Last updated on 20th Jan. 2017
In a comment exchange between Mr. Alok Dara Shikoh and me, in Mr. V.R. Ganti's recent Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/vr.ganti.1/posts/10208531985201783 (see branch comments under one of V.R. Ganti's comments which begins with a reference to me), Mr. Alok Dara Shikoh wrote that he is agnostic towards MDH (Muddenahalli belief in so called communicator and so called subtle body). But about the view that Bhagavan has said that he does not communicate through mediums (or communicators), he offered two possibilities. Possibility1 that "event-1" (events) occur(s) as Bhagavan said they would. I (Ravi) take Possibility1 as having an implication that Bhagavan does not use mediums for his communications even after Mahasamadhi.
Mr. Shikoh then raised Possibility2 that "event-1 does not occur in the way Bhagawan said it(.) (W)hat actually happens is contradictory to what Bhagawan said (again as analyzed by my limited mind and its limited perceptions)". Mr. Shikoh then gave some examples in support of Possibility2.
I (Ravi S. Iyer) responded to him as follows (slightly edited):
Alok Dara Shikoh - Once again thanks for your polite reply. I think like brother --name-snipped--, you too, Alok sir, have the great spiritual attributes of tolerance and politeness. As of now at least, you both are far better than me in this regard, as there are times when I lose my cool and act in the heat of the moment without much politeness.
About possibility2 in your response which seems to be the view that Bhagavan's words or predictions at times do not happen as said ... And you have applied possibility2 to Bhagavan's words that he never uses intermediaries:
Let me stick my neck out and say that I have heard and read some things related to Bhagavan's predictions that did not happen. So possibility2 is true, in my considered opinion. I am prepared to face this reality in some cases rather than take a view that Bhagavan's words can never be questioned and that Bhagavan is right and our understanding is wrong. I think the 96 years prediction of Bhagavan also falls in this possibility2 bucket, in my considered view. I do not accept the lunar years "explanation".
But then how can Bhagavan's words ever be false??? Isn't that blasphemy??? Well, my view is that on some worldly type matters, sometimes events have not matched with Bhagavan's predictions. Why? I don't know.
But what I have noted is that when it came to matters of deep spiritual teachings, Bhagavan was a lighthouse of spiritual wisdom. And when it came to spiritual guidance, Bhagavan was very particular about details and stayed largely consistent on vital matters across his spiritual teacher career. He would not accept dilution of teachings on critical matters related to spirituality. It was very close to his heart and he was very strict about such matters. In contrast, for worldly stuff like marriage (especially love marriage as against arranged marriage) and job and money and all that, it seems to me that he too may have changed over the decades as society around him changed. I mean, when Bhagavan started his mission it was 1940, 71 years before his Mahasamadhi, with India seeing huge changes in prosperity, societal attitudes to marriage and family and all that over these seven decades of Bhagavan's spiritual master career.
But, on core spiritual matters, I don't see much change between Bhagavan's early teachings and the ones he gave in 2000s.
The medium/communicator aspect is a very core spiritual matter with respect to Bhagavan. Even when Bhagavan was in physical body, there were many who tried to use Bhagavan's name for inspired messages/communications they got. I knew of one such case quite well in the 1990s where a person claimed that Bhagavan's written responses would come to some letters to Bhagavan placed in front of Bhagavan's altar in his home. [Fortunately it was on a small scale and so did not create too much disturbance in the samithi activities.]
So Bhagavan was very particular in clarifying this vital matter to the entire Sathya Sai devotee fraternity multiple times, via public statements, that he never uses mediums/communicators. That was a vital spiritual matter which Bhagavan directly clarified. It was such clarifications that led me to avoid getting involved with work of such mediums including the one I mentioned above, even though I saw (knew about) some other Sai devotees giving letters to be placed at his altar and supposedly getting responses from Bhagavan!
Given this background, it is unthinkable and unacceptable to me (but may be acceptable to others) that Bhagavan would change this vital spiritual matter of not using intermediaries/communicators, after Mahasamadhi. So, in my view, it just will not happen.
But, for the purposes of discussion, let us presume that Bhagavan may use a communicator after Mahasamadhi. In that case, how should we test the claim? Shouldn't we do some comparison on important spiritual matters between physical form Sathya Sai and this communicator?? I think not only we should. We must. Otherwise we will be allowing ourselves to be fooled by anybody and everybody who claims to be a medium/communicator of Bhagavan, of which there are many instances today across the world.
So some of my such tests which Madhusudan Rao Naidu failed are:
1) How can Madhusudan say that Kali Yuga is over and that Sathya Yuga has started when physical form Bhagavan told John Hislop as recorded in his book that Kali Yuga will last 5,000 years more??? This is a deep Hindu spiritual matter. Bhagavan will not fool around in such matters, saying things like Kali Yuga is over, unless it really is over.
2) Madhusudan told Satyajit and others at Mahasamadhi time before Swami's body was lowered in the Samadhi, that Swami will rise (physical body will come back to life)! That is a very, very, very big spiritual claim. But Swami's physical body did not come back to life!!!
3) Hindu scripture has accounts of many avatars including Rama & Krishna. We also have accounts of Shirdi Sai Baba as well as many great Hindu saints like Ramakrishna and Ramana Maharishi. In not a single case of these avatars and saints, did we have this extraordinary claim of a communicator who alone, for extended periods of time and on a regular basis, can see and communicate with a so called subtle body of the departed avatar or saint!!! I mean, Madhusudan Naidu talks of Swami wearing this colour dress, and Jesus Christ subtle body being there, Shirdi Sai subtle body being there, and so on. There is no history of any such communicator in all of at least well known Hindu scripture and saint accounts!!
4) Even if we accept that Madhusudan case is UNIQUE in history of Hinduism, will we then not have to look at the past history of Madhusudan to see some signs of extraordinary holiness about him which resulted in Bhagavan choosing him to do this UNIQUE role?? Of course we must. Was Madhusudan a great form boy in Prasanthi Nilayam like a few student-staff who have served Swami at close quarters over the years? NO. He was not a great form boy. Did Madhusudan create a great impression in the Sai university about being a very, very pious soul who was an embodiment of self-sacrifice and holiness? NO. These matters are observed and get known to Sai university hostel teachers especially. Madhusudan did not acquire any such extraordinary reputation as a divinely specially blessed student full of holiness and piety.
5) In fact, the word among the alumni community who were his peers is not all that great about Madhusudan. There are reports from fairly reliable sources about his wealth management/asset management business, which he started after he quit HDFC bank, to have landed into significant losses. This kind of background is hardly the mark of a divinely specially blessed student of Bhagavan, and instead seems to point to somebody who was forced by failure in business to explore spiritual mediumship as a career.
6) Why is there no transparency from Narasimhamurthy about when he stopped getting dream instructions from Swami (after Mahasamadhi)? It smells very fishy. Madhusudan was not in the picture as a communicator in the initial stages of Narasimhamurthy led Muddenahalli group mission. It was Narasimhamurthy who claimed to get divine inspiration and messages like some great prophet (e.g. Moses).
7) As late as May 2010, I have heard, live, sitting in Sai Kulwant Hall, Bhagavan publicly talk about how great Bharat is and why people should not leave Bharat and go abroad, as Bharat is the divinely blessed land (or words to that effect). Bhagavan was focused on Bharat even though he knew that if he made visits to rich foreign countries like some other Hindu spiritual leaders he could attract lots & lots of donation money. How could he change so dramatically after Mahasamadhi and become a globe trotter especially to rich countries!!! I mean, is it the same Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba??? I can't believe Bhagavan can change so dramatically after Mahasamadhi on this matter. Bharath was Punya Bhoomi to him. He would praise it endlessly. He would talk about how Rama's Ayodhya was much less grand than Ravana's Lanka but that Rama did not want to have anything to do with Lanka after he had defeated Ravana and rescued Sita, and so returned to Ayodhya, his mother kingdom (motherland). Bhagavan had a particular contempt for those who dilute Sanathana Dharma ideals by running after money, especially foreign money. How can Bhagavan change so dramatically after Mahasamadhi so that he is focusing so much attention on countries outside Bharath by making personal visits and opening ashrams and hospitals there???
Given the above, to people like me who have studied Bhagavan's teachings and have had the experience of being in His physical presence for some years, it is so very clear that Madhusudan Rao Naidu is not saying the words or doing the actions of the real Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, but instead is doing an imitation of Bhagavan combined with some donation earning tactics of some other gurus in India which Bhagavan shunned.
Alok Dara Shikoh wrote:
Ravi ji, great analysis and observations! The respect and admiration is mutual especially after seeing that there is a lot of intellectual honestly in choosing the side you do.
For me unfortunately, only a first hand experience could convince me about the truth or untruth of MDH. Almost all the points that you raised, while they definitely do suggest that MDH is very likely to be fraud, do not give a hard solid evidence of fraud.
And added to that is my dilemmas where I am surrounded by friends and family who are constantly are able to perceive the omniscience of the subtle form (especially there are several experiences where the continuity of the relationship between the devotee and Bhagawan when bhagawan's was in the physical form, is taken forward in an elegant way). Of course, if MDH is fraud, this can be easily explained as the acquisition of mind reading powers (that spiritual masters like swami nityananda impart). So unfortunately I am also exposed to a ton of narratives that seem to suggest MDH is not fraud. But again there is no solid evidence to prove MDH is not fraud in those narratives since one can construct possibilities as to how those narrative can still be true while MDH is fraud.
Thus this lack of solid evidence from both sides, yet very compelling narratives, from both sides leaves me fully agnostic.
This is where I fully agree with Ganti ji, that if only Sri BNNM, or Sri Madhusudan can openly answer his questions, then my own personal predicament of agnosticism will also find a side to choose. It is unfortunate that we didn't have an audience from these individuals because I suspect many are in the same boat as me.
But be that as it may, I thank you again Raviji for taking the time to compose this brilliant writeup which does make a very compelling case.
Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
Alok Dara Shikoh sir, Thanks for your kind words about my arguments.
I have not used the word 'fraud' in my previous responses wrt Madhusudan Rao Naidu, as far as I know. Instead I state that his claim of being a communicator of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba is FALSE. Fraud implies deliberate faking to delude devotees. I am not going that far. Madhusudan could be simply under a delusion (Hindi mein paagal). The word delusion implies that what he is saying is false. People may believe him and also get deluded in the process.
So I will take your words to mean that I have not given "hard solid evidence" of Madhusudan Rao Naidu making a false claim (instead of fraud).
About Madhusudan possibly being able to read people's minds and memories: As you yourself say, "this can be easily explained as the acquisition of mind reading powers (that spiritual masters like swami nityananda impart)". I would not be surprised if Madhusudan does have some paranormal powers like that demonstrated by some disciples of Swami Nityananda.
Now you write that my arguments "make a very compelling case". But I think you have the view that it does not conclusively prove without any shadow of doubt that Madhusudan's communicator claim is a false claim. And as you say that you are exposed to other narratives which are in favour of Madhusudan's communicator claim which too are "very compelling", but also do not present "hard solid evidence", you are in a position of being "fully agnostic" wrt Madhusudan's communicator claim.
I respect your right to have such a stand. Matters of faith can be tricky to conclusively prove without a shadow of doubt, one way or the other.
However, I wonder what is it that will be viewed by you as "hard solid evidence" that Madhusudan's communicator claim is false. I think that only if Madhusudan himself publicly, freely and repeatedly states that his communicator claim is false, and that he was either deluded or was deliberately saying falsehood, will you have the "hard solid evidence" that Madhusudan's communicator claim is false. The probability of that happening is rather low, I think.
BTW there are many who claim to be mediums of Sathya Sai in various parts of the world. I guess you would be having a similar "fully agnostic" view about them too if you come across people who support these medium claims. Mind you, sir, I am not being critical of you here. I am just trying to understand your viewpoint about such matters. Thanks. Jai Sairam!
Given below are comments from my Facebook post,
https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1848793552003880, which shares/has the above contents.
Alok Dara Shikoh wrote:
Absolutely sir, I am agnostic about every such claim of a medium where there is no evidence... however in some cases the fraud has been established (apparently one lady claiming to be a medium was discovered to be throwing vibhuti swami's picture for which she was claiming Swami's presence).
Whenever I hear of a medium I do feel very sad because it puts in a lot of distraction. I just endeavor to actively ignore it for the most part, because gathering more knowledge about that medium only confounds the puzzle especially if there is no proof of fraud.
It's just tooo much overhead to analyze each case and form an impression... so one reason for agnosticism is also my want to not waste time analyzing these matters.. I tell myself to continue to dig the hole that I have started already until I find water... maybe some other holes will also lead other diggers to water too (the genuine cases of mediums if there is such a thing) and maybe some others are digging holes right above a rock (fraudsters or hallucinators)
In these cases I just affirm to myself, whether or not that medium is true, for sure that path is not for me at this time and it's not my hole to dig... This is the same affirmation I have in terms of MDH at this current time.
Hard solid evidence of fakeness, hallucination or reality in case of MDH could be items like: (1) Other known spiritual masters who have the yogic powers confirming madhu's actions one way or the other. (2) proof that individuals donating money to MDH, in some cases incurring financial hardship, are being actively coerced into donating in return for some reward or are being blackmailed (3) performance of miracles that cannot easily be faked: for instance swami once said that a huge rock will be cracked by the evening and sure enough thunder struck that day and created a fissure in that huge rock.. or when swami calls Geeta ram ji on the telephone and asks her to lower the receiver of the telephone above her palm and lo and behold vibhuti falls from her own phone into her palm.
Most of the time the hard evidence is witnessed only first hand... it's very hard to decipher whether a particular story is true or genuine these days, because it's as easy to spread a lie as it is to spread the truth...
Anyways, apologies for my loosely structured response; finding Little to no time amidst work and family responsibilities
Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
Thank you Alok Dara Shikoh sir for your response and your time. It gives me an interesting insight into a different perspective (view) of claims of Sathya Sai mediums & communicators.
Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
Alok Dara Shikoh sir, I have presumed that it is OK with you for me to have shared your comments in this Facebook post and in my blog post associated with it here: http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2017/01/why-i-cannot-accept-madhusudan-rao.html. Please note that these Facebook and blog posts of mine are freely viewable by others and has no financial profit motive whatsoever. The intent of me sharing our full conversation (both your and my comment responses) on these Facebook and blog posts of mine, is that it may be useful to some other Sathya Sai devotees who read them.
In a similar way, I have shared another recent Facebook comment exchange we had on a Facebook post of mine and my blog post on it here: http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2017/01/i-do-not-quit-debate-when-it-becomes.html. I presume that too is OK with you. Thanks.
Terry Reis Kennedy shared an excerpt from my Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/1848793552003880, associated with this post's contents. Her excerpt is of the 7 points I have given for my conclusion/view that Madhusudan Rao Naidu is not saying the words of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Here's her post,
https://www.facebook.com/terry.reiskennedy/posts/10212000528387345. The notable thing is that it has got over a hundred Facebook-likes (115 'Likes' which includes Thumbs-up (Like) and Heart-icons (Love)) whereas my original post has only 3 Facebook-likes! Terry sure has some Facebook following, and sure knows which short excerpts from my long posts will appeal to her (Facebook) readers.
Given below is a comment exchange on Terry's post mentioned above:
Terry Reis Kennedy wrote:
Ravi S. Iyer People are loving your words. Thank you for this informative list.
Ravi S. Iyer responded:
Glad that my words have been 'liked' by so many.
Terry Reis Kennedy wrote:
Ravi S. Iyer I counted a few heart icons......
Shubha Ramesh Kumar wrote (slightly edited):
10 hearts to be precise rest likes [Smiley-icon]
Terry Reis Kennedy wrote:
Shubha Ramesh Kumar thanks for counting the hearts on this post all celebrating Ravi S. Iyer's dedication to helping readers understand why he cannot accept the "communicator claim."
Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
Thanks Terry Reis Kennedy & Shubha Ramesh Kumar for the kind words. This work that a few of us are doing on social media is quite a lonely one. So it is nice to see that work being of benefit to others and receiving appreciation.
Terry too deserves praise. She sure has some Facebook following, and sure knows which short excerpts from my long posts will appeal to her (Facebook) readers :-).