Monday, February 26, 2018

The attractive, lively and enchanting power of women captured in this Oldie Hindi film song: Aaj Phir Jeene Ki Tamanna Hai

Given the context of my recent post: Billy Graham rule about Christian Protestant male preachers avoiding sexual scandal; My views in context of Hindu & Christian male spiritual aspirants/preachers, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2018/02/billy-graham-rule-and-my-views-about-it.html, I felt it appropriate to put up this post in this spiritual blog.

Aaj phir Jeene Ki Tamanna Hai, Aaj Phir Marne Ka Irada hai - Oldie (1965) hit Hindi film song, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpLyDTEw3Z4, 3 min. 44 secs.

The above lines mean: Today I have the desire to live again; Today I have the intention to die again

The background is that the lady (Waheeda Rahman) is caught up in an unhappy marriage to an archaeologist, and is attracted to the Guide (shown in the clip, played by Dev Anand) who the archaeologist has hired for his archaeological trip. The Guide falls headlong in love with her.

The rich archaeologist had laid her stopping her dancing (she was a dancing girl from a poor family prior to the marriage) as a condition for the arranged marriage. The rich archaeologist is an intellectual type and seems to be from a so-called (Hindu) upper caste, and seems to have opted for such an arranged marriage as his contribution to breaking class and caste divisions in (Hindu) society.

The song seems to depict her expressing her joy in dancing again (and living again) but also perhaps intuitively knowing that she is courting tragedy by doing it against her husband, the rich archaeologist's, wishes.

The movie, Guide, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guide_(film), is based on R.K. Narayan's book/novel, The Guide, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Guide.

The song is sung by Lata Mangeshkar, and written by Shailendra. The music director is S.D. Burman.

The movie and the book (novel) end in tragedy.

Billy Graham rule about Christian Protestant male preachers avoiding sexual scandal; My views in context of Hindu & Christian male spiritual aspirants/preachers

Note: Readers who prefer not to read about sensItive matters like sexual temptation may please skip reading (rest of) this post.

Here are some extracts from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Graham_rule :

The Billy Graham rule or the Mike Pence rule is a practice among male Protestant Christian leaders, in which they avoid spending time alone with women to whom they are not married. It is named after Billy Graham, the most notable proponent of the practice. It is adopted as a display of integrity, a means of avoiding sexual temptation, and to avoid any appearance of doing something considered morally objectionable, but has been criticized as being sexist.
...

In 1948, Graham held a series of evangelistic meetings in Modesto, California. Together with Cliff Barrows, Grady Wilson and George Beverly Shea, he resolved to "avoid any situation that would have even the appearance of compromise or suspicion". The accountability agreement, which has become known as the "Modesto Manifesto", covered not only their interactions with women, but also commitments to integrity with respect to finances, their interactions with local churches, and publicity. Since that time, Graham made a point of not traveling, meeting, or eating alone with a woman other than his wife Ruth. Graham biographer Grant Wacker observed that "Over the years Graham received intense media scrutiny, but hardly anyone accused him of violating any of those four principles." By Graham's own admission, though, he was not an absolutist in the application of the rule that now bears his name: his autobiography relates a lunch meeting with Hillary Clinton that he initially refused on the grounds that he does not eat alone with women other than his wife, but she persuaded him that they could have a private conversation in a public dining room.
...
The rule has been criticized for viewing women merely as potential objects of lust as well as restricting opportunities for women to network with male colleagues. Tracey Bianchi argues that it means "Women are marginalized and cut out of opportunities to network, share their ideas, and advance in the organization." Bianchi also argues that the rule conflicts with the practice of Jesus himself, who spent time alone with the Samaritan woman at the well.

Ty Grigg suggests that the rule has not been "effective at curbing infidelity". He argues that the rule "has framed relating with the opposite sex with fear", and that this leads to a diminished mutual respect, which in turn creates "the kind of environment where inappropriate relating is more likely to occur". Others, though, suggest that unfaithful pastors must have failed to implement the rule.

--- end wiki extracts ---

Rev. Billy Graham's grandson, Will, who also is an evangelist, said to The New Yorker, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/04/10/virtue-and-vice-mike-pences-dining-policy, as follows: "Think about 1948—the times were different, but one of the things that my grandfather was dealing with was the image of an evangelist, which was kind of synonymous with what you’d think of as a used-car salesman." Will also mentioned that Elmer Gantry, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elmer_Gantry,  a satirical novel by Sinclair Lewis, where the protagonist, Rev. Elmer Gantry, is portrayed as a Christian pastor who is into drinking alcohol and womanizing, was published two decades earlier (it was published in 1926).

Will said, "When my grandfather would check into a hotel, a man would go inside the room and look under the bed and in the closets" .. "What they were afraid of was that someone had snuck in the room, like a naked lady with a photographer, and she’d jump into his arms and he’d take a picture, and they’d frame my granddaddy."
-----

Ravi: My frank thoughts on this as a Hindu spiritual aspirant who is very respectful and reverential towards genuine Christian preachers, and who (I am referring to myself) is certainly not perfect and has more than his fair share of human flaws, are given below.

My considered view is that some male spiritual aspirants/preachers on traditional Hindu spiritual paths, especially those that do some spiritual sadhana (efforts) like intense meditation, tend to have issues like increased sex drive (libido) and also tend to attract some women. In such circumstances, it is quite easy for the male Hindu spiritual aspirant/preacher who interacts in private with a woman other than his wife, to lose control over himself and get into a consensual sexual relationship outside of married life. Note that the aspirant/preacher can be an unmarried person (bachelor) or a married person.

Perhaps it is somewhat similar for male spiritual aspirants/preachers on traditional Christian spiritual paths, especially those that involve intense contemplation.

Now for a male spiritual aspirant who is NOT a big preacher preaching about marital infidelity being a sin and premarital sex being a sin, a consensual sexual affair with a woman who is not his wife and who has got attracted to him (and he to her) is not illegal or even unethical if the social norms of that community permit such consensual sexual affairs outside of marriage. That is my considered view. However, it may become a serious interference/hindrance to his spiritual sadhana (efforts), and the woman may also want the male guy to marry her in which case his life would take a different turn from what he was aspiring for. So for a male spiritual aspirant, to protect himself from succumbing to sexual temptation outside of married life, I think the Billy Graham rule is very good advice. Of course, in typical Hindu spiritual traditions there are far more stringent norms for male spiritual aspirants who seek to lead a celibate life, when it comes to contacts with women.

For a male spiritual preacher whether Hindu or Christian, this temptation could land him and his mission into serious, very serious trouble. So, to protect his mission and his career, it is very sensible for him to follow the Billy Graham rule.

I don't know how it is for female spiritual preachers and female spiritual aspirants. I leave it for them to comment and write on such matters.

Another important point is that following the Billy Graham rule allows male preachers to have an easy defence against malicious and false rumours their opponents may try to spread about the preacher having a premarital or extramarital sexual affair with a woman, as the preacher can ask the other individual(s) who were present at the time the preacher was with the woman, to refute the allegations.

Note that spiritual missions are like politicians' offices in that they are dependent on donors and followers. Other spiritual missions, especially those that are opposed to some views of a spiritual mission, are typically in hot competition to draw away donors and followers from a mission. A sex scandal is the most effective weapon to draw away such donors and followers, ****if**** the allegations can be made to appear credible.

Like Caesar's wife had to be above suspicion, the male preacher too has to be above suspicion (in matters related to premarital and extramarital sex). This is the reality ***today**** of spiritual missions, of both Christian and Hindu religions especially in an easy to whistle-blow and easy to create 'fake news' Internet connected world. I have not followed other religions' spiritual missions so much to know about their reality today but I wouldn't be surprised if it is similar for them too.

[I thank wikipedia and Mr. Will Graham (Rev. Billy Graham's grandson) (and newyworker.com), and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extracts from their websites (short quotes of Will Graham from newyorker.com) on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Powerful Rev. Billy Graham sermon video segments and transcript snippets

Last updated on 26th Feb 2018

Billy Graham Tribute: The Most Important Moment of Your Life, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OADLU5bzDfc, around 31 minutes. The video has segments of a very powerful sermon by the Late Rev. Billy Graham when he was young and very energetic.

Given below are some very powerful words from this video of Rev. Billy Graham. Note that I view Jesus Christ as a Divine figure but I view other figures from other religions like Hinduism (e.g. Rama and Krishna) also as divine figures (I am a Hindu). So there is a slight difference between my beliefs and Rev. Billy Graham's beliefs as shown in the transcript snippets below. But I deeply respect Rev. Graham's belief.

From around 2:55

.. inspite of our disobedience, inspite of our sins, God loves us. That's the thrilling thing about it. And God loves every person in the whole world with a love that is beyond our comprehension. And God proved His love by giving His son on the cross. If you ever doubted God's love, look at the cross. Because God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself. That's the greatest illustration of love in the whole world, is the cross. Because God is saying from the cross, I love you. I love you. I love you. You and I were saved by the cross. Our Lord loves us so much that He gave his only son to die on that cross. Now love is not feeling. You say, I feel I love Him. It is not feeling. Love is doing. Love is a verb. God did something. God gave His love. God commended His love to us [in that], while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
----

From around 07:30

The question that our generation of young people on the campus are asking today is who art thou Lord? Who is Jesus? Why cannot we escape Him? Is he just a revolutionary hero [or] is He something more? He only lived 33 years. He never travelled more than a hundred miles. He never had any formal education and yet 2,000 years later, an entire generation is talking about Jesus Christ. Some say that He was a madman. Some of the people of His day said He was mad, said He was a maniac. Was He?

There are others that said He was [a] revolutionary. He [had] come to lead a revolution. Was He a revolutionary? In the sense that He changed men's lives, He was. But He never led a revolution against Rome. He never led a revolution against the existing authorities. As a matter of fact, some of them tried to get Him to and some of them thought He was going to, and when they found out that He was building a spiritual Kingdom, they were no longer interested in Him.

And when they tried to tempt Him about that He said bring me a coin and He said whose pictures [are] on that coin? They said Caeser. He said all right. Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's and the scripture says they [quit asking] Him questions. They didn't know how to answer that.

Or was Jesus an establishment man? Some people say that He represented the status quo. You know actually we don't know what he looked like. We don't know whether He had a long beard or not. Those are just pictures that artists have painted. We think he did. We don't know  whether He had long hair or not. He probably did because [for] the people of that day, that was the style  but we don't know.
---------

From around 9:57

What was He? That's the question. Jesus Christ, who are you? Who is Jesus? We can't escape it. We try to run from Him but there He is. He keeps popping up everywhere. Our greatest philosophers write about Him. Our greatest historians write about Him. Our greatest poems and plays are about Him. Our greatest architecture is about [Him. And its] all filled with paintings and pictures about Jesus. You go anywhere and you will see images and art and much of the music has to do with Jesus. [They?] can't escape it.

Well, we know some things about Him. We know he was a man. Jesus was completely human. He was representative of man, because the Bible says He was identified, He was numbered with the transgressors. We know that He was hungry. We know He got thirsty. We know He got tired. We know that He had the joys of friendship. We know that He wept at the tomb of a dead loved one. We know that He had all the characteristics of a man and yet, very interestingly, the Bible says that He never committed a sin.

In fact, He stood in front of the people of His generation and He said, I have never committed a sin. He said, have any of you, my neighbours, ever seen me commit a sin? They couldn't say a thing. Wouldn't that be something for a man to come along thirty three years of age and say, who of you have ever seen me commit a sin? Well, I'll tell you if I said that, all my team would jump straight up and say, I have. My wife's here.

All of us are sinners. But Jesus was tempted in every point [..]. He went through every temptation you have ever been through. There isn't a trial or a testing or a temptation that Jesus has not been through before you, and He resisted them and overcame them all. Everyone. He was a man just like you.

But He was more than that. He claimed to be the unique, only begotten, incarnate son of God. In fact, He claimed pre-existence. The scripture says: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God. Before time began, He existed.

He said before Abraham was, I am. I am in eternal existence. No wonder they got angry. No wonder they threw stones at Him. No wonder they tried to kill Him. And no wonder they eventually did crucify Him. He stood and said I am God!

Was He? Was He who He claimed to be? The son of the living God?
-----

From around 20:30 in the video, Rev. Billy Graham says:

And don't you black people [referring to African-Americans and Africans, I guess] ever forget one thing. The man that helped Jesus carry that cross was a black man. [Applause]. And don't ever forget another thing. Jesus belongs to Africa as much as He does to Europe and Asia. He was born in that part of the world that touches Africa, and Asia and Europe.

And Jesus was not a white man like me. Nor was He as black as some of you. We don't know what the colour of his skin [was] but it must have been a dark colour like the people of his day. Because he was a man like them. Don't ever say it is a white man's religion or a black man's religion. It is a world religion. He belongs to the world. [Applause]
----

Around 24:59

Who art thou Lord? Jesus Christ, are you who you say you are? This is the question that everyone of you today are going to have to answer. Who is Jesus?

If Jesus claimed to be God knowing He wasn't God then He is a liar. And we will have to say, Jesus you are a liar. You are a fraud and a hoax and the biggest fraud in the history of the human race.

Or if Jesus thought He was God and did not know the [difference?] then he desperately needed mental health. He needed several psychiatrists.

The third alternative is that He was who He claims to be - God in the flesh. I believe that the evidence is overwhelming that He is who He claims to be - the son of the living God. But I cannot prove it scientifically.

But I can prove it by the lives that He transforms every day. I can prove it because in my heart I don't say, I think, I hope. I say, I know.
--- end transcript snippets ----

[I thank Late Rev. Billy Graham and have presumed that he (and his heirs) will not have any objections to me sharing the above transcript snippets from their video, on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

Do USA evangelists like the Late Rev. Billy Graham teach that non Christians will burn in Hell forever? If so, do most USA evangelicals believe in that teaching?

These questions cropped up in the context of a recent post of mine on Billy Graham. One view was that most USA evangelicals would have the view that salvation was possible only through Jesus Christ, and that people of other religions like Hinduism who believe in other gods (divine beings/Avatars) would burn in Hell forever.

A relevant extract from the Billy Graham post that I put up on my spiritual blog here: http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2018/02/billy-graham-one-of-most-influential.html, is given below:

*) What We Believe from Billy Graham's main web site: https://billygraham.org/about/what-we-believe/.

[Ravi: I need to say here that my religious and spiritual beliefs do not match with that of Rev. Billy Graham as expressed in the above webpage. In particular, while I view Lord Jesus Christ as a divine figure, I do NOT view Jesus Christ as the ONLY way to achieve merger in God ('merger in God' in Hinduism is roughly equivalent to salvation in Christianity). I am a multi-faith person believing in the divinity of Jesus Christ as well as the divinity of Hindu Avatars like Rama, Krishna, Shirdi Sai Baba and Sathya Sai Baba (who is my beloved and revered Gurudev). Readers wanting to know more about my multi-faith beliefs expressed in short statements may want to view this post of mine: 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/.]

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

Now my view is that I know that as far as some Evangelical preachers are concerned I am headed straight to eternal Hell fire as though I revere Lord Jesus Christ as a divine being, I pray more often to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba who I view as an Avatar. I also have belief in the One formless Brahman (Absolute Divinity/God) and sometimes pray to that too. But many times I find it easier to pray to the name and form of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba and so most of my prayers, as of now, are to the name and form of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. So going by views of some evangelical preachers, I am headed to eternal Hell fire!

But so long as such evangelical preachers and their followers don't impose their belief in me and scare me, I don't have a problem interacting with them and learning from some of the good of their faith and community. It is if they threaten me and say that I have to convert to their form of Christianity or else they will harm me, that I will have a problem. They don't do that. So I don't have a problem. I mean, I view them as having a limited understanding of spirituality and religion but which does not harm me directly.

Further, it is my experience in India that many of those who may be attending their evangelical preachers' hell fire type sermons do not show that attitude in practise when they meet people from other religions. For example, I was having a chat with one local Christian (Protestant denomination) boy in Puttaparthi, whose preachers preach that Jesus Christ is the only God and that Sathya Sai should not be viewed as God. But this guy, while attending that church, does not subscribe to that belief/teaching. He told me recently that he views Sathya Sai as divine being and Jesus also as divine being.

For me, it is not so much the written beliefs and dogma of a religious/spiritual community that matter but their behaviour in practice that matters.

However, I was curious to know whether a) Do USA evangelists like the Late Rev. Billy Graham teach that non Christians will burn in Hell forever? and b) If so, do most USA evangelicals believe in that teaching?

I did some browsing on the Internet to get some answers.

This Washington Post article: Billy Graham warns of fire and brimstone in ‘final’ book, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/religion/billy-graham-warns-of-fire-and-brimstone-in-final-book/2015/10/02/0c627a54-6940-11e5-bdb6-6861f4521205_story.html, 2nd October 2015, gives the view that Billy Graham did believe in that though he does not seem to have preached much of that.

Here's a post on the matter: http://www.mercifultruth.com/graham.html. A few short extracts from it:

The Orlando (Florida) Sentinel for April 10, 1983, asked Billy Graham:
"Surveys tell us that 85% of Americans believe in heaven, but only 65% believe in hell. Why do you think so many Americans don't accept the concept of hell?" He replied: "I think that hell essentially is separation from God forever. And that is the worst hell that I can think of. But I think people have a hard time believing God is going to allow people to burn in literal fire forever. I think the fire that is mentioned in the Bible is a burning thirst for God that can never be quenched."

"Hell is not the most popular of preaching topics. I don't like to preach on it. But I must if I am to proclaim the whole counsel of God. We must not avoid warning of it. The most outspoken messages on hell, and the most graphic references to it, came from Jesus Himself. ...Jesus used three words to describe hell. ...The third word that He used is 'fire.' Jesus used this symbol over and over. This could be literal fire, as many believe. Or IT COULD BE SYMBOLIC. ...I've often thought that this fire could possibly be a burning thirst for God that is never quenched. What a terrible fire that would be-- never to find satisfaction, joy, or fulfillment!" (A Biblical Standard For Evangelists, Billy Graham, A commentary on the 15 Affirmations made by participants at the International Conference for Itinerant Evangelists in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, July 1983, Worldwide Publications, Minneapolis, Minnesota, pages 45-47). Endquote.

--- end extracts from mercifultruth.com ---

The above mercifultruth.com links to this youtube video: Robert Schuller And Billy Graham Speaking Wide Acceptance, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNCnxA91fHE, 1 min 3 secs, published on Sept. 23rd 2007. I have transcribed it below (note that the audio and video seem to be slightly out of sync):

Dr. Robert Schuller: Tell me what do you think is the future of Christianity?

Rev. Billy Graham: I think that everybody that loves Christ or knows Christ whether they are conscious of it or not, they are members of the body of Christ. And that's what God is doing today. He is calling people .. out of the world for his name, whether they come from the Muslim world, or the Buddhist world, or the Christian world or the non-believing world, they are members of the body of Christ because they have been called by God. They may not even know the name of Jesus. But they know in their hearts that they need something that they don't have and they turn to the only light that they have and I think that they are saved and they are going to be with us in Heaven.

Dr. Robert Schuller: Fantastic! I am so thrilled to hear you say that. There is a wideness in God's mercy.

---- end transcript of video interview segment ---

Ravi: I find the above words of Rev. Billy Graham said on video (and so can be easily verified) to CLEARLY SHOW that, at least in this case, he is NOT PREACHING that non Christians will burn in Hell forever! In fact, I find his above words to be very encouraging for a pluralistic, multi-faith approach to divinity approached via various divine figures (gods & prophets) of various religions like Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism etc. The Hindu may approach the same ONE God/Divinity through the name (and form) of Rama and Krishna, the Muslim through Allah and the Christian through Jesus Christ! And some multi-faith people like me may worship divine figures of multiple religions like, in my case, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam!

I tried to see if survey information of USA evangelicals belief on this topic is available on the Internet but could not get suitable results.

If readers have some information on this, I would be glad to know of it.

[I thank the Late Rev. Billy Graham, and have presumed that he (and his heirs) will not have any objections to me sharing the above quotes of Rev. Billy Graham on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

Friday, February 23, 2018

Billy Graham - One of the most influential Christian preachers of the 20th century

Some extracts from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Graham :

William Franklin Graham Jr. KBE (November 7, 1918 – February 21, 2018) was an American evangelical Christian evangelist and an ordained Southern Baptist minister who became well known internationally after 1949. He has been called one of the most influential preachers of the 20th century. He held large indoor and outdoor rallies with sermons which were broadcast on radio and television, some still being re-broadcast into the 21st century. In his six decades of television, Graham hosted annual Billy Graham Crusades, which ran from 1947 until his retirement in 2005. He also hosted the popular radio show Hour of Decision from 1950 to 1954. He repudiated segregation and, in addition to his religious aims, helped shape the worldview of a huge number of people coming from different backgrounds leading them to find a relationship between the Bible and contemporary secular viewpoints. Graham preached to live audiences of nearly 215 million people in more than 185 countries and territories through various meetings, including BMS World Mission and Global Mission. He also reached hundreds of millions more through television, video, film, and webcasts.

Graham was a spiritual adviser to American presidents and provided spiritual counsel for every president from Harry Truman to Barack Obama. He was particularly close to Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson (one of Graham's closest friends), and Richard Nixon. He insisted on racial integration for his revivals and crusades in 1953 and invited Martin Luther King Jr. to preach jointly at a revival in New York City in 1957. Graham bailed King out of jail in the 1960s when King was arrested in demonstrations. He was also lifelong friends with another televangelist, the founding pastor of the Crystal Cathedral, Robert H. Schuller, whom Graham talked into doing his own television ministry.

Graham operated a variety of media and publishing outlets. According to his staff, more than 3.2 million people have responded to the invitation at Billy Graham Crusades to "accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior". As of 2008, Graham's estimated lifetime audience, including radio and television broadcasts, topped 2.2 billion. Because of his crusades, Graham preached the gospel to more people in person than anyone in the history of Christianity.

Graham was repeatedly on Gallup's list of most admired men and women. He appeared on the list 60 times since 1955, more than any other individual in the world. Grant Wacker reports that by the mid-1960s, he had become the "Great Legitimator".
...
William Franklin Graham Jr. was born on November 7, 1918. He was the eldest of four children born to Morrow (née Coffey) and William Franklin Graham Sr. Graham was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, and was raised on a family dairy farm with his two younger sisters and younger brother.
...
In 1937 Graham transferred to the Florida Bible Institute in Temple Terrace, Florida, near Tampa. He preached his first sermon that year at Bostwick Baptist Church near Palatka, Florida, while still a student. In his autobiography, Graham wrote of receiving his "calling on the 18th green of the Temple Terrace Golf and Country Club", which was adjacent to the Institute campus. Reverend Billy Graham Memorial Park was later established on the Hillsborough River directly east of the 18th green and across from where Graham often paddled a canoe to a small island in the river, where he would preach to the birds, alligators, and cypress stumps. In 1939, Graham was ordained by a group of Southern Baptist clergymen at Peniel Baptist Church in Palatka, Florida. In 1943, Graham graduated from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois with a degree in anthropology.

It was during his time at Wheaton that Graham decided to accept the Bible as the infallible word of God. Henrietta Mears of the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood (Hollywood, California) was instrumental in helping Graham wrestle with the issue. He settled it at Forest Home Christian Camp (now called Forest Home Ministries) southeast of the Big Bear area in Southern California. A memorial there marks the site of Graham's decision.
...

Family

On August 13, 1943, Graham married Wheaton classmate Ruth Bell, whose parents were Presbyterian missionaries in China. Her father, L. Nelson Bell, was a general surgeon. Ruth Graham died on June 14, 2007, at the age of 87. The Grahams were married for almost 64 years.

Graham and his wife had five children together: Virginia Leftwich (Gigi) Graham (born 1945; an inspirational speaker and author); Anne Graham Lotz (born 1948; runs AnGeL ministries); Ruth Graham (born 1950; founder and president of Ruth Graham & Friends, leads conferences throughout the U.S. and Canada); Franklin Graham (born 1952, who serves as president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and as president and CEO of international relief organization, Samaritan's Purse); and Nelson Edman Graham (born 1958; a pastor who runs East Gates Ministries International, which distributes Christian literature in China).

Graham had 19 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren. His grandson Tullian Tchividjian, son of Gigi, was the senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida until he was defrocked in June 2015 after admitting to an extra-marital affair. Tchividjian later filed for divorce from his wife, Kim. Grandson Basyle "Boz" Tchividjian, a former child abuse chief prosecutor and professor at Liberty University School of Law, is the founder and executive director of Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment, a nonprofit dedicated to preventing and responding to abuse in Christian organizations.

Ministry career

While attending college, Graham became pastor of the United Gospel Tabernacle and also had other preaching engagements.

Graham served briefly as pastor of the First Baptist Church in Western Springs, Illinois, not far from Wheaton, in 1943–44. While there, his friend Torrey Johnson, pastor of the Midwest Bible Church in Chicago, told Graham that his radio program, Songs in the Night, was about to be canceled due to lack of funding. Consulting with the members of his church in Western Springs, Graham decided to take over Johnson's program with financial support from his congregation. Launching the new radio program on January 2, 1944, still called Songs in the Night, Graham recruited the bass-baritone George Beverly Shea as his director of radio ministry. While the radio ministry continued for many years, Graham decided to move on in early 1945. In 1947, at age 30, he was hired as president of Northwestern Bible College in Minneapolis – at the time, the youngest person to serve as a sitting president of any U.S. college or university.[citation needed] Graham served as the president from 1948 to 1952.

Initially, Graham intended to become a chaplain in the armed forces but, shortly after applying for a commission, contracted mumps. After a period of recuperation in Florida, he was hired as the first full-time evangelist of the new Youth for Christ (YFC), co-founded by Torrey Johnson and the Canadian evangelist Charles Templeton. Graham traveled throughout both the United States and Europe as an YFCI evangelist. Templeton applied to Princeton Theological Seminary for an advanced theological degree and urged Graham to do so as well, but he declined as he was already serving as the president of Northwestern Bible College.

Graham scheduled a series of revival meetings in Los Angeles in 1949, for which he erected circus tents in a parking lot. He attracted national media coverage, especially in the conservative Hearst chain, although Hearst and Graham never met. The crusade event ran for eight weeks – five weeks longer than planned. Graham became a national figure with heavy coverage from the wire services and national magazines.

Crusades

Since his ministry began in 1947, Graham conducted more than 400 crusades in 185 countries and territories on six continents. The first Billy Graham Crusade, held September 13–21, 1947, in the Civic Auditorium in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was attended by 6,000 people. Graham was 28 years old. He called them crusades, after the medieval Christian forces who conquered Jerusalem. He would rent a large venue, such as a stadium, park, or street. As the sessions became larger, he arranged a group of up to 5,000 people to sing in a choir. He would preach the gospel and invite people to come forward (a practice begun by Dwight L. Moody). Such people were called inquirers and were given the chance to speak one-on-one with a counselor, to clarify questions and pray together. The inquirers were often given a copy of the Gospel of John or a Bible study booklet. In Moscow, in 1992, one-quarter of the 155,000 people in Graham's audience went forward at his call. During his crusades, he has frequently used the altar call song, "Just As I Am".

Graham was offered a five-year, $1 million contract from NBC to appear on television opposite Arthur Godfrey, but he turned it down in favor of continuing his touring revivals because of his prearranged commitments. Graham had crusades in London, which lasted 12 weeks, and a New York City crusade in Madison Square Garden in 1957, which ran nightly for 16 weeks.

Student ministry

Graham spoke at InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's Urbana Student Missions Conference at least nine times: in 1948, 1957, 1961, 1964, 1976, 1979, 1981, 1984, and 1987.

At each Urbana conference he challenged the thousands of attendees to make a commitment to follow Jesus Christ for the rest of their lives, often quoting a 6-word phrase written in the Bible of an heir to the Borden milk fortune, William Borden, who died in Egypt on his way to the mission field, "no reserves, no retreat, no regrets".

Graham also held evangelistic meetings on a number of college campuses: at the University of Minnesota during InterVarsity's "Year of Evangelism" in 1950–51, a 4-day mission at Yale University in 1957, and a week-long series of meetings at the University of North Carolina's Carmichael Auditorium in September 1982.

In 1955 he was invited by students to lead the mission to Cambridge University, arranged by the CICCU, with the London pastor-theologian John Stott as his chief assistant. This invitation was greeted with much disapproval in the correspondence columns of The Times.

Evangelistic association

In 1950, Graham founded the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) with its headquarters in Minneapolis. The association relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1999. BGEA ministries have included:

*) Hour of Decision, a weekly radio program broadcast around the world for more than 50 years

*) Mission television specials broadcast in almost every market in the US and Canada

*) A syndicated newspaper column, My Answer, carried by newspapers across the United States and distributed by Tribune Media Services

*) Decision magazine, the official publication of the association

*) Christianity Today was started in 1956 with Carl F. H. Henry as its first editor

*) Passageway.org, the website for a youth discipleship program created by BGEA

*) World Wide Pictures, which has produced and distributed more than 130 films

In April 2013, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association started "My Hope With Billy Graham", the largest outreach in its history, encouraging church members to spread the gospel in small group meetings after showing a video message by Graham. "The idea is for Christians to follow the example of the disciple Matthew in the New Testament and spread the gospel in their own homes." The video, called "The Cross", is the main program in the My Hope America series and was also broadcast the week of Graham's 95th birthday. In an email interview with WND, Graham wrote that "we are close to the end of the age".

--- end wiki extracts ---

*) CNN video: Evangelist Billy Graham dies at age 99, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38dYSj3F-Lo, 5 min. 56 secs, published on 21-Feb-2018.

*) A Tribute to Billy Graham, by Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXlbRhkQaVc, 5 min. 51 secs, published on 21-Feb-2018.

*) Billy Graham - Who is Jesus? - Chicago 1971, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U89zkUZPd5w, 42 min. 36 secs, published on 19-May-2016.


*) What We Believe from Billy Graham's main web site: https://billygraham.org/about/what-we-believe/.

[Ravi: I need to say here that my religious and spiritual beliefs do not match with that of Rev. Billy Graham as expressed in the above webpage. In particular, while I view Lord Jesus Christ as a divine figure, I do NOT view Jesus Christ as the ONLY way to achieve merger in God ('merger in God' in Hinduism is roughly equivalent to salvation in Christianity). I am a multi-faith person believing in the divinity of Jesus Christ as well as the divinity of Hindu Avatars like Rama, Krishna, Shirdi Sai Baba and Sathya Sai Baba (who is my beloved and revered Gurudev). Readers wanting to know more about my multi-faith beliefs expressed in short statements may want to view this post of mine: 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/.]

*) Billy Graham, 99, Dies; Pastor Filled Stadiums and Counseled Presidents, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/21/obituaries/billy-graham-dead.html, 21-Feb-2018.

The article is detailed and gave me a decent picture about this famous evangelical preacher from the USA who preached for five to six decades! The article states that Billy Graham was USA's "best-known Christian evangelist for more than 60 years".

He also seems to have earned a reputation for financial integrity and for not getting into any marital infidelity problems. His Billy Graham rule is famous. The rule is about male preachers avoiding spending time alone with a woman to whom they are not married.

*) How Billy Graham’s Movement Lost Its Way, https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-lost-revival-of-billy-graham

*) Billy Graham, the Great Uniter, Leaves Behind a Divided Evangelicalism; The preacher, dead at 99, advised presidents, mentored clergy, and influenced millions of people. Will his legacy of non-partisan outreach continue? https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/02/billy-graham-death/553850/

*) Texans recall Billy Graham as 'an evangelical with integrity', https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/article/Texans-recall-Billy-Graham-as-an-evangelical-12631844.php, 21-Feb-2018

*) Spirit Willing, Another Trip Down Mountain for Graham, http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9500E1DB1E38F931A25755C0A9639C8B63&pagewanted=all, 12-June-2005

[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.]

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Sathya Sai's fury at Indian Sai organization top office bearers about devotees going to mediums; My conversation with a believer of Madhusudan Naidu communicator claim

The incident given below was conveyed to me recently by an eyewitness to it. I have full faith that the eyewitness (E1) related it to me truthfully as he recalled it.

It happened sometime between 1989 and 1993. Swami (Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba) had called a top Indian national level Sai organization office bearer (NOB1) to the interview room and asked E1 and another person to be in the room.

After NOB1 had come into the room, Swami spoke very angrily to him about reports of many (Sathya Sai) devotees from a South Indian state going to a medium (person who claimed that she spoke Swami's words) there. Swami also said that he was informed/knew that the top office bearer for the state Sai orgn. (OB2, different person) had visited the medium. Swami was furious that the Sai orgn. (of which NOB1 was a senior office bearer at national level) had not taken steps to dissuade Sai devotees from believing in and visiting the medium. Swami also conveyed to NOB1, his fury at OB2 for (reportedly) having visited the medium. [I am quite sure that later NOB1 would have met OB2 and conveyed Swami's fury at OB2 having (reportedly) visited the medium.]

E1 told me that Swami's fury was so great that the national level top Sai orgn. office bearer seemed to back into the interview room door (closed, I guess) to keep some distance from Swami's fury.

I am not revealing the names of the concerned office bearers as the point of sharing this is not to embarrass anybody, especially those who have contributed greatly to the Sai organization (and which I personally benefited from when I was associated with it from around 1993 to 2002), but to chronicle and share the fury that Swami had shown at Sai orgn. top Indian office bearers for not having done enough to dissuade devotees from believing in and visiting such mediums.
------------------

Recently I was having a conversation with somebody (from a Western European country) who believes strongly in Madhusudan Naidu's communicator/medium claim, and she was trying to convince me to read Madhusudan Naidu's so called discourses which she felt will make me see the light and believe in Madhusudan Naidu's communicator claim!

I told her that I had already read some of them earlier and had come to conclusion that he is not showing any of the mastery of Hindu scripture like Upanishads/Vedanta that Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba had, and so I was not at all convinced that he was speaking Sathya Sai's words. I then tried hard to explain to her that in this very sensitive and important matter, I have to follow the teachings and instructions of my beloved and revered Gurudev, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, and that Bhagavan has very clearly and unambiguously said that we should not believe in such claims (of mediums/communicators with respect to Bhagavan). I further shared with her what Satyajit Salian had publicly shared with Sai fraternity in 2015 about Bhagavan getting very angry with Narasimhamurthy sometime in 1999/2000 for believing in and telling Swami about some boy in Bangalore, Karnataka who claimed to be a medium of Swami. I specifically told her that Bhagavan told Narasimhamurthy then that He (Bhagavan) had no need to enter into that dirty body (of the medium) and that if He (Bhagavan) wants to communicate something to His devotee, He will do it by communicating directly with the devotee. [Here is my blog post about Satyajit's words on this: http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/10/satyajit-opens-up-on-narasimhamurthy.html.]

I told her that in this lifetime of mine there is no way that I will ever accept the communicator claim of Madhusudan Rao Naidu.

She felt or perhaps hoped that Muddenahalli and Puttaparthi will unite soon. I told her that I don't think there is any chance whatsoever of Prasanthi Nilayam (Puttaparthi) ashram ever accepting Madhusudan Rao Naidu's communicator claim.

I did NOT try to convince her to give up her belief in Madhusudan Naidu's communicator claim but hopefully she has understood that there is no point in her trying to convince me to believe Madhusudan Naidu's communicator claim!

I should also say that our exchange was polite and we were able to talk in a friendly way about this matter where we disagreed, and also about other matters where we had agreement.

I thank E1 for sharing his eyewitness account with me and being OK with me sharing it publicly (with him being anonymous) for the benefit of Sathya Sai devotees who may read this post.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

How kids of Sathya Sai devotee families may be viewing Muddenahalli - Puttaparthi tussle! Some background about Sikander (Alexander the Great) and North India

I think they may be viewing it like the (senior) school kids in this oldie (1962) Hindi film, Anpadh's famous song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmarDySZ0LQ, 3 min. 6 secs. :-)

Here are the lyrics: https://www.lyricsbogie.com/movies/anpadh-1962/sikandar-ne-poras-se-ki-thi-ladai.html.

I think I must add that it is a great achievement of both the Parthi loyalists and the Muddenahalli splinter group that there has been no violence between the groups so far. I pray to Bhagavan that it continues to be this way.
...

The first line of the song is: Sikander Ne Porus se ki thi ladai to ki thi ladai, to main kya karoon - which means if Sikander had fought with Porus then he had fought with Porus, what shall I do about that (what does that have to do with me)?

For ancient India, a few centuries before 1 AD and few centuries after 1 AD, the Greek and Roman empire contacts (and trade) were notable. Perhaps the main European name of those days that has made its way into North Indian languages and which can be seen in Hindi language of even today is Sikander (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sikandar says that the Persians called him that) which is also the Hindi/North Indian name for Alexander the Great. His battle with King Porus, (a Hindu I guess), is an important piece of ancient Indian history taught at least in North and West India.

This is the wiki page of that famous battle in 326 BC which took place in what is now Punjab in Pakistan, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Hydaspes.

An extract from above wiki page:

The Battle of the Hydaspes was fought in 326 BC between Alexander the Great and King Porus of the Paurava kingdom on the banks of the river Jhelum (known to the Greeks as Hydaspes) in what is now the Punjab province of Pakistan. The battle resulted in a complete Greek victory and the annexation of the Punjab, which lay beyond the far easternmost confines of the already absorbed Persian empire, into the Macedonian Empire.

Alexander's decision to cross the monsoon-swollen river despite close Indian surveillance, in order to catch Porus' army in the flank, has been referred as one of his "masterpieces". Although victorious, it was also the most costly battle fought by the Macedonians. The resistance put up by King Porus and his men won the respect of Alexander, who asked Porus to become one of his satraps.

The Battle of the Hydaspes was the last battle of Alexander's conquering expedition. It is historically significant for opening up India to Greekpolitical (Seleucid, Greco-Bactrian, Indo-Greek) and cultural influences (Greco-Buddhist art), which continued to have an impact for many centuries.

---- end extract ---

Here's a contemporary Indian reference to Sikander to show how the greatness of such figures get reflected through them surviving centuries of time, the great destroyer, via usage in language and art. From ‘Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar’: Smriti Irani justifies BJP's Gujarat win, https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/181217/jo-jeeta-wohi-sikandar-smriti-irani-as-bjp-sweeps-gujarat-poll.html, 18th Dec. 2017

An extract from it:

New Delhi: With Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) retaining Gujarat for the sixth consecutive time and making a comeback in Himachal Pradesh after one term, Union minister Smriti Irani on Monday reacted to the party’s win and said: "Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar."

The phrase, the title of a hit movie, caught on quickly as the party made it past the winning post in a neck-and-neck fight with Congress in Gujarat.

--- end extract ---

The hit Hindi movie referred above, which I have not seen (yet), is this one: Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jo_Jeeta_Wohi_Sikandar.

An extract from it:

Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar (translation: One who wins, is the king) is a 1992 Indian sports drama film, directed and co-written by Mansoor Khan, and produced and co-written by Nasir Hussain.

--- end extract ---

In my lifetime in India (and other places that I have lived in for significant amount of time - Western Europe and USA), I have not experienced significant war which impacted mainland India (or impacted Western Europe and USA when I was living there). The 1971 Bangladesh war was fought mainly in Bangladesh and in some Western border areas with Pakistan. It did not impact Indian mainland as there were no significant Pakistani army, navy or air force assaults into Indian mainland.

So in my lifetime, in India it is the sports and movie heroes who are held up and admired in society for their macho and athletic type abilities. But war has been the norm for past generations of Indians before British established a central power with administrative control over most of India in mid nineteenth century (mid 1800s). [The Indian independence struggle was not so violent as the non-violent struggle delivered better results than the violent struggles, and so that cannot be viewed as a war. Wars result in horrendous amount of savagery with killing and serious injuries to huge numbers of people. That did not happen in India's independence struggle, as far as I know. Yes, freedom fighters were sent to jail and suffered there. Some violent freedom fighters were hung to death or killed in other ways. But those numbers were not anywhere close to the casualty count in a typical war.]

Victory in such wars decided who dominated economic life, literary, art and other cultural life, with impact also on religious life in India! This has been the ****truth**** about life in India for countless generations of Indians before the mid 1800s. Therefore the big wars are remembered in the various regions of India in their (vernacular mainly) literature, art and culture. Some parts of such vernacular literature, art and culture have been documented in mainly Indian, but also some non-Indian (Western countries mainly), English language literature now.

It is in Indian vernacular literature, art and culture which seem to have found a resurgence in India, post-Independence and particularly during the past few decades of prosperity that India has enjoyed, that one sees clear echoes of the great figures of ancient history. Sikander is one such figure in North Indian vernacular literature who is alive as a word denoting great warrior/great sports/politics victor in North India today, as reflected by BJP leaders' comments in their Dec. 2017 Gujarat victory over Congress being a much closer margin victory than their earlier victories in the state and in the general elections (country wide elections).

'Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander' means: He who wins he only is the great warrior/king.

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.

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

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Three Top Traitors of the Sai University in 15 seconds video segment

Last updated on 4th Nov. 2018

The video segment can be seen on youtube, with Shashidhara Prasad coming into view from the left edge of the video around 1 hr. 27 min. 37 seconds, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-sek8iHmIs&start=5257 . [I have tried to set it to automatically start at 1 hr. 27 min. 37 seconds but if that does not work readers will have to manually set the start time as they are viewing the long video.] You may stop viewing the video after Madhusudan Rao Naidu goes well beyond Shashidhara Prasad at around 1 hr. 27 min. 52 seconds.

[Update on 4th Nov. 2018
In a later post, I have taken a more nuanced view. Here's the post: My view of how Prasanthi Nilayam system got severely and negatively impacted by Guru Drohi Narasimhamurthy, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2018/08/my-view-of-how-prasanthi-nilayam-system.html, 21st Aug. 2018.
Relevant extract from it is given below:
The ****biggest**** traitor of Sai university was NOT Narasimhamurthy as Narasimhamurthy had stepped out of his warden of Sai university Brindavan campus position. Narasimhamurthy is the biggest traitor of the Sathya Sai movement and a traitor of Sai university too but not the biggest traitor of the Sai university, IMHO. The ****biggest**** traitor of the Sai university was then vice-chancellor Shashidhara Prasad.  He lost confidence in the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust which was effectively paying all the salaries of paid staff of Sai university and meeting its other expenses, and turned against the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust (SSSCT). Note that Shashidhara Prasad was offering honorary services (no salary, I believe) with his room in PN ashram and vehicle expenses (as he would frequently visit Mysore) being provided by SSSCT, I believe.
The ethical thing for Shashidhara Prasad to have done was to have quit his vice-chancellor position if he had lost confidence in the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust. He could have joined Narasimhamurthy openly then itself (around July 2011). Then I would not have labelled him as a traitor and as the ****biggest**** traitor of Sai university. I would have respected him for such an ethical resignation irrespective of whether his loss of confidence then in SSSCT was justified or not.
But he did NOT do that. Instead he sat in the very powerful chair of vice-chancellor of Sai university and started taking instructions from Narasimhamurthy viewing Narasimhamurthy as successor to Sathya Sai!!! Shashidhara Prasad even tried to convert some young faculty of Sai university to viewing Narasimhamurthy in this fashion. One such young faculty told me himself in, if I recall correctly, the second half of 2011, that Shashidhara Prasad was trying to convince him to view Narasimhamurthy as Moses (of the Old Testament of Christian and Jewish faith) who will now lead the Sathya Sai movement!
--- end extract ---
end-4th-Nov-2018 Update.]
The three traitors in descending order of level/amount of betrayal (first in list is the biggest in betrayal) of the Sai university are as follows:

Sai University TRAITOR No. 1 - B.N. Narasimhamurthy

Shri B.N. Narasimahmurthy is wearing a white dress and walking behind Madhusudan Naidu. Narasimhamurthy was long-time warden in two campuses of the Sai university - Prasanthi Nilayam campus and then Brindavan campus. Narasimhamurthy is the main man who dreamed up (rather literally) Muddenahalli group with their FALSE BELIEF of so called subtle body of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba based in Muddenahalli. Initially Narasimhamurthy claimed to receive dream instructions for Sathya Sai mission, from Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. In other words, he claimed to be a dream-instruction successor of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Later Narasimhamurthy endorsed and promoted the FREAKY FALSE CLAIM of Madhusudan Rao Naidu being a so called chosen communicator who can see and interact with this so called subtle body, and which subtle body, for all practical purposes, can be seen by ONLY Madhusudan Rao Naidu and interacted with ONLY THROUGH Madhusudan Rao Naidu. Without Narasimhamurthy's endorsement and promotion, Madhusudan Rao Naidu would not have made much of an impact on the Sathya Sai fraternity worldwide.

I think Narasimhamurthy would have made Madhusudan Rao Naidu a so called "chosen communicator" to ensure that there is no confusion and contradiction between Madhusudan and others who also claim to be mediums of Sathya Sai. Further, Madhusudan, at least in the initial years, would have been a ****mere chosen puppet**** under ****complete control**** of the  puppet-master Narasimhamurthy.

Note that Narasimhamurthy was personally told by Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba (physical form) that Bhagavan never uses mediums (other persons' bodies as mediums) and that Bhagavan directly interacts with his devotees. Yet he chose to misguide thousands of Sathya Sai devotees around the world and create deep and painful division in the Sathya Sai fraternity to perhaps satisfy some grandiose fantasy he had of being accepted and worshiped as successor to Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Somewhere down the line he seems to have felt that he needs a chosen puppet who imitates Sathya Sai and has the stamp of Sai university student, and so he teamed up with Madhusudan Rao Naidu to try to fulfil his grandiose fantasy of succeeding Sathya Sai as a two person team (Madhusudan and Narasimhamurthy).

Sai University TRAITOR No. 2 - J. Shashidhara Prasad

J. Shashidhara Prasad is an ex Vice-Chancellor (VC) of Sai university. He comes into view in the youtube video from the left edge of the video at 1 hr. 27 min. 37 seconds, and is then seen bowing deeply to Madhusudan Naidu and the lingams, and speaking to Madhusudan with folded palms, giving the impression that he is worshiping Madhusudan Rao Naidu as Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba!!! Shashidhara Prasad was VC of Sai university from sometime in second half of 2010 to November 2014. He is a Professor of Physics and was VC of Mysore University prior to becoming VC of Sai university.

A short period after Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's Mahasamadhi, from around July 2011, Shashidhara Prasad started viewing Narasimhamurthy as the medium-successor of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, ignoring the view of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust which was the top mother body controlling the Sai university and which had appointed him as VC! Essentially he became the TRAITOR VICE-CHANCELLOR of Sai university from around Jul 2011 to Nov. 2014 (when he stepped down) and HIJACKED the Sai university along with his mentor Narasimhamurthy. Shashidhara Prasad even tried to influence young faculty of Sai university to accept Narasimharmurthy as the medium-successor of Sathya Sai, by saying that Narasimhamurthy should be viewed like Moses! Shashidhara Prasad also maligned some senior people of Prasanthi Nilayam ashram in private, using that as a way to try to convince people to follow Narasimhamurthy. This is the dirty politics that one sees at times in some nasty organizations in India. He did all this even though he was sitting in the very powerful VC's chair of the Sai university. That is why I view him as the TRAITOR VICE-CHANCELLOR of the Sai university.

I would not have called him a traitor if he had stepped down as VC as soon as he lost faith in some senior people of Prasanthi Nilayam. That would have been the honourable path to take. The path of HIJACKING the Sai university along with the TRAITOR no. 1 - Narasimhamurthy, was utterly unethical and utterly dishonourable.

I would not have called him a traitor if he had followed Narasimhamurthy ****after**** he stepped down as VC. In that case, I would have called him only as misguided by the TRAITOR Narasimhamurthy. Shashidhara Prasad has done ***IMMENSE DAMAGE*** to the spiritual thrust of the Sai university by his serious betrayal of the teachings and instructions of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, the founder-chancellor of the Sai university, with respect to mediums and communicators (that Bhagavan never uses them). He has actively contributed to the misguidance of thousands of Sathya Sai devotees across the world by Narasimhamurthy and Madhusudan Rao Naidu by his endorsement of, and support for, Narasimhamurthy and Madhusudan Rao Naidu.

Traitor no. 1 Narasimhamurthy used the status and power of vice-chancellor that his devotee/follower Shashidhara Prasad had, to help Narasimhamurthy become the Swami-successor for the Sai university till Shashidhara Prasad stepped down as Vice-Chancellor in Nov. 2014. The over three year period of HIJACK of Sai university by these two traitors will go down in the history of the DIVINE Sai university founded by Shiva-Shakti Swarupa, Kali Yuga Avatar, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba as perhaps its darkest phase.

Sai University TRAITOR No. 3 - Madhusudan Rao Naidu

Madhusudan Rao Naidu is the person in the golden-yellow dress holding a silver plate with two lingams. Madhusudan is a former student (alumnus) of the Sai university. He has completely betrayed Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba by not adhering to Bhagavan's teachings and instructions with respect to mediums (that Bhagavan never uses mediums), by acting as a pale imitator of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, and claiming to speak the words of Sathya Sai. Madhusudan was the instrument used by Narasimhamurthy and others to misguide thousands of Sathya Sai devotees across the world to accept the FALSE CLAIM that Madhusudan is the so-called communicator of Sathya Sai. They have also misled many rich donors with this FALSE CLAIM, and have received large amounts of money from these donors. Some of that money has gone into service to society activities but some of it seems to have been used to support the lavish lifestyle of Madhusudan Rao Naidu and group. Note that Madhusudan now uses a helicopter to fly to some places in India.

Madhusudan's false claim of communicator and his imitation of Sathya Sai have led to serious division in the Sathya Sai fraternity worldwide, with the loyalists (loyal to Sathya Sai teachings and instructions on mediums and communicators) being the major group which completely rejects Madhusudan Rao Naidu's communicator claims, and the splinter Muddenahalli group which accepts Madhusadan Rao Naidu's FALSE communicator claim, being a smaller but significantly sized group with presence in many countries of the world, besides India, of course.
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Note that the official name now of the Sai university is Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, and it is a deemed university recognized by the University Grants Commission (UGC), the top academic regulator for most of the higher education institutions in India. UGC itself operates under control of, and gets funding from, the (Indian) Union (federal) Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD).
===============================================================

Given below are some comments from my Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2088545168028716, associated with this post :

Terry Reis Kennedy wrote: Thanks, Ravi.
----

Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
Vr Ganti sir, I mostly agree with the following words of your comment, "In my opinion, all those 3 could not have achieved what they did achieve thus far without the solid support from the student community of SAI. It is for sure a disgrace on their part for having supported the LIGHT BODY concept with utter disregard to SAI BABA’s own statement that He will never use any medium to communicate with His devotees."

But I would like to say that not all Sai university alumni (former students) supported Narasimhamurthy and the subtle body/light body concept. However, a majority of them, including almost all the alumni-faculty & alumni-staff of the Sai university either supported Shashidhara Prasad-Narasimhamurthy HIJACK of Sai university OR did not dare to oppose them. Note that Sai university alumni-faculty & alumni-staff were given handsome pay raises through being put on regular UGC pay scale and/or sixth pay commission implementation, pushed through very aggressively by VC Shashidhara Prasad around Jul 2011 and which made Shashidhara Prasad a HERO for these alumni-faculty and alumni-staff (and to the other non-alumni paid faculty and paid staff too) of the Sai university.

That is what allowed Muddenahalli group to grow so exponentially and become a serious divisive threat to Sathya Sai fraternity worldwide.
...
If the Sai university alumni community had publicly challenged Narasimhamurthy's subtle body/light body concept in the initial years itself (say 2012), then Muddenahalli group may have got nipped in the bud itself, and NOT created this serious divisive split in the Sathya Sai fraternity worldwide.
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Ravi S. Iyer wrote:
One thing that I recall clearly from Bhagavan's discourses, heard live sitting in Sai Kulwant Hall, is that Sathya and Dharma have their own great power. Swami would say, just following one is enough (meaning other values will come automatically, I guess).

So I have to say here that I respect all those of Muddenahalli group who follow Sathya, Dharma, Shanti and Prema values. I view them as being misguided in their belief that Madhusudan is saying the words of Sathya Sai or that Sathya Sai enters into his body. But if they follow Sathya and Dharma in their lives then that has its own spiritual power and that will help them.

So I do not hate brothers and sisters of Muddenahalli group and wish them well.

But I have to be true to my beloved and revered Gurudev, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. And so I will follow his teachings and instructions to never believe mediums and communicators who claim to speak the words of Sathya Sai.
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Monday, February 19, 2018

King Marthanda Varma's army of Travancore (Kerala) defeated Dutch in 1741; its Dutch leader became Varma's commander-in-chief! Travancore Hindu kingdom provided protection to Hindu culture and religion till 1949

I would like to first say that I believe in Shirdi Sai Baba's teaching of "Sabka Maalik Ek" (The master of all is ONE). In other words, I believe in ONE GOD with various religions including Islam being various paths/ways to worship and merge in that ONE GOD. Specifically, I am not against Islam, and am actually supportive of it, so long as it does not interfere in the right of others (like me, a Hindu) to practise their faiths which are different from Islam (e.g. Hinduism, Christianity, Sikhism, Jainism, Buddhism, Judaism). Shirdi Sai Baba used to say "Allah Maalik" (Allah/God is the master) very often; I revere the same Shirdi Sai Baba,
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sai_Baba_of_Shirdi, and try to follow His teachings.

Some info. about the South Indian Hindu kingdom of Travancore which comes under the modern state of Kerala, from its wiki page, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travancore :

The Kingdom of Travancore was an Indian kingdom from 1729 until 1949. It was ruled by the Travancore Royal Family from Padmanabhapuram, and later Thiruvananthapuram. At its zenith, the kingdom covered most of modern-day central and southern Kerala with the Thachudaya Kaimal's enclave of Irinjalakuda Koodalmanikkam temple in the neighbouring Kingdom of Cochin, as well as the district of Kanyakumari, now in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

--- end Travancore wiki extract ---

Some info. about Marthanda Varma from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marthanda_Varma :

Marthanda Varma (born Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma; 1705 – 7 July 1758) was ruler of the southern Indian state of Travancore from 1729 until his death in 1758. He is most celebrated for crushing the Dutch expansionist designs at the Battle of Colachel in 1741. Marthanda Varma, then adopted a European mode of martial discipline and expanded his domain to encompass what became the modern state of Travancore.

--- end Marthanda Varma wiki extract ---

BTW my mother's family were the subjects of the Travancore kings before India's independence. And my mother's grandfather, a Sanskrit pandit (scholar, teacher), was gifted some large gold coin (or something similar) when he sang/chanted a Sanskrit poem about the Travancore king then (in front of him, according to the family story, if I recall correctly). So this matter is of keen interest to me.

Some extracts from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Colachel :

The Battle of Colachel (or Battle of Kulachal) was fought on 10 August 1741 [O.S. 31 July 1741] between the Indian kingdom of Travancore and the Dutch East India Company, during the Travancore-Dutch War. The Dutch never recovered from the defeat; and no longer posed a large colonial threat to India.
...

In addition to the destruction of the Dutch East India Company's designs in the Malabar coast, the capture of the leaders of the expedition, Eustachius De Lannoy and his second in command Donadi, were very beneficial to the kingdom of Travancore. When De Lannoy and Donadi were paroled, they took up service with Travancore and modernized the Travancore Army (which, till then, had been armed mainly with melee weapons) into an effective fighting force. De Lannoy was initially entrusted with the training of a few companies of the Maharajah's bodyguards and he did this with such an excellence that he was entrusted with modernizing the entire Travancore army. De Lennoy modernized the existing firearms and introduced better artillery and, more importantly, trained the Travancore army in the European style of military drill and military tactics. He carried out his orders with such sincerity and devotion that he rapidly rose through the ranks, eventually becoming the "Valia Kapitaan" (Commander in Chief) of the Tranvancore military and was given the Udayagiri Fort, locally known as the "Dillanai kotta" (De Lennoy's fort), near Padmanabhapuram, to reside. He was one of the commanders of the Tranvancore army during the decisive battle of Ambalapuzha where his erstwhile employers were fighting on behalf of Cochin and her allies. Following Travancore's victory over Cochin and her allies, the Dutch signed a peace treaty with Travancore and later sold their forts which were incorporated by De Lannoy into the Northern Lines (the Nedumkotta) that guarded the northern border of Travancore. The Travancore military that De Lannoy was instrumental in modernizing, went on to conquer more than half of the modern state of Kerala, and the Nedumkotta forts De Lannoy had designed, held up the advance of Tipu Sultan's French trained army during the Third Anglo-Mysore War in 1791 AD till the British East India Company joined the war in support of Travancore. Donadi ended up as an officer in the Travancore army and it seems that the rest of the Dutch prisoners took up service with the Maharajah's forces and their descendants were present up to 1878 in Travancore

--- end extracts ---

Another article on it: How 275 years ago an Indian prince defeated the Dutch East India Company, https://www.dailyo.in/politics/indian-freedom-struggle-british-dutch-east-india-company-travancore-carnatic-nawab-hyder-ali-tipu-sultan-colachel-day/story/1/12198.html, 5 Aug. 2016

Ravi: So this is a fascinating case of a Dutch military officer and some of the troops under him, after surrender to the South Indian king Marthanda Varma of Travancore, becoming troops for the South Indian king. The Dutch military leader De Lannoy modernised the Travancore army and rose to be its commander-in-chief! Wow! I did not know this.

Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan, the Muslim rulers of Mysore, were the major threat. Tipu Sultan was aided by the French! Travancore kingdom got into a military alliance with the British!

An extract from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Nedumkotta :

The Battle of the Nedumkotta took place on 28 December 1789, and was a reason for the opening of hostilities in the Third Anglo-Mysore War. Forces of Tipu Sultan, the ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore, attacked the fortified line known as the Nedumkotta in Thrissur district that protected the Kingdom of Travancore and allied southern parts of Cochin Kingdom. an ally of the British East India Company. Despite heavy losses, Tipu Sultan broke through the Northern lines and captured the northern extremities of Travancore. Following the declaration of war by Travancore's British allies, Tipu retreated to Mysore to prepare for the British attack and the hard won territories were recaptured by Travancore.

--- end wiki extract ---

Eventually the British defeated Tipu Sultan and their ally, the king(s) of Travancore were relieved of this big Muslim ruler threat. Also the British seem to have demanded tribute/subsidies from Travancore which would have been given (after some initial reluctance which would have got settled with British use of force), and so even when Britain established itself as India's ruler in the mid 1800s it did not directly administer Travancore, viewing it as a princely state that accepted British overlordship.

Thus Travancore region continued to be a Hindu kingdom throughout, without coming under direct Muslim rule or direct British rule till India incorporated all princely states into its democratic country, a few years after 1947.

I must say here that from a freedom to practise Hindu faith point of view, the British would have been preferred as the overlord power than Muslim sultans. As far as I know the British never used the sword or the gun to force conversions of Hindus to Christians. They seemed to have used the missionary route for conversion to Christianity which would have been far more easier to counter than the sword route of Tipu Sultan for conversion to Islam.

My father's side of my family were based in the town of Irinjnalakuda, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irinjalakuda, in Thrissur district of Kerala, and were associated with the Koodalmanikkam temple, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koodalmanikyam_Temple, in Irinjnalakuda which is specifically mentioned in the above wiki extract as part of Travancore kingdom. Other than the Koodalmanikkam temple, the town of Irinjnalakuda would have come under the Hindu Kingdom of Cochin, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_of_Cochin. This Cochin kingdom was a protectorate of the Portuguese, the Dutch and then the British at different times. It too did not seem to have direct British rule. But it seems to have paid tribute to Mysore Muslim sultans, Hyder Ali and/or Tipu Sultan. Travancore kingdom never did that. Perhaps Travancore is the only Hindu kingdom in Kerala that did not pay tribute to or come under the sway of any Muslim ruler.

So my family which hails from Kerala (Tamil Hindu Brahmins who seem to have migrated to Kerala from Tamil Nadu some centuries ago), seems to have largely had a protected Hindu kingdom lifestyle till the Republic of India was formed around 1950! I mean, both my father and my mother would have been born in such Hindu kingdoms and raised there, before they moved out of Kerala to Bombay (and other places my father was deputed to as an Indian Railways employee; mother joining my father after marriage which would have been a little before 1950). [I was born in Bombay in 1962.]

In other words, my Hindu family going back many generations did not come under Muslim kingdom rule! But I think my father's father moved to Bombay when it was under British rule. So from my father's family side, including my father, they would have lived under British rule in Bombay for some years. However, I don't think the British interfered in the practise of Hinduism or persecuted Hindus like Tipu Sultan is said to have done. So I think my father's family in Bombay under British rule would not have had any interference from the British in them practising the Hindu faith and them following Hindu Brahmin rituals.

Perhaps all this helped my family to freely have faith in Hinduism, study and practise Hindu Brahmin religious rituals and traditions, and hand them down over generations.

[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.]

Friday, February 16, 2018

Sathya Sai: Socialism's ideal of equal distribution of wealth will not ensure equality in desires and aspirations, will create dissatisfaction among rich; Recognizing presence of God in all beings and respecting everyone as manifestation of Divine is achieving true equality

Last updated on 17th Feb. 2018

Given below are large extracts from a discourse by Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba in Malleswaram, Bangalore on 11th Dec. 1985, http://www.sssbpt.info/ssspeaks/volume18/sss18-28.pdf (slightly edited to fix typo type errors and also give some clarifications to non-Indian readers) :

REAL equality among men has to be achieved not by the equal distribution of material things but by the cultivation of love, which promotes a sense of the divinity that is inherent in all beings.

In this land of Bharat [ancient name for India], through all the vicissitudes of history, Truth has been regarded as the highest value to be cherished by man. This is the essence of the cultural heritage that has been given down to us as Sanathana Dharma [Eternal ethical way of life as propounded by ancient Hinduism]. The ancient sages emphasized the importance of Karma Yoga, the discharge of one's duties in life in a dedicated spirit. Through Karma Yoga man achieves control of the senses and develops the qualities of universal love, forbearance and compassion.

Everyone should realise that the body has been given to us for performing selfless service. It should also be realised that nothing in creation is intended for the exclusive use of any one person. We should therefore discard the feeling: "These things have been given for my exclusive use, they are my own."
...
There has been talk of achieving equality in society. The equal distribution of wealth through socialism is declared as the ideal, but is it possible to bring about such equality? Even if material wealth is distributed equally, can you ensure equality in desires and aspirations? Only when you have equality in terms of desires and aspirations can you get true equality. By taking away a part of a rich man's property and giving it to a poor man, you may give satisfaction to the latter, but what about the dissatisfaction caused to the man who has been deprived? You must look beyond material things to the Supreme Being who is the provider of all things. When you recognise the One as present in all beings and respect everyone as a manifestation of the Divine, you will achieve equality in the true sense of the term. All those who claim to be Bharatiyas should strive to bring about this kind of equality through love for all beings.

A life without love is meaningless. The more you love, the more it grows. True love should be distinguished from attachment either to persons or things. Attachment is based on selfishness. Love is based on selflessness. Love is the fruit which is born from the flower of your good deeds. Only when we engage ourselves in selfless service can we experience the essence of this pure love.
...
There is considerable progress today in various fields--scientific, economic, political and so on, but all man's actions are motivated by selfishness. Man has become a plaything in the hands of his own selfishness. There is no unity among men. Unity can come only through thyaga (sacrifice), not through the pursuit of desires and comforts. You must cultivate charity, which does not mean giving some money to a person in need or to an organization. Charity calls for the removal of all evil thoughts that are within you and development of a largeness of spirit. Charity will confer Purity, and through Purity, Unity will be achieved. Once you have Purity and Unity, you can realise Divinity.

When you look around today you find that there is little evidence of sacrifice for the sake of society. A person may call himself a great devotee, or sadhaka [spiritual aspirant engaged in spiritual practices] or scientist, but without a spirit of sacrifice there is nothing great in him. Seva (service) is the salt which lends savour to life. The spirit of sacrifice imparts fragrance to living. One may live for 60, 70, or 80 years but it will have no meaning unless his life has been devoted to the ennobling of one's character and rendering devoted service to others. What you must aspire for are not buildings, positions or factories or industries. A good character is the greatest wealth you can acquire. More vital than the five pranas (Prana, Apaana, and others), Sathya [Truth], Dharma [Ethical living], Santhi [Peace], Prema [Love] and Ahimsa [Non-violence] are the vital life-breath for every one. Of these, the greatest is Prema (Love). Fill yourself with love. Love should express itself in service to society. You should look upon society this way. We exist for society and society exists for the good of all. Try to sanctify your life by doing service and spreading joy and comfort all around.

--- end extracts from discourse of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba -------

Thanks to brother Ivan Escalona for pointing me to this discourse in a recent conversation we had. I had not read this discourse earlier.

I intend to look for the audio for the discourse and listen to it in Swami's original Telugu and translator's English translation. Perhaps I may update this post after I do that.
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On Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2085016898381543, associated with this post, I made the following comments:

In response to a comment, "Again Ravi Sir you have gathered together some gems to sooth our troubled times", I (Ravi) wrote (slightly edited):

Thank you --Name-snipped-- sir. As I told another gentleman who I met recently who has served physical Swami in close proximity for many years, I am playing a small role as one of the chroniclers of the GREAT SPIRITUAL PRESENCE that lived among us, Shiva Shakti Swarupa, Kali Yuga Avatar, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

Bhagavan saw and understood the issues of the day, including dreaded militant communist groups that operated in some parts of India including Andhra Pradesh of those days (unified with Telangana), that were outlawed as they were into extortion of the rich, and fighting a low-scale war with the government security forces that involved many death casualties on both sides (outlawed militant communist groups and the state's security forces). He taught us how to live following principles of Sanathana Dharma, even in such situations and like this discourse shows, even publicly conveyed his views on such matters.
----

Sathya Sai saying about Kerala (a South Indian state) - not communist but ‘come you next’

An extract from Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba discourse, 12th Sept. 2008, Onam (festival of Kerala), http://www.sssbpt.info/ssspeaks/volume41/sss41-15.pdf, is given below

The people of Kerala are most fortunate, for their hearts are filled with love and devotion to God. There is none among them who does not contemplate on God. They may not express their devotion outwardly, but in their heart of hearts they are greatly devoted. People from outside refer to Kerala as a communist state. No, no; it is not communist but ‘come you next’. There are very young children participating in the spiritual education (bal vikas) programmes. How beautiful are their faces, radiating bliss and devotion! Their love toward Swami is overflowing. They are full of love! Their hearts are pure and will become mature in due course.
--- end extract from Sathya Sai discourse ---

A relevant extract from an article 'His True Mission' by R.D. Awle, http://www.saibaba.ws/articles/histruemission.htm, dated August 2001. I do not know how accurate the information is (other than the 'come you next' part for which I have given the above discourse extract and reference) :

[Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba says:] “This Sai has come in order to achieve the supreme task of uniting the entire mankind as one family through the bond of brotherhood, of affirming and illumining the Atmic Reality of each being in order to reveal the Divine, which is the basis on which the entire Cosmos rests.  This Sai has come to instruct all to recognize the common Divine Heritage that binds man to man, so that man can rid himself of the animal and rise into the Divine, which is his goal.  This Sai has come to show that Love - Prema - is the easiest way to reach the Divine.”1

Baba says He has come to “avert the crisis that has come upon humanity”, and usher in a new age of divine wisdom upon the Earth, a golden age of Love, peace and understanding - and He assures us that He will succeed.  In the mid-1980’s He told His students that He would be working directly with the minds of Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev to bring about a change in the world.  I would guess it is no mere co-incidence that the fall of global communism occurred less than ten years after that statement was made!  (As Baba said in the ’70s when asked about Communism, “Communists?  Come you next!”)  Now Baba has thousands of devotees from the former communist nations, spreading His message of Divine Love where such words were forbidden for decades.  Surely Baba’s work has made the world a better place; the Earth, by His plan, grown a hair closer to Planet Peace.  Perhaps it will be with Prema Sai, Baba’s next incarnation - due to be born in some lucky South Indian manger around 2028 - that the global level of spiritual knowledge will reach critical mass, and the Earth and its atmosphere finally be divinely transformed, into a Paramatma-sphere.  May the day come soon!
--- end extract from Shri R.D. Awle article ---
----

[I thank sssbpt.info and Shri R.D. Awle (saibaba.ws), and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extracts from their websites on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

Calvin and the right to remain ignorant :-)

Last updated on 19th Feb. 2018

Thoroughly enjoyed this cartoon of Calvin complaining about being educated against his will and his rights (to remain ignorant) being trampled upon, and that he liked things better when he didn't understand them: http://www.gocomics.com/calvinandhobbes/2013/01/08.

I think that this cartoon of Calvin is even more relevant in the spiritual field. Many people prefer to be devoted to a particular spiritual master and be obedient to the associated spiritual group  leaders, or similarly be devoted to religion, but not get too deep into philosophy related to deep questions about life and death, suffering, good and evil etc. taught by the spiritual master and/or religion. In Hinduism which is my religion, I think I can say that most Hindus prefer to be devoted to their Ishta Devatas (favourite spiritually powerful beings/gods) and be very reverential towards, but not deeply study and understand, scripture associated with deep philosophy of the Hindus, like the Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads and the Brahma Sutra (Prasthana Trayee) which talk about the ONE formless God/Divine power behind the universe and which is referred to sometimes as Absolute Brahman.

It is only a few Hindus who take to studying its deep philosophical scriptures like the Prasthana Trayee mentioned above.

And sometimes it seems that those who don't get too deep into such spiritual/religious philosophy but are steady in their devotion, lead quite happy lives in their spiritual/religious path!
================================================

Given below are some comments I made on my Facebook post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2084138811802685, associated with this post:

In response to a comment which said in part, "Wouldn’t the ritualist have as much right as the recluse to practice his chosen path based on his capacity? Would it be appropriate for another to be judgmental on either?", I (Ravi) wrote (slightly edited);

Sai Ram --Name-snipped-- sir, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba was very, very clear and unambiguous in his teachings about NOT viewing any particular path to God as superior. The traditional paths being: devotional path i.e. Bhakti marga which includes ritualist paths like Karma Kanda Vedic approach as well as non-Vedic devotional approaches and similar non-Hindu religion devotional approaches, path of wisdom i.e. Jnana marga which would include paths involving study of Upanishads/Vedanta, and paths of good works (benefiting poor and suffering in society) done with devotional attitude i.e. Karma marga. And so I follow that approach taught by Bhagavan. I don't know whether this should be called a non-judgemental approach. I prefer viewing it as being (equally) respectful of various paths to God.

I believe my above/previous comment was non-judgemental. It was simply stating the reality as I perceive it about most Hindus not taking to study of deep philosophical Hindu scriptures like the Prasthana Trayee. I was not stating it as a good/happy or unhappy situation. I also stated that people in devotional path who are steady in devotion without study of deep Hindu philosophy seem quite happy! That is a positive statement about the power of steady devotion without knowledge of deep Hindu philosophy, to provide happiness.
----

In response to a further comment, "Thanks for this elaboration. It’s consistent with my little understanding of our dharma.", I (Ravi) wrote:
My understanding too is limited. So I could be wrong at times. Please feel free to question my views and ask for clarifications. That could help catch my mistakes and help me to improve my understanding of Santhana Dharma.
----

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Tragic sight of Shashidhara Prasad former Sai university vice-chancellor bowing deeply to former Sai university student and Sathya Sai pale imitator Madhusudan Naidu and lingams supposedly produced by him

Last updated on 15th Feb. 2018

From around 1:27:37 in Maha Shivarathri Celebrations: 13 February 2018, Evening, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-sek8iHmIs, you can see former Sai University vice-chancellor, J. Shashidhara Prasad bowing deeply to, and worshipping Madhusudan Rao Naidu and the gold lingams held in a plate by Madhusudan Naidu.

I have also given below 4 screenshots related to this. The screenshots are from another video of this event which is no longer available [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfRHaTeORY4]. The timestamp in the first screenshot below of 1:39:12 roughly corresponds to 1:27:37 in the video mentioned earlier which is currently viewable.






I hate writing this post. But somebody has to do it as former vice-chancellor of Sai university (Sri Sathya Sai Institue of Higher Learning) Shashidhara Prasad's public act of deeply bowing to Madhusudan Rao Naidu and the lingams supposedly produced by him on 13th February 2018, Shivarathri, will get misunderstood by some naive Sai devotee youth and others as confirmation that Madhusudan Rao Naidu has now become Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba! The belief would be that the so called subtle body of Bhagavan enters into the body of Madhusudan Rao Naidu, thereby transforming Madhusudan Rao Naidu into Sathya Sai Baba, and creates the lingam in the body of Madhusudan Rao Naidu!

Such beliefs being propagated by Shashidhara Prasad's public actions above dilute and distort the legacy and memories of my beloved and revered Gurudev Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Shashidhara Prasad is actively contributing to Madhusudan Rao Naidu misguiding thousands of Sathya Sai devotees around the world with his FALSE CLAIMS of being a so called communicator who can see and interact with a so-called subtle body of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba which for all practical purposes only he (Madhusudan) can see and communicate with. Now with such Lingodbhavam programs, Madhusudan Rao Naidu is claiming FALSELY (through words of people like Narasimhamurthy) that Sathya Sai enters his body and produces the lingam. Shashidhara Prasad is actively contributing to this FALSE BELIEF being spread, by this public display of worship. I cannot be a silent witness to such Asathya-Adharma done by Madhusudan Naidu using the HOLY NAME of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba and which is being publicly endorsed by former vice-chancellor of Sai university, Shashidhara Prasad! So I have to do this unpleasant and hated duty of writing this post (and earning anger and curses of some people of Muddenahalli group who get upset by the unpleasant truth that I say in it but also getting the gratitude of some who get saved by such truth-teller posts from being trapped by such FALSE CLAIMS of Madhusudan Rao Naidu).

NO. The divine spirit of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba DOES NOT ENTER Madhusudan Rao Naidu's body. As Shri Satyajit Salian has shared, (physical form) Bhagavan strictly and harshly warned Narasimhamurthy in the past about a similar matter around the year 2000.

Relevant extract from my blog post, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/10/satyajit-opens-up-on-narasimhamurthy.html (Satyajit is conveying words spoken by physical form Bhagavan to Shri B.N. Narasimhamurthy):   [Satyajit implies Bhagavan said] "Naakem pattindi vaallu paada shariramulo cheradaniki?" Why should I enter somebody's dirty body (paadu shariramu) - why should I enter somebody's dirty body to communicate. "Evaratona maatlada.. nenu neerega matladutaanu" If I have to speak to somebody else I will speak directly. This was the first incident in 1999 or 2000 ...
--- end extract ---

Ravi: So Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba has no need to enter into the body of Madhusudan Rao Naidu. There are many people who claim to do Lingodbhavam nowadays. Madhusudan is one of them - that's all.

I don't know whether the Lingodbhavam done by Madhusudan is genuine or not. Perhaps it is genuine. But then that would be due to spiritual powers that Madhusudan may have acquired. It is NOT Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's spirit entering into Madhusudan which is what the Muddenahalli group (FALSE) belief seems to be.

It is tragic to see the former vice-chancellor of the Sai university (2010 to 2014), Shashidhara Prasad display such great ignorance about the teachings, instructions and life of Kali Yuga Avatar, Shiva-Shakti Swarupa, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

Madhusudan is a pale imitator of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Yes, Bhagavan's name, life and teachings are so holy and so powerful that even a pale imitator of his like Madhusudan exhibits some spiritual power.

But Shashidhara Prasad is deeply bowing to this pale imitator Madhusudan thinking that this pale imitator Madhusudan is Kali Yuga Avatar, Shiva-Shakti Swarupa Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba! What a public display of spiritual ignorance by Shashidhara Prasad! What a spiritual tragedy!

In this context it is perhaps appropriate for me to share something about my two meetings in or around July 2011 with him (Shashidhara Prasad) in the Vice-chancellor's office of the Sai university, when I was serving as free service teacher/staff with designation of 'Visiting Faculty' in the Sai university.

Both the meetings were related to objections raised by the Dept. of Mathematics & Computer Science HOD to students and my association with the Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vahini project. The matter got escalated to the vice-chancellor. But I used the first meeting to also explore some other aspects of my role in the Sai university. In the past (well before Mahasamadhi), I had been approached by some faculty of Sai university to associate with the Awareness (teaching) program in Sai university, Prasanthi Nilayam campus. But at that time I preferred to limit myself to only free service (Seva) of teaching of software development in the Sai university and focus on my individual spiritual sadhana in my free time. After Bhagavan's Mahasamadhi, I felt I should now be willing to contribute (as free service) to the spiritual teachings part of the Sai University (of which Awareness program was an important part). So in my first of the two meetings with the vice-chancellor, Shashidhara Prasad in July 2011, I gently broached the topic of Upanishads with him.

He told me in a rather dismissive way, if I recall correctly, that he was aware that I used to write private mails to a small group of people (on my views on spirituality and religion). That was true as I preferred to limit my contacts to very few people then. On Upanishads, I recall clearly that he brushed away my gentle broaching of the topic with him and said that we have Bhagavan's/Swami's teachings (implying that that was enough; no need to talk about Upanishads)! I was taken aback a little by this cold response to my gentle mention of the Upanishads. Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, in his public discourses, was very respectful of Upanishads (Vedanta). If I recall correctly, I quietly took it in my stride without saying anything further on that topic.

But now look at what Shashidhara Prasad is doing! The man who talked about Swami's teachings being enough and there being no need to talk about Upanishads, is ignoring Swami's public teachings and instructions about mediums and communicators! Cheppinattu Chestara?

The second meeting I had with him was one where he shouted at me like I had done some crime as soon as I entered his office. That was related to the fight between the HOD and me on students and my participation in Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vahini project, which the HOD was dead against. I felt it to be my duty especially at that traumatic period just around three months after Bhagavan's Mahasamadhi, to not escalate the matter further (in the light of the fury with which Shashidhara Prasad was shouting at me) and cool it down by obeying, as far as feasible, the instructions of the vice-chancellor. So I meekly accepted all his shouting. He cooled down. Then he wanted to completely dominate me and perhaps ensure that I never create a problem again for him. So he told me in a very harsh way to follow HOD's instructions (blindly). He also told me to sing Bhajans (instead of being proactive and trying to associate with projects like Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vahini in my work in the Sai university)!

Now he not only humiliated me (which I accepted meekly then as I felt I should sacrifice my self-esteem for the good of the institution at that traumatic time when we at the Sai university were making the very difficult transition to life without physical form of Bhagavan being around), but he was contemptuous of the spiritual practice of singing Bhajans! Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba laid so much emphasis on Bhajans and this man was mocking Bhajans by telling me in a dismissive way to not create trouble in the department by arguing with the HOD about projects like Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vahini, but (blindly) follow HOD's instructions and sing Bhajans instead! [After this meeting, I decided to stop virtually all my work in the department as I viewed the HOD as completely ignorant about software development and did not want to do a disservice to students and the software development field by following any instructions of this ignorant-in-software-development HOD. I limited myself to around an hour a week visits to help an M.Tech. Computer Science student who was dependent on technical guidance from me for his project work. In March 2012, I terminated my association with Sai university after this project work guidance role got over and there were some further problems I had with Sai university administrators.]

Look at the NEGATIVE Karma phala (result/consequence) the vice-chancellor of Sai university, Shashidhara Prasad, got due to display of such rather contemptuous attitude to spiritually powerful practice of singing Bhajans, and his dismissive attitude to studying and discussing Upanishads! He has now publicly demonstrated his spiritual ignorance about Avatars and about Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba by getting fooled into viewing and publicly worshiping Madhusudan Rao Naidu who is a pale imitator of Bhagavan, as Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba!

I humbly advise those readers who read this post and who are confused by former vice-chancellor of Sai university, Shashidhara Prasad's worship of Madhusudan Rao Naidu depicted in this post, to NOT get trapped by this spiritual ignorance, this spiritual delusion, that Shashidhara Prasad has got trapped in, of worshiping Madhusudan Rao Naidu as Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Madhusudan Rao Naidu is NOT Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. He is only a pale imitator of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.