NOT APPROVE of devotees' opening gambling centres like casinos.
--- end comment exchange (so far) ---
--- end my Facebook post extract ---

Ravi: It is 9th April 2016 today, 10 days since I asked VijaySai the above questions. There has been NO ANSWER from VijaySai so far.

Let me now share a response from a CURRENT Sai university alumnus-faculty on this casino question. An extract from http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/04/a-sai-university-alumnus-faculty-and.html:

... a Sai university alumnus and faculty (alumnus-teacher) who is a third generation Sathya Sai devotee, wrote on 4th April 2016, as follows (main part of response) over email (and was OK with public sharing):

Dear Sir,
I appreciate your effort to denounce the (statement) regarding our beloved Bhagawan advising on matters of Casino. I have had dozens of interviews with Bhagawan as a student and faculty. Never ever Bhagawan has advised any devotee, however hard his difficulties/situation may be, to take to adharmic path for even temporary relief.

My family is associated with Bhagawan from the time when He was 18 or 19 years old, since the times of my grandfather. My father who is 80 yrs now, vouchsafes that Bhagawan is all truth, never will he advice such a thing as running casino. In my knowledge, Swamy always told people to work hard and earn money in a righteous way. Never did He advice people on making quick-money! All four generations of my family are indebted to Bhagawan for blessing us with right philosophy of life.

--- end extract from my blog post ---

Ravi: From the GREAT CONTRAST between CLUELESS SILENCE of VijaySai, a FORMER alumnus-teacher of Sai university, and the CLEAR REPUDIATION of the casino statement by CURRENT alumnus-teacher of Sai university, it is clear that the CURRENT alumnus-teacher of the Sai university is following the path of the ancient Santhana Dharma teaching of Sathyam Vada Dharmam Chara (Speak the truth; Lead an ethical/moral life) which is the MOTTO of the Sai university founded by Kali Yuga Avatar, Shiva Shakti Swarupa, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. In contrast, the former Sai university alumnus-teacher VijaySai B.S. seems to have lost his Sathyam Vada Dharmam Chara (spiritual) way and so has NO ANSWER to the casino question(s) mentioned above that I asked him ten days ago.

But VijaySai has been claimed to be "a Greatest Devotee of Swami" by a Muddenahalli promoter!!! In my view, not only is brother VijaySai B.S. himself spiritually misguided by so called communicator Madhusudhan Rao Naidu and the so called subtle body of Muddenahalli, but VijaySai is misguiding other Sai devotees too as he is promoting the FALSE BELIEF of Muddenahalli so called subtle body and its associated so called communicator through his extensive writings on it!

Some may ask: But how about all the paranormal powers shown by so called subtle body, as claimed by VijaySai? My view is that if we presume VijaySai's claims to be true then Madhusudhan Rao Naidu and/or some so called subtle body has some paranormal powers of mind & memory reading. The other miracles claimed by VijaySai could be due to inner Sai who is in VijaySai's heart (different from Madhusudhan Rao Naidu and so called subtle body), and in all of our hearts.

Madhusudhan Rao Naidu and any so called subtle body associated with him, are together an IMPERSONATION of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. They are NOT Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

Then some may ask about Bhagavan's prediction of living till 96 years of age. For that let me turn to an extract from the same article of VijaySai:

A conversation that happened at Brindavan, once in 1994 is worth mentioning. I was doing padaseva in His room at 7:30 p.m. I referred to the point that He would be there for another 27 years. He asked me “What makes you think so?” I told Him “Swami, Meere Chappinaaru - you have yourself said so.” Swami asked me, “Who said that?” I said “Swami, you said”. He asked “Who can change it?” I remained silent not knowing what would be the appropriate answer. He said “I said, so I can change it. I can leave whenever I want to, even now.” The student who was with me and I were shocked and said “Please, Swami. Don’t talk like that. We want you.” Swami kept quiet and got into a pensive and thoughtful mood. It was a profound statement. If Swami said something, only He had the power and authority to change it if He wanted to. I still do not know if He meant it seriously or in jest just to pull my leg as was His wont.
--- end extract from VijaySai article ---

Ravi: Brother VijaySai B.S. himself tells us that in 1994 in Brindavan, Bhagavan told him, "I said, so I can change it. I can leave whenever I want to, even now." So Bhagavan changed it by leaving his physical body in 2011. That's it! Bhagavan did not tell VijaySai that he can change it in such a way that he will leave his physical body earlier but continue till 96 years of age in a subtle body (based outside Puttaparthi/Prasanthi Nilayam)!

I think the above arguments very logically show that Madhusudhan Rao Naidu's claims of being a communicator of a subtle body of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba despite the claimed experiences of brother VijaySai, are FALSE.

I can understand Muddenahalli group believers refusing to accept such logical analysis. They are in psychological state of denial (for more see http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2016/03/muddenahalli-so-called-subtle-form.html).

But for a Muddenahalli group promoter to tell the Sai devotee who writes against Muddenahalli false belief, that he (the latter) doesn't know the facts & the truth and that he should keep an open mind and go by the words of VijaySai B.S., "a greatest devotee of Swami", takes the cake!
========================================

Some comments (mostly mine) from the Facebook post,
https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1727629484120288, having the same contents as the above contents in this blog post, are given below (to see the whole exchange please visit the link mentioned earlier):

Ivan Escalona wrote:
This has been the problem from time immemorial in the Satya Sai Avatara. People are used to follow this or that person who "is a great devotee" instead of asking Swami in their hearts or reading Swami's discourses and books in search for answers. They go by the easy way of just relying on someone else. So this is the natural consequence, if you rely on someone else you are bound to them and their mistakes, or even worse if they rely on evil minded persons. They had it coming
---

Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
Wow! Ivan Escalona, bro. VijaySai B.S. liked your comment! There is no doubt in my mind that brother VijaySai is a gentleman and a nice guy. That is what makes this matter so very confusing.
---

Ivan Escalona wrote:
I know, it was a bit confusing... I feel that his silence on the casino matter is due to doubt in his mind. This kind of add up to all the things he let pass before but now it is different
---

Ravi S. Iyer wrote (slightly edited):
My view, brother --name-snipped-- is that non-vegetarian food and alcohol being sold in cafes is quite normal in Western culture. But casino gets into gambling which is viewed negatively even in Western culture by religious people. Non-vegetarian food and moderate alcohol use is NOT viewed negatively by many religious people (Christians being the majority) in Western culture.

It would be very sad for many of us Sai devotees who have a GREAT APPRECIATION of the BIG ACT of Daanam/charity (Hastasya Bhushanam Daanam; the ornament of the hand is charity) that Mr. Isaac Tigrett has done, which played a vital role in the Super hospital coming up in Puttaparthi. Is there not something else that Mr. Tigrett who, I read somewhere, hails from a devoutly Christian family from the Bible belt of the USA (Tennessee state of USA), can do? Of course, there will be something else that is more noble and more in keeping with the stature of Mr. Tigrett in the Sai devotee community than opening a gambling casino. I do pray earnestly to our common and beloved Lord, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba to guide Mr. Tigrett to do activities more in keeping with his own family's Christian traditions and which fits in with the PUBLIC teachings & discourses of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Thanks. Jai Sairam!
---

Ravi S. Iyer wrote (slightly edited):
--name-snipped: I do not want to comment on morality of donation sources. [Illegality of donation sources is a different matter, as that would be breaking the law, and so I am against any spiritual/religious orgn. including Sai orgns. accepting any illegal money (e.g. money laundering for crime syndicates).]

Good to know that you do not support casinos.

Regarding disunity in Christian denominations in the West: Well, the West surely has a big variety of Christian denominations within the larger differentiation of Catholic and Protestant. But I think almost all denominations would view a gambling casino as a sinful place. I have never ever heard any reputed Christian preacher encouraging people to visit gambling casinos, let alone open and run gambling casinos.

When one browses the Internet to check about Las Vegas casinos and any church connection, one comes across articles which mentions that Las Vegas has a lot of Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Church_of_Jesus_Christ_of_Latter-day_Saints). [The USA presidential candidate in the 2012 elections, Mitt Romney, is a Mormon.] The state of Utah is the base for the Mormon church, with Nevada (state having Las Vegas) being next to it. The Mormons seem to have played an important role in making Las Vegas. See http://vegasseven.com/2014/06/04/how-the-mormons-made-las-vegas/. Here's a relevant extract from the article:
The irony is that Mormons have historically opposed gambling as taking “money from the person who may be possessed of it without giving value received in return.” Although Mormons have worked on the casino floor, the general rule in the church has been that if a Mormon works in the casino industry, “don’t touch the dice.”
--- end short extract ---
Ravi: So yes, the Mormons (a Christian denomination/sect) do have people on Las Vegas casino floors. But do their preachers encourage gambling? From page 356 of the book, Gambling in America: An Encyclopedia of History, Issues and Society (can be viewed in Google Books):

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) has been equally vehement in maintaining that gambling is wrong. In 1982, Spencer Kimball, the 12th president of the church, wrote:

From the beginning we have been advised against gambling of every sort. The deterioration and damage come to the person, whether he wins or loses, to get something for nothing, something without effort, something without paying the full price. Profiting from others' weaknesses displeases God. Clean money is that compensation received for a full day's honest work.
--- end short extract ---

Ravi: Now if you are of the view that Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba may have asked/instructed Mr. Tigrett in a PRIVATE INTERVIEW to open and run a gambling casino in Las Vegas (as you wrote, "He is God he can do what he wants"), I think you are entitled to your view. However, most Sai devotees, including me, think it very strange that Bhagavan would provide such instructions even in private. And most Sai devotees, including me, will NEVER ACCEPT that Bhagavan would approve of Mr. Tigrett making this announcement in PUBLIC in His so called subtle body presence. Such public announcements will encourage people to visit casinos and gamble! As the grandson of Swami's sister, I am sure you will agree with me that Swami would not approve of PUBLIC announcements of Swami instructions to open a gambling casino! Or do you think Swami would approve of such public announcements?
---

Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
Thanks for your comment, Mr. Vr Ganti. In my view, the casino matter is important to ensure that Sai devotees DO NOT GET MISGUIDED that Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba approves of people opening and running gambling casinos.

The aspect of alumnus-teacher of Sai university who has had many interviews and interactions with Swami is also important, as such persons are viewed by Sai fraternity as people in whom Swami has invested a lot of time & effort, in imparting the right teachings & ideals, which they have to teach to students and also share with Sai devotees. Balancing the view of former alumnus-teacher with many interviews & interactions, brother VijaySai, with a different view (outright repudiation of any Swami casino opening instruction) from a CURRENT alumnus-teacher of Sai university who also has had many interviews and interactions with Swami, and is a 3rd generation Sai devotee, is important to prevent some Sai devotees getting carried away by brother VijaySai's views.
---

Ravi S. Iyer wrote (slightly edited):
--Name-snipped--, You are dodging my simple question to you. I am SHOCKED that a blood relative of Swami does NOT OPENLY CONDEMN Mr. Isaac Tigrett's public statement on stage in Muddenahalli on Christmas Eve, that Swami has asked him to open a casino in Las Vegas, USA. And the way Mr. Tigrett said it, it was as if he was going to do it, ONLY because Swami asked him to do it! ... Thankfully, even if you, Swami's sister's grandson are not willing to condemn it, there are other devotees of Swami who have the COURAGE and FAITHFULNESS to Swami's teachings to CONDEMN it.
---

Ravi S. Iyer wrote (slightly edited):
--Name-snipped-- Thanks for your response to my question. You are suggesting that Swami may have given him an instruction to open and run a casino as it was his Karma. So one could say that he has to finish that Karma of his anyway, and so Swami asked him to do that (in this lifetime itself).

Now let me answer your question about my differentiation between PUBLICLY shared instructions of Swami and PRIVATE instructions of Swami. I have never had any interview, group or individual, with Bhagavan (neither did I pray for or desire such an interview). The only time Swami spoke to me in person was when he was handing over a pair of cloth pieces to me during a function in 2003/2004. My individual interactions with Swami have been mainly through gestures of Swami in response to my thoughts & prayers, and most of these have been in Sai Kulwanth Hall during darshan. The gestures cover the whole gamut from a happy Abahaya Hasta confirming my understanding of some sensitive aspect of Siva worship, a holding of eye contact for many seconds without much expression, a happy smile, an indifferent look, a dissatisfied look, an irritated look to anger and even fury. Yes, I have tasted Bhagavan's fury and I don't want to experience such fury again!

Very importantly for me, Swami has responded to my questions and my doubts expressed in my mind while sitting in Sai Kulwanth Hall for darshan, in discourses in Sai Kulwant Hall which I heard in His physical presence. Perhaps these were questions of many others and so Swami through his Divine knowledge understood the questions in the minds of the devotees seated in Sai Kulwant Hall, and answered them through a discourse. In one case, Swami gave a discourse primarily because of one emotionally charged (rather angry) question that I directed at him mentally during darshan, which he acknowledged with a gesture to me during the Darshan round itself (I was sitting in old students block in Sai Kulwant Hall and this gesture interaction was at around ten feet distance between us). After finishing the darshan round, Swami proceeded to give an unscheduled discourse where he answered my angry question, from a higher spiritual and religious perspective with GREAT DHARMIC AUTHORITY (as a Dharmaadhikaari).

So I have ZERO experience of PRIVATE INTERVIEW interactions with Swami. But I have lot of experience (from Oct. 2002 to Mar. 2011) of PUBLIC discourses and PUBLIC behaviour of Swami in Sai Kulwant Hall. It is from this experience of PUBLIC behaviour of Swami in Sai Kulwant Hall that I can say that if Mr. Tigrett had made a PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT in Sai Kulwant Hall in physical form presence of Bhagavan in 2009/2010/2011 (till March 2011) about Swami telling him to open a casino in Las Vegas (Mr. Tigrett says the private interview where he got the casino instruction was in 2009 in Prasanthi Nilayam), SURELY Swami would have either corrected him immediately if Swami had caught those words, or would have corrected him PUBLICLY, once Swami was told about what was said.

Swami had moved away from watching a drama put up by students of a dept. of SSSIHL, Prasanthi Nilayam campus and gone towards the interview room, as he did not like the drama! A senior faculty of SSSIHL, Prasanthi Nilayam campus then told me that the drama was a big flop! I have seen Swami asking for long introductions to be cut short while the introduction was going on. I have seen Swami correcting Prof. Anilkumar Kamaraju when the on-the-spot translation to English was not to Swami's liking. All this was done in full public view in Sai Kulwant Hall. So will Swami sit quietly and approve of Mr. Tigrett PUBLICLY ANNOUNCING on STAGE, about opening a casino based on Swami's private interview instructions? No way, based on my individual experience of Swami's PUBLIC behaviour and utterances.

But can I say that Swami will never ever say anything about opening and running a casino in a private interview? No, I cannot, as I have never had any private interview with Swami.

Finally, public announcements may have the effect of wide publicity. A PRIVATE instruction to open & run a casino may be appropriate for a particular individual due to his individual Karma. But when that instruction in announced in PUBLIC on STAGE at a Christmas Eve function, that instruction takes on the role of a PUBLIC teaching. So people who listen to these public instructions may think that Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba now approves of anybody & everybody going to gambling casinos and some can even open & run gambling casinos. That would be a TRAVESTY of the teachings of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba as he has spoken clearly and unambiguously against gambling.
---

Ravi S. Iyer wrote (slightly edited):
--Name-snipped--, Well, the REALITY of the Sathya Sai movement so far has been that long time physical promixity to Bhagavan has been viewed as an important factor in the Sathya Sai community's acceptance of the person as a leader. In my stint as Sai university teacher in Prasanthi Nilayam campus in physical presence of Bhagavan from Jan 2003 to Mar. 2011, it was ABSOLUTELY CLEAR that it was Bhagavan's students and student-staff that Bhagavan gave very special importance to, and whom he expected to lead the Sathya Sai movement. He lavished personal attention on them in a way that was CLEARLY SPECIAL. Further, he seems to have given some particular instructions/revelations regarding Swami's mission to a few student-staff (e.g. brother Satyajit Salian) who chose to dedicate their lives to Swami's mission.

Prasanthi Nilayam is to the offical Sathya Sai movement & community what the Vatican is to the Roman Catholic community. And Prasanthi Nilayam is, as of now, DOMINATED by student-staff who have had phyiscal proximity with Bhagavan, and almost all of whom were PERSONALLY APPOINTED by Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba to their positions in various institutions of, or managed by, Prasanthi Nilayam. So to many dedicated student-staff of Prasanthi Nilayam managed institutions their job is a DIVINE COMMAND personally given to them by Swami!!! Even if they have some dissatisfaction with their job, they tolerate it as a DUTY to their beloved Bhagavan!!

What will happen say fifty years from now when such people who have had physical proximity to Bhagavan are not there, is another matter. That will be tackled by time. Like what happened to the Christian faith after the apostles who had physical proximity to Jesus were not around anymore. But till that time, as far as Prasanthi Nilayam is concerned, student-staff who have had physical proximity to Bhagavan will DOMINATE Prasanthi Nilayam. That is the REALITY which cannot be denied.

In Sathya Sai centres around the world, for their individual centre management activities, it will be different I guess. Similarly in individual Sai devotee families it will be different, like it is different in individual Sai devotee families in Prasanthi Nilayam and Puttaparthi. In such matters, right understanding of and adherence to Swami teachings may be far more important a criterion than any physical proximity the persons may have had with Bhagavan.
---

Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
I am surprised by your strong words, --name-snipped--. I am deluded!!! Have you lived in Prasanthi Nilayam for long?? Do you know the reality of Prasanthi Nilayam?? Perhaps you are the guy who is deluded!

Let me respond to some points raised by you.

1) I did not say that you or others outside Prasanthi Nilayam did not dedicate your life to Swami. I don't know and so I did not comment on you and others outside Prasanthi Nilayam. But yes, I know many Sai university student-staff who have given up potential cushy and materially happy life careers outside due to their dedication to Swami's mission, and I have great respect for the sacrifice done by such persons, including brother Satyajit Salian. Life as paid staff in Prasanthi Nilayam can be very, very demanding. I have seen that from close quarters as I saw the dedication of some of my ex-colleagues in the Sai university, who at that time (prior to Mahasamadhi) were paid quite poor salaries.

2) My comparison of Prasanthi Nilayam with the Vatican was in the context of the importance of each place to the respective movements/communities. You MISSED THE POINT!

3) You have COMPLETELY MISUNDERSTOOD me in terms of your ranking of devotees. That is your DELUDED THINIKING.

4) I have not made any judgement regarding spiritual elevation of student-staff in Prasanthi Nilayam and others. You seem to HAVE JUMPED TO SOME WEIRD CONCLUSIONS.

5) I am VERY DISAPPOINTED by your ILLOGICAL ATTACK on my comment.
---

Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
--Name-snipped--, Thanks for your response. I am happy to note that you have toned down your language to a civil level. I do not claim to be perfect or always right. I do make mistakes in my analysis and comments and so welcome POLITELY EXPRESSED criticism including criticism from you, brother.

Here's my response to some of your points:
1) Regarding what is Swami's mission or Sathya Sai mission, we have had a conversation earlier where we espoused different points of view. When I use the term Swami's mission or Sathya Sai mission I mean the continuation of Swami's efforts while in physical form to re-inforce Sathya, Dharma, Shanti, Prema & Ahimsa in the world and his (leadership) initiatives in the fields of education, medical care, social services (e.g. free drinking water provision) etc. done in a spirit of Manava Seva is Madhava Seva (Service to man is service to God). I think this is the understanding of the term Swami's mission or Sathya Sai mission that many Sathya Sai devotees who are involved in the Sathya Sai organization, have. From our previous conversation on this matter, I think that you had a different view. That's fine - you are entitled to your individual view.
[I must mention here that I personally have some reservations about Ahimsa given the terrible violent threats the world faces today from terrorism and terrorists-ruled states/countries.]

Regarding what I wrote about the "Reality of Prasanthi Nilayam" in my previous comments, I was responding to this part of your comment:

So does physical proximity, number of interviews, etc. Account for anything important? Specially in regards of who will be right or wrong judging some particular situation? If that's the case, then the future is doomed, since as the years go by more and more people who had interaction with Swami will die and then people will be on the same ground, lost, because we need their guidance and they will be absent.

I understand you're saying that devotees tend to trust and rely on them and that you are not implying anything on that line. But then I ask you, isn't this still promoting this wrong view of things?
--- end extract from your comment ---

But I did not respond to all the points you raised in the above comment extract. Further I would like to slightly modify what I said in my previous comments.

I think my previous comment gave the impression that I thought that the world Sathya Sai movement would be led ONLY by alumni of the Sai university. NO. That is not what I intended to mean. So let me clarify my view here. In my stint in Prasanthi Nilayam, it was ABSOLUTELY CLEAR that Bhagavan gave a lot of importance to many leaders of the Sathya Sai movement from the world organization as well as from India. At major functions, these leaders of the Sai orgn. from India and the world would speak in the DIVINE PRESENCE (physical form). I think almost all, if not all, of these Sai orgn. leaders were NOT Sai university alumni.

As I see it, I think the situation is the same now, nearly five years after Bhagavan's Mahasamadhi where almost all, if not all, Sai orgn. leaders are NOT Sai university alumni. So, it is NOT as if that non Sai university alumni Sai devotees are not given leadership positions in the Sai orgn. in India and worldwide. But, of course, I am sure Sai orgn. leaders will welcome higher participation from Sai university alumni in Sai orgn. activities and also in leadership roles. That this has not happened in a big way is, in my honest view, some sort of a disappointment. In my Sai orgn. days (around 1993 to 2002 in Maharashtra state, India) I noted that many, but surely not all, Sai university alumni preferred to associate with their (exclusive) alumni group and participate in its activities, rather than the regular activities of the Sai centers and organization. I am told the situation is quite similar now. Hopefully this will change down the line.

Now you asked whether physical proximity to Swami will be important in judging who is right or wrong in some particular situation? In my view, physical proximity to Swami SHOULD NOT BE the criterion in such judgement. The criterion for judgement should be Sathya, Dharma, Shanti and Prema values and other directives/teachings of Swami.

However, what I have observed is that most Sai devotees look up to the views/decisions of leaders, when there is confusion/conflict. Perhaps this is the case for many other spiritual movements/congregations too. As an example let us take the claims of Madhusudhan Rao Naidu. In my considered view, many Sai devotees and many Sai university alumni started believing his claims because they were ENDORSED by then (Jul 2011) Sai university warden, Narasimhamurthy, Sai university former alumnus-teacher VijaySai B.S., Sai university alumnus C.Srinivas and veteran leader of Sai orgn. Shri Indulal Shah. The four people I have mentioned have all had tremendous amount of physical proximity to Bhagavan which was seen and well known to Sai devotees. I mean, for many of these Muddenahalli group people the thinking seems to be that if these four people believe in Madhusudhan Rao Naidu's claims (which they have publicly stated that they believe and some have written "experience" accounts which are used as promotion material by Muddenahalli group promoters), then as these people have had great physical proximity to Bhagavan and were given a lot of importance by Bhagavan, they must be right!

On the other side, leaders like Prof. Anilkumar Kamaraju, Prof. G. Venkataraman as well as official Sai orgn. leaders like Shri V. Srinivasan (SSSCT trustee and former All India President) and Dr. Narendranath Reddy (World Sai orgn. head), and also brother Satyajit Salian, have publicly countered Madhusudhan Rao Naidu's claims with extracts from public discourses of Bhagavan and/or relating some incidents that they were involved in about these medium claims. Once again, all these five people have enjoyed physical proximity to Bhagavan which was seen and well known to Sai devotees. Many Sai devotees tend to follow and trust what these leaders/persons say.

So the reality on the ground, from my view (you are free to disagree and have a different view) is that, as of now many Sai devotees go by views of Sai movement leaders who have been physically close to Bhagavan.

... cont'd (need a break of couple of hours; will respond after that)
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote (slightly edited):
--Name-snipped--, Continuing on part of point 1) of yours: Did I mention anything detrimental about sacrifice of people not staying in Prasanthi Nilayam? If so, can you please refer me to it?

2) You wrote, "why did you mentioned Prashanti Nilayam as the center of the Sai movement in the first place?" While I did not use the words 'center of the Sai movement' I did state that Prasanthi Nilayam (PN) is important to the Sathya Sai movement (as important as the Vatican is to the Roman Catholic movement). Well, major world conferences of Sathya Sai movement are held in PN. Important events like Bhagavan's birthday function have all Sathya Sai leaders converging on PN, with many of them being speakers at the event, and discussions are held between international and Indian Sai orgn. leaders and leaders of Praasanthi Nilayam (SSSCT trustees and other leaders). Statements on important matters like the view of the official Sathya Sai orgn. on Muddenahalli Madhusudhan Rao Naidu's claims are put out by PN and Sai orgn. leaders in co-ordination. Therefore I say that PN is important to Sathya Sai movement and is like what the Vatican is to the Roman Catholic church movement/community.

3) You wrote, "When you try to bring things like "3rd generation devotee" "lots of interviews and personal interaction with Swami", what are you implying?" I think my point 1) answer explains it quite clearly.

4) I wrote my previous comments in response to your questions like "So does physical proximity, number of interviews, etc. Account for anything important?"

5) I do like the tone you have used in your two previous comments. Perhaps you could keep it that way in future too.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote (on 11th April 2016):
I was passed (over email) screenshots of Mervyn Hughes' comments on me & brother --name-snipped-- where he referenced your comments, brother --name-snipped--. I have toughened myself to the vicious words that Mervyn Hughes uses against me. Initially I had answered his questions but later realized that he was more interested in attacking me (as I am openly critical of Muddenahalli FALSE BELIEF) than in knowing the truth. Then I blocked him on Facebook. Now I come to know of his vicious attacks on me only when somebody passes them on to me.

I am hurt by his very cheap name-calling against brother --name-snipped--. I think that is a new low in these criticisms that are going on between Muddenahalli group and some of us. But I will get over it and I am sure brother --name-snipped-- too will get over it (if he gets hurt in the first place).

However, brother --name-snipped--, please do not get disheartened by Mervyn Hughes' attacks and stop our interactions. I certainly have benefited from some of your comments on various matters, and I think others too would have benefited. Hughes' trying to use our arguments as a wedge to divide us, is not an uncommon tactic. We should not give Mervyn Hughes any victory over us by getting disheartened by his comments. So please do feel free to comment on these matters, even if we disagree on some matters.

Sometimes if we use some strong words against each other, we should not get too upset as I think our Facebook friendship is strong enough to overcome some friction, here and there. In fact, such occasional friction when overcome strengthens the friendship :-).

Finally, you may want to consider blocking Mervyn Hughes on Facebook. Then you won't see any of his comments (unless others forward it to you), neither will he be able to see your comments and posts when using his Facebook profile. [In this case, he was able to read our exchange on my facebook post where he is blocked by using another profile or as an anonymous user or something like that. So even if you block him he can use similar techniques to read your PUBLIC posts & comments.]

Thanks and take care, brother --name-snipped--. I do appreciate your initiative to calm things down between us. Jai Sairam!
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[I thank Wikipedia, vegasseven.com and author & publisher of book Gambling in America, as well as brother Ivan Escalona and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extracts from their websites (or comments in case of Ivan Escalona) on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

2 comments:

  1. Sairam sir, I came across a very relevant clip from Swami's discourse today on the web site http://www.sathyasaispeaks.org/

    Please go to the web site and search for the topic 'Having found the real Swami, hold firm' and you will get the corresponding audio and transcript of the English translation, which is as follows.

    "Now, it is the unswerving faith, love and devotion towards ‘Sathya Sai’, amongst the members of the sevadal and amongst the Organisations that inspires them. Sometimes, an element of weakness enters these organisations as the leaders themselves get drawn towards other men, other God men or other great men and therefore, there are bumps and jumps in this spiritual progress. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa gave a beautiful story to illustrate this. A farmer wanted to dig a well for water in his field. While trying to dig the well at a spot, the farmer encountered a big rock at the depth of ten yards. On seeing the rock bed, the farmer left the spot to dig at another one for a well. In the second spot he encountered the rock bed at the depth of just five yards. He went to another spot and started digging again. He encountered yet another obstacle at the depth of three yards. He left this spot too and tried digging at another spot for water. After digging for just two yards he found a spring of water! He began to rejoice over the fact that he was able to get water by digging only to the depth of two yards. He felt happy at getting water at just two yards but did not consider the loss done to his field in the form of potholes at several places in the field. Instead of digging to a depth of ten yards, five yards, three and two yards at different places, had he persisted in digging at one spot to a depth of twenty yards, he would certainly have got a spring of water. Similarly you are unable to recognise the wastage of time and the hurt, despair, disgust and disappointment caused by running after this Baba and that Baba. At some places, some people claim that they are possessed by Baba and perform several acts which are wonderful and members, the leaders themselves are mislead by such acts and give propagation and publicity to such stunts. When you have Swami himself, the genuine Swami right in front of you, why do you care for the duplicates? Some organisations are in a state of utter confusion in some places because of this kind of behaviour."

    How relevant this is in today's context! Just wanted to share this here.

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    Replies
    1. Sairam Aarthi! Thanks for sharing this vital quote of Swami which is, as you indicated, very relevant in today's context.

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