Monday, January 29, 2018

How Tamil Nadu political leader Shri M.K. Stalin got his name

Shri Stalin said, "Actually my father wanted to call me Ayyadurai. Because Periyar (social reformer and the leader of Dravidian movement) was called Ayya, and Durai was the name of C N Annadurai (former CM and founder of DMK). But on the day of my birth, Kalaignar (M Karunanidhi) was attending a condolence meeting for Russian Communist party leader Joseph Stalin. When a note was handed over to the stage informing him about the birth of a boy, he instantly announced that he is naming his child after the late Communist leader". Ref: http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chennai/give-tamil-names-to-your-children-dmk-chief-stalin/.

For those who do not know much about Shri Stalin (of Tamil Nadu), here's his wiki page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M._K._Stalin.

Shri M.K. Stalin's father, Shri M.Karunanidhi, is a leader of the Dravidian Self Respect movement and has been chief minister of Tamil Nadu five times for a total of around 19 years. His first CM stint started in 1969 and the last one ended in 2011. An extract from Shri Karunanidhi's wiki page, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M._Karunanidhi, is given below:

Karunanidhi began his career as a screenwriter in the Tamil film industry. Through his wit and oratorical skills he rapidly rose as a popular politician. He was famous for writing historical and social (reformist) stories which propagated the socialist and rationalist ideals of the Dravidian movement to which he belonged. He first began using Tamil cinema to propagate his political ideas through the movie Parasakthi. Parasakthi was a turning point in Tamil cinema, as it espoused the ideologies of the Dravidian movement and also introduced two prominent actors of Tamil filmdom, Sivaji Ganesan and S. S. Rajendran. The movie was initially banned but was eventually released in 1952. It was a huge box office hit, but its release was marred with controversies. The movie was opposed by orthodox Hindus since it contained elements that criticized Brahmanism. Two other movies written by Karunanidhi that contained such messages were Panam and Thangarathnam. These movies contained themes such as widow remarriage, abolition of untouchability, self-respect marriages, abolition of zamindari and abolition of religious hypocrisy. As his movies and plays with strong social messages became popular, they suffered from increased censorship; two of his plays in the 1950s were banned.

Karunanidhi rose to fame as a scriptwriter for the Modern Theatres Studio in Salem about 350 kilometers from Madras or present day Chennai. T R Sundaram, the owner of Modern Theatres Studio at Yercaud foot hills, was instrumental in honouring the talents of Karunanidhi, Jayalalithaa and M G Ramachandran.

--- end extracts from Karunanidhi wiki page ---

Ravi: The above extracts show us that Karunanidhi would then have had great admiration for Russian communism and its then leader Joseph Stalin. That led him to name his son Stalin (in 1953)!

Some info. about the Dravidian Self Respect movement in Tamil Nadu are given below from its wiki page, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-Respect_Movement :

The Self-Respect Movement is a movement with the aim of achieving a society where backward castes have equal human rights, and encouraging backward castes to have self-respect in the context of a caste-based society that considered them to be a lower end of the hierarchy. It was founded in 1921 by S.Ramanathan who invited E. V. Ramasamy (also called as Periyar by his devoted followers) to head the movement in Tamil Nadu, India against Brahminism. The movement was extremely influential not just in Tamil Nadu, but also overseas in countries with large Tamil populations, such as Malaysia and Singapore. Among Singapore Indians, groups like the Tamil Reform Association, and leaders like Thamizhavel G. Sarangapani were prominent in promoting the principles of the Self-Respect Movement among the local Tamil population through schools and publications.

A number of political parties in Tamil Nadu, such as Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) owe their origins to the Self-respect movement, the latter a 1972 breakaway from the DMK. Both parties are populist with a generally social democratic orientation.

...
Periyar was convinced that if man developed self respect, he would automatically develop individuality and would refuse to be led by the nose by schemers. One of his most known quotes on Self-Respect was, "we are fit to think of 'self-respect' only when the notion of 'superior' and 'inferior' caste is banished from our land".
...
Started as a movement (Iyakkam in Tamil) to promote rational behavior, the Self-Respect Movement acquired much wider connotation within a short period of time. Periyar, speaking with M.K. Reddy at the First Self-Respect Conference held in 1929, explained the significance of self-respect and its principles. The main principles of the Self-Respect Movement in society were to be: no kind of inequality among people; no difference such as rich and poor in economic life; men and women to be treated as equals in every respect without differences; attachments to caste, religion, varna, and country to be eradicated from society with a prevalent friendship and unity around the world; with every human being seeking to act according to reason, understanding, desire, and perspective, and shall not be subject to slavery of any kind or manner.

Equality with stress on economic and social equality formed the central theme of the Self-Respect Movement and was due to Periyar's determination to fight the inequalities ingrained in the caste system as well as certain religious practices. Working on the theme of liberating the society from the baneful social practices perpetrated in the name of dharma and karma, Periyar developed the idea of establishing this movement as the instrument for achieving his objective.

Anti-Brahmanism

Tamil Brahmins (Iyers and Iyengars) were frequently held responsible by followers of Periyar for direct or indirect oppression of lower-caste people and resulted in attacks on Brahmins, which, among other causes, started a wave of mass-migration of the Brahmin population. Periyar, in regard to a DK member's attempt to assassinate Rajagopalachari, "expressed his abhorrence of violence as a means of settling political differences". But many suggest that the values of the non-Brahmin movement were explicitly anti-Brahmin.

Self-Respect marriages

One of the major sociological changes introduced through the self-respect movement was the self-respect marriage system, whereby marriages were conducted without being officiated by a Brahmin priest. Periyar had regarded the then conventional marriages as mere financial arrangements and often caused great debt through dowry. The Self-Respect movement encouraged inter-caste marriages, replacing arranged marriages by love marriages that are not constrained by caste.

It was argued by the proponents of self-respect marriage that the then conventional marriages were officiated by Brahmins, who had to be paid for and also the marriage ceremony was in Sanskrit which most people did not understand, and hence were rituals and practices based on blind adherence.

Self-respect movement promoters argue that there was no reference to Thaali in the Sangam literatures like Tirukkuṛaḷ or Akanaṉūṟu, which describe the Tamils' lifestyle during the Sangam era. The Hindu marriage ceremonies involving Brahmins are argued to be practices introduced relatively recently to increase the influence of Hinduism on Tamils' lives.

Even though self-respect marriages have been practiced since 1928, initially these marriages just lacked a priest while the Hindu marriage events and ceremonies were followed. The first self-respect marriage that was totally devoid of any Hindu ceremony was the marriage of the prominent self-respect movement writer Kuthoosi Gurusamy with another prominent leader, Kunjidham, under the presiding of Periyaar on December 8, 1929. The self-respect movement encouraged widow remarriage as well. Due to the prevalent practice of child marriage and very poor health facilities, there were a high number of widows in then society. Women like Sivagami Ammaiyar, who could be widowed at 11 years, were given a new lease on life by the widow remarriage principles of the self-respect movement. Consequently, the self-respect movement attracted a lot of women.

Tamil Nadu became the first and only state to legalize Hindu marriages conducted without a Brahmin priest. This was the first file signed by CM Annadurai when the DMK gained power in the 1967 Madras assembly elections. Annadurai sent the rule draft to Periyar and at his suggestion changed "and" to "or" in the law text which made the thaali/mangalsutra optional in marriages. This was implemented as Hindu Marriage Act (Madras Amendment) Act, 1967, introducing Section 7A, permitting Suyamariyathai (self-respect) and Seerthiruttha (reformist) marriages as legal when solemnised in the presence of friends, relatives or any other person by exchanging garlands or rings or by tying of a mangalsutra or by a declaration in language understood by both parties that they accept each other to be their spouse. The law was passed by the Tamil Nadu assembly on November 27, 1967, and was approved by the President on January 17, 1968. This was officially announced in the gazette on January 20, 1968. The number of inter-caste and inter-religious marriages has increased in the state as a result of the self-respect movement.

--- end extracts from Self Respect movement wiki page ---

[I thank wikipedia 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.]

Telugu film star and Jana Sena political party founder Pawan Kalyan pays obeisance to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba in Puttaparthi

Last updated on 29th Jan. 2018

Pawan Kalyan Addressing Public At Hanuman Circle | Pawan Craze in Puttaparthi | Mahaa News, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cOLQadx_3k, 13 min. 52 secs, published on 28th Jan 2018.

From around 10 min. 30 secs in this video, you can see Telugu movie star and Jana Sena political party founder, Shri Pawan Kalyan, holding up Bhagavan's photo and also paying obeisance to it.

I have taken a couple of screenshot pics of that and attached it below.

[To open pic in higher resolution, right-click on pic followed by open in new tab/window. In new tab/window you may have to click on pic to zoom in.]






Shri Kalyan had words of great appreciation for Bhagavan and said that he was inspired by the service work promoted by Bhagavan in Puttaparthi which he would like to see being done elsewhere in Ananthapur district and in Andhra Pradesh.

Saibliss Facebook post on this matter: https://www.facebook.com/saimemories/posts/1698008490245717, gives more details.

Here is Pawan Kalyan's wiki page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pawan_Kalyan.
=======================================================

A correspondent wrote over email (slightly edited; correspondent was OK with public sharing):

I wanted to mail you asking you to share about his visit and saw that you had already shared. I didn't check any mails over the long weekend and was thinking of mailing you this morning.

Pawan is quitting his film career at the zenith of his career unlike many film stars who enter politics. He has vowed to do politics of ethics and commands huge respect amongst youth for his ethics. He is the second or third most remuneration commanding film star in South (India) at the moment and he is leaving all that behind. He doesn't do any commercials for money though he can make a lot of money if he stays in films and does endorsements. He used to endorse for a soft drinks brand but that was a very long time ago. Recently, he vowed to endorse only hand-loom clothes by wearing hand-loom products at least once in a week.

Pawan's ethics led him to command  a lot of respect from his fans, film goers and the general populace too. He has learnt lessons from the debacles of his brother's party [Praja Rajyam Party] and vowed to do politics of ethics giving high pedestal to youth and committed leaders. He was the key reason for 2014 elections in A.P to turn towards Chandrababu Naidu. Though he supported TDP in the interest of the state, he didn't seek any position in state/centre. He supported Modi and campaigned for Modi and CBN in AP and parts of telugu speaking regions in Karnataka.

He is the younger brother of erstwhile Telugu mega star Chiranjeevi. Chiranjeevi was the first film star in the Indian film industry to receive a remuneration of 1Cr [Rs. 1 Crore which is Rs. 10 million] which resulted in a cover page article on 'The Week' titled 'Bigger than Bacchan.'  Chiranjeevi himself visited Parthi long back for a sports meet to accompany a Hollywood filmstar who wanted to visit Parthi. At the time of Swami's Mahasamadhi too, he paid his respects in the capacity of a MoS in the erstwhile UPA-II.
-----

I (Ravi) wrote back (slightly edited):

Interesting! I knew that Pawan is the younger brother of Chiranjeevi. And, of course, knew about Chiranjeevi's political party which made waves in Puttaparthi too at that time. BTW I have seen Tagore movie of Chiranjeevi - it was quite a good one. I have not seen any movie of Pawan. Don't think I will be able to make time to watch one now.
-----

Ravi: Please note that I have a PUBLICLY NEUTRAL role in these social media posts that I put up related to Indian political leaders which include leaders in government currently and those not in government. I do vote in Indian elections but I keep who I vote for as a private matter.

In the context of this post in particular, I am PUBLICLY NEUTRAL in my social media writings towards all the political parties of Andhra Pradesh with the major ones being: Telugu Desam Party (TDP) which is in power now (in the state), YSR Congress which is in opposition now, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which is an ally of TDP and is in power now, Indian National Congress which was in power in the past, as well as the Jana Sena party of Shri Pawan Kalyan which I believe has not yet contested in elections but may do so in 2019.

[I thank Mahaa News TV channel and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above screenshot pics from their above youtube video on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Shaun Brown's Souljourns interview in 2005; eyewitness account of seeing bracelet coming out of middle of Sathya Sai Baba's palm; Swami teaching that conscience is the master to be followed

Today I saw this wonderful interview video: SOULJOURNS, SHAUN BROWN, SAI BABA, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=In_AjLKkWEw, slightly over 50 mins, interview was conducted in January 2005 [the youtube video was published in Jun 2012].


Above pic: Shaun Brown (from screenshot of video)

[To open pic in higher resolution, right-click on pic followed by open in new tab/window. In new tab/window you may have to click on pic to zoom in.]

I have interacted off and on with Shaun Brown from Australia on Facebook over the past two to three years. So this video was of particular interest to me.

Overall I think the video expresses Shaun's experiences of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba (Swami) very well. Note that Shaun also seems to have played a role in spreading the word about Swami in Australia.

I think most other viewers will agree with me when I say that the viewer feels that Shaun is speaking the truth without any exaggerations, about his journey with Sai Baba and his efforts at following Swami's teachings, especially Swami's main message of Love. To me, it comes across as an honest and genuine account of a young - mid 30s at time of interview in January 2005 - Western (Australian) devotee about his experiences of Sai Baba.

Ted Henry, the interviewer, and his videographer and publishing colleague(s), have done a great job in conducting and publishing this interview which I am quite sure would be especially useful for new Western devotees who have not had the privilege and blessing of interacting directly with Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba in physical form.

I have captured two parts of this interview in part transcripts below as I think they form an important eyewitness account related to Bhagavan.

From around 23 mins 40 secs:

Shaun Brown: Also, I think it means, and for me, my own experience has been, through your conscience. Now what's led me to that conclusion is again my interview in 1992. I had been through a very, very, very bad period for about the past two years before that. Bad in the sense that there [were] a lot of challenges for me. Very good in terms of Sai lessons. It was a period of great growth for me and I am eternally grateful for it.

But, I went into this interview wanting to offer my heart to Swami and just say Swami, whatever you tell me to do, I will do. So I sat beside Swami's chair in the interview, in the private interview, and I am saying, Swami, Swamiji.

Totally ignored me! He was talking to all my friends, promised them all good jobs and [Laughter] whatever else - totally ignored me.

So finally, he turned to me. I said Swamiji - he turned to me - and he mentioned something that had happened to me three years before that I had forgotten about.

Ted Henry: Specific episode that you knew happened in your life?

Shaun: Yeah. Just something that had happened three years before - Swami mentioned. And I said, what can I do Swami? I tried to work that situation out. But that's the way it went.

Ted Henry: So it was unfinished business in your mind.

Shaun: Yes. But it was a situation that involved some other people. And those people - I had said to Swami I will not leave these people until I feel they are affecting my sadhana (and) I will follow my conscience on this one. And so I didn't. Eventually, it came a time where I had to leave those people and move to another house but I tried to stay with them.

So Swami actually looked at me in this interview and said you followed your conscience. That is good and he patted me on the head. And he said, follow the master, face the devil, fight to the end, finish the game.

Ted Henry: Boy, he really helped you, didn't he?

Shaun: Yes. Yes.

Ted: That wasn't just an affirmation. That was, Hey you are on the right road. Keep going full speed ahead.

Shaun: Yes. Exactly. And that's my teaching for this life, (which) I think is - Follow the master. But the thing is I had a little confusion in my mind. You know, I knew that saying and actually I said it along with him. [He said:] Hey, patted me on the cheek. He said, OK. Come. We go now.

That was the end of the interview and I was going, but Swami, Swami, I wanted to ask you, what do you mean, follow the master? Does Swami mean, follow his example? How am I going to do that? Swami ..

Ted: Listen to your voice within?

Shaun: Yeah. Voice within, the conscience - what does Swami mean? Six days later, after the interview, I was walking past the Poornachandra and that voice of conscience came. Go and read the thought for the day. Now I had read all the Sathya Sai Speaks at that time. (I) didn't feel the need to read the thought for the day because it was all taken from those books. So I thought - No, no, I have got to get back to the room. I have got all this to do. The thought came again or the feeling came again from the conscience. You must read the thought for the day.

[Crosstalk]

Shaun: It (was) more forceful. And - No, no, no, I am too busy. I got about six steps later and this feeling came and it was almost a physical voice (that) came - Go and read the thought for the day. So I turned around, went and read it.

Everything in that thought for the day, everything was completely relevant to me. But the last paragraph I will never forget.

I tell you to follow the master. By the master I mean the conscience, the voice of God within you.

Ted: ...

Shaun: But notice this. Had Swami told me in the interview [incomplete sentence]. Conscience is the voice of God within you. That is the master that you must follow. He didn't. He gave a practical example of me hearing the voice of conscience and then following it, and getting the confirmation, the answer that I needed to hear.

Ted: It is also - you had a further confirmation or affirmation that your path is unmistakably correct because you keep having these clues revealed to you. They can only mean you are going in the right direction.

Shaun: Yes.

---end of this transcript snippet ----

From around 46:20

Shaun: We are in an interview in 1997. And these were two experiences - one is just sort-of a leela and the other is quite profound. In this interview I was sitting right beside Swami's chair - was very, very close to him and there was a man there. Swami came in. We had a new group from Australia - mostly new people. Some had only known about Swami for about six months. There was an Indian man sitting there at Swami's feet as well. Now, all of these people seemed to be new.

When Swami walked in, he sort of looked around stirring the air with his hand. Everyone thought that he was going to make some divine pronouncement. They didn't know what he was going to say. But they thought this was going to be really profound. And this is Swami for me.

Swami said, are you happy? Do you want the fan on? [Laughter] Swami then adjusted the fan, made sure everyone had enough room to sit. Only after everyone else was comfortable would Swami himself sit down. The perfect host. So human, so loving and so divine at the same time.

So Swami sat down. He said to this man, when are you leaving? The man said, tomorrow. Swami said, tomorrow. International? This man said, Sorry Swami? Swami said, international flight? He said, Oh yes Swami - Geneva. Swami said, yes, yes, I know you are from the UN. This man was stunned.

And Swami said, do you want [Kankanam] which means bracelet? And before the man can answer, Swami waved his hand. Now I could see underneath Swami's hand. And this bracelet slid from the middle of Swami's palm and he just caught it by the last link. [Laughter] [The screenshot below captures Shaun showing from where he saw the bracelet come out of Swami's open palm.]



So he took it and he said, come, come, come. He took this bracelet like this [Shaun gestures with his palms/hands]. He said, see here is the clasp. Here is how it works - fits together like this. He said, come, I will put. And He went and put it on this man's wrist. And it wouldn't fit. It was too small.

Swami [said] Haaa! Phuh! He blew on it and it was big enough to fit. So this man was just looking at this bracelet (and) looking at Swami. Swami smiled and blessed him. Then he sat back on his chair. Now my mother, who is not a devotee, had met Arthur Hillcoat in the airport when she came to pick me up on (our) previous trip. And she had seen Arthur's ring. And she said, Ahh you know Swami must be good at ahh sleight of hand.

Ted: Ya.

Shaun: So I decided that I would ask Swami to show me something unmistakable so that I could say, No. Not sleight of hand.

Ted: [You wanted] to ask him that!

Shaun: No. Just inside.

Ted: Okay.

Shaun: Just Inside. So Swami is sitting here [Shaun gestures] with his hands resting on the side of his chair. I can see his hand. Swami looks - I am just staring only at his hand. Swami looks at this fellow's wife and says, Jealous! Like that [Shaun shows a facial expression]. In the time it took him to say Jealous, I looked from his hand to his mouth to his hand. When I looked back there was a watch underneath Swami's hand. It had been empty a half a second before! Not even that. He just said jealous - like that. When I looked back there is a watch sitting there.

Now this was a silver watch with gold filigree, beautiful thick band on it, and Swami just goes like that [Shaun gestures with his hand/palm]. Everyone, of course, went, woooo [Laughter].

Swami got the wife to come up. And he unclasps the band and put it on her hand, looked at it and went, 7:30 - perfect. Watch your words. Watch your actions. .. Watch your thoughts. Watch your character. Watch your heart.
---- end transcript snippet ---
===============================================================

On my Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2063833413833225, associated with this blog post, I had the following exchange with Martin Evind:

Martin Evind wrote (slightly edited):
Sairam I witnessed the same in 1983 interview. I was sitting on the right side at Swami’s feet, He placed His hand forward and I will never forget seeing a strand of pearls descend from the palm of His right hand. A white pearl japamala which he gave to a woman and told her “very valuable”. Swami also manifested pendants for two Italian students and changed a man's ring from Jesus to Sathya Sai Baba. And answered every person's questions and concerns. Thank you for allowing me to share this. Sairam
-----

Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
Sairam Martin Evind. Thanks for sharing this wonderful eyewitness experience of yours. May I share your public comment above, on my associated blog post here: http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2018/01/shaun-browns-souljourns-interview-in.html? Note that the blog is freely viewable on the Internet and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.
-----

Martin Evind wrote (slightly edited):
Ravi S. Iyer Yes that would be fine. It was Dec. 1983. There were about eighteen devotees from San Francisco Ca. (California, USA) Bay Area
-----

Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
Thanks Martin Evind. I will put it up shortly.
-----

[I thank Shaun Brown, Souljourns and Ted Henry, and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above transcript-snippets and screenshots of their youtube video on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

Saibliss Facebook post: Muddenahalli chameleons on prowl - watch out for new colours

Brother Satish Naik (Facebook user Saibliss) put up a very notable post today: MUDDENAHALLI CHAMELEONS ON PROWL:- WATCH OUT FOR NEW COLOURS, https://www.facebook.com/notes/saibliss/muddenahalli-chameleons-on-prowl-watch-out-for-new-colours/1686514128061820/.

It is a superb post giving a short account of the FALSE BELIEF propagated by B.N. Narasimhamurthy, ex-warden of Sai university, and Madhusudan Rao Naidu, ex-student of Sai university by misusing the HOLY NAME of Kali Yuga Avatar, Shiva-Shakti Swarupa, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

I have given below some extracts from the post :


[Above pic shows Madhusudan Rao Naidu in an orange dress with B.N. Narasimhamurthy behind him in a white dress.]

Cunning man [B.N. Narasimhamurthy referred to as BNM] he is, for this, he chose two most strong and important weapons; First is Swami Himself, His name and second His dear students. BNM is using Swami's name, Swami's pictures and Swami's students to destroy Sai mission. He had a deep urge to become a pontiff of a MUTT (ashram) and revel in the adorations of devotees who will be falling at his feet while he could sit on the throne of a Guru. BNM is fulfilling all his desires by using Swami's name and Swami's students.
...
After Mahasamadhi, Narasimha Murthy started taking Madhusudan to individual devotees' houses and introduced him. Madhusudan used to appear very humble, bowing down and touching the feet of devotees with vibhuthi on his forehead putting up a face of an innocent Sai student, started transmiting messages which were supposedly given by Bhagawan. Many devotees who were completely under shock due to Swami's Mahasamadhi started to believe him as he was referred and brought in by none other than BNM who was at Swami's feet for more than 30 years. The initial belief was more on BNM than Madhusudan. Both these crooks encashed the traumatic situation which prevailed immediately after Mahasamadhi, started to exploit devotees who had feeling of emptiness in their hearts.

Slowly things changed and devotees started going to Madhusudan as he was relaying the message of Swami in SUBTLE BODY. Initially he was only hearing the messages and relaying as was claimed. Slowly, he started giving darshans, accepting letters, calling devotees for interviews, producing vibhuthi, rings and chains and finally ended up in taking out lingam too on Shivarathri 2017.
...
Now the SUBTLE SWAMI seems to have merged into the gross body of Madhusudan and he is posing himself to be a Swami. Now the drama has reached its peak and he is imitating Bhagawan even in the dress by wearing those colours which Bhagawan used to wear. Here are some obnoxious pictures where you can really see the chameleon in new colours starting from a flamboyant looking attire to sober Sai Student safari dress later to kurta pyjama and then the colour changes and also the length of his kurta gets longer and longer.

[Only one such pic is given below. For other pics please visit the Facebook post given earlier.]


...

Dear devotees a man [Madhusudan Rao Naidu] who was getting ready for marriage, then starts bizarre claims of listening Swami's voice, then to seeing Swami , imitating His voice, His walk, changing the dress colours and who knows what else we will be seeing. Be aware[.] Don't be deluded by these fraudsters. Dear brothers and sisters, for Swami’s sake, let us all unite and show our love and tribute to Bhagawan by completely shunning these fraud individuals operating from Muddenahalli.

--- end extracts from Saibliss Facebook post ---

Ravi: I think it is the mega ego and megalomania of Shri B.N. Narasimhamurthy that has created such a horrific division in the Sathya Sai fraternity ***worldwide***. He is the main culprit even if in public he now appears to stand or walk behind Madhusudan and act as an elderly helper to Madhusudan. I am quite sure that in private he will dominate over Madhusudan and order him around! What a pity that such an atrocious drama using Swami's name and Swami's students has fooled so many thousands of people worldwide including cricket icons of India - Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar.

I do hope and pray that the Hon'ble Chief Minister of Maharashatra Shri Devendra Fadnavis, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devendra_Fadnavis, does not get trapped by this dangerous duo of Narasimhamurthy and Madhusudan Naidu who are misusing the HOLY NAME of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Quantum mysticism may be interesting to some of us into spirituality including Vedanta philosophy but mainstream scientists do not accept it as science and call it pseudoscience

Last updated on 16th Jan. 2018

The post contents below are based on some comments of mine in a recent conversation elsewhere. However, I have signficantly added to those comments, and deleted some parts of the comments.

I have not read Capra's famous book, Tao of Physics. I am given to understand that Capra is quoted as saying in the book: "Thus, the Void of the Eastern mystics can easily be compared to the quantum field of subatomic physics. Like the quantum field, it gives birth to an infinite variety of forms which it sustains and, eventually, reabsorbs."

This seems to be similar to some articles that appeared after Higgs (jointly with Englert) won the 2013 Nobel prize in Physics.

Given below is my contrarian view from extracts from my blog post: Why I shy away from comparisons between Physics theories like Higgs field and deep spiritual philosophy like Vedanta?, https://iami1.wordpress.com/2015/07/27/why-i-shy-away-from-comparisons-between-physics-theories-like-higgs-field-and-deep-spiritual-philosophy-like-vedanta/, dated July 2015 :

Note: I am really out of touch with Quantum Physics and Particle Physics type of stuff though I majored in Physics in college (B.Sc. Physics from Ruia college, Mumbai university) over three decades ago. [I also did about six months of M.Sc. Physics (specializing in Electronics) in Mumbai university, then (1983), before dropping out due to funds problem.]
...
A view that Higgs field is like Brahman which projects material world is really tricky (from the viewpoint of literal meaning that some physicists/scientists may choose to take to criticize the statement). Yes, Higgs field gives mass to many particles. But can one extend that to say that Higgs field is like Brahman which projects material world? From a literal meaing point of view, that seems to be quite some stretch. Higgs field seems to have very limited or no relation to photons and does not seem to come into the picture for explaining gravity. Material world needs photons (light consists of it, according to accepted Physics of today, if I am not mistaken), and most of us humans experience gravity all the time. I mean, unless a reputed physicist used the phrase that Higgs field is like Brahman which projects material world, many phsicists/scientists will not treat the phrase seriously. I mean, they may treat it as a popular science writer’s over-simplification or extra imagination. Sorry if the words sound harsh, but even if I did not get into a profession related to Physics, the Physics I studied tells me that some physicists/scientists may view it as over-simplification.

BTW the regular wiki page has a DIRECT DISAGREEMENT with the molasses analogy/metaphor mentioned in popular press (See Sarewitz article referencing New York Times article using molasses analogy, http://www.nature.com/news/sometimes-science-must-give-way-to-religion-1.11244). It states, “Various analogies have also been invented to describe the Higgs field and boson, including analogies with well-known symmetry breaking effects such as the rainbow and prism, electric fields, ripples, and resistance of macro objects moving through media, like people moving through crowds or some objects moving through syrup or molasses. However, analogies based on simple resistance to motion are inaccurate as the Higgs field does not work by resisting motion.”

That seems to me to be a strong enough statement not to make serious comparisons between Higgs field and molasses or Hindu scripture, sea of milk (mentioned in Sarewitz article above, but clearly indicating that it is not an accurate characterization and mentioning that it may be as valid (or invalid) an analogy as the molasses one). I mean, those analogies may be fine for casual writing to reach out to lay readers. But it is NOT FINE for serious discussion.

More general discussion about Physics theories and comparison to Vedanta

Now let me stretch my neck out. I think I may open myself up to strong criticism from Physicists who care to read and comment on what I will now say. I think the “holy grail” of Physics, for good part of the 20th century continuing on to today, is a unified field and accompanying unified theory that explains all kinds of forces and all physical phenomena. It was Einstein’s dream and he did not achieve that dream. String theory is said to hold promise as the theory of everything (Physics wise), but I have been hearing about that promise it holds for long, without it having achieved the goal so far.

I don’t think Higgs field even attempts to be that kind of unified field theory. From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unified_field_theory, “In physics, a unified field theory (UFT), occasionally referred to as a uniform field theory, is a type of field theory that allows all that is usually thought of as fundamental forces and elementary particles to be written in terms of a single field. There is no accepted unified field theory, and thus it remains an open line of research. The term was coined by Einstein, who attempted to unify the general theory of relativity with electromagnetism. The “theory of everything” and Grand Unified Theory are closely related to unified field theory, but differ by not requiring the basis of nature to be fields, and often by attempting to explain physical constants of nature.”

Ravi: Classical physics (also referred to as Newtonian Physics, if I recall correctly), seemed to me to be a pretty meaningful set of theories and also seemed to match with human intuition. Take Newton’s laws of motion, for example. I did not find it counter-intuitive.

But Classical Physics could not explain certain phenomena. Einstein, Heisenberg, Planck, Dirac, Schrodinger etc. (with Bohr joining in, if I am not mistaken) came along and Quantum Physics became the big thing as it could explain some of the hitherto unexplained phenomena. And then we had mind-boggling progress in both science and its applications that made a big impact on the world. So today Quantum Physics is a pillar of Physics, with Classical Physics being an approximation of it.

But Quantum physics has so much of counter-intuitive stuff. Speed of light is constant – that’s a postulate (essentially, an assumption), Planck constant with a specific value (6.62606957(29)×10(raised to)-34 J.s), dual wave-particle nature, a special theory of relativity and a general theory of relativity etc. And then the horrendous Mathematics, Quantum physics involves. It is not elegant stuff, if you ask me. It is nowhere near the elegance of Classical physics.

But Quantum physics explained phenomena that classical physics could not. No matter how inelegant and counter-intuitive it was, no matter how horrendous the Math, Quantum Physics won handsomely at explaining some unexplained matters. So it has become the accepted Physics of our day.

Can the laws of material phenomena be so inelegant? Or has science (and its associated math) not got the right theories yet?

In marked contrast, I have found Hindu scripture (Vedanta, and, in my case, to a lesser extent, Bhagavad Geetha) & mystics’ explanations of underlying spiritual rules or laws (like Karma in Hindu, Buddhist & Jain philosophies) and the overall spiritual theory of existence (man being trapped into illusion due to desires that cloud his inner reality which is a changeless eternal truth, one brahman projecting the entire illusive world, essence of all being the same brahman etc.) to be so elegant and intuitive. I say, intuitive, in that it jells with one’s inner being. Something inside says, Yes, that’s right when one reads and contemplates on such scripture/philosophy/revelations/teachings.

Today’s Physics is nowhere near as elegant and as intuitive as deep spiritual explanations of existence, like in Vedanta (I don’t know enough about deep spiritual stuff in other religions/philosophies and so am not mentioning them). So I tend to shy away from comparisons between some (typically inelegant) Physics theory which gains currency/gets validated, and very elegant deep spiritual philosophy like Vedanta.
--- end extracts from my blog post ---

I repeat that I am out of touch with Physics and nowhere near an expert on topics like Higgs field. So I have relied on expert Physicists' views on Higgs field.
-----

With the Higgs field scenario that I talked about above, if I recall correctly, claims were made that the Higgs field is a scientific validation of spiritual concepts/views like that of Brahman, the Absolute One God/Divinity of Vedanta, spawning the material world. Brahman was sought to be equated with Higgs field, and particles that owed their existence to Higgs field were sought to be equated with the material world being spawned by Brahman.

I think that is where Physicists got upset and wrote against those views (claiming that Higgs field theory validated Brahman spiritual concept of Vedanta).

Perhaps the Physicists would not have been so upset with somebody using quantum physics as a rough model to correlate with spiritual theories/revelations like Brahman and Maya of Vedanta. Such a model does not claim to be exact and, very importantly, does not claim to be scientific proof for Vedanta philosophy.
---

I would like to say that a few years ago I read up on how science views metaphysical or mystical theories (e.g. Vedanta philosophy), and also had a related conversation with a rationalist scientist.

What that told me was that mainstream science has rigorous criteria that it applies to any theory (e.g. it has to be experimentally verifiable through tests and those tests should be able to be repeatedly done) before it is willing to view the theory as a scientifically proven/acceptable theory.

Top mainstream science publications (e.g Science and Nature) act as gatekeepers via their editorial board and reviewers (mainly scientists, I believe) ensuring that only those theories that meet the rigorous criteria of mainstream science are written about in their publications as proven/acceptable scientific theories.

I learned that mainstream science has a strongly opposed view to many metaphysical and mystical theories put forward in a science theory language, and so views them as pseudoscience.

About Quantum mysticism and Amit Goswami

https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Amit_Goswami gives a very interesting quote of Amit Goswami, a physicist, "The current worldview has it that everything is made of matter, and everything can be reduced to the elementary particles of matter, the basic constituents — building blocks — of matter. And cause arises from the interactions of these basic building blocks or elementary particles; elementary particles make atoms, atoms make molecules, molecules make cells, and cells make brain. But all the way, the ultimate cause is always the interactions between the elementary particles. This is the belief — all cause moves from the elementary particles. This is what we call "upward causation." So in this view, what human beings — you and I think of as our free will does not really exist. It is only an epiphenomenon or secondary phenomenon, secondary to the causal power of matter. And any causal power that we seem to be able to exert on matter is just an illusion. This is the current paradigm.

Now, the opposite view is that everything starts with consciousness. That is, consciousness is the ground of all being. In this view, consciousness imposes "downward causation." In other words, our free will is real. When we act in the world we really are acting with causal power. This view does not deny that matter also has causal potency — it does not deny that there is causal power from elementary particles upward, so there is upward causation — but in addition it insists that there is also downward causation. It shows up in our creativity and acts of free will, or when we make moral decisions. In those occasions we are actually witnessing downward causation by consciousness."
--- end wiki quote extract ---

Ravi: I find that the above views of Amit Goswami fit in with my understanding of Vedanta philosophy as expounded in Hindu scripture and as explained/interpreted by contemporary mystical spiritual masters. But can they be viewed as a scientific theory which is acceptable to mainstream scientists of today? That is a vital question when one views it from the scientific perspective.

http://www.amitgoswami.org/ has a paragraph as follows in the context of views of Amit Goswami similar to what is expressed above, "You can call it God if you want, but you don’t have to. Quantum consciousness will do. Nonlocality, tangled hierarchy, and discontinuity: these signatures of quantum consciousness have been independently verified by leading researchers worldwide. This experimental data and its conclusions inform us that it is the mistaken materialist view that is at the center of most of our world’s problems today. To address these problems, we now have a science of spirituality that is fully verifiable and objective."

Ravi: Hmm. A science of spirituality that is fully verifiable and objective! I think that view will not be accepted by most mainstream scientists today, including publications like Science and Nature.

Large extracts from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mysticism are given below:

Quantum mysticism is a set of metaphysical beliefs and associated practices that seek to relate consciousness, intelligence, spirituality, or mystical world-views to the ideas of quantum mechanics and its interpretations. Quantum mysticism is considered by most scientists and philosophers to be pseudoscience or quackery.

Early controversy and resolution

Quantum mysticism in the sense of consciousness playing a role in quantum theory first appeared in Germany during the 1920s when some of the leading quantum physicists, such as Erwin Schrödinger, leaned toward such interpretations of their theories. Others, such as Albert Einstein and Max Planck, objected to these interpretations. Despite the accusation of mysticism from Einstein, Niels Bohr denied the charge, attributing it to misunderstandings. By the second half of the twentieth century the controversy had run its course—Schrödinger's 1958 lectures are said to "mark the last of a generation that lived with the mysticism controversy"—and today most physicists are realists who do not believe that quantum theory is involved with consciousness.

Wigner

In 1961 Eugene Wigner wrote a paper, titled Remarks on the mind–body question, suggesting that a conscious observer played a fundamental role in quantum mechanics, a part of the Von Neumann–Wigner interpretation. While his paper would serve as inspiration for later mystical works by others, Wigner's ideas were primarily philosophical and are not considered "in the same ballpark" as the mysticism that would follow.

Appropriation by New Age thought

In the early 1970s New Age culture began to incorporate ideas from quantum physics, beginning with books by Arthur Koestler, Lawrence LeShan, and others which suggested that purported parapsychological phenomena could be explained by quantum mechanics. In this decade the Fundamental Fysiks Group emerged, a group of physicists who embraced quantum mysticism while engaging in parapsychology, Transcendental Meditation, and various New Age and Eastern mystical practices. Inspired in part by Wigner, Fritjof Capra, a member of the Fundamental Fysiks Group, wrote The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels Between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism (1975), a book espousing New Age quantum physics that gained popularity among the non-scientific public. In 1979 came the publication of The Dancing Wu Li Masters by Gary Zukav, a non-scientist and "the most successful of Capra's followers". The Fundamental Fysiks Group is said to be one of the agents responsible for the "huge amount of pseudoscientific nonsense" surrounding interpretations of quantum mechanics.

Modern usage and examples

In contrast to the mysticism of the early twentieth century, today quantum mysticism typically refers to its New Age incarnation that combines ancient mysticism with quantum mechanics. Called a pseudoscience and a "hijacking" of quantum physics, it draws upon "coincidental similarities of language rather than genuine connections" to quantum mechanics. Physicist Murray Gell-Mann coined the phrase "quantum flapdoodle" to refer to the misuse and misapplication of quantum physics to other topics.

An example of such misuse is New Age guru Deepak Chopra's "quantum theory" that aging is caused by the mind, expounded in his books Quantum Healing (1989) and Ageless Body, Timeless Mind (1993). In 1998 Chopra was awarded the parody Ig Nobel Prize in the physics category for "his unique interpretation of quantum physics as it applies to life, liberty, and the pursuit of economic happiness".

The 2004 film What the Bleep Do We Know!? dealt with a range of New Age ideas in relation to physics. It was produced by the Ramtha School of Enlightenment which was founded by J.Z. Knight, a channeler who said that her teachings were based on a discourse with a 35,000-year-old disembodied entity named Ramtha. Featuring Fundamental Fysiks Group member Fred Alan Wolf, the film misused some aspects of quantum mechanics—including the Heisenberg uncertainty principle and the observer effect—as well as biology and medicine. Numerous critics dismissed the film for its use of pseudoscience.

--- end wiki extracts ---

Ravi: Now I am NOT saying that quantum mysticism in general and all the views of Amit Goswami as quoted in this post are wrong. Not at all. In fact, I believe in Vedanta philosophy where consciousness plays the vital role in creation with Brahman, which I believe could be viewed as a super and all-pervasive kind of consciousness, being the power that projects the whole of creation including the material world which is the focus of science. Vedanta philosophy also says that this creation is an illusion (a mega illusion which gives us the impression of being real) and that the only truth is the unchanging (super) consciousness/awareness referred to as Brahman. I believe this Vedanta philosophy to be true especially as my beloved and revered spiritual master, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba said it is true. But I don't think Vedanta philosophy is a scientific theory which can be proven by the rigorous standards that mainstream science has.

I also don't think that Vedanta philosophy blended into Quantum physics of today will be acceptable as science. That does not mean Vedanta philosophy is false. It is just that it is out of the range of science. As Francis Collins indicates/implies, science is a great tool for investigating and explaining nature, but it cannot go beyond nature into other aspects of life. [To read about those views of Francis Collins, please visit this recent post of mine: About top-notch scientist Dr. Francis Collins and his superb arguments about science being compatible with belief in (Christian) God; My adaptation to multi-faith God, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2018/01/about-top-notch-scientist-dr-francis.html.]
===================================================================

Given below are some comments from my Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2061386217411278, associated with this post :

Sandhya Rajendra S Chittar wrote: All current theories in physics are tentative. They can change if evidence or experiments suggest otherwise. Quantum and General Relativity cannot be reconciled as of today. So either or both have to give way to a better one despite both being successfully tested by experiments. We do not as of now have a clear idea what this theory will be. Philosophy is subject to the experiments of life and is more experiential than experimental. So as of now there is no compelling evidence to connect both deeply.
-----

Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Thanks for your valuable view Sandhya Rajendra S Chittar. What is your view of Quantum mysticism in general and the views of Amit Goswami in this regard in particular? I would be glad if you could share your valuable views here.
-----


Sandhya Rajendra S Chittar wrote: I have not read Amit Goswami so cannot comment. I will send you a mail regarding my views later.
-----

Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Sandhya Rajendra S Chittar forwarded a 2015 email of his on this topic, which he was OK with sharing publicly, whose main contents are as follows:

Dating back to Fritjof Capra's The Tao Of Physics, as far back as I can remember, heralded the tendency to support religious/spiritual beliefs (especially of the Orient) with modern (especially quantum) physics.

Quantum Physics, from its very birth, has been weird - riddled with paradoxes, a mathematical basis that still lacks the rigour of most other physics. But what sets it apart, and especially closer to the language of spiritualism - are its concepts, themes, and results which defy common sense perceptions to the extreme - far much more than the other pillar of modern physics, Einstein's Relativity (Special and General). Hence, one is forced to speak of Quantum things in a language that is as vague as that of Spiritualism.

And then, Quantum suffers from another peculiarity. As much as its mathematics is precise, its meaning in conceptual terms (i.e. what do the terms represent, and how do the interact, and what goes on?) is not easy to flesh out, as in most other physics.

It is subject to interpretation.

And lastly, there is this thing called Entanglement - which defies the other pillar (Special Relativity) - where particles remain entangled (can communicate instantly) no matter how far they are apart. This goes against the fundamental tenet of Relativiy - the speed of light is the ultimate barrier which cannot be surpassed by anything in this Universe.

Lo and Behold - one now has all the language available to speak metaphysical within the Quantum context. Particles which are not really particles - but also waves simultaneously. Particles being here, there, and everywhere at the same time. Particles that are in instant touch with each other across the Universe. And then some more.

While all of these weird results have been proven in Physics laboratories the world over, and have a solid theory to back them - there is something crucially amiss. Quantum Theory and General Relativity cannot be put together into a consistent framework. And like Quantum Theory, the results of General Theory, also have been validated beyond doubt.

Truth is stranger than fiction, indeed. Without Quantum, most of the Electronics that we take for granted, and which rules our lives today, would have been impossible. Without General Relativity, GPS would be unthinkable. So, both are right in our experience - but yet, they do not get along at all!!!

Which means one of two things:
1) Either Quantum or General Relativity has to give way.
2) Both are partially correct, but fundamentally incomplete, and require another bedrock as their basis.

This makes it clear that any attempt to base any spiritual philosophy on Science must go the same way. Hence, if Spiritual thought is 100% correct, then it must remain separate from the evolving nature of Scientific truth. Any attempt to link a supposedly proven philosophy with an evolving one - is futile, forever.

In which case - Science and Spiritualism - must remain separate forever.

But there is a more prudent approach. Spiritual Philosophy must also evolve as we do and as does our Science. And only in that case, can the effort of basing Spiritualism on Science be fruitful.

Any Comments???
----

Sandhya Rajendra S Chittar wrote (slightly edited): I recommend this book - Quantum Questions: Mystical Writings of the World's Great Physicists Paperback – 10 Apr 2001 by Ken Wilber (Editor), https://www.amazon.in/Quantum-Questions-Mystical-Writings-Physicists/dp/1570627681/ - to anyone genuinely interested in this topic.
----

[I thank wikipedia, wikiquote and amitgoswami.org, and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extracts (short extract from amitgoswami.org) from their website on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

Monday, January 15, 2018

About top-notch scientist Dr. Francis Collins and his superb arguments about science being compatible with belief in (Christian) God; My adaptation to multi-faith God

Given below are my comments (edited) from a recent conversation I had elsewhere which I thought may benefit readers who are interested in science as well as spirituality and faith in God.

---, have you heard about Dr. Francis Collins, who is one of the top scientists of the world who has publicly argued for faith and against the atheism and agnosticism of scientists like Richard Dawkins? If not, I can point you to a Caltech talk of his which I found to be superb in refuting Dawkins' arguments and in showing that one can be a scientist and have faith in God.
---

Here is my blog post on it: https://iami1.wordpress.com/2012/08/10/francis-collins-the-language-of-god-a-scientist-presents-evidence-of-belief-transcript/
---

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba was the Avatar in physical form, explaining the mystery of creation and the spiritual laws like that of Karma and reincarnation. So we are extraordinarily blessed to have got clear wisdom from such a powerful source.

But when it comes to science, some top scientists (e.g. Richard Dawkins) view everything through the lens of science which is a big mistake as science, despite being an extraordinarily powerful tool, is limited to nature and cannot be used to get into matters beyond nature like the subtle laws of spirituality like laws of karma and reincarnation.

While Francis Collins argues from his Christian faith point of view (and not Hindu Karma and reincarnation beliefs/revelations), he is able to use the language of scientists to counter Richard Dawkins' atrociously scornful attitude towards believers - Dawkins arrogantly titled his book - The God Delusion!!!

This post of mine dwells on background of Francis Collins (an extraordinary scientific career with top level recognition in USA govt.), how Collins' lecture helps to counter Dawkins (and other atheist and agnostic scientists inspired by Dawkins to intellectually attack theists), and also provides my Hindu take on matters where Collins gives his Christian take: https://iami1.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/one-can-be-a-rigorous-scientist-and-a-believer-in-god-dr-francis-collins/

I found that Collins' talk and its transcript provided a contemporary basis to argue successfully against atheist and agnostic scientists who attack religious and spiritual beliefs. In particular, I think it would be very useful to young people of faith who do advanced science study like Masters or Ph.D. in top scientific institutions in the world. Normally such places are intellectually dominated by atheist and agnostic scientists, who may mock the faith of young students! I am not being imaginative here. This is real. The Collins lecture gives defense material to such young people of faith to counter efforts of atheist and agnostic scientists to scorn and mock their faith, using a person whose scientific credentials ****today**** (as against some 19th or early 20th century scientific figure) are top notch.
----

Collins was associated in a founder role of an organization called BioLogos which seemed to promote the view that Christian faith and science are compatible. As he was asked to head the top health research institution in the USA, the NIH, he had to disassociate with BioLogos and pass the baton of management of BioLogos to others.

Now I found that BioLogos had (and still has) a concise 11 point 'What We Believe' statement which is a crisp and clear statement of belief in Christian God that is compatible with science.

I decided to adapt (to be precise, give top-level thoughts about the adaptation of) that great statement of belief, to a multi-faith setting, and have given that adaptation, in the form of suggested changes in this blog post: Crisp Statements of Belief in God that is Compatible with Science, https://iami1.wordpress.com/2012/08/28/crisp-statements-of-belief-in-god-that-is-compatible-with-science/.

I request readers, especially scientists and fellow technologists (I am a former software technologist) to go through my above post and give me your valuable feedback. Please feel free to be critical. I welcome constructive criticism that improves my adaptation/direction for adaptation.

BTW Francis Collins is a member of the top scientists panel of the Roman Catholic Church - the Pontifical Academy of Sciences: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontifical_Academy_of_Sciences. So Collins seems to be a notable man in science and the Roman Catholic Church's current view of God and science.
----

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Radhanath Swami and Father Francis Clooney : Encountering God- Hindu and Christian Perspectives - Columbia university, 2012; Father Clooney makes brief mention of keeping Sai Baba vibhuti in his office

This post follows up on a recent post: Interesting videos about East (one Indian spiritual tradition - Radhanath Swami) meeting West (one USA Christian tradition - Cornell West) organized by Princeton University group in April 2011, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2018/01/interesting-videos-about-east-one.html, 9th Jan. 2018.

Here's the video: Radhanath Swami and Father Francis Clooney : Encountering God- Hindu and Christian Perspectives - Columbia university, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1FshvupA08, around 1 hr. 50 mins., published on 12th May 2012. [The event seems to have been held in April 2012.]

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Xavier_Clooney, "Francis Xavier Clooney SJ is an American Jesuit Roman Catholic priest and scholar in the teachings of Hinduism. He is currently a professor at Harvard Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts."

At around 43 mins 25 secs, Fr. Clooney says, "And I think when I went to Kathmandu in 1973, it was kind of a last wave of that kind of the West going out to the world. I went there as part of a mission, as part of a Jesuit school in Kathmandu. It was an educational institution in which of course learning would take place and impolitic questions would always be asked. In that context, I first encountered Hindu tradition. I remember very much hearing bhajans of Rama and Sita being sung by the boys in the school. Remember hearing for the first time about Sai Baba and received from one of the students some Vibhuti that I still have in my office."

Ravi: Very nice to hear from a Jesuit priest of the USA who is a Professor in Harvard Divinity School, about him getting a vibhuti packet associated with Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba in the 1970s from a Kathmandu school student, which he still has in his office (in Harvard Divinity School, I guess) in 2012! Jai Sairam!

I also love the way he talks about Hindu religious traditions with a lot of understanding and respect, while still loving and revering the Jesuit Catholic tradition of which he is an ordained priest!

Fr. Clooney goes on to say, "Hearing the stories of Ramakrishna who I loved as an individual and still do, because of his incredibly passionate devotion to the mother Kali. In the sense that everything is given to you, if you love a hundred percent the one who is your mother. And the sense that all this spoke to me, immediately I think, that if I am a Christian for whom Jesus is the center of reality, somehow that echoed. You might think it would be contradictory but in a very improbable way it was symmetrical or harmonious with Ramakrishna loving his mother [Kali] OR Rama and Sita and the utter devotion of Hanuman and Lakshmana and so on to them."

Here is a transcript of some excerpts of the discussion: http://www.radhanathswami.com/2012/04/columbia-university-discussion-with-francis-x-clooney/.

One particular part is very interesting to me which is the responses of Fr. Clooney and Swami Radhanath to the ****big existential question**** "Who am I" in their religious traditions. I have given some extracts from above link related to this question.

Father Francis Clooney: In the Catholic tradition I am a child of God. I am [a] person who God loves intensely. God has called nothing into being. God has given a sense of direction in life. You are the one and I am the one who God cares for and I am not abandoned. I am one who God has given a community, brothers and sisters of mine and other traditions around me. But the ultimate question of “who am I” – I think you have to be alone and stand and you look in the mirror without any illusions. Look at your life and all this stuff I say about myself and to others. If I strip it all away and to not be afraid of that, at one point we have to ask this very frightening question – “who am I”, and then say I affirm it. I am good, I am not going to run away from [who] I am because the only person who I’ll be is who I am and its a gift I received. It may not be the gift I wanted but its God’s gift to the world. It may be a question I need to ask when I’m 20 or 30, but at 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 – its a ruthless question again.  And we never just ask it once but keep coming back to it because we have to keep stripping away all the ways that we have made it comfortable to allow the mystery again to be open.
-----

Radhanath Swami: The Gita begins especially on this subject, the question “who am I”.  Dehino smin yatha dehe – that the conscious force, the living force that is within us and see through the eyes, tastes through the tongue, thinks through the brain, loves through the heart – that living force passes through many transitions. At one time we were little babies, then we were young children, then teenagers and then middle age to old age and eventually the body dies. So who is it who is witnessing all of these changes. The body is compared to a vehicle, or like a set of clothes. And the mind is like a subtle set of clothes – like our underclothes. But we are the person underneath it. The body changes and the mind is always changing, but who is that witness? That is the atma, the living force, the soul.  The Gita explains that the nature of that atma – it is unborn, undying, eternal. Every living being is part and parcel of God. The nature of the soul is that we are part of God. Within us is the greatest potential – the inner fulfillment of love for God and love for all beings and to see that all life is a sacred part of God. We can change our religion, nationality, these days you can even change your sex, but who am I? I am the divine spark of God. Our eternal identity, that which is inseparable of our true self is to love God. To be an instrument of compassion in whatever we do. That is our nature.

--- end excerpts from http://www.radhanathswami.com/2012/04/columbia-university-discussion-with-francis-x-clooney/ -----

Ravi: The above excerpt giving Radhanath Swami's response based on Gita to the "Who am I" question, I think fits in well with Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's teachings too. Bhagavan would speak about the changeless Atma being our reality, and he would refer to us listeners of his discourses as Divyaatmaswarupulaaras (embodiments/forms of divine Atma) and Premaatmaswarupulaaras (embodiments/forms of loving Atma).

Reverend and Professor Francis Clooney seems to have done a lot of study and writing on Hinduism. That is very interesting. Related additional excerpts from
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Xavier_Clooney are given below:

A native of Brooklyn, New York, he graduated from the prestigious Manhattan Jesuit Regis High School and entered the novitiate of Society of Jesus in 1968 and was subsequently ordained in 1978. Following that, he earned his Bachelor's Degree at Fordham University in the Bronx, New York.

After earning his doctorate in South Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago in 1984, Clooney taught at Boston College until 2005, serving also as the Academic Director of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies (a Recognised Independent Centre of the University of Oxford), when he became the Parkman Professor of Divinity and Professor of Comparative Theology at Harvard Divinity School. In 2010 he became the Director of Harvard's Center for the Study of World Religions. That same year he was named a Fellow of the British Academy.

His primary areas of scholarship are theological commentarial writings in the Sanskrit and Tamil traditions of Hindu India, and the developing field of comparative theology, a discipline distinguished by attentiveness to the dynamics of theological learning deepened and enriched through the study of traditions other than one's own. He has also written on the Jesuit missionary tradition, particularly in India, and the dynamics of dialogue in the contemporary world.

Clooney sits on a number of editorial boards, was the first president of the International Society for Hindu-Christian Studies and, from 1998 to 2004, was coordinator for interreligious dialogue for the Jesuits of the United States. Clooney has authored several articles and books, and served as the editor of the OCHS Hindu Studies book series for Routledge. His current projects include a study of yoga and Jesuit spirituality.

--- end wiki excerpts ----

[I thank wikipedia and radhanathswami.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.]

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Interesting videos about East (one Indian spiritual tradition - Radhanath Swami) meeting West (one USA Christian tradition - Cornell West) organized by Princeton University group in April 2011

The Indian tradition talked about is mainly the ISKCON Bhakti tradition which is expounded by Radhanath Swami. The Christian tradition is talked about by Dr. Cornell West.

I have given the links to the two videos first, followed by introductory info. about the two main speakers.

1) Radhanath Swami and Dr. Cornel West - 1, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jv0RFMQgh10, around 50 mins. To skip the introduction start from 17:30.

An extract from the description of the video: "Princeton scholar Dr. Cornel West and Radhanath Swami, a spiritual teacher, activist and author, in a discussion titled "East Meets West: A Dialogue Between Cornel West and Radhanath Swami". Tuesday, April 19, 2011 in Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall."

2) Radhanath Swami and Dr. Cornel West - 2, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LzbXwtr3Cg8, around 55 mins

Ravi: I saw both the videos in full and recommend it for full viewing to those interested in such topics, who can make the time for it.

Here is an extract from a Sept. 2015 blog post of mine related to Radhanath Swami: Fond memories of ISKCON, Juhu, Mumbai; Great Bhajan by Loknath Swami; ISKCON, Chowpatty, Mumbai; Radhanath Swami, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/09/fond-memories-of-iskcon-juhu-mumbai.html

A good friend and younger colleague of mine (Sri Sandeep Kamat), in a software company in Mumbai named Mastek, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mastek, that I got associated with later on as a consultant, in the 90s and early 2000s, was an ardent follower of ISKCON. He took me to his main ISKCON temple in Girgaon, Chowpatty (walking distance from Grant Road Railway station, if I recall correctly), Mumbai, http://radhagopinath.com. I clearly recall me enjoying and admiring the holy atmosphere as well as the intricate beauty of the main temple there (the website shows a pic of it, which revived that memory). He was associated as a lay (family man) follower with a spiritual leader there, whom he greatly admired and revered. If I recall correctly (actually I am quite sure), he was referring to the main spiritual leader of the temple, Sri Radhanath Swami, http://radhagopinath.com/new/temple/leadership/, who is an American from Chicago who became an ISKCON sannyasin. An extract from the earlier link:

Radhanath Swami is a Vaishnava sanyassin (a monk in a Krishna-bhakti lineage) and teacher of the devotional path of Bhakti-yoga. He is author of The Journey Home, a memoir of his search for spiritual truth. His teachings draw from the sacred texts of India such as The Bhagavad-gita, Srimad Bhagavatam, and Ramayana, and aim to reveal the practical application of the sacred traditions, while focusing on the shared essence which unites apparently disparate religious or spiritual paths.

Born Richard Slavin, on December 7, 1950, in his teens he came to confront a deep sense of alienation from suburban Chicago life and the civil injustices of mid-century America. At the age of nineteen, while on a summer trip to Europe, his internal struggles culminated in a commitment to search for God wherever it might lead him. Meditating on the Isle of Crete, he felt a supernatural calling and the next morning set off alone to find spiritual India. The Journey Home documents his odyssey as a penniless hitch-hiker though Greece, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and finally India. There he lived as a wandering ascetic, first amongst the forest dwelling Himalayan yogis and later amongst a wide variety of gurus and spiritual practitioners throughout India and Nepal. Ultimately, he was led to the holy town of Vrindavan, where he found his path amongst the Bhakti-yogis.

In Vrindavan he found the teacher he was searching for in A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896-1977) the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), and representative of Gaudiya Vaishnavism, (the Krishna-bhakti tradition stemming from the 16th century mystic avatar Sri Chaitanya). In choosing Bhaktivedanta Swami, as his guru, Radhanath Swami felt compelled to shear his matted locks and reenter Western society with a mission to share the sacred wisdom he had received. This return exemplifies the form of devotional yoga which is at the heart of Radhanath Swami’s teachings, a spiritual practice expressed as tangible action meant to bring about personal fulfillment and benefit the world.

At the the age of 31 he took the monastic vows of a Vaishnava sanyassin and became known as Radhanath Swami.

--- end extract from http://radhagopinath.com/new/temple/leadership/ ---

I did not have the privilege and pleasure of meeting Sri Radhanath Swami. I think he may not have been free (or in town) at the time my friend took me to his temple.

[I thank radhagopinath.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.]

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

Given below is an extract from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornel_West :

Cornel Ronald West (born June 2, 1953) is an American philosopher, political activist, social critic, author, and public intellectual. The son of a Baptist minister, West focuses on the role of race, gender, and class in American society and the means by which people act and react to their "radical conditionedness." Styling himself as a radical democrat socialist, West draws intellectual contributions from multiple traditions, including Christianity, the black church, Marxism, neopragmatism, and transcendentalism. Among his most influential books are Race Matters (1994) and Democracy Matters (2004).

West is an outspoken voice in American leftist politics, and as such has been critical of members of the Democratic Party, including former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. He has held professorships at Harvard University, Princeton University, Yale University, Pepperdine University, Union Theological Seminary, and the University of Paris during his career. He is also a frequent commentator on politics and social issues in many media outlets.

From 2010 through 2013, West co-hosted a radio program with Tavis Smiley, called Smiley and West. He has also been featured in several documentaries, and made appearances in Hollywood films such as The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, providing commentary for both films. West has also made several spoken word and hip hop albums, and due to his work, has been named MTV's Artist of the Week. He has also been portrayed on Saturday Night Live by Kenan Thompson.

--- end extract from wiki ---

[I thank wikipedia and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extract from their website on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

Monday, January 8, 2018

Shri V.R. Ganti is now my Facebook friend! My great privilege to have worked with Mr. Ganti to expose Asathya-Adharma of Muddenahalli group

Last updated on 9th January 2018

Given below are the contents of my recent Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2055884684628098 :

Shri V.R. Ganti is now my Facebook friend!

I felt it appropriate to publicly share what I wrote to Vr Ganti sir on private Facebook chat a few minutes ago (slightly edited):

Ganti sir, It has been a great privilege for me to work with you to expose Muddenahalli group using Sathya and Dharma. I have happily accepted your friend request.

One important request from me sir: Please do not comment against SSSCT trustees and Prasanthi Nilayam on my posts.

As that will land me in a big soup!!!!

Please understand my delicate position in this matter.

On anything else -  I will be honoured to have your comments on my posts.

Please do not misunderstand. Puttaparthi is a tough place to live in, as one has to do a big balancing act.

Jai Sairam!
==============================

Update: A clarification about the sentence related to exposing Muddenahalli group mentioned above, has been provided in the modified sentences below, for the benefit of some readers who may not know the background:

[What I meant was:] Ganti sir, it has been a great privilege for me to work with you, mainly in 2015 and 2016, which continues now in end 2017 and early 2018, using Sathya and Dharma, to expose in social media for the benefit of the Sathya Sai fraternity, the Asathya-Adharma of Muddenahalli group related to FALSE CLAIM about B.N. Narasimhamurthy being dream-instruction medium of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba and FALSE CLAIM about Madhusudan Rao Naidu being so called communicator of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Both Narasimhamurthy who is a former long-time warden of Sai university, and Madhusudan Naidu who is an alumnus of the Sai university, after Mahasamadhi of Bhagavan in April 2011, have spiritually misguided thousands of Sathya Sai devotees in India and the rest of the world, including Sai university administrators (e.g then vice-chancellor Sashidhara Prasad and others), faculty and alumni, using the HOLY NAME of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba instead of following Sathya and Dharma by using their own names of Narasimhamurthy (or Narasimhamurthy Baba) and Madhusudan Rao Naidu (or Madhu Baba) for their spiritual guidance instructions and supposed spiritual revelations to their devotees.

--- end contents of my Facebook post ---

Given below are some comments from the above Facebook post:

Shri V.R. Ganti wrote: Om Sri Sai Ram - I would like to clarify that everyone, including Ravi Iyer Garu has always been my friend. Yes some people including Ravi Iyer garu unfriended me for sometime. Also I have unfriended a few because of their language (foul language) and a few have double crossed me and hence I have blocked them.

Yes, I have definite and strong views against some of the Trustees of SSSCT and I have assured Ravi Iyer that I will not post any comments against SSSCT or its Trustees on his wall but I cannot sing their glory at all.

As regards Mhalli Gang, BNNM, Madhu and a few others, I maintain that they are all DAIVA DROHIS and even if Bhagawan Baba comes and tells me that He is now talking through Madhu, I will tell Baba to go away because, I only know that Baba who has promised His Mother that He will never leave Parthi and go; I know that Baba, who always maintained that He will not talk through a medium and will have direct contact with His devotees; I know that Baba who said that He totally disapproves of anyone raising money in His name and so, I will Baba to go away from me.

Having said this I have some views about Madhu which I will put up a note soon.
-----

Ravi S. Iyer wrote: Thank you Vr Ganti sir. Jai Sairam!
-----

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Radio Sai interview of Shri Umesh Rao and Smt. Gita Umesh Rao about having associated with Muddenahalli group and Madhusudan Naidu in post-Mahasamadhi 2011, and later losing faith in their FALSE CLAIMS

Given below are the contents of Smt. Shubha Ramesh Kumar's public Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/shubha.kumar/videos/10159465154755538/, dated 5th Jan. 2018. The post has a video of around 31 mins, which has some illustrative video content but whose main content is the audio which is stated to be that of a Radio Sai interview.

--- Start text contents of Shubha Ramesh Kumar's public Facebook post ---

Of confusion, regret, the return home and lessons for all...

In part 3 of their Tryst with Divinity interview on Radio Sai, Bangalore based Mrs Gita Umesh & Mr SundarRao Umesh Rao long standing devotees of Bhagwan, speak of the turmoil they went through post Mahasamadhi of Bhagawan in 2011 and how they innocently believed the words of Madhusudhan Naidu when he approached them. This interview is particularly an eye opener for anyone who in their moments of vulnerability, wholeheartedly believed that the Muddenahalli group was truly carrying forward Bhagawan’s message and vouched their loyalty to this ordinary student of Sai, who claims the impossible. Listen very carefully dear sisters and brothers and remember Sai Maa is waiting to welcome you with open arms once you’ve realized the truth - that the journey is only supposed to go inwards not outwards. Seek the Sai in your heart while you treasure everything you enjoyed with the glorious physical form of Sai for that many years. Start the journey now ...

--- end text contents of Shubha Ramesh Kumar's public Facebook post ---

Ravi: Note that the Radio Sai interview audio corresponding to the above video may be part of the audio available at the Radio Sai website here: http://media.radiosai.org/journals/vol_16/01JAN18/04_01_2018_schedule.htm, under the Morning Glory program item. [I did not get the time to check whether the audio is the same.]

I shared the above Facebook post of Smt. Kumar here: https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2054220721461161. Given below are the contents (slightly edited) of my introductory (share) comments in my post:

I think this is an extraordinary interview as it is perhaps the first time that donors/patrons who had associated with Madhusudan Naidu of Muddenahalli group are ***openly*** (not anonymously) sharing their experience of first believing their claims, associating with them as donors/patrons (donors of money and/or services), and then losing faith in them. [Mr. Ajit Popat's publicly shared experience involved Narasimhamurthy and not Madhusudan Naidu, as far as I can recall.] I congratulate them as well as the interviewer Smt. Karuna Munshi, a Sai university alumna (feminine noun, alumnus being masculine noun), for courageously conducting and airing this interview. It is very nice to see a Sai university alumna, Smt. Munshi, show this courage and determination to expose FALSE CLAIMS of Muddenahalli group.

Thanks to Shubha Ramesh Kumar for sharing it.

The Lotus renewable energy company is quite well known in our Parthi supporter FB community as its directors webpage included some MDH group people which was shared on Facebook perhaps in 2015 itself. The interview gives the background to that company formation and how the noble aims seem to have not worked out due to attitude of some Muddenahalli group people.

I think it would be great if a transcript of those parts of the interview that deal with Muddenahalli group is made and shared publicly on Facebook. I wonder whether Radio Sai staff could do that task.

I did some digging up on the names of the interviewees. I think they were pretty central to Muddenahalli group in the initial period. See this article by Narasimhamurthy about them: https://saivrinda.org/my-sai-i/featured-blogs/selflessness-the-key-to-attain-him. Hmm. This is getting into pretty sensitive territory!

--- end contents of my Facebook post ---

[I thank Smt. Radha Rameesh Kumar and have presumed that she will not have any objections to me sharing the above contents of her Facebook post, on this blog post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The New York Times publisher job moves from father Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. to son Arthur Gregg Sulzberger

This post is copy-pasted from http://ravisiyermisc.blogspot.in/2018/01/the-new-york-times-publisher-job-moves.html.

The New York Times has been one of the newspapers that I have greatly admired and been inspired by, for decades. I think from sometime in the 1990s I have been exposed to New York Times articles on a somewhat regular basis, either as articles reprinted in Indian newspapers or as articles that I read over the Internet. I loved the usage of English in it as it seemed to me to be quite easy to understand, without fancy verbiage being used to show off the vocabulary of the writer but putting general readers at a disadvantage, and without compromising on conveying the message to the readers. In India I had come across quite a few writers who tended to show off their vocabulary and used heavy and sometimes unnecessary linguistic ornamentation for their articles. The contrast that most New York Times articles had was refreshing and led me to try to adopt a similar approach when I wrote my articles.

As I got into my role as a social media writer from Sept. 2011 onwards, sometimes playing a reporter role on various matters like the poor quality of teaching software development in Indian Computer Science and Information Technology academia, Sathya Sai fraternity related matters, current events from a perspective of religion and spirituality etc., and sometimes providing my opinion on them, I have consciously, and perhaps at times unconsciously, aspired to follow the high standards of the New York Times (NYT). Of course, I am sure that I fail many times to follow NYT's high standards given that I am not a commercial career journalist or writer, and am a single home based writer operation who writes rather hurriedly as I cover a lot of topics. I should also state here that I do not do any investigative journalism stuff that needs interactions with govt. or NGO orgn. officials but go by information provided by sources to me. I also avoid writing about very sensitive matters. But within these limitations, in whatever I do write as an opinion or as a news report, I try to follow NYT's standards of sticking to the truth as one knows it, and not hesitating to make corrections if later information shows some mistakes in my previously written articles. I recognize that I am playing some kind of chronicler role especially in matters related to Sathya Sai fraternity that I "bear witness to". The NYT is known as the newspaper of record in the USA, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newspaper_of_record. So for my chronicler kind-of role I think that NYT's reporting standards are what I should aspire to, whenever feasible.

Given this background of great respect that I have for NYT, the news of a new publisher at the New York Times was of great interest to me. Here are two articles related to this change at the top publisher position in the New York Times. Note that Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. continues as Chairman. These two articles provide historical background of the NYT as well as the paper's publishing vision.

1) A.G. Sulzberger, 37, to Take Over as New York Times Publisher, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/14/business/media/a-g-sulzberger-new-york-times-publisher.html, 14th Dec. 2017. This article gives interesting historical background of the New York Times and the 25 year tenure (1992 to 2017) of Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. as publisher.

2) A NOTE FROM OUR NEW PUBLISHER, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/01/01/opinion/Arthur-Gregg-Sulzberger-The-New-York-Times.html, 1st Jan. 2018. In this article, the new publisher A.G. Sulzberger writes that his great-great-grandfather Adolph Ochs purchased the New York Times in 1896 when it was "small" and "fading". He writes that at that time the press was partisan and not so concerned about informing the public (in an unbiased way).

Adolph Ochs "vowed that The Times would be fiercely independent, dedicated to journalism of the highest integrity and devoted to the public welfare". The writer claims that NYT is still animated by this idea.

The writer states that Ochs vision for the reporting of news was "to give the news impartially, without fear or favor, regardless of party, sect, or interests involved". And for opinions that were published, his vision was, "to invite intelligent discussion from all shades of opinion".

The writer claims that today's American society is faced with similar challenges that American society faced in 1896 and so, "More than 120 years after Adolph Ochs’s vision was printed in these pages, the need for independent, courageous, trustworthy journalism is as great as it’s ever been."

A.G. Sulzberger (AGS) writes about the dangers and challenges faced by mainstream print media today in the USA. On one hand, the earlier business model for print media is eroding, resulting in staffing cuts.

On the other hand, AGS writes, "Misinformation is rising and trust in the media is declining as technology platforms elevate clickbait, rumor and propaganda over real journalism, and politicians jockey for advantage by inflaming suspicion of the press. Growing polarization is jeopardizing even the foundational assumption of common truths, the stuff that binds a society together."

And then AGS gives an assurance that he and his colleagues at NYT will fight against such negative forces influencing NYT.

AGS has been at the forefront of NYT's digital evolution.

Ravi: I wish the new publisher of The New York Times, Mr. A.G. Sulzberger, all the very best in his job and wish the entire New York Times team all the very best.

[I thank nytimes.com and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above small extracts from their website on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]