Last updated on 5th June 2016
I felt it appropriate to mention that I appreciate and support the FIRM stand that the trustees of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust (SSSCT), Prasanthi Nilayam (PN), have taken in regard to PN institution staff visiting Muddenahalli group. It would have been very painful for the top functionaries of PN to have taken the FIRM stand in line with Sathya & Dharma, with the concerned staff. But I think it had to be done to ensure discipline in this serious divisive matter of Muddenahalli group which is impacting the Sathya Sai movement worldwide. PN being the birthplace, and in some sense, the headquarters, of the worldwide (official) Sathya Sai movement, has to take the lead in this matter.
I also wish these PN institution staff who have belief in Muddenahalli group claims and visited Muddenahalli group recently, all the very best. I pray to Bhagavan to show them the way where they can continue their journey with Sai and also openly and happily associate with Muddenahalli group without breaking any employer/associated institution rules.
I am given to understand that one of the concerned staff, a junior, is a former student of mine (I taught him software lab. courses in Prasanthi Nilayam campus, Sai university/SSSIHL). As one of his teachers, I particularly pray to Bhagavan to show him the right way forward in his journey with Sai, and help him overcome any difficulties he may face in the near future.
I would like to end this short post by saying the prayer that our beloved Lord, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, taught us and laid great emphasis on (Samastha Loka, of course, includes Muddenahalli group Sai devotees):
Samastha Loka Sukhino Bhavantu [May all the worlds be happy]
Samastha Loka Sukhino Bhavantu
Samastha Loka Sukhino Bhavantu
Om Shanti Shanti Shantihi [Om Peace Peace Peace]
A correspondent conveyed this over email:
Three of the teachers against whom strict disciplinary action was taken have taught me in 11th and 12th. I am deeply pained with the incident but support the firm action taken by the Trust. Institutions are more important than individuals, IMHO.
Some comments of mine from a Facebook post related to this blog post,
https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1748948071988429, are given below (slightly edited):
In response to a comment which was very critical of MDH camp and also said, "Ravi sir should keep away from pro or sympathetic comments.", I (Ravi) wrote:
--Name-snipped-- sir: I do not agree wtih Muddenahalli group beliefs about so called subtle body & so called communicator, and have publicly and voluminously expressed my views about that belief being a false belief. Further, I have publicly and clearly stated that those who are associated with Prasanthi Nilayam institutions as paid or free service staff MUST follow instructions of the institution and NOT associate with Muddenahalli group.
However, I do not view Muddenahalli group as an enemy who is to be opposed and criticized at every turn. They have a right to their belief even if my public view is that that belief is a false belief. [A clarification here: I still believe that they can be, perhaps successfully, challenged in an Indian court of law on their unauthorized usage of the name of Sri Sathya Sai Baba for darshan, interviews & discourses of Madhusudan Rao Naidu. However, even if such a legal challenge is mounted and is successful, I think they will be allowed to use a name like Sukshma Baba and maintain a publicly espoused belief of some special connection between Sukshma Baba and Sri Sathya Sai Baba.] I do have cordial relations with some Muddenahalli group Sai devotees.
In this case of disciplinary action against some PN educational institution staff, some of the staff have served Bhagavan's institutions for decades (far more than the time I served in the Sai university) with great dedication, and have had a lot of personal interactions with Bhagavan. They made their big mistake(s) of flouting the STRICT instructions of not associating with Muddenahalli group, and had to face strict disciplinary action. Now that that action has happened, I think we should be noble and wish them all the best for their future.
I think you, sir, seem to have a different view. I think we will have to agree to disagree on this. Thanks.
In response to a comment, "Mdh shud be avoided like one avoids poison...", I (Ravi) wrote:
--Name-snipped--: I certainly advise people who ask me for such views, that they should not go to MDH, as there is a danger that they may get trapped into that group by some siddhis that the so called communicator, Madhusudan Rao Naidu seems to have. However, just because somebody goes to MDH I do not view such persons as bad. What is bad in my view is an employee/office bearer of official Sai orgn. or official Sai institution where the instructions are that such persons should not visit MDH, visiting MDH group. That is not being truthful or ethical (i.e. Asathya & Adharma). Such people should quit official Sai orgn. or institution and then happily associate with MDH group.
In response to a question directed at me, "Ravi S. Iyer sir, not sure what you are referring to. Can you please clarify what disciplinary action against staff was taken, and who the concerned staff are. Thanks.", I (Ravi) responded as follows:
Dear sir, I am afraid I cannot elaborate. Jai Sairam!
In response to another comment, I (Ravi) wrote:
Bro --name-snipped--: My view is that Shri Narasimhamurthy and Madhusudan Rao Naidu may be doing their activities thinking that they are helping in Bhagavan's mission. So my view of them is that they are misguided souls now, who are in turn misguiding others, using the HOLY NAME of Kali Yuga Avatar, Shiva-Shakti Swarupa, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. In the process, over the past few years, many from Prasanthi Nilayam Sai institutions have come under their sway. Hopefully now those that are in Prasanthi Nilayam institutions including Sai university alumni staff realize that henceforth dual loyalty wrt Muddenahalli group will not be tolerated by Prasanthi Nilayam heads (Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust).
The Sai university, in particular, was heavily under the sway of Muddenahalli group as its former vice-chancellor, Sashidhara Prasad himself came under that sway. He stepped down in Nov. 2014 as vice-chancellor. But I think the negative impact of the Muddenahalli group on the Sai university from Jul 2011 to Nov. 2014 will take some years, perhaps a decade, to overcome. Note that even today in June 2016 you have nobody from the Sai university openly and publicly condemning Muddenahalli group. Same is the case with the official alumni group of the Sai university. I was told by somebody that the official alumni group of the Sai university is deeply divided on this Muddenahalli group matter.
Anyway, Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust (SSSCT) has acted decisively and sent a crisp and clear message to employees and even honorary/free service staff associated with SSSCT managed institutions. That is a very welcome development. It will start the process of serious change in mindset in SSSCT institutions' employees/honorary/free service staff wrt Muddenahalli group belief.
To the above, one person responded: "this is true".
Rajen Rajen commented (slightly edited to fix typos):
If indeed there was a Subtle Body... IT would hv headquartered ITSELF in PN...n not divided devotees.
So, there is no Subtle Body... just BNM's subtle nonsense subtly working on subtly weak minds. Om Sai Ram.
Sai Das wrote:
Whatever became of the attempted injunction to prevent MDH from co opting Sai Baba's name?
Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
I don't think anybody attempted any legal proceedings towards that effect. I had made the suggestion of doing so via a P.I.L. (Public Interest Litigation) but I was not willing to do it myself due to some limitations that I have.
Sai Das wrote:
No devotee attorney to offer that very important seva?? I find that quite shocking actually.
Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
Well, I think the emotional turmoil they would have to undergo due to resistance from MDH group Sai devotees is the main issue. Not the money to sponsor an attorney or any Sai devotee attorney providing pro bono services. Most Sai devotees don't want to get involved in this matter even when it comes to publicly criticizing Muddenahalli group. So you can imagine how few (or none) want to go to the extent of filing a P.I.L. in an Indian court of law. .... They prefer to put the responsibility on the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust (SSSCT). And SSSCT trustees have an unenviable job in such matters - damned if you do; damned if you don't. I would hate to be in their shoes for such matters.
In response to a comment question, "Mr.Ravi Iyer sir, it is unfortunate that people are falling in line only when there is strict action. why is that the loyalty to institute and Swami not coming from Heart??",
Ravi S. Iyer wrote (slightly edited): See, it is not that PN people are not loyal to Swami. They are. But some PN staff believe that Swami is now in so called subtle body in Muddenahalli and that Madhusudan Rao Naidu is the so called chosen communicator. In the past they were not willing to follow STRICT instructions from PN authorities (after Nov/Dec 2014) NOT to visit Muddenahalli group (as I guess they felt that they know better than PN authorities).
Only people who have been staff at PN when Swami was in physical form can understand the great vacuum that Swami's physical absence created in PN system after Mahasamadhi in April 2011. That great vacuum and resultant great changes that somewhat NATURALLY happened after Mahasamadhi were terribly traumatic to many staff of PN.
Some left PN and joined MDH. Some left PN system and got into something unconnected to MDH (I am an example of that; I continue to live in outside ashram Puttaparthi but from March 2012 I have no association with any PN institution).
Among those staff who stayed on in PN system, some got swayed by MDH claims especially as it was backed by veteran leaders of Sai movement like Shri Narasimhamurthy and Shri Indulal Shah. The then vice-chancellor of Sai university, Prof. Sashidhara Prasad, backing MDH group till he stepped down in Nov. 2014, created an atmosphere where belief in MDH group was encouraged in the Sai university!!! Those who dared to oppose that belief openly like Prof. Anilkumar Kamaraju were forced to resign!!! I got out (in March 2012) because I was disgusted with what was going on (in PN system).
Now we are in June 2016, a good one and a half years after Sashidhara Prasad stepped down as vice-chancellor in Sai university. Slowly and steadily his negative impact in terms of promotion of MDH belief, is getting reversed. But these things take time.
Some people of PN system still believe in MDH group. But they want to continue to be in PN system (perhaps due to salary and/or other considerations). This is the state of affairs, brother. In such scenarios I think only firm action results in change. SSSCT has done that. Let us hope that now there will be change in mindset (in PN system people who believe in MDH group claims).