Friday, May 6, 2016

Miscellaneous Facebook posts & comments of mine in May 2016

In FB post, https://www.facebook.com/sathyanarayana.raju.9/posts/783794481757038, I commented as follows:

These matters are super-sensitive. First, one must know whether Shri Ajit Poppat is willing to PUBLICLY stand by these statements (which had been shared on social media by somebody else, some time back). As far as I know there has been no PUBLIC confirmation from Shri Ajit Poppat about these statements.

And even if there were a public confirmation from Shri Ajit Poppat, he then should be willing to interact with Sai fraternity on the matter. I am sure that even if he does not directly use social media he will surely have some persons who will be willing to help him do that.

See, it is not as if all people in Prasanthi Nilayam around Bhagavan's physical form were all perfect people. Neither is it the case that people around Bhagavan's physical form were bad people. I served in the Sai university as a Honorary Staff/Honorary Faculty/Visiting Faculty from Jan. 2003 to Mar. 2012. I openly acknowledge that I am not perfect but that I try to follow Swami's teachings, slipping here & there even when Bhagavan was in physical form, and later too. I think that would be the case with most people around Bhagavan's physical form too. The main point to note is that all such people served in Bhagavan's mission WITH Bhagavan's permission and concurrence.

Rather than go by such reported personal interactions Bhagavan had with some person on these super sensitive matters, which is almost impossible, if not impossible, to verify, I think it is better to go by the actions of the persons concerned in the post-Mahasamadhi phase of Bhagavan's mission.

Surely, in the great trauma and chaos and confusion, in the immediate months & years following Mahasamadhi, some mistakes have been made. In fact, I would say that some mistakes in such very challenging situations are almost impossible to avoid. But, overall, the trustees of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust and its senior staff as well as Sai orgn. top office bearers and workers have done a great job in stabilizing the mission after the chaos and confusion of the initial months & years after Mahasamadhi.

Muddenahalli group supporters trying to publicize Mr. Ajit Poppat's views, when it is well known that Mr. Ajit Poppat is very critical of Muddenahalli group, seems to be some sort of desperate action from their part.
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Well, I think it is best to forget about these comments attributed to Mr. Ajit Poppat. These matters are super sensitive, as I said earlier. Pursuing such matters may lead to unintended and problematic consequences. ... If Mr. Poppat of his own accord does something on this matter, it would be different. We should not try to dig in on this from our side, that's my view.
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Given below are contents of my FB post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1737093003173936, dated May 4th, 2016

Very sad incident in Andhra Pradesh, India, where a Bishop was kidnapped and beaten up; But perhaps sadder still was the immediate suspicion from some non-Indian (Western) Christian quarters (proved later to be unfounded) that Hindu right-wing persons may be behind the attack.

First, here's a Western website report on it under the subtitle, anti-Christian persecution, with title, Catholic bishop kidnapped, beaten in southern India, dated 29th April 2016, http://www.cruxnow.com/church/2016/04/29/catholic-bishop-kidnapped-beaten-in-southern-india/

An extract from the article:

“They appeared to be paid goons and non-Christians from the way they talked and behaved,” Gallela told UCAN.

It was not immediately clear whether the assault was linked to India’s recent increase in anti-Christian violence, fueled largely by Hindu extremism, but activists in the country say on average there’s one physical attack on a Christian somewhere in India every other day.
--- end short extract ---

Ravi: Now let us see the update on the matter from The Hindu, Bishop’s kidnap: three pastors among 14 held, http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/bishops-kidnap-three-pastors-among-14-held/article8549022.ece, dated May 3rd 2016

A short extract from it:

The main accused, Nalladimmu Raja Reddy, 48, of Mylavaram, was a pastor of Palur Mission Church in Peddamudiyam mandal and also running Puja International School at Proddatur and Daddy Home and Raja Foundation at Mylavaram in Jammalamadugu constituency, Dr. Gulati said.

Lingala Vijaya Mohan Reddy, 45, of Goturu village in Thonduru mandal, pastor in Vallur mandal, and Sanivarapu Marreddy, 39, of Achavelli in Vallur mandal, pastor at Renigunta in Chittoor district were also arrested.
--- end short extract ---

Ravi: I think Western (and Indian) Christian publications should not jump to conclusions about such matters. Voicing the possibility that Hindu extremists could have been behind it without any evidence pointing to that, was HIGHLY IRRESPONSIBLE reporting by some Christian publications including the one mentioned earlier.

I wonder whether these publications will now carry an update stating that the main accused & arrested in the case of kidnapping and beating up the Bishop was another Christian pastor!!! And that he was alleged to have been aided by two other Christian pastors who too have been arrested.

The police claim that they have got a confession from the accused.  I had read another report in the Deccan Chronicle (paper copy and not on the Internet) today, on the same lines as the Hindu article given above. However, the Deccan Chronicle article also mentioned that dissatisfaction among some of the pastors with Bishop Gallela Prasad's administrative moves/changes (including some transfers that he had initiated), was the main reason behind the outrageous actions of the pastors to get a gang to kidnap, beat up the Bishop and demand ransom.

I think the unpleasant reality of most spiritual and religious organizations in India (may be similar in other countries too) is that there are a few spiritually or religiously inspired leaders in these organizations and a lot more people in these organizations who view their work as a regular paid job. Therefore any administrative moves in such organizations that impact livelihoods of the many who view their work as mainly a regular paid job, can result in rather dangerous backlash. Some of these people will not easily get other jobs in the regular world outside and so are quite desperate to hang on to their jobs and positions. If unwelcome changes are forced on them, they can resort to these kind of criminal actions as well. That is the brutal reality of many spiritual and religious organizations in India (and perhaps in other countries too).
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In Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/sathyanarayana.raju.9/posts/792998440836642, I posted a comment on 23rd May 2016 as follows (slightly edited):

---name-snipped---: I rarely visit Prasanthi Nilayam ashram even though I live in outside-ashram Puttaparthi. So I am afraid I am not really knowledgeable about the matter. However, in the year following Mahasamadhi, money craze and power craze had affected some (especially top administrators in the Sai univeristy) in Prasanthi Nilayam system, which were the key reasons why I quit the Sai university and decided to keep some distance from Prasanthi Nilayam. I don't know what the situation is now.

But I must also say that physical absence of Bhagavan was a tremendous SHOCK to Prasanthi Nilayam persons including me. Perhaps some persons in PN could come to terms with that SHOCK only by focusing more on worldly matters rather than spiritual matters. Besides the reality of India today is that middle class lifestyle including professional higher education costs for children (e.g. medicine or engineering) needs a lot of money. Another reality is that there are many people in PN (including close family relatives of PN staff) with medical problems which cannot be treated in Swami's hospitals and so have to go to Bangalore private hospitals for treatment which costs a lot of money. ..... I think it is natural that in the absence of Bhagavan's physical form, people, especially family people, in PN started looking at these realities of middle class life in India. I don't blame them. Perhaps if I was in their position (as of now, I am single and so am free to lead a kind of simple lower-middle class life in Puttaparthi), I would have also done the same.

The Tyagajeevi attitude (self-sacrifice attitude) that was there in many in PN system when Bhagavan was in physical form seems to have significantly reduced in PN. When Bhagavan was in physical form Tyaagam (self-sacrifice) was valued and honoured with Bhagavan many times showering special grace on those who did great self-sacrifice. That seems to have changed somewhat now. Once again, I don't blame anybody for it. Perhaps it is the normal flow of life after an Avatar gives up the body.
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In a non-public Facebook post, I (Ravi) made the following comment (slightly edited) on 23rd May 2016:

Let me reshare one incident I had with Swami. This was sometime in the second half the 1990s, if I recall correctly. I had come to Prasanthi Nilayam to do Seva Dal duty and was assigned Mandir duty. ... So there I was doing Seva Dal duty in Sai Kulwant Hall sometime in the second half of the 1990s. I was feeling quite jaded and somewhat frustrated. Seva Dal duty sometimes is like that. I did not feel spiritually elevated by doing Seva Dal duty and wondered whether Seva is the right path for me. I thought Bhakti and Jnana margam was much better suited to me than Seva, or something on those lines. .... Then Swami gave a discourse. In the discourse he said words to the effect that for those who seek the right path for spiritual progress I have three words. My ears perked up! I thought that Swami has heard/known of my thoughts through his divine powers, and is now going to respond to them (live in Sai Kulwant Hall). I think I expected his words to give some sort of ordering of Jnana margam, Bhakti margam and Karma margam, and perhaps how each path suited people of different inclinations. .... Swami said, Seva, Seva, Seva!!! .... That was it! No ambiguity whatsoever! I took those words to mean that Swami was telling me/responding to my thoughts that, for me the right path for spiritual progress (at least then) was Seva, Seva, Seva!!! ....... I tried hard to make Service with Love a key aspect of my life and my sadhana. However, I found that I loved my scripture reading and other related stuff too, and so tried to strike some sort of balance between my Seva with Love activities and my spiritual reading/listening, Bhakti, as well as, mainly after Mahasamadhi, writings.
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[I thank cruxnow.com and thehindu.com, 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.]

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